Sunday, 26 June 2011

Total Whiteout

This post has been in my head trying to get out for some time but I wouldn’t let it. Every now and then it would shout, ‘tell them, tell them, go on, you know you want to’ ……

Like a wasp it buzzed around pissing me off and occasionally stinging me just in case I might have forgotten it.

Forget you??  I’d like to fucking forget you but every time I walk into my kitchen, there you are IN MY FACE!

Possibly it would never have been told had it not been for Gemma over at My Big Nutshell but, having read her latest post I realised I wasn’t alone.  This THING that tormented me had other victims too, victims braver than me, victims willing to share and maybe, just maybe sharing was the answer. Take away the control and I could be back in power, I could be the one calling the shots.

What am I talking about? 

I’m talking about MY SHITTY KITCHEN!

You might remember me telling you a little about having my shitty kitchen fitted  (yep, ex lax, the transvestite plumber and the broken nose).

The thing is, like so many things in my house, my kitchen was never completely finished.

So, the walls got a coat of emulsion which was only supposed to ever be as an undercoat, (did you know emulsion ABSORBS grease?). The kickboards are still in my bedroom so that anything that drops on the floor invariable rolls under the kitchen units. The floor, well, we ripped up 7 layers of lino to reveal the ‘lovely’ red and white tiles with every INTENTION of laying a new floor. The edge of the windowsill was never tiled so there’s just a strip of bare concrete and not a single sodding door or drawer handle is straight.

My kitchen is what is know as a galley kitchen, it’s long (and I use that word loosely!) and narrow so, to counteract that we decided to put in narrower base units to give us more floor space with a range of cupboards above. (The added bonus there being that the floor tiles were only laid up to the edge of the old units so I have several inches of concrete floor either side! ) The only trouble is, using the workspace means you are practically underneath the fucking cupboards.  If I’m not cracking my head on them then I’m cracking it on the extractor above the hob .  

The kitchen designer (again, I use the term loosely) did allow enough space for the fridge but didn’t take into account that it would be quite nice to open the door to it’s full extent. Trying to get the shelves out to clean them is as painful as watching my elderly neighbour trying to reverse park her car.

But, not only that, my kitchen is the place where white goods come to die …….

First of all it was my tumble dryer, one day it just stopped working and I couldn’t figure out why.  I called out the nice ‘man who can’ to take a look.  After 5 minutes he turned to me ashen faced holding the slightly singed plug with bent pins.  This things a death trap he said in horror, you could have all been burnt in your beds!  I’ll take it away for you.  Noooo I said, I can’t afford to replace it and I’ll just be left with a big gap in my shitty kitchen. So it sits there, all shiny and white and smug laughing at me as I festoon the house with wet clothes and frantically try to iron dry airtex PE shirts in the mornings.

Then the dishwasher started making a strange chirruping noise even when it wasn’t switched on.  I asked my FB friends for advice.  It sounds like there’s a bird trapped in their I said but I’ve looked, I can’t see one. ‘Have you shut the dog in there’ one helpful soul asked.  ‘I don’t know Alf’, I replied, ‘I was too busy looking for sodding  birds!’

Anyway, the chirruping stopped and for a while all was good until, SOMETHING (and I still don’t know what it was), flew out of it one day when I opened it nearly taking my eye out.  Whatever it was must have been crucial to the working of it cause it doesn’t work anymore!

The story of my Washing machine you can read about here .It does work for now with the aid of two extension leads strung across the kitchen like bunting.

My steamer's on a go slow and things that used to take 40 minutes now take twice that time.  Ditto my toaster (although that does at least toast rather than steam). My oven is given to randomly overheating (which is why kids I ALWAYS burn pizza) and I’m on my third kettle so far this year.

So, like Gemma, I’d just like to say:

Stop reading if you have a shitter kitchen than me. I don't want to hear it. Stop reading if you have a better kitchen than me, I hate you. I hate you more if you have an awesome kitchen and have NFI how to cook either.

