Thursday, May 31, 2007

Something I could have done without

at 4.30 in the morning....

A starling coming down the chimney into my bedroom and flapping around in a panic striken manner which was very nearly as panic stricken as the manner in which I was responding to this mini crisis.

What with the bird, me, and one of my cats all going mental I can't recommmend it as the most relaxing start to a day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Opportunity Knocks

Much depended upon the result of the Championship Play Off Final

I am not talking about anything as trivial as the estimated £50 million pounds that the winners stood to gain. I am talking mother and son life long relationship.

17 year old is football mad. Christ knows where he gets that from but anyway he had studied the form and was convinced that the three victorious sides in the play off finals would be:

1) Bristol Rovers.
2) Blackpool.
3) West Brom.

SO convinced was he that he believed it was worth ten of his hard earned (peeling spuds down the chip shop) pounds. Saturday morning he wanted me to put a bet on for him for all three to win.

I was reluctant to do this for several hundred reasons. Obviously one should not as a responsible parent be encouraging an under age off spring to gamble. Wise words were directed at deaf ears on the subject of why it was a foolish thing to gamble. Other reasons for my reluctance included the fact that I have no idea HOW to put on a bet, and also that I am a lazy cow who couldn't be arsed to get in the car and drive for 5 miles to my nearest bookies. However, the nagging from a determined 17 year old can wear one down and some time later I found myself signing on to an on line gambling site.

I got registered no (well not many) problem(s). D and I then attempted to work out what to do next. It seemed that if he got all three results right he would win £134.00. Finally I had to put down my ten pounds payment. First attempt and it seemed I had given the wrong password. Second attempt and they didn't think my switch card existed. Third attempt and they thought I had just invented a new email address they had never heard of. Fourth attempt ...well, there was no fourth attempt. I lost patience. More heated words were exchanged with my son, but I said I had tried and I had failed, and none of the three sides would win anyway so he would end up thanking me. Hummmmm.

Saturday afternoon Play Off Final Number One. Bristol Rovers won. I would like to say that my son was mature enough not to make any reference to his ten pound bet that never was but much muttering ensued - and carried on and on.

Sunday I ran away to Reidski's to get away from the 'Fact' that I had cost him £134. Reidski and I watched Play Off Number Two. Blackpool won. As the final whistle blew I received a text. 'U WIL O ME £134'. It was beginning to look like I would never be able to go home again.

I discussed the final match with Reidski. He knows about these things. He told me what tremendous form West Brom are in. I wished I had never asked.

Monday at 3.00 finds a very nervous me perched on a bar stool in Reidski's local. West Brom start off looking by far the stronger side. Apart from the money he stood not to win because of me, I was worried he would think that any bet he wanted to make in future would be guaranteed to come off, and that I had contributed him to developing a life long gambling habit. As Good Parenting goes that scored approximately minus 1,549 points. As the match progressed Reidski had to keep telling me to calm down, although to get the full impact of just what being told to calm down during a football match by him you would really need to know what he is like watching a match that matters to him.

It never occured to me for a minute that Derby County would win..... but they did.
As the final whistle went I rang my son. "I saved you ten pounds" I announce in an annoying "I told you so" tone of voice. "Yeah, whatever" says he.

Thank god the football season is over.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Does it take Orange broadband up to 15 working days to provide Reidski with the internet service he had at his last place. He has the exact same phone number, the exact same broadband equipment, but it will take that long. I don't get it.

Anyway, he might be a bit quiet blog wise till it gets sorted out but he says he is missing you all already.

Also on the subject of Why? I still don't understand why David Beckham is off to play in the States. Well, yes, I do understand he will earn shed loads of money, but surely there is a limit to how much money anyone can spend, even if they are married to a person like the person he is married to. To me, he either wants to make proper use of his footballing skills or he does not. Yet here he is saying how much he wants a recall to the England team. To play for England does he not need to be playing top level football on a regular basis? Can he honestly expect to put in decent performances for England if he is popping back from the West Coast of the US to play? Or do superstars not suffer from jet lag like lesser mortals?

