Wednesday 25 May 2011

Braless in Boden

Linking up with the Weekend Rewind

A couple of days ago I came across a post on Facebook that made me sit up and take notice.  Now in general the stuff on there doesn’t really excite me much, I’m not one for having hundreds ‘friends’ which is just as well as apparently hundreds of people don't WANT to be my friend anyway.

Mine is a mixture of old and new friends.  Or, as my Christmas post said:

‘Merry Christmas my old friends, my new friends and the rest of you, whoever the hell you are’.

Anyway, having only 70 odd friends can sometimes make for a boring FB with not much happening.  Sometimes I feel obliged to liven things up a little, sometimes I just leave it alone for a while.

Back to the point!

Maggie’s update (and yes Maggiemoo, I’m naming you!!!)  said:

Has anyone got a couple of small bits of felt in black and white that I could have (will pay postage) - I need to do some mending!!

Just a couple of things wrong with this!!!  Firstly, I know they have shops where you live Maggie and it’s only felt you want not the belly fur of a silver yak, wouldn’t it be easier to pop down to the local haberdashery and pick up some rather than getting someone to post it to you and then having to go to the trouble of going into town anyway to post off postage???  Just saying …………..

Secondly, who the bloody hell is this person impersonating my pal Maggie? I sat there repeating Maggie, mending, Maggie, mending, Maggie mending,  over and over in my head and even out loud to see if it made any more sense but no, my brain could not compute.  Maggie throws away, Maggie wears with holes,  Maggie does NOT mend!

SO WHO ATE MY MAGGIE??? Prime culprits are one of those damn Boden Mums from the forums she keep inexplicable joining.

Comments came in thick and fast.

what sort of size are you after? I might have a bit

I have felt the equivalent size to A4 paper if you want it

How about I give you some from the pieces I have, I can let you have them at school tomorrow?

I have some sourced from a pygmy tribe in Azerbaijan, 400 thread count but only in black and red (ok, I made that one up)

No one asked what she wanted it for, Maggie, what the fuck do you want it for?????

I only need a couple of cm's square - need it to keep the underwire bits in my bra!! (Ok, Boden Mummy, sick up my Maggie now, it’s not funny and it’s not clever!)

OF COURSE.  Like it's the most normal thing in the world to mend a bra! Like, if you WERE actually going to mend a bra of COURSE it would be with black and white felt. Like, if you were going to mend a bra with black and white felt the most obvious thing to do is to turn to your FB buddies for help?????

My suggestions for alternatives to the felt:
little squares of wholemeal toast, 
gummy bears,
old till receipts (which I was willing to post to her)
kitten fluff and
a bicycle inner tube were unanimously ignored as most of my more helpful inventive comments are.

Is there anybody out there who’s actually mended a bra (discounting the times when a straps snapped in public sending your boob plummeting south) and was felt the first thing that sprang to mind when you did????  Has a Boden Mummy eaten one of your dearest friends and have you manages to get them to regurgitate her?  Is there Hope for Maggie?

Yours, confused (and a little scared and missing Maggie) ……………………. 

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Im not the alien, it's an effing Android!!!

Today I had my arm twisted  decided it was about time I stopped being such a whoose  and started using my 'new' phone (hmmm, that would actually be the one I got for Christmas!).

Yep, I can do this,  how hard can it possibly it be?

Judge for yourself. This is the conversation I had earlier with, well, lets just call him M (you KNOW who you are!).

M: How's your evening going - are you having fun with your new phone :)

Me: Not er

Me: Fuck

M: Lots of swearing today Mrs Mac!!!

Me: ,

M: And random commas?

Me: Lol, bastard phl

Me: Lp

Me: Fuck it

M: It's amazing - every swear word is spelt perfectly!!

Me: Whag

Me: ,

Me: B

Me: N

Me: N

Me: N

M:  What? - It's like talking to a demented alien!

Me: Haha, I give up! C

M: Don't give up - are you trying to type on a phone type keypad?

Me: No

M: On a proper qwerty keypad?

Me: Yes fuckin thing

M: You must have very fat fingers to type that badly - turn the phone sideways

Me: ok tg

Me: Fuck off my finbers arent fat

Me: Finbers

Me: Arse, fongerz

I think that went pretty well really ...............

Monday 23 May 2011

Fridge Me

I've just seen Mums' Mutterings blog  via the Rambling Pages  and thought this link up was a brilliant idea and decided to take part.

She loves  a good trashy magazine. One of her favourite features is... 'What is in celerity X's fridge'.
And, she loves a good fridge nosy.

Well me too (and like RP I love a good nosy  through other peoples shopping trolleys as well).

