Tuesday 28 June 2011

Two Fat Ladies

Write On Wednesdays

Grab the 8th book from your bookshelf. Open it to page 8. Scroll down to the 8th sentence. Write this sentence at the top of your page. Set your timer for 5 minutes and write the first words that come into your head after your 
writing prompt.  Stop when the buzzer rings! Do this exercise over and over if you wish.

In fact, when describing to people exactly where in East Finchley she lived, Leah would often say -  you know, just opposite the Peacock House………….

And instantly the house is identifiable from the thousands of others in the same area.

Like many others mine blends in from the outside. A traditional Victorian terrace with white windows and doors.

If it wasn’t for the number on the wall beside the door I doubt you would ever find my home.

Houses like people sadly seem mostly to fall into the category of instantly forgettable. Strangers on the street. A blur of humanity. You don’t look at them, they don’t see you. 

You couldn't know from the outside that in my house there is a bathroom painted like a beach hut, or that my daughter’s bedroom is hot pink and glitter. You don’t know that (to his eternal shame) my son has sky blue walls with fluffy clouds sponged on them.

What goes on inside the lives of those nameless people we pass in the street everyday?  Who do they go home to? Are they happy or sad? Are they lonely, ill or worried?  Are they content with their lives?

When night falls and the windows are uncurtained we may get a glimpse into both the house and the people who live inside.

An uncurtained window with light spilling out on to the pavement draws me like a moth to a candle.

A tiny snapshot of someone else’s life, a moment in time.  All the while wondering, ‘can they see me’?

When I was a child I used to pretend I was invisible, I would sit on the beach in the summer watching families on the sand.

Some building the most amazing castles with moats and turrets and bridges. Some shaking sand from towels and rugs as they prepared to pack up at the end of the day.  Some laughing and eating ice-cream.  Some hot and cross. I used to wonder, what’s it like to be a part of YOUR family.

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

Saturday 25 June 2011

My Friend Freda - Early Days

Buying your first house is a daunting as well as exciting experience.

I was 22, mother to a young son and equally thrilled and terrified.

Standing in the front room surrounded by boxes, this wasn’t playing house anymore, this was our new home.

This was the place we would grow as a family in a community that may or may not choose to accept us, would we fit in?  Would they like us?

There was a knock at the door, I opened it to find an elderly lady standing there with a full tea tray in her hands complete with tea pot, strainer and a china plate covered in a paper doily filled with biscuits.

I’m Freda she said, welcome to our street.

Thus began a friendship that lasted for over 20 years.

There is so much more to say about Freda some of it best told in her own words.

‘People keep telling me I should write a book about my life’ she told me more than once ‘but who would want to read it?’

Freda did eventually write that book, it’s not a particularly long book and there is so much more that she could have said but it is her own words. The words of a lady who became very special to me and I would like to share them with you.

She wrote the book in the form of different chapters in her life and this is how I will share them perhaps one a week. (please excuse the formatting, it looks fine until I publish it!)

Freda’s Book

So many people have said to me, have you ever written down your life story? No, I
have replied. What is there to write about? I have always thought of my life as normal,
uninteresting, in fact, mundane, but at last I have decided to write about my life and
times. So be it. You, who care to read it, must make up your own minds!!

Early days

I was born in St Augustine Street No. 7, (later it became 13 when the council decided
to make our side of the street odd numbers). I might add that my mother, who was
very suspicious of lucky numbers, was horrified that our number 7 had been changed to
number 13 and even went as far as to approach the council to see if it could be changed
to 11a!! But to no avail.

However, in the following months, a rep from Blue Cross matches called at number
13 and asked if Mother could produce a box of Blue Cross matches, which she readily did
and was awarded 10 shillings (50p), a lot of money in those days. She was delighted and
from that day on No 13 was a lucky house.

When I was born my Mother was aged 38 at the time. I had two sisters Marjory and Eva
who were 14 and 13 respectively and were out at work when I arrived on the scene. In
those days you left school at 13 and were thrown in right at the deep end, working full
hours every week. Eva was employed by the Somerset Manufacturing Co. owned by a Mr
Harold White. She became a very capable employee and was highly respected by her boss.
Nurses’ hats and collars were fashioned by her and she worked for the company for 60

As you can well imagine, I was thoroughly spoilt, having a doting mother and father
and two teenage sisters. My sister Eva always made my dresses, one I remember being
made of lavender material, trimmed with swansdown around the neck and sleeves, very
fetching. I still have the photo taken by Montague Cooper, a first class photographer,
wearing the said dress sitting on a country stile, very posh!

