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 cafĂ© 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.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

It's all geek to me

In these strange economic times, when in the office, I have a little time on my hands. The phones used to ring continuously, interrupting every little task. Now that is a sound so rare I half jump out of my skin whenever they do burst into life. I have given up checking whether or not they are working. The dial tone is there. The customers are not.

I now have time for Internet shopping but not the money. Instead of shopping sites, now I look at blogs, beyond the drivel I spill out. I have learnt how to load photos. Seemingly not a huge thing - but for me it was a major achievement. And it wiled away some hours. I added something ‘about me’ yesterday. Not sure it’s what blog readers want to know but added it is. Realised I know nothing about blog readers, other than the 2 close friends – including my sister! So I’ve added some ‘stuff’ to make this more of a two way street (think that’s the right expression for this kind of groovy thang). Real people can now ‘follow’ my blog. To date, I am the only follower. And that was a mistake I do not know how to rectify. I’ve added a counter too. It tells me how many visitors have come to my blog. It was very depressing to see that I had 1 visitor. I knew it was me, checking out that the counter had indeed been added. In piddling with the position of the counter (so that should I get a visitor they wouldn’t see the low low depressingly low number), I managed to get my count into double figures.

There is no confidence within me that what I’m blogging/doing is in tune with the spirit of the beast. But then I don’t know what the spirit or the beast is. Perhaps if I get some readers, they’ll let me know. There is a very clear link at the bottom of each post saying 0 comments. My readers prefer to wait ‘til I’m up to my elbows in grease before cornering me and commenting.

I know you are supposed to ‘classify’ your blog. I like to think defy categorisation. That’s not true its just pondering the question of where I fit in gave me a headache. Instead I added a click through ad thingy. After some huge number of clicks on the real adverts, (not just my page) I will earn a penny. Won’t be giving up the day job just yet then!

Am v v v pleased to see that setting up that little baby added another 5 page visits to my counter. So worth it.

Now, let's check out twitter.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Art of noise

Growing up with six brothers I’ve pretty much seen and heard every fart trick there is. So Gorgeous boy cannot surprise me with the shooting gun thang nor pull my finger, nor creak floorboards and get a rise out of me. Yet, somehow, he manages to take me to a new blow-off low. He tenderly leans in to kiss me goodbye. ‘Ah, my boy is still gorgeous’ I think. My heart is sunk: he managed to perfectly time his puckered lips with a trumping bottom. With disappointment I find myself stooping to his level: the only way to stop his fart-fest giggles is by name calling: ‘smelly fart boy’ is neither original nor clever, but it does the trick.

Did bottom burps used to be funnier? Or is it my age and part of the wider problem of oversensitivity in the ear department? As if the boy’s bottom doesn’t make enough noise the kitchen boiler has started to do impressions of the Tardis with a weird whirling wah wah noise. I find switching the thermostat right down puts a stop to all that. If only the boy was that easy to control! Temp zero is fine when I’m cooking and on the move but when you sit to eat supper and your fingers and toes threaten to fall off through cold it is somewhat less than fine. Add to that the fact that we have to remember to shut firmly the Nativity Room door before we sit to eat. Not to keep in the floods, but to keep out the superfastspinthing noise of the new washing machine. With the new space age kit the entire Nativity Room sounds as if it is preparing for take-off. Twice daily. Have made note to self to try to remember to turn down the spin dial before pressing go on the 53 different controls.

So, wouldn’t it be nice to think that when the day is done and you can finally slink off to bed, in the privacy of your own sleep space you might be spared the discomfort of any more noise pollution? For complicated reasons nothing ever gets finished properly in this house, thus our en-suite bathroom doesn’t actually have a door. Consequently at about 5am every morning I hear the upstairs boiler kick in as He-who-must-be-adored starts to run the shower.
This morning I was spared that torture as He-who-must-be-adored was having a lie-in. Instead of the usual morning water torture treatment I had my ears assaulted by his phone. Nothing as obtrusive as it ringing. Of course he wouldn’t dare be that insensitive. Just the usual 5am alarm. Plus snooze. Two or three times. Then texting to and fro between He and He’s team. I really had no idea just how loud each letter of a text being inputted sounds when close to your head in the comfort of your bed in the wee small hours. It was a relief when my alarm finally went.

On re-reading this am worried I sound like a grumpy old woman! Because in truth I’m neither grumpy nor old (not much anyways). At least I can draw comfort from the fact that I’m nowhere near as bad as Supersis on her worst days!

Monday, 9 February 2009

We are family

Without wanting to give too much away about the exiting nature of the private conversations I have with Supersis, it so happens that on occasion we will ask each other what each is preparing for dinner. Although blood relations we appear to come from different schools of cooking – she being the queen of the stab stab zing, me preferring to use the cooking space as an escape from the rest of my household and its chores. Yet, despite these differences, more often than I like it happens that we buy the same thing. So yesterday, upon her suggestion, we joined forces with our respective lamb joints, purchased separately and independently, yet roasted and consumed together. So, my family decamps to hers. Her vegetables are pre-prepared. Mine require endless standing at the sink. She does household chores and I cook.

Whilst I was carving (hacking more like) she tells me she has a bone to pick with me: she’s read my blog. As I was up to my elbows in grease I couldn’t run and hide so I racked my brains trying to remember what I’d written that could have offended. I’ve only been back at this for less than a week and already I’m having my bones picked!

I hereby apologise to Supersis for giving the wrong impression and I want the whole world to know. Yes she does live with a lot of animals. But not one single one of them is hers. Especially not the psycho cat. They have all come into her life via the whims of others: her husband, her daughter, her mother-in-law, her brothers, or brother-in-laws. Or they are foundlings and she has become known as an animal type what with being married to one and mother to another animal fanatic. Yet, she cares for the animals, she feeds them, helps train them, cleans up after them, she even breaks the ice on the pond for them (in the morning, before breakfast, as if there isn’t enough to be done, after the cat has poo’d in the sink and the dog pukes up a delightful raw eggs and dog food combo). She wants it to known that yes she does all this. And she more importantly wants it to be known that no animal belongs to her. And, more sadly: no animal is loved by her.

Whilst she ranted on I thought ‘every cloud’. So rather than certain people think I am a stealer of animals I want it to be known that I am the one and only one that bucks the trend in Supersis’s life. I am the first person to take an animal away from Supersis.

For this, I believe, I should be thanked.

Message in a bottle

As my consumption of nicotine disappeared my consumption of alcohol increased from near zero to well over the recommended guidelines. This will be a short lived thang and its only to get me through the worst of the first days, weeks (please not months!).

Usually He-who-must-be-adored sorts out drinks. Not because I am a weak-willed feebly sort of woman, but because he thinks of drinks way before me. On Friday night he was busy, doing that thang that he does at work. Now, I know it is not good form to start boozing before the lid’s play dates have departed, but I’d had an odd sort of week. After a struggle that appeared to last forever, (but was probably less than a minute), the teenager removed the bottle of Cava from my greasy mitts, and more expertly than I liked the look off got out the anti-slip mat. I was past caring, I just wanted a drink. Defeated she handed the bottle back saying ‘it’s a dud’.

Gorgeous boy then sunk his teeth into the cork. When that obviously failed he asked for a sword. Through gritted teeth I shooed him and his friend away (this is not the impression I like to project - whether it is true or not).

After 20 desperate minutes going at it with every thing I could lay my hands on I hunted about for a sword. At this low point, the mother of gorgeous boy’s friend came to collect. I really should have let her in the door before crying about the cork and could she please please please get the bloody bottle of wine open for me. In my defence I have known her for almost a decade so like to think we’ve seen some of the best and worst of each other.

She kindly said I’d probably loosened it up as she de-corked it instantly and expertly. Not for the first time was I left with a feeling of slight inadequacy.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Lessons Learnt

1. Pale pink is the wrong colour choice for winter boots worn in post-snow slushy dog walk.

2. A damp dog will shake itself after a walk in the rainy post-snow dirty slushy mess.

3. Said damp dog doesn’t know the hallway is painted white (whose stupid idea was that anyway?).

4. A damp dog doesn’t know that it is not good form to shake black rainy post-snow dirty slushy sloshy water from her body all over the kitchen cupboards and freshly washed kitchen floor.

