Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How can mauve EVER be a power colour??

And if a butterfly is my power symbol it doesn't suggest much power to me.

Oh well, probably about right

Thanks to Lisa via Gert

Your Birthdate: March 2

You're so intuitive, it's like you have a sixth, seventh, and eighth sense.

You connect with others freely and easily - and you tend to have many best friends.

Warm and caring, it's hard for you to close your heart to anyone.

Affection is like air for you - you need to give and receive it to survive.

Your strength: Your universal compassion

Your weakness: Your unpredictable mood swings

Your power color: Mauve

Your power symbol: Butterfly

Your power month: February

Wednesday Morning.

I have just looked at this again. What an absolute load of flaming rubbish. Mood swings??? Me??? God these things make me so mad.

My sister does Disney

In January this year my sister, much against her better judgement, was talked into booking a holiday in Florida where the emphasis was to be strictly Disney.

Now we went there five years ago with friends and had a simply brilliant time. It was just after 9/11 that we were there. British people 'brave'* enough to travel at that time found themselves feted as the greatest friends America had - but apart from that embarrassment the holiday was one long laugh.

One thing I remember from it was my propensity to get lost. It was very strange. One thing I am normally really good at (THE thing I am normally really good at) is remembering places. As a general rule if I go down a road I have been down before I remember it, even if it was years and years ago. In Orlando I could simply not recognise anywhere and this resulted in several very round about trips back to our villa. Two such journeys stand out in particular. The first when a wrong turning resulted in me and Fiona facing three armed guards by a security gate. The second was when I was following my friends in their hire car. I followed and followed, across lanes, around corners, I kept right on their tail for fear of getting lost yet again. Then they turned into a shopping area. I wondered what they wanted to buy. They stopped the car. I stopped my car. They shot off at speed. I shot off after them. They drove round the service area behind the shops and so did I. Which was when I finally realised I had in fact been following the wrong car and whoever was in the car ahead was clearly terrified I was out to rob them at gunpoint. Hire cars do have a tendency to look all the same. And by then I was seriously lost!

Back to my sister. The holiday was booked for the half term just gone. We were all insanely jealous. She however was incapable of accepting she might actually enjoy it. If I had a quid for everytime I have heard her tell someone over the past ten months that 'Florida isn't really her kind of thing'I would be rich and nowhere near as irritated as I was hearing it without the financial incentive. She would bore people rigid telling them that she looks for a bit of culture on her holidays and she was really only doing this for her daughter. The day before they left she was still saying she would rather be off for a week in France (where she has been many times before).

My sister has another habit and that is when you ask her after an event if she had a good time she will start by pulling a face and saying "Wellllll....it was alllll right I suppose." Can you tell this drives me mad? So I was dreading her return from Florida. I did seriously consider that if when I asked if she had a good time she started with another "Welllll....." I might have to smack her.

She got back yesterday. She was at my house when I got home from work. I hardly dared to ask the question but, deep breath, "Did you have a good time?"

Sheepish look from my sister, followed by huge grin "It was bloody brilliant!" she was forced to admit.

Hold the front page! MY SISTER HAS GOOD TIME IN FLORIDA!!!

Although she did complain that you can't buy brown bread out there so she hasn't returned to us a completely different person ;-)

*Bravery had nothing to do with it. Cowardice comes closer. In fact I did have brief second thoughts about travelling at that time, but simply wasn't brave enough to contemplate telling the kids we were not after all going on the holiday they were so very much looking forward to.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Jinx has left the stadium!

Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! (and why does that sound horribly familiar?)

My beloved team finally won at home with the season a mere three months old.

There was a lot of looking at each blankly and trying to remember what we were supposed to do when the final whistle went and we had won."What did we always used to do again when this happened? Oh hang on.... it is coming back to me....CHEER!"

And in my case, go down to Reidski's place - have far too much to drink - and crash out in front of Match of the Day. (Were we on?)

And will blogger publish this if I ask it VERY nicely?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It was FAR from alone

What the environmental health man told me was that a certain farmer had lent one of his barns to a turkey farmer. He had filled the barn with poor Christmas table bound turkeys and was feeding them growth hormones. The food containing the growth hormones was dropping through the raised floor of the barns where they were being eaten by rats. This had two effects. Firstly it produced a massive increase in the local rat population and secondly, it produced individual rats the size of cats. The E.H officers were out in force trying to eradicate the problem but they were losing. No home was safe. One of my mum's best friends was featured on the front page of the local newspaper as her house was overrun with them. There was a great big photo of her stood next to a dresser, along which was running a rat. I don't know what caused her the greater distress - the rats or the fact that the accompanying headline screamed 'Pensioner in Rat Horror House'. She is a very glamorous woman who had not previously seen the necessity to tell anyone she was over 60 - and now the whole county knew.

