Monday, 7 September 2009

Whey Hey Camping Days

Legendary is my fondness for Mexican waves, especially after bubbles. But the camp fire shenanigans of Camp Doe 09 took it further: Mexican leg waves are the next big thang. And I missed it!

Some years ago The Giggler tried out a caravan in the field of the martyr-formerly-known-as-Supersis. Never knowingly missed out, Captain Chaos and I decided our families would jump in. Then Inspector Gadget got wind and so it spread. August bank holiday is also the whizkid’s birthday which is celebrated each and every year in a bigger and better way. With tents.

Tents bring out the best and worst in people. In my separated life I’ve had moments of remorse. Especially in regard to tents. Current or otherwise, husbands have their uses: He-who-no-longer-has-to-be-adored kindly raised our roofs for us, before withdrawing to his office in Madrid. The rain and wind did its worst as Captain Chaos pitched up. The designer came with her ex-husband’s tent. A younger sipped wine as her elder sister pitched alone in the dark, save her little lids holding torches. Some fit and healthy young couples sent their dad a day early to pitch tents (with pegs forever lost at festivals). Fair? No. Funny? Yes!

Camp Doe 09 was the ‘Whey Hey’ year. Funny the first time, the refrain wore thin as the echo hit full hilt in the wee small hours. It came into its own hilarity again when Supersis clambered from her bed, down to the field, just to shout at the whey heyers. I heard nowt of this as I slept soundly. In the house. For I am neither a natural nor happy camper. Being offered a bucket as an ‘en-suite’ is not my idea of luxury. I have two tents, but the bed-hopping lids and their cousins left me no space. Anyways, suffering from wobbly legs from mass-catering (next year there’s a rota) earns you a place inside. So in I went. Hence I missed the leg waves. And a bed indoors means no need to get off your face in order to face a night in a tent.

Camping is an acquired taste and a bit close to nature for me. But I learnt even when your tent is pitched by the water trough, The Farmer is right and the goats do keep away. I also learnt about Hot Dogging (not be confused with another activity). Under canvas, with your butt on the ground and your bod squigged between two semi-vertical airbeds, you are, a hot dog.

Other lessons: marshmellows roasted on an open fire are hot, in a toxic way; experienced campers bring earplugs; after sun-down a collection of cold, drunk, teenagers can nearly always be found by the log pile; and warm drunk grown-ups can be found round the ever larger camp fires. Hence the earplugs. And that’s before the snoring. There weren’t so many kum-bah-yah moments as whey hey away we go gems.

The hint is in the title. Sadly, the ‘just-for-fun’ quiz was taken seriously. Well done to Hinge for organising and Bracket for steady judging, in the face of fierce criticism and heckling. Thanks to our two favourite nieces (I have a lot of favourites) who excelled with prizes from their generous clients. Prizes were awarded for all sorts, as well as to anyone under 16 who turned up.

Boyfriends of favourite nieces need to learn our family ways. Team games involve fair play. For some, cheating is way of life and is, therefore, fair play. Good sportsmanship? This is the real world. Get over it. That said, it wasn’t just the finishing line that was crossed: an Aunty (who is also a Grandma) knocked over her darling nephew in the egg and spoon race. Ok, so he is in training for a military career and should be able to handle it. The video evidence makes compelling viewing. And since when are hands held on top of eggs? Next year, despite what Supersis says, the tug of war will be made of sturdier stuff and the girls will win. The secret weapon this year was the ‘drop’ on the codeword. Oh how the girls love to laugh and play to see the boys fall over. Fair play to you all. Boys should play like girls. Learn to stump the bases properly lads and you won’t be excluded. And a certain boyfriend (of favourite nieces) should stop blaming my cooking, or feigning tiredness, and handle it. Or abstain. Being sick as a dog, inside a tent, is neither big, clever, nor funny. And whey hey boyfriend! So what if my gorgeous boy is 5 foot 10. Tis no reason to hand him a beer. He is only 11!

A weekend within the bosom of your family and the differences surface. Supersis feeds the lids sweets loaded with chemicals, whilst I bake healthy veggy muffins. As she says, they are not hers to settle down. Some kinda twisted revenge for our invasion of her patch? But the country air is doing her good; she threatened eviction only once this year. Captain Chaos also showed a new side as ‘ed of ‘elf and safety. I mean where's the danger in The Farmer throwing 16 kids in a golf buggy round a bumpy field, at speed? The Farmer’s night-time nature walk, with all the dustbin lids, probably wasn’t as respectful to nature as he intended. As I’m sure that poor baby hedgehog would agree. The little-uns only tried to show him some love. My field observations: dustbin lids are like puppies - so long as fed, watered, exercised and given hugs they are happiest in a pack.

The ‘Don’t Wake Pete’ game didn’t work. Too ambitious perhaps to expect all the lids to sneak next to the snorer, and have their picture taken. Damn those flashes. Although I think the every-lid-on-site bundle made up for it.

On the last morning the Sergeant Major demonstrated how simple and organised breakfast for 60 can be. He’s definitely in the catering corp next year. Morning glory it generally wasn’t. How do some manage to look so slick in their PJs when hungover and not so fresh from their field beds? A clue is the age. Under 20 and 30 look a lot better than the over 40s. I'm dreading the over 50s bracket.

Vis-à-vis the above para: some seem more para about the Internet age than others. After extreme pressure, I removed some perfectly reasonable pictures from Facebook that a woman of a certain age perceived to be unflattering. For the record: privacy on t’net is a nonsense darling.

Whey hey for Camp Doe 2010.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Less is more?

What does it say about a marriage when the parties can’t even agree on the reasons for separation? Sadly, separated is what I am. Permanently.

Tis hard to find humour in heartbreak.

This is new territory. My parents were married for more than 40 years, yet I didn’t manage half that. The concern and kindness of many friends, family, and even some I wouldn’t have imagined would care, has been staggeringly reassuring. It’s a sharp contrast to those I might have expected to care.

I have no doubt what lays ahead is challenging, especially for my beautiful dustbin lids. But He-who-no-longer-has-to-be-adored is happy with his decision. Forging a path of least pain is my aim.

But, as they say, every cloud… The snoring torment is over. My gratitude for that small mercy is Gi’normous. Also, you can now say Chin up to me as I currently only have one chin. The others have disappeared due to my new daily diet of stress, cigs and coffee. Lots of coffee.

It doesn’t feel right, to me, to smoke when blogging as the whole point of this blog was nicotine replacement therapy. So I’m done with this, for a while. It was fun. But I have more pressing priorities now.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Nature and other nasties

A dead quail in one hand and a padlock key in the other as twelve chickens clucked at my feet for treats. A tricky moment. Would the curious chooks take a peck if I laid the dead thang at my feet? I settled for the windowsill. Poor at the best of times my lock skills hit melt down as the weather changed from grumbling thunder to full on sloppy dolloppy rain. My flip flops became slop slips. Worse, I had to actually look at the dead thang to pick it up again.

Not content with singlehandedly doing my own family home thang, I’m covering another. In the country. With more livestock. I know there are twelve chickens because we count them out in the mornings and count them back in, in the evenings. I’m not so sure of the numbers of ducks, rabbits ferrets and goats. Two wild ducks, who know a good thang when they see it, have additionally taken up residence. There is also one Gos Hawk.

I don’t know a lot about Hawks, I am pleased to say. But I know they watch you. Luckily this Hawk is in ‘moult’, so cooped up right now. Hence the padlock. So I didn’t have to watch her, watching me. Unluckily, she is unable to hunt so needs feeding daily. She eats dead thangs. Which have to be defrosted. And picked up. And poked through a small tube. Thank goodness for surgical gloves.

Gorgeous Boy was supposed to do the Hawk thang. But he was out. He did text to check if I’d done the deed. When I bemoaned the experience he replied that he does it with his bare hands. He is most certainly a real boy. I am not. Nor would I want to be. You don't see me running around a field, in the rain, in shorts, and a superman top. That is the very essence of his boyness.

Last week was too unbearably sad to blog. So I didn’t. The King of Pop’s death was not the first death I’d had news of. It wasn’t the second either. Or third. Or fourth. It had the least effect. I am sick of his songs. Overplay is overkill.

Before school yesterday, the lids and I returned home to sort our own animals. We were greeted by a dead goldfish on the kitchen floor. I think it was making a dash for freedom. It failed.

It summed the week up.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Read all about it

Thanks and courtesy of almostmakessense

Thursday, 11 June 2009

I tried to go to Rehab

‘Needs to get out more’ I thought as I hoovered the tumble dryer. This was after I’d noticed an independent eco-system growing on the fluffy pink sofa throw. So, the throw got washed. Then the throw got shook. What appeared to be a rash on my arms was, in fact, pink fluff. All available surfaces in the nativity room were equally covered in the same pink fluff. Even after a turn in that great fluff collector aka the tumble dryer more of the pink fluff stuff appeared. Hence the hoover. What else do you do on a day off?

Good news from the hurdy gurdy hand guy: the Teenager’s thumb is healing. Hopefully, no surgery: so another cast, for another three weeks. Now she’s sporting a high five rather than thumbs up. My writing, in permanent marker, ‘keep dry’ and ‘do not use’ wasn’t a cool thang to do as she went camping. Neither was her using it to bang in tent pegs, or as a rounders bat. Nor, upon her muddy return, getting in a bath, without sealing the seal on the seal-it-to-keep-dry-in-water-thang.

As I walked the dog I reviewed the life lessons I’ve learnt this week:

  • wet casts do, eventually, dry on their own
  • no matter how much searching you do, lost Oyster cards remain lost
  • when meeting a fellow blogger, and you 'follow' each other the conversation has a certain déjà vu feel
  • my non-existent job description includes 'cleaning'
  • CRB checks, whilst not preventing child abuse, do prevent parents accompanying little lids on school trips (actually it’s a lack of CRB checks that prevents the latter, but that would involve the filling in of a form rather than filing it in recycling)
  • whatever your age a telling off from a teacher makes you feel like a small child (I am still to plan the penance for Gorgeous Boy)

The dog walk took me past the Priory. It looked ever so inviting. I wondered whether hoovering a tumble dryer was reason enough for a ‘wee holiday’, but was distracted by whether I could see pink fluff in the dog’s do. Reality brought me back to the important issues of my day. Not exactly world poverty or hunger, nor even tube strikes but much more pressing all the same. Did I have enough food in for tea for the lids and the dog? Or was I going to have to face another supermarket sweep and what other same-old-same-old dull dull chores would I fit in before the school run. Due to the demands of the job of He-who-must-be-adored of saving London and, increasingly, Spain (the same demands that put coffers in the bank) I've recently been feeling, ever so slightly, like a single parent. Without the weekends off.

