Almost daily diary!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sick as a fish!

Small Sprog has quite a few 'going to bed' tactics, I'm sure you can imagine? So when he says he feels sick, just as it's time to turn out the light, I'm often just a bit sceptical. It's the 'I need a drink of water' syndrome.

Last night, just as we turned the light out, he felt sick. "No you don't" I say
"I really do" he replies.
It's a bit 'cry wolf'.

I start to become exasperated. I tell him he can come back downstairs but only for a moment. I go off to find a bucket just in case - just in time in fact - Small Sprog is sick, poor thing. At least he is a good aim.

Consequently he is at home today, right as rain and slightly bored, which is a good thing, I don't want him to think taking a 'sick day' is fun.

So as we go to get Tall Girl from school this afternoon we have a conversation about fishing. He was watching a programme about fishing on TV last night to take his mind off feeling ill. "Did I tell you?" He says "That my friend has a fishing magazine and there is a picture of a boy with a massive carp that looks just like me?"
"Oh Small Sprog" I say sympathetically "You don't look anything like a big carp!"
He gives me a withering look. "No, the boy" he says "I look just like the boy holding the fish"

I giggle. He may have thought I was being silly but actually I was deadly serious. Hey Ho! I'll put my madness down to sleep deprivation. How do you account for yours?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The New Boy Band

Small Sprog and friends have created themselves a band. They are allowed to use the music dept facilities at school during lunchtime. His recent Facebook pic showed the four of them together with the words 'The Band With No Name'. In the comments one of them had said "Thought we'd got a name?"
"Not yet" said another "Thought of 'The Nutters' though"! Too true I thought. And so it begins..

Today Small Sprog gets into the car. "We've got a name"
"Oh good" I say "What is it?"
"Good name" I say, thinking I must try not to get it mixed up with my lawn mower -Flymo- or worse still the nick name that Lovely Man calls the lawn mower (Spazmo, which I know is very politically incorrect and I hope I have not offended anyone here).
"Who thought of it?"
"Me, but Alex thought of the slogan 'Hot Chicks And Rock And Roll'!"
"Oh!" I say "Do you know, sometimes there are things I wish I didn't know Small Sprog!" Goodness me they are only 12.

Anyway, he persuades me to let him leave his guitar at school so they can continue to practice. I agree and am secretly pleased because he really needs to practice loads more, it's not until later on in the conversation that I realise another boy is playing his guitar (his mother, sensibly, won't let him leave his guitar at school) and Small Sprog is vocals. So much for the guitar practice then, but he does have a good singing voice and it's way better than his guitar playing.

In the back of the car I ask him what they are currently rehearsing. He starts to sing, which always makes me smile. "Have you downloaded the lyrics?" I ask
"No, I know them all backwards"
"Go on then" Says his sister
"Go on what?" I ask confused
"Sing it backwards" she says with a 'duhh' sort of voice
"No" I say "He doesn't mean really 'backwards', it's a figure of speech"
"Oh" she says disappointedly and then, loosing interest, she asks "Can I have the radio on?"
I look at Small Sprog and raise my eyebrows, sometimes she just doesn't get it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

From the past (with explanation)

(Afterword: Having read a couple of comments below, I thought that perhaps I should explain that these events, spaced across 6 or more years, at the time did not feel catastrophic, dramatic or even on ordeal. Life just lurched from event to event, good and bad, intense and less so. Perhaps it was because I was so young and had nothing to compare my life with, perhaps it was the time itself? In the early to mid '80's I had never heard of 'Domestic Violence' I don't think the phrase had been realised back then, it wasn't on the news, on advertising hoardings or seen between TV programmes, it wasn't in my vocabulary; things happened but that's just how it was. I didn't share these events with my family - can you imagine the fuss, things were complicated enough? But then again, as I have said, there didn't seem much to tell. It is only now, now that I put it all together - and condensed here even more so- that I realise I was a victim in a way. But I prefer, like many others, to think of myself as a survivor - and that is a survivor of life in general, not just of Domestic Violence.)

"Guess who touched me on the arm in the supermarket yesterday?" She says in an animated fashion. I shake my head. "M!" she shouts with glee, "you know, your old flame?" I nod my head and she continues with enthusiasm. "He asked after you". She is pleased to have seen him and I look at her in amazement.