5. A floor mop should be rinsed at least a thousand times after it has tried to mop up washing machine overspill containing summer breeze washing powder.

6. If you fail to rinse said mop at least a thousand times when you try to clear up after damp dog you get a sudsy mess.

7. A hard floor washed with hint of summer breeze is a near death trap.

8. The dog does not move out of her bed when the mop is out.

9. Supersis is right to diss the dogs daily.

10. The uplifting mental health benefits of walking the dog in piss poor weather are a short lived thang.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Weather storm

I should be grateful. I married a man that can use the wash machine. After two decades He-who-must-be-adored has learnt: a white wash is a wash of whites only. Glee of the lesson learnt ebbed away: the white mat the dog sleeps and slobs on was in the machine. With my whites! With tea-towels! And underwear! School shirts! What else? The mat was out and the whites back on one of the two washes the old machine can still manage: boil or quick chill. Is this a metaphor for my marriage?

The rain on top of the half-melted-half-iced pavements is snow joke. It was a slow slip-slide-skid all the way to school and back. My first thought at the weird screeching as I returned revealed itself to be the washing machine. It was as upset as I. The Nativity Room floor was under an inch of soapy water. The drum was full to the top. More poured from the door and drawer.

He was enjoying his second lay-in this week (not that we count because he works late into the night ‘saving London’. He does a hard job and he brings home the bacon). I shouted ‘HELP FLOOD’. He flew down the stairs in the dance that only the freshly woken from a deep and pleasant sleep can do. Followed by the headless chicken routine while I fetched more towels (this was an emergency and more towels are always needed).

Amid a blur of frantic mopping and moving an extraordinary large amount of stuff from the smallest room in the house I made mental note to self to sort this crap out. Then the volume of He’s ranting filtered in….

“Why do you have such weird hygiene rules? Is it just to cause upset? Why do dog blankets have to be washed separately? What difference does it make if they are getting sloshed in water? This is all your fault! It you weren’t so weird that wash wouldn’t have been re-done. This would never have happened during my first lay-in in ages (Monday? but we don’t keep scores). Why are you so controlling with your stupid rules? Why can’t canvas shoes be worn in the snow? Why can’t shoes go on the table? What is that whole weird dishcloth/floorcloth differential”.

There was more. With expletives. At a high volume. The tipping point may have been his discovery of my stroppy note written when I thought it’d be a good 18 hours before our paths crossed again about did he not know the dog blanket wash rule for HEALTH (underlined and capitals) reasons?

I can’t remember what else was shouted. It wasn’t pretty. In my defence I didn’t use as many expletives as He. I was not the first to raise my voice. I soon after threw in the towel (mop actually even though it wasn’t doing much as there was just too much damn soapy water).

And, it was NOT with a clear calm voice that I said (and I am paraphrasing here) “we could support each other and clean up the mess together. However due to your inappropriate language and behaviour you will be doing it on your own”.

I stomped like a grumpy toddler. Slammed the door. Over-revved the car. And off to work I went. This is all within minutes of his waking. This is all before his morning coffee fix. This is all 3 weeks after we both decided we would be free from nicotine.

Tonight peace is restored. The old machine is gone. Bbecause of an underwire from my underwear it was my fault. The new machine has a control panel a small aircraft would be proud of. No more wiggling the door to make it work. It spins on every wash you wish. The drum paddles don’t fall out after you do towels.

Sensing the tension the dog stayed in her bed ‘til I returned from work for the school run. I am over the snow fun factor. I don’t appreciate being mistaken for a ski-er at decision corner: even though my arms were outstretched and I was dragged along the ice by the dog.

‘I suppose you want an apology’ is not actually an apology.

He-who-must-be-adored is trying. He took the night off. He cooked supper (a curry dish I’ve always expressed a dislike for). He collected the little-un from Rainbows. He walked the dog. He got the laundry up to date. He is trying to fix the family pc of it’s jinxed crashing problem.

I welcome the new day.

Puppy love

After 12 years of the constant whencanwegetadog mantra, we surrendered. We did research. Puppies are cute. But untrained. You wouldn’t let an unsupervised nappyless toddler crawl about the place. Would you?

Serendipity stepped in. A new puppy came to live with Supersis. So they had a dog too many. We had none.

For the record, I didn’t ‘steal’ a dog from Supersis, We came to a more formalised version of the existing arrangements of dog sharing. They still have visitation rights especially when we have gallivanting to do. In exchange we’ll look after ALL their animals when they are off and about. I think it’s not quite a fair exchange as they have goats, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, dogs, a psychotic cat and hawk (not so sure about the hawk). But the dog lives with us so I'm living with it.

Now Supersis has a half wild puppy and we have Princess Josephine, a trained six year old pretty blond thing. Am quite surprised how quickly the doggy love has grown, in a totally healthy way. Obviously. Although am worried at the number of doggy conversations I’m currently having. Especially as Bestmumchum told me I was boring her with all the doggy talk.

The dustbin lids are happy. They don’t see any frustration in newly washed floors instantly covered in muddy footprints and blond hair. Since Mr Supersis explained the power of the doggy treat behind the thumb trick she’s behaving ever better for me. She’s pretty good at sticking to my side. Except for when we get to decision corner. We have the daily battle of the lead as she tries to pull me towards the doggy heaven park and I attempt to pull her towards the hell of the school gates and the noisy hub-bub of 600 lids and carers at the end of a day. Today was worse for the fact that the lids have been treated like caged animals with matching behaviour – that’s the power of ‘elf n safety’ in the snowy aftermath. Am only slightly jealous of how many friends and fans she has at the gates – people I’ve been nodding to for years now happily do doggy chat with me.

The dog continues to behave princess-like. In the morning I open the door: she sticks her head out and if it’s cold or wet she will not go out, no matter how long since her last visit. Sometimes she won’t eat her doggy food, although this is easily resolved with a little something human in her bowl. As if doggy food alone is beneath her.

I find myself worrying whether that’s normal for a dog. God a whole new field of neurosis for me. Now I’m afraid! I’ve done a whole blog on the dog. Am I in danger of turning into one of those dodgy doggy types? Yes, she is a kind-a baby replacement. Yes, I am always prepared with a placky bag. Yes, I do talk to her. But I think there’s hope. I know she can’t talk back to me and I’m not yet wearing a waxy jacket with sensible shoes covered in dog hair and spittle. And, as yet, the dog and I bear no resemblance. Although they do say blondes have more fun….

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ain't it thrilling?

The last time it snowed was a revelatory moment for me. Whilst the world and his dog tobogganed and gamboled in the snow I was a misery. I spent the day be-moaning: the river running through the house, the cold, the endless damp pile of clothes, the cold, the extra laundry, letting the heat out, the danger, the cold and all that malarkey. That was then.

So when the first fluttery flakes started to settle on Sunday night, the little-un was ordered out of her jarmies, to wrap up, get outside and bloody well enjoy herself! So keen was I not to re-visit the hum-buggery of my past that I made an executive decision that even if the schools were open, if this proper, powdery snow settled my dustbin-lids would not go to their institutions. Warm childhood memories made on a snow-day-home-day are more important than anything the fun-killers could attempt to teach whilst keeping them caged inside.

Monday morning we were up and dressed with whatever was to hand. No teeth nor hair were brushed. No faces washed. Biscuits for brekkie then out the door. Has the parenting pendulum swung too far from the hum-buggery past towards the present is a gift to be ENJOYed at all costs?

With the excuse that the path needed to be cleared we started the snow man pile under the constant bombardment of snowballs. They do hurt. They do sting. They are cold and wet. No matter how many times you say ‘no headshots’, your head continues to be pelted. A humbug I am not. This was snowy fun.

My ‘live for the moment’ happy parenting nearly crashed and burned with the teenager accusing me of ruining her life with my hateful rules. I fought the instinct to shout back in true toddler tantrum style ‘don’t ring me to take you to the hospital with your broken limbs, or frostbitten toes’. Instead, I said ‘You can go out and play with your mates when you put some dry non-canvas shoes on’.