Being such a shallow soul, when the sun came out, my mood lifted.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Not so rosy in the garden

Returning from the half term heat the hens started a-laying. Scores so far: Clucky 5, Kebab 1. Kebab’s single effort was egg-shaped but it’s pushing even the little-un’s great imagination to call it an egg. Her genetically hybridified heritage (Kebab’s not the little-un) to lay virtually all year round is being most firmly rejected. She becomes more crazed daily and the bad joke about the bad korma of her name haunts me. Last night Crazy old Kebab ‘went’ for the dog. Ever courageous, the dog dived on her favourite dwarf (old bath toys now get recycled as dog toys) and instead of standing her ground both dog and Dopey went hurtling into the bushes.

Now they’ve both stopped a-laying - the chickens not the dog. Obviously. Because if the dog ever laid anything other than in my way then the whole world would know about it. Anyways, instead they are a-scratching. Fine when they confined themselves to lawn moss. Foolish me welcomed the gardening help. A flowerbed of foxgloves was their next territory. The same bed which had trouble recovering from the little-un’s weeding expo. They need a dust bath I thought, perhaps we’ll get more eggs if they are happy free-rangers. Let them have their bed! And yet, my mantra returns: give ‘em an inch and whaddayaknow? They found their way under the netting: my pathetic attempt at veggy protection. I shoo them and they find new nectar: what was once the spring bulb patch is now a mulch of mud and dust. Nowt remains under the roses. They have scratched and pecked around the newly planted sun flowers. The tallest sunflower competition has, unfortunately, fallen at the first hurdle.

Now what we need is for He-who-must-be-adored, freshly returned from boozing/working in Spain, to spend sometime, outside his office, building a mega-chicken run to stop all this free ranging malarkey. Then the chocks can recover their layabilty (wouldn’t we all like to?) before it’s time for their summer moult, during which time, apparently, there generally is no a-laying.

Hey ho for the happy life on the urban farm!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Euro Excursions

Half term travel, with Urinal Air, where inflight snacks cost more than the fares. After a short delay, they announced...a short delay. No turbulance so no extra charges for sick bags. Instead spent more euros than decent on less Cava than needed. The injured teenager, two overtired dustbin lids and myself landed in Madrid, at midnight, on Wednesday. Pity He-who-must-be-adored wasn't there to greet us. He had trouble finding the terminal. The same terminal where He has previously met me. And all because of a 'team building exercise'. In a bar. Whilst watching Bacca thrash MU.

So a very different half term holiday from Tallmumchum. She text: sitting out force ten in tent, on cliff top, too dangerous to dismantle. Ever the swot, she later text: tell the book club it was a good read and kept me company at a low point. I text back: it was nice knowing you. can I have your car? But guilt set in when I didn't hear back. Eventually she text from the safety of the car: don't feel guilty, I didn't as I swigged wine early on.

Back in Madrid. Yesterday He-who-must-be-adored worked whilst we played. With no guilt at all. We took the cable car across the city. I thought I gave a brave performance, despite my fear of heights. I neither cried nor puked. Even though I wanted to. The dustbin lids loved it and I tried, but failed, to find their enthusiasm infectious. I clung on for dear life and had a complete sense of humour failure as they tried to rock the boat/car thang that looked a little flimsy in my humble opinion. Afterwards I recovered in the shade of a tree as they enjoyed being the only lids in an 1800 acre park. With her hand cast in the thumbs up position the Teenager couldn't enjoy the full delights of an empty play park. (As if she'd stoop so low.) Later I asked the lids what was the best bit of the holiday so far. The Little-un: watching Art Attack on tv in Spanish; Gorgeous Boy: being able to lay down on the enormous sofa bed, whilst watching TV; The teenager: hopefully her tan, but did I know we were missing Britain's Got Talent, AND the launch of Big Brother?

So worth dragging the couch potatoes abroad then!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Chicks, cits and cava bien

It started at the front door: the threshold was breached a month ago. We spent a few minutes stamping them out. We did the stamp stamp stamp routine on every return home before deciding, let’s not audition for stomp. We need a better pest-control approach. We countered their assault with specially designed traps. It worked for a while. Their next offensive was through the sitting room. When we came home to a motorway of marching ants, clearly by-passing the not-that-well-designed traps we took some tough action. Ant-watch only lasted a few minutes before we established their entrance under the skirting board. We murdered, maimed and hoovered and went on our own offensive with the powerful powdered killing stuff. This past week they have been appearing, in pairs, in the kitchen. I can’t quite work out their entry point, but think it may be somewhere behind the dishwasher. Every obvious and not-quite-so-obvious weak point has been powdered. Still they come. Supersis bemoans one ant in the house: her theory being it only takes one scout to call up a whole army. There is no surrender. I need a more strategic approach. I fear we are attracting super ants immune to the powerful powdered stuff that makes the dog sneeze.

Tonight, the little-un asks what is the point of ants? I describe their strength and organisation skills easily enough. I feel she has a point about the point.

It’s official. My chicken, Kebab, is crazy. And, I worry, a little dysfunctional too. It’s not just because her comb isn’t growing. Clucky, whilst a bit shy, has a nice bright red comb – that means eggs are on their way sometime soon (pleeeeeeeze). Clucky has, in general, cottoned on to the idea that you go out and play, for a while, then you go back in. Kebab, on the other hand, has issues. She has a stunted comb. She has tasted freedom. And it tastes good. She would rather run here there and everybleeding-where than accept it’s time to go in. She’ll learn. With a wee bit more training. Won’t she?

Now I don’t know what teacher training is like these days but I am at a loss to understand how the Teenager’s Citizenship teacher failed to spot the huge cast on the hand that sports the thumb in a completely unnatural position. Despite being cast from thumb tip to elbow the poor Teenager was made to complete a test today. By hand. At the ‘new’ secondary school. With specialist technology status. Where everything is computerised. Yet they fail to read emails. Marked urgent. About injuries. And exams and thangs.

My French pal might say, that’s life, which reminds me…He-who-must-be-adored text me last night. I thought he was asking, in French, how I was (Ca’va?) Apparently not. He was asking did I want some of that sparkling Spanish stuff (cava). My text back saying fine thanks and you, went completely amiss. As they say…c’est la vie. (I do so hope my very special French friend is proud of me tonight!)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Maybe it's because she's a Londoner

So what if I carry 'Hen and the art of chicken maintenance'as my new waiting room read? Doesn't automatically make me one-dimensional, dreary or deluded? Does it?

To another London NHS waiting room today. Eventually my 'Reflections on keeping chickens' was interrupted by the Swedish 'Bone Guy' (you couldn't make it up). Except it's not the Teenager's bone that's broken. It’s a ligament. And (imagine the muppet chef telling you) think rubber band. That’s way more complicated than a broken bone. So the Teenager is sporting a cast, and it looks like she’ll be sporting one for a whole big while. She may need (hurdy guerdy) not one, but two, (guerdy hurdy) operations. So should I be feeling a little guilt that on Sunday we had a choice: casualty or restaurant? The outlaws were staying so the restaurant won and the doctor had to wait. Boy have I paid in waiting time ever since. Yet...every cloud... it legitimately gets her out of GCSE art coursework for a while. Now I don’t have to be so creative with the Monday morning excuses.

To the football ground this evening to watch Gorgeous Boy play. My pleasure at meeting up with my oldest (and only) French-parent-pal dissolved as the Boy hit the pitch. The last thing I need right now is another injured child. Should I ban all Sports so we become fat and injury free together? Luckily some anti-inflams, a bit of ice, elevation and TLC soon had that injury licked.
I’m learning.

It just so happens that last week I bought some ‘super food mix’ containing flaxseeds and other natural organic ‘stuff’. The plan was to secretly mix it in to everything I prepare. My lids will become Superlids, with super fast healing powers. Except, so far, I have forgotten to include it in every meal. I remembered tonight but thought it might look a bit obvious on the supermarket pizza.

I can’t finish today’s blog without some reference to my feathered friends. The geeky gal came today to check out the chooks. Think it’s fair to say that ‘impressed’ is the complete opposite of her response. And still no eggs. We may have been sold a dud with Kebab – her comb doesn’t appear to be growing. No comb equals no eggs. Maybe it’s because she’s a Londoner but my Little-un seems to freak the chickens. Especially Clucky: in her shy and retiring way she tries to hide. In a circular-running-not-managing-to-hide-at-all-type way. Kebab is a bit more feisty and just one look at the little-un starts her squawking in a far from pleasant manner. She tries so hard with her cute little chook chooking and throwing food at them. Yet they see her and run. Like headless chickens. The dog, ever the opportunist, observes all this before diving on the chook food. The chooks flap then cower. The little-un goes in for the kill and tries to catch them. Eventually I feel sorry for them all and distract the little-un with important chores such as drowning the veggy patch.

Ah this is the life.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Hold a chicken in the air

Rare and shocking? Yes. Easy for me to admit? No. Safe to blog about? Who knows but here goes: He-who-must-be-adored was right. That’s twice in our marriage. Obviously I’ve not told Him. That would not do. He might start questioning my ‘rightness’ on other matters. That would be a step too far. He almost never reads this so I’m sure I’m safe in admitting it here. I'm worried this is the start of something ugly.

I overruled his desire (as is my wont) to purchase Peckingham Palace. Our Chook Coop looked plenty big enough in the shop (huge in fact). As did the space we spent ages digging and slabbing and fox-proofing. Kebab and Clucky moved in and now it looks…well piddly is the only word for it. The guilt has set in and He-who-must-be-adored has built them a daytime run at more expense. Slowly, He is clearing an even bigger space and designing something approximating half the garden. Well, the dustbin lids can go to the park, chickens can’t. I'm ignoring my guilt about not listening to He in the first place.

Still, once built the new huge thang should cut down on time corralling them into their holiday home. That’s partly why there’s not been much blogaction. Spare time is needed for chicken watch, whilst sometimes simultaneously playing on my i-phone.

