Almost daily diary!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Onwards to 2012

I'm not ever really sure that I like New Year, it's sometimes too much of a marker of time, more so than Christmas for me because that day is always awash with food and merriment, children and good things. Perhaps I have my mother to thank for that, she was the 'Memory Maker' of past Christmases and I have been blessed with may good ones and have been endowed with a 'blue print' for more ( hopefully) to come.

However new year is different. As a child in my own family it was never regarded as special and consequently I have always struggled to make it special myself, it has never been a family occasion. Over the years I have spent new year with all sorts of friends various; I feel quite envious of those who have a routine for new year. But each time it comes around I always remember exactly what I was doing last year, the year before, the one before that, the millennium, the year I this that and the othered! It's just too much of a marker...

This year we are having a quiet and civilised meal out and then coming home to look after the cat because he hates fireworks! The children are with their dad, it will be the 2nd new year I have spent without them but we shall text and Facebook, where would we be without that?!

So, as you can see, new year makes me thoughtful and ponderous. I look forward to the year to come with excitement and trepidation all at once. I have a long and growing grateful list and it is this that I shall be considering as I pass between this year and the next.

Happy New Year to all my virtual and non virtual friends, may 2012 bring good things to us all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So how was your Christmas?

Mine started early with a text from Tall Girl ( she was only in the next room) asking me to remove the cat from her pillow. As I entered the room, there she was, sitting bolt upright in bed eyes, like saucers staring at the cat. He was smiling (I know it was a smile because you could sense it, there was a definite upturn to the corners of his mouth) his little body curled up in a tight ball the middle of her pillow which, as far as he was concerned, was his rightful place. "When I rolled over mummy, I reached out my hand and felt his boney leg, and I thought Santa had left me a roast chicken!"
"Well, that would have been an original gift" I mused "but as it's only 1.30 in the morning do you think we could sleep now?"
I unceremoniously gathered the cat up and plonked him on her feet instead, he was a tad hurmphy but at that time in the morning what did he expect, Christmas cheer?!

Christmas eve with mum and Christmas day at home were full of fun and food and lovely things. then Ex husband turned up at 11am on Boxing Day to take the children home with him for his 'turn'.

Festive Ex was not. Small Sprog was as excited as he had been the previous days and asked dad to play various games but to no avail. Apparently Ex had had a busy morning and did not feel like playing, I was wondering if he was hung over but said nothing. Eventually Small Sprog played without daddy.

I so wanted to keep my children and play for days on end, I didn't want it to end, I wanted to carry on inside the bubble we had built for ourselves since school had finished; it was a happy and carefree bubble full of colour and light, but it wasn't to be.

And as I watched Ex and listened to him talking to Tall Girl, I remembered how everything was always about him, always.

We had a lucky escape.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's nearly here!

Well, it must be nearly time for the Big Day because Small Sprog is going off every few seconds! He is full of excitement and Christmas cheer, finding it hard to sleep, up at the crack of dawn, all the signs are there; it's nearly Christmas!

His sister has not really done her shopping yet! How can they be so different?

I, as is usual at this time of year, can't fit anything else in the fridge; the tree is looking a little dessicated (I have had a word with it and told it that it only has to hang on for another couple of days if possible please?) poised at a an angle not perpendicular to the floor and things keep falling off it; the cat keeps leaving little (very un-festive) parcels all about the house and between us we have probably eaten our body weight in 'Celebrations' (except the cat of course, as he can't manage the lid of the box, however if he could perhaps his 'parcels' would come out ready wrapped!). Yes, it really, nearly is Christmas!

Today the house has been full of visitors, at least that has helped with the fridge overload, who have come and gone bearing gifts and cards. So as I sit here on the verge of bedtime, I just wanted to record here for posterity and whoever is nuts enough to come here and read my ramblings, that I am grateful for it all and feel lucky and blessed to be in the here and now, with all that we have and all that we need. Christmas is a great time to take stock and be glad.

So, as I may not get here again before Christmas, I hope you all have the Christmas that you wish for and I hope it is a peaceful one too.

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


"We've had 2 pets called Archie now haven't we?" asks Small Sprog
"Yes" I reply, only half concentrating.
"May be we should call the radiator Archie?"
(Now how did he make the leap from animal to inanimate object?)
"The radiator?" I say in a rather condescending way "No one gives their radiators names"
"Well you named your radio Nigel"
Ah, now he's got me on that one!

What names do you use for your household objects? (or am I alone on this one?!)

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sticky Position

Last week someone backed into my car when it was parked outside work. I walked back to my car at lunchtime and there was a big dent in the bumper. My heart sank but then I noticed a note stuck to the window, the driver had left their contact details.

Everyone, including the insurance company, have told me how lucky I was that details were left. I already knew that, in fact I almost thanked the person for backing into my car because I was so grateful that they didn't just drive off! How sad it is though that leaving your details is now thought of as unusual and no longer just what anyone would do automatically?

Anyway, the insurance sorted it and I kept my no claims, for what its worth. The garage came to pick the car up and dropped it back yesterday. Just before they took it I had to empty it of all personal effects. Wow, what a whole load of cr*p there was to clear and mostly throw away. I left a stick in the back, or maybe it was under a seat and when they returned the car the man showed me around the car and there was the stick. He looked at me in a strange way, I could tell he was wondering why I carried a stick around with me. "Oh" I said, by way of explanation "It's my sons stick, he thinks he's a dog, though now we've got a cat he seems to just miaow a lot". The man looked at me; I could tell he was slightly unnerved "Just sign here madam" he said and made a hasty exit. Hey ho...

Friday, December 02, 2011

Out with the girls

I am excited, I don't see them so much now our children are all at senior school. I light candles the night before and set about writing Christmas cards for them all. I 'Facebook' Ruth and she apparently already has her Christmas tree up, so I tell her I am taking cards to our meal out and that if she does too it might discourage the others from groaning when I produce them with a flourish!

We sit in the restaurant. They groan as predicted. I watch them all and feel slightly removed. They are bogged down with domesticity, they moan about their husbands. They have become 'middle aged'.

This is the first year that we have not all come together and thrown a Christmas party for all our children. I feel sad at the loss but they seem to be pleased not to have to spend the afternoon with their own offspring. At least we have got ourselves together I think.

We chat for hours, and perhaps predictably, I am the one who is most likely to tell a 'rude' joke or a risky story and then think perhaps I should 'modify' my behaviour. I am beginning to feel that I have moved on, I am enjoying my life, my children, my own world.

As we leave I wonder finally if this is the last time we will all get together in the last few days of November. We have thrown a children's party for 14 years and now this. Good things come to an end, perhaps I shouldn't hold on to them for so long. The page has turned, so much more to look forward to.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Window lickers

We are driving along the road, nothing much is really going on, we are on the way home from school. Small Sprog has a noisy friend in the back of the car and I have more or less switched off to their chat until I hear him say "Don't lick the windows of the car though, they taste awful" and then, just as I am about to ask how he could possible know that, his 15 year old sister agrees with him "Yes" She says "They taste disgusting"
"There's only one way you'd know that!" I shout "Only very strange people lick the inside of car windows!"
"I didn't mean to lick them" He says "I just did it accidentally while I was asleep"

Do I look that stupid?!

