Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A Photo For Friday

I know - one or two of you probably know it's Wednesday - a couple more are thinking 'Thank God - it's the weekend!!!'  And the rest of you think I've been at the cooking sherry again ....

Well, I wasn't here on Friday to do my post and I've been in recovery mode ever since the weekend.

Actually, I'm suffering from a serious case of writers block.  It's not that I don't have anything to tell you, I have loads.  I just don't seem to be able to form the words to get it down on the blog.

I just keep running out of steam and even typing this is a struggle.  I've got blogs to visit, comments to answer, stuff to say and yet - it's just all TOO HARD!

I had the best weekend I really did and I want to tell you all about it and I will, but not today.

Today I'm just giving you this photo:

Swanage at sunset

Friday, 26 July 2013

Own Your Words

Last night I logged into Facebook and saw the following update:

'Im an Australian..
Do I really give a flying fuck about some little cunt that has just been born?

No I fucking dont..'

Considering that the present Monarch of Australia is Queen Elizabeth II, the great grandmother of this child, I'm not sure that being Australian is a relevant  argument.

I rarely get involved with issues or debates on Facebook and I'm not in the habit of instigating them but the offensiveness of this comment took my breath away!

I'm not an ardent royalist - I've avoided the hype surrounding the royal birth by the simple method of not watching the television but I couldn't let this pass without comment.

I simply said:

' Personally I'd say every baby safely born is a reason to be thankful.'

The response I got was:

 so like you Sarah xx but you know its not what I meant xx..

Actually, no, I DON'T know what you meant - all I know is what you SAID.

Maybe you thought you were being funny or clever or ...  I don't know actually and I find I don't want to delve too far into your psyche.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Confessions Of A Sock Slut - The Lounge Edition

You know when you think you really KNOW someone?

When you just know that you're going to be besties FOREVER and EVER and tell them everything and buff each others toenails and go for bikini wax's together and, even when you're REALLY old, you'll still go car booting together and knit each other monogrammed doilies for Christmas?

And then they go and do something that makes you wonder if they really know you AT ALL???

Yes - I'm talking about YOU girlies over at The Lounge!! (hosted this week by Rachel at The Very Inappropriate Blog).

This week is 'Simply The Best' week and you're supposed to link up your best ever post ....

Don't they KNOW that I'm master, mistress AND slave to the indecision???

I haven't got a bloody CLUE what my best post is!!!  And I have toothache - which possibly isn't really a significant factor but it doesn't bloody help either does it??

Anyway, you're getting this one which may or may not be my best ever post (and contains no reference to dead, randy or even bad tempered animals ... or shit ...  - some of my best posts are shit related - theme for next week perhaps .....?).

So here it is:

My Name Is Sarah And I Am A Sock Slut ....

How long does it take to buy a pair of socks?

I reckon .........   about 4 minutes?

Pop into Primark, pick up 7 pairs of black cotton rich socks for 2 quid and it's a done deal.

I'm a 'buy it in bulk, buy it in black' kinda girl.

I've hinted before that as far as I'm concerned socks are communal property, I will happily steal your socks and claim them as my own if you are foolish enough to leave them lying around.

Let's face it, pairing up socks is on a par with ...  I don't know ... ironing tea towels maybe??

Why would you? *

Cheap is also the way to go as far as I'm concerned. **

Anyone that's seen Master Mac prehensile toenails will understand where I'm coming from.

Seriously, that boy has full on CLAWS !!  He goes through socks like (for some reason I want to say 'a nun with the trots' ...  must be the latent poet in me ;)

Anyway, 3 weeks ago (please note that I mention the fact that it was 3 weeks ago for VERY good reasons which will become apparent)  Surfer Dude and I were partaking of a grande latte in Neros and I noticed this gentleman sitting opposite us with the longest feet I've ever been privileged enough to come across.  They were seriously like canoes!

Of course I whipped out my phone to take a photo to show you but Surfer Dude wrestled it off me muttering things like 'invasion of privacy', 'inapropriate' and, rather oddly I though, 'copywrite'.

A very ungentlemanly struggled enchewed as I bleated, 'but what about my readers, think of my readers dammit' (I may have even bitten him at one point).