Clucky, we think, is older as her comb is almost full grown but it’s definitely Kebab who rules the roost. Boy is she feisty. After happily pecking and scratching, she suddenly turns, takes a half flying leap at poor Clucky, with loud chook-chook-chooking and wing flapping, before just as suddenly going back to her business of eating my plants. Am keeping the fear that Kebab is a psycho chick to myself. Then again, the size of their heads doesn’t allow much space for a brain. This shows in their behaviour. The first night we fretted like new parents as they had to be persuaded to go up the ramp to bed. In the morning they were inelegantly pushed down for breakfast. It only took them three days to get the point. After that whenever they heard the voice of He-who-must-be-adored they ran up the ramp at full pelt. Perhaps not so dumb afterall?

Kebab and clucky are too young to lay eggs. And, by my calculations the average cost of the first year’s eggs will be roughly £50 each. Luckily we’re not in it for the money. We just love the whole idea of country living – whilst firmly settled in London with all mod-cons like the tube and John Lewis. The little-un and I pretend we live in the sticks with our little veggy patch and chickens. We spend ages shooing the latter from the former. I accept a lot of poop, scooping, smelly beasts and dog hair. Lots of dog hair. Well, ‘tis easier to surrender and accept than to drive myself mad with cleaning and moaning. My head is full of animals facts - the latest being the power of chook bedding for good composting. Wonder is my former personality dead in the water?

Yet, I do have other topics of conversation: The dry ole patch didn’t last that long. He-who-must-be-adored is no longer bone dry, but then neither is he as sodden as he was. And The Teenager has my full sympathy for her rugby-injured-writing-hand when she has a GCSE exam. My sympathy is only wearing a wee bit thin from time waiting at the GP’s (one hour) and Casualty (under three hours), only to be shown the teeniest tiny bit of floating bone. Wonder how long the wait will be to see the ‘bone guy’ tomorrow?

Off outside now for more chook action.

Monday, 4 May 2009

If you like it then you shoulda stuck a pin on it

I love technology. I just hate it when it doesn’t do what it says on the can. Or rather, when I can’t get it to do what it can, and should, do. I have been trying to find my inner geek since He-who-must-be-adored gave me a super-dooper-all-singing-and-dancing-thingy-ma-jig of a small shiny thang. It may, in fact, have been a peace offering from He after another one of our little discussions where I was right and He was not. Whatever! I love it. I want to kiss it. I want to marry it. Only, it didn't start off too well:

Me: Take it back
He: why?
Me: because it’s broken
He: how?
Me: there’s no-where for the Sim to go

…later after returning the damn thang to the shop …

He: there's a leaflet in the box
Me: really?
He: there's a pin in it
Me: What?
He: See this leaflet, on the back, there’s a pin, you should have stuck a pin on it!

First hurdle overcome fairly painlessly. Second hurdle - feeling too old for new technology - more tricky. Trickier still was the realisation that my thumbs are fat. Fat thumbs and small shiny i-phones do not go. I feel really sorry for those with fat thumbs and no Teenager. How are they supposed to cope? My lovely Teenager mastered the thang in a nano-second, downloaded all sorts of Apps (applications for you non-geeks) and ever so patiently gave me a lesson, without treating me like the complete old fool I feel I have become. Now I just don’t know how I lived without it.

Ok so I have never put up a shelf in my entire life (I have six brothers for god’s sake why would I?). But now I can tell the shelf-hangers whether their handiwork is level using my handy i-spirit level. I can feel my inner foreman coming to the fore. After criticising his handiwork I could use the i-stethoscope to tell He-who-must-be-adored that shouting at me is raising his pulse above healthy levels.

At the tip of my little fat thumbs, I have instant access to the world, and his wife. So, should the fancy take me I could find out where to buy oysters, get directions there with a traffic and weather update and check out the jam cams en route. Ok so I could have done that before with the yellow pages, a map, the radio, and my computer, but that’s not the point. I can carry my diary and shopping list in my hand so I know instantly where I should be and what I need. Even if I am not where I am suppose to be, I can apologise, by text or email, instantly. I can enjoy a game of hangman or tictac. I can play my mini-piano and drums (‘play’ perhaps is the wrong word for the noise I make). I’ve downloaded a compass app, but can’t find north yet, but Oh how I love that thang.

I pass my time dreaming of apps I might enjoy. Then I wonder if they do exist could I get them to work? If they don’t would anyone want them anyway? So instead of chatting to myself about how to handle the latest emotional turmoil heaped upon me by the dustbin lids or He-who-must-be-adored my headspace goes something like this: A 'lazyreader' could review new books so I don’t have to bother reading them. Mmmn that’s what reviewers do. And I like reading books. Ok, so what about 'The Screwdriver' that could tell me the tools and ‘bits and bobs’ needed for any given job. Mmm I’d rather ring a man who can ie He-who-must-be-adored. I can do i-shopping, banking and social networking, but I really am holding out for the app that will choose a menu, get the ingredients delivered, hire someone to cook it and clean up afterwards. Mmm the high street is already full of those – Restaurants I think they’re called!”

Small wonder no brain space for blogging!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Proceed with caution

Tonight is twelfth night. On the wagon. He and me continue our journey upon this dry ole road, with some caution, a bit of trepidation, rather less difficulty than expected, and rather a lot of tea. We’ve switched to de-caf now. Less sleep interference.

The best: He-who-must-be-adored is no longer a snore bore. It must have been the booze wot done it all those years.

The worst: He has read my blog. Well, one post. And only after someone else mentioned it. I should not have been surprised at his reaction to his faults and foibles being published on T’net. But given his previous interest in my writing, I never thought he’d read it. From now on I may have to exercise more caution with my candour. I begin by not sharing the details of our last disagreement/shouting match. Anway the details are irrelevant. The facts remain: I am right. Always. Problems only arise because He thinks the same. And that is not right.

Tonight, I found the Teenager and the Boyfriend on T’net. ‘Makes a nice change from snogging’ I thought. Except… they were reading my blog. Or rather scan reading until they found some reference to themselves. They are, afterall, Teenagers, so we’ll make some allowance for the self-obsession. The upshot: they feel they have been unfairly portrayed. As serial snoggers. What can I say? This ain’t the BBC. There is no right of reply. But, out of the goodness of my heart, to make amends I will say when they are not snogging/watching movies in the dark, they like to play computer games, recently, there has been less ‘cupcaking’ (aka making out) and they have promised to get back on the homework track.

I have not promised, but may try, to look beyond my kitchen for blog fodder now.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A spot of blogger

Just because it is available on t’Net doesn’t make it suitable. Or appropriate. I need to make clear that this blog is intended for the over 18s only. And, just because the boy dustbin lid has ‘gorgeous’ in his tag, does not make him the favoured dustbin lid. In truth I have three favourite lids (and over 20 fave nieces). I like to spread my faveness about so, tonight, (for the benefit of the Teenager, and the Boyfriend) it could be you. Favoured status is more likely after tea-making and other household chores are completed. For example: cleaning up after the moulting mutt the Teenager begged for. Or doing something (anything) with the pile aka GCSE art installation that is taking over our house.

Sheeeeeessssssssh and I thought blogging was supposed to make you happy.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Aliens ate my family

It appears aliens ate my family and replaced them with looki-likies: the Teenager voluntarily stayed home revising and doing GCSE Art coursework; Gorgeous Boy taught the Little-un how to tie shoe laces; we hit the discount-sports-hell-on-earth-place and nobody cried or was nearly murdered, and, He-who-must-be-adored is still on the wagon.

The Teenager never ever revises. Her theory being tests show you what you are still to learn. She feigns a near death experience every Monday morning rather than face double Art. I’m pleased about the change but more so that her face has had a 24 hour rest from being attached to the Boyfriend’s. I was begining to wonder if I was deliberately forgetting having conjoined twins.

Gorgeous Boy and the Little-un usually can’t sit in the same room without arguing so seeing them head to head on the floor, with new trainers and shoelaces, with the kind of patience that has never before been seen in this house, was delightful and disturbing in equal measure.

Most miraculously, He-who-must-be-adored remains firmly on the wagon and we’re up to Day 5. In solidarity, and with my waistline on my mind, I've also remained on the wagon. Me-thinks-He-thinks if He’s on the wagon He may as well be working. So his colleagues have seen more of him than we have, so far, this week. And, we’re almost out of tea-bags – industrial sized boxes from now I think.

Blood results today: thyroid levels are normal (so I can’t ‘up’ my dosage and my energy levels) but my ‘bad’ cholesterol is double. It’s easy to fix says the overweight nurse (without a hint of irony): cut some things out, add some things in, and up the exercise. She gave me a leaflet which tells me to dump from my diet: suet, lard, dripping and palm oil: I can’t recall any of those ever passing my lips. I think this is going to be easy. ‘Til I read that cheese, prawn and chocolate are also out (my fave combo as well). The rest is bleeding obvious: banana is better than biscuit and carrot is better than cake. Now, I will not only march for my mental health and waistband I’m also at it for the ‘lipids’.

Tonight, somehow, I feel triple seed mix does so not hit the spot in the way of say, peanut M&Ms?

Monday, 13 April 2009

Is it just me?

There is nothing like a long weekend break spent within the bosom of your family to help you feel the love. Or to see the cracks. You know the ones that you knew were there all along. But you made a conscious effort to ignore. Over a long weekend, all together, you can ignore them no more. You see them, right before your eyes, getting bigger. And bigger. With every passing hour. Until they are so huge you fear total collapse. Or is that just me?

The holidays started well enough. He-who-must-be-adored returned to saving London for ridiculously long hours. I worked in the mornings and spent the afternoons touring the parks of North London with friends, furry and not so furry, alike. By mid-week I had to kick the teenagers out. I was sick of their vampire ways. Call me old fashioned, but when the sun is out so too should they be. I know they’d rather be sitting in the dark. Snogging. But enough is enough. Or rather I’d had enough. Maybe it was jealously rather than old fashion-ness. Agin I wonder is it just me?

Over the past seven days I managed good serious marching on five. I also stayed on the wagon for five days. That’s become a whole lot easier recently but more of that later. The major personal achievement of the week, for it is Easter after all, was, no weight lost, but none gained either. I see it as the start of my reverse back to the shape I was before finding freedom from fags. The past two days I’ve marched more than usual. But this time it’s the mental health benefits that I’m really after. And I know that’s just me.