She is talking about a man that she didn't really approve of all those years ago, he had tattooed arms ( I was instructed from an early age to "never bring a man home with a motor bike or tattoos!") and long hair - though no bike - and she had said that he had no table manners at all. She thought he was lazy and not suitable (despite owning his own company) and "was he seeing someone else?". I will always remember that line because I was never quite sure myself. Yet here she was talking about him like an old friend (though she had warmed to him over the 6 or more years we were together.)

"I just happened to have some photographs of you all, I'd just collected from Boots" She continued. Goodness me she has shown him photographs? "He has 2 girls now you know?" I did. "He says tall Girl looks just like you"
"Poor thing, everyone says that to her." I reply as I make a swift mental calculation and realise I was hardly 3 years older than she is now when I first met him.

As she carried on I began to remember parts of those 6 years, or was it 7. The images flashed through my head at speed, like a film-strip flicking on a stark white wall superimposed on the current view of my mother sitting in her conservatory. Each scene played for only seconds but were none the less vivid: The fist through the car windscreen, from the inside; the blue room, in a fairly grim B&B in Dartmouth, and the searing pain of sex, as I lay silent and he ground down on top of me without my consent; the view from the back of the ambulance as we sped to hospital to have pills pumped from his stomach; the promise I made afterwards - how many others had said those same lines?

"He says he thought he saw you the other day" She smiled as she delivered this piece of news "and I told him you'd love to have had a chat" I smile back, remembering better times, times when he could talk me out of a black mood and make everything in the world seem so much better, just with words. The time he stroked my head until an agonising migraine had passed; his last note to me - everything will be alright.
"He says he often thinks of you kindly" She finished

How strange, until now, I had never thought of him at all.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Sculpture at University of Bristol
Botanic Garden, artist unknown.
My Daughters Blog is growing at quite a speed, she's getting followers every day, girls her age mostly, which I'm pleased about and she has all that excitement (do you remember what it was like?) every time she gets a new comment.

I did a deal with the devil  Ex Husband this Easter holidays. In order to be able to have my children during the Whitsun week - all of it- I had to forgo a week of this Easter holidays. It has been fine, I adapt to the time without them surprisingly well - or I think I do - and use it to get things done, start and finish (and that really is a revelation!) small projects and see friends. It is quite satisfying to have accomplished something visible during a non working week.

I have been just over a week without them now and today when I was tidying Tall Girls room I came across something she needed for school tomorrow. I text her asking if she really needs it (they are not home until Wednesday - see what I mean about the deal? It's a long time) She texts back that she does need it and I say I'll drop it round. It feels a slight inconvenience to travel in that direction, I still drive along the well-to-do tree lined streets thinking about other times and 'what ifs'.

I pull onto the drive and she comes to the door, my beautiful Tall Girl and it's then when I realise how much I have missed her and how much I need to hug her to me like a newborn child again. Now that she is fully grown she is as beautiful to hug as she was as a baby, more so perhaps and even more precious now because she is only on loan to me and the time is nearly up, fully grown and 16 this year, she is well on the way to being mine no longer.

We hug a lot just there on the threshold of the house that used to be mine, the one I cooked and cleaned in, the one I ran single-handed for so many years.

Small Sprog appears and sticks his head up the back of Tall Girls hoody. She remonstrates, while I hug him too and whisper how much I love him. I say good bye and see you Wednesday and I'm gone.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Stinky Cat Post

Yes he may look like 'butter wouldn't melt' but there's
 cat nagging in there like you wouldn't believe!
Stinkey cat is miffed. He doesn't like it if I have a night away even though my lovely neighbours come in to feed, check and give him a cuddle. When I come home he complains, big time. He doesn't shut up bending my ear for days after, it's cruelty to humans this constant cat nagging and he won't leave me alone, like a little shadow he trots around after me. I might as well have got myself a dog! I am still doing penance for last Easter weekend even though it's now Friday again.

Last night I go upstairs to get ready to go out. I make sure I have a little lie on the bed with him first and give him a cootch around his ears and he smiles that cat smile - insincere? Who knows?