Obviously I'm kind of wishing I'd seen this AFTER I'd been shopping and I'm slightly embarrassed at the lack of food and excess of alcohol but, it is what it is and I do PLAN on feeding the children a healthy, balanced meal tonight (probably).

Jar of cranberry jelly
nam pal fish sauce
jar of Janets homemade rhubarb chutney
net of babybels
bottle of homemade gingerbeer
bottle of Pinot Grigio Blush
bottle of Clos Monistrol Cava
bottle of First Cape Pinot Grigo
2 ltrs Cravendale full fat milk
bottle of Heinz mayo
bottle of lucozade sport
pack of mature cheddar
small bottle of Stellas homemade Lemonchello
4 cherry tomatoes
half a cucumber
yellow pepper
bag of red grapes

Why not join in at Mum's mutterings and share what's in your fridge right now (no going shopping first, that's cheating!)

Sunday 22 May 2011

Quintessential England

Nothing makes me happier than bunting. Well, except perhaps a good cream tea. So, when I was invited to the North Curry Village Fete with the prospect of both AND lots of lovely stalls run by Beryl Cook type ladies from the Womens Institute I didn't hesitate.


Fortunately this wasn't misinterpreted and off we set for the Somerset Levels.

There's very little I can say so I will let the photos speak for themselves.  Suffice to say it was the kind of day that soothes my soul, fills my heart with joy and my stomach with homemade cake.

lovely ladies

lovely cakes!

beautiful house and BUNTING!!

cream teas in the garden

they call themselves The Fiddling Folk (I kid you not!)

coconut shy

Punch and Judy on the village green

A rare photo of me watching the show

swing boats

such a beautiful village

makes me wanna grow me a beard and grab me a stick!

room for another? I think so!!

Rewinding at the Fibro

Clipboards and Cat Shit

  Rewinding at the Fibro

A couple of days ago I received a letter that surprised and worried me a little.  It was from Master Macs School and it said that they were concerned about his attendance record and would like to see me.
I rang the school immediately to see if there had been a mistake.  No, they assured me, no mistake.  It seems that with his recent accident and resulting appointments at the hospital Master Mac had hit a trigger point.
The visit was arranged for Friday morning at 10am.
After waving the children off to school I looked around. 
It’s been a while since anyone other than friends and family had been to the house and having someone who is basically there to question your capabilities as a parent sure makes you look at things with fresh eyes.
A quick wiz round with the hoover, wash the breakfast dishes, clean out the litter tray, shower and dress.
That WAS the plan!
Out came Henry, a flick of the switch and …..  WHOOOMPH!!
A great cloud of dust and dog hair, tissue and fluff erupted like a mini volcano covering me and half the room as effectively as Vesuvius buried Pompeii.
Complete panic, the damn woman was due in 45 minutes, my house was filthy, I had 5 cats running around, a dog shedding yet more hair and a full litter tray.
 I was also braless in a baggy tee-shirt and cropped legging.  I didn’t have a clue what to tackle first.
A quick slug of Merlot from the open bottle on the kitchen counter (yes, it was only 9:00am but needs must!) and I assessed the damage.
Ok, litter tray first.  As ever, a queue of full bladdered kitties waited for the moment the clean litter hit the tray before parking their furry bottoms in the gravel to fill it up again.
Out to the wheelie bin at the front of the house only to find that it was, as always FULL!! 
The bin wasn’t  due to be emptied until Monday and only a foolish person leave a bag of used cat litter around for all the other cats in the neighbourhood to rip apart and spread the content (if you are lucky they might even leave an offering of their own!)  So, back in, wellies on and into the bin I hopped. Jumping up and down trying to compact a weeks worth of cat shit and other household rubbish
HELLO, YOOHOO, Mrs Mac???  I swung around to see a woman holding a clipboard tottering towards me in the most extraordinary pair of shoes.  They were those wedge ones with a hole cut out for some bizarre reason, it looked like she was walking in ice skates.  But the main things was,
Ok, I thought, if you can wear ice-skates, I can stand in wheelie bins carrying shit and coved in filth.
I decided to brazen it out.  Calmly I climbed out of the bin on to the wall and hopped down onto the pavement.
‘That would be me’ I said with a smile holding out my hand to shake hers.  She recoiled slightly and waved her clipboard in an attempt to suggest that it wasn’t that she was reluctant to clasp my hand but rather that her hands were full.
Coffee?  Tea?  Slug of wine?  I queried with a slight laugh as though I was joking while both of us hungrily eyed the half full bottle.
Perhaps we could just sit down and have a chat she suggested whilst her gaze swept my house and myself with complete horror.
I smiled again, again she recoiled, what was the matter with the woman? I got that she didn’t want to touch me and ok, I guess I could empathise with that, but I was only trying to be friendly for gods sake.
‘You have ……. Errm ……..’ she said gesturing to my face.  What? WHAT???
I dashed into the bathroom to look in the mirror. Oh great!  I’d obviously inhaled a quantity of dust and dirt and my nostrils were ringed with black, I could have cried except that would only have left streaks down my filthy cheeks.  I cleaned up as best I could and feeling very subdued went and sat down.
Things couldn’t and should have really got any worse and in truth, I’m not sure they did but by that time my judgement was shot along with the chance of winning any parenting awards!
Tilly, mum to three kittens has suffered a little from what I call ‘lactating mummy tummy’, it’s not funny and it’s not nice.  It IS noisy and it does stink however so when I saw her purposefully making her way to the tray I knew all was lost.  After much digging about she proceeded to excavate her bowels with a sound like a toddler let loose with a trumpet and sure enough, like a mist creeping over the sea the stench pervaded the room.
The poor lady decided enough was enough and brought our meeting to an end with assurances from me that I would never again let Master Mac be shot in the eye and thus miss valuable schooling.
If only one of us had realised that Florence, the smallest of the kittens who had taken great interest in this ladies footwear had somehow manages to wedge herself through the hole in her damn shoe.
She stood to leave gathering her clipboard and her wits and took a step towards the door. The weight of Florence caused the shoe to shoot off her foot across the room.  Florence yowled, the lady let out a strangled scream and I dissolved into hysterical laughter.
There probably is a moral to this story but to be honest, I haven’t got a clue what it would be and frankly, after I’d finished the bottle of wine I didn’t really care.
(nb Florence was completely unharmed J)