Marjory was the sister who looked after me.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

I remember Mario

The theme this week at the Fibro is endings .....

I remember the look of pride and sheer joy in his eyes as he placed his hand on her swollen stomach. ‘My little Piranha’ he said.

They smiled at the private joke, sharing a moment of complete happiness amid the chaos and noise of a family get together.

The plate of food lay forgotten on the table as he crouched down to talk to the young boy playing with his Action Man
Seeing her brother being paid so much attention caused the little girl to forget her shyness of this big man with the big voice. She toddled towards him and gently touched his face, ‘kiss’ she said as she lent forward and placed her lips where her fingers had been.

He looked at me and smiled. ‘This is what it’s all about’ he said without words, ‘this is who I was meant to be’.

When the phone call came early the next morning it made no sense at all. Years have passed and it still makes no sense.

He never met his beautiful girl. She didn’t get to kiss his cheek.

But while she may not have her own memories, as long as I remember, she will have mine.

Write On Wednesdays

YES Dammit, I AM!!

What can I say, maybe the link is a little tenuous but, despite being mistaken for a hooker I DID come out of this feeling pretty FAB!

"One day I went to Salisbury, to see a friend of mine
We decided to go out clubbing, and have a really good time
The club was dark and dismal (the music pretty crap)
I was just thinking of leaving when on my shoulder I felt a tap"

The first verse of a poem I wrote oh ….. god, it must be nearly 20 years ago!

It was written almost at the end of a relationship. A relationship that had lasted for quite a while but was drawing to an end. No bitterness, no recriminations just circumstances.

It was during this relationship that I had my first taste (although NOT my last, see previous humiliation) of being classed as a hooker.  I have to say the assumption was possibly far more justified this time than it was subsequently but again, Id have to question why anyone would think that the person I was with couldn’t have done a little better for themselves.

Funnily enough, on both occasions my left leg had suffered some kind of injury or trauma.

This time I was bandaged from thigh to ankle and on crutches having snapped my kneecap in half while drunkenly attempting to put my foot on someone’s shoulder.

Anyway, as you can imagine, this somewhat curtailed the physical side of our relationship and as we were both young and (usually) quite fit it became a little frustrating after a while.

We lived some distance apart and I didn’t (and still don’t) drive so our meetings either involved a short train ride for me or him driving down to see me.

Getting on and off trains with crutches and a leg that wont bend is nigh on impossible so the onus fell on him. 

It wasn’t a problem but, there are only so many cups of coffee you can (or would want) to drink. Staying over where I lived wasn’t really practical (and no, no, NO, don’t even GO there, I wasn’t married!) and to be honest, after a couple weeks we were both feeling the strain.

On impulse we decided to book into a hotel one afternoon for a couple of illicit hours.

Somewhere big and anonymous would have been the obvious answer but, living in a town that boasts the County Cricket Ground and was hosting the South African cricket team at the time has it’s disadvantages (the advantages for those who are interested in cricket was the chance to go clubbing with Joel Garner, Viv Richards, Ian Botham and the like on a fairly regular basis). All the big hotels had been booked solid by visiting fans.

We ended up in the aptly named Salisbury House hotel.

A small boutique hotel where personal service is their watchword and they cater to your every need.

‘Can I take your luggage Sir/Madam’,  ummm,  noooo ………….

‘Which paper would you like in the morning?’ ahhh,  none …………

‘Do you have any special requirements for breakfast?’ well, actually ……………..


Ok, they didn’t actually ask THAT question but they were THINKING it!

My passion was further dampened at the sight of the sweeping staircase. Climbing stairs involved building up the momentum to swing my left leg out to the side and practically throw it up to the next stair while clinging on to the banister for balance. Getting back down was going to either involve sliding down the banister or shuffling down on my bum. Damn them for not having a lift!

I looked at my leg and then the staircase. The concierge looked at my leg and then the staircase. My partner in crime looked at my leg and then at the staircase. ‘I prefer it when they can’t run away’ he said perfectly straight faced ….. BASTARD!!!