The minute I get up from the bed he's on the alert. I look at him. Eye contact is always a mistake; he miaows. I try to avoid his eyes as I move around the bedroom getting ready to go out. As I walk past him to go into the bathroom he complains again. "You really aren't that endearing at all" I say to him as I reach for my perfume. I come back into the room to find he has disappeared (he can do this completely silently, like the Cheshire Cat) it is almost a relief, there's only so many insults a proud cat can take I think to myself.

I pick up my things and walk out onto the landing, there he is ready to ambush...

Monday, April 09, 2012


Just recently I have spent time with my Lovely Man's family as well as my own parents and although visiting my own oddball parents is an adventure in itself, Lovely Man's parents house is usually more full and lively. This is probably due to the fact that Lovely Man is so much younger than myself and therefore so are his parents; he also has a bigger family and I am lucky to feel equally at home in both places.

So now that my eldest offspring is almost closer to 16 than 15, I find myself wondering what it will be like to have them 'home to visit' with various friends and boyfriends when they are older. Will I still be such an embarrassment that they won't bring their friends home at all? Perhaps even they won't want to come? Or will they just come home to humour me? Will the Not So Small Sprog walk through the front door, straight to the kitchen and stick his head in the fridge to see what's for lunch? For that last one, I hope so.

How will it be? There is much to look forward to I hope but I dare not to imagine it for fear of it not turning out as planned.

Sitting here now, in Lovely Man's Parents House, the window open and bird song in abundance, I want this paradise for my own family. I want the house in the country with fruit trees and space all around. Yet I am already middle aged. This prize is the one afforded to people who marry young and stay together through thick and thin, who build on the foundations of solid jobs and hard work, who bring their children up in a stable family, no bags packed for weekends with daddy, no halving of the marital home or working part time because there's not much else available right now.

Someone once told me that I would be jeopardising my financial future if I left my marriage. They were right of course and I knew so at the time. Yet I felt and still feel that to stay together for financial and material reasons alone would be like throwing away life itself. To not feel love or be loved.

Someone else once told me that to achieve anything, to reach your goal, you have to have a plan. Dare I plan or even dream? Does it seem fruitless, when half your life is over, to keep striving for perfection?

This is what I have begun to ask myself. Yet I guess in a way I already have the answer. In these last three years life has changed beyond all recognition. I have invented a new life for myself; perhaps it is a new life or perhaps it is just one more point along the axis from start to finish. Maybe, still, anything is possible. We just have to make it happen.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Orchid house

At the Botanical Gardens again, in one of the hot houses we found some orchids.
Sadly my camera ran out of battery so the quality of these pictures isn't too good. Luckily I had my ipad to hand and took them on that. It was only in the rucksack because I had a Voucher Code on it so that we could have cheap pizza afterwards - but that's another story!

I love theses ones, they looked as though they had rags hanging from them

these are my favourites, they look a bit evil don't you think?

The ones below are also favourites, all so wonderful and 'other worldly'

The other bonus was that it was lovely and warm in the greenhouses!

And by the way...

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 05, 2012


This week we stayed a night at mums. It is a long time since we have all slept overnight there and I have to say there was definitely a wealth of blogging material during the 24 hours that we were in situ! Here's a sample;

Whilst sitting in the kitchen in the late afternoon I could hear my stepfather at the front door talking to a charity collector or chugger (charity mugger)
"Did you run the sports relief mile?" he was asking my 81 year old SFather
"No" he retorted "but I moved the Top Hat from Mayfair to Old Kent Road"!
I laughed out loud in the kitchen and soon the 'Chugger' was off to another front door. I wish I could think up lines that quickly. He may be 81 but his humour is still sharp as a knife.

Meanwhile my mother was telling me about how she put dinner in the airing cupboard. "You are supposed to cook it in the oven mum" I say disparagingly.
"It was only to defrost it" she explained. Though I am sure this isn't a recognised method of safely defrosting a meal.

However, having put the dinner in the airing cupboard in the morning she went on to tell me that she had forgotten all about it and cooked something totally different for dinner that night, only to find the tepid intended meal in the airing cupboard the next day. It's a whole new concept of the idea of the 'slow cooker' don't you think?
"It was a senior moment" she explained "I often have several a day!"
And she's not the only one I thought to myself!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Flying pigs and pink flamingos!