Thursday 19 May 2011

Where Are You From?

Rewinding at the Fibro

When I’m asked this question I pause, where am I from? I've lived in many places but only really felt I belonged in one.

 My formative years were spent in a variety of places from Scotland to Australia but if home really is where the heart is, then I’m from South Devon.

I spent much of my childhood on and off in a small seaside village in South Devon. This is the village where my Grandparents lived, the village in which my Mother grew up.

It was our base, our security. When everything else fell apart around us (as it frequently did) this is where we would run.  Sometimes it was in between moves (My Father was in the Navy), sometimes for holidays and when I was 9 and my parents marriage broke up we moved back there to live.

The village  is split into 3 parts.  The start of the village is called St Anns Chapel, I'm not sure why.  Maybe there was a chapel there at some point but if so, it's long gone. There is a Pub, the Pickwick Inn although I believe the name has been changed in recent years, a  shop where you could buy just about everything and a small group of houses.  There used to be a small gift shop selling little ornaments with 'A Gift from Devon' stamped on them and sticks of Rock with Devon right through the center.

 A little further down the road, before you get to the village proper was the small group of mismatched houses where we lived.

My Grandparents had  built a long low bungalow on a large plot of land  they bought when they first married.

The bungalow was split into two  parts. The main house from which my Grandmother ran their Bed and Breakfast business during the Summer months and a small annex with one bedroom.  This annex they used to rent out to a gentleman, Mr Price, I never did know his story.  He was always smartly dressed and very proper. He used to buy us liquorice stick sometimess, not the black sticky commercial kind but real twigs that when you chewed them had a strong liquorice taste.

There were 4 houses on our side of the road.  Next door lived an elderly lady, Mrs Warren who used to be the village midwife. Her son reputedly lived with her but in all the years I lived there I never saw him.  She was very much a loaner but sometimes she used to stop and talk to me  and once she gave me a painted wooden train that had belonged to her son.  In return I picked her a bunch of Sweet William from my Grandmothers garden and left them on her doorstep.

Across the road  in the old police house lived Uncle Max and Auntie Mary. The police house was a large imposing building with a beautiful garden.  They weren’t really our Aunt and Uncle but as in the familiar way of country life we had many ‘Aunt’ and ‘Uncles’ in the village.

They were an extremely dashing pair. The epitome of 1940’s chic, an era they had obviously decided so suited them that they chose not to leave it.  Auntie Mary wore beautifully tailored linen slacks and crisp blouses and a scarf tied around her head and wrapped around her slender throat Grace Kelly style.  Uncle Max smoothed his abundant jet black hair back with Bay Rum Pomade and belted around the country lanes in his little red sports car with his golf clubs in the back.  they always seemed so happy, so in love, so full of fun and life.