20 ardour killing minutes later I made it to the room, completely bloody knackered and burning with humiliation. I couldn’t even collapse on the bed or rip my clothes off with abandon as my damn leg had to be picked up and placed where ever it was I wanted it to be and getting undressed was possibly the most unromantic two person operation you could imagine.

When we checked out a couple of hours later I sent …………..(ok, to protect the very guilty I won't name names) to make sure the coast was clear before I took the walk of shame across the reception that seemed to stretch for miles.

I had barely picked myself up from the bottom stair (yep, I’d opted for the bum shuffle) when a door opened and the very concerned concierge appeared. 

'Leaving so soon?' 

'Is there a problem? '

'Can I be of any assistance?'


Linking up with FYBF

Monday 20 June 2011

I Remember

Write On Wednesdays
This is an exercise an exercise for Write On Wednesday at Ink Paper Pen. The idea is to:
Set a timer for 5 minutes. Use "I remember" as your prompt and write down the first words that come into your head for 5 minutes. Stop when the buzzer rings! Do this exercise over and over if you wish.
Well, my plan was to do it over and over and post something on Wednesday (and possibly I will still do this) but, this morning I had 5 minutes to spare and this is a part of my childhood that I remember.

The dust motes dancing in the shaft of sunlight streaming through the stained glass window. The puddle of green and blue on the stone floor where it ended its journey.

The slight scent of decay in the air from the old timber of the pews and the Lilly’s at the foot of the lectern.
I remember the feel of the soft leather bound hymn book. The embroidery of the prayer cushion etching its pattern of scrolls and text on my bare knees.

The sonorous voice of the vicar delivering his sermon almost by rote. Dipping at the beginning of a sentence and rising at the end, elongating the words so that the message was lost in the pattern of sound he created.
The look in my Grandmother eye as she silently nodded at me, ‘Stop Day Dreaming’, HER message was clear.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Listography - Inventions I wish were real

This weeks listography over at Kate takes 5 is all about Inventions that-would-make-my-life-easier

These are this inventions that I wish were real:

1.  The parallel universe viewer – how many times have you wondered what might have happened had you made different choices. Almost always we assume that life would have been better in some way and we would have been happier. The choices we make are probably for very good reasons so hopefully it would show you that you made the right one.

2. The household waste shrinker. I recycle as much as I possibly can but, having moved to once a fortnight collections and limits on the amount of rubbish the council will take I invariably find myself in the wheelie bin jumping up and down trying to compact it.

3. The automated mind reader – this would only switch on at critical times. I don’t want to be able to read peoples minds at will, but there are times when they are so damned obtuse I haven’t got a clue what the hell it is that they want from me.

4. A precious memory catcher – So you could transport yourself back to special moments. Moments that fade with memory and can’t be fully captured on film.  Maybe with the added option to share precious moments with people who, for whatever reason, should have been but couldnt be there at the time.

5. The kick up the backside prodder – I don’t really like this one but I think I need it.  I envision it being a little like a microchip inserted in the buttocks, it would deliver a sharp shock every time  I’m in danger of making a mistake that I’ve already made in the past, something that I really should have learned from at the time but didn’t.

Friday 17 June 2011


Last night, as I always do, I cooked a meal for the Mac clan.

It had all the elements that make a good meal. It was nutritious, healthy and tasted pretty damn good!  But all the time we were eating I felt that something was missing.

Some other dimension, something that gave it balance and made it complete. Something that gave it that little bit extra but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.

Cleaning up after the meal I discovered the jug of gravy I'd forgotten to serve. The missing element!

Gravy, it's an optional extra that yes, you could do without and still enjoy the meal but with it, well, with it the whole thing would have made so much more sense.
Sometimes Life is missing the gravy

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" ......