Now I'm off on one.

I hate seeing talented players opt to go and sit on the bench for sides like Chelsea rather than get out and play for some other side, albeit at a slightly lower wage. That is one reason why I am so glad to see Gareth Bale has chosen to go to Spurs rather than Man Utd or Arsenal. He's only 17, and he could have taken the money back in January but he wanted to stay and try and help Southampton get in the Premiership. I hope his career blossoms. Likewise players like Simon Cox and Alex Pearce, both of whom came to us on loan from Premiership Reading and played their hearts out every game - none of this "I am far too talented for this lowly arena" bollocks from them.

Do players who reach the level of Beckham remember what it feels like to play football for the sheer joy of it? Reidski lives for Wednesday evenings when he gets to play 5 a side with a few mates. Him and so many blokes like him for whom the chance of a professional footballing career will only ever be a pipe dream whilst David Beckham goes to swan around in LA. I ask again - Why?

(You are only saved from a prolonged rant by the need for me to get my arse along to my gym class.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Smug Parent?

One does understand how very tedious it must be for those parents whose off-spring do not periodically win prestigious and coveted awards to read of the success enjoyed by such talented children as mine, so do please excuse this little outbreak of smugness.

My middle child has won an award!!!!!

He has finished school this week prior to doing his GSCE's. And he came back with a certificate which, when I got in late the other night, he had left on my pillow so I could see and wallow in his achievement before I went to sleep.

As voted for by all 240 students in his year group my son is officially......


What a relief! I no longer need to worry about impending disaster in his exams (much).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tagged so here goes.

I was tagged by Dandelion.

First up -

Seven Things About Me That May Surprise You

1. My shoe size changed after I had my children. The never been pregnant me had size 4 feet, the have been pregnant me has size 5 feet. I have a wardrobe full of shoes that do not fit me, but I can't bring myself to throw them away.
2. I recently bought a pair of salad servers reduced from £17.00 to £12.00. At the checkout I noticed they went through at 12 pence instead of 12 pounds - and I didn't say anything.
3. Point number 2 above didn't make me feel guilty as it should have done.
4. Apparently it is likely I told 50% of the world's population to fuck off at the same time - if you were one of the persons on the receiving end of my message I do apologise. That was when I learnt never again to reply to spam mail urging me to - 'Reply at once!' with the words 'Fuck Off.' Because my e-mail address clearly indicates where I work and what my name is, people rang and complained about me. Actually, rather a lot of people rang and complained about me.
5. I said I hadn't done it, that it must have been some kind of a computer virus - and everyone believed me and apologised for accusing me so unfairly. I said it was quite alright, because I am good like that. And honest.
6. I loathe refering to myself as 'J.J', and don't know what I was thinking of using it when I fled my previous blog in haste. It gets right on my nerves and I would change it but it is just more hassle. It makes me sound like some prat from an 80's TV series about an advertising agency. And also it probably irritates me because...
7. My name is not Jane.

The rules:

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you’re in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
Velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)
Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia(London, England)
ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)
Tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)
Miss Kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Kat (Ontario, Canada)
Badgerdaddy (Ludlow, Shropshire, England)
Dandelion (England, Great Britain)
All Cobblers The Sticks, England.

THAT WAS A NIGHTMARE! That took me ages! I just hope all those links actually work.

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.

As I have two places I now call home I will use both localities...helpful as how could I be expected to find 5 good restaurants out in the sticks where I live?

1. Mondellos. Not just great food and great value, but we always get a kiss from the manageress when we go there - and often a free amaretto too. My very favourite Italian restaurant EVER!
2. This pub is smart but friendly. Our favourite barman works here.
3. A posh Indian in a former shoe factory.
4. Lemonia - quite a famous Greek restaurant in North London. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
5. The Fat Duck - she lies.
The Real Number 5. Great village pub with stupendous fat chips!

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they’ve been tagged.

OK, I will politely request that Joe tries this, Nat, George,Foil Woman and Spunky.