A little further down the road was the church.  You could get  to get to it, either by road, or take the shortcut through the kissing gates and across the cornfield.  The corn of my youth was so much taller than today.  I may have been a lot smaller then but the corn reached my shoulders, waving its golden ears gently in the breeze alive with butterflies and ladybirds.

I spent a lot of time at and around the church as a child.  Granddad was a bell ringer and sometimes used to take me up to the bell tower, this was reached by a narrow staircase up the side of the building, he would let me pull on the ropes and laugh when I couldn't elicit a sound from them.

Every Sunday after Church he would go to the other pub in the village, The Royal Oak, for two halves of mild and a game of domino's. .  I don’t know why he never drank pints but it was always two halves

My Grandmother  the driving force in their marriage as so many women of her era were was a stickler for tradition.  Sunday lunch was served at one pm, never mind that Granddad was never home on a Sunday until 1:15.  One o’clock was lunchtime every other day of the week and so it was on a Sunday too. We would sit there waiting while our food cooled until Granddad, on the dot of the quarter hour made his appearance.

Granddad  also sometimes filled in for the local gravedigger (excuse the pun).  I would sit on a nearby grave and watch him first carefully remove the layer of grass exposing the rich soil underneath and then digging down, the earth in a neat pile beside him. I was fascinated by the way he seeming disappeared into the earth, almost as though he were being absorbed until only his flat cap was visible.

My Grandmother was in the privileged position of having a church window of her own.  This was a much coverted honour.  Every Harvest Festival, Christmas and Easter the church was decorated.  There was an unspoken rivalry between the ladies of the village to have the most spectacular window display.  Great boughs of holly and Ivy would be gathered at Christmas, offerings of  giant pumpkins, russet apples and sheaves of corn at harvest time.  Delicate bunches of primroses and daffodils filled the deep stone sills at Easter filling the dusty air with their perfume.

Next to the church was a house that always stood empty.  It was a three stories high, made of dark grey brick and stood in its own grounds.  At one time it had been a very grand manor  house but now it was neglected, empty and rather run down.  It had its own little stone stairway up to the church.  At the top of the stairway tucked under the hedge grew Violets, purple and white, tiny delicate flowers with a delicate scent.  But the best thing of all was hidden from view.  There was secret garden!  At one time it must have been magnificent but now it was overgrown and had fallen into decay. But to us it was a wonderland of small stone walls and bushes to play hide and seek.

Behind the garden was an orchard where, despite not having been tended for many years the small gnarled trees still bore an abundance of sweet rosy apples in the Autumn and we used to fill our pockets with them as fuel when we went exploring.

The second part of the village boasted the another pub, this was where Granddad would sup his ale on a Sunday after church.  There was also the local village shop and Post Office where they weighed out sweets by the ounce and broke up toffee with a hammer.  There was a garage attached to the shop where self service had never been heard of and Mr Bardons clad in his oily overalls would fill up your tank for you while discussing the weather or the price of fish or just about anything else you wanted to chat about.

The prettiest houses were in this part of the village. Proper chocolate box houses with thatched roofs and roses around the door.

Here, down a small winding lane lived Miss Pierce and Miss Burrows, the founders of the BCC, Bigbury Cheery Christians.  This was in the days before computers, games consoles or even morning television. When children were encouraged to be out all day everyday. They were well travelled ladies and their house was crammed with memorabilia from all over the world.  At Christmas the postman was laden with cards with exotic stamps from every corner of the globe.

These ladies drove around in a Morris Minor Woodie. This set them apart from the bread baking, flower arranging WI women of the village as most ladies of their age didn't drive.

The BCC was designed to encourage children to think of others. They told us tales of their travels, about the hunger and difficulties faces by many children in other countries.  They showed us how to be grateful for the things we took for granted. We used to go Primrose picking in the Spring and then deliver the bunches of flowers around the village.  To the elderly, the ill, new mothers, whoever these lovely ladies felt could do with a bit of cheering up or joy in their lives.

They used to provide our little mixed band of half a dozen children with squash and biscuits and devise treasure hunts in their garden which was full of little streams and waterfalls with winding pebble paths.

Our parents trusted us with these ladies and were no doubt, in part, grateful for the free babysitting service.  The ladies had an air of peace and contentment, a happiness that comes of a life well lived and no regrets.  They didn’t participate in the mainstream of village life, they were ‘different’ maybe slightly exotic although they were English to the core.  They had been to places and seen things which set them aside from the average villager but they were well liked and very much respected.

The third part of the village was about two miles further on down a long road with a very steep hill.