Wednesday 15 June 2011

A Different Kind Of Normal

Life’s too damn short to be cleaning the washing machine with a toothbrush but that’s exactly what I found myself doing it this afternoon.
The question is, WHY?
Is it because I’m a clean freak and obsessed with cleanliness?
Do I have a secret desire to live in a sterile bubble where everything is painted white?
Do I get a strange sense of satisfaction from cleaning the dust and fluff from all the tiny little grooves that form the parts of the door (well, hmmm, yes actually, that was kind of fun).
But basically. No!!!
It’s all down to Mark, yes, he who still owes us an explanation for his green phobia.
A couple of nights ago, for some reason, we were talking about washing , Don’t ask me why, I have no idea how we got onto that subject but our conversations have many and varied twists and turns and go off on unusual and sometimes bizarre tangents.
Possibly we had been talking about achieving our goals in life. One of mine being, discovering the bottom of the washing basket.
This is where the conversation started to take on what I consider to be a surreal quality (please tell me I’m right).
It transpired that apparently he bases what he’s going to wear on whatever happens to be in the washing basket on any given day. Now to the average person this might suggest that EVERYTHING was in there and it was a case of deciding which ‘thing’ could possibly pass for one more day.
Not so.
It’s is so that when there is enough dirty washing for a machine load it’s all the same colour and everything can go in together. Now I know all about separating colours and whites etc, but this seems to me to be taking it to the extreme.

For example, mostly back stuff in the basket?  Well, he would choose black pants even if he really wanted to wear these: 
(haha, aren’t they FAB. Can you BELIEVE I found them on Google images).

Now I can see there’s a logic in that but surely that doesn’t make it normal? 
Normal is opening your wardrobe (or checking the ironing basket), standing in contemplation and waiting for something to CALL to you. 
Normal is wearing whatever happens to be clean and, if you’re lucky even ironed. Normal is ……… well, normal is NOT that!  
I happen to have quite a lot of purple in my washing basket at the moment. What am I going to do?  Oh, hang on, I’ll just pop out and buy some BIG PURPLE PANTS to make up the load.  See what I mean, it’s weird!
Mind you, this is a man who arranges his CD’s not only in alphabetical order but then by release date and KNOWS if you put one out of place.
This is a man who owns socks with the days of the weeks on them and not only wouldn’t dream of wearing a Thursday sock on his left foot with a Monday on his right but also only wears them on the correctly corresponding day!
This is the man who regularly vacuums the tops of door frames and claims never to have been licked by a dog.  Well, he HAS now. Lovely Frodo a beautiful ex racing greyhound we saw at my local park took a liking to his crotch and left a lovely slobbery mark all over his leathers.
See, that’s the thing.  In complete contrast he also drinks like a fish, swears like a trooper, loves his inks (tattoos to the uninitiated) and rides a fuck off great Harley.
I am certain that one of us is weird. What I’m not so clear on is which of us it is!

The Winner

Write On Wednesdays

I was really please to stumble across Write on Wednesday  at Ink, Paper, Pen.   

So many times I’ve revisited posts that I’ve written and thought of all the things I’ve left out . So, and I hope it is considered in the spirit of things, I’ve taken an extract from an earlier post Slightly Singed (part two)   and expanded it to set the scene a little more clearly.

This weeks Write on Wednesday’s theme is: “Detective Dialogue: For this exercise you need to be a little bit sneaky. And brave. You need to be around at least 2 other people (or a small child who will happily chat to himself and/or imaginary friends). Write down a conversation/dialogue exchange as you hear it.”

So, here is my contribution:

I rested my book in the sand and lay back on the rug. My face upturned to the clear blue sky, one hand shading my eyes against the glare of the sun.

The warmth soaked into my bones, my whole body began to relax.

Gradually I filtered out the sounds one by one. Gulls screeching over head. The distant sounds of the funfair. A mother scolding her child. The faint jingle of the donkeys harness as they slowly plodded up and down the seafront.

Switching off the babble and hubbub of the seaside, retreating into a world filled with only the heat of the sun and the tang of salt in the air.

’Clever Trevor’s going to win’. ‘No, Drop Dead Gary will get there first!’ The high pitched voices of two Brummie lads pierced my consciousness and piqued my curiosity.

I opened one eye. One dark haired, one curly and fair, both kneeling in the sand. 

Damp sand encrusted bottoms in the air, faces peering intently at something I couldn’t see. I rolled over and put my sunglasses on. Now I could observe without being seen.

‘Come on Clever Trevor’.

‘You can do it Drop Dead Garry’.

‘I can see him, look, he’s almost dug his way out.  I was right! Clever Trevor got there first. I’m the winner. I’m the king of the castle, you’re the dirty rascal’.