If any of you five do fancy giving it a go e-mail me and I will send you the links which will save rather a lot of time!

Food, Glorious Food

Friday lunchtime I met up with a friend of mine and she took me for my very first ever Dim Sum here. Yes, I know - I am at heart very provincial and eating stuff like dim sum is still very 'London' to me. The conversation was quite food centred too because her husband is currently working with Heston Blumenthal on his forthcoming book. I had looked up Heston before meeting her because he had already been mentioned and I didn't want it to be too obvious that I knew nothing whatsoever about Heston.

Anyway, I learnt that he owns The Fat Duck Restaurant which I had actually heard of. My friend has been invited there with her husband and her 10 year old was affronted that he was not included in the invite and asked "Why can't I come? I like ice cream!" She thought that was very funny and laughed a lot so I laughed too in what I hoped was a knowing in on the joke manner.It was only when I went back to research my subject more thoroughly that I really got it....
NITRO-SCRAMBLED EGG AND BACON ICE CREAM??? Give me chocolate chip everytime. And what is nitro-scrambled anyway?

I mentioned this on arrival at Loughton and I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to discover that my friends there had eaten at the Fat Duck. She showed me the menu. I reproduce it below:

OAK MOSS AND TRUFFLE TOAST(Homage to Alain Chapel)(who he? ed.)
Joselito ham
Almond fluid gel, cherry, chamomile
Perthuis asparagus, “Manni” olive oil
Black pudding “to order”,
Chinese pigeon cracker
Pickling brine and spiced pigeon juices
Bavarois of lychee and mango,
blackcurrant sorbet,
Blackcurrant and green peppercorn jelly
Pain perdu, tea jelly (2006)
Selection of wines by the glass to accompany this menu,
Available per person at £90, £145 or £295 (min. two people)

This menu is designed to be enjoyed by the whole table
An optional 12.5 per cent service charge will be added to your bill.

I have highlighted the prices - and they are apparently the prices per person and not in fact a printing error.

I'm not sure what sounds worse though I think maybe the snail porridge just edges it. I think I could probably manage the bavarois of lychee and mango - but that is about it I am afraid. Yes, I have found out just how totally unadventurous I am when it comes to food, but what can you expect of someone who never had spaghetti bolognaise until she was 18?

However, just to prove that our Heston is not a totally pretentious prat I bring you his how to make egg and chips. It is very concise isn't it? Just the 1,450 words on the subject. He helpfully conceeds at one point in the instructions that pricking each individual chip 25 times might be a bit irksome, but no doubt it will be worthwhile in the end.

Umm, Earth to Heston Blumenthal?

Me and Reidski had a very nice Chinese meal last night by the way. Crispy Duck rather than Fat Duck for me everytime.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Reidski's new place

is starting to look good. It would have been nice if the previous occupant had cleaned the place once or twice in the previous twelve months, but it is amazing what can be achieved with a bottle of domestos and a supply of J Cloths. There has been no second appearance by the mouse referred to here either which is nice.

An aside - I used to live in a hotel which was overrun by mice. I remember a very strange smell one morning when I was making toast being explained by the charred remains that subsequently popped up alongside the toast. Most unpleasant. Also, one Easter I was back from university and some noise woke me up in the middle of the night.I knew it was a mouse but couldn't see it so fell back to sleep with the light on. The noise woke me up again - even louder this time. I got out of bed and had another search but still couldn't see it. I sat back on my bed and looked to my bedside table to see what time it was according to my alarm clock...and there, behind my Terry's Chocolate Orange - MY EASTER CHOCOLATE - sat a mouse looking up at me, with chocolate on its whiskers, and far too heavy with all the chocolate it had eaten to even think about moving. I knew when I was beaten and went to find another bedroom (an advantage of living in a hotel).

Back to Reidski's sans mice, and we had a lovely 24 hours together before my trip to Essex. He now has a garden - cunningly disguised at the moment as a jungle, but we like a challenge.