So, to Good Friday. The signs were there and I missed them: not one, but two Jesus’ on a cross were spotted in the High Street. It looked, at one point, as if their paths might cross. Who’d have thought, in this day and age, that religious parades were all the rage? Or so like buses? It also transpires that one of those dragging a cross was, in fact, female. Glad to live in such a modern borough. Tallmumchum didn’t share my enthusiasm for the beauty of modern equality and bemoaned the traffic chaos caused by two large wooden crosses, plus entourage, of whatever gender or persuasion. Despite He-who-must-be-adored’s fondness for playing the martyr we didn’t have anyone on a cross in the garden this weekend. That is not to say it hasn't crossed my mind.

We celebrated the fact that He was home and all sporting events were cancelled for Easter, by having a bit of a doo. So very pleased to see the Geeky girl and my fave niece from the sticks joining us, and some friends, for a bite to eat and a few drinks. I think a good time was had by most. Pity then that at the end of the night one appeared to have enjoyed it all a bit more than everyone else. So the small matter of a late night dog walk, and a trip, into the gutter, a scrape with a wing-mirror and being escorted into bed by your long-suffering wife (who's the martyr now?) sister, middle-lid, teenager and boyfriend, should be quickly glossed over. Yet, I somehow think the effects will be long-lasting: I’ve now seen He-who-must-be-adored going to bed sober for two nights in a row. That’s double the number of nights in a row I’ve seen him going to bed sober since we first got hitched - 18 years ago. Tonight we are well into the evening and still the kettle boils and not a bottle-opener in sight.

Time will tell whether this really is the start of the pledge, or just a little ride on the wagon. Either way it's rather refreshing to have a different view.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Snore Bore

Whoever said absence makes the heart grow fonder was mistaken. More than a fortnight of having my own bed, with only a little-un's fever to disturb me, has been nothing short of bliss. Complete bliss.

The last three nights have seen me a) on the wagon and b) laying awake full of murderous intentions. Is torture by snoring a justifiable defence for, if not murder itself, then GBH at least?

My sympathy for his long day evaporated as my head hit the pillow: I hear heavy breathing. I ignore it and read. It doesn't seems so bad. Yet...

Slowly it builds. Like an orchestra. Of roaring lions. And wheezing birds. Quietly at first, with a bit of rhythmn. Of sorts. When the open mouthed nasal sounds start to pump up the volume I find a swift small kick in the shins gives my ears a 30 second breather. A huff and puff and over He turns. And then it starts proper. With gusto. Small repeated rabbit punches in the back eventually register and, my worse nightmare begins: He rolls onto his back. Now I know there is no hope as the full force of a fortnight's missed snoring begins. And continues. Long and loud into the night. I put my head under the pillow: no difference. I slap and punch him: not one snorey breath is lost. I consider the options of sharing with each of the dustbin lids in turn. I reject them all - by size or too close for comfort factor.

After an hour I am resigned to a third disturbed night in a row. Then suddenly, without warning, it stops. I close my eyes and take deep breaths: knowing it's now or never: my one chance to nod off.

At least I can get some rest today in the office!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

I want to ride my bicycle

Am pleased to say He-who-must-be-adored finally returned to London. Two days later than scheduled. And a day after the outlaws came to stay. He came bearing gifts in time for lunch with us, and the lovely outlaws. It was a proper Sunday affair, and as is the nature of that beast (lamb in actual fact) far, far, far too much was consumed. This was a bad thang, given my Monday morning appointment with the Nurse.

An annual telling off/check up isn’t a great way to start the week. I had to fast for 12 hours for a blood test. Given my alcohol consumption over the previous fortnight am uncertain that 12 hours would have made much difference. In the waiting room, starving and dry mouthed, I think of my favourite food and drink. I fail to get past the perfect ness of my missed morning cuppa. I salivate when finally called into Nursey as she sips a fragrant coffee. Right under my nose. To add further insult she weighs me. Then measures my ‘girth’ (has there ever been a more unfabulous word, or a more insulting measurement?) The good news: my blood pressure is perfect. Then Nursey gets her little chart out and gives me the bad and the bleeding obvious: I am heavier than I should be. As I say, not the best start to any week.

As my brother says: you can lose the weight, you can’t grow a new lung. I am pleased when Nursey tells me I only have to lose 10lbs. I have actually gained 22 since finding freedom from fags. But 10 feels so much more manageable.

Without wanting to sound like a stuck record I am therefore, this week, back on the wagon. And marching. Here, there and everybleedingwhere. The dog is shagged out and the little-un is saddle sore from her bike: she pedals as I follow. Depending on how far into the journey we are, I run, march, walk, or crawl behind.

Gorgeous Boy’s friend, Frodo, was here today. I paid the Teenager to babysit the boys whilst I worked. But apparently, the boys amused themselves. Thankfully, BestMumChum had the little-un. The Teenager and The Boyfriend watched movies. In the dark. Words were exchanged over some competitive pancake making. And pancakes gone bad. Some more words have been exchanged. This will not happen again. Mmmm. That’s me not holding my breath.

Tonight, instead of driving Frodo home, I let him ride my bike up the hill while I run/march/walk/crawl behind. It felt a lot easier freewheeling downhill afterwards. With hindsight though, I should have checked the tyres for air before setting out.

The news this week tells me what I’ve always known: sisters are doing it for themselves. Apparently sisters spread happiness where brothers breed distress. I have three times as many brothers as sisters and double daughters to my one son. And so very very happy to have my Supersis.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Family life

Whether successful or not there are two basic ingredients for a blog: energy and wherewithal. For me, this week both energy and wherewithal are like my post-giving-up-fags knicker elastic – stretched beyond the boundaries of safe or natural. We’re talking danger levels. The worry of recent mornings is fear of a catapult in the tummy just by un-careful dressing. Or worse, given my tiredness stupor, a fear of whether I’d notice. Or care.

What’s it all about anyways? Whilst He-who-must-be-adored suns himself/works abroad I take on the role of blue-arsed fly. For the treat of a weekend away with He I spend my day off running round to organise dustbin lids, luggage, activities, social lives, homework and animals. The 24 degree weather disappears as soon as I land. As I hit the airport again on Sunday the Spanish sun re-appears. It can't just be paranoia. I am being followed by a black cloud.

My flying visit to Madrid coincided with the international stamp collectors fair. See above re black cloud. Friday night we continued my walking obsession and left his ‘lads pad’ to head to town. In this context walk is a sorry excuse for a-kinda-bar-crawl. We start the warm balmy evening outside in a square full of families and playing children. As we’d left our dustbin lids at home and the sun started to set and the temperature truly plummeted (thank goodness I’d packed a wrap) we moved on. Our next pit stop was in the arty/young/fashionable district. Clearly outta place there we next found ourselves in the gay zone. Without wishing to peddle stereotypes: as He is neither bald, skinny nor fashionable, and I, even on my worse days, can't be mistaken for a bloke, we didn’t hang around there too long. None of this stopped us enjoying a drink and tapas and that age-old sport of people watching at any place. Odd that at no point during the entire evening of many and varied bars did we find ourselves amidst middle-age, dull, grumpy, old gits. Or perhaps we did. And perhaps in our natural habitat, some glasses and dishes later, we simply didn't notice.

He-who-must-be-adored continues to sun himself over there whilst I get on with the business of trying to organise our family and a working life. Of sorts. Any Monday Morning after a weekend away, with no time devoted to uniforms, homework or lunchboxes is clearly not going to be a huge pleasure. Moving swiftly on…

Last night was worse. For every five minutes spent stripping, sponging and drugging the little-un I got twenty minutes peace and slumber from her fever. Poor thang. Pity all my maternal kindness was used up by 6am. Lucky then, at that point, she finally hit a deep drug-induced sleep. I had a small window to sort the broken washing machine (yes the new super dooper hugely expensive whiz banger of a thang), create a 60s costume for gorgeous boy, and send the Teenager off relaxed and happy to her internal exams (cash and a hug were all I could muster, and I now realise all she ever really wants). My 20 minutes on the sewing machine were rejected by the boy. He settled for the 2009 look re-styled into 1961 with the addition of his sister’s cardy. Luckily she had already left for her institution.

The little-un re-awoke as I waved gorgeous boy off. She was begging me to come upstairs for a cuddle. I followed her voice. I collapsed back into bed. And all murderous feelings evaporated.

Ah family life.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Five minutes peace

Should be packing. I’d rather have five minutes peace. In order to have two days off, I’ve crammed the effort of a whole week into my day. But now am on top. Almost. Except for the fish. I haven’t the brain space for them. Am sure they’ll survive.

Have called in favours from the world and his wife. Just to cover the three dustbin lids and the moulting mutt. Luckily Supersis is not known as Supersis for nowt. Although I don’t think she knows the half of it now the Teenager has a busy social life. With ever-changing details.

The last time I sloped off to see He-who-must-be-adored in the so-called sunny city, it was the coldest weather in 40 years. The rain in Spain falls mainly not on the plain, but in Madrid this Saturday. Sunday morning the clocks spring forward, and I have a lunchtime flight.

He rang tonight. With a slight slur he said he is sitting outside a bar in a cotton shirt. I got caught in the torrential downpour today and got soaked down to my underwear. I am still to pick up from Rugby, dump the dog and pack.

Have never felt so like Eyeore.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009


Was gonna write about the weird and wonderful folks I have met since dog walks became my life. Now am too spooked: since 10/02/09 the number of visitors to my blog has been 666.

'Nuff said?

Monday, 23 March 2009

Walk away

Trying not to lose heart with the walking. Tis not easy when He-who-must-be-adored is sunning himself/working overseas whilst I play single parent 24/7 (will I find time to unwrap Sunday supplements before bin night?) I failed to create an energy gap. I did up my energy use. But my appetite upped itself. After a week of walking endlessly I gained a pound. Am happy my lungs are cleaner without the fags, but am stretching the elastic allowance of my clothes beyond their limits. I thought I looked bad when I had only one extra belly!

Hurrah for the fish have arrived! The little-un loves them. And their poop. We get a running commentary: poop length plus how long it takes to disengage from their bodies (and I thought my life lacked excitement before!) The boredom abated briefly when they started doing bubble tricks at the surface. We have a geeky Teenager. She read the fish book. She said we were being entertained by fish gasping for air. Through lack of oxygen in the water. Whoops. We immediately performed an emergency 50% water change (with expensive de-clorination of course). As directed by the Teenager. I know it’s wrong but I miss the cute little gasping motions. The Teenager told the little-un she had to be more responsible. (at this point I walked away to deal with laundry). Or else the fish might die. (She’s a teenager so allow dramatic licence.) The little-un said ‘I’ve never touched a dead fish. I’d like to try’. Should I worry? Perhaps the goldfish police were right after all.