Meanwhile, as I write, Small Sprogs girlfriends mother is texting me about her distraught daughter who is in tears because she thinks my son has 'dumped' her.( Do I need to remind you that they are only 11 years old?) I text back, trying to reassure her that although he is a bloke (sorry male readers), which means he has no idea about what is going on, he really has a kind heart and wouldn't upset her intentionally. I press 'send' with my fingers crossed, mostly I think I know him but sometimes I reckon there's a whole 'other side'! Her mother texts back: I did tell her that boys take about 3 months longer than girls to notice that anything's wrong!

3 months, I muse, as quick as that?...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mr A (for Archibald) Cat

Meet Archibald. He is adorable, at last our family is complete. He is aproximatly 13 years old and was unwanted by his last family as they had small children, which is a bit sad but their loss. He seems to be settling down well and is no trouble at all, apart from his carpet scratching habit; we may need to litter the house with those awful cat scratching posts.

Tall Girl wants to call him 'Jam' but as we've adopted him, he already has a name; Archie, a perfectly lovely name for an ageing cat. I proposed Mr. A Cat but that is not what she wants. She is excited and sends a text: I'm calling him Mr Jammy Dodger Kitty Catty...Dodger for short or for longer shortness 'Jammy Dodger'!

Longer shortness? Well that's really going to confuse him!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nearly 3 years on; normal but different

Late Friday afternoon and I pull onto the familiar drive, the gravel crunching under the tyres. The place looks much the same as it always was, if not just a little more jaded. As the front door opened a wonderful smell of garlic wafted out.
"Daddy says would you like a cup of tea mummy" Small sprog shouts from the kitchen.
How did we get to this point? I walk in.

Ex Husband is cooking risotto, juggling ingredients, smiling, enjoying the task. We talk, the children join in, he makes me a cup of tea, well mostly makes it; I reach into the fridge for the milk. The handle feels looser, more fragile and the inside is full of things that I have not bought and stored away, things have changed.
"Would you like to eat with us?" He says after a while
"I'm out with my girl friends at 8pm" I say "but it smells delicious, I'd love just a little"

He sets me a place at the table. Not 'my' place, he sits there now; no it is his old place, the one furthest from the kitchen that I sit at. The seat which, at the time, was his because he had very little to do with preparing meals and fetching things from the kitchen back then.

We sit down to eat. I worry momentarily that the children will find it unsettling but that didn't seem to be the case. It was a wonderful moment. Strange, very strange, like moving into an alternative universe, one that could have been, had things been different. It was happy and easy and unbelievably good. We had made it, to this place that I had hoped for. Normal but different.

After eating he clears the dishes while I chat to our children about their day at school. I found myself thinking how the tables have turned; things have changed and I quietly muse on the massive cost of getting here.

As I leave I offer to help him clear up, old habits die hard. He waves his hand dismissively saying "It really doesn't matter"

And as I go I know how important it was to say those words, for me to hear them too. All that time, all those days; it really never did matter...

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Floozy!

Small Sprog brings his Girl Friend home. She is sweet and pretty and well mannered but goodness me is she full on?! By the time I had fed them dinner I was ready for a break; Tall Girl was at the kitchen table trying to complete homework and I just wanted some peace while I cleared up the dishes.
"Why don't you go and watch TV and I'll bring your pudding in a minute?" I asked. They agreed to go, phew!

However, 10 minutes later, when I appear at the sitting room door with 2 banana splits (and that is a fitting desert now I come to think of it) there she is, sitting as close to him as she can get with her arms all around him. Yes, can you believe it? He is sitting on the sofa wedged against the arm of the chair and she is cuddled up as close as she can get without actually sitting on him, the floozy. Good Catholic Girl indeed! They shuffle apart as I walk in to distribute pud.

Back in the kitchen I shut the door behind me giggling and explode "She's snogging him!" to Tall Girl. She looks at me disapprovingly  "You'll have to go in there in a minute" I say pleadingly "And play Gooseberry for a while, I'm not having them doing that in there, he's not even 12 yet!"

And indeed he's not. He seems very nonchalant about the whole girl friend thing, it seems to have just 'happened' to him without any effort on his part. However she seems more than intense. I am slightly worried. I have a little talk to him about being careful, in more ways than one. He is now the one wearing the look of disapproval.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Only 50 days to Christmas (yes really) and Tall Girl is fifteen next week (where did all those years go?) and Small Sprog has a Girl Friend (Big Time). Homework has taken over the house, GCSE's r us. Hours have been spent visiting Ikea recently, which lets face it, is enough to make anyone reach for the gin and I don't even drink gin. And then, suddenly, the other day I had a rare moment of clarity. Yes really, fancy that, I actually felt organised, just for a moment. The feeling didn't last long but the small pleasure of the feeling remains. And no, I haven't already written all my Christmas cards, Tall Girl forbids the early onset of Christmas until after her birthday, but I have sorted out Tall Girls room. A total revamp. She loves it and so do I. Everything now has a place, I wonder how long it will stay that way?

As for Small Sprog, his Girl Friend is in Luurrve with him, I'm not sure if it is mutual, he's not letting on. Apparently she has 'I love Small Sprog' written all up her arm most days on her return form school. Or so her (very young) mum says. Over the half term break we took her out for a day trip (she's a lovely girl), after a conversation with her mother who let me know in no uncertain terms, that she was brought up a 'Good Catholic Girl'. Gosh, I thought, I had never considered Small Sprog as a candidate for corruption.... but then again!

Friday, October 07, 2011


In the car Small Sprog taunts his sister "You've got no friends!" He says. She says something suitably scathing to him and he makes a face back at her which she doesn't see.

She has large group of quite close girl friends and she has worked hard to get to where she is. She is shy and knew no one whatsoever when she started her school 3 years ago. Now though, she seems happy with her lot, she has a nice group and they have a place somewhere in the middle of the school pecking order; all is well with the world. However, there are no boys. Her little group have resorted to 'marrying' each other on Facebook just so their status doesn't say 'single'! She may be feeling she is 'on the shelf' but I am more than happy I can tell you. On the other hand though, Small Sprog is keeping his end up (if you will excuse the pun!)

I noticed him carrying around a bit of paper yesterday evening. It was a little tatty, but I noticed he was squirreling it away rather than binning it. I didn't ask him about it, just in case.

At bedtime I went into his room to say goodnight and he was all tucked up. As I pottered around sorting out his man habit of hanging clothes up on the floor, he nipped out of bed saying "I just found this in my drawer"
"What have you got?" I ask as I notice it's the bit of paper he's been carting around all evening.
"This" He says, carefully unfolding the paper.

He is smiling proudly. There, drawn in 'Manga' style, was a brilliant drawing of him in his school uniform, waving. It was the sort of wave he does which is somewhere near his shoulder shrug, the one he does when he's not sure what to do, the one that works really well for him. It was a great likeness. "That's a fab drawing" I say to him "Who drew it for you"
"Shania" He says, all proud and a little shy.
"She's a good artist, it looks just like you" I say. He's holding really tight to it, I can see there's writing on the back but I can tell he's not going to offer up that bit for inspection.