This part of the village has a story of its very own which I will share in its own post another time.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Fake Tan and Fuller Earth

I recently took part in a listography over at Kate takes 5. The subject was Products you Couldn’t Do Without.

When I tried to reply to the comments some kind people had left on my post Blogger decided to shut down on me leaving me very frustrated. Then my monitor went bang! Well, it was more of a pop to be honest but the end result was the same, NO COMPUTER!!

Well, I’m back up and running but the moment has passed really for individual replies so I thought I’d throw the whole lot in the pot and write a post instead.

Top of my list of things I couldn’t do without was cat litter, it seems I’m not alone: Would it work for the Minis Fancy wondered? You could be on to something there!

if only I had a Dumpapoo
This I think would work best at times when the Minis are immobile. In the car for instance, I’m thinking the commode car seat!! It could be a winner and would solve the whole stopping on the hard shoulder for a quick nappy change scenario.

The commode pushchair, forget the bugaboo, this seasons must have, The Dumpapoo!

Hmm, well, this got me thinking. There must be LOADS of uses for cat litter, maybe there’s an untapped market out there.

Nel mentioned how crunchy it is under bare feet first thing in the morning when you pad downstairs in search of a morning cup of tea.

Oh yes, with you there Nel, many’s the morning I’ve done the cat litter lambada across the kitchen floor, Lego, pah, it’s got NOTHING on cat litter believe me.

Bear (the kittens big brother, although not actually related) is obsessed with tidiness (obviously he is not related to ME either!) and insists on hopping into the litter tray after every tiny offering and covering it up for them. Unfortunately he tends to do this rather vigorously and has thus pebbledashed the back door. By morning this stuff is welded to the UPVC and has to be chiselled off! I’m considering doing the whole of the outside of my house in it. I’ll just wait till it’s raining (oh, hang on, Summer in England? It IS raining) and I’ll just nip outside and throw it at the walls.

Fake Tan was also on the list of must haves. Now, fake tan is a bit of a mystery to some who are scared of ending up orange and streaky. Well, here are my top tips:

1) Go for the gradual build up ones, if you don’t like the colour then after a couple of days, it’s gone.

2) More is better, this isn’t painting by numbers, you don’t need to be precise, slap on more than you think you need to avoid streaking.

3) Hate the smell (which with some reappears every time you get a bit hot) L’Oreal are the least smelly ones I’ve come across.

4) Wait at least an hour for it to fully sink in before going to bed to avoid staining the sheets.

5) Best top tip of all. If you really can’t be arsed with fake tan but want to give you legs a bit of colour, Sally Hansen stocking affect. It’s an instant spray that stays put all day. Slap a bit of moisturiser on first, a few squirts of this stuff and rub in, it covers a multitude of sins and gives you a natural glow.

ok, it's not really mine :(
Feather pillows and stripy bedding. I couldn’t agree more Postcard Pam! My bed looks softer and more inviting the moment I put on the stripy bedding. My favourite at the moment are my blue and white flannel pillowcases, they match my bathroom and my shed, possibly not a key selling point for many but blue and white makes me happy. I’ve also just bought some sheets in ice-cream Sunday stripes, mint green, lemon yellow, soft rose pink (in fact, a little like my garden chairs, hmmm….). you need to try them London Mum and Kate, I can guarantee you wont look back!

this is though

Full fat milk and makeup completed my list. I don’t DO coffee with anything else, like Michelloui, I’d even rather have cream and sod the calories, there are something I just WONT give up!

Make up, Oh yes, it’s saved my life more than once RP, Mum of all Trades and Fussy Eater’s Mum, I’m glad I’m not alone. On the flip side, if I’m ever looking for a bit of sympathy I’ll just go without and wait for the ‘OMG, you look soooo ill’ comments to flood in.

These things are my sanity, I don’t know what I’d do without them, I hope I never have to find out!

Sunday 15 May 2011

Listography - Products you couldn't do without

The difficulty is narrowing it down to 5!!!

I've just been reading a few at Kate Takes 5 and it's a resounding YES to almost everything mentioned.

So, my top 5 could not live withouts:

1) Cat litter, not very prosaic but with 5 cats at the moment I dread running out even more than I dread having to deal with the litter tray before my morning cuppa.

2) Fake tan. I do eventually change from blinding white to the shade of very milky tea but before then I need a little help. At last count I had 6 bottles of the stuff (I'm a sucker for marketing).

3) Full fat milk. I know, I should change to semi skimmed but it doesn't taste the same in coffee. Id rather have less and have the real thing.

4) Make up. I will go without it if I really have to but there's nothing I like better than slapping on the slap. I feel 100% better with a little eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss.