Because, like Gemma, I CAN cook too (when my shitty kitchen lets me!)

Lemonade Scones

Thursday, 16 June 2011

I don't like green things ...........

And after reading this I can understand why Mark.

I am truly sorry for making you re-live this traumatic episode and I sincerely hope that you found it a cathartic experience and can now put it behind you.

Well Sarah has advised me that she's going to publish my response in its
entirety so I will try and do her wonderful writing style justice...

My fear of green is deep rooted - like many traumatic things that happen in
your early life you try and repress it but you can't always keep it away
from your daily life.... I suffer every single time I go to the supermarket.

The source of the trauma... Something as innocent as a 9 year old's school
trip. My school was one of those wonderfully overcrowded inner city schools
with 1 teacher to every 45 students. They did their best though and often
would take a crowd of unwashed urchins to visit the local farm (where, when
asked the next day what sounds were heard at the farm in assembly, mixed in
with the baa's, moo's and neigh's there was a solitary voice that yelled
'get of that fuckin tractor you little bastard....')

Anyway I digress... During the spring term we were invited to the canning
and processing plant for Sprackleys Processed Peas as part of our science
lessons. In the mid 70's no one had really heard of Health and Safety and 90
screaming kids were encouraged to charge round a canning factory looking at
everything they could and asking stupid questions of a couple of very bored
teachers. In fact the only person who seemed to be asking anything of any
interest was Norman Pettigrew, who at best could be described as dull, he
wanted to know if the peas were picked by hand or by a machine, how long
after they were picked were they canned, how was the lid put on the can, how
was the label stuck on.... The list of questions was endless... One of the
teachers actually asked him why he was so interested and his proud answer
was 'because processed peas taste better than chocolate' (I did say he was

Norman spent all day running around the factory climbing the rickety wooden
ladders to the stirring platforms of the pea vats.

At 3pm when the teachers did the headcount to head back to school it was
discovered that we were one person short... After an inordinate amount of
time asking is such and such here and little voices chirruping yes miss it
was finally discovered the Norman was the one missing.

The usual Noooormaaaan calls had no effect and it was decided that we would
all go in different directions to look for Norman. I decided that I couldn't
be arsed to look around boxes and behind cupboards and that I'd get a better
view from the stirring platform on top of the main vat....

Staring around in all directions gave me no further insight and I decided to
make way back down to the rest of the crowd. 

Just as I was about to put my first foot on the ladder I heard a 'gloop' from the vat. 

Being a curious 9 year old (or nosey bugger as my Dad always called me) I decided to look in
the vat.... BIG MISTAKE... It turns out that Norman had been leaning over
the barrier about 30 minutes earlier and had slipped into the vat. 

I don't know if you've ever tried it but swimming in processed peas is like swimming
in quicksand... Norman had been sucked under and over the course of about
half an hour had been worked back to the surface of the vat - the gloop was
him breaking cover... 

The most shocking thing was his hair was green, his
skin was green, his strangely bloated tongue was green and the cream velvet
trousers that he was so proud of were also fucking green.... I still have
nightmares where I am chased by a pair of pea dripping green velvet

I went back last year and although the factory is now closed, you can still
see through the grubby windows a faded brass plaque attached to the largest
vat. It's not possible to read the inscription from the window but the
words are forever with me "In memory of Norman Pettigrew - a little man with
a huge love of processed peas" ......

Monday, 6 June 2011

Lordy Lordy

I got an Awardy!!!

Hmm, I promise NEVER to inflict bad poetry on you again!

I was completely overwhelmed to be given the Liebster award by Fancy.  Me? An award?? From Fancy???

The last thing I won was the most Malteasers transferred from one bowl to another with a straw on the distressed gentlefolks stall at the children’s school fete. The prize was a golden straw, well, technically it was a bit of copper piping but it was a proud moment.