Later in the park we laughed at the giant snow penis, the pathetic assortment of make-shift sledges, the groups gathered behind giant rolling snowballs, the snow walls behind which snow-war-balls were built and fired. Our blond dog up to her muddle in snow.

Londoners are not known for their friendliness but when it snows ain’t it thrilling? It brings out the best in people. We smiled and laughed with strangers. Passing people asked if they could photograph our snowman. Now I know the country nearly came to a standstill, schools were closed, rubbish was not collected, accidents happened, the economy is in enough trouble already. But it snowed. And we was happy :)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Day by day

Accepting this is only Day 9 post-surgery I celebrate my brain’s almost return to normal function with this blog. Am hoping the body will follow soon after. Only two days ago my brain couldn’t focus on anything more than the odd visitor in between naps.

Yet, day by day life improves. This is my third day off the painkillers (general abdominal ache seems preferable to the unsettling side effects). I thought I knew about pain: when I first came-round I moaned and the kindly nurse chucked some morphine into my viens: my head went floaty and I forgot to complain. Yet the pain remained.

He-who-must-be-adored has been charming and a complete bastard in equal turns. On Day one, inbetween naps (approx every three minutes) he would ask: ‘Are you OK?’ and I would reply ‘No’. ‘Why not?’ ‘Because I am in pain.’ ‘Yes, but apart from the pain are you OK?’ ‘No.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because of the pain!’ And so on and so on until he decided he had to get the dustbin-lids home. It is a good thing he’ll never know the pain of having an enlarged uterus yanked out of his middle. I could liken it to a combination of being run over by a truck, giving birth and having a c-section all in one day. But that wouldn’t nearly do it justice. Sweet hey?

He complained to Supersis of my grumpyness. She pointed out twas to be expected.

Now He-who-must-be-adored has temporarily given up saving London to be my nurse-maid and our homemaker. My ‘that’ll do’ approach to home-making has been taken over by a military coup aided and abetted by a large volume of bleach. He keeps me fed and watered with nutritious meals, shops, cooks, does the odd spot of gardening and DIY, does the school run and after-school drop-offs etc and has finally stopped asking the perpetual OK question. I worry that He doesn’t talk to me enough but then I remember He just doesn’t talk enough.

Anyway am off the drugs now and the wind has changed for a rising concern with my addiction to crapallite telly in general and gardening programmes in particular. The view from the sofa gets duller by the minute: and another five weeks to go. Am presently lying in bed typing on the lap-top thinking I have the other end of the sofa to look forward to when I return downstairs. Oh how narrow is my outlook now?

Never has the expression ‘needs to get out more’ been truer. No matter how painful walking is, no matter that I glide on invisible slo-mo ski’s, no matter that I wear surgical socks, no matter that OAPs can overtake me. I need to get out.

Yesterday best-mum-chum walked me to the nearest coffee-shop (only one block away) and my dearest Luvey-friend walked me home. Ah the bliss of being out. Today He-who-must-be-adored walked me to the next coffee shop (a whole two blocks), abandoned me to do groceries before collecting me, rather like the dry cleaning. Twas lovely to escape the sofa, even if I was by myself: and I did have glimpses of Colleen and spots-his-face’s wedding pix to console me (purely to fill the crapallite gap). In anycase I could hardly prop myself up on the sofa today as the room has been tidied, cleared and cleaned to within an inch of its life and I’d only make the place look untidy.

Pre-warned that I may suffer some depression at the loss of an essential part of my womanhood, I’ll admit I am fed-up with the pain and more so from restricted movements, and a restricted life. But fair compensation has come from the kindness of family and friends. To the rest: Pish posh. After almost a decade of “wimin’s problems” it’s no loss.

It’s a bloody liberation.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

It's a new dawn

Up and enjoying the nearly new morning. Thank goodness for a little peace. Hope this isn’t the calm before the storm.

Christmas was fun and went smoothly and the dustbin lids made it to Santa’s nice list. Phew. He-who-must-be-adored and I agreed some years ago not to exchange pointless expensive gifts at xmas and the tradition has extended to not even bothering with small tokens. We share January birthdays anyway and we remind ourselves that it’s all about the lids... our joy comes from their faces during the wrapping-paper-ripping orgy. It can however be a little hard to bear, when camping at Supersis’, and watching them exchange delightful, special, trinkets, like designer jewellery. Bitter? Twisted? Moi?

Christmas day was a quiet affair this year with only 11 of us sharing lunch. And apart from the small issue with the spuds, it all went swimmingly. Good clean competitive fun for all ages from 5 to 70 came with the Nintendo wii (that the elves finally managed to pull out of their hats). But there’s only so many times you can be thrashed by a 5 year old and still keep a bit of good cheer about yourself.

Boxing Day was the usual big fun family affair and the wonder at just how many more children can keep appearing year after year before we finally start hiring a venue. Watched with wry amusement as the twentysomethings judged the ‘youngers’ talent show. I have more than two decades worth of video tape of the ‘olders’ boxing day talents which I’m considering posting on You Tube. But only in the interests of the full-on-embarrassment-factor of course.

Then He-who-must-be-adored was back saving London. Being the holidays an’ all it was, unsurprisingly, short-staffed so He’s put in a lot of hours. The lids and me enjoyed almost growing roots without having someone telling us we needed to get up, dressed and out for some good ole fresh air. It’s the holidays after all.

So, New Year’s Eve was eagerly anticipated as it starts nearly a whole week off for He. Once he managed to escape work that is. We were all dressed and packed waiting for his return so we could de-camp (again) to the Designer house. We arrived to hear three toddlers being bathed, so the evening boded well. But alas. Twas not to be.

Within moments of our arrival, our host with the most, the Sergeant Major was struck down by the dreaded tummy flu. Tried not to take it personally. He-who-must-be-adored asked if we could leave there and then, but I thought it a bit rude, and anyway we’d given over our drive-way to the neighbours, so if we did go home we’d have to park three miles away, would probably get a ticket to boot, and besides we had no ready food at home. Instead we took to taking over in the kitchen so the designer could sort her baby whilst her hubby was otherwise engaged. Thank heavens for second bathrooms.

He-who-must-be-adored tied a tea towel over his face and was seen squirting disinfectant in all manner of places, despite the fact that the Major was quarantined upstairs. I'm not sure what he was trying to achieve when squirting his eyes. On top of that He kept asking would it be rude to leave before midnight? Mrs Forensic asked whether anyone would notice if she put the clocks forward a couple of hours, as she, and Mr Smutty, plus bairns were all suffering with flu. It was going to be a long night. With all this good cheer around I decided to give up being sensible and headed straight for the bubbly stuff. It was fab night from then on in for me.

By the time the copious amounts of food had been served and cleared everyone else finally started to relax as well. A few giggles were even managed as the Dunkirk spirit took over and we saw out the old and welcomed in the New Year.
Half way through the night I swapped wearing my little-un around my face and neck and snuck in with my god-daughter, where we were only slightly disturbed by a cat in a purring frenzy.

So, a subdued day yesterday as the effects of the little-uns sleeping in a strange environment took its toll. Decided the best thing for overtired lids was to get them all to bed before 10pm last night - a first for these holidays.

With all the dread and horror of a scary movie I was awoken at 4am by the most frightful gut-wrenching sound. It took a few minutes for my ears to attune properly before it became clear: He-who-must-be-adored was up wrenching his guts in a ghastly manner. The vile vomit bug had snuck in during the night and assaulted my loved one. We should put a black cross on the door and warn all-comers to keep well away. This house is not safe.

It took me a further full two minutes to decide that in fact our bedroom suite was not safe and I made a speedy exit to the little-un’s bed. But after an hour of her wriggling around I decided I may as well get up and do something useful while I can. You never know when the terrible thing might attack.
In addition to our own three lids we’ve got the Designer’s teenager staying as well. We’ve got a girly outing to the much-anticipated Spice girls concert tonight. (I know it’s sad but we are v v v v v excited). I do not want to be ill. I do not want to have to look after ill kids at the 02 arena.