In our village we have an annual 'Safari Party' where we get sent from one venue to another for various courses of a meal. This particular year the party was in October. Anyway, you don't know where you are going till the last minute. For the main course that year I got to go to the farm where the rats were and this in the very same week that our rat plague had reached the newspapers. All the assembled guests were trying not to mention it in front of our hosts although there was much fevered discussion about it whilst they were away in the kitchen. It was agreed that in Fawlty Towers style we should 'Not mention the rats' as opposed to not mentioning the war, but in hindsight this was an unfortunate decision, bringing to our collective minds as it did, Fawlty Towers episodes.

I think all might have gone well had not they reappeared from the kitchen with one of those big silver serving dishes with a dome over it.

As it was, each one of their guests were reminded instantly of the Manuel's pet rat Basil episode and collapsed in hysterical fits of laughter.

Our hosts didn't find it funny.

It was not alone

A few days later I was hanging out my washing when there was a helluva commotion from the other side of our fence, and as I looked over to see what was going on one of my cats leapt over the fence with something in its mouth. Two things were immediately obvious 1) the thing was very large, and 2) the thing was very much alive.

I shrieked in what must have been a rather girly manner, but unfortunately my shriek scared the cat who rushed into my kitchen, still carrying the thing in its mouth. I got into the house just in time to see that quite obviously what my cat had in the kitchen was a rat. It wasn't a good moment. In the words of the song (UB40??) "There's a rat in my kitchen, what am I going to do?" I can deal with mice, I can deal with birds, but quite honestly in the face of adversity I realised I wasn't so good with rats. And now I had one in my house. To be precise as the cat had now shot up the stairs, I had a rat in my daughters bedroom - a box room - a VERY small room. I shut it in there with my cat.

It was clear to me that what I needed was a man. But they were in short supply as they were working and stuff. Ah, but my friendly and brave shop keeper would be in and he was only across the road! Excellent. Such a nice man and I know he would do anything for me. I rang up and explained that I had a rat in the house safe in the knowledge that he would turn up Sir Galahad style, and remove that what was causing the fair maiden* distress. Wrong again Jane. He was very sorry to have to tell me that he had a terrible deep seated fear of rats and couldn't possibly come to my house if it contained a rat. Arrh but, he did have a workman in and would send him over to help me. Excellent. I open the door to see a six foot four inch skinhead with a tattoo on his forehead (yes, honestly - that is a true to life description)heading up my drive. I thank him profusely and take him upstairs (as one does with strange men all the time) (that last comment is not to be taken seriously). We go into the tiny bedroom and the door is shut behind us. He asked me where the mouse was. I told him it was a rat. He jumped a mile and the colour drained from his face. "I don't like rats" he said.

For a few minutes nothing happened as neither of us could really think where we went from there, but then there was a knock at the door and it was the shop keepers wife armed with a broom. Anita I should mention is about four foot ten and what I would guess is an American size 0. She is a tiny woman. She joined us in the bedroom - the six foot four skinhead, the tiny shop keepers wife plus lethal weapon (broom) and me. Still we debated what to do. The cat was under the wardrobe just out of sight but something had to be done. The skinhead (Frank as I now knew him to be called)plucked up courage, took the broom, and cautiously looked underneath the wardrobe. He reached under it very gingerly and then withdrew his hand holding out at length and by its tail, one very dead rat.

OK, so now I personally had encountered two rats in a mater of days. Enough was enough. I rang environmental health and told them I thought there might be a problem with rats in our village. "Tell me" said the environmental health man wearily, "something I didn't already know."

* Yes, OK - poetic licence employed.

In the beginning

It was a peaceful and sunny autumnal day in an attractive Northaptonshire village. The rural bliss was however somewhat ruined for me by the inconvenience and general unpleasentness caused by a blocked drain.

The man from Dyno-rod was summoned.

He arrived.

The man hole cover in the front garden was raised. Dyno-rod Man prodded and poked as men from Dyno-rod are wont to do. In the meantime I made him a cup of tea which is entirely irrelevant to the narrative but I want to paint a fuller picture of the incident. Eventually he asked me to go inside and flush the toilet so he could see if the drain was now free flowing again. When I came back outside to him he was staring down into the drain. "Do you" he enquired "have pet gerbils?" Had I been speculating on what he was about to say to me, that question would not have been in the top 5 guesses - nor, let's face it - the top 555,555 guesses. Anyway I said that I did not have any pet gerbils. "Oh, he said, "So that down there is a young rat then. I haven't seen rats down a drain for a very long time."

Looking back on this incident it could have been a scene setter for a movie - you know the one where one small, seemingly insignificant incident is the harbinger of trouble to come. In this case, of very many such troubles with pointy noses and long tails. The Rats Were Coming!!!!!