I find him some Blue Tack and he fixes it onto his wall next to the frog photos, as I wonder if it would be really out of order to read the back of it when he's gone to school tomorrow.

He plops back into bed happily. I am glad he wanted to share his picture, he looked so proud, I don't think any one's done anything nice like that for him before. "You ought to make her something" I say, thinking that he'll not like the idea. However he says "Yes, I thought I'd make her a model, but it might get squashed on the way to school"

Gosh, I thought later, Perhaps he's a bit smitten (goodness me I am using words that my mum would use!). Then I spend the rest of the evening hoping his soft little heart doesn't get broken too easily.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

They know you know...

I am being stalked. Really I am, or so it feels.

I click onto my Gmail and there's a reply from Tall Girl about making Sheep Cupcakes. Then I notice, along the band at the top there is a little advert that says 'Lakeland, the home of creative baking'. And do you know what? I actually click on it, just to see and there it is, all you need to make beautiful cakes, but how does Google know?

Then later, as I'm reading an email from Mum about fitting sensors to my window in the kitchen, I notice Google helpfully asking the question "Need new windows and doors?" No! I think, I do not need new bloody windows and doors, just go away and stop hassling me.

Then I send a terse email to Significant Other, with one eye on the blue advertising bar, which suddenly changes from baking to ask soothingly if I need 'Love Relationship Advise'. Ask him, I hiss to it!

Then I try to catch it out. I flick through some old emails and find one from earlier that has NHS advice on heart palpitations. Have a gander at this, I shout at the screen. And sure enough it hears me 'Business Photocopiers, call us with your requirements'


Mind you, perhaps I should be doing something a little more constructive with my time?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Tall Girls In Service Day

Tall Girl and I plan a shopping trip. Her school has an In Service Day and Ex Husband has Small Sprog, who hates shopping.

"Where shall we go?" I ask her when we are planning the trip, thinking about which shops she wants to visit. "Cheltenham" is her reply!
"To see Granny?"
"No! To shop"

It is not until I think about it that I realise her thinking. It is an In Service Day; what do Teen Girls do when they're not at school? They shop (well hopefully as that's the most innocuous thing they could do when they're left home alone) All her friends will be shopping, with each other, not their mothers. She has a dilemma, shopping with me means she has access to cash (little does she know) but it also means she cannot relax, she is instead on permanent look out for anyone she knows. See them first and she dives into the nearest shop, or behind the nearest rail, heaven forbid they may see her shopping with her mother, shock horror!

So I agree to take her to Cheltenham, if only for the fact that we can relax and not be peering around shop fittings every few minutes, like something out of an old spy movie.

As we drive there she talks animatedly about her forthcoming birthday. On arrival she directs me through the town the way she likes to go. All of a sudden she starts to wave and flap her arm about. "What are you doing?" I ask her suspiciously
"Oooh, I was so excited at seeing Cult" - one of her favourite shops - "That I waved at it by accident"!
By accident? And she thinks I'm embarrassing.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


"And they did something that's not normal"
Tall Girl is telling me the latest gossip to hit Year 10. It is about a boy and a girl, she won't use names.
"I bet it was normal" I say
She looks a little disgusted. "They did it in her sisters bedroom, when her sister was only downstairs" Her voice is quite disapproving.
"Well they must have been quick then" I snigger
She mulls it all over. She is still surprisingly innocent at nearly 15. I am glad of that but also surprised, especially when I read some of the stuff her friends write on Facebook.
"We talked about it all day!" She carries on "It made for an interesting Maths lesson"
 I looked at her and the penny dropped, that's what they were doing; the thing she thinks isn't normal. I wait for her to carry on.
"Everyone was shouting out, what do you get if you take 1 away from 70?"
I laugh, she laughs' she knows I've 'got it'.
"It is quite normal you know" I say after we stop laughing. Her brown eyes grow like saucers. "Though you wouldn't want it spread around school like that would you?" I say, thinking I may have come across as too liberal earlier and hoping she will always have the decency to be sensible about what she does with who and who she tells.

Funny isn't it, they have sex education lessons from age 9, Tall Girl still has them at near on 15, but some things they just don't teach you... And I try to remember how old I was when I let a boy put his hand up my skirt behind one of the hedges on the school field one lunchtime. I must have been around her age I guess. Thank goodness she wears trousers to school I muse.

"Seems like you had a much more interesting day than I had then" I giggle
"Yes" She says "Thank goodness Mrs. Clarke" her PHSE teacher (that's sex Ed in school speak) didn't bring in her touchy, feely box"
I look at her and then tell her another meaning for the word 'box'
"Ewwwwww"! she says, and we both burst out laughing again

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Small Sprogs reveals his secret

"He's told me" Says Tall Girl, who is sitting on the kitchen worktop, feet stretched out on the draining board.
"Is he in trouble?" I ask
She shakes her head.
"Well as long as he's not upset or in trouble then that's ok"

I start preparing the tea but she is looking at me, I can feel it. "It's what I guessed yesterday" She carries on.
I'm obviously supposed to prise this one out of her. After checking that he didn't have detention and a teacher was not in any way involved I said..."He has a girl friend?"
"Yes" She says "but she's horrible!"
"What do you mean, horrible?"
"Well, she's not but her cousin is; her family smoke and take drugs and she looks plastic"
I think about this last statement, does it go with 'orange', the ones that wear too much make up?
"You can't judge her like that," I reply " just because she has undesirable relatives. What's her name?"
"Well, he couldn't remember at first, but eventually he said her name was Shania"
"Oh" I say, trying not to pass comment, but wondering which social consumer type list that name would show up on.

So Small Sprog has a girl friend, and apparently I am now allowed to know this fact. However Tall Girl is worried. "She was his new best friend Dans' girl friend last week" She tells me.
"Small Sprog says Dan doesn't mind"
"He probably doesn't" I say to her "boys are different"

I mull this over. Small Sprog seems to have got in with a crowd of OK boys at his new school, as far as I can tell, I start to worry about him making things difficult for himself.

At bedtime I ask Small Sprog if Dan's ok with it all. I tell him that girls will come and go but that he really needs to look after his mates. He nods. "Is she pretty?" I ask.
He nods
"What's her name?"
He remembers this time!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Photocopier Man

We had a training session at work today instead of our weekly meeting. There is a new photocopier, it is deemed we need to know how to use it properly. Apart from the pure size of it, (it's a monster), there doesn't appear to be too much difference in the operating of it. We all gather round and ooh and ahh at the thing.

The man that comes to give the demonstration is obviously used to talking to gaggles of women, he is prepared, you can tell by the look of him. He starts his demo, we are all eyes, for about 15 seconds. Honestly, if we were the children in the classrooms we'd have had 'names on the board' several times as well as a letter home threatening exclusion. There are small whispered conversations between couples at the start and later full blown heckling from the back, the poor chap didn't stand a chance really but he persevered admirably.