I have cleaned the kitchen and sprayed disinfectant. I have sorted laundry. I have tidied toys. I have blogged. And yet, still, dawn has not arrived.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

So here it is …. Merry Christmas

It’s a miracle. Got my eyes zapped and now I can see. Other people’s reactions are strange from straightforward wincing to: ‘Oh I value my eyes too much to risk that sort of thing’. Whereas I attach no value at all to mine! My fear factor was huge and there was a couple of days of cloudy vision and weeping eyes. But the power of 20:20 vision is divine. It’s clear that specs are aging as some think I look younger and I’ve even been quizzed on whether I’ve had a face lift. It’s good but not that good!

Unfortunately we were recently the victims of crime: we woz robbed (actually burgled) by some dirty rotten stinking thieving bastards. Weirdly the little one was upset that nothing of hers was taken, as when the replacements arrived, it was like crimbo-cum-early. She worked out that Billy burglar isn’t that smart as he (as surely all dirty rotten stinking thieving bastards are ‘he’s) didn’t realise the true value of playmobil.

Apart from the initial shock, we got off lightly. I think. It was unsettling for the kids and a pain-in-the-ass for me as if I don’t have enough paperwork and endless hanging on to call centres in my life. Just the dreaded premium renewal to look forward to now, knowing it’ll increase by the exact amount of the claim. Not content with smashing one window the dirty rotten stinking thieving bastards smashed another one for good measure. Despite finding the back door keys the stiffness of the bottom lock defeated the dirty rotten stinking thieving bastards. Every cloud, as they say: the lovely new locks mean you no longer have to half break your hand with the full force of your body weight when locking the damn thang.

It’s difficult to believe the Teenager’s assertion that a Spanish dictionary would have any value to a dirty rotten stinking thieving bastard. But disappeared it has. Any mention of the words ‘lost, you and it’ are met in true teen-drama-queen style.

Twas a pleasure to see some of my outlaws this weekend: to see the Teenager and Gorgeous boy in their Christmas Show. Shock horror, He-who-must-be-adored managed a whole weekend off from saving London. For someone who’s out of practice at socialising he didn’t do too bad. With only a very slight parental bias, my two dustbin lids were the best thing on stage, barring my fave niece, of course (before any umbrage is taken a reminder that I have over 20 fave nieces).

Thankfully the outlaw geeky gals managed to find time in their short visit to build me a new computer. Now I am forever in their debt for leaving me running at super fast speed replacing my state of the ark pc. The very same one that the dirty rotten stinking thieving bastards burglars couldn’t be bothered to take.

The Christmas concerts are all over, all sporting activities are on hold and I’ve almost got Christmas wrapped up. Helped hugely by my early start with that little trip to the big apple with Supersis, Mrs Gadget, her fine friend and two more of my fave nieces. With five whole days away from the lids, I was expecting a little rest and relaxation. Staying in the city that doesn’t sleep during pre-crimbo sales amid frantic crimbo shopping and sightseeing from the warm interior of a yellow cab didn’t allow for much rest. But a bloody fab time was had by all… except for visiting ground zero with a major hangover…and queuing for 2 hours at Nintendo World to be told wii’s are region specific…and the pissing rain when I wanted to 'do' Central Park.

But, once crimbo is out of the way I’ll start a new savings plan for next year’s trip.

Have had to warn the lids: although I’m sure they’ve all made it onto Santa’s ‘nice’ list, I’ve heard the elves are having a little trouble getting hold of wii parts, so they may not get all they wished for. In fact the elves aren’t very popular in our house at all this year. They keep taking night’s off and not leaving little gifts in the advent stockings. Could it be age that’s making them forgetful? Or could it be they spend too much time doing something else, somewhere else, in London perhaps? It seems even Santa can’t get the staff this year.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

computer says no

To Chase Farm Hospital this morning. Started well with the immediate find of a parking space – no mean feat now they’ve sold off every spare inch for private development. Even better the ticket machine was broken – probably smashed by a frustrated visitor who spent an age finding a space then lost the plot on discovering they didn’t have the required £63 pounds in spare change. Being NHS territory it was downhill after that.

My appointment letter directed me to the ‘women’s unit. There are no signs, anywhere, for said unit. I take a gamble and head towards maternity. A temporary sign overhead says ‘women and children’. And not a lifeboat in sight.

When the receptionist arrived she spent 20 minutes banging her computer into life. Despite having a letter detailing today at 9.00am for an appointment with the consultant, Ms J, the receptionist couldn’t understand what I was doing there. Ms J doesn’t have a Tuesday clinic; therefore I was not on the list. I should not be here. But here I was. With a letter. Telling me to be here. We quickly reached a standoff and she asked me to take a seat.

She spent the next 30 minutes dealing with other people’s problems: women who also should not be here, a man who’s wife couldn’t get through on the appointment line, and women who should be here but had no consultant (he was in an emergency).

I waited for a lull before asking did she have any suggestions? She asked me to hold on and promptly disappeared, presumably to take some Valium or something stronger. Luckily she hadn’t done a runner (as any normal sane person would have) and upon her return directed me towards another unit.

Despite having neither need nor desire for a coloposcopy I went to the unit as directed.
Their waiting room seemed a less likely candidate for issuing super bugs and the very kind-not-at-all-on-the-edge manager, after some confusion, offered to resolve my problem.

She came back a couple of times for more details as despite being treated at this establishment a number of times over the past thirty years, they had no record of my existence. A new IT system was installed in July. After 2 and half hours I was eventually discovered. On the old system. Twice!

A different consultant agreed to see me so back to the women’s unit I trot. The scary/scared receptionist didn’t seem at all pleased to see me again. We got off to another bad start when she said she really don’t know what I was doing there. I am ashamed to say I did lose a bit of my calm exterior and some of the bubbling frustration inside me, because I hadn’t waited three hours to see a registrar who wasn’t even attached to my consultant (although for all I know they may very well be attached).

Anyways, Mr M, the consultant, finished with his emergency, saw me and the old charmer took three whole minutes to persuade me into having my womb micro-waved. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

And this coming so soon after my decision to have lasered eyes. Well deciding to have an appointment to discuss the possibility of having lasered eyes. I’m hoping my long distance vision will be restored to its full former glory and that I won’t be the 0.3% for whom it all goes horribly wrong. So I shall be able to see the faces of the people before they knock me out and do the old stab stab zing thing.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Slog and blog

It’s not usually a slog to blog. But the slog of life takes over and when at night I do get to sit and think I can’t find that space in my brain: that little bit that gives you the ability to think. All I am capable of is sitting, staring, glass of wine in hand, and boom I’m asleep on the sofa. Well that was last week anyway. The first week back was a killer. Doubly so as He-who-must-be-adored was busy saving London on ‘lates’, leaving me with the quick food prep and endless after-school taxi-ing of dustbin-lids. Shocking after the summer-break to face scheduled constant clock-watching. Now we’ve turned into one of those families that ferries their children from one organised activity to another. Not that they all have full-schedules, just juggling activities for three of them with working and having a husband hardy at home (should add running a home to the list but due to the dull nature of domestic drudgery I’ve given up).

This week I have no such excuse. He-who-must-be-adored is on Jury Service so He’s home for supper, helping ferry the lids about. It has been bliss. For me. Not so for He: all He’s managed is to beat the lids scores on some Nintendo game, and improve his personal Suduko time. I worry for his sanity: his behaviour resembles that of a caged animal. If he could only actually do some Jury Service he’d be happy. When he was ‘selected’ the crown offered no evidence. Case closed. Instead of this being a good citizen trip He’s in his own personal hell: trapped in a room with lots of bored people, doing ‘small talk’. It doesn’t suit Him. He can’t cope. At home we remind Him of the importance of communication. His attitude is, when there’s something important to communicate I will. I am from a completely different school of thought and He-who-must-be-adored says I do enough talking for the both of us. That’s why I keep refusing to move to the middle of nowhere: He doesn’t talk enough for me.

On the second day he commandeered my ipod. Plugs in ears clearly communicates ‘small talkers stay away with your trivial tittle-tattle’. But I am left bereft. A life without music is like a pencil without a sharpener – pointless and disappointing. The kitchen radio is a poor substitute as you have to keep perfectly still three paces to the left or you get reception interference signified by a constant crackly noise. I would hunt out CDs but since the ipod it’s too big an effort. Today I found the Teenager’s ipod but her selection is over-populated with tunes not of my taste (a sure sign of my age me thinks).