Now this award is for favourite blogs with less than 100 followers so here are my three choices:

She lives in a chocolate box town on the edge of Rutminster with two teenagers and a small force of nature. Hiding from the wicked witch of mortgages and mobile phones. She finds John Suttleworth and Martin Clunes strangely attractive which puts her firmly in the kindred spirit category.

Erin was diagnosed with breast cancer not once but twice, two unrelated tumours which have led to surgery and chemotherapy.  But this isn’t what defines Erin.  Yes the blog tells her continued story but it’s also the story of those close to her. It’s told with warmth and wit and love. She’s told me stories that by right should have had me in tears but in truth had me laughing out loud. Wow, what a lady!

Gemma is a married mum of three, she loves being involved and being busy.  She kind of reminds me of me although she’s slightly more together and owns more Tupperware. She’s worked at MacDonalds, been fired from Target and used to drive a shitty car called Barry,

Yep, three of my favourites without a doubt.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Snails, Saunas and Waterfalls

So it's Thursday again and that can only mean one thing - it's time to pop over and visit The Lounge.  This week it's being hosted by Rachel at The Very Inappropriate Blog and the topic this week is Travel Tales.

Now I have plenty to say on that matter (and most others if i'm perfectly honest ;).  I did consider telling the story of Maggie's hen week in Symi and why exactly she had a roll of parcel tape in her bag and what Jenny did with it but time is short - I have (as Slapdash Mama would say) too much on my mind and not enough brain to deal with it all so I've dug through the archives and I bring you the story of my honeymoon:

As you may have realised, my family is a ‘little’ accident prone and sadly my children have inherited it from BOTH sides.

Most of my own personal mishaps I blame on Maggie.  Not because it’s necessarily her fault but just because I can.

My Fat Foot
I do this to such an extent that when I posted the photo of My Fat Foot on FB Maggie asked, ‘is it my fault?’  Well, no Maggie, I own that in this instance we were in fact in different counties so it probably wasnt.

It WAS Maggie’s fault I snapped my kneecap though!  Yes, I was a little the worse for wear and YES I was trying to see if I could put my foot on someone’s shoulder (something that should only be done either in a horizontal position or with someone considerably shorter than the person in question!) BUT, it was Maggie’s fault for leaving me and my alter ego unattended.

It wasn’t Maggie’s fault I ended up in A&E with a broken fingernail either  (I lie not!) as it was before I knew her.

I would have blamed Maggie for my black eye had not half the office seen me pick up the phone and smack myself in the face with it.  Bad enough but then, in a state of disorientation I compounded my foolishness by answering it and saying ‘hello, can you help me?’

Mr Mac, now I’ve been thinking about that title ever since lovely, lovely C mistyped his name in a text and referred to him as Lack and I’ve decided that as my ex he should be rechristened, I shall therefore, from now on, be calling him Ex Lax, a singularly appropriate title as all those in the know would agree.

Anyway, Ex Lax is the pass master of the ridiculous accident and in his line of work (tree surgery) he has plenty of scope for making a prat of himself.

Forget to clip in securely?  Yep, you’re going to end up upside down suspended from a foot strop 20 foot up a Scots Pine. Misjudge the weight ratio on the pulling rope you might just take out a green house a Ford Fiesta and a water butt.  Leave the safety lock off your chainsaw, expect to say bye bye to your gonads (little bit of wishful thinking going on there)

His best effort were saved for the home though and the dreaded DIY.  Yes he had all the tools of the trade,    but the best tools in the world do not a workman make.  To be fair (and I always am J) he was a tryer.

He fitted a kitchen with a little help from yours truly, our transvestite plumber (Nikki), the transvestite plumbers standard poodle and our mate Pete and only broke his nose once (his own, not Pete’s).