Sadly, being male and (only just!) the stronger of the two, he won so no pic I'm afraid :(

After I'd been consoled with a super expensive slab of fair trade tiffin (oh yes, I CAN be bought;) the conversation moved to socks and it transpired that Surfer Dude was in need.

I've mentioned that he works in a school.  Well, he mostly teaches PE to kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and ones who struggle to fit into mainstream school (not all fit into both categories btw).  So, given that it seems finding the right socks is very important (it's the PE bit here that's significant in case you were wondering).

In fact, it's almost bloody impossible!!!

Do you know, he wouldn't even go into Primark!!!

I may be a sock slut but he's even worse, he's a


We have trawled shops in four counties over the past three weeks, perusing, examining thread count, rubbing soles and toes between our fingers, looking at each other knowledgeably before saying, 'hmmmm' and discarding***.

We have considered and cogitated, discussed and dismissed.

The only thing we haven't done is sprinkled the bloody things with salt and pepper and eaten them with a knife and fork!!!

I shit you NOT.

Did you for instance know that you can get sock with silver technology?

F*ck knows what that means but you can.

You can get atmospherically sensitive socks, socks with aloe vera to soothe those tired feet, super absorbent socks (that is kind of ewww don't you think?), socks with gel inserts, easy grip cuffs, socks that tell the time and even ones that nibble away at those prehensile toenails as you walk ****

So, tonight when we popped into Sainsburys to buy some peppermint tea and I caught Surfer Dude once again soulfully stroking the sock collection something in me snapped, this red mist descended and I marched up to him, grabbed the socks out of his hand and strode towards the till with him bleating in my wake 'but ... but ...'.

I stopped and turned and, -  bringing my face very close to his, I said in an apparently VERY loud and carrying voice an authoritative voice:

'Sufer Dude, you are buying these fucking socks ok now do NOT make me bite you again'.

We bought the socks.

(I am please to say that I am now the proud owner of 5 new pairs of socks .... :)

* Please note, that is a rhetorical question!

** cheap cotton rich  - NOT cheap nylon, I do have some standards ...

*** I truthfully didn't give a shit and would have bought any or all of them.

**** I may have made the last couple up ....

Friday, 19 July 2013

A Photo For Friday

Rewinding with Maxabella.

'Mum, I've been stung on my bum!!' - for a moment I was captivated by the beautiful simplicity of the poetry in Miss Macs sentence.
Yesterday evening Miss Mac and I 'helped' SD do some tidying up at the farm.
We cut the hedge surrounding the lawn (well, SD did ...) - we built a bonfire (ok, SD did that too ...) - we cut down great swathes of cow parsley in the paddock which has become slightly over grown since the demise of the goat and the defection of that bastard sheep (SD might have done most of that too ...) But we DID help, honestly!!!
Miss Mac decided she liked pushing the wheel barrow around transporting the hedge clippings to the bonfire and I captured those precious moments on film which would otherwise have been lost forever - really, as I'm often forced to point out - SD is VERY lucky to have us!!
It's been hot here in Somerset, its been very bloody hot and I love it ( bet you thought I was going to go all English on you and moan about the weather then didn't you? ;).
Anyway, it was great to be out in the countryside and Miss Mac and I were obviously unsuitably attired for working in short shorts which is how she came to alight on some stinging nettles.
I immediately swang into efficient mummy mode and, snatching up  a handful of dock leaves I grabbing Miss Mac around the waist, bent her over and started rubbing vigorously at the white bumps appearing on her derriere.
'Mum, I CAN DO IT MYSELF!!' she yelled ( I may have taken her slightly by surprise ....) - 'rubbish' I said - you can't see your own bum can you?  I continued rubbing with some very dried up leaves which, on reflection, may not actually have been dock leaves at all - I contemplated the rather withered, disintegrating green stuff in my hand before shrugging and getting back to the job in hand.
The really good thing about country folk is how they always appear to be completely unfazed by anything really.  As the farmer from next door appeared around the corner to see me with my daughter in a headlock, rubbing her bottom with a handful of dead vegetation while she struggled in vain to free herself he just tipped his head our way and muttered ' nice evenin' forrit' before carrying on ...
Although I drew the line at photographing the nettle rash on Miss Macs bum ( mostly because she said she'd call child services if I did) I DID manage to take a couple of her hard at work and capture the beautiful sunset for you.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Orange Bench

There are many benches in the park, a multitude of multicolored places to rest and while away the time.