She’s settled down well this term and is keeping on top of homework so she doesn’t have to miss Rugby. Obviously we’ve had the new-term stress of sticky back plastic: I think we got cocky when the first book went so well with neither a crease nor air bubble in sight. Downhill after that. At least I didn’t have to peel the sorry stuff off my face and out of my hair – an improvement on last year when somehow my head got stuck to the table. To my mind, the new cover on her history book looks appropriately old.

Now Gorgeous Boy is in Year 5 he gets school swimming lessons. Outraged yesterday he learnt the council believes you cannot learn to swim properly in Bermuda-style trunks, even though he’s been having private lessons for the past 5 years in them, and is now a pretty strong swimmer. Boys should wear those tight little Speedo type yokes. Exactly the type I banned He-who-must-be-adored from wearing more than a decade ago. This morning we compromised and found a baggy pair that came above the knee. I’ll find out tonight if they let him in the pool.

Not so sure how the Little One is settling. She got off to a bad start when her new teacher made them make hats with their names on. Being of an independent spirit The Little One didn’t see why she should have to wear a hot hat just because the teacher didn’t know her name. She had a point.

Supersis has had a hard couple of weeks. Her daughter’s college have changed the timetable and days only a month after promising there was no change: messing up her working and cover arrangements for the third year in a row. And work is so busy the entire office feels like a hamster emporium: they run round on their little wheels getting nowhere fast. Still at least we’ve got our little trip to the big apple to look forward to in November. She tried to persuade me to go last year, and I was there in principle, just the small matter of not having the money. But with her super organised and helpful way she worked out a plan for me last year that made it appear to cost me nothing. Ha ha ha. The flights are booked. Our ‘suite’ is booked. Shopping lists are work-in-progress. Just need to pack and go.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Farewell my summer

So another summer bites the dust. Following the two weeks entertaining the outlaws, the fortnight in Spain flew by in a whirl. Think it’s fair to say it wasn’t the holiday I was expecting. There was a rocky old start: Squeezyjet didn’t want to let us on the ‘plane as Gorgeous boy didn’t have a doctor’s note for the new cast on his arm. After an anxious half hour the pilot came to the rescue and agreed to let us fly. The next low-point for me was standing at Valencia airport: He-who-must-be-adored was off in a courtesy bus collecting a car, and the rest of our party was off in different courtesy buses collecting their cars. So there I was, at a foreign airport, with three kids, five suitcases, no money, no passports…longest 15 minutes of my life. Can’t say the next 48 hours were much better.

The website pictures of our villa were taken 48 years ago and I’m being kind by saying the place fell below expected standards. The three babies spent the first 24 hours out-of-sorts – kind-of-like myself, and it felt as if they took it in turns so at least one was constantly crying. It’s fair to say I am now well over the wanting a baby stage. Luckily they calmed down before I found a hotel for He-who-must-be-adored and myself. The internet-ordered cast-cover for Gorgeous boy lasted one day as he got up early on the second day and put it on himself. By lunchtime we were hacking away at a very sodden cast. The promised birthday cake and chef for the ‘Tweenager becoming a Teenager party’ never materialised and the upset must-have rubbed off on the little one as she appeared unable to sleep for more than two hours without having to cry out and touch me. Clearly any romance for He-who-must-be-adored and me was off the cards, so we spent two weeks in different bedrooms. As He said…what do you expect with a party of 17? At least the view was nice…when you could see it through the mist. The thunder and lightning and rain added to the general melee and downcast feel.

But fun was had. The highlight was seeing all the lids having a whale of a time with old friends in a private pool. The second week, luckily, was calmer and more fun, with more sun, and therefore better views. Apart from my near death drowning experience amid the frolics instigated by the sergeant major…but all was in good spirits. Obviously.

Two things you shouldn’t do upon returning from holiday: checking the bank balance and the weighing scales: both numbers generally move in the wrong direction. Then a whole day at home, laundry and tumble drying crazy before returning to work for a couple of rainy days, before packing winter warmers for the camp fest at Supersis’s place in the country.

Barely had space in the car for the lids with all the camping gear, plus tents for half of Enfield that needed erecting before the owners arrived at their own leisurely pace. He-who-must-be-adored emptied the car twice before heading off to pick up a roof box. All that tetris practice hadn’t really paid off. He proceeded to quiz us all on what was essential and what was not. The box of cheap mangos featured fairly low on his list but I managed to hide most of them in the extra-large saucepan Supersis had requested. Luckily He-who-must-be-adored didn’t notice the lids squirreling away extra handluggage. Poor gorgeous boy was finally wedged inbetween a large number of sleeping bags and pillows.

Luckily after erecting tents in the mist, the sun came out and huge fun was had by all 46 of us. And I thought I knew about mass catering! The hog-roast went down well but hearing the lids request bits of pig is enough to turn anyone veggie. Am tempted next year to hire the neighbour’s cottage, as tent life is not for me. The whole thing about having the possessions of five of us scattered between car, tent and cottage just got too much. Is it too much to ask for a woman to know where to find her knickers? The real low point of the whole camp-fest was falling off a gate, in the dark, in sight of 15 teenagers. And not even having the excuse of being pissed. Embarrassed? Moi?

Had half a day at home, laundry-mad, and child-foot-scrubbing (after a long soak in the bath) before returning to work, and then facing the new-term-uniform hell of Brent Cross. Managed to fit in eye-tests for us all and luckily all the lids have near(ish) perfect eyesight. Mine, on the other hand have deteriorated so much that the optician recommends two pairs of glasses, one for general seeing and another for reading. He-who-must-be-adored recommends surgery; on the grounds it’s cheaper. But really? That’s easy for him to say: Lasers? In my eyes?

On top of the thought of the glasses expense, the tumble dryer gave up the head-splitting creak and decided enough was enough. The damp camp stuff was a bridge too far and it konked out. Wish I could come out in sympathy with it. Coming on top of all that holiday expense I am now the proud owner of a brand new tumble dryer. But only after some Oscar-winning pleading with the man at Top Discount about the volume of camping washing I had to do and promising He-who-must-be-adored was right on hand to collect the model in the window. Today. Not tomorrow. Nor the next day. Don’t you understand…I need a tumble dryer and I need it NOW! So, now we are all up to date. Just the ironing mountain and label-sewing marathon before the new term begins on Tuesday.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is a whole day with no major chores, no buying and nowhere special to be, except for the Teenager's first rugby training session. Isn’t that what the summer’s all about?

Saturday, 4 August 2007

leaving on a jet plane...

Hurray hurray am off on holiday…well not quite yet but have to congratulate myself (no other bugger will) as am now packed and weighed. And repacked and reweighed. Usually, when holidaying, Me and He-who-must-be-adored like to ram-pack one enormous tardis-like case that caters for the five of us. We have no care for the fact that the damn thing can’t be lifted. It’s the fact that it’s just one piece of luggage. Plus vanity case. Obviously. This year, travelling with squeezyjet and their weight restrictions means our summer wardrobes are now shared between a shockingly large number of cases. Just as well really as our biggest case of all time is currently winging it’s way to Hawaii - the American outlaws slightly over-indulged and couldn’t fit all their shopping in their bags. Though I personally am disinclined to believe it was the marmite wot did it.

Anyways am done with panicking and packing - bar a few essential items. Like toiletries. And, as my vanity case didn’t make it back to the UK last year, thanks to Air Berlin, have decided to give toiletries, chargers and books their very own case. Wonder will it all fit in the car in the morning. Ah well, at least the kids are well practiced at that tetris game, they can sort it out.

Am heading off to bed now as am on my knees. Partied with the outlaws ‘til 1am last night, before getting up at 4.30am to see them off. Sad to see them go, as we never know when we’ll all be together again. But so very pleased to crawl back into my bed again. Sadly no sooner did my head hit the pillow than it was up again to see Gorgeous Boy head back to Chase Farm Hospital for a new cast. This one has a split in it - just in case his arm should swell up mid-flight. Oooh no new fears there then!

The swimmy sleeve arrived, but the wrong size, as we knew in our hearts it would be. But as it’s now too bleeding late to do anything about it, we are making do. Which is what we have come to love doing. Or rather what we have come to do rather often. Gave the thing a test run in the bath tonight and it remained watertight. Phew.