I have to admit that once I knew the basics, I drifted off a bit. I found myself wondering what he looked like naked, and if he was any good at things other than photocopying..... I had to pull myself together pretty quickly I can tell you, I mean not only was I having inappropriate thoughts but he was no where near the realms of being anywhere near 'fit'.

By the time coffee break was over he was still only halfway through the demo. People started to wander off to do urgent jobs. In the end I asked to be excused, my brain was full, I had a class to go to and I didn't think I'd ever need to know how to erase or enlarge a margin. I mean call me a philistine, but there's always scissors and Pritt Stick if all else fails...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Evening

Dinner at Mums; with wine.

"She never remembers what I tell her" Step Father complains
"He never hears what I tell him" Mum moans constantly
"What did Horace say Whinny?" I want to say

Always a mistake to drink the wine on an empty stomach before the dinner.

Step father is carving the chicken, or rather disgorging it. "It must have been a cockerel" He exclaims, "I've just found his balls"

Honestly, he's over 80 now, but he really doesn't get any better.

"DENNIS!" My mother shouts, her voice full of consternation. But it is too late, the bottle is half empty and we sit giggling together like a pair of naughty children. A few 'Actress and Bishop' jokes fly through the air as does the chicken skin, directed towards their ageing Retriever, who will eat anything but particularly loves chicken and turns into a bouncing puppy the minute she sniffs it out.

After dinner we sit replete, watching TV...

"I fancy something sweet" Says Mum
"Chocolate?" Says Dad
"All gone" She says
"You've eaten it all?"
"Yes" she replies "Got it out of the way" ate the lot "so I could go on a diet"! Well it's no good having chocolate around when you're trying to diet...

Honestly, its' like a mad house here, no wonder I turned out like I did!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Puppy love

I am very lucky to have moved into my new house at about the same time as my neighbours both sides. I guess that's sort of normal on a new housing complex but I've never been in the situation before and so it seemed quite novel. Anyway, over the last 6 months (yes, that long since we moved in) I have slowly got to know them.

The Piano Teacher and Wife, have just bought an adorable puppy, well a week ago in fact. The children and I have negotiated visiting rights and I am now 'hounded' more than ever to get a puppy/kitten/lizard; no guesses to who asked for the latter!

And I have to say I did have a plan to have a pet once we were settled. A cat was my preference, but Small Sprog is the sort of boy who needs a dog and I have been doing a lot of thinking as to which would be best. Needless to say, the Lizard option was a non starter with me.

However, the more I think about it the more confused I become. Dogs are portable, for when we go away at weekends, but cat's don't need to be walked everyday and no matter how many times the children enthusiastically say that they will be the ones to walk the dog, I am not fooled.

So, just when I think I've come down on the side of a canine friend, next door get Murry, the most adorable back spaniel pup. We go and have a look. He is very cute. Perhaps we can share, I start to think; perhaps not.

Over the last 7 days, or should I say nights, I am woken at least 3 times from my slumber by Murry taking a wee. Whilst his owners are out they make encouraging noises and then congratulate him on his success. But 3 times a night?! And then, when Piano Teacher gets home from work, at about 7pm, apparently he feels compelled to put on his old clothes and 'play' with Murry in the garden. It looks a hard life but at least there's two of them training Murry... until Thursday when Wife went away, leaving Piano Teacher and Puppy home alone.

So you see this weekend when I saw Piano Teacher, as he left the house for a bike ride, I wasn't at all surprised to see him looking exhausted, and he hadn't even cycled anywhere yet. "Puppy fatigue?" I asked him wryly. He nodded. He had the pallor of a father of a New Born, and I have to say I can completely understand why. Though I think their devotion is admirable, don't get me wrong.Then, later in the day I was chatting to his Mother in Law, who is a lovely lady, who commented that the puppy was getting them used to what it would be like when they had a baby. I did think afterwards that it was more likely to be a good contraceptive rather than an incentive for more broken nights but may be I'm just an old cynic?

So now I am thinking, NO. A puppy we shall not have, there's no way I'm going back to 4 hourly feeding and nappy changing (so to speak), twice was plenty thank you very much!

Rescue dog or old moggie, that's my choices now! What do you think?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Small Sprog starts Big School...

Yep, my baby, at Big School for nearly 2 weeks now. How time flies, it only seems like a few days since I heard the the midwife utter those unforgettable words "Mind his ear!" to the student nurse who was cutting the cord from around his neck. He seems to have had an early talent for producing 'moments'.

So off he goes to Big School, with his Big Bag on the Big Bus. I feel so old. How did all this time just rush by?

Anyway, how's he doing I hear you chorus? Well, so far so good. I almost don't want to say it in case it jinxes him, but, apart from not wanting to go every morning, he seems fairly happy! He's only admitted to being lost once and he says he still hasn't found the toilets yet, but I guess that's to be expected.

There is just one thing that seems to be happening to him which I didn't expect. He seems to be coping admirably with it, it is to do with girls...

Small Sprog has curly hair. Not the really tight curly sort, 'the gently wave into a curl' sort, and he likes it long ish. He also has a sister, now in year 10, at the same school. She has lots of girly friends. They think he's cute. Apparently he spends a lot of time surrounded by girls running their fingers through his hair and cooing at him. What a hardship! Funnily he doesn't seem to mind.

Apparently the other day he was outside with is mates at lunchtime while Tall Girl was in the dining hall. "Your brother's outside" says one of her friends.
"Oh" She says (I think she's secretly enjoying having him at school with her) "I'll just go out and see him"
"Can we come?" the others chorused, as they chased after her down the corridor.

Tall Girl even saw him surrounded by sixth formers at the end of last week, girls obviously. Then last night a friend of mine called round, who hasn't seen him for a long time and she ran her fingers through his hair too and practically screamed "Ooh, look at his hair!" She's 47! And today another girl told him she was in love with him, and that was on the bus before he even got to school!

Tall Girl thinks he's wearing 'Chocolate Linx'!

So how is he coping? With his usual enigmatic smile and a small shrug of his shoulders. The 'Smile and Shrug Amiably' method seems to get him everywhere, and anywhere, with most people, about anything. Long may it last (fingers crossed)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Just meant to be?

I went back to the Old Family Home this afternoon, the children are with their father until Wednesday and I needed to check some stuff with Tall Girl. I had come from the supermarket and was dying for a wee! Sitting on the downstairs loo I thought about how long it had been since I last sat there. Over 2 years was my conclusion. It's not often you can revisit a house so intimately once you've moved out...

Anyway, before we sat down to discuss school, Ex husband made us cups of tea and produced cake. "Banana, or lemon cake?" He pronounced. "I made the banana cake" He added. I opted for that one, it looked delicious.

We sat for quite sometime, discussing school and children; when to get dyslexic centre sessions, who to do the next assessment, Small Sprogs adventure at the weekend to see the Gorilla Trail, looking at photos, talking about the future. I guess I am lucky that we can do that, all of us together (although Small Sprog made a quick exit to play with one of the Nit Children; no point in aimless talk when there are larks to be had!)