PLEASE NOTE. I want to make it quite clear that I am not the kind of person who, should I ever happen to keep pet gerbils, would flush one down the toilet when it died. No, any pet gerbil of mine would receive a decent burial, and have a daffodil planted on the burial site in memorial. Thank you.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Departed

We saw this filmlast night. It is not for anyone of a sensitive disposition......I loved it. I won't say too much about it in case any one is planning to go and see it but firstly a definite bonus for women of a certain age is that Leonardo DiCaprio has grown up and for the first time ever I saw the attraction. Secondly the film cries out for someone to say "You dirty rat" and anyone who does see it will understand why. And the other thing is as Reidski pointed out - they are going to have trouble making a sequel.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Charlotte Bronte, I have a bone to pick with you.

OK, I am usually more than happy to ignore the odd coincidence in 19th century literature. I was for example, perfectly able to enjoy 'A Tale of Two Cities' without ever once reflecting on the amazing fact that Sydney Carton looks exactly like Charles Darney. Pride and Prejudice will always be my favourite book even if Mr Darcy is by sheer chance the nephew of Mr Collins patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. But there are limits to my ability to suspend my disbelief for the sake of a good book.

So Jane Eyre is heartbroken and runs away from Mr Rochester asking the coach to take her just as far as her money will allow. She is set down at a crossroads in what I am guessing is supposed to be the middle of the Peak District. She wanders for three days in the wild before passing out on the doorstep of an isolated cottage. It turns out that the three inhabitants of said isolated cottage are the cousins Jane never knew she had.

Reader, at that point I nearly ditched the book.

Give me some realism any day - A good Jilly Cooper for example (Question from ed. "Is there such a thing?")

P.S. Was going to make sarcastic comment about poor Jilly being unable to attend the ruby wedding of her dear friends Jeffery and Mary Archer which she understands was such a 'Wow', but having seen the reason she missed it I will try and resist. However, her on-line diary is well worth a quick look. Highlights include the tale of how another 'lovely party was graced by Dame Vera Lynn, looking as beautiful as ever.She is such fun and such a wonderful example of how an A List celebrity should behave.'. There is also reference to the 'Jillywood Tours' where apparently we mere plebs can take a bus tour past various cleb houses,including Jillys well appointed home. She name drops, amongst many others, such people as Alan Titchmarsh, David Mellor and John Craven ( he of the Newsround). Oh yes, her web pages are worth ten minutes of anyone's time.

P.P.S. Apologies for the Jilly Cooper bit which was certainly not planned. I got carried away by her unassuming modesty which is an example to us all.


Moo tagged me to do this about 1)turning to page 23 of the nearest book, 2) finding the fifth sentence, 3) posting the text of the next three lines, 4) not digging out an intellectual or cool book, but genuinely picking up the one closest to you, and then encouraging others to repeat the process.

Slight problem. the nearest book to me (sheer coincidence of course) is the Good Pub Guide 2006, and page 23 turns out to be an entire page of Authors' Acknowledgments. Dull, dull, dull.

So dipping into the book I bring you my favourite featured pubs -

Eagle, Cambridge
Dog and Gun, Keswick.
Anchor, Sutton Gault near Ely, Cambridgeshire.
Rising Sun, Tarporley, Cheshire
Blue Anchor, helston, Cornwall
Devonshire Arms, Beeley, near Chatsworth, Derbyshire
Masons Arms, Branscombe, Devon
The Bell, Horndon on the Hill, Essex
Saracens Head, Symonds Yat, Herefordshire
White Horse, Hertford
Wheatsheaf, Woodhouse Eves, Leicestershire
Wig and Mitre, Lincoln
The George, Stamford
The Vine Hotel, Skegness*
Malt Shovel, Northampton
Lincolnshire Poacher, Nottingham
Turf Tavern, Oxford
Falkland Arms, Great Tew, near Oxford
The Crown, Southwold, Suffolk (and The Harbour Inn)
White Horse ('Nellies'), Beverley
Olde White Harte, Hull
The Maltings, York (which I failed to find on my last visit there - sorry Reidski for the wild goose chase)
Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus, London W1
Black Friar, Blackfriars bridge, London EC4
Spaniards Inn, Hampstead
The George, Borough High Street, near London Bridge

And of course The Amersham Arms, London SE14. would have been on the list were it not for its inexplicable absence from the Good Pub Guide.

* have to declare a bias - my mum and dad used to be the tenants there.

God, it was sheer hell researching that list.

Just got struck down by lightening for some strange reason.

Anyway, sorry for not sticking strictly to the blog rules. I see I still have a few counties to suss out pub wise, not to mention countries - Scotland and Wales. Other people count Munroes (George!) - I count good pubs.

Anyway, sorry for not sticking strictly to the blog rules Moo. I tag people to recommend a good boozer.

Things you least expect to hear

from someone you know VERY well...

"My friend knows Grayson Perry."

I still can't get my head round the fact that I know someone who knows someone who knows the bloke on the left of this picture. Nor indeed can I stop laughing about it.

Apparently Mr Perry is 'making a statement'. He certainly is.....

Could do better.

