Today I have been mostly...

Friday, August 31, 2007


In fact the whole of the summer holiday has been mainly tedious with the odd, extremely rare, highlight. I can't believe (once again) how fast the weeks go by - but the days themselves have been pretty dire! Today is the last day of the husband's stupidly long holiday. In the four weeks he has been off, we went out once - for half a day - with my parents - and it was a struggle to get him to agree to go then. Yet today, one phone-call from some someone in the office (who has such a manly voice that I am sure she said her name was "Manne") and it's on with his pink tee-shirt and off to the gay pub in town. Haven't seen him move so fast in ages! Or, indeed, ever, thinking about it. He is the type of person who, if he thought he would miss his bus by just walking normally, would just slow down so that it didn't look like he was intending to get that bus anyway, and try and arrive at the bus-stop when the next bus arrived - whereas I think most people who could, would speed up a little to save waiting 10 minutes.

Highlights have been (1) non-resident daughter getting the job of her dreams. (b) A very nice Mexican meal in Birmingham. (c) realising I started these points numerically and seem to have lapsed into alphabetically!! (d) A bizarre trip to London where I didn't actually set foot in the city - but saw a lot of the tube stations, had a nice meal in a pub after syringing Kate's temporarily deaf best friend's ears, and then hearing the most hilariously embarrassing story - which I am not going to repeat here because I can't tell it half as well as the person who told it - but it brightened up my week no end! (5) - (to revert back to numbering this list) - finishing my last essay for my current course (not counting the dreaded End of Course Assessment), and (e) going to the Cold War exhibition at Cosford. Oh and I have registered for my NEXT course - the one I will be doing AFTER the one I haven't actually started yet.

Lowlights - constantly having to watch MY programmes upstairs on the crappiest TV in the world. Constantly having to listen to the bloody racing channels in the background. Dyeing my hair orange after the crappy haircut. Reading the statement "...metaphor is a metaphor" (what?) And this morning - while writing, producing ot and ni instead of to and in - now I know I TYPE dyslexically all the time - but it's actually getting worse with my hand writing! Oh yes - and I think I have put the toilet seat and lid down EVERY time I have been upstairs.

I haven't read the three books I was going to read. I haven't watched the DVDs I was going to watch. I STILL haven't found "ultimate handbag" although I came close yesterday!

But I have started the diet - I have lost 5lbs. Not much I know - but it is a start.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thinking about what I'm going to wear for the wedding...

With a little over 8 months to go, I've been considering what to wear in my forthcoming role as "The Groom's Mother". OK - I understand that it's not quite the prestigious role as "The Bride's Mother", but I still want to look nice - so that (a) I don't ruin the photos and (b) I don't let anyone down. And, at the moment, standing in the way of this is about five and a half stones worth of blubber. And, as I can only start a diet on a Monday - tomorrow is my D-Day! In theory, it ought to be possible, if I lose 2 lb a week - which is what is recommended anyway. I don't intend to follow any wacky diet either. I am going to do it the sensible way. I'm going to stop eating between meals. I'm going to have less food. I'm going to exercise more - however, I'm not starting the exercise just yet - I need to lose a stone before I do anything too strenuous.

From now on though, don't expect any amusing anecdotes concerning my family members. When I'm on a diet all I can think about is FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD! This is likely to get extremely boring, and I can only apologise in advance.

I will say this though - usually, when the husband spots I'm on a diet, that's when he starts buying large multi-packs of chocolate bars, etc. I wonder how long it will take him to notice this time.

On the hair front - I think my hair is now a lot less orange than it was - and I probably won't try dyeing it red again - however I do think I achieved the 'cover up of the shite haircut' as no one has said to me "Your haircut is shite" - so at least that has worked. And I have 8 months to get my hair 'back to normal' and get a decent cut before the wedding. Anyway - I'm thinking of wearing something tasteful, but perhaps fairly bold in colour - something that will stand out a little, but not too much. I have to avoid green because the place where the photos will be taken is entirely green, and I don't wish to just look like a floating head - unless I don't lose the weight, in which case, it's an option! I am thinking a dress with a jacket, and one of those things on my head that isn't a hat - but I don't know what they are called. I think it begins with an F but the only thing I can think of is 'fornicator' and is seems unlikely that they are called that!

The husband seems to be planning to wear Mark's old suit which is (a) too long and (b) too tight. But apparently there is this woman in Welshpool who does alterations. He is going to get her to shorten the trousers, and as he said last week, "I'll get her to put a triangle of material in the back for me, because it doesn't matter if they go too big because I can always use a belt." So... no plans to get a new suit then! I guess it doesn't REALLY matter - I won't have to sit next to him!