As I drove home I realised how far we've come. I still get on with Ex husband as well as we ever did before things went wrong. It always underlines my initial feelings...that we should have just stayed 'just friends'. But then we'd not have our lovely children. May be some things are just meant to be.

Recently I have been gardening. A new house also means a band new garden. I have found designing and planting my new garden an unexpected pleasure. I even enjoy mowing the lawn. I had never done that job before. Our marriage followed 'traditional' roles. I remember Ex husband used to spend what seemed like whole summers in the garden. I was never very interested then. While he was in the garden on a Sunday morning, I often used to bake cakes. Ex husband would never have done that job either.

And now look at us. I can't get enough of being in the garden and he is baking banana cake, very delicious it was too. So how come we couldn't see though all the mundane chores and dull life we had made for ourselves before? Why were we so locked into our own worlds?

I constantly reflect. It is impossible not to, with two children to look after. Still no regrets, I love my new life. I love my freedom and my autonomy even though I know it is selfish. Maybe I was never made for married life? Yet there is always the thought that I should have made more effort to make it work. Should I? For the children's sake? We'll never know now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A nice quiet afternoon in the Mother dept.

It's not often I get to see Mum without the children, so as they're away with their Dad at the moment I thought I'd pop up for the day, she's always good for some entertainment and today was no exception.

She has a mouse, they have called it Micky, for want of a more original name I'm sure, living in a hole in the garden wall. As we sat about on the patio he made an appearance. He was very cute indeed and sat eating the seed they had provided, very obligingly, while we looked on. Then came another Micky. "Oh!" says Mum. "There's two! I hope they're both boys"
"You're hoping for gay mice?!" I mutter through my chocolate slice
"Of course!" She exclaims, "Else we might get an outbreak!"
"Well I'm sure they will have had babies at least once by now" I gloat "There's probably hundreds in that hole! And what if they get in the garage?" I carry on "I suppose you'll snap their little heads off with a mouse trap if they get in there?"
I suddenly realised I might have gone too far with that statement. We kept watching the two mice, in silence.

I just hope that the poor little things are sensible enough to come out one at a time in the future and then she can go on thinking there's only one Micky, with the occasional visit from his 'chum' over the hedge"

Later on when we were ensconced in front of the news on the TV she announced whole heartedly that she had a solution for all the rioting that's been going on. "I know what they should do to them" 
"What's that then Mum?" I replied
"Cut off all their hoods, that would stop them, and stop selling hoodies in the shops too!"
If only David Cameron had asked her earlier...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Through Other People's eyes

At the beginning of the school holidays I went for a walk with Mother of Four. It has been well over a year since I have seen her, may be nearly two, though once we are together it feels like only yesterday. I love having friends like that, ones that know you so well that you can pick up at any point and they know how you feel, ones that you can discuss anything with and who you can sit with for hours putting the world to rights.

She has always lived more of a chaotic life, and certainly doesn't follow many norms, but I can always rely on her to tell the truth.

As we walked along in the summer sun, all children in tow but in various groups based on age and gender dotted along the path behind us, we started to catch up with the last 12 months of family life. It was over 2 years ago now that we spent New Years Eve together, her telling me how awful her marriage was, and me listening to her whilst trudging about in the snow!

"I'm sorry I haven't been in touch" she says after we've caught up with a few months of news.
"That's OK" I reply "We all have such busy lives don't we?"
"Yes" She says " But I deliberately kept away"
"Oh" (I told you I could always rely on her to be honest) I frowned at her enquiringly, seeking an answer.
"You see, I didn't want to know about how you were doing because I was jealous"
I looked at her with incredulity, after all the drama of the last 2 years I really couldn't see what anyone could be jealous of.
"You were brave enough to do it..." She carried on "You left him, and you made a life for you and your children, you saw it through to the end. You had the courage."
"And broke up the family home" I replied "And gave the children 2 single parents to live with in turn, with little financial security, I don't think that's much to be jealous of, do you?!" (I still feel unbearably guilty and sad when I think about how I destroyed the children's family unit.)
"But you're a good example to your daughter" She exclaimed. "You were strong and refused to live a lie. I wanted all you had" She continued "But I wasn't strong enough, even though I tried"
I have to admit, I've never thought of it quite like that.

She explained that it has been only in the last few weeks that she and her husband have reconciled themselves. She feels they might survive now, she is at least speaking to him! And I look at her and wonder if staying power is good or foolish, then realise there is no one answer to any question that's worth asking.

Later on that evening I texted her: "Great day and thanks for your honesty, I really appreciate it" And I did, it helped me explain other peoples reactions. I think I wrote ages ago, how some friends keep in touch less now and how I miss them, and perhaps she has provided an alternative answer to why. So many people were completely shocked when my marriage failed. Several said it made them look to their own; were they secure? Apparently we were, from the outside, the 'perfect' couple. So perhaps that's why one or two have dropped by the wayside, not because they didn't approve of me (as I had thought) but because they didn't trust their own positions. And in a way I'd rather it was that, because disapproval is far more difficult to cope with.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

At the Doctors

Tall Girl is tired and run down - aren't we all? But it's been a while so I thought I should get her checked out so that she can enjoy her 6 weeks off school. I'm sure it's just the teenage stage of wanting to sleep all day and wake up in the evening. Anyway I rang the doctors just to be sure and she said to book in with the nurse for a blood test.

Poor Tall Girl is nervous of needles, she's nervous of lots of things, wasps, moths, strange men, big dogs, hospitals, the name it, she's scared of it, almost. Though she is much better now at 14 than she has ever been before. However needles are probably her Room 101. So as she came down stairs on Monday morning, the first day of the holidays, all chirpy and asking if I'd spoken to the Doctor, it was with great trepidation that I told her about the blood test.

She cried, she shouted, there was much gnashing of teeth! "I'm not having it!" She declared several times. And on it went. In the end I persuaded her to go to the appointment and talk to the nurse about it. She agreed. At least I could get her there, I thought, and perhaps the nurse could persuade her to go through with it.

So at 2.30pm we entered the surgery, Small Sprog in tow with his iPod to keep him busy. We sat in the waiting room for a short time, and just as I thought she was about to come apart at the seams we were called in.

Nurse Debbie was an angel. She was the kindest most caring nurse you could wish for. She started to reassure Tall Girl and tell her all about what would happen and showed her the needles and explained how she would do the procedure. Tall Girl warmed to the idea. A little.

All of a sudden I realised Small Sprog was very quiet. I looked across at him. He was turning green. It was the sight of the needle. "I think I'll just wait outside" He said in his best grown up voice, and off he went out into the corridor. The nurse on the other hand spent ages with Tall Girl, who was still refusing. The best we could get from her was to agree to come back in 2 days time.

When Tall Girl and I left the room we went to pick up Small Sprog. He didn't look any better.
"Are you ok?" I ask him, trying to hide a grin
"No!" He replied "I just thought I'd escape to the waiting room, but then I had to listen to 6 people discussing their diseases!"
Poor Small Sprog, escaping one graphic medical drama only to find another waiting for him in the waiting room. It's shame he has such a weak stomach, he had to be rushed home for an emergency toilet visit as soon as we left, it had upset him so much. Perhaps he has too much empathy!