Does this mean I should abandon all hope of getting my stolen make up back?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Slush alert - avert eyes anyone with a sensitive stomach

I am sorry about this. I do, believe it or not, try not to go on too much about how happy I am when I am with Reidski. This is quite difficult. For one thing, it still overwhelms me that I met a blogger I had such a girly crush on - never mind that we then fairly instantly fell in love when we did meet. And for another thing, we really do have such good times together I feel the constant urge to go on and on about it, but that would be the shortest route to ensuring I would have as many vistors here as I have just seen had a look at my former blog last week - i.e. no visitors whatsoever. It would be really really tedious.

Quite impressive actually to see these statistics on the site meter -

visits for week ending October 21st - 0
average visits per day - 0
page views for week ending October 21st - 0

and much more in the same vein!

Thus I realise I take a risk in saying the following but I plough on regardless. I remember reading about Reidski's 40th birthday, and a year later I was still reading his stuff when he had his 41st birthday. On both occasions I wanted to e-mail him and say - well, say what exactly? That was always the sticking point. I wanted to say 'something' to him, but ran the huge risk of making myself look like a deranged stalker type woman. 'Hi, you don't know me but will you go out with me?' Yeah, I can see how effective that would have been - had I wanted to scare him half to death. Oh dear though, on reflection that was pretty much exactly what I did end up saying to him when I was eventually offered a reasonable excuse to e-mail him. Moving right on....I can hardly believe that on his 42nd birthday, I was out with him and a group of his work mates before going back to his flat and spending three very special days with him.

Lisa who we met with Cloud for a drink or three in London on Saturday very sweetly says that Reidski and I are a blogging success story. I certainly think we are a happy blogging story. Life is full of surprises. I never expected to fall in love with a stroppy ex-communist when he wrote about his drunken scooter accident. (For clarification - that is a scooter as played on by children - not a motorised adult type one.) OK, maybe I did need to actually meet him before I could really say I was in love with him, but the feelings I had for him long before we met were very powerful. Weird seeing as how I had absolutely no idea what he looked like. Before we did actually meet he sent me a photo so I would know what he looked like which turned out to be a picture of someone from the Planet of the Apes. Then he told me people said he looked like George Graham, and I suppose he does a bit, but I think he looks like Kevin Spacey, although they do say love is blind! Anyway, anyway, anyway - all this stupid unfocussed rambling is just by way of saying I have had a wonderful few days with a wonderful man, and I am a very lucky woman.

I promise to get back to waffling on about something more significant next time - like the Cobblers magnificent 1-1 draw at Brighton for example, although with apologies to Steve, I am tempted by the subject of Man City's abject performance yesterday which managed to get no fewer than 8 of their players into the Observers 'Flops of the Day' team in todays paper. Quite impressively bad by all accounts. It could be worse Steve - you could support West Ham!

London driving

Frankly, I'm not keen. I am fine on the motorway,but when I get into London three words keep playing over in my head - 'Swiss Cottage Roundabout'. I know that the way I come into London it is an unavoidable road junction, but oh god, it is so scary. Reidski having spotted I am a wimp in this situation (Cries of 'Oh my bloody god!' mixed with the occasional scream of terror seem to have given me away on that front.)is kind enough to come and meet me when he can before Swiss Cottage so that he can demonstrate his London Driver Credentials, and get us through that madness in one piece. After that, if he is happy to carry on driving I am not going to argue, especially as people are so incredibly impatient in London. Today he got hooted to hurry up when a light turned green as he took approximately half a second to put the car into gear. So anyway, thanks to Katy Newton for this inspirational tale of how to deal with ignorant road users, which I look forward to putting into practice when next in London traffic.

Except would I dare? Last night we went and saw Lets Zep, who are a truly brilliant tribute band. According to the posters at least, Robert Plant said of them, 'I walked into the concert hall and saw myself'. They were extraordinarily good although why someone who can play guitar like the Jimmy Page look-a-like can is not in his own band is just a mystery. Best bit of evening was watching Reidski's lad and his mate head banging away. Worst bit was getting to meet the lad's mum, also known as Reidski's ex, by a sheer piece of malevolent misfortune on the tube train on the way there. Not that she wasn't very nice, as she certainly was, but quite frankly one could have done with a bit of preparedness for such a first meeting to try and avoid the becoming a tongue tied gibbering idiot scenario that did in the event occur.

Back to the would I dare question.

As we left the concert a bloke some yards in front of us saw fit to throw a glass bottle over his head and it smashed into pieces. Luckily no one was hurt by the flying glass, but luck was the only thing that prevented that. Reidski told the twat in language that he would understand just exactly what he thought of him, and I found myself screaming at him that 'There are kids back here you moron.' Or words to that effect. And I was simultaneously advancing towards him to tell him in a more up close and personal way what I thought of his stupidity when I heard Reidski caution against it and I stopped. I suddenly realised that confronting a drunk who thinks nothing of throwing a glass bottle around might not be the wisest thing I had ever done.