(I think in order of importance, regarding outfits, etc. it's 1. The bride, 2. The bridesmaids, 3. The bride's mother, 4. The groom 5. Assorted other attendants, 6. The bride's father, 7. The groom's mother - because no one remembers what the groom's mother wears - but that is as it should be, then 8. The groom's father. I guess whether or not anyone remembers what the groom's father is wearing will largely depend on whatever material the old biddy in Welshpool uses to make the trousers larger - if it's something pink and floral I may well be upstaged!)

Oh - I've just found there is a spell-checker on this blog thing! That's useful - I wonder why I haven't spotted that before?

Thursday, August 16, 2007


... so, I might not have spicy food for a while.

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Suddenly started thinking of these lyrics for no apparent reason...

Love is a burning thing
and it makes a firery ring
bound by wild desire
I fell in to a ring of fire...
I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down,down,down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns,burns,burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire.
The taste of love is sweet
when hearts like our's meet
I fell for you like a child
oh, but the fire went wild...
I fell in to a burning ring of fire.....[etc]

I can't think why...

Anyway - on an entirely unrelated matter - I had an excellent Mexican meal last night. Lots of chillies.....

Taking photos with my phone...

This is a sign I spotted yesterday - it's a bit sad someone has ripped it, maybe these things should be laminated. But anyway - I have one question....


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Monday, August 13, 2007


…at how clever guinea pigs are! I know Oodles, my male guinea pig is clever, because he dunks his food in water, waits a while for it to soften, and then fishes it out and eats it. He’s been doing since he was old enough to eat the guinea pig food, and I assumed he learnt that trick from his mum, Smitty – as I saw her do that at Christmas when the dining room was a guinea pig nursery. (I thought they would be a great double act for “dunkers corner” in the staff room!!)

Tonight I’ve seen Noodles and Peanut – the girlies – working together! Each night I always put them some hay on top of their 'igloo' – and each morning it has all gone, and I assumed they just climbed up to get the hay! How wrong I was! One piggy goes inside, holds up their head and stands tall, lifting the front of the igloo up so that the hay slides off and the other waits at the bottom to grab a bit. The first time I saw this happen I just thought it was accidental lifting, from rearranging the igloo to their preferred position. But then they swapped and Peanut went in the igloo opening and stood up tall, again some hay slipped off – and Noodles retrieved it. OK – maybe this was a fluke – but I will be watching again tomorrow night to see if they do it again!

There were seagulls in Perton today. Not the usual bog-standard black-headed gulls – your actual SEA gulls – making authentic seaside noises! That’s not a good sign is it? We are quite a long way from the sea – does this mean that storms are likely – or are they just on their holidays? Whatever the reason – they are bloody big birds!

Still on a bird theme – this morning I saw what I think was a juvenile robin. It had the right sort of legs for a robin, it was really cute and quite bold as I got quite close to it.

And, birds again I’m afraid (this blog is very Alfred Hitchcock isn’t it?), what is it with pigeons at the moment? Are they always frisky at this time of year, or are they thinking it’s another spring? I’ve got pigeons in the garden building a nest – maybe they always nest in July – I’ve just never noticed before. And when I was out at the weekend scouring the lanes for dandelion leaves, if I’d picked up all the pigeon feathers I saw I could have come home and knitted a new one!

Last night I stayed up to watch the shooting stars – I sat in the garden wrapped in a blanket, till about 1.30 am and I saw loads – mainly single ones, but at least one a minute – sometimes more – I saw three which came in quick succession and then 2 more quite big ones. Best display of shooting stars I’ve seen in a long time.

Other exciting news – the new fence has started to appear at school, so I took a photo of it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet!

PS -Today's font colour matches my hair.
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(Photo was taken with my phone)

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Because of the wet - then warm - weather, (according to the paper, the news, and some old woman who always seems to be on the same bus as me), we are going to be plagued by pointless annoying creatures. Mosquitoes, Daddy-Long-Legs (what is the plural?) and, most annoying and pointless of them all, Vattus Manus Vacationii - this one will last for about three weeks.

So, day 1 then - and had I not had my hair cut yesterday, I'd be tearing it out already. He's been buzzing around all day like an annoying bluebottle - not settling anywhere long enough to be swatted with a giant newspaper.