As for Tall Girl, she did go through with her blood test today, though it was a bit touch and go. I won't go into details, save to say that the stress of it all made her vomit into the washing up bowl, once back home. But it's done now and that is enough of that!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chalk and Cheese

Tall Girl came home flouting all her end of year subject 'level's today. We looked at them over the dinner table. They were good; they were average, which is good considering her dyslexia (and general lack of enthusiasm!)

Small Sprog asked to be excused form the table. As he left the room he said he though he'd be hopeless at 'Big School'. "No you won't" I argued "You've done so well this year". And he has. In fact, I think he has exceeded his sisters standards at the same age. Yet he doesn't take praise easily, believe me I do try.

Yesterday Tall Girl said that she'd been discussing with her dad that when she's passed her driving test she's going to get a second hand Fiat 500. "Really?" I say to her, eyebrows raised to the sky "Then you'd better start saving up!" (She's never got any money, it burns a hole in her pocket too quickly) I suspect she thinks Daddy will buy her the car. And there's me thinking I might be able to afford a newish car myself  in a few years time and that she'd be happy with my old one. Dream on on both counts!

Small Sprog on the other hand has been saving up for his car for a year or so, ever since I told him I had done so when I was his age. My first car was £500, he already has as much. Tall Girl can't save for toffee. They are so different, which is how it should be I guess, and they are developing together, in their own ways.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot, she got a certificate at prize giving too today (as, I suspect, did most children). However I wasn't there to witness it, that would have been Far Too Embarrassing apparently!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tall Girl makes a non-political point.

Small Sprog is soon to be at Tall Girls school, in less than 3 weeks time, if you discount the summer holidays. I have tried to tell her to keep her views to herself when they have been less than positive but some have slipped out.

The other day I overheard her relaying the girl pecking order, or some such.

"Well, there's The Popular Ones" I hear her explain "Then there are The Chavs, (I ask you?!) then there are The Orange Ones"
I felt I had to intervene at this point.
"The Orange Ones?" I exclaimed. We live in Bristol and have no marching around here!
"Yes, you know, the ones who wear foundation 3 shades darker than their skin colour (I think Small Sprog may have lost the thread by now) and forget to smooth it down their necks so that you can see a tide mark just under their chin"!

I nodded. Yes I knew the ones. Her observations made me laugh. As for Small Sprog, I don't suppose he understood a word of it, but then, that's just as well.

Give me strength not vomit!

Small Sprog had his first day at 'Big School' yesterday. He took it in his stride and went in happily when I dropped him off in the morning. I was due to pick him up and his friend (they are the only 2 children going from his school so safety in numbers!) in the afternoon.

When I got home I decided to make some cakes for them to eat on their journey home to celebrate their first day. Recently things aren't quite turning out as expected here.

The cakes were fine, in fact they came out quite well and I set off back to school in the afternoon hoping they would enjoy them. I was looking forward to hearing their news. However I was met by a very sad Small Sprog who was feeling wretched with a headache. His friend managed 2 cakes but Small Sprog felt too ill.

It's a 30 minute journey between home and school and I could see he was quite poorly, and as he got out of the car he proceeded to vomit on his new shoes! Poor Small Sprog. At least he didn't do it in my car!

He was ill most of the evening but by 10pm had fallen asleep. I had my fingers crossed for a peaceful night when Tall Girl appeared looking less than happy. She had had a sore throat for a few days but I put it down to the excitement and shouting that went on at the concert she attended at the weekend.

"What's the matter?" I asked her, hoping for good news
"I think I've got throat cancer"! She exclaims, tearfully "Like in the picture at the dentists"
I manage to keep a smirk inside. The poor thing does always over react, such a hypochondriac. "It's just a sore throat, let me have a look". Then we performed a little dance with the spotlight in the bathroom and a magnifying mirror. "You'll have to bend your knees" I squeal, teetering on my toes and wobbling all over the place. She is as tall as me now and it's like trying to look down the neck of a giraffe. I get a glimpse of redness, maybe a spot (please don't let it be tonsillitis) I manage to assure her she doesn't have throat cancer and say that if it gets any worse we'll get the doctor to look at it.

Exhausted I slump into my bed. I felt like I'd had a full on night at A&E.

PS. To add insult to injury, when I phoned into school this morning to say Small Sprog had been sick they said I'd have to keep him off for 48 hours. It's the new rules. That means me not being able to work tomorrow and therefore losing a days pay. That's twice this month...great.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I try not to write about work but I am going to indulge this once.

It's not been a very enjoyable year as I have worked with a teacher who is very'self contained'.  I have often felt undermined, or under the thumb. But this is not the reason for this post.

The end of term play is almost upon us and teachers are asking for props to be made. I often get the job, I have the reputation for being 'arty' and I do like helping with that sort of thing. The trouble is they ask for the most impossible things! And the school, like most others, is as poor as a church mouse right now (or so they claim) so the resource cupboard is empty. There's only so much you can do with old cardboard boxes brought in from the wheely bins, and Sellotape!

Anyway, last week I was asked to make a giant inhaler, the sort used for asthma, bit much much bigger. I got going with my boxes, paper and tape. It took me much longer than it should have and when it was done I didn't think much of it. However I left it upstairs in the relevant place and moved on to other things.

Towards the end of the afternoon, one of the teachers I used to work with said to me "You know that inhaler?"
"Yes" I said "I didn't make a very good job of it did I?"
"Well I was going to say it looked fantastic!" He said genuinely enough.

I felt myself beam. Silly really, over a bit of cardboard and tape. But it was more than that. It's been a rough ride at work since last September, pretty rough elsewhere in parts too, and  I haven't had a 'thank you' or a 'well done' for a very long time. I hadn't realised how much confidence suffers in this situation. Just one person saying I'd done a good job, albeit ridiculous, made me feel really good for a moment.

It was a good moment.

I still have no idea what I'll be doing at work next term. What other job changes at the drop of a hat with no notice? I am hoping I will work with someone less controlling. Fingers crossed

Monday, July 11, 2011

Strawberry Sunday

Strawberry picking, a wonderful summer event, followed by jam making; it satisfies the 'hunter / gatherer' in me. And it is July, you'd think it was the perfect time. So off we go to our usual patch, but no. Loads of green strawberries, loads of plants with flowers on, loads of plants that have had strawberries on previously but none to pick. How disappointing.

Then it rained! We sat in the car until it stopped playing pencil and paper games, with the children bickering in the back and me hanging my head out of the car window every few minutes to see if the rain had stopped.

It did, eventually stop, so off we ventured again. We went on the hunt for raspberries next but got waylaid in the blackberry patch instead. Now you'd think it was much too early in the season for blackberries but these are the cultivated variety and are simply huge. Covered in juice and excitedly shouting out 'Look at this one!'we compared size and flavour. Reminding the children to only pick the very black ones we greedily filled our baskets as the rain started again.

As we left the nice lady at the farm said they'd have plenty of fruit right through to September, which is just as well as we are planning another visit soon.