Unfortunately work commitments prevented him accompanying me on my exciting shopping trip down Oxford Street. He missed out on advising me on the very important purchase which was the entire reason I needed to go out shopping, so I am hoping against hope the protractor I bought will do what it says on the packet.

The plan for Saturday

as arranged by two of my friends for who such trivial matters as the FA Cup Final do not register was for those of us who were in Lapland for New Year to cast ourselves into the fog of this Antony Gormley exhibition at 2.00 in the afternoon. In the event the fact that we all had a collective case of foggy head syndrome on Saturday without the need of a luminous glass room filled with dense mist caused cancellation of said plan...thank god! Which meant we did not miss watching the first Cup Final at the All New and Improved Wembley on the tele.(Wot? No rivers of urine flowing down the steps?)

The previous evening when my head was relatively clear for possibly as long as an hour and a half was so good.We were all pretty nervous and didn't know what to expect from Mr Steel. It is not - at least it is not in our collective experience - every day one has a private audience with a (relatively Moo and Brom!) well known comic and historian in your best mate's basement. We were cheered a little to learn that he would be cycling up to Loughton from the test match at Lords as that didn't seem too 'I'm right up my own arse' ish. We were concerned to later learn his agent had told him he was supposed to be in Leyton (about 10 miles away from where we actually were) but he found his way to us eventually. And yes, he did have a shower on arrival.

Anyway, he talked to us about history and how school and certain historians manage to make it so boring what with its hang up on the subject of dates. As he said, what is it with 1066? He imagined that even in 1072 they would have had trouble remembering in what year the Battle of Hastings had taken place..."No, it can't be 6 years already. But hang on, if Cedric had leprosy in 1067, then yes, I suppose it must have been '66?"

He told us the story of the French Revolution with no boring bits at all and if anyone is interested in reading his book on the subject it is this one here, and bits I read subsequently in the book he left us are hilarious, as well as being completely true. He also took any mutterings about how we "Should have gone for Eddie Izzard" very well, and managed to be polite when someone told him how much he admired Bono and Ben Elton, at least until he realised we knew very well he had had both of them consigned to Room 101. He stayed with us till gone midnight when we had expected he would want to clear off as soon as he had done his bit, he went out of his way to help my son who is studying the Russian Revolution, and even if he is what Reidski described as a 'Trot cunt' he was great company. Though fuck knows what he made of us.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I got a bouquet of flowers from someone I have never met and who I am never likely to meet because she lives in Australia.

She e-mailed me. Many years ago she gave up a son for adoption. Now aged 70 and afraid if she didn't try to find him it would soon be too late, she really wanted to know something - anything - about him. Because of what I do for a living I was able to find out what his adopted name was. I wrote to 6 people around the country who shared that name and I found the person she was seeking. Yesterday he rang his birth mother and they talked for two hours.

She is really happy. He is really happy. And I have a wonderful job.

In which I rub shoulders with famous journalists.

Well of course I am very well used to having nights out with a witty and educated man so why am so nervous about Friday. Just because this guy I am seeing then has been on the radio, and the tele, and writes for newspapers and magazines, and publishes his own books....I'm going to stop there as I am feeling inadequate enough already.

So how come this football loving social worker from a nondescript town in the Midlands is spending an evening with Mr Steel?

Obvious really - money has changed hands.

Rewind through my life to New Year when my very good and very wealthy friend took 13 of us to Lapland for a very incredible four days. The rest of us had no idea how to thank her, what with her being the kind of person who has everything already. When I say 'the rest of us had no idea', I should say all but one of us had no idea as another friend had a very good idea. We would get Mr Steel round to her house for the evening - and even better... the rest of us would be fairly confident of getting invited along too. Just one problem - we had to win this auction See Lot Number 22.

And much as I would love to be able to tell you I paid a fair share of the total winning bid I did not. The vast majority of it came from the person who had the idea in the first place. I was not the only one who nearly died when I saw how much this bid had cost, but thankfully she had gone into this with clear ideas about how much she could afford to put in, and how much the rest of us could NOT afford.