So thinking about it, the next time I get hooted at by a little old lady in a 1975 Ford Capri Ghia, I will definitely 'have a word' Katy style. On second thoughts, I can see the headlines now -'Police hunt Septenarian Road Rage Killer'so maybe I just have to accept I am truly and deeply a wimp, and 'Get Out Of The F*$$£|^G Way.'

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just wanted to add

that we are really looking forward to catching up with Lisa and Cloud in London on Saturday. See you both in Covent Garden then!

And now I am away till Sunday...hope everyone else has as good a weekend as I am sure I am going to have.

My lap top is back

I am thinking of opening a sweepstake so people can bet on how long it will be this time before it goes wrong again.

Anyway, it is repaired in the nick of time as I go back to school today. Having sworn blind that once I got my qualification that was the absolute bloody final time I ever studied, I then found out that extra qualifications equals more pay, so here I go again.I suppose I should be saying I embark on this course in the pursuit of knowledge, but no - I do so in the pursuit of more dosh. I already know what I want to buy with my extra salary...a decent computer. Mind you, computers may all be obsolete in six years time. Six years is the average time this new course takes to complete.

What a depressing thought!

Happy Birthday Reidski!

See ya later darling.

And I promise faithfully that I did not get your present from the Betterware Catalogue - tempting though their merchandise is ;-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Public service post

You didn't know you needed some of these, but you do! How very convenient for the cook in a hurry not to have to go to all that trouble of putting on the grill and cooking the fish fingers that old fashioned way. Far better to pop them in a bag and then into the toaster. Five minutes later - up they pop, toasted fish fingers. wonderful. The bags can also be used for burgers and oven chips. I predict that thanks to this labour saving device the oven will soon be appearing in a museum near you.

I do love receiving my Betterware catalogue which is a source of endless amazement. How for example, have I lived so long without this cracker keeper, which not only helps avoid the scourge of broken crackers but is also, according to the catalogue, useful for biscuits.

I am tempted by the bra extender which is available in white, but I bet not in the exact shade of grey-white my bras that no longer fit tend to have gone.

And as for this gorgeous jewellery holder? Well at least the mystery of where on earth my in-law's used to get my Christmas presents from is now solved.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

I mentioned a month or so back about my good friends who have recently split up. Anyway, my friend A rang me up at the weekend and she was wondering how I would feel about a few days away over New Year. I have for most of the past ten years, spent New Year with her family but obviously this year was always going to be different. My initial reaction though when she asked about the chance of getting away was cautious as I am not what could be described as ‘flush’ in the financial area. She pressed on and told me that what she wanted to do was see this year out with a real ‘bang’ and thus was proposing to take me and my children, plus some other mutual friends to Lapland for four days…her treat.

I don’t think I heard anything she said after that for the following twenty minutes or so having gone into a deep catatonic shock caused by not believing the evidence of my own ears. After that time I had to ask her to repeat everything she had just told me, but it would really seem to be the case that I shall be seeing in 2007 somewhere beyond the Artic Circle. New Year this time round will be different alright.

I don't know when my kids were last quite so excited about anything. Even D managed to smile in spite of realising he would be forced to miss a Cobblers match. (D to me,"Couldn't you and I get a plane out there after the match and catch up with the others in Finland?" Me to D "I don't really think so dear.")

Two days later I have finally got my head together sufficiently to look at the web site and start to imagine it. There are many things I want to know about where we are going, and what it will be like so I turned to the Frequently Asked Questions which are very helpful. Especially this one - ’Will it be cold?’ If anyone else is wondering about the answer to that tricky question related to a trip in mid winter to the north of Finland I should be able to get back to you with the definitive answer sometime after 2nd January 2007.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I knew I was right

to refuse to buy party poppers for last night's sleepover. So why did I weaken during my last minute shop for assorted unhealthy food items I asked myself as I surveyed the sheer horror that was the state of my house this morning.

I had actually tidied up a bit and at least the dinig room was looking half way towards respectable - but then about 11 they all emerged from a very jam packed living room where I think they had got to sleep about three hours previously. They all had breakfast and when I looked at the mess Part 2, I had to go out. I am now killing time at the gym waiting for a step class. I am not motivated enough to go in and do something on my own.

I asked H about ten minutes before her friends were due to arrive last night what she had planned for them all. It was then that it emerged she didn't actually have a clue. My offer to produce a quick game of pass the parcel was treated with the distain it deserved. What they DID do in the event was play god awful music very loud,and scream a lot at horror films. No doubt none of them will be able to sleep for at least a fortnight now for fear of 'Blair Witch Project' related nightmares,and my name will be mud amongst their various parents. At least the birthday season is now over for another 46 weeks in my household. There are some advantages to getting all their birthdays over with within a six week period, but one doesn't really appreciite that until the last one has just finished.