Today was a double grumpy day. It’s Monday. Not only did the sun not shine, but I got drenched. I’d forgotten just how horrible that damp feeling is (not to be confused with the other non-horrible damp feeling, though I can hardly remember it).

Speaking of…He-who-must-be-adored was supposed to sort out the chicken coop for Spring. It is spring. We have no chicks. We have no coop (just plenty of dog poop!) The real reason is our disagreement: I want a small two-hen thang. He, being male, wants some Peckingham Palace effort. That involves major groundwork. That involves He being around. Perhaps it’s a stalling device as He doesn’t want to spend his rare days off dealing with chicken shit as well as all the other shit I save up for such days. So I drive to Supersis for fresh eggs. This weekend I try a new egg recipe: crème brulee. The little-un says it tastes like tinned custard. Why do I bother?

I just caught sight of a Sunday supplement heading: 'birth with multiple orgasms' – they can go straight to the recycling bin this week. He-who-must-be-adored very nearly didn’t survive the birth of our third child – because I very nearly killed him.

Which brings us on to Mothers Day. Not much cause for celebration: my mother is long dead and buried and He-who-must-be-adored hasn’t forgiven his mother for a miserable childhood. Whilst He was sunning himself overseas my day started with the little-un prizing my sleeping eyes apart to admire her hand-made handiwork of a card. This was at least two hours before my eyes were ready to open. I then endured/enjoyed cold toast and tea as breakfast in bed, whilst reading my cards: ‘we’ve turned out OK, so you must be a good mum’. Faint praise indeed.

Could be worse. We could be living the life of my forensic friend: her little-un puked in the car. She left puke and weekly shopping-filled car at home with Mr Smutty whilst she did volunteering work for the benefit on her little-un, even though her little-un was too poorly to attend. Upon her return she finds the sun had been shining strongly on the car. And the puke. And the shopping. Mr Smutty had neither emptied nor cleaned. His poor excuse: dealing with a poorly little-un. Plus even smaller twins. Plus Granny. Who had fallen. On her face. Ouch! Needless to say my forensic friend didn’t respond to texts nor calls. All day.

Am hoping for sunshine tomorrow.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Walk this way

Have been marching the local streets and green spaces for five days now. Too early to see any physical benefits yet. But am certainly feeling something. Bleeding knackered I think. Surprised how easy it’s been to fit the walking in. Then again we have had completely unseasonal gorgeous weather. Would it be so easy to nip out with the dog in the rain or snow? No, obviously not. This is clearly going to be one of those short-lived faddy things which I shall try and enjoy/endure whilst I can.

Haven’t done much in the way of writing though. Am fearful of using the dustbin lids as blog fodder since the ‘my son is a druggie and I’m gonna make money’ story broke. The mother also authored the Guardian’s ‘living with teenagers’ column. The one I used as a yardstick – and smugly thought we’re not as bad as them. Yet! But then mine are a bit younger. I will stave off the smugness a while longer. Added to that Gorgeous Boy was grumpy with me for writing about the tin man costume. Me thinks he’s turning into a grumpy teenager and any excuse will do. I put effort into making it, so I’ll take the credit. But it made me think. Should I respect their privacy a little more?

I concluded probably. Yet…my blogs are dull enough, without the lids? Let’s take yesterday: He-who-must-be-adored left to save London before I awoke and returned after I went to bed. (Not much relationship fodder there then). How can I be sure he came home? Little tell-tale signs: the lion’s share of the duvet was on his side of the bed this morning; some dirty clothes and an empty red wine glass had appeared overnight. Whilst He was out I walked, catered, taxi’d and provided cash and laundry service for the ‘others’ that live in my house. I went to work during the school hours. I walked some more. More than 11,000 steps to be precise. Who cares?

So back to the lids. I stupidly believed letting a dog live with us would satisfy the pet cravings of my youngsters. Clearly I was mistaken. This has always been my kid theory: give them an inch and they take a mile. This weekend a certain small person wore us down with her logic. She still has Christmas cash that was burning a hole. It’s lasted this long because we’re teaching the value of money. After some long hard thinking she decided a goldfish would not be wasteful. A goldfish is a good thang. The goldfish police think otherwise. She frugally chose a bowl, some un-naturally coloured gravel, and a net. He-who-must-be-adored had to be restrained (by me) from buying into the whole lighting filtered effort. (Who needs the money/value lesson?) So off to the tanks we trot. Except, apparently, these days, you can’t just buy fish and tank on the same day. You have to de-chlorinate the water (at more expense). For at least five days!

When I was younger I won a goldfish at the fair. My father said it wouldn’t last long so I was not to waste my money on a fancy tank (clearly he wouldn’t have wasted his). It lived in a pyrex dish (a fairly biggish one), with no interesting features, on the windowsill of the downstairs toilet. I never cleaned or fed him. Somebody else must have because he lived to be the oldest goldfish in town. There was something strangely soothing about sitting in that small room watching him swim round and round the pyrex. But Mom was very pleased when he eventually passed on so she could have her dish back.

Now, we sit on the sofa admiring the water bowl and un-natural coloured gravel. No fish. Tis neither soothing nor interesting. A bit like this blog. Thank goodness it’s not long ‘til fish on Friday.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Shock shock horror horror

Changing the habits of a lifetime appears easier than previously imagined. Or else aliens have stolen the brain of He-who-must-be-adored. It’s not that I have no faith. I just thought the towel would be thrown in on the second night, as per usual. But no, to my shock and horror, He’s taken this weekday-wagon seriously and returned from a ‘do’ last night…sober! Apparently, and this is the real shock shock horror horror: a pint and a half was enough!

I, on the other-hand, think the night-cap is the only way forward. To my delight I no longer have to cope with less fizz as I discover mini-bottles containing under a glass and a half. A perfect night-cap limit surely? Even better still, the tiddly bottles are currently to be found on ‘special’ offer. What more could a girl want?

No longer a smoker. A low-level drinker. I’ve even been going to bed early (and not just in night-cap desperation). It’s the eating to be tackled next: the weekly weigh-in shows a substantial post-fag gain of 19 pounds. I’d rather not buy a whole new wardrobe (even though the wardrobe is the only thing I can comfortably wear right now). And I’d rather not be destined to a life of elasticated waist-bands. Drastic times and all that leads me to conclude that I need to create an ‘energy gap’. Shock Horror: I really need to move my butt more. Gave myself a severe talking to, plugged into Paul McKenna for a brain retrain (aka lie down) and came up with a new regime brimming with positivity.

Although a journey begins with one small step and all that jazz, I just don't think you can go straight out and shake it all about. I got myself a plan. And obviously the plan demands proper equipment. I know I have previously owned at least 3 pedometers (I come from a long-line of gadget lovers). But He-who-must-be-adored is sometimes left alone in the house. When alone he either tidies (his stuff) or dumps (everyone else’s stuff).

A new pedometer was needed before I could start: I must have taken at least 2000 steps before I found one. I’ll keep the price to myself just in case He-who-must-be-adored ever reads this…these are, after all, strange and unusual financial times (we are still broke). But, oh, have I got a whiz-banger of a piece of kit. Now I really can back up my bragging with numbers: ordinary steps, aerobic steps, kilometers marched, and weirdly calories consumed. I presume this is piss-poor translation as how can such a small device be so clever as to know what I’ve consumed? Really really hoping it means calories burnt as today’s ‘consumed’ level doesn’t cover my pre-breakfast snack. Anyways, as I’ve invested so heavily I feel obliged to ensure cost per use ratio pays off. So now I march about like a madman, sometimes dragging the dog to keep up my ‘healthy heart’ target.

Yesterday I broke through the healthy heart barrier and achieved the aerobic fitness target, almost making it to the ‘energy gap’ level (despite niether myself nor the little electro-sucker knowing whether I stuck to the recommended daily intake). But, even in my ever-the-optimist mode I can’t see that one day counts for much. So, this morning, instead of sitting sipping coffee my forensic friend and I marched. Am hoping if I keep this up my not-insubstantial chest will, once again, stick out further than my belly. Just like we know it should.

For added calorie consummation I’ve worn the old tigger-type MBT shoes. As they say, every little helps!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

First Night

The first night was the worst. Without the sedative effects of alcohol, He-who-must-be-adored had trouble sleeping. What with the creaking floorboards, the neighbours, the dog’s noisy dreaming and the little-un climbing aboard. He escaped to her bed. She’s refusing to accept the difference between a reading light and a night light. Consequently in her bed He feels like He’s slumbering under a search light.

So, on the shopping list is yet another night light. And a new bathroom door. Actually it’s an old door. That matches the bedroom door. Therein lies the problem - a failure to match anything up to our old stuff syndrome. Without a door I hear the boiler kick in just before 5am. Just after that I hear He-who-must-be-adored getting ready. I am drifting back off when the Teenager thunders in for her shower. By 6.30 I give up the ghost and rise to take my lack of sleep out on lunchboxes and laundry.

Unsurprisingly there is a weariness about the Weekday Wagon Day 2. Yet at 200 calories a glass and our fear of angry liver syndrome we are determined to keep going. He-who-must-be-adored is home in time for tea. Hurrah. But not necessarily in the best of moods. He’s in busy mode. Again. And wants to know, unreasonably in my opnion, why there was a vase-sized Vat on my side of the bed. Err…because we are on the wagon with the exception of night caps!

I persuade him to take the dog out. I cook, although I am not eating. I am having supper with my girly-fab-mob. I should have plated a small portion for myself. Instead I hover and hoover straight from the hob. The left-overs enjoy a similar fate. Don’t you just hate waste? On the road to my dinner date I plan to stick to water. I am defeated by the open bottle of fizzy already on the table. As a driver I have only one and a half small glasses. And a good night out was had by all in less than two hours. Upon my return home all was quiet with everyone abed. I pour my nightcap. A first for me: the same bottle of fizzy in the fridge since Sunday. It tastes foul. But I take it upstairs anyway. I check on the little-un. She is sound asleep. Arms above her head she sleeps in the surrender position with the reading light trained directly on her face. I point the lamp to the floor and hit the sack.