So Friday night it is all round to A's for a raucous night in with Mr Steel. Weird stuff.

And for those of you who have never heard of the bloke - Brom, Moo and others - he does these lectures.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Compare and contrast

This crime story from Japan with with some of these being discussed on the Radio phone in as I type.For example a bloke arrested for being in possession of an egg with intent to throw."I've got an egg and I'm not afraid to use it."

I've never been arrested, but I was once questioned about a Turkish Delight Chocolate Bar. It was a bit odd. A policeman asked to examine my bar of Turkish Delight. He opened it. He broke into it and sniffed it. Then he gave me it back. It transpired that he had watched me trying to give the thing away and that was 'suspicious'. He obviously thought there were drugs contained within my bar of Turkish Delight. The truth was much less interesting. I did not like Turkish Delight. I did not want the Turkish Delight. My friend who I offered it to did not like Turkish Delight either. And no bugger wanted it once the policeman's paws had been all over it.

What about that story from Japan though? Just an ordinary routine day in the life of a provincial police station when sone kid walks in with his mother's head in a sports bag???? Talk about "You'll never guess what happened to me at work today?"

Talking of guessing....prize for the first person* to correctly guess why I will be having dinner with Mark Steel on Friday night.

* this competition is not open to any person with inside knowledge - that means you Reidski.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Last words on West Ham - possibly.

West Ham would have gone down without Tevez in their side.

For most of the season - if not the past few games during which no one seems to know for sure if he was eligible to play or not- he was ineligible to legally play for them.

We now know the punishment for this infringement of the rules is 5.5 million pounds with no points deduction. It is estimated that relegation will cost Sheffield United £50 million pounds in lost revenue from gate receipts, sponsorship and TV money.

Well done to the Premier League Commission who made the decision not to deduct West Ham points but to fine them the £5.5m. I think they have created a recipe for anarchy. Clearly any side can lie to every other side in the Premiership, field very talented international players, and who cares if those players happen to be ineligible to play because should they get caught out they will just have to pay a fine which is a tiny percentage of what they would lose if they were relegated.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Moving on to really important current affairs

I like to keep abreast (no pun intended) of the difficulties our poor celebrities suffer so I was moved by the front page of More magazine and the very distraught looking Danielle Lloyd alongside the by line 'My week of hell'. Number one in the list of disasters that have befallen our tragic heroine in the week of hell in question is 'Boob Job Trauma.' Well reading that certainly made me feel grateful for my little lot in life.

It must be so tough fighting an unceasing battle ever since being exposed as a racist in Celebrity Big Brother to show the British public that one is a real person with real problems deserving of constant media exposure. I feel so sorry for her.

Important question

Well, it was to the lad aged about 8 on my train back from London last night.

There was a family on this very busy train and I think they had probably been to the Natural History Museum as the two boys were both waving their toy dinosaurs around. Middle Class Dad (with beard) was attempting to engage the enthusiasm of his sons by telling them all about dinosaurs.

Middle Class Dad: "Dinosaurs laid eggs."

Son aged about 8: "What were their bums like?"

Middle Class Dad ignoring pertinent question from his off spring:"Not all dinosaurs were meat eaters."

Son aged about 8: "What were their bums like?"

Middle Class Dad still attempting to ignore pertinent question from his off spring: "Crocodiles are believed to be the closest living animals to the dinosaurs."

Son aged about 8:"Yes, but WHAT WERE THEIR BUMS LIKE?"

Middle Class Dad now no longer able to ignore the pertinent question from his off spring, or the fact that all the other passengers were creased up laughing by this time: "Quite big I would imagine."

P.S. I was on my way back from visiting Reidski at his new place - yes, he has finally managed to move. What a bloody saga that was. I used to feel some sympathy for estate agents what with them making traffic wardens look popular, but all of that sympathy has evaporated in light of his experiences over the past few weeks. Tossers each and every one of them. (Except for the nice scrupulous ones of course...all two of them.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A joke

as told by Reidski.