5) My duck feather pillows. I spent years with foam filled pillows that went lumpy and bumpy after a couple of months. I tried memory foam which was like trying to sleep on a brick and then, last year, I bought myself some duck feather pillows, they are BLISS especially with stripy flannel pillowcases.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

My Family and Other Animals

My all time favourite book (and such a great title).

If I were half the writer Gerald Durrell was I would be very, very happy. His narrative is wonderfully descriptive, his observations fascinating and his love of life infectious. He truly would be my fantasy dinner companion.

Since I've started my blog I've been fortunate enough to come across some amazing story tellers including http://mrlondonstreet.blogspot.com/  http://domesticatedbohemian.blogspot.com/ and http://theviewfromthisend.blogspot.com/
(I know there is a better way to link to other blogs and when I find out how, I will use it, promise!)

I read lots of different blogs and probably spend far too much time doing it and I read them all for different reasons. Some make me laugh, some make me think and some completely captivate me and I can't wait for the next instalment.

It worries me that there are so many as yet, undiscovered (by me) blogs out there, I'm almost too scared to look.

Gerald and I share some similarities in our background. We both come from large, eccentric families with Mothers who cook and absent Fathers. We both shared a love of animals and solitude in our childhoods, no doubt being the result of living in said families.

The main differences between Gerald and myself (apart from the obvious) were that he was spent a large part of his childhood in Corfu whilst mine was spent in South Devon. He was home schooled where as I had the pleasure of Stevens Coaches to take me the hours bus ride to school up on Dartmoor, a perilous journey fraught with crashes, breakdowns and drivers that frankly wouldn't wouldn't stand a hope in hell of passing a CRB check these days!

I love my family, even more so now we are scattered around the globe and I love my animals because, well, they love me.

As I type I have a small furry black and white kitten named Bear curled up on my knee, purring like a mini Harley. Gus, My Border Collie is flat out on the floor, shattered after our trip to the park, one of the (many) good things about Border Collies is their herding instinct so, even though I'm reduced to a very slow hobble at the moment I can stand in the park holding a stick and say to Gus, 'round and round' and he will happily run in large circles around me while I occasionally throw the stick for him to retrieve. Thus, he is exercises with very little effort on my part.

I also have Tilly, my cat and new Mum tucked up in a box under the table with her three kittens snuggled up against her, what a good Mum she's turned out to be, I'm thinking of hiring her out as an example to some of the Mums I see in the park. One today had her two children strapped in a pushchair RIGHT NEXT TO THE SWINGS!! What kind of torture is that for a small child?

There she was, gossiping with a friend while her children sat there watching others run around having fun. When they started to complain she turned to them and said 'will ya shut up, I'm 'avin a fag'. Gus and I were half tempted to offer to play with them ourselves.

Upstairs is Figgy (the hamster) so called because he is small, round and full of fruit and nuts just like a figgy pudding.

I'm feeling slightly guilty now that while I can wax lyrical about my animals, my family hardly warrants a mention ….............. ok, I'm over it, after all, they aren't likely to read this are they? They may well have the odd cameo part in any future diary entries, then again, they may not. One thing you can be sure of, the animals almost certainly will!

Monday 9 May 2011

Fleeting Friendships

On Saturday I spent the day with my ex times 2.

It's been 15 years since we were a couple and, although there have been long periods of time when we haven't seen each other at all, we have always had the common bond of our son and our friendship. 

He is someone I always know I can call on.  Someone I know won't judge me. Someone who will always stand up for me even if I'm wrong and someone who only wants the best for me.  In return, I will always be there for him, he's not just an ex, he's family.

A day out on the hills to blow away the cobwebs and give the dog a change of scenery was just what I needed.  A distraction from the children being away and a break from routine.

There was also the added benefit of getting up close and personal with some Exmoor ponies  including a mare with her young foal.

All friendships change and evolve over time.  Some will stay with us forever, some are fleeting and leave us with happy memories and some, we come to realise, were never based on true friendship at all.

In my childhood I used to spend a week or two in the Summer at my Aunt and Uncles, sometimes on my own, sometimes with one of my sisters.

Aunty Peggy and Uncle Bill were really my Great Aunt and Uncle my mother being an only child.  They lived in a small village near the sea in South Devon just a few miles from our little village by the sea, but it meant a whole host of new friends to play with.

I remember, one summer,  a girl called Lucy.  She seemed to me to have everything.  I'm not sure why, maybe it was just that she was different to me. 

She was holidaying with her Father, her Mother having died the year before.  That was the first difference I suppose, Id never known anyone who's mother had died before. 