Then he leant forward and picked up something I still couldn’t see.

Holding out his hand, the sand trickling from between his fingers he shouted joyfully. ‘Fly away Clever Trevor, go back to your family, I’ll always remember you’.

And, with a whir of wings, the ladybird took flight and disappeared.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Yin and Yang

Today's been one of those sorts of days and its only lunchtime!

It started badly, not to mention really bloody early at about 5 o’clock this morning. As I hadn’t gone to sleep 
until after two I wasn’t very impressed.

I didn’t sleep well last night.  Sometimes I suffer from insomnia and don’t sleep at all. Funnily enough, I cope better with no sleep than I do with little or disturbed sleep.

Last night was little AND disturbed!

The main reason for that was knowing I had an early start for a hospital appointment this morning. An appointment that had been playing on my mind. Something I tried to make light of, to even make a joke of but inside, well, inside I was churning
It wasn’t a life or death kind of appointment. It was for a relatively simple procedure that might shed some light on my fat foot and hopefully lead to a resolution to the problem that has plagued me for a couple of months now.

The problem was with the procedure itself. It evoked memories of another time. The same procedure for a very 
different reason. It took me back to a place I didn’t want to revisit.

Last night I needed reassurance, I needed empathy, I needed understanding. I got all of those and I was really grateful for them. But, unusually for me, I needed something else, I’m not even sure I can articulate what it was that I needed. I don't think I conveyed my need.

Maybe it was to be the sole focus of someone’s attention.To be told that I came first, maybe not before EVERYTHING, after all,nothing comes before my children. But I needed to be somewhere near the front of the queue. It's not a position I usually crave. I like my independence, I like being self sufficient. I hate being needy and feeling weak, that’s NOT who I am.

Anyway, this morning I looked and felt like shit but, being up early has its advantages. Miss Mac was up, packed and ready for her school trip to the zoo in plenty of time. Master Mac, well, he was up but possibly still asleep, he is NOT a morning person.

The walk to the hospital isn’t far and it’s a great garden nosy opportunity which I took full advantage of on this freakishly warm summer morning.

The doctor was on time, efficient and very pleasant. The experience was not one I would chose to go through again but fairly painless and possibly not worthy of all the angst but it still left me feeling a little down.

So really, I could have done without walking slap into a ‘friend’ from my married life. A ‘friend’ who I had known for over a decade, a ‘friend’ who I had shared Christmas, New Year, Birthdays and  Summer BBQ’S with, a ‘friend’ who disappeared from the face of the earth once the news of our marriage break up became common knowledge.

I have lots of amazing friends, ones that I can honestly say saved my life and (in part) my sanity. But the loss of some friends I felt very keenly. Mostly I guess because they chose not to know the truth. I suppose this was to avoid having to make decisions.  I can understand that and to be honest, I didn’t want people to make decisions. There are always going to be the true friends who stand by you even if you are in the wrong. I guess I needed to accept that this works both ways but it’s a harsh lesson to learn.

I have to admit I was torn. Before me stood a person I had felt very close to, someone I'd trusted and cared for, someone who had let me down. Possibly the best option would have been a polite hello and to carry on our separate ways. In the split second I took to make that decision the ‘friend’ made a different one.

She made a big fuss of being pleased to see me, asking how I was, how were the children, what was I doing now. I stood in silence until she ran out of steam. I was confused, I was hurt,  I was angry. All the emotions that I'd dealt 
with came flooding back and added to the upset I was already feeling. I had no idea WHAT to say.

We stood in silence for just a moment and then she said, ‘I really don’t know what to say’

I found my voice. ‘How about the same thing you’ve been saying for the last 18 months’ I said ‘FUCK ALL’ and I turned and walked away

I don’t know how it made her feel.  For a brief moment it made me feel better, but it was only a brief moment, now I just feel sad again.  Sad at the loss of a friend, sad that she wasn’t really the friend I though she was. Sad that maintaining an illusion was more important to her than I was. 

I sat a while on a bench which bore the inscription “For our only child who was killed by accident” and I cried, I cried for me, for a friendship that didn’t stand the test of time, for the child who had lost their life and for the parents of that child.

And then I counted my blessings. My children, my true friends, the people I love and who love me.