Q. Where will you find a one legged dog?

A. Where you left him.

Talking of dogs, Reidski is at a leaving do tonight. In the speeches the guy who was leaving was described as being unfailing charming to callers, in direct contrast apparently to "That Rottweiler Reidski" who when a caller is being stupid is informed somewhat bluntly by Reidski that he/she is indeed being extremely stupid.

I find that so hard to believe! I prefer to think he politely suggests they may be 'mistaken in their assumptions.'

Most mysterious.

Ten Years After

So it seems that Tony will announce the timetable for his departure later today.

Is it really ten years ago that I got to snog him?

I notice looking back on that episode that the date was 1st April. I was a naive fool.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Can't live with 'em and - erhh - can't live with 'em at times like these.

I seem to have suffered more than my fair share of teenage angst this past week or so.

My current situation is thus - Son No.1 is doing AS levels. He is not working hard enough. He has had to work till late into several nights in a row to finish course work which was due in on Monday and with which he was miles behind. The late nights have done nothing for his good humour which has been on leave of absence.

Then there is the small matter of his exams which start Mid May, which by unhappy coincidence is the exact same time that Son No.2 commences his GSCE exams. And there's another coincidence. Son No.2 isn't working hard enough either. No matter how hard I nag it seems to make no difference whatsoever with either of them. I start to dread August (results month) already.

To add to the woes of Son No. 1, he rings me up at work this afternoon to inform me that "WE have a problem." What this turns out to mean is that HE has just had a bad driving lesson and with his test booked for next Wednesday, which he is most insistent he will not cancel, that is not good either. Of course, this is all the fault of his instructor, or in the alternative version it is my fault, and nothing at all to do with his inability today to reverse round a corner without driving up the kerb. I got back from the gym where I went straight from work thinking "Thank god I have an hour before he gets in from his job at the chip shop before the aggro starts" but no such respite. In fact he was standing waiting for me at the back door. It turned out so bad was his mood he got his mate to cover him at work because he would have turned the chip fat sour, not to mention frightened all the customers away. Cue long 'discussion' by which I obviously mean 'blazing row' about the meaning of maturity/responsibilities, and his urgent need to 'bloody well grow up'. Even as I sit here I am painfully aware just exactly how ineffective that all was.

Worst of all though comes from an unexpected direction - My Beloved and Can Do No Wrong Daughter. She is beside herself with anxiety about three year old Maddy who as we all know is missing in Portugal. She is entirely incapable of putting it out of her mind, is asking unanswerable questions, and keeps dissolving into floods of tears. She keeps asking me what we can do about it. All I can manage is to say we both need to keep hoping for the best and to try and reassure her how rare such events really are. But as she said to me, that is no consolation to Maddy and her family is it?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

By the way

What is that nasty taste in my mouth?

Oh! Tis the thought that West Ham will avoid relegation after getting away with playing unregistered players.

Here's another sour thought. How long exactly will Sam Alladyce be spending with his family?

And another - Leeds get away with having their 10 point reduction this season rather than next.

On a more positive note. Like him or loathe him, Alex Ferguson is a truly incredible manager. The way he has yet again built a championship winning side is amazing, and the way they have won it this time with such beautiful attacking football has been a pleasure to watch.

No rose coloured glasses here.

At least I don't think so.

But most importantly the mighty Cobblers finished a quite respectable 14th in League One.Play-offs next season??? (Stranger things have happened!)


As he mentions here Reidski has still not managed to move. As I said a few days ago we had begun to wonder if the landlord of the place he had signed up for actually wanted a tenant or not due to the extent of messing around he was putting Reidski through. Well, who cares now whether he did or did not want a tenant because he is no longer going to have Reidski as his tenant. Another place has been found and he should have moved into it yesterday - but...the aggro continues and this time it would be the fault of the estate agent who arranged at about 4.00pm on Saturday for him to go into his office first thing yesterday and get the keys. The fact that he would not actually be working yesterday escaped him, as did the necessity to tell one of his colleagues who was working yesterday what the score was. And we in the public sector are always being told we need to imitate the private sector!!???!!! I'd get sacked if I treated my clients with such disregard. Funnily enough given our respective personalities, he is quite sanguine about all this aggro - and I am raging. Maybe today - maybe.....