Meanwhile the blackberries are already made into jam, with a few left over for blackberry and apple crumble. It may not look like summer has arrived yet outside, but in my kitchen it already smells like autumn.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday nights in

 Small Sprog is dancing in the kitchen, it must be Friday night! He interprets the words of the songs with actions; not always suitable. He makes me laugh (and I need that tonight), the interpretation of the 'F' word that crops up (unsuitably) in the song is something to behold I can tell you, and not for the faint hearted.

He is light on his feet as he pogo's around the kitchen, which is undoubtedly the best place in the house to dance because of all the reflective surfaces. He watches himself, his brown curly mop of a hair-do bouncing along with the rhythm.

He brought his school report home today, it is glowing though not academic. 'Quiet and reflective' it says (if only she could see him now) 'A bright boy'. I am proud. Always proud. I want to hug him but he no longer wants hugs as he did as a small boy. He is struggling with the growing up process, too young to understand hugs are important no matter what age we are, too old to do it without thinking.

Tonight doesn't feel like a Friday night even though Small Sprog is dancing in the kitchen and I have a half full glass of red on the go. Tonight feels a little flat, though I try to keep up the spirits. Its been an emotional week, and I have come to terms with it all.

Sometimes I really wish I had a good friend to be with, someone just around the corner who would pop round in times of need. All my friends are married with kids, they live busy lives, some have moved away. Sometimes I feel isolated as life goes on around me, but hey, I'm just feeling a little delicate right now...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

You don't always appreciate the mundane.

When we went to mediation, nearly 18 months ago - but what seems like a different lifetime away - we discussed and agreed childcare. Ex husband wanted to work towards having the children every other week, for a whole week - a 50/50 split. At the time we discussed that, it was decided by him that this would start was once Small Sprog was settled at senior school. Christmas this year. I never thought it would happen.

At the time it seemed a lifetime away; I had this thought that once the children were settled with me, that they would want to stay, would be familiar with the routine and would  not want to change it. Recently, since we have moved and become settled, in our own home at last, I have been trying to build a home that they would enjoy living in, a family home, a home for us...That was then.

Recently the prospect of sharing their care equally has been haunting me, perhaps because Small Sprog has only 2 weeks left at Junior school. I am anticipating an email from Ex H. Emails from him are the only thing that makes my heart fall now, but at least there are no more awful solicitors letters dropping through the door every five minutes any more.

What will I say if he asks to have them? I decided to ask the children what they thought about sharing their time 50/50, after all, they're old enough now to decide. I felt so confident. We were happy in our new home, we had plans, we had a routine, thought we might get a pet.

I asked Tall Girl first, would she ever want to spend a week at daddys and a week at mine? She said she would. I was shocked. Really? I asked her. She didn't even needed time to think about it. It cut me to the core. I asked Small Sprog the same question this week. He jumped at the chance. I cried a lot yesterday, but not in front of them obviously.

What more could I do for them? I asked my Mum in an email. What have I failed to do? Like a spoilt child I wanted to be the best parent, I wanted to have the homeliest home, I wanted my children around me, not only half the time. I work in a school so as to have all the time I can with them. I enjoy their company; I thought I would still be needed for at least a few more years yet. I am not ready to lose them, it seems much too soon.

Then I feel angry inside. He was such a hands off father when we all lived together, he hardly ever wanted to spend time with them and retreated to the garden during most of the summer. He often seemed to regard them as a nuisance. Tall Girl even admitted that she used to be scared of him once.

So what has happened? He seems to be the perfect father now, spends loads of time with them on his weekends and when he doesn't (because he's still in the family home) all their friends are still on the street for them to play with. They have a great time, with or without him, as it should be I guess. For them, that must still feel like their 'real' home.

However whether he wants them 50/50 now or not is irrelevant really. They both want to spend more time there, I have already lost them...

I spent some time here feeling bereft. My heart hurt. It seems so unfair that they don't remember all the things that they have done with me over all their lives. So much time spent together, but they don't seem to remember any of it.

How will I feel being a part time mum? In most ways it is all my own fault, I split the family up, it was selfish and this is my punishment. So every moment I have them now is precious, it always has been, but you don't always appreciate the mundane.

I will leave you with an excerpt from an email from my lovely Mum. No matter what happens, at least I know, while she is on this earth, that she loves me and will always be there...

 It will all be fine for a while, but he won't change. He 'll begin to be the hands off father he once was, and when he starts treating them as a nuisance, I'll think it will be a different story. I shall never forget the day when we were all sitting down for a meal, you were in the kitchen and TG was sitting at the end of the table with her back to the window and asked him if she could shut the conservatory door as it was making her dinner cold and he said  "NO". I could have cried for her.  A few treatments like that and they will soon realise which side their bread is buttered.I do know that they have 'The Nit Children' to play with, but as they get older that won't last forever. I can't think what their Christmases will be like without your touch.

You have absolutely nothing to reproach yourself for. You have been a wonderful mother to them, and done so much for them and with them. Think of all the wonderful birthday parties you have given them all the wonderful themes you have created and fun you have given them.Oh, yes he was there but what did he contribute to it all.Will they stir the Christmas cake with him and have a wish...

Give them time, they aren't stupid, they will think it all out for themselves eventually.

I hope she's right

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Today I feel sad

Small Sprog has been at his dads this weekend as has his sister. He always gets dropped off here with me at 7.30am before school every other Tuesday morning (I have always thought this ridiculous when he could come home on a Monday night, anyway, that's how things go I suppose).

So this year both children were away on my birthday. Tall Girl sent a Happy Birthday text before school yesterday and posted on my Facebook page. It was enough to know she had not forgotten and had thought about me. I heard nothing from Small Sprog (despite his owning a phone, email and an illegal - age wise- Facebook page set up in cahoots with his sisters help!)

This morning when I opened the front door to him he did his usual disappearing act into the living room to watch TV. Perhaps he had forgotten that it was my birthday yesterday? However, on watching a news item about someone else's birthday he commented that it was the day after mine. There, I thought, he hasn't forgotten.

But such a great sadness came over me. He had not wished me happy birthday when he saw me today, no words, no card, no text, no small scribbled drawing, nothing. I felt empty, abandoned.

Is it wrong of me to expect an acknowledgement, no matter how small? He wouldn't have had a chance to buy anything but words cost nothing and a home-made card is treasured forever. What have I done wrong? Have I not tried to bring him up to do all these things, to make a fuss of people we love and friends we treasure? Do we not always make cards for friends, for Granny? I even still get them to make cards for their dad on his birthday (though I did not insist for Fathers day this year, the first time. But I did take them to the shop to buy him a Fathers Day gift which Tall Girl had decided on)

Is it wrong to feel so desolated? Perhaps I am being silly. He is only 11. Yet I am doubting my parenting skills even now. By now, shouldn't the whole palaver of celebrating birthdays be ingrained, isn't it all part of being a social being, being aware of others feelings? How would he feel if we all ignored his birthday?! We have traditions on birthdays, special breakfasts, a birthday banner and balloons, a cake, cards, presents for all our birthdays, all those things. Has all this not made an impression?