I know the location of each, even the ones hidden from the casual stroller using the park as a short cut from one side of town to the other.

I don't know if I've sat on every bench in the park probably not.

When the idea was mooted that we should paint the benches last spring I was in favour of painting them all green so they would blend into the landscape.  The general consensus was that they should be brightly coloured to encourage people to use them and so, like oversized butterflies resting for a moment, they add vivid splashes of colour to the green.

Orange is possibly my least favorite colour, conversely, the orange bench is my favourite place to sit in the park. 

I set aside my dislike of the colour in favour of its position.  A little off the main track, under the towering horse chestnuts where grape hyacynths, primroses and purple crocus cluster around the base of the trees in the Spring, it sits on the edge of a path opposite the small maze carved into a different pattern each year in the grass.

Other than the odd occasion, (only once that I can recall) I sit on the bench on my own only interrupted by Gus dropping a stick at my feet for me to throw.

I wonder who else sits on 'my' bench when I'm not there? 

It's often empty. 

Too far away for the mothers or fathers to watch the children in the play area. 

Too far away from the main field for the dog walkers to watch their charges. 

Not part of the main walkway where the shoppers may rest a while as they traverse the park with heavy bags.

I like to think it may, in reality, be just my bench.

I wonder what a time lapse camera would capture if it focused on that bench a while?

Me perhaps ...  Lost in thought, mindlessly picking at the loose flakes of paint, possibly subconciously thinking that eventually I will manage to remove all of the orange and return the bench to its natural wood.

Gus laying a stick by my feet before backing off slightly and looking at me hopefully before returning to pick up the stick and drop it a little closer each time and eventually placing it in my lap barking loudly to jolt me out of my daydreams.

Maybe it would capture many hours of nothingness, just the odd leaf tumbling from the tree or the occasional passerby.

Maybe when I'm not there the orange bench doesn't exist at all ...

Monday, 15 July 2013

Weekend Highlighs

Seriously, this blogger app is great when its working.  Unfortunately it doesn't always and I've got several posts perpetually saving without being able to publish them.  Sooo frustrating!!

Because I am lazy and slightly disenchanted ( but mostly lazy ;) I really can't be bothered to retype the post I wrote this morning so I'll just give you a brief run down of my weekend.

Friday night - fish and chips at the beach - Beautiful sunset - boats - cool breeze -  happy, happy!

Saturday morning - early start ( by SD's standards ie in town by 10.30 and drinking coffee with friends at a brand new coffee shop called The Shed set in Goodlands Gardens by the river which has replaced some very unsavoury public toilets and where they serve shot glasses of smarties with your coffee!

Saturday afternoon working on the beach buggy and discovering one of the wheels I'd painstakingly painted with three coats of white enamel won't sit properly so we have to move from wheel nuts to studs so no jaunt until next weekend :-(.

Saturday night at the pub to see a (new to us band) Eat The Rich - completely mad (think Go Go Bordello meets The Hayseed Dixies!).

Contemplate buying a sword to defend SD's honor as he yet again attracts the attention of what appears to be the local, rather drunk gay Mafioso who insists on doing 'magic tricks' with coins (very badly) for SD's delight as we try to enjoy the music.

I say (in all seriousness) to SD - 'want me to have a word - tell him to back off my bloke?'

Run away hide as SD gives me 'THAT' look that tells me he doesn't find me funny (he is in a minority btw, I find myself hilarious ;).

Sunday morning mooching round town (more coffee - more smarties).

Sunday afternoon 'helping' SD at the farm (which involved much eating of cake - sunbathing and playing with kittens on my part).

Sunday evening stroll.along the river with Gus so he could swim.

Glass of merlot and fell asleep before the film ended and so adding Robin Hood (Russell Crowe/ Kate Blanchett version) to the list of films I've missed the end of ( Hugo and The Adjustment Bureau so far just in the last week!)

