Black Park re-visited

We managed to get back to Black Park again already, yesterday. It was a beautiful day. We saw ducklings and ate ice cream. The park was being used as a location for a film, so there were people working everywhere and we walked past the set. (I suspected they weren’t filming until night time, as there were only lots of people around, rather than the millions of people it takes to film a scene). I was intrigued by something the special effects people were laying out. It seemed to be a tube of thin plastic, like what black bin bags are made of, around 30cm in diameter, which they were pumping air through, to make it look a bit like a pipe. It had slits in the plastic, so it wasn’t airtight (Thomas stuck his head over a slit and confirmed air was blowing out. This ‘pipe’ was stretched all the way around half the lake. There were lots of barrels of what looked like oil and cans of propane, so I speculated that they were going to fill the pipe with propane and blow it up. There was a huge wind-machine at each end of the blow-up pipe We asked one of them what they were filming, but they told us it was top secret. Fair enough, but we passed a sign saying “Location filming: one way traffic system in operation,” and at the top of the sign in capital letters, underlined was the title, “THE WOLFMAN”. I expect this is just the working title, but there was lots of gothic statues and flower tubs dotted around the set, so we might recognise it if we ever see it!


Black Park

So, we thought Ruislip Lido was good, but then came BLACK P A R K!

It’s much closer to home, about 5 minutes in the car, and it’s just much better than Ruislip Lido. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but first of all, a new theme: “Parting shots of Uxbridge”. I’m going to try to capture the images that will stay with me forever when I think about our lives here. I haven’t mentioned it on this blog before, but we are soon to be leaving this place and moving on. The first image in the “Uxbridge Memories” will be:

So, Black Park. It has a lake:

It has geese, curious ones:

It has lovely trees with buggy-friendly paths:

The play area is out-of-this-world good, with all the usual stuff plus more rough and ready outdoorsy stuff:

We got lots of good pictures of the boys, but you’re probably fed up with those, so I thought I’d learn a new skill, animating gifs. I figured that the actual photo-shoot was more interesting than the final shot.


SVT closure for now

I saw a consultant today, who pretty much told me the same things as the previous consultant I saw. He asked me to decide whether I wanted to go ahead with the ablation or not. I told him I didn’t want to at this time. Most of the risks with the operation can be fixed. The worst case, very rare is that a blood clot could escape and cause a stroke, but that is only if it’s on the wrong side of the heart (the left). If it’s a bit too close to my “natural” pacemaker, they can damage it, in which case I would need a pacemaker – no thanks. Other risks include damaging the artery they use to go in through, but he said they could fix that.

However, I don’t think the effects are worth the risks. The consultant even said I didn’t really need to take the Flecainide, but if I wanted to take it for periods when I REALLY didn’t want to suffer an attack, then that was fine. I admitted to him I was taking much less than the prescribed dose. He clearly didn’t want a “young person” to be permanently on medication, which is why I got the impression he would rather I had the ablation. He wished me luck with the insurance companies in the States, and said they can be very harsh. He did 2 years of his PhD at Columbia University, New York, and he said that while they couldn’t actually lie, they would tell the insurance companies that a person was absolutely fine, regardless of the previous 5 heart operations!

I think I’ll keep the Flecainide nearby while the kids are small and vulnerable – maybe for a couple more years or so, at least until I can be sure they don’t run off while I collapse on the floor! The consultant said I could have the ablation at anytime, and if I changed my mind he would put me back on the list.


Ollie’s 2nd Birthday

Ollie’s birthday was spread over 3 days, which he really enjoyed. I will merely post the photos for now.

Photos of Ollie turning 2.


My Favourite Things…

My favourite aspect of parenting is without doubt watching a vessel seek to fill itself with knowledge.

Thomas asked me the excellent question today: “Mummy, what are eyebrows for?” Luckily this exact question was raised in the New Scientists “Feedback” pages so, while I couldn’t help laughing, I was pretty much word perfect with my reply.

Another question that caused me to stifle a laugh was “Mummy, what happens if you drop roses and whiskers on kittens?” Can even begin to guess where that came from? Do you know the words to “My Favourite Things” from the Sound of Music?


Music is FUN!

My posts all seem to have been a bit stilted lately, so I promise to try to resume proper posting soon.

Firstly my staunch atheist friend posted this link on facebook a while ago, which has got more interesting since it’s sparked discussion in the family. I put it here so I’ve got a reference to it. It’s about a randomised trial to see if prayer had specific effects on recovery from heart surgery, they didn’t prove anything, but it was interesting!

Abstract of the Trial

Here is just a bit of fun, when David was really trying to work:



I happened upon this article which seems to be a very clear and simple explanation of the procedure I might undergo:

SVT Ablation



David has pointed out on many an occasion that my knowledge of the US is appalling! I’ve been inspired lately by the whole “Games With a Purpose” (thanks, Dad). Look the up on wikipedia. Anyway in a roundabout way I found this, states quiz and plan to be perfect before we go.



As it’s the Easter holidays, Thomas is now desperately missing his friends, particularly his girlfriend. He is totally “in love” with this girl! He talks about her all the time, even about what clothes she wore to playgroup!? He was invited to her birthday lunch and received a home-made thank-you-for-my-present card. This card is so precious, he has, on a number of occasions taken it to bed with him, and also on outings.

Today I was trying to give him a vague idea about how the world works in terms of reproduction. Actually it started when I was trying to explain my hayfever to him – I’ve been really suffering, so I wanted him to know why my eyes are streaming, and I constantly have tissues shoved up my nose. I told him that trees like to make more trees, plants make more plants, animals make more animals, and, yes, humans make more humans – “like mummy and daddy made you”. He told me he had to whisper in my ear and said “I’d like to make Millie”. So I said, “would you like to make more Millies?” and he laughed and said “NO! Just one Millie”. We hadn’t spoken about Millie that day, so it was quite out of the blue. He’s too young to understand about girls yet, so I think he must have picked up on the “mummy-and-daddy” and made him think of him-and-Millie.


Back to the Lido

In a bizarre twist of fate, we ended up going to Ruislip Lido again, almost exactly a year since we last went. I know because I remember Ollie was just “cruising” (walking-holdin-onto-things) but not walking unassisted, so it must have been around his 1st birthday.

Anyhoo, we had a lovely day, and my mum came along to help which makes all the difference when you have two littl’uns near water. (we weren’t fast enough to stop him jumping in a huge puddle up to his knees on the way though). We were so impressed by the size of one of the swans – it was mutant-sized – far taller than it’s parents, with feet like dinner plates, that we couldn’t whip the camera out in time to photo it.





These are posted with some more here: Ruislip Lido 09