I had a meal with my parents last night. Later in the evening my lovely Mum gave me a food parcel to bring home. "The children will want to celebrate your birthday" She said "They'll be sad they've missed it" Inside the parcel was a homemade birthday cake complete with candles (though not the full amount!), some chocolate slices, meringues, cream and strawberries. All the ingredients for a great birthday tea.

I unpacked it all today and gazed. Such a lovely thoughtful thing that she has done for us all, but I really don't feel like celebrating anymore. A small thing, but I feel suddenly empty.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Got him!

I had just laid down to sleep, well to read a little really but soon to sleep, when I saw him. Huge he was, and brown, motionless for now but soon to move around threateningly. My heart missed a beat, I stared him out but he waited there menacingly, still but not disguised.

I formulated a plan in my head. I needed to be quiet. I needed to move with the stealth that he himself had used when, earlier on, he had manoeuvred himself into his current position. The children were already asleep, I didn't want to frighten them.

I moved slowly from my bed. Anything could disturb him, and once he was on the move I was lost.

I crept downstairs, located the hoover, took the hose connection and returned upstairs with it pointing at the ready. Last time I had tried fly spray, to which it had seemed immune. I certainly wasn't trying that method again! On the landing I plugged in the Dyson, crept into my room, pointed the hose at the lampshade, pressed the 'on' button and swooosh.... Sucked the moth into the abyss! I could hear his great wings flapping, ewwww! One more blast of suction and he was done for.


Now I'm sorry if you are fond of moths, and I know some are quite rare. I love nature myself. I will catch spiders and release them, bees and other insects too but when it comes to moths, it's them or me I can tell you. And in the past it's not always me that wins. I had a run in with one last year that was immune to fly spray. That was a Very Nasty Business...

It is my birthday today. I am a year older. I am hoping that one day I will grow out of my moth and butterfly phobia!

While you're here please help yourself to cake (mind the crumbs on the carpet, I've just moved to a new house you know!)

What are you scared of?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Small Sprog again...

"Can I get out of the car through the window mum?" says Small Sprog after school. I thought for a minute. My initial response on the tip of my tongue was NO! But then I thought, why not? It wasn't going to do any harm, was it?
"Yes" I replied. His face lit up. I opened the electric windows and he was out in a trice. "Can I do it again?" He shouts "Can I get in that way, can I?"
Hum, sometimes one makes the wrong choices! What had I started?

We went to the bank and I was thinking he may have forgotten on returning to the car. Who was I trying to kid. "Can I get in through the window?" He says excitedly.
"Well, it's not possible is it?" I say "'Cause I have to open the door to put the key in to open the window in the first place, there's not point in going through the window when the doors open"
He was crestfallen. My grown up logic was totally boring.
"Hang on" I said as I opened the door and placed the key in the ignition, put down the window and shut the door again "Go on then!" In he got, pleased with himself.
"Your turn!" he squeals from the passenger seat.
I did wonder if anyone was watching the ridiculous turn of events as it unfolded, it can't possibly have made sense to a bystander. (And no, I didn't!)

At tea time he tried to gross his sister out by covering his mashed potatoes with tomato sauce. Instead of building a 'volcacno' of potato and then filling it with red hot 'lava', he had leveled it all on his plate and was zigzagging the sauce too and fro. What happened to the table rule of not playing with your food, I thought absentmindedly as I watched him? I really must try harder.
"That's enough sauce!" was about all I could muster, it was almost mesmerising watching the sauce slowly dribble onto his mash. I must have been tired, what was I thinking?
"Look!" He suddenly exclaims "A Jackson Pollock!"
"Oh Yes" We both exclaim.
"We could sell that!"
I guess Damien Hurst has done worse!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mrs Dean

‘So have you written that book yet?’ She asked, eyes wide open.
‘Ha!’ I laughed
‘Well, you have the time now’
‘Yes, but I can only write when things are in turmoil, now every thing's calmed down, I’ve lost the inspiration. Besides, life’s all a bit boring now!’
‘Boring? ‘She gave me a look.
‘I know, I know! Not boring, not boring at all’ I smile, slightly ashamed

She understands. Not boring, boring was sharing your life with someone who had lost the will to enjoy life itself. Boring was only having sex once in a ‘Blue Moon’.  Boring was making dinner every night for years on end in a loveless marriage, keeping home, ironing, washing, making packed lunches....No, not boring, just stable now.

There was an acceptance, an acknowledgement between us. I watched her face, surveyed her demeanour. We had known each other for, how long? It must have been 20 years now. Goodness was it really that long since I had moved in for 2 weeks and stayed for 6 months. Was it really that long since she was fussing about having blooming polyanthus in the garden in December?

She must have been 15 years my senior, possibly more, but she didn’t look much different from the first time I’d met her, maybe a little thicker at the waist, but then who wasn’t once one had passed what used to be called ‘Middle Age’. ( What were those pills that people used to buy for the over 40’s when I was a teenager? I can remember Mum buying some to give as a ‘tongue in cheek’ present. I was innocent then, I had wondered what they were for but was vaguely aware of some sort of adult giggling, and there was the – awful - thought that they, or the giving of them, might contain some sort of sexual connotations. Heaven forbid!)

She was beautiful in an assured way, her hair the colour of golden corn, her skin pale and freckled like a child after a day on the beach. There were lines, when I looked carefully, around her eyes, the smiling sort. And her mouth, those lines that smokers get from pursing up their lips for a drag, were just beginning to appear.

She had lost two husbands in her life, both through illlness rather than carelessness. She had owned two naughty dogs, had had two beautiful children. She was now living in two homes, her own, that I had once lived in with her and the house that she shared with her lover...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More moments from suburbia...

At last, the end of year 9 exams and year 6 SAT's! At least both children were suffering during the same week, or was it just me that was suffering?

"How did your French exam go?" I asked Tall Girl after the event. She's not too hot on French and uses Google Translate for her homework, but what can you do?!
"I think I did quite well" She assures me smiling.
"Really?" I say, hoping she doesn't pick up on my incredulity. "What about your written paragraph?"
"Yes" She continues "I wrote loads, and when I didn't know the French words I just wrote them in English"!
What else could I say?

Meanwhile Small Sprog stoically rode to school in the car every morning knowing that there was no way he could get out of his exams. "I hate SAT's" was his mantra all week. On Friday morning he was in tears before school. Not only was he still doing exams but apparently he was due to stand up in front of the whole school in assembly and speak. (This isn't on his wish list of things to look forward to, even though, at home, he is the most gregarious of all of us.) Now if this had been Tall Girl she would have wailed and fussed and there would have been much angst and gnashing of teeth about it for weeks before hand, but Small Sprog being Small Sprog uses the 'Ostritch Method' when anything scary is about to happen; he ignores it until it is almost upon him. Hence me knowing nothing of his up and coming speech until we are on the way to school.

I pass him a tissue to dry his eyes. He blows his nose, thinks for a while and then says "Must be awful being a tissue Mum"
I gave him a weary look
He throws the tissue over his shoulder and says "They must feel so discarded"

Honestly, what am I going to do with him?