And there you have it - my weekend - pretty damned perfect - hope yours was too!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Left Of Centre - Eric

I've always seemed to attract the attention of those who are ... Well, let's call them a little left of centre.

Eric was a tramp (I guess homeless person would be a more PC description but Eric really was the real deal and I always had the impression it was a lifestyle he wouldn't change).

I first met Eric on my way to work in the early hours of a cold Autumn morning.  At that time I worked in an IT department and we took it in turns to do the early shift which meant being in the office by 6am to get all the computer systems up and running and to check the overnight logs for errors.

I was walking through the early morning mist in the churchyard when Eric scared the crap out of me as he climbed over the high gate of the church porch where he had spent the night.

He became a bit of a regular fixture of my morning walk and he would escort me to the edge of the churchyard and see me safely on my way.

I have to admit to having a bit of a soft spot for Eric and took to bringing him cups of tea each morning ('4 sugars but don't stir it').

When Eric developed a rash (probably due to the many companions that appeared to live in his clothing) I bought him some antihistamine cream, I had no chance of getting him to see a doctor so it was the best compromise I could come up with.

Eric was extraordinarily grateful for my concern and gave me regular updates regarding the progression of the rash which unfortunately extended to showing it to me so I could inspect it for myself ... Sometimes in public ...  Sometimes in the middle of town ... With other people around ...

One day I realised that it had been several weeks since I last saw Eric.

I asked at the homeless shelter where he occasionally spent the night if anyone knew where he was.  No one had seen him and no one knew where he had gone.

I realised how very little I really knew about him.  He never talked about his past.  I'd assumed he was local as, although he was fairly well spoken, he had a slight Somerset burr to his voice.

I never saw Eric again and I often wish I'd known his story.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Bike Week

I don't know about where you are but here in Somerset, as the school year winds down in preparation for the long summer holidays most schools go off timetable for a few days and offer the children other activities.

I do have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about the inclusiveness of some of these activities but I'm not going to bang on about that too much other than to say that even if I had a spare £300 pounds lying around I'm not sure I think a 3 day trip (2 of which would be partly traveling to and from London)  can be justified particularly when I know that SD's school bring in a similar trip at a hundred quid less!

Anyway, activity week at Miss Macs school is next week which is the last week of term whereas SD's school has theirs this week.

SD is running bike week, something he does each year and something which is at the low end of the scale price wise. It's also something that he takes very seriously and puts a lot of work into in his spare time ensuring that the kids get great value for money.

SD is very keen on health and fitness, somewhat at odds with my penchant for lazing around eating cake but, as I may have mentioned once or twice, I AM the best girlfriend in the world ;-) so I've been dragging my sorry (very bruised) ass out on the bike to keep him company and offer him support as he builds up his stamina for the week ahead.

Yesterday we loaded up the bikes and headed for Exmouth. The original plan had been to cycle to Budleigh Salterton but with temperatures set to hit 27 degrees we decided the shorter hop to Topsham was more achievable.

Exmouth is beautiful, set in an estuary with a brand new, purpose built  cycle path running parallel to the railway and the water. Lengths of tarmac are intercepted with long wooden causeways stretching over the marshland.  It's fast, its fun and its so beautiful.

We negotiated the 6 mile path in about 40 minutes, not bad going given the heat and stopped at a farm shop for the best icecreams (mine ginger, SD's rum and raisin) before heading back to Exmouth. As we cycled through a village, one of the small parts of the track that isn't off road, we passed a pub with a band playing in the late afternoon sun, music streaming across the water and a bar-b-que wafting delicious scents across our path.  We paused for a while completely caught up in the music and the moment and I felt total contentment.

There was nowhere id rather have been, nothing I'd rather have been doing and no one I'd rather have been doing it with.

How,often can you truly say that?

If you're lucky like me then possibly quite frequently but I think that part of the true contentment comes from never taking that happiness for granted.

I can't say if someone who hasn't experienced the depths of despair and deep unhappiness could fully appreciate it because I'm not that person but I do know that my experiences mean that I savour these moments and live them to the full.

I don't have everything, not everything in my life is perfect or easy or straightforward. There are things I would change if I could and things that I work to improve but, other than at odd moments, they don't define me or my life and I let them go so they don't taint these perfect moments.