Need a holiday after the past couple of weeks, with the mass catering and entertaining business. Actually the previous couple of weeks were no better. Luckily He-who-must-be-adored was around today to help get up to date with the washing mountain of extra bedding, damp towels and other essential late items. Even though i made it clear to all the holiday wash cut-off point was yesterday. At least we shall return with just the usual hols laundry mountain.

Shan’t imagine I’ll be bloggin whilst away as aim to be far too busy sleeping, eating, swimming, eating, playing, eating, reading, drinking, eating, dancing, eating, singing, eating, torturing tweenagers and generally having a good ole relax.

Did I mention eating?

Thursday, 2 August 2007


Sitting down to blog for the third time today. Unusually neither tweens nor teens at the pc. Hope I get beyond switching the damn thing on before being called away. This past week has just flashed by in a busy old blur….

Ipswich last weekend with the outlaws. Obviously He-who-must-be-adored was busy saving London. Similarly, He’s brother was working and He’s other sister was galavanting off around the world. Again. Was a tad worried about leaving He-who-must-be-adored on Bunny duty but he made a solemn bunny promise. I didn’t mind Rabbit care, and the lids positively loved it. I just found it weird that someone designed rabbit food that looks exactly like rabbit poo.

I know we’re not regular visitors but after a heavily-trafficked journey to Suffolk, it was disheartening to arrive at the care-home of He’s grandma to be asked ‘Do I know You?’ At least the dustbin lids got to spend time with their Nana and Nana-Nana (as their great grandma has been re-named). My Little One smartly observes that: ‘Nana-Nana is really really really old’. Shame she’s not so keen on wearing the hearing aid as the resulting conversation hardly flowed. Luckily Nana translated all that was said. At full volume. Despite the warm weather, Nana-Nana didn’t want to venture into the gardens, for fear of catching a cold. Bless her heart; it’s enough to put you off aging.

It’s a funny old business trying to find somewhere to eat outside London. Even when they clearly have enough separate chairs and tables for a party of 10 Ipswich restaurants just don’t seem to be able to want to cope. Or is this just a Suffolk thing?

Back in the big smoke, Monday morning was spent in a cleaning and shopping frenzy before entertaining the Designer and her baby for the afternoon. She daftly left me in charge in the garden for a full two minutes during which time the Designer Baby managed to get a bleeding lip. Oooops.

Thought the house felt rather quiet so the Tween invited another cousin and the Designer’s daughter for a sleepover. Two more nieces arrived later that evening, along with the Forensic one and Mr Smutty with yet more swimwear options for my hols. Hurray for good friends and personal shoppers. There was no need for Mr Smutty to come, but think he was ever hopeful of catching a glance of someone, anyone, in swimwear. Rather put off new swimsuit by the moulded cups that neatly fit the heads of not-so-small children. One of the Forensic Manager’s twins has nearly finished with chickenpox. The other no spots. You can’t fly with new spots. We are all ignoring our options should new spots appear. Ended the evening depressed at the size of me in swimwear and the size of my swimwear alongwith the fact that both the Forensic Manager and the Designer are already packed for the hols.

Tuesday was a bit stressy. Had the best babysitter in (she bakes cakes) whilst I worked. A call came from the West End where the Tween shopped with her Teen cousins. And was vomiting. Could I come and get her? Er…am at work…alone… manning the phones of two companies, whilst trying to cram a whole month’s work into one day. Located He-who-must-be-adored who can usually be found somewhere in central London. He’d come home early to relieve the babysitter and was in the middle of cooking supper. When Captain Chaos finally relieved me in the office I arrived home to discover two further nieces and Supersis had come for tea. Ooops that one slipped my mind. Luckily He-who-must-be-adored’s brother was in Central London and escorted the girls back to Finsbury Park before heading home to Cambridge. So then I discover it was over-indulgence in an eat-all-you-can frenzy that caused the vomit. Despite all my worries, the Tween was fine and was requesting choccy cake by 9pm. Bloody Madam. I spent the rest of the evening in a daze, collapsed on the sofa, panicking about all that packing I was yet to do.

Yesterday the Little One awoke with two spots. Back to Chase Farm Hospital tooing and frooing between the blood unit (for me) and the fracture clinic for Gorgeous Boy. The consultant not happy about removing the cast as the healing time isn’t up. But off it came. He gave us the choice: take the risk with a splint if you want to swim on holiday, but any further pain, and return straight to the hospital. Luckily think the spots were mozzy bites.

Holiday haircuts for all last night and I notice Gorgeous Boy is not himself. By lunchtime today he’s admitted his arm hurts. A lot. The fracture clinic want to see us again tomorrow at 10am, for a new cast. Onto the Internet we go for a watertight sleeve. Hmm slight rush on the things…this being the holiday season n’ all, but one company promise delivery by 5.30pm tomorrow. You can’t take a 9-year-old boy on holiday and expect him to sit out of the pool. Last year had to keep checking whether he’d turned into a merman he was in the water so much.

The good news is am nearly up to date with washing and ironing and there are lots of neat piles waiting to be packed. Now the airlines have reduced the baggage weight shall spend tomorrow evening on and off the weighing scales with the luggage.

Tonight is the American outlaws last night in England. The loud one has been here all week, but the others return tonight. Will be sad to see them go in the morning. Although doubt I'll actually see them go as they leave in the wee small hours. Remain ever hopeful of some day soon persuading He-who-must-be-adored to spend more than two hours on a plane to go and see them.

Only two more days to go and we’re off to Spain…17 of us…and the dustbin-lids outnumber the adults…Worried? Yes. But at least the sun will be shining and we’ll have our own pool and I won’t be mass catering…ooops oh yes I will. And only the seven pre-menstrual females in the group.

No more worries for a week or two…

Monday, 30 July 2007

Mother of a brown boy

To Chicken Shed Theatre on Friday night to see the immensely powerful Mother of a Brown Boy. Moving. Sad. Bold. Beautiful. Thought provoking and tough. Inspired by the short life of a 19 year old, it chronicles his mother’s story and her grief at his life cut short. More powerful for me as a friend of the mother, and her son. It never was going to be an evening of light entertainment: this is political theatre. More disheartening is the fact this isn’t just one mother’s story: it has a wider relevance for our melting pot society with the-ever widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

The balance of the piece is in the stunning craft and sculpture of music, movement and multi-media. You can catch it in Edinburgh this week, on the Sky arts channel (4.8 at 18.30, 9.8 at 15.30,19.8 at 10.15), and hopefully on tour later in the year

Friday, 27 July 2007

Its oh so quiet here...

It's oh so quiet. Except for the gentle hum of the dishwasher, the whirr of the washing machine and the brain-splitting screech of the tumble dryer. Not forgetting the wails of the Little One now her American ‘cusins’ have departed (albeit temporarily). ‘Who have I got to snuggle up wiv now?’ Err that’ll me then. Guiltily I feel it’s been a relief to have a break from snuggling. And, although I’ve been busy on mass catering duties I have enjoyed the brief respite from not wearing a not-so-small-child about my person. Now every towel, flannel, and tea towel in the land is either being washed, tumbled, or is sitting patiently in a colour-coded pile. Ahh the beauty of a having a gaggle of girls to stay.

Moan as I may (that’s my prerogative), like the dustbin lids, I am a tad sad tonight. At the quietness. And boringness without my American Outlaw, the Loud One, the Evil One, plus The Suffolk Smiler. It’s just the Lids and Me. He-who-must-be-adored is, as per, out saving London. But I was pleased He managed to be home a little more than normal. But not as much as you’d think considering his sister travelled half way round the world to see him. Having the family of He-who-must-be-adored to stay is a rare treat for me. He feels neither need nor desire to do the family thang. Though I’m sure he enjoys seeing them. Much as I love them I find it annoying to have to shout (often) like some kind of swat team: ‘DROP THE DISHCLOTH AND MOVE AWAY FROM THE SINK’.