Everyone stays in their beds ‘til this morning. He-who-must-be-adored says He feels worse than He’s felt in years. Mmm my plan is working.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Dry Lines

When the Teenager brings me tea in bed at daybreak I think she is lovely. I do hope she never learns that it takes a whole lot more than tea in bed for me to agree to a Monday morning bunk off. It was a great start to a new week.

And a new chapter. He-who-must-be-adored and I are jointly on a weekday wagon. Because of a small incident last week. I can't decide what's worse: using the dog’s needs as an excuse or my need for an excuse? The development of an emergency alcohol run is hardly one my life’s finer moments and is not something worth bragging about. Not on a blog anyways! But hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! Last week the dog and I walked the emergency bottle home. After walking, a bottle of the fizzy stuff is best left alone. For a wee while at least. But this was an emergency. And the best laid plans…sadly the majority of the fizz didn’t make it into my glass. Before I could enjoy even a sip I was wiping the wastage from walls and cupboards.

It stank of come-uppance. So onto the weekday wagon we climb.

He-who-must-be-adored conceded that since finding freedom from fags He, like me, may just have gained a little extra weight. And, giving up liquid calories could be a good thang. He only drove me slightly mad tonight by keeping himself busy. He attacked the everything drawer in the kitchen. You know the one. It contains everything. But nothing of worth – those things have proper homes. I do not like to be quizzed on the contents of my drawers. I do not like to play Mastermind with my un-chosen subject of the last time certain objects came in useful. Or not. And I do not like to admit that yes, dammit, I do need all those thangs. At all times.

Not much later...apparently when on the weekday wagon, according to He, it is perfectly acceptable to take a nightcap to bed. He went to bed early tonight.

Thank goodness for small mercies.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a penguin. And a Tin Man. The penguin was happy. Even though she had to walk like a geisha girl. She loved being penguin. She is not Pingu. She is penguin.

The Tin Man was not so happy. He didn’t like the silver stuff his Mommy tried to smear on his face. It tickled. The Mommy gave up with the face-smearing. The Tin Man did not want to go to school. The Mommy told him not to be so silly.

The Tin Man walked in quite a self-consious way. It was difficult to be inconspicuous: with the silver funnel on his head he stood at almost 6ft. He walked like Boris Karloff. Thermo lining is a reflective substance. It was a sunny morning. He glistened like a star. That he is.

The Tin Man worried he would stand out. He had a point. On the walk to school he didn’t see any other dustbin lids in costumes. That was the cause of some concern. In the distance ahead, we saw some furry ears. Apparently that’s not unusual and means nothing. We saw some lids behind carrying plastic bags. The Tin Man wanted to know why he didn't bring his Tin Man-ness in a plastic bag? Because then the Mommy wouldn’t have been able to gaffa tape him into character. A couple of passing cars almost crashed when blinded by the sun reflecting off the shimmering Tin Man and the geisha -walking penguin.

A kind nice parent would have stroked the Tin Man’s ego and said encouraging words. But his Mommy had put time and effort into that bloody costume so he was not going to be allowed to rip it off half way down the road. Even if the thermo leggings were tickling his bottom and he was unable to walk properly because the silver shoe cover thangs were making him trip. You didn’t hear the little penguin moaning about having to walk weirdly? No because she was entering into the spirit of the thang.

The Mommy knew she shouldn’t have ranted. The Tin Man tried to hide his sadness beneath his tin chest. She felt bad and squeezed his silver hand. This made it worse. The nearer they got to school the more small children started to stare. And point. And laugh. Eventually someone said ‘brilliant’. Finally the Tin Man smiled. It nearly broke the Mommy’s heart.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Thermo, Tin and Other Things

Against my atheist instincts I pray its cold tomorrow as the Tin Man is materialising from General Purpose Thermo Wrap. Every cloud … after tomorrow The Tin Man will be recycled behind our radiators. As Peter Pan would say ‘Oh the cleverness of me!’ Currently awaiting further cleverness on what to do with the General Purpose Thermo Wrap. That Boy had better be grateful.

To the Junior institution this morning to complain. It seems a small matter but to Gorgeous Boy it is becoming a big thang. At 11 years old he is already almost 5 foot 8 so most of his classmates look up to him. As do the majority of the female teaching staff. He handles the kids cusses and is happy to have a bit of a reputation as the Cuss King. However he knows he can’t use this particular coping mechanism on teachers. Especially the short ones. They say ‘you are too tall’, ‘stop growing’, and my least favourite: ‘what is your mother feeding you’. This is already a sore point between us. I don’t want the Risotto thang coming up again, so to speak. I do not put baby bio in his milk, nor do I put him to bed in a grow bag. They wouldn’t dare make comments about the shapes and sizes of other kids. I am extremely grateful to have Tallestmumchum to talk to about the insensitivity of it all.

Again, against my atheist instincts, let us pray that the Tin Man will not be mistaken for the Iron Giant tomorrow.

Now I really need to get on with the tin.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

London Calling

London must be in a sorry old state as He-who-must-be-adored has been so busy saving London He’s hardly been home this week. He treats this place like a bleeding hotel. Now I know the keeping of scores is not the mark of maturity. But, dammit. I am what I am and I want it known. For the record. That’s the second week in a row I’ve done the bin thang. This is not the deal I thought we had.

Moving swiftly on: surprisingly, Postie managed to deliver the secondary school letter in time for afternoon pick-up. Unsurprisingly, given the sibling policy, Gorgeous Boy will be joining the Teenager at her school next September. Sadly, but again unsurprisingly, there are a lot of disappointed Year 6 parents. The majority got a local school. Just not one in their top five. Fortunately, by a freak of fate, the Teenager’s school wasn’t all that when she started. So she got a place easily. Since then, driven by a new Head, its star has been on the rise. Would like to think it’s because of my Teenager. Ha! I know we was just lucky: this year almost 1400 kids applied for 240 places. Is this not a bit of a crazy situation?

Unfortunately, Postie didn’t do as well with the book club: my book was a tad too big for the letter-box. Usually he sticks it in the recycling bin. This time he re-routed it to the depot. The not-so-local depot. The not-so-local depot that is only open for a few odd hours. The very same few odd hours that the parking restrictions outside apply. The very same not-so-local depot that will refuse to give me the parcel addressed to my husband (he opened the Amazon account) as all my ID is in my maiden name. Just because I couldn’t be arsed to write a few dull letters when we first got married (alongwith a deep desire not to have the same name as my mother-in-law). So me and He have different surnames. He also hasn’t confirmed on the social networking site that He is married to me. I wonder is He trying to tell me somefing?

Yet, this week I have started to use my married name. But only on social networking sites. I lay the blame with my fave eldest neice. The one that still has the same name as me, because the lovely boyfriend still hasn’t made an honest woman of her. Even though they have two dustbin lids! Anyways I find I am questioned about thangs. Thangs I have no recollection of saying or doing or posting on social networking sites. Thangs my eldest unmarried fave niece with the same name as me (you know who you are) has posted online. I have moments of worry: was I so high on bubbly that I didn’t know I was bored – there was me thinking I’d had a good time. What the hell would I want with a waxing client? Why was I cross border living? My hair is already short. Isn’t it? Despite what it says I said: I feel quite well. The whole thang has been a bit too vivid an early insight into living with Alzheimer’s. And way way way before my time. So the married name it is. Oddly, given that my dustbin lids have both our surnames, the Teenager likes to be known by her father’s and Gorgeous Boy by mine. The little-un is too young to make choices.

My least favourite aspect of Gorgeous Boy starting his online life is his critique of my gastric attempts. Master chef has a lot to answer for. I really don’t appreciate my chicken risotto being rechristened ‘Risotto Horrible’ online. For all to see. Will carefully plan my revenge.

Aha! His World Book Day costume. So far we have hat, and cardboard clock and poor attempts at shoe-cover-type-thangs which in all probability will be destroyed by the time we walk the half mile to school. So of a more pressing nature is the unfortunate fact that there have been no (none whatsoever) developments on the Tin-Man costume front since Monday evening. I should spend tomorrow in a tin-man sewing and/or spraying frenzy. What will be sewed or sprayed? I am not yet certain. But Gorgeous Boy is expecting a costume to materialise by Friday morning. At breakfast tomorrow I shall point out that if he continues his public and negative critique of my cooking, I just might, very publicly, let him whistle for it.

My reality will be the day spent rumaging in make and do mode. Hmm so pleased about the penguin.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Hey Mr Postman

Thanks to Royal Mail we now have one penguin costume. With 3 days to spare. And it fits. It was tried on before breakfast. At the point in the day when there is so much spare time! What we don't have is the secondary school letter. I did not complet an online application so I can not check the website. By 7.00am it had crashed.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sex, socks and secondary schools

I read on Facebook that my teenager is now ‘in a relationship’. This explains the increase in phone credit usage and why no-one can get through on the home phone (it's usually only Supersis that tries). It explains why the friend-who-happens-to-be-a-boy now features in every conversation. When not msn’ing or ‘phoning or texting, the boyfriend is here. Or she is there. The upside: I am mostly kept sober as I can’t bear either of them getting the bus in the dark. Equally unbearable is them in the den. In the dark. Apparently watching TV. The little-un has had a lot of errands to run in there.

To supersis’s on Saturday. On an egg hunt and it’s not even Easter yet. The pesky Bantum chickens keep finding new places to lay. The little-un found 17 eggs in the goat house. Wonder is fairy liquid the best substance to remove shit from eggs? It works. But is it ethical or organic?

Paid the price for being out and about on Saturday by Sunday spent tackling laundry mountain. After trying 4000 different settings on the new washing machine I discover programme 5 fits all: with adjustable temp and spin button. Secretly get v frightened of the top spin speed. It sounds like the Nativity Room is preparing for take off. On the upside there are no more torn t-shirts or single socks. That’s a lie. There are always single socks because a) the dustbin lids think it funny to fire dirty socks like missiles (the target is never the laundry basket) and b) all three insist on never ever wearing pairs. No matter that much of my life is wasted on sorting socks. Pairs pairs are ripped apart as if the wearing of matching socks is some sort of crime against ...against feet?