It's all getting a little poetical isn't it  ;-)

Would it help if I told you my bum is black and blue after yesterday?

Would it help if I told you that SD came home one day last week and told me that one of the kids asked him if bike week meant he needed to have a bike - 'its BIKE week' SD told me incredulously, 'BIKE WEEK!!!' What the bloody hell does he THINK we will be doing - playing the fucking flute??' He wandered off muttering ' bike week, bike week, B I K E  W E E K - isn't the clue in the title ...'

It's,glorious weather here again today, Gus and I went for a run along the canal early this morning before it got to hot for him and I brought him back along the river so he could have a swim. For a dog who runs away and hides at the mere mention of the word bath that dog sure LOVES the water!

There's no real focus for this post, I'm not going anywhere with it, no moral, no story, no funnies. Just I guess a realization that its so easy to take happiness for granted or to lose sight of it all together. 

Sometime you just have to stop and smell that damned rose and not worry that it might have a bee lurking in its petals.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Forgotten Friday

A little late but here's my photo for Friday post.

Yesterday I was on my way to the beach with a friend when we decided that it was too hot, too far and likely to be too crowded so we spent the day at Hestercombe Gardens just a couple of miles outside Taunton.

It was a great call!!

We wandered through the Georgian landscaped garden set in woodlands with lakes and hidden temples. It was cool in every respect.

We them moved on to the Edwardian formal garden created by Sir Edwin Lutyens who also designed the Cenotaph in Whitehall, the British Embassy in Washington and the Imperial city of New Delhi in India.

I wish photos could truly capture the sights and scents.

What an amazing place to have on my doorstep!

I had a great night out last night listening to one of my favourite bands and having a couple of drinks with friends.

Today, after a lazy start and a full English cooked by moi we spent the afternoon working on the beach buggy which should be good to go by next weekend.

Tomorrow however WILL be a beach day. The temperature is due to hit 27 degrees and we are heading for Exmouth and, if it isn't too hot, taking the bikes and cycling to Budleigh Salterton.

Having cycled the canal path last night and beaten SD in the sprints (which was NOT due to my having a lighter, faster bike whatever he maintains!!) we have fitted a gel saddle to my bike because frankly, my bum is bruised to buggery today ;-).

Anyway, on to the photos.

Have a fantastic weekend whatever you do and don't forget to take some time just to appreciate the beauty all around you :-)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Mr Timmis

As I settle myself at my usual table in the corner of the garden in the shelter of the high bamboo I reflect that my lack of internet at home may not be such a bad thing after all.

It gives me the opportunity to quench my endless thirst for people watching and, in a place where others are either in groups or absorbed in the paper I'm almost unnoticed as I cast my eyes over my drinking companions.

Although its barely lunchtime each of them without fail has some kind of alcoholic beverage clasped in their hand or on the table in front of them. I glance at my own glass of lime and soda, without ice today as its slightly less warm than of late.

To my left is a rowdy table of young lads each competing to be heard over the babble of chatter and laughter.  As I watch one of them reaches onto his back pocket and I see a glint of green and gold as he pulls out a pouch of baccy.  Carefully he teased the tightly compacted strands from the packet and lays them carefully along the crease of the paper he holds in his other hand.

Suddenly they all throw their heads back laughing uproariously at something and he swears softly under his breath as the action causes a cascade of brown flakes to shower down on him.  In an action I find hard to follow or fathom he lifts the paper to his mouth and deftly licks the gummed strip from left to right before swiftly rolling it and placing a perfect cigarette between his lips.

In front of me sit a couple, their drinks untouched on the table in front of them.  His a brimming glass of coke with a slice of lime resting on top of the ice - hers a white wine which touches the demarcation line two thirds of the way up the glass.

Something about the slump of his shoulders and the set of hers tells me that they are not happy.  Both of them appear absorbed in their drinks until suddenly she leans forward and starts talking in a low voice.  There's an urgency about the way she talks, she grips her glass tightly without ever raising it to her lips and a slight frown gives her vertical lines between her brows.

I can't hear what she says and I'm glad of it, I don't want to intrude that far into their lives but I watch him as she talks, his gaze never falters from the effervescent bubbles in his glass as though he would happily plunge into its depths where the slice of citrus in his drink would hardly be less sharp than her tone.

