Wednesday 15 April 2009

Aliens ate my family

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 13 April 2009

Is it just me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Snore Bore

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 7 April 2009

I want to ride my bicycle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 1 April 2009

Family life

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah family life.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Five minutes peace

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

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

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

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

Have never felt so like Eyeore.

Wednesday 25 March 2009


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

'Nuff said?

Monday 23 March 2009

Walk away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Am hoping for sunshine tomorrow.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Walk this way

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 13 March 2009

Shock shock horror horror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 11 March 2009

First Night

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 9 March 2009

Dry Lines

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

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

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

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

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

Thank goodness for small mercies.

Friday 6 March 2009

Once upon a time...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 5 March 2009

Thermo, Tin and Other Things

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

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

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

Now I really need to get on with the tin.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

London Calling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Hey Mr Postman

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

Monday 2 March 2009

Sex, socks and secondary schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 27 February 2009

Why Why Why Delilah?

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Beholder's Eye

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 23 February 2009

Monday morning

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

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

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

The joys of a family Sunday in the ‘burbs.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Glory days

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

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

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

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

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

The Cava is calling.

Friday 20 February 2009

Wash out

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 19 February 2009

The Mud bug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 17 February 2009


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

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

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

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

Am only slightly worried about nightmares tonight!

Monday 16 February 2009

Green and pleasant land

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 15 February 2009

Country Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 13 February 2009

Missing in action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.