Emily and Phoebe

Sunday, September 30, 2007


I am cleaning out the fridge. This involves chucking away anything that has expired more than six months previously (anything more recent I may be willing to take a chance on) and scraping something green and congealing out of the salad crisper. (Pond weed? When did I buy pond weed?) I remove an unlabelled carton of olives and wave it at Phoebe.

"Do you know when this dates from?" I ask.

She stares at me. "I don't know, Daddy, because I can't read and I don't know dates."

Good point, really. I'm not even sure if I asked the right question. Is it correct to talk about when food dates from? It makes it sound more like a rare archaeological find than something delicious and nourishing (not a complete impossibility given the state of our fridge, of course.) Perhaps I should stop making such an effort to introduce the kids to unusual phrases and vocabulary and stick to what I know for sure is correct (e.g. "Look, Jane, look! Pat likes the ball! Look, Peter, look!" etc. etc.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

New Post

at Monday 17th September...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Arrr, me hearties, I be Black Emily, the scourge of the seven seas! An' shiver me timbers, if it ain't that scurvy dog Cap'n Phoebe! What'll it be, ye lily-livered son of a sea-stoat, the cat o' nine tails or a quick keelhaulin'? Or maybe ye'd prefer to walk the plank for a swift visit to Davy Jones' Locker, ye scallywag?!? Yarr!

I took this photo during last year's carnival. I did not get the girls to dress up like this just so that I could photograph them to celebrate National Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Because I am not mad.

Monday, September 17, 2007

No Smoking

What are these curious hieroglyphics? Read on, and all will be revealed!*

Emily is fanatically anti-smoking, and Phoebe has lately been teasing her by pretending to inhale on pencils, straws, lolly sticks and similar, declaring "I'm going to smoke when I'm older Emily, and you can't stop me!!!"

This is getting Emily more and more worked up, and Phoebe finally realised she'd overstepped the mark when her big sister ended up sobbing in a cupboard refusing to come out and talk to anyone. (Yes, I know, Emily does rather overdramatise things, and has a tendency to be just the tiniest bit intense).

Anyway, Emily refused to respond when Phoebe told her she was sorry, so Phoebe went away and "wrote" the above note to push under the door.

It shows (rather blurrily)** a burning cigarette (crossed out), the letter phi (for Phoebe) and a heart. I think she really must have been sorry...

* Evidently I do not know how this blog works, because I have spent whole minutes attempting to locate the picture at the end of the post rather than the beginning, but to no avail...

** Sorry for the rubbisher-than-usual quality of the photo; it was a very small note and my choices were to use a regular close-up (where the image was too tiny to make out), super close-up with flash (where the flash reflected off the paper, creating a photo of a bright white light), or super close-up without flash, which is what I chose in the end. It is of course entirely possible that a large part of the photo's rubbishness is down to me not knowing how my camera works...

Does anyone see a theme developing here?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's good to talk

Emily loves using the phone; so much so that she has a little book with important phone numbers in that we've said she's allowed to call: Pappous, Auntie Loula, her godfather, her friend Giorgos, and so on.

Sometimes of course she can get a bit enthusiastic, so to avoid the possibility of friends and family becoming too annoyed, we've limited her to one call per person per day. The only exception to this rule is that when she's at Pappous's house she's allowed to phone home if she needs to.

Predictably enough, this is a loophole that she exploits to the maximum - while I was working the other day, I received three calls in the space of half an hour (initially to ask if she and Phoebe could have something to eat, then whether they could watch TV, and finally to tell me some interminable story about what they had been doing together - I zoned out half way through so I don't even know what it was about). Eventually (with a deadline looming) enough was enough I had to tell her not to call me again.

Five minutes later, the phone rang.

Me: "Yes?"

Emily [feebly attempting to disguise her voice]: "Hello, I'm calling from a translation agency and we have 500 words that we want you to translate for tomorrow."

Me: "Very clever Emily! Now stop bothering me."

I hung up.

Three seconds later the phone rang again.

Me [wearily]: "Yes, Emily."

Emily [attempting to disguise her voice again]: "I'm not Emily, I'm from the phone company and you owe us 10,000 euros, please."

Me: "Ten thousand euros, eh? That's a lot of money, madam. I'm not sure where I'm going to get such a large amount from... [pause] Tell you what, how about instead of paying the bill I just give you my eldest daughter. She must be worth something!"

There was a squeal of panic, the sound of the phone being dropped, and then the line went dead.

And there were no more phone calls after that!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Back to school...

... and Emily is delighted to find that she has the same teacher as she's had for the last two years.

"We were all so pleased that we started jumping up and down! And I think Mr Babis was pleased too. Actually, I think he probably begged to have us again."

Well, maybe. But for some reason I can't help picturing the unfortunate Mr Babis wearing the expression a shell-shocked World War I soldier who's just been informed that he's being sent back to the front...

Friday, September 07, 2007

I am making Emily some chocolate milk

"Dad, you're doing it all wrong!"

"How's that darling?"

"You're supposed to put in a little bit of milk with the chocolate powder and then use the mixer* and then pour in milk up to the top."

"Do you think it makes any difference, darling?"

"Of course it makes a difference. You've put all the milk in before putting in the chocolate powder, so now if you use the mixer it won't make it frothy enough and the milk will go everywhere."

"Hmmm. You could be right. Never mind, I just won't use the mixer. I'll stir in the powder with a spoon. That'll be alright, won't it."

"Nooo!!! Then it won't have any bubbles at all! Oh why can't you do it properly."

[Mildly] "Darling, you're complaining rather a lot."

"Because you keep doing it wrong! If you did it right then I wouldn't have to complain, would !?"

I'm sure there must be a flaw in her argument somewhere. Perhaps something to do with respecting your elders or doing unto others as you would like them to do unto you, but unfortunately her logic seems quite unassailable to me...

* A hand-held twizzly wand type of apparatus

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Phoebe has taken to dancing around the house singing "Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby".

This is apparently a song.

By the Kaiser Chiefs.

A popular beat combo.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Name-Day, Phoebe!