For some reason, only understood by the smallest in this house, the little-un has been asking for a penguin costume for the longest time. With World Book Day this week I relented and ordered one from t’net. Panic is on lowest setting for post office doing its thang and delivering by Thursday. I have a back-up plan. It is crap. But it is a plan. It involves lots of bandages. However Gorgeous Boy, for his last year at primary, wants to go all out on the costume front. So far we have home made hat (He-who-must-be-adored sprayed funnel silver and nearly gave us all asthma attacks in the process) and shoes (silver fabric overcoat for trainers) for the Tin Man. Am hoping inspiration for his middle bit will come over the next 48 hours.

Also, eagerly awaited in tomorrow’s post is Gorgeous Boy’s secondary school placement letter. Am assuming he’ll get place with his sibling. Second-time round have found it easy to avoid the Year 6 parental hysteria. Assuming the sibling thang will work. Assuming the post office will deliver tomorrow. Assuming haven’t got to do the hideous appeal thang.

Hmmm ….think both my mental health and this blog might benefit from getting out and about a bit more!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Why Why Why Delilah?

Don’t know why but I felt sorry for He-who-must-be-adored in having to work such a long shift on Wednesday. So, to show some solidarity I waited up for his return with a chilled bottle. Much much later I’d quaffed the lot before He fell in the door. Yes that’s right. Fell. Drunk. As a skunk. That’s the last time I feel any kinda pity for him. I am owed. Again.

Why did it shock me on the supermarket sweep to see so many Easter Eggs already? Tried not to salivate at the wall of cardboard and chocolate but I love it more than…well something chilled and fizzy. The chocolate, not the cardboard. But before mother’s day? Yet…in for a penny…I threw a few in the trolley for the Easter Egg hunt and made mental note to try to think up some clues before Easter Saturday.

Why, after only a brisk walk with the dog, did all the early Easter eggs get eaten? Well…who’s to know?

To Grovelands today. Just the two of us. He and me. Plus the dog. With no dustbin lids. Weird or what?

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Beholder's Eye

In snooping round Facebook photos worry I am alone on the ageing front. Or does everyone else post old pictures? Or use software? I see my young fave nieces on there. Being young they get away murder. Jealous? Ha!

When we were young He-who-must-be-adored and I agreed. I would give birth to dustbin lids more beautiful than ourselves. Even in our young and beautiful days. Those days before the growth of extra chins and bellies. Before gravity took its toll. Before the ability to shake off pillow creases from our faces was lost. In return, He agreed to do the duty of bin night. And re-fueling the car. Today, with the poor excuse of a ridiculously long shift saving London, He broke the rules. I am owed.

Yesterday the little-un thought she was owed. But even I, with my low resistance to her pestering, draw the line at ice-cream on breakfast pancakes. I was kind about it and offered to dial child-line for her.

Is this cruel? During the dog’s usual post-supper sniffing round the kitchen she became still. And focussed. She stalked the fridge. I thought of mices. Then her tail wagged. She tried and tried before realising her tongue wasn't quite long enough to retrieve that which was under the fridge. I laughed as she tried different positions. And there’s only so much paw digging to be done on a hard floor. She switched between digging and stretching her tongue. And back again (whoah there Mrs is this an adults only blog now?) He-who-must-be-adored retrieved the discarded nectar and gave it to her. Killjoy.

To my book group last night. Was it my poor choice of book that led to such little bookish discussion? Or is the book just another excuse to sit about with other wimin smoothly sipping the bubbly stuff? A problem? Moi?

Monday, 23 February 2009

Monday morning

Up before the larks, a few pages under my belt I bake bread and pack up lunches. Uniforms are pressed and laid out. Extra-curricular kits are bagged and ready. Homework assignments are complete. Showered, fully dressed and ‘slapped’ I call the dustbin lids with a spring in my step. I lovingly prepare breakfast as they greet me with love in their eyes. A small chirping bird flies through the open window and lands on my finger. Then I wake up.

And it’s Monday Morning Take Two. Minus the calm charm. And the tweeting bird.

Does everyone leave half-term homework ‘til the last day? We coulda shoulda woulda gone out. Instead I supervise the older ones homework and cook. Against the grain I do some of the homework myself –explaining penicillin and making gravy was beyond me. Meanwhile He-who-must-be-adored gardens with the little-un. Well, not so much gardens, as hacks ferociously whilst the little-un ‘weeds’. My foxgloves. The foxglove seedlings I lovingly nurtured last year. The foxgloves that take two years to flower.

The joys of a family Sunday in the ‘burbs.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Glory days

Three alcohol-free days plus a mammoth sleepfest made for a little trouble settling to sleep last night. To Paul McKenna I turned. It has been over a month since I bought ‘Change Your Life in 7 days’. At last I’ve been sober enough to make it to Day 2. At this rate I should be sorted by the summer. When sleep finally came I dreamed of sunny days sipping champagne. When I first ditched the cigs the boy band I was managing (in my dreams obviously) kept making me smoke. Talk about living in a dream world!

There must be something about Paul because peace descended upon us today. For a few hours, at least. The sun shone. We all quietly did our own thang whilst He-who-must-be-adored was away saving London. Yesterday’s scenes of shouting were long forgotten.

But perhaps a little perspective: yesterday, as usual, I was not the first to shout. I rarely am. Neither was I born yesterday. So I knows things. Like, when the usually gorgeous boy is rude and shouts. Then is rude and shouts again in an aggressive sort of way. I know he has either overheard one of our laundry lessons or there is, somewhere hidden in this house, unbeknownst to me, a horribly violent video game. Being only 11 the boy knows not to snitch on his farter. ‘Hand it over’ I say and after only a small protest, hand it over he does. As is our way, we soon manage to make it up with some baking then taking the dog out to get wet and muddy again.

Back to the glory day of today: the dog walk was dry, so no added laundry or extra showers needed. When He-who-must-be-adored returned we went out for an early meze. Early because we had to be back home in time for Ant and Dec, or the little-un would be difficult. Let’s not kid ourselves about who really rules this roost.

I had to tear my eyes away from the newspaper story on Jade’s story this morning when the little-un announced ‘Mommy, You’re doing really well’. I swelled with pride and with eyes moistened asked what made her say that. ‘I’ve checked your blog and you’re had over 200 visitors now, I check it everytime I go on the ‘puter’. So neither my parenting nor blog visitors are as good as I thought.

The Cava is calling.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Wash out

After that nasty little bug I slept for a mammoth 13 hours last night. That’s two nights on the wagon. Do I qualify for a badge yet? Shan’t drink tonight as the Teenager is in her mate’s shed. Again. We might install a shed in our garden, with pool table and ipod speaker, so we don’t have to stay sober and, more of a challenge, awake, to collect her. But don’t suppose she’d let any of her friends round here. We only breathe and we manage to be soooo embarrassing.

Yesterday was a wipe out. My two achievements for the day were a shower and changing the bedding. In truth didn’t really achieve the second. Grappling with the clean king size duvet cover, I was close to tears over not having the necessary six arms when He-who-must-be-adored returned from the rugby run and lent a hand, or two. In fact yesterday he was an all round star (if you can have such a thing), apart from the laundry lesson. They say the lesson shall be repeated until the lesson is learnt. Our first decade together I wore only black because I learnt anything else wasn’t safe. Our second decade I took charge. I have told him. Repeatedly. I shout ‘walk away from the washing’. Still He sees laundry He stuffs it in the machine.

Asked recently what my family think of being blogged about in less than perfect terms I replied nothing. Because they don’t read it. They may look like my fans on Facebook. But only because I stood over them as they logged in and showed them how easy it is to be my fan. They hear enough of my whingeing without having to read all about it as well. The little-un does show an interest but she can’t read small type yet.

My forensic friend called - the stinking thieving bastard that burgled her has been caught, and remanded. Three times I’ve been victim to stinking thieving burglaring bastards and never have they left more than a smudge. She has one burglary and good bloody DNA is left inside her house and the stinking thieving burglaring bastard is caught in less than a month. Pleased as I am for her, it hardly seems fair. Still that’s one less stinking thieving burglaring bastard on the streets of London. Thanks to our last stinking thieving burglaring bastard I now have a complicated alarm system and spend the spare moments of my life walking or cleaning up after that bloody dog.

Mmm a touch of the post-bug grumps me thinks?

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Mud bug

I've been somewhat less than my usual cheeky cheerful self this past day or so. I don’t have the stomach to share the full gruesome details. Except…

Yesterday the early signs of a crappy day were there. A rare morning when no-one had to be anywhere any time early. Yet, ye gods were agin any kind of a lie-in. My brain was slowly adjusting from blissful sweet dream (actually it was quite hard work rowing across the Atlantic, which is weird as a) I have never rowed in my life and b) I am petrified of the sea). Anyway the sloshing sea sound turned to something like fingernails on a blackboard. I pulled focus and decided someone, somewhere very near to my bed, was scrapping a shovel. On metal. Repeatedly. The littleun climbed in and asked ‘Who’s making a racket in the bathroom?’ I replied ‘it’s a shovel and it’s going to be shoved where the sun don’t shine’. But then He-who-must-be-adored informed us that it was a roofer, working across the way. As I asked how He could possibly distinguish a shovel and roof tile by ears alone, He shared his surprise at seeing a bloke on the roof, across the way, as he stood gazing out of the toilet window, doing his morning thang. I sat up and felt woozy.

Best-mum-chum and Tallest-mum-chum (sorry weak tag but I have been ill) met us at Trent Park. I apologised for being late blaming a woozy feeling. Tallest (who opens Cava in so practiced a manner) chirped in that Cava can have that kind of effect. They agreed I was just hungover and a muddy march would be good. Miffed (I’d only had half a bottle the night before in these cut-back days) we set out.

Our five children and dog bounced ahead like an Enid Blyton adventure. Clearly something was wrong with me as although I’ve enjoyed Trent Park for over 30 years, we managed to get lost. Some 2 ½ hours later, the children and dog, wet and muddy, dragged their heels with sorry faces as if they'd strayed from the path in a zombie movie, where you're never ever supposed to stray from the path. The photo-op on a log gone wrong ending with the little un’s legs in the air and her head bumped didn't help. She couldn’t see the funny side of being chastised for not letting me catch it on video and making £200 from you’ve been framed. She cried from then 'til we reached the café and not even the promise of that well-known half term healthy lunch of chips and cakes could cheer her up.