Driving to school along the country lanes that form the journey out of the city to a slightly 'better' school (but not much) we pass hedgerows loaded with the promise of spring. What a beautiful time of year. It may be almost an hours round trip if the traffic is bad but it could be a far worse commute and makes up, just a little, for not actually living in the countryside.

Tall Girl is in the back of the car (She's in the back on the way to school with SS in the back on the way home. She chooses this option because she feels more invisible in the back of the car. Heaven forbid that, in the queues leaving the city, we should get stuck next to the school bus on the duel carriage way long enough for her to be 'seen' in the car travelling with her embarrassing mother and small brother ). We are driving merrily along and I can see what looks like someone's old pink swimming towel draped in the hedge ahead, ruining the aesthetics of the journey. I mentally harumph to a non-existent 'other' for spoiling the scenery when suddenly Tall Girl lets out an excited shouted "Oh!" shortly followed by a disappointed "Humph".
"What's the matter?" I ask sympathetically from the front.
"It's so disappointing" She replies, distraught "I thought it (the pink towel) was a flamingo"!
Small Sprog and I burst into laughter "A flamingo!" we laughed "well you don't get many of them rampaging around the local Alveston area do you?" I glance around at her, she is looking decidedly disgruntled and I wonder if I've gone too far.
"Well it could have been a plastic one" She retorts.
Small Sprog and I look at each other, we know it might be time to stop guffawing now.

The journey continues...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The University of Bristol Botanic Garden

On Sunday 1st  April we went to the Botanic Gardens. We must have been the only family there. Small Sprog observed we were definitely the youngest (and that even included me!). However both he and Tall Girl love visiting. Tall Girl is taking photography GCSE and we both like to take photos there. Small Sprog loves the cactus and the tropical house which has a pond, massive lilly pads and friendly fish, this is enough to keep him interested for quite a while.

  It's just a short drive from home and it was the first day of the summer opening times. A lot of plants are still to emerge but there was a wonderful carpet of spring flowers there so I thought I would share some of my favourites.

Wild anemones

I thought these were Pasque Flowers but I'm not sure

Wonderful Primroses.

There were some exotic flowers in the greenhouses, I shall save them for another time.

(For more flowers have a look at Emeli-J's post which is here.)

Photographing them means I can look at them again and again long after they have faded, which is kind of magical when you think about it!

What's your favourite spring flower?

PS. Have an Easter Nest? Made by TG and SS!

Monday, April 02, 2012


I have missed my own bloggyversary! 4 years of blogging on 3rd March, goodness me, all those wasted hours wittering about life here in the suburbs.

Here's some more:

Today the stinky cat has polished off Small Sprogs ice cream while he wasn't looking.

Mum has sent me, via email this morning, a detailed account of how she cleared dog diarrhoea off next doors lawn while they weren't looking.

My neighbour texted me to see if I had cough mixture - great now I am mummy to another!

Tall Girl thinks she's seen a pink flamingo in the hedge on the way to school.

and as if that's not enough, here is a meme. I've not been sent one of these for a very long time so I was delighted when Looking For Blue Sky sent me this one ...

As usual I have to answer a few questions, and as usual I'm not great at one word answers...

Favourite Colour? Red mostly but anything bright!

Favourite Animal? Has to be Stinky Cat at the moment

Favourite Number? 7 (no idea why) closely followed by 3 and 5.

Favourite Drink? Red wine or a Margarita given half the chance!

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook as I can't quite get to grips with Twitter.

My Passion?  I'm a bit of a butterfly so hard to answer this one. My children, fairness and equality, food and eating ...

Giving or Getting Presents? Giving, but I'd never say no to a surprise pressie!

Favourite Day?  Like Looking For Blue Sky, it's got to be the first day of the holidays, endless days with no time keeping. Bliss.

Favourite Flower? Arum Lilly for the architectural beauty, Oriental Lilly for the scent, Daffodil because it's the only flower, in my opinion, that looks great in yellow except for Sun Flowers, Hyacinths for their heavy fragrance.... I could go on forever.

Favourite Place? By the sea

I'd like to pass this Meme on to; 




Hope you don't mind taking part?