I grew up without my father and I was fascinated by their relationship. They shared a closeness that in my make believe world I could share with my own father. 

The second thing was that she convinced me that she had made friends with a Starling she called Smarty.  We used to stand in the late afternoon, before teatime watching the great clouds of Starlings wheeling overhead and she would call to Smarty.  Of course he never came but, being a child, I assumed it was because I was there. Had I not been I never doubted he would have swooped down and landed on her hand and they would have talked.  The thing is, I still truly believe that Lucy believed that too.

I don't know what happened to Lucy after that summer, I don't know if she remembers me or Smarty. I don't even remember saying goodbye ......... 

Sunday 8 May 2011


Im a bit of a blogging virgin but Im learning stuff all the time.

One of the first things I discovered was the blog hop thanks to Allison over at the Pink Fibro http://lifeinapinkfibro.blogspot.com/

It's a great way to find new blogs and to share your own stories with others.

What I haven't quite got the hang of is linking back.  'Grab my button' they say, but I dont know how :(   I can see other people have and I've looked on the help but its all double Dutch to me!

The other day I posted on a great blog hop at Maxabellas and I thought Id linked back but obviously I'd done something wrong and it didn't appear.

Luckily I DO know how to cut and paste so, apologies Maxabella and thank you for your kind words and I hope that anyone who reads this post will pop over for a visit, I know I'll be back.

Sarah x

Friday 6 May 2011

A Bear of Little Brain

With a coat of many colours.

I need an accident prone cat like I need a hole in the head, which incidentally is Bears latest affliction.

Bear in his brief black and white phase

In his very short life (Bear is only 4 months old) he has been black and white, (this is his original colour). Blue where the front-line took the dye out of his collar, orange where I foolishly emptied the leftover pasta sauce into the bin without checking for small cats first and yellow where I sprayed him with antiseptic after Tilly (18 months and mother to three beautiful kittens) took a chunk out of him for playing kitten skittles.

Tilly and her babies

He's also been shut in the door and extricated from behind the Merchants Chest in my dining room when I came home to find a vertical Bear wedged between it and the wall with just a little black and white bottom and a furiously thrashing tail on view.

I guess every household has their fair share of accidents well, EXCEPT the one who apparently doesn't have ANY because I have their share!

The only animal so far to escape this curse is Tilly, she is a sensible cat and doesn't stray far from home (or reside in the bin).

Even the hamster's had a op for a hernia!

My mate Gus

Gus (my border Collie) like the dramatic gesture. At just over a year old he ran full pelt into the goalpost at the park damaging his shoulder, he still walks with a slight limp. Last year he got a bone the size and shape of an arrow head stuck in his throat necessitating a call out from the vets and an 80 quid call out charge BEFORE he even did anything!

I do kind of feel I got my moneys worth with that one though.

I was crouching down holding Gus while the vet administered the aesthetic before removing the bone. As I stood up my knee dislocated, a not uncommon occurrence since I snapped my knee cap while trying to …...... (well, THAT'S another story!). The vet was somewhat surprise when I collapsed on the floor whimpering in agony. Well, to be honest, I actually collapsed onto his lap as we were all on the floor at that stage.

I'm not sure if his first thought wasn't that this was my slightly strange way of trying to proposition him in an attempt to have the bill reduced.

Anyway, he sorted us both out and waved us off at the door. Poor old Gus staggering about like he'd had one over the eight as the aesthetic wore off. Me trying to hold him up as I hobbled up the road cursing my damn knee. I can only imagine the sight we made for any passers by but frankly, at the time, I really didn't care.

My trips to A&E have been fairly frequent over the years too.

I have two children with matching scars over their left eyebrows and one who's been rushed in with two BB pellet related incidents.

Just in case you think I'm in the habit of shooting Master Mac, neither one was as a result of over zealous parental discipline. I actually have an aversion to all forms of firearm, toy or otherwise (NOT that I categorise BB guns as toys!)

The first time was when Master Mac found a BB pellet, god knows where it had come from. He was about 4 at the time so Miss Mac must have been three.

The first I knew of it was when Miss Mac said her brother had wanted to put it up her nose but she didn't want him too. Good girl I said, so where is it now? He put it in his ear Mummy she replied and it wont come out!

The second time was a couple of months ago at a friends house when he was shot in the eye! Fortunately there hasn't been any permanent damage but we did spend a couple of days in hospital and many weeks of eye drops and visits to the eye clinic.

The waiting around at the hospital tended to get a bit boring so, as a JOKE I suggested we play i spy. I know, not very caring of me ….