Stupidly, I just happened to mention that I'd see some burgers in the Co-op yesterday - 2 packs for £3 - and he decided that he wanted to go and get some. So I then faced a grilling worse than the burgers will eventually get! Where in the shop are they? Which shelf? What are they near? What colour is the packet? Are they frozen? Are they called anything strange? How many in the packet? How many did we need? I could go on! Anyway - as he would be coming back past all the dandelions I didn't pick on my way home yesterday (in my quest to get home before anyone saw the hair) I thought he could take a bag and collect some for me - well not me - it's the Guinea pigs and rabbits that actually eat them!

I explained EXACTLY which bit of lane they were in. He left. I had an hour or so peace. He came back saying I was wrong. They were NOT 2 packs for £3. They were £2.98. I checked in the fridge, he had bought totally the wrong thing. Not only the wrong burgers, these only had 2 in the pack! As if that wasn't bad enough - his dandelion collecting bag was empty. Apparently I was wrong about that as well. There were NO dandelions in that bit of lane. He then volunteered to go and get some from the nearby field. I decided to go and get the ones I KNEW were in the lane! He wasn't happy because I was taking the discount card with me because I wanted some hair dye. I didn't think he needed it in a field!

So, I walked to the Co-op - and YES they did have the correct burgers - 2 for £3. I bought them, I then fought my way through the dandelion overgrown lane, filling a carrier bag in a matter of minutes. I did begin to calm down at this point - it's very calming picking dandelions. I can recommend it!!

When I eventually got home and showed him the burgers he claimed there was nothing like that half an hour previously when he had been there. "They must have just filled the shelf," he claimed.

Yeah - and the dandelions have only just grown!!


The look I’m going for with my hair at the moment is, (sort of), Shirley from Eastenders. Short, blonde, a bit spiky, a bit choppy. That’s not to say that I want her personality or character – just the hair. But, because I didn’t have a photo of her on me when I went to the hairdressers this morning, I asked for exactly what I have asked for the last couple of times I’ve been to get my hair cut. I said: “Quite short, no parting, coming forward – slightly to the right, choppy, spiky, finger dried – a little bit of wax.”

At no point whatsoever did I say: “I’d like it all straight, standing on end – sort of David Bowie when he was in his Ziggy Stardust phase – make me look like I have been hanging upside down in the bat cave for a couple of months – then add enough wax so that if I set fire to it, it will burn for several years – I’m going for the ‘greasy sticky unwashed’ look. Oh and please get the straighteners on it, because that will really accentuate the shit cut.

I like to come out of the hairdressers feeling – well perhaps not a million dollars (especially as it only cost £15.50) – but I’d like to think my hair looked nice enough to be able to go out. What I don’t want is to come out praying I won’t see anyone I know on the way home. It took me about 35 minutes to walk to the hairdressers – but only 20 minutes to get home – even taking into account the slight downward slope – it’s still bloody good going to get back in around half the time! I had to wash it and re-style it as soon as I got in (after taking a couple of photos, which I can’t publish here at the moment as it is way too embarrassing). I’ve cut some stray long bits, put a small amount of wax and hair spray on it, and it looks less of a monumental cock-up. I will not be going back there in a hurry. I need to find another hairdresser – and I really want to dye my hair a radical colour to detract from the shitty cut! I’ll have to see what I can find tomorrow.


I was examining a bare patch of garden today. One which up until recently had stripy petunias and mixed French marigolds in it. I bought them earlier on in the year, lovingly planted them, and was looking forward to a nice colourful display. (My mum bought some at the same time and hers look great.)

Flowers, plants and trees have a tough time in our garden. Problem is, we don’t agree on gardening styles – mine is sort of “plant things, leave them to develop and get nice and bushy, sit back and enjoy” style, whereas the husband favours a “Jack the Ripper” approach. So, basically – I plant it and he digs it up and throws it away, or prunes it in a funny way, or moves it to a less appropriate place (then digs it up sometime later).

Recent disasters include: A bamboo which had just nicely filled its space, and was looking lush, healthy and vigorous - this has been massacred. A passion flower which he prunes every year just as the flowers are forming – I’ve had it about 6 years now and in all that time it has produced one flower. And roses – these move about more often than a bunch of hyperactive kids high on E-numbers during a particularly energetic game of musical chairs. He also has an “unusual” style of pruning. He removes any side stems that form, thus producing some fairly tall thin rose “bushes”. He also re-plants them all up against walls. My mum once asked me why I’ve only got climbing roses – I explained I have actually got NO climbing roses!