Beyond them sits a lone man.  In his hands he holds a pipe. Carefully he scrapes the barrel with some instrument before upending it and sharply tapping it on the edge of the ashtray.

Instantly I am transported back to the classroom.

I see the wooden desks with their criss cross of lines from generations carving their initials.  The hinged lids that when raised reveal the storage  compartment beneath and the inkwells filled each morning and from which we refill our pens before carefully copying the beautiful italic script on the board into our books.

I smell the chalk dust in the air competing with the wildflowers that fill the deep stone sills high above our heads.

I hear the voice of Mr Timmis our teacher as he guides us quietly but with authority through our times tables.

He is a tall man of millitary bearing and I have no doubt that at some point in a previous life he has served his queen and country.  He is immaculately dresses in a starched white shirt over which he wears a tweed jacket with a green thread running through it.  His high waisted trousers have a sharp crease running down the front and end in highly polished shoes.

He rules his class with a rod of iron, his pipe firmly clenched between his teeth as backboard rubbers fly catching the back of the heads of the inattentive with unerring accuracy.

Each April 1st we would buy capsules from the joke shop that, when inserted into a pipe, gave out great clouds of white smoke once lit.

Each April 1st Mr Timmis would find a reason to leave his unlit pipe on his desk while he left the room for a few minutes.

The bravest among us would hurriedly insert a capsule into the barrel of his pipe before rushing red faced and shaking with fear and excitement back to their desk.

After lunch in the playground we would gather round, our collective gaze on the closed window of the headmastsrs study.

Suddenly the window would burst open and great clouds of white smoke would billow out aided in its departure by a flapping cloth and we would laugh and clutch each other in excitement as we celebrated 'fooling' our teacher once again.

Mr Timmis was a hard task master. A stickler for good manners and didn't suffer fool's lightly but beyond the stern gaze lurked a twinkle of humour and for all we were terrified of him we loved him for that too.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Getting My Garbo On

Much as I love my family and friends and enjoy spending time with them, there are times when I crave solitude. Times when I find  the simple presence of others overwhelmingly claustrophobic.

Times when I just want to be alone.

This weekend I should have been at the races. I should have been enjoying the amazing weather in the company of friends soaking up the fun and the sunshine.

I realised on Friday that what I needed was time to myself.  Normally I'd just get over myself. Paint on a happy face and get out there and have some fun ( and by all accounts it was a fantastic day), but this weekend that feeling was too intense and I just wanted time to think.

Ironically the last thing I gave myself time to do was think.

I whipped myself up into a storm of cleaning ( and I'm talking emptying cupboards, wiping down walls and skirting, cleaning the outside drain, proper hard core cleaning....).

Although I didn't want to be with people it seems I didn't want to think either.

Yesterday, in an effort to regain my 'best girlfriend in the world' title (SD was rather disappointed in my no show) I spent the day in the garden painting the new wheels for the beach buggy and burning myself to a crisp at the same time.

SD was away all day taking some kids from his school to a football tournament in Birmingham, a huge achievement for those kids who are the South West champs.

SD has decided that we should move from 4 stud to wide 5's on the buggy ( something that unless you know what I'm talking about will interest you not at all so I won't bang on about it) he also decided that they should be white having spent several weeks telling me that they should be black as its almost impossible to get a decent finish in white!

Anyway, they got 2 coats yesterday and will get the final one this afternoon but I thought I'd take a little time out to come chat with you ...

I'm just waffling really, nothing much to say, still feeling that odd sense of feeling rather flat for no particular reason.

Maybe its internet withdrawal. Having to come out to pick up WiFi has well and truly lost its appeal. I should get my replacement router in the next day or so which means I'll be back properly fingers crossed.

Maybe I do just need to allow myself that time to think rather than filling my time with franetic activity.

Maybe I just need to get over myself - yep, I think that's the one.

Maybe I'll live dangerously and give the tabard an outing ;-)

Whatever it is that's bugging me right now I'm sure I'll be over it pretty soon - I'm rarely down for long.

More of that PUREFUCKINGSTYLE coming at ya soon  :-)