Nominated by Julie, and as part of Claire's project, today is time for another Day in the Life post. Phew, two in two months! Today is the last day of freedom before I go back to full time work in the morning, so it's a pretty momentous occasion. I haven't been to my day job since 18 May last year when I was in receipt of some pretty scary blue light medical care and subsequently signed off work for the rest of my pregnancy. My lovely little girl will be 1 next week, and my fantastic childminder returns from her summer holidays in the morning, so it's back to work for me.
My poor old cat is quite unwell, so after some emergency treatment yesterday, he needs to go back for another antibiotic injection and a good check over. As usual, he got an infected abscess, this time above his left front leg. He is either just standing there taking a beating from whatever is fighting with him, or he's letting them get in the first swipe before he totals them. Last time it was his face, just missing his eye, the time before that, it was the front of his left leg. We've caught him squaring up to a pit bull before now, so nothing would surprise me.
So I was determined to make the most of today and we had a great time. Here's what happened.
7.30am we all wake up, get washed, dressed and eat breakfast. By 10am we are in the car and ready to go. Amelia has been dressed by her daddy in a cool blue t-shirt, beige combats, her new grey jumper that we got in Salford earlier this week (my mum gave it us and it *was* paid for, thank you very much) and even a pair of shoes.
10.10am I forgot to buy mayo yesterday so we cheat and buy pre-made sandwiches from Tesco on our way. We are off to the Scottish Deer Centre for a picnic and to feed the animals.
10.20am We are properly on our way now, and we drive along the A91 towards St Andrews. We pass Balado, home of T in the Park, and we smile at the aeroplane in the field. I catch up on yesterday's newspaper, and I'm delighted to hear that actress Katherine Parkinson was a grade A geek growing up, with a penchant for wearing medieval dress, from age 14 to about 21. Brilliant. I am less delighted to read the Family section, where usually brilliant advice giver Annalisa Barbieri implies that domestic abuse is not domestic abuse unless it is violent, and that anyone suffering abuse should be left alone to sort it out themselves, as they are adults and deserve not to have their private lives interfered with. I think that this is possibly some of the worst advice ever given and this puts a bit of a downer on my morning. I put the paper down and concentrate on the lovely North Fife Tourist Trail scenery.
11.10am We're here! Down to the serious stuff first, time for a coffee and a biscuit and a quick mooch around the gift shop before we go into the Deer Centre proper. Priorities, people.
12noon and we're in, just in time for the Birds of Prey demonstration. An owl lands on our picnic table. A hawk eats some unidentifiable bits of chicken a bit too close to us for comfort. A very young kestrel gets every instruction wrong and messes up the last bit of the presentation in a quite adorable way.
12.30pm and we settle in a clearing near to the wildcats for our picnic. My husband's head is looking pretty sunburnt and we decide to break out the picnic blanket under a shady tree. Just as well as the heavens open and we eat good old traditional British damp Quavers and sandwiches. After all that, the "healthy eating" sandwiches are made with yogurt instead of mayonnaise and taste very odd. Excellent. We change the baby's nappy on the picnic blanket in the rain (oh the glamour!) and get the footmuff out in time for the sun to burn through again and we take the footmuff off the pushchair again. We move on to feed the sheep before another weather-based intervention has to take place.
1.20pm and the sheep are eating food pellets (bought from the Deer Centre) from my hand. We see reindeer, the fox enclosure (but no foxes) and I take Amelia up on the elevated wooden squirrel walk, from which we see a coathanger and a man picking his nose, but no squirrels.
2.10pm and a go on the squashed penny machine later, we're out of there. A sleeps in the car while we nip along to Balgove Farmers Shop and Cafe for a cheeky afternoon tea and a bit of posh food shopping.
4pm and we're back on the road home, ready for the evening rigmarole of Amelia's dinner, bathtime, story and bedtime. This takes us up to 7.20pm, when I cook bacon cheese burgers, using Balgove bacon and local cheese, Red Anster. It's a cross between Red Leicester and Cheshire, with added garlic and chives, and tastes lovely. Fittingly, for this kind of dinner, the Radio 4 show Americana is playing in the background as I cook and we eat. I learn about the stock exchange in Chicago, which as you'd expect from the mid-west, is much like our corn exchanges from years past.
I pop upstairs at 8pm to resettle the baby, who has woken up. While I'm up on the top floor (we have two bedrooms in what used to be the loft), I nip into my craft room and spend nearly an hour creasing and folding around 40 envelopes in preparation for an extra trim and some gluing tomorrow evening. When I pop the TV on at 8.47 downstairs, I kick myself that I've missed the best part of Dragon's Den, but I lighten up when I realise there's a new series of Young, Dumb and Living off Mum on BBC3. This is trashy reality TV of the best kind - with a sarcastic Robert Webb voiceover - and makes me glad to be in a proper job. One of the types of work experience they are sent on this week is cleaning a youth hostel - something I once did over a summer in Edinburgh and would not like to do again. The University rents out its student accommodation over the summer and it's managed by the Scottish Youth Hostel Association. By strange co-incidence I ended up cleaning in my old building, and even my old bedroom, overlooking the Pleasance Courtyard. I had to stop when a stag party tarred and feathered their groom in one of the flats, using treacle and a burst pillow. I'm very very very allergic to feathers when they aren't on birds, and found myself unable to breathe, a horrible experience. I actually quite enjoyed the cleaning aspect of the job, and the methodical completion of repetitive tasks was very relaxing. I was actually working three jobs that summer (an office job collating and summarising media reports of British defence contracts for the MOD and a customer services supervisor at Sainsburys, too), as I had to make up for lost time when I couldn't work during term time while I was living in Paris.
10pm and I have a Green and Blacks hot chocolate before bed. Yikes, a new era begins tomorrow, I'd better get a good sleep!