If a plant flops about in a natural way, he sticks a hideous stake by it, making it unnaturally erect – foxgloves, delphiniums, lupins, they all get this treatment. Montbretia is another – it just doesn’t need it. The stakes he uses range from hideous planks of wood – big enough to stake a tree; or rocket sticks – which he goes out “harvesting” every November 6th. I like plants dotted about, he likes rows. I plant in threes, he plants in fours. (I say tomatoes and he says tomatoes – oh hang on – that doesn’t work when you type it – well anyway – let’s call the whole thing off!!)

The shed is a bloody nightmare as well. Not only is it falling apart, it’s also home to three dead lawnmowers, a couple of hundred split plastic plant pots, a spider colony, and a truly magnificent collection of rusty, bent, broken and blunt tools. Forks have prongs that point in all directions. Spades lean backwards, shears are crooked with bits hanging off, and nothing can be used properly. Also resident in the shed is “Mickey the frog”. He moved in several years ago, making his “nest” amongst an old box of assorted crappy pots. He left the door open one day, and “Mickey the Frog” hopped in. He told me about it. He said, “There’s a frog in the shed, I saw it go in when I locked up.”

I was concerned – I didn’t like the idea of a frog stuck in there, starving to death – so I unlocked the shed and started looking for it. I found it. He was one of the most unusual frogs I’ve ever seen. Strange brownish colour, two beady black eyes, thin pointy snout, whiskers, long furry tail… sharp teeth…. He scurried away – I left him to it, satisfied there were no imprisoned frogs!

“Are you sure about the frog?” I asked.

“Oh yes – I saw him run into a box of old pots.”

Run? “What colour was he?” I asked.


He has had his eyes tested since then (the husband, not Mickey the Frog-Mouse).

I’ve really had to fight to save my favourite tree as well – he has done some awful things to it over the years. I think he tries to make it look so bad I’ll agree to him getting rid of it altogether. It has just about recovered from the last “attack” so it’s probably due for another severe hacking any day now. Last time he kept removing branches from the bottom of the tree so it ended up looking like something a child had drawn. I couldn’t understand why, because it used to hide a nasty looking fence. He threatened to cut it down a couple of years ago, but this would have been a little inconvenient (I pointed out) because my washing line is attached to it. He said he would replace the tree with a “nice” concrete post. Lovely! You can imagine how excited I was at the thought of that! Why have a lovely tree that goes a gorgeous golden colour and looks fantastic when the low autumn sun gets behind it, when you can have a sexy concrete post?!!

But to go back to my petunias and marigolds – really – what is the point? Next year I’ll cut out the middle man. When I get home from the garden centre I’ll just tip my plants straight into the bin – why waste time and energy planting the buggers?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


My own fault – I really must stop getting my apples from that mysterious crone that comes round when everyone is out at work, then, when she gets home, talks to her magic mirror. I was OK first thing. Went to town with Kate, was home by eleven. Sat down around 12-ish with a magazine, a cup of tea (run out of coffee), a nice crunchy Golden Delicious (first apple I’ve had in months), and put the TV on – there was a programme on saying how fruit is good for you. (I felt quite smug really!) Had my lunch, watched Neighbours and Doctors, went to sleep. Woke up. Checked for emails. (None – where is everyone?) Thought it might be a good idea to get some coffee before the withdrawal symptoms kicked in!

Perhaps if you are eating, or planning to – or are squeamish, do not read the next paragraph, which some readers may find offensive (don’t say you haven’t been warned).

It was about 3-ish. I felt this sudden urgent desire to go to the loo. I get this quite often because of the problem I have with wheat – but I definitely haven’t had any. Managed to make it in time (just) – but was a bit shocked to discover that the apple I’d had only 3 hours earlier had already gone through my system. Undigested I might add – it was 100% recognisable as apple. Seems a bit quick!!

Went to get my coffee, thought I’d try a different one for a change – big mistake, it’s revolting – but while I was in the shop I developed a craving for Lucozade – I only usually get this when I’ve got a really bad stomach, so I bought myself a bottle to drink on the way home as I was feel a little dehydrated.

The last time I really craved Lucozade was when I went to London and I had to wait about 16 hours before I found somewhere that sold it. On that occasion, just as I had got on the train to come home, I opened my drink and the bloody thing exploded out of the bottle. Lucozade is probably the stickiest thing with which you can coat the inside of a train! And I had to sit there for the next two hours, sticking to the floor, sticking to the table, sticking to myself! I pity the poor person who had to 'stick' there next – it was bad enough for me and I did it and knew what it was! So – back to today – was walking home, a bit thirsty, remembered the drink, opened it…

What the bloody hell do they put in it that makes it so ultra-bloody-fizzy?? I left a sticky orange puddle outside the clinic. I had to walk home orange and sticky. Got home, prised the bottle from my hand, put my clothes in the wash, de-stickied myself.