For the majority of last night I was banished to my bedroom which did at least mean I got to listen to the football on the radio. Well, we didn't win - obviously because we were playing at home- and we didn't score - obviously because we were playing at home ( 3 goals for in 7 games) - but we did n't lose and we did appear to have all the possession and all the chances; my son confirmed that when he got home from the match. It really is very strange because every home game we have played well (except typically the one when we were on tele) and the supporters keep applauding them off the pitch because the performances are so good, but we simply can not win a game at home.

Have I mentioned recently that I hate football?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How many times does a recurring fault have to happen before an item (let's take as a not so random example - a lap top)is declared beyond repair and a replacement provided (as the salesman who is this rare case succeeded in selling me an extended guarantee promised would happen if it was not possible to repair a fault)?

I ask this because today this laptop goes off for repairs for the same problem as has now occured three times in the past six weeks. It is all of two and a half weeks since it came back from its last repair. When I mentioned the possibility of just giving me a replacement the man on the phone said "Well, it did get repaired last time." I asked him if he thought that could be termed a satisfactory repair in view of the fact that 15 days later it needed yet another repair for the same problem. He merely repeated the line about how they had fixed it. Then he put me on hold whilst he looked at our service history - he was gone about half an hour. Whilst I accept that may have been a tactic to make me give up and go away, it is also perfectly possible given the enormous number of problems I have had with this thing that he really was reading the service history all that time. ANYWAY, the point of all this is just to say I shall be borrowing other people's computers over the next week or so and may be slow replying to any comments, and I would just like to apologise in advance.

Coming up this week - tomorrow a sleep over at this very house featuring 13 13 year old girls.It is a good job I am not superstitious when looking at tomorrows date because I have more than enough bad feelings about that as it is. I have to miss the football for it! How is that for an example of devoted motherhood?

Next week Reidski and I are going to see Luke Haines at the same venue where we met John and Martin recently and saw the Mekons, and then I am spending a few days with him; he is having one of those horrible, depressing things known as A Birthday. We might take his lad to see a Led Zep tribute band - think that could be a great laugh but I will let you know....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Trains of thought going off in various directions

Tonight Reidski came up to see me and we ended up watching 'United 93' on a comfy sofa, in a lovely bar, whilst sharing a bottle of wine. If it was not such a traumatic film this could have been a perfect way to spend an evening.

I guess the 'Where were you on 9/11?' may be this generations 'Kennedy assasination moment'. I was at my then place of employment. I had a truly terrible job at the time. It was my first job post having kids. I knew it was something I could talk my way in to, it wasn't exactly intellectually taxing, and actually, it was what I needed to get my confidence back. Having been out the work force for several years looking after small children, my self esteem was at rock bottom, and I would not have dared apply for a half way decent job at the time.

Anyway, it was my lunch break and I was in the rest room with four others, one of whom was a former fire fighter. Sky News was on in the corner, and we realised it was showing one of the World Trade Towers in flames. The ex-fire fighter was in the middle of explaining to me just how impossible the task of fighting that fire would be for the fire fighters when the second plane rounded the tower and flew into the second Tower. Not one of the five of us who were watching believed the evidence of our own eyes. What a terrible and surreal afternoon that was. I remember trying to explain to one of my brainy colleagues what the Pentagon was as she had never heard of it. Quote from the same brainy colleague - "Do you think anyone might have been killed then?"

Thinking about that day led me to think about how I got that job. It was with a well known chain of gym's. Owing to me being relatively fit and well spoken (they wanted a receptionist), I thought I probably could muddle my way through an interview for a post offering to pay the minimum wage. My interview was on the same day as Comic Relief which for the benefit of overseas readers (all three of them) is a day aimed at raising money for 'Charidee' by doing 'zany' things. That morning I went in to help in the local school and they were doing lots of 'zany' things for Comic Relief including painting their faces green. I helped with the face painting that was an essential part of said 'zany' proceedings. I realised I had made myself a bit short of time before my interview so I shot home and got changed into as smart as I could manage clothes, and rushed off to the interview in something of a panic, arriving just in time to avoid being late.

The interview itself went OK. I felt the interviewer seemed somewhat sympathetic towards me, which I put down to my obvious nerves, and lack of interview experience over the child rearing years. She said she would let me know. I then returned to the school, dressed in my smartest clothes, to collect my children. Another mother looked at me hard. I thought at first she was wondering why exactly I was dressed so smartly to collect the kids from school but I was wrong. "Why?" she asked me, "have you got green face paint all over your cheek?" That was the moment I realised I had just attended a job interview with bright green face paint all over my face.

I got the job.

I can only assume they had a commitment with the local council to employ a certain quota of care in the community candidates.

And then from there I thought about how, crap though that job really and truly was, it did instill in me the values of good customer care, and that I was able to use that knowledge to talk myself into another job which indirectly led me to the job I do now and that I love so much.