More worrying is the sneaking feeling that it’s catching …we were no sooner back from dropping them at the dripping train station when the Tween and I, with subconscious communication, had a mass clean attack. The house has now lost that bomb-zone look. Hence the creaking machines. I was sorry for the Out-laws standing at the station. With cases. In flip-flops. In the freezing pissing rain. But then again, I can’t feel too sorry for a family that live where the sun shines all year round, where they have no need for raincoats, jumpers nor closed-in shoes.

So, some respite tonight from mass catering. We had leftovers. Then remembered we’re on rabbit responsibility. Doodles and Leopard, I think, were pleased to see us, especially when we gave them some fresh green stuff. Bit worried about the forecast for the Rabbit-owners. In Scotland. On a campsite. Hmmmm tad damp perhaps?

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Hi ho hi ho

Apologies to all my readers (yes you two know who you are) for the delayed updates: have been a tad rushed off my feet. This is holiday time! Luckily today I am up early for work. A bit of peace I hope and some small respite from catering.

Boy does it get hot in the kitchen when you’re mass catering. In-between peacekeeping the dustbin lids! We’re busy having fun with the outlaws who arrived from Hawaii on Saturday. Sunday we had huge numbers of outlaws for lunch plus Supersis’s outlaws as well – you know what she’s like any bandwagon…

I love having a full house. Especially the outlaws - after such a long gap. Am just a tad concerned about my American brother-in-law whose continuing existence I am beginning to doubt. He hasn’t been over since 2001. Am praying he’s not under some Hawaiian patio.

Think gorgeous boy has struggled a bit this week being surrounded by two sisters, three female cousins, four if you include yesterday, mom and a couple of aunts.

Sunday’s giggles came from sink watching: a new social phenomenon. As I’ve previously suggested the family of He-who-must-be-adored have a keener attitude to housework than my side. A social gathering provided a constant and steady procession of He’s family fighting to get to the sink. Dare I suggest they are a tad more comfortable clearing than doing that social interaction thang?

Monday we were London tourists. Being tourists in London, we got very wet, damp and miserable, before getting squished and dried out on the rush hour tube home. Hmmm. The Great British unwashed public. Delicious!

Yesterday we chilled at home and with nowhere to go the weather was obviously fab, with a whole four minutes of sunshine. With nothing better to do the dustbin lids managed to fit in a water fight to cool down from all that sunshine and before the rain came again.

One of my many favourite nieces invited me onto Face book last year and I’ve hardly had time to get back on. So was pleased an invitation winged its way to my inbox this week from a long lost work colleague. It was even better to discover an even older (ha ha) colleague who was last seen about four years ago waddling away with a new baby. I log on and there she is having conceived, carried and delivered another beautiful sprog. Delighted. But am still getting over the confusion of my friend down under who I tired to add as an old neighbour, as these days you can’t just be friends. I now see that we used to work on Neighbours together. Sadly, I’ve never been to Australia but am impressed my talents can spread so far.

As my sister-out-law travelled half way round the world to visit me I left her babysitting whilst I trooped to the minor ops clinic yesterday. To have a mole removed from my neck. Whilst awake. Obviously. The injection was a bit of a pain in the neck. In fact the whole experience was a bit toe curdling. As I lay there curdling my toes and wringing my hands I decided it was best to close my eyes as the red-hot wires came towards my face. Pleased to say it didn’t really hurt. Just a bit warm. However hearing your own flesh being singed wasn’t the best experience of my life. Then the smell made me open my eyes. Weird to see black smoke arising from one’s own body and unfortunate to have the smell of burning flesh, my own burning flesh, entering my nostrils. A small sticky plaster later and I was away. Today my neck feels a little bruised and I have a black scab, which looks exactly like ….the mole that used to be there.

Off to work we go...

Sunday, 22 July 2007

School's out for summer

Hoorah. Glad term is over as was starting to lose humour with the junior school. I wrote a note giving permission for Gorgeous Boy to play out with his broken arm. But still they excluded him from having fun: Health and Safety. He’s miserable from spending the last week in other classes whilst his peers traipse off for fun. Do they understand anything of children at all? At least they re-issued his end of term report with an improved grade. So it comes as no real surprise that Ofsted said the school could do better.

So summer hols. And it rains. And it rains. And now the real work begins. Word got out about the pet holiday scheme. Day 1 of the hols and we have agreed to rabbit cover. Hope it’ll take the pressure off getting our own little bunnies for a while. Phew.

Operation clean up this damn house finally got underway. Sadly, not in preparation for a move: just catering for visiting out-laws. My attitude to housework is a tad more relaxed that the family of He-who-must-be-adored. I asked ‘when our offspring look back what will seem more important, that their childhood was happy or the kitchen floor was clean?’ ‘Obviously’ He said ‘the floor’. He jokes. Me hopes.

To give me more cleaning time I e-ordered the shopping from Tesco. The packing was lacking. What was I most in need of? A bottle of wine. What arrived in smithereens? A bottle of red wine. I hadn’t got round to washing the hallway floor so I wasn’t bothered that the dripping box made it look like a bloodbath. The worst thing to have below a smashed bottle of red wine? Breaded products? They were not in a good state. And I sent back the children’s juices with wine engrained round the rim. What I didn’t notice till the driver left was the soggy box of Tampons. Of the super-absorbency kind. They certainly do what it says on the can!

Despite my efforts, the house looked tidier, but wasn’t much cleaner. I knew I was being a nag when the Little One told me ‘I know there are no house-work fairies, as they are all busy collecting teeth.’ I was relieved when He-who-must-be-adored came home and did some of his man magic on the windows. Have decided if we ever get round to moving I’ll look for something really small, with self-clean or wipeable surfaces.

To save even more time Supersis did a mercy dash collecting extra bedding from here there and everywhere. There are now temp beds in every available spare space. I’d like to think it all looks rather cosy and friendly. Shabby is another word.

Yesterday was the last day of freedom ‘til September so thought it’d be good to get a new bikini, unencumbered by the dustbin lids. Should have followed my instincts and gone back to bed with a book. Not only have I left it too bleeding late for any kind of choice, the non-smoking non-stop eating has had a big impact on the size of my chest. It was hard getting a bikini when I was at comic proportions. It’s now gone from epic to freaky. The sales assistant that tried to get me into a gigantic effort was clearly mistaken. A freaky fit it is. The bikini is not 'of the moment'. But it is secure. No fear of falling out of that structure. Just as well seeing as we are holidaying with Mr Smut himself, (who has already called to congratulate me on the porn-star proportions). What I must remember is it doesn't matter how much you spend on bikinis an odd bod is an oddbod.

My Forensic friend is a true friend. She used my depression as an excuse for retail therapy and turned up a while later with a number of new bikinis for me to try. Even with her not insubstantial chest she was shocked at my growth. So now I am the lucky owner of two bikinis. One of which is for sitting very still in. Which is just perfect for my holiday intentions.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Big Smoke

No am still not smoking – bar that one v. drunken evening but glossing over that…

Something kinda weird’s going on. For over a decade He-who-must-be-adored has begged, cajolled and pleaded with me to give up the ghost of London living and move to pastures greener. Personally have never had any such desire nor need. Why drive long distances when you can live within a stone’s throw of everything. Bar greenery. Greenery? Preenery has always won hands down for me.

And Animals.

Animals? Painimals! What’s the point? More so since having the dustbin lids – who needs extra bods to cater for?

But that was the old me. The Me BEFORE we spent a week looking out on a big fat green fix, caring for animals, collecting fresh eggs and generally being at one with nature. Of course I don’t miss bully boy Grumpy George Goat. Yet my marriage gave me a good grounding on his type so he with the big horns and stampy foot was easy enough to suss out. I paid lip-service to his position and fed him first. That kept him quiet long enough to sort the others out. Though I’d never turn my back on him. Those horns are huge.

Am also sad to see the back of the blonde dog. Even if her thinking herself human was a bit trying. In hindsight (such a wonderful thing) giving her bar-b-q left-overs may have contributed to her rejecting dog food and wanting to sit up at the table with us. But Supersis is home (Hurrah) so too goes the blond dog.

Do I thank or bemoan my country cousin who let me housesit? Ever since we hit London all I can think about it moving to pastures green. Have I had too much fresh air? We were v busy but would that cause my attitude to age three decades in a week? It was just pure bliss to see green from every window. And London is just so….London like.