“Never mind”, I thought, “At least I can have a nice cup of coffee.”

Still, the day did improve. The husband was trying to open a new jar of jam this evening. He moaned that the lid was on too tight. He tried to use the jar opener – with no success at all – he couldn’t even work out how to do it, he was turning it this way and that, trying to grip the lid, and failing miserably! This was amusing at first, but you know how when someone is trying to do something you get this overwhelming urge to take over because it is just irritating?

When I could stand it no more I said “Give it to me!” But before I used the jar opener I just HAD to have a go without it, and yes – the lid was quite tight, but I opened it without too much effort! “Oh” he said (crestfallen) – then “I must have loosened it.”

“No, you didn’t,” I said, “I’m just strong.”

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wondering what to call this blog...

Yesterday I discovered that housework is just bloody dangerous. I wasn’t even being THAT ambitious. I made myself a list in the morning, and it said “carrots” and “sort out socks”, (“carrots” being more of a shopping list).

It was more than just “sort out socks” as well, really – I was doing all sorts of related tasks – washing, ironing, distributing clean clothes, and so on. I was putting some stuff away in the bedroom when I managed to scrape my knee on the open drawer – there was blood everywhere! Then I started the mammoth job of pairing up socks. It’s always a nightmare – and I always have about 60 odd socks left over at the end – and they are not necessarily the same socks.

Last time I did this I didn’t even attempt to match up the husbands socks – I thought that if I left a huge pile of unsorted socks on the bed, he might match them up himself. They disappeared, and I assumed he had dealt with them. How wrong was I? What he had actually done was to put them all in a carrier bag and hidden them in the wardrobe. I thought it was strange that he kept moaning about having no socks, because I know he’s got millions of the buggers!

Anyway – after an hour or so of pairing up the ‘female’ socks, and asking Kate to email me a photo of her odd socks in Bournville, (so I could see which ones in my odd sock pile matched up with hers), and still having about 30 strays, I started on the ‘male’ socks. I always find them an ordeal, because they are mainly black or navy blue – it’s much easier if you are looking for something with Tigger or Snoopy on, which is why I leave his till last. I’d got about 15 or so left over that weren’t even a close match, then he confessed to having a bag of odd socks. So I got him to bring them down, and managed to make about 10 pairs, but there were still loads of odds left over, and bizarrely, 2 pairs of pants that had also been in the bag! I thought this a little odd – and made some stupid comment like “Well, these are PANTS – they are never going to be matched up!”

“I can’t wear them – the elastic has gone in them.”

“So – throw them away!”

“Oh no – I couldn’t throw them away – they can be used for rags”.

Rags??? Who the bloody hell uses RAGS these days! He’s not living in Welshpool now!! I told him that was disgusting and I wasn’t using his old pants as rags – even when he explained that they were clean! So he said he would take them round to the clothing bank.

“No! You can’t do that!” I said – horrified at the thought. “You can’t have some poor bugger in Africa with your saggy baggy old pants!”

“They don’t send them to Africa – they make them into rags. They use them on ships.”


I said I still thought it was disgusting. Then he said (in a scarily wistful way) “Oh I don’t know, I rather like the idea of my pants ending up on a ship.”

Perhaps he ought to start going out with sailors?

Is this normal? I’d be mortified if I thought someone was using my old undies to buff up their foghorn.

I know he likes ships, and the sea – but he doesn’t like them enough to want to travel; to go on a cruise and see the world. As far as I know, since I’ve known him, the only time he has been on a boat was (a) the little ferry at Hampton Loade and (b) the slightly more substantial Mersey Ferry – and on both occasions he refrained from handing out bags of discarded knickers to the captain.

But, what do I know? He was a Customs officer for several years. Who knows what went on.

While I was looking for washing yesterday I ventured into the lair of the resident daughter, whereupon I discovered one of her ‘traps’ as I stood on the evil plug end of a phone charger, and, had the window been open, could have taught the neighbours one or two choice expressions (probably last uttered by a weather-beaten old sea-dog brandishing a pair of Marks & Spencer’s finest). I now have an interesting purple bruise on my foot, which goes nicely with the slashed knee. As these things come in threes it didn’t surprise me when I ran upstairs with a basket of ironing only to stub my toe on ‘Of Mice and Men’ – hardback version).

Today I have managed (so far) NOT to injure myself – however, I am intrigued to know where the plug has gone out of the bathroom sink – because there was one there last night – I know – I used it. I’ve looked for it, but really, when it’s not on the end of it’s little chain, where the hell do you start looking?

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