The queezy feeling remained and didn’t really take a turn for the worse proper until after I’d said 'all kids back to mine'. When best-mum-chum came to collect she thought I looked yellow. Tallest-mum-chum thought I looked white. Either way the next 12 hours were amongst the worst of my life as the dreaded tummybug kicked in proper. On the up side it was an easy night for curbing the Cava. That makes a total of 3 alcohol-free nights out of the last 7. That’s 100% improvement on the previous week.

And every cloud: surely my jeans won’t hurt quite so much tomorrow?

A geeky note:
A huge thankyou to my fans, especially those on Facebook, although I still need 4 more to confirm I am who I say I am. And …I’ve worked out how to set the blog time to London time. Hurrah!

Laundry note:
Discovered bright yellow sweatshirt with denims today! Will He ever learn?

Title note:
Today's title was thought up by the little-un!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


And still a non-smoker I am. My lungs are getting clearer. My belly is getting bigger. But then as my bro’ says ‘you can lose weight anytime, you can’t grow another lung’. But my lungs appear to be growing alongwith the rest of me. But still, are clothes supposed to hurt? Luckily the Teenager’s growing social life is helping me curb the Cava thang. Tonight I’m typing as I wait to drive her ‘friend who happens to be a boy’ home from here. Yeah right that’s what I thought too.
To town today. Supersis drove so luckily no French issues tonight. We took the lids for a day out. Obviously not the Teenager. Not because we left her at home Cinderella style. Whatever she may say. No, she spotted the opportunity of a house empty of siblings and parents and had her own social thang instead. But boy did she miss out on a weird and whacky day. And boy was I not in no way uptight about what may, or may not, have been happening in my house of unsupervised teenagers.

The Gorgeous one was in boy heaven as we paid tourist prices to enter the weird and whacky (and downright disgusting) world of

Frankly I find it weird that a man (of course only a man) could devote his entire life to discovering the weird and the whacky. Then that he shared the weird and the whacky with the rest of the world. Then again, that there is just so much weird and whacky, odd and unusual and strange in this world. Some of it you really have to see to believe. I guess that’s why he called it ‘believe it or not’. Other bits, I wish I hadn’t. In fact we all agreed to run from the theatre-reel after less than 10 seconds of film, and we all agreed to run through the torture-themed exhibition.

The highlights and lowlights depend on your age and persuasion. Personally, I can’t decide, in the side-show-freak-show spirit what I enjoyed more. Seeing Gorgeous boy’s full freak out in the mirror maze or Supersis’s nervous breakdown on the rotating tunnel. She thought the Whizz kid’s wheelchair would fall off. The kid, of course, was steady as a rock. It’s not called the chicken run for nowt. The little-un loved that optical illusion the most. I could take or leave double-headed-lamb, the three-legged-chicken, the guy with the gold nose, the guy with four eyes, the junk duck, and the painting by a horse. Of course, as for the giant’s rocking chair: it rocks. It really rocks.

Am only slightly worried about nightmares tonight!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Green and pleasant land

Somehow the dull details of my existence have conspired agin me finding time to blog. Yesterday we were still in the green belt and my time was taken with cleaning up after all the muddy creatures (dustbin lids included) and mass catering duties. If I lived permanently near green and pleasant land I’d change my parenting style (if my current state of over-fussy and interfering could be called a style) to one of healthy neglect. After breakfast I’d kick the lids out with the dogs and other animals. I’d tell them not to come in ‘til they were filthy and hungry or even filthy hungry with tales of adventures to tell. Er, actually that’s what I did. But being a London softie I relented when the rains came. If I did make a permanent move I'd obviously have to give up with the cleaning malarkey – no-one expects that in the country do they? And more obviously there was no being kicked outside for the Teenager – one whiff of that and she demanded a ride to see a mate with more modern parents. Back home this morning I missed the Whizz Kid, the animals and the big green fix.

Hurrah! It’s half term. So pleased to have the dustbin lids home today I went to work.

Hurrah! He-who-must-be-adored is back saving London for almost all waking hours so no laundry disasters. For today anyways.

Hurrah! When the Teenager has been caught in trouble her behaviour improves hugely. I returned from the dog walk tonight to find floors swept, laundry folded, drainer cleared, dishwasher on, and most importantly chilled bottle of Cava opened. Me thinks she knows me too well. Me thinks I should have introduced this yellow card business years ago.

Lesson learnt: be careful what you wish for. After bemoaning the blog’s lack of followers am now plagued, on Facebook, by comments by the oldest sister-in-law (her tag not mine). But what do I make of ‘can’t decide if you’re more Edwina (ab fab) or Bree (desperate housewives)’? Or her notes to her step-daughter to ‘read aunty’s blog to learn how to become a mary poppins type mother …ignore the getting drunk in the middle of london bit it spoils the image’.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Country Living

To the green belt for the weekend. Supersis and husband (hers not mine) are on romantic mini-break while we care for fave niece, the Whizz kid, plus her assorted animals. For the record, again, I have over 20 fave nieces.

He-who-must-be-adored is doing the lion's share of animal care. Due to my extended stay in hangover central, yesterday was a blur of dullness on the wagon, and I couldn’t find my wellies. So, last night He put the animals away when dusk had already fallen and the Indian runners (small ducks with long necks) somehow found their way into the Goose House. He came in and told me this and I was not happy. The big white goose is big fat bully. So, a dilemma: I had used my daily criticism quota on yet another laundry lesson (neither denims nor black tights go in with 'brights'). It'd be pushing my luck to criticise He's animal-putting-away-skills. Especially coming so soon after his sweet kindness whilst I was incoherent and losing my way home. Unusually, for me, I fretted quietly as to whether the morning would be spent dealing with the burial of dead runners. How beastly can a fat goose be? In a dark enclosure? Against a small animal? On Friday the 13th?
Finally guilt got the better of He too. Without me saying anything He had his coat back on. Less than an hour later he returned, cold, wet, muddy and triumphant. He'd only had to let all the birds out, separate large from small (god knows how, but apparently the dogs were no bloody help) and put them all safely away in their own beds and sheds. There's clearly more to a happy marriage than laundry skills.

Now we only had the curse of the crazy cat to contend with. She cries to go out. Moments later she cries to come in. She cries for food. She cries for love. She cries for the dog. She cries for I don't know what and the whole routine starts again. Shouldn't have been quite so judgemental when Supersis admitted to chucking a glass of cold water out the window at her. We have only been here 36 hours and already I think the crazy cat is lucky to be alive. There's always the hope that the Hawk might take a fancy to her.

Today is Valentine’s day. Not that I've had any opportunity for romance. En-masse we spent the day trying to use as many eggs as poss, as the super-egg-laying-chickens have gone a-laying-mad. The little-un had pancakes for breakfast, lunch and tea. I had scrambled. The boys had fried. We've got Pavlova for tomorrow. Toad-in-the-hole for Sunday's supper. Still the pile of eggs does not diminish. Worry what this eggy diet will do for Gorgeous Boy's signature kiss/fart thing. Worry why the yolks are weirdly bright orange. I am a Londoner. He-who-must-be-adored is from country stock. He knows his eggs and He says they are just fresh. I prefer the version of country living you get from browsing the pages of Country Living (the magazine). I love the fantasy full of frilly love hearts and lavender cushions. No where in my fantasy does washing shit off the breakfast eggs feature. In fact no where in the fantasy does shit feature at all. Here in the country there is lots.

Thankfully today’s temperature rise meant I didn't have to start the day by marching through goose poo to take a shovel to the frozen duck pond.

As if looking out on all that green land isn't enough of a green fix we decided what we all really needed was a good tramp through Trent Park with dogs and kids. We have some work to do on the dog walking etiquette but that's a whole blog entry on its own. Speaking of ...briefly thought of joining the wimin's blog network but then on closer inspection, thought not. I hope never to write anything that might invite comments like 'You are a strong woman ...I'm sure your experiences will help others'. Am happy being my only follower.

Now off to coax crazy cat back in and think up more uses for eggs - perhaps throwing them at cat? Ooooh can't wait for tomorrow and the excitement of cleaning out the coops. Ah country life!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Missing in action

And I thought yesterday morning was painful! The kitchen boiler went from mis-behaving to all out strike. Hurrah as He-who-must-be-adored stayed home to sort. As I hunt for expensive-boiler-repair-man’s number the garage calls. With a beast of a car the cost of repairs and replacements is truly beastly. As a reaction to these costs He took a hammer to the boiler. It’s working away now. Good as gold.

Then to town. For lunch. With the producer. Getting off the tube I saw someone who looked like the Doctor. But it couldn’t be he, as he has a chauffeur. But the Doctor it was - these are strange economic times. We walked a while together catching up. Then before I know it I text the Producer ‘lunch venue closed. In pub nxt door. Wiv the doctor.’ She was confused. ‘Doctor Who?’ she says. That was the beginning of the end.

Drinking vodka, so soon after breakfast, is something I haven’t done since, well, since I used to work with the Doctor and the Producer!

We said our goodbyes and the Producer takes me down some strange back alley to a basement restaurant. With no natural daylight it is hard know the exact passage of time. I do know she and me hardly came up for air with all the gassing and catching up and laughter. Lots of laughter. And I also know, at some point, the Doctor reappeared.

Fast forward some 12 hours and I am having a Harry Potter moment. I am at Kings Cross station. I know this because the sign tells me so. This is not the Kings Cross I know. It is new and shiny. My platform is old and tatty. All signs point to Paris. I don’t want to go to Paris. I want to go home. He-who-must-be-adored calls and with patience and kindness talks me through a route out of that crazy hell. Never been so pleased to see my man and his dog as I finally fall off the train.

It was a day for history repeating itself: I demanded kebab and chips. The very kebabs I tell the lids are made from devil’s dust and are never ever to be consumed. When on the missing list I missed my boy’s debut for the school football match. I missed the little-un’s pick up. Luckily the teenager’s rugby was cancelled. Luckily He had the day off. So did I. Luckily I am not boring when drunk. Just repetitititititive.

Had a Britney breakfast – if the image that comes to mind is her looking hot in little black shorts, all shiny haired, fully made-up and prancing around full of beans, banish it now. Think more along the lines of crazed psycho mommy and you’re nearer the mark. A hungover mommy is not a happy bunny. Never has it taken so long to make so few packed lunches.

Have had to consume an obscene amount of calories to try and rid myself of this on a boat feel.

Lesson learnt: never trust the doctor and never ever go on facebook after any kind of a sesh.