Returned from work today to find a transit van parked in my drive. Confusion reigned as I racked my brain for some forgotten arrangements of works. After five minutes a chap in an EDF t-shirt came and told me the van was his. Get this: he said ‘the police told me to park here’. My response to his bollocks was not something of which I am proud. But you could safely say I left him with no illusions as to my thoughts on his parking and bare-faced codswallop. He drove off at high speed. Of all the cheeky bloody London chappies I’ve ever met, I think he takes the biscuit.

Talking of which, now I’ve got all that extra time in the mornings, Gorgeous Boy with the broken arm appears to be working me overtime. He can’t do socks. Or shoes. Or chopping of own food. Or even deciding what food he wants. Or generally much in the way of anything helpful. You don’t realise just how independent 9 year olds boys usually are. Not sure if it’s the sympathy vote he was going for last night or if it’s something altogether more grown up… Youth club: often he goes in his uniform, or if I beg, a clean t-shirt. Last night the hair was gelled. The ‘special’ trainers were out. And a smart (of a branded sportswear fashion) clean outfit was chosen. Off he trundled. Grinning. Obviously no information was forthcoming but I’m working on it. Shoe time in the morning might be a good moment for a grilling.

My Tweenager is nearly a Teen. Her first pair of heels have been purchased in anticipation of the major life-time event. Hopefully she’ll have practiced before her birthday to lose the funky chicken walk whilst reducing the danger of breaking a limb. Had a brief chat with her about the vague possibility of a move. She can’t see beyond the local bus map. Her combination of heels and a push-up bra make countryside seclusion seem something of a grand idea to me.

The reality of having to tidy this house in order to sell it probably puts a move into no-brainer territory. Unless I get some superydoopery Mary Poppins energy from somewhere and do that spic spot thang. We can but dream.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

To the Manor Born

Much as I love the idea of home farm the reality is somewhat disappointing. Despite extensive planting at home, our crops have so far yielded two pods giving exactly 10 peas. I’d say it’ll be a while before Tesco need worry.

It is also safe to say that much as we love living the country life, animal husbandry doesn’t come entirely naturally to me and He. Three days in and we are improving. Seeing the blond dog roll about in horse poo seemed a low point, but worse was her stench after being locked in for an hour whilst we shopped. This morning we were brave enough to let the chickens out. A regret when it was time to put them back. The attempts of me, He and two offspring were nothing if not pathetic in trying to shoo six of the little cluckers back in.

But the real joy of staying here is the big calm green fix you get from every window. And the peace. Except when the geese are hungry. Watching the horses and sheep in the big field gambolling about. Pure bliss. But only because we are just play-acting, and we don’t have the stress of a mortgage on a place like this.

Friday, 13 July 2007

What's normal anyway?

Normal service lasted a day. Back to Chase Farm Hospital on Tuesday: Gorgeous Boy hurt his arm at School during morning break. They gave the standard response: come back after lunch if it still hurts. Being a good boy he waited ‘til after lunch to tell them that it really hurt. So to casualty I go, stopping briefly to pick up the Little One plus a slight detour to let the blonde dog out.

Only an hour in Triage before heading to x-ray. No stress at all, sitting there hoping we don’t catch a Super-bug, and trying to persuade the Little One not to touch anything. At all. Only another hour to wait before seeing the break went across both bones in his left arm. No stress wondering would I make it to Northaw in time to feed the animals, and remember to collect the Tweenager and blonde dog from N13? Fortunately we got A+ service from the kind doctor who sped us through to get plastered, albeit temporarily. He-who-must-be-adored gave up saving London for some animal rescue – and thank goodness he did as 20 minutes late and the whole of Hertfordshire got to hear the hungry cries of the ducks and geese. We shan’t be late again.

As if the day wasn’t long enough the Little One decided this was the night she would leave her tooth out. But she couldn’t get to sleep for all the excitement. It was like Christmas Eve all over again. Unfortunately, Gorgeous Boy heard me asking He-who-must-be-adored for change for the tooth fairy. That cat is now out of the bag. In some senses a relief as the Boy was convinced tooth fairies stuffed old teeth up the noses of very small babies?

Every cloud…the boy’s broken arm has given us time off from the usual after-school ferrying so we have slightly more time to enjoy our country fix playing at Hudson and Mrs Bridges. This house is much larger than we are used, and even the Tweenager has taken to texting me. The low point so far was getting Georgeous Boy out of bed to show us old fogeys how to switch the new fangled telly on. The high point is the thought of being able to hide away in one of the many rooms and quietly read.

No such luck yet though. Back to N13 yesterday to finish off the Tweenager’s bedroom – the interior design project of the century, and only under slight pressure before overseas visitors arrive next week. In between throwing desk’s up two flights of stairs and humping wardrobes across the room, we head to the Junior School to take Georgeous Boy out for lunch. Having an arm in plaster is making him somewhat less cheery than usual. Pushing him over the edge is the Junior school’s refusal to let him in the playground. Sitting outside the office with an equally plastered Year 3 female is not his idea of fun. Worse, he remembers being plastered in the Infants and being allowed out. I have questioned the school and await a response. Worse, school’s can no longer administer medicine, so I have to turn up at lunchtime anyway to give painkillers. After hearing the Little One cough all night last night we decided to keep them both home today and let them sleep in. The plan was the catch up would put them both in better moods. The best laid plans….

Monday, 9 July 2007

Normal Service has now resumed.

Or as normal as it gets. Had a bit of a hiccup after that treatment. Usually, my ‘psycho-mommy-moments’ are rare. For a short while that became my norm. Moving swiftly on, I note Chase Farm Hospital is on special measures for failing to meet standards on super bugs. Great. That’s where I was treated and where I await a return visit for some other internal interference. I wonder is not breathing whilst in hospital buildings an appropriate course for infection control?

Supersis has abandoned me again for warmer climes. Me thinks she nearly gets the hint to not leave the country without me. The dreaded vomit bug delayed her departure. But only for 24 hours - apparently you can't do bowl-patrol on a plane. Something to do with all that extra security. While she swans about in a sarong I am left holding her hairy beast: the blonde dog, who thinks it beneath her to go in the rain to do her dos.

And, as if the day isn’t long enough, He-who-must-be-adored additionally agrees to a 10 mile round trip to the beginning and end of our day to do a Dr Dolittle: caring for 11 goats, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits. He-who-must-be-adored forgot he’ll be off saving London, as per … Leaving me, with all my spare capacity to deal with dustbin lids and other animals. I shall, as they say, be watching my back: George the Grumpy Goat is a force to be reckoned with.

I used to have a pathological fear of all things furry. But I got over it when I had the dustbins. Then we started the dog holiday scheme. Two weeks involves just enough poop scooping to get the doggy thang out of their systems. Am hoping the biggest upside to living in a country pile for a week, apart from the fact we'll be living in a country pile, will be getting the ‘let’s move out’ thang from He-who-must-be-adored’s system. Every cloud…

To the Tweenager’s school last week where it seems Me and He-who-must-be-adored could not be seen in close proximity to her. At any time. Except of course for the ride home. T’was as if we had some kind of superbug.

Thankfully, Gorgeous boy grows ever more gorgeous. He made me detour to chase some rainbows the other night. And some fab weird weather stuff we saw too. Pity he’s not so enthusiastic about school. Think it might be too female an environment for his liking: he is already eying up an all-boys senior school. Without wanting to appear like the pushy parent, I was saddened by his report – the teacher assessment gave zero literary progress over last year. The boy maintains he works hard. So to school I go. Again. A call today says there’s been some sort of oversight in updating his grade. In a report bemoaning a 9 year-olds attention to detail? Is this the standard we have come to know and love?

My Little One lost her first tooth. Though not quite lost as she carries it about in a little bag, ready to show it off at a second’s notice. Whether there is interest or not. And, it didn’t so much fall out as was pulled by He-who-must-be-adored. He couldn’t be doing with all that hanging on by a thread business. The innocence of the moment almost vanished when someone said a first tooth is worth twenty quid. That’s serious inflation. If the Little-One ever gets round to giving it up we shall see. Let’s hope the tooth fairy isn’t too busy or worn out to remember to actually swap the damn thing for whatever dosh happens to be about their Elfing person.