Well, it backfired on me, instead of being able to read all the beautiful back issues of House and Home thoughtfully provided by the lovely hospital staff I spent a total of 6 hours trying to guess what it was that began with the letters PS (it was the lady who had walked through the eye clinic wearing purple sandles!).

Yes I was caught with my arse in the air bending down to do this because
 Master Mac thought this would make an amusing photo!

We did find other ways to amuse ourselves though.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Who am I? (clue: I am NOT a Waitress) - The Lounge Edition


I'd Like to Present

Last night I was given the BEST present ever!!

Ok, 369 pouches of cat food might not be top of everyone's wish list but with 5 hungry feline mouths to feed it comes pretty close to the top of mine!

Not only will it save me a fortune but it will also stop me from dragging my knuckles along the floor after lugging home half a ton of Whiskers each week along with 4 bags of cat litter, a huge bag of dog food, sawdust for the hamster ect.

Anyway, it got me thinking about presents Id been bought in the past, the good and the NOT so good.

The first truly great present I remember was when I was six. We were living in Australia at the time and, on Christmas morning, outside my bedroom door was the most beautiful dolls house Id ever seen.

Looking back, it was probably quite an ordinary dolls house really, but to me it was my very own pretend little home ad I loved it.

Many years later and with my own daughter now I was lucky enough to see in the window of a Charity Shop a dolls house the like of which I haven't seen before or since.

It was completely furnished, decorated for Christmas with tiny paper chains, the works. I (ah hem, my Daughter HAD to have it!!!) It even has a little bay window on the side and electrics (I must get them fixed one day). It's a little bit battered these days, I never did get round to putting it in a glass case and forbidding her to play with it. One day I will find someone who knows about such things and get it restored.

Possibly the worst present I've ever received was from an ex boyfriend. He'd been on holiday (without me!!) and on his return handed me a beautifully wrapped gift complete with tissues paper, ribbons and bows.

I was SO excited. Partly because he'd been thinking of me while he was away but mostly because I LOVE presents.

I poked and prodded it for a while trying to guess what it was and then, unable to contain my excitement any longer ripped the covering off to reveal ….............

A sodding FLOWER PRESS!!!!!

I wonder what the best (and worst ) presents other people have received? (By the way, if it was something from me I only want to hear about the best. I still have that flower press and I'm not afraid to recycle!)

Wednesday 4 May 2011

The Importance of Saying Sorry

Everybody gets it wrong sometime. We all have times in our lives when the stresses and strains of day to day life get us down. They make us unreasonable and behave in ways that hurt other people.

Sometimes it's in a relationship. We may feel undervalued or unimportant and so we do and say things either in a conscious desire to hurt or in a desperate attempt to make ourselves feel like we matter,

Sometimes we lash out at our friends or family. Often its as a result of well meaning advice. When you are so wrapped up in your own little bubble of unhappiness it can seem so patronising for someone else to say that they understand how you feel. To suggest ways that you could change things, to tell you you're getting it wrong.

Sometimes we hurt our children. When we are unhappy we are less tolerant, less able to deal with the day to day round of cooking, cleaning, homework and bickering. Sometimes even their love seems unbearably claustrophobic.

Sometimes, no matter how many people surround you, no matter how much love and kindness they show you. No matter how much you know you have to be grateful for, you feel alone, isolated and lost.

Sometimes you just have to be allowed to work through this and no amount of advice or cajoling and sometimes even well meaning bullying will make it happen any quicker.

Sometimes we need to make sense of it all.

Saying sorry doesn't change what's been said or done. Saying sorry doesn't take away the hurt that someone else has inflicted on you.

But saying sorry IS an acknowledgement, an acceptance that what has happened was wrong And SOMETIMES that can make all the difference.

I believe in saying sorry. If I snap at my children (which I often do), I tell them I'm sorry. I tell them I may not like the way they have behaved or something they have said but it's the action I dislike, not the child. The child I love.

Sometimes it's not them at all, it's me. I'm unhappy, worried, feeling stressed or upset at someone else's actions. Sometimes my children suffer because of this and I'm unreasonable, I'm short tempered. I'm not the mother I want to be

If I can teach my children one thing I would like it to be responsibility. I want them to understand that although sorry may just be a small word and although sometimes it feels like the hardest word to say. Its one of the most important word they will ever learn.

Telling someone you are sorry and genuinely meaning it is lifting a burden from that person. Allowing them to move forward without that feeling that somehow it's their fault that they deserved to be hurt.

Being sorry is important for you. Telling someone you are sorry is important for them.

I'll never be afraid to say I'm sorry and I'll always feel sad for those who don't value it's importance.