Basically, my train of thought have been all over the place this evening but they end here with the thought of the train Reidksi is on right now on his way back to London, and how I wish we didn't have to spend so much time apart. But when I think like that I think that actually I am so very lucky as the chances against us ever meeting were so remote, and yet meet we did.

But now my thoughts turn to how bloody tired I am and how I must get to bed, but that reminds me that my curtain rail in my bedroom is broken and that I really must get round to getting that fixed, and before I know it my thoughts are spiralling out of control and I will NEVER be able to get to sleep what with all the stuff I have to think about.

Might as well give up on the idea of bed and go and visit my favourite bloggers then...............see you all soon.


Never again!

All I wanted to do was purchase a few basic items and what do I get for my troubles? A public ticking off.

"Unexpected item on the conveyor belt!" cries the creepy little voice. "Swipe the bar code on your item" it demands. "UNEXPECTED ITEM ON THE CONVEYOR BELT" It shouts -louder this time.

I am getting flustered. In vain I try and swipe my packet of frozen peas. "Key in the item code you moron!" yells the nasty impatient voice.

"UNEXPECTED ITEM ON THE CONVEYOR BELT AGAIN!" it bellows at the top of its voice. An army of armed security guards have by now gathered at the end of my conveyor belt, loaded as it apparently is with unexpected items - "She bought Tesco's own tomato ketchup and I expected Heinz"??

"Have you swiped your Clubcard?" it demands repeatedly as I try and fail to successfully swipe my Clubcard. I think there was one little old lady so hard of hearing in the store that she didn't know I was the idiot who couldn't even swipe my Clubcard unaided, but she was the only one in the shop who didn't know by the time the bloody thing shut up about how I was swiping my Clubcard All Wrong.

"Thank you for shopping at Tesco's. Have a nice day!" it says in a vain attempt to restore good customer relations. It spoils that somewhat by shouting after me "TAKE YOUR GOD DAMN RECEIPT!"

Never again will I choose the self service check out. I'd rather be told off by someone I can have a go back at.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I suppose he thought

"I'll show HER" but I have to wonder who came off worst after
this little quarrel.

The quote from his 'hurt and dejected' son is especially touching.

It's the hedgehog I feel sorry for.

But sympathy for Zoran aged 35 is in fairly short supply

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Reidski and I nearly missed

the start of the Scotland France match yesterday. It was my fault. Luckily for a beautiful relationship I got there just in time but I have probably said too much so moving swiftly on to the football...

What a great match! And I was bizarrely delighted with the result. I did ask myself why I was getting so wound up about a Scotland international, but wound up I was, and so happy whent he final whistle went. So that is what it feels like when the country you support wins a match! It's good isn't it!

And I spent the weekend with a very happy man as a result of that result.

Lines you never expect to hear.

"You can't put your shoe on with a palate knife."

Fiona's husband in disbelief yesterday morning at her actions with a palate knife when she couldn't find a shoe horn.

I was round their house on Friday night. I got locked in the loo but I am over that trauma now.

We ended up trying to complete a quiz sheet and we are now stuck so can anyone help?

It is one of those that goes for example - 5 E in a P (answer 5 Events in a Pentathlon). Out of 100 questions there are four more to get. there were five but I am very proud as I just got this one - 23 P for a SCS. Answer in comments.

Can anyone suss out the following -

0 T.
303 B of a LER.
30 US at S.
1 AN for H.

I am surrounded by them.

Teenagers that is.

Since Thursday I have been the mother of three of them. God help me if the row we have just witnessed over Sunday dinner between the two youngest is any indication of what I am in for over the next few hormone fuelled years.

I would have said before I got home today that I have been very lucky with my kids as teenage wise they haven’t really been any trouble. I am told they are nice polite kids by other adults in the village. The police have never needed to trouble me over them. There have never been any serious difficulties in school. I really like all their friends. We have a laugh together. And I trust my kids not to do anything stupid….or at least I did do.

To be honest I am actually grateful that D (17) told me all about how when watching England fail to beat Macedonia yesterday afternoon he decided to drink cider mixed with lager and topped up with blackcurrant cordial. I am also fairly impressed that he cleaned up after himself when he was violently sick in the front garden. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been in a hurry to tell my mum about my first misadventure with alcohol over indulgence, had I not in fact got horribly drunk aged 16 on port and lemon at home – dangers of growing up in a pub I’m afraid. She knew fully well how sick I was as she got to witness it first hand. I have not touched port since that day, nor will I ever do so. Anyway, I didn’t tell him off. Rightly or wrongly I think he has probably suffered enough for one day.

The other two HAVE however been told off as I was well fed up that after two and a half hours of cooking they have a stupid argument and spoil it for everyone else. I am now refusing to let them on the computer – positively my most favourite punishment – I get to use it! Clouds with silver linings strike again.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bring back the birch

WELL! For the past few weeks I have been in a bit of a 'I have nothing to blog about' phase. Not that that has stopped me or anything but tonight I know exactly what I am going to blog about, but I should warn you it is not going to be pretty involving as it does crime most foul, and that as a result of the foul crime I am not going to be pretty either.