Still, it did mean that yet again I had to 'suffer' a nice day out in London rather than help him move. I guess I should count my blessings, but really, I worry that without me to check he will leave half his possesions behind in the hopefully soon to be old flat. We women have difficulty accepting men are actually quite capable of doing things perfectly well by themselves. Or maybe we just need to feel needed?

A piece of good fortune

Early last week my daughter asked me if we could go for a meal at the weekend - just the two of us. I thought that was really sweet and agreed that we could. She seemed to be excited about it. She kept asking me things like 'What was I going to wear?'and asking me if I was excited about our night out. Correct answer - "Of course I am darling!"

Anyway, on the day itself she couldn't make up her mind which, out of a fairly large selection of Italian restaurants, she would most like to go to. This was a discussion which went on over what felt like many hours but eventually a decision was reached. She and I would go to our local 'Ask'.

On our way into town we passed a park where there was a circus. H asked me if she had ever been to a circus. I said that she had but she was very little - 2 or 3 at the most. She thought she vaguely remembered.

We were early - it was only about quarter to 7 when we got to Ask but it was very busy. I was just saying to H that maybe we would have to go somewhere else, but the manager said they had a table for us and sat us down. I said to H that most of the people there were probably eating before they went to the theatre and that it would soon empty out a bit. Then the couple we were sitting next to us asked us if we were going to the theatre. I said we weren't and then they asked us if we would like to go. I was completely thrown by the question.

For one thing I didn't even know what was on. For another I think my initial thought was that they wanted to sell their tickets and I was mentally working out how I could most politely decline, but that wasn't it at all. It quickly transpired that in fact she had some complimentary tickets and was offering H and I them. The only problem being as they told us, was that the show started at 7.30.

NEVER has a meal in a restaurant been consumed at such speed. After looking forward to it so much H was unable to get out the place fast enough. But it has to be said that we saw the kind of show for which the term 'jaw dropping' was invented. And strangely in light of our conversation had whilst passing the park on the way into town - we saw a circus. And totally amazing it was too.

I had a lovely night out with my beautiful thirteen year old daughter.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A dilemma avoided

Thanks to this result tonight from Milan.

My middle son is a Liverpool fan. We had our most intense bonding session ever watching the
the 2005 Final. We sat holding hands for most of that amazing come back afraid to let go of each other in case that broke the spell and brought doom to Liverpool. Breast feeding had nothing on that!

I feared he would never speak to me again if I cheered for United against them in another Champions League Final. I would have tried not to but things have a habit of going wrong for me in such situations. ('Come on Luton' springs unwanted to my mind.)

So anyway, no worries now following that lack lustre performance from United.


Stressful house moving day

Reidski was moving yesterday. He is going from a fully furnished place to a place described as 'partially furnished' which turned out to mean that it contained four pieces of furniture - three of which have got to go. The wardrobe in particular was so knackered and hideous that the question arose as to whether the landlord actually wanted anyone to rent the place. The mountain of junk mail just inside the door did indeed tend to suggest that people had not been queuing up. However, in many ways the flat will be ideal for Reidski on a long term basis and following negotiations - eg ditch the vile furnmiture, paint the place, and replace the carpets - the deal was done. I went down to help him move, armed with bleach, oven cleaner and Cillit Bang.

Only snag was, as he told me as soon as I arrived on Monday evening- he wasn't moving yesterday. The carpets weren't done yet. So that was devastating. I was denied a day's heavy duty moving all his worldly goods and cleaning. Instead I was forced to spend a day in very sunny Greenwich, and to endure a pub lunch sitting outside this pub by the river (Spunky's local as I happen to know. Where were you yesterday lunchtime Spunks?.) It was hell.

The day wasn't all wasted though - I did assist him with the purchase of a cheese grater.