He put in a bathroom with a little help from yours truly, our transvestite plumber (Nikki), the transvestite plumbers standard poodle and our mate Pete and only over tightened ONE little joint on a pipe, ok, that DID result in the flooding (with hot water) of the entire downstairs but that’s just details.

He did help to put in the central heating with a little help from yours truly, our transvestite plumber (Nikki), the transvestite plumbers standard poodle and only put one little nail through one little pipe when re-laying the floorboards, shame it was in the room above the brand new boiler we’d just had installed in the Kitchen ……..
He did cut to size and put up the wooden blinds I wanted in the bay window and only dropped one piece of wood onto the sill of the new windows we’d just had installed taking a huge chunk out of it.

He did put new doors on the under stairs cupboard, ok, due to some feat of science that I’ve never understood neither door opens to more than a 30 degree angle but then, I doubt I could have done better myself (although the transvestite plumbers dog just might have been able to).

The thing is, he did give it a go and I do have a certain amount of respect for him because of that (not to mention a trashed house hmmmm).

I think my favourite Ex Lax mishap was on our honeymoon.  Some of you may have read the tale of our wedding day in A Right Royal Affair.

The story continued in the Lake District, our chosen destination for a few days of newly wedded bliss.  Ex Lax had chosen the hotel based on the fact that it came with its very own waterfall.  It wasn’t my first choice but I’m a bit of a people pleaser and I’m usually happy enough to go along with what everyone else wants if I don’t have strong objections.

The hotel was, as described on the website, within spitting distance of Derwent Water one of the beautiful lakes.  The description of ‘hotel’ though I had to question. Within a few minutes it was pretty obvious that it was in fact a nursing home for the incontinent! ‘Would you like to take coffee in the lounge madam?’ Sugar, milk, urine soaked chair?

The hotel also boasted that many of its rooms had beautiful views overlooking the lakes.  To that end I had rung to confirm out booking 7 times just so I could drop in the fact that we were on honeymoon and would love a lake view.

We got a view over the flat roof of the kitchen complete with extraction pipe and over to the car park and dustbins! There was a strange metal loop attached to the floor next to the bed which I immediately stubbed my toe on, no idea what it was for, possibly for ease of access to under the floorboards in case they wanted to stow a body.

My initial thought was that it WOULD explain the really rather unpleasant odour in the room.  It wasn’t me, it wasn’t even ex lax. It didn’t turn out to be bodies under the floorboards either.

It DID turn out to be the leaky soil pipe that fed the whole floor and ran through the built in cupboard under the window INSIDE our room!  The amount of shit generated by the whole hotel also produced (as a by product)  huge quantities of heat so the room was boiling hot as well as smelly.

Now Ex Lax had a peculiarity. He liked to see if he could fit into small spaces. Ignoring the heat, the smell of shit and the view of the car park, his eyes lit up at the sight of the whole wall of built in cupboards which included a small shoe cupboard at the bottom.  Carefully he backed into it (and yes, I DO have photographic evidence if I can ever work out how to get photos off the camera and onto the computer).  All would have been ok if the built in cupboard had actually been BUILT IN!!! After spending a little time firmly wedged in the cupboard Ex Lax decided it was time to explore further afield and attempted to slide out, but hmmmm, the whole of the damn unit came with him!  I wasn’t fixed to the sodding wall!!!  I had visions of us travelling the Lake District, him, and his very own home on his back like a bloody MDF crazed snail!

Fortunately with a little pushing and pulling on my part the two were separated.

Ok, we were now 20 minutes into our dream honeymoon and Ex Lax decided to go off and take a look at the waterfall while I unpacked.

10 minutes later there was a knock at the door.  I opened it to be confronted with Ex Lax, his face ashen, blood dripping on the floor from his mangled hand.  He’d only gone and fallen down the fucking waterfall!

He spent the first night of our honeymoon on the sofa with his hand in the ice bucket along with the champagne that neither of us really felt like drinking, sweating like a pig in a shit filled sauna.