Lunchtime today I get a call from a colleague - did I know about my car? There are certain things I know about my car including make and model (1997 Ford Mondeo), colour (blue) and registration plate (well, almost know that anyway). What I did NOT know about my car was that it was without an intact passenger side window. Some one had put it through in broad daylight. I was absolutely stunned. Looking at the mess it was obvious they hadn't just smashed the window, but had made a definite effort to break in as the window frame itself was damaged. I just couldn't for the life of me think what the hell there was in my car anyone would have wanted to nick - no CD player, no phone, my hand bag was with me. My mind was blanker than usual which is seriously blank. Had anything at all been stolen?

I reported the incident to the police knowing it wouldn't rank with their number one priority in the area, but needing a crime number for my insurance. To my complete astonishment they asked me if I required the services of Victim Support...for a broken car window! Anyway, at that stage I was somewhat dismissive of the level of trauma I had experienced. It was only later whilst waiting for the window to be mended that I realised I had in fact been robbed. THAT was when I needed Victim Support. They had stolen my flaming make up. Who the bloody hell needs to break into a car to steal someone's make up? Have I become another victim of the transvestite crimewave sweeping the Midland's?

Anyway - what a total disaster. When I added up what I must have spent over the years on my make up I realised I was going to be seriously out of pocket as my car insurance cover won't come close to the value of the stuff lost but that fact pales into insignificance compared to the immediate problem .

I know men always claim to favour the 'natural look', but that is only because men are blissfully unaware of how much make up goes into achieving the 'natural look'. I shall be scaring children and old ladies if I go out looking 'natural' first thing tomorrow morning. I shall scare myself if I pass a mirror. Reidski will realise how old I really am and will run for the hills.

Maybe there is something to be said for the hijab after all?
Me tomorrow morning -

P.S. Now I look at that photo more closely I need to clarify that that will be me tomorrow morning - only without the nice eye make up that woman is wearing. HUH!
I was playing one of my albums over the weekend when my sister was round. Owing to being the single parent of a 9 year old girl she is firmly of the opinion that all new music is rubbish, but that is because it is only the rubbish that her daughter inflicts on her. Sometimes I really do have cause to appreciate my teenage sons who introduce me to some great music, though admittedly my daughter's musical tastes are pretty atrocious.. Anyway, my sister liked this particular album very much (The Killers first one) and announced I could get her a copy for Christmas.

The very next day she left me the world's longest voice mail which I would like to copy word for word to demonstrate that my sister leaves the most involved and detailed voice mails of anyone living, but I am aware the rest of us all have lives to be getting on with so I won't go on about it for anymore than the 66 words I have already used up on this subject. Cut down to the bare bones (as you know, I abhor waffle of any description and never go on at length when brevity is called for) she said 'I already bought that album and thought I had better tell you straight away in case you were about to get it.' WHAT?! Is it Christmas Eve already and no one told me?

My sister has known me a VERY long time. Why she thought I might break the habit of a life time and buy a Christmas present in the first week of October I really don't know.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

You learn something every day.

The Tory Environment Spokesman - a Mr Peter Ainsworth - has just told the nation via Radio 5 that "The environment is all around us."

I will try to remember that.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Queen of Hearts (deceased) v Queen With No Heart.

Blimey. They are a little bit on the emotionally retarded side our dear old House of Windsor.

This film - 'The Queen' - happily confirmed all my worst prejudices about The Family Royal. Philip to Queen on the morning of The Crash - "I've just had your sister on the phone. She says Diana is even more annoying dead than she was when she was alive."

Alistair Campbell to Tony Blair as his ratings rocket following his words on The Death of Di - "People's Princess! You owe me mate!"

Worth watching for the expression on Philip's face alone when hearing Elton John would be singing at the funeral.

And strange strange strange remembering that bizarre week when the world seemed to take leave of their collective senses (apart from the flower seller in Milton Keynes shopping mall who set up a photo of Di ten yards from his stall, sold memorial bouquets, watched them being placed by the photo, and then (presumably) fetched them back to sell them over again).

I have had a lovely day with Reidski. Whilst being apart from him is rubbish maybe it does make the times we have together more special. Or maybe being with him is just special full stop. And I must stop with the Mills and Boon rubbish and return to my re-reading of Jane Eyre as inspired by the current BBC series.Click here for gratuitous glimpse of Toby Stephens.) I had forgotten how funny some of this book is, eg when Jane who has had a somewhat sheltered life first encounters Mr Rochester following his fall from his horse - (I asked)"Are you injured sir?" I think he was swearing, but I am not certain; however he was pronouncing some formula which prevented him from relying to me directly.

Over and off to bed.