I may not be the sole focus of their attention. But would I really want to be? 

I matter to them. 

They care about me. 

They are a part of my life and always will be. 

That’s all I really need.

Monday 13 June 2011

Place I Would Like To Visit

Linking up with        

In no particular order:

1. The Galápagos Islands

The abundance of wildlife, can you imagine swimming with giant turtles?

2. Corfu

But I'd also want to be transported back to the 1930’s. To Gerald Durrell’s Corfu. With its gentle, lazy pace of living, when it was a fishing island and before tourism took hold.

3. Rio de Janeiro

During the Mardis Gras, Vibrant colours, loud music, fun feathers and fantasy

4. Singapore

I visited Singapore as a child and I’ve always wanted to go back. It's exotic, fast paced with amazing food and, (if they still exist) back street tailors who will take one look at you and without the need for measurements run you up a Cheongsam in a couple of hours.

 5. Florence

My dream destination and one that I fell in love with the first time I watched Room With a View. A beautiful city teeming with culture and breath taking architecture.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Ode (ious) to O2

I’ve had a on going problem with unwanted balance alerts from O2  (86 in the last 6 days, an average of just over 7 per day sent at all times of the day and night).

I was pleasantly surprised after my earlier rant, to receive this comment from O2:

'Hello Mrs Mac! Sorry to hear you've been receiving low credit reminders at such an unearthly hour. The reminders are reactive, so they'll be sent whenever your phone tries to do something which you'd normally be charged for (even if they're free right now as part of a Bolt on). It sounds to us as though your flashy little touchscreen number is asking the network for information of its own accord - perhaps to check your email, or even update a weather app on your phone's home screen? Anyway, if the lovely Lucy hasn't already managed to get these alerts stopped for you, the good news is that it can be sorted out with a quick call to Customer Service (numbers at http://j.mp/CallCS). We've also got some helpful information about the different ways you can Top-up your number, including our new Auto Top-up service. That's here: http://bit.ly/fa4Hoq Unfortunately, there's little we can do to help get Master Mac out of bed in the mornings. Or resolve problems with fongerz. Sorry about that.'

 informative with a touch of humour, I like it!  I followed their link which took me to virtual Marcus.

Virtual Marcus assured me that this time (my third time of asking) the alerts would indeed be switched off and even if my ‘flash touchscreen phone’ tried to request information from the network it wouldn’t reactivate the alerts.

In the midst of posting a response to their comment to thank them and to let them know that in the past three hours the alerts had indeed stopped  ……. Dah dah da da da!!! And since then, a constant and regular supply of the damned alerts.
And so ………  To the soundtrack of 'The One That I Want' from the film Grease (and yes, I am wearing my skin tight satin trousers)

Looking for a soundtrack for you to play while you sing along I stumbled across this version. It seemed the perfect choice:Publish Post

I’ve got alerts, they’re multiplyin’
And I’m losin’ control
Cause the volume
You’re supplyin’
It’s electrifyin’

You better shape up
Cause I need my phone
And my heart is set on O2
You better shape up
You better understand
That to O2 I’ve been true
Nuthin left
Nuthin left for me to do

You’re the one that I want
The one I want
O, O, OO, s’not funny
You’re the one that I want
The one I want
O, O, OO, s’not funny
The one I need
Oh yes indeed
If  you’re  filled
With perplextion
And you don’t understand
Mediate in my direction
Feel my pain

You better shape up
Cause I need a phone
(yes, I need a phone)
That can keep me satisfied
You better shape up
If you’re gonna prove
(yes, you better prove)
That my faith is satisfied

Am I sure
Well I WAS sure down deep in side

You’re the one that I want
The one I want
O, O, OO, s’not funny
The one I want
O, O, OO, s’not funny
The one I need
Oh yes indeed

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Like to WAP O2!!!

Linking up with BWS tips button at Boobies Babies & a Blog

I’m getting very frustrated.  As you may know if you've read I'm not the alien, it's an effing android , I’ve recently tried to overcome my technophobia and use my so called ‘smart phone’!

Well, I have a problem, and no, nothing to do with fat fongerz this time.  It’s the bloody message I’ve had oh, I don’t know HOW many times in the last two weeks.  I do know that I’ve had it 12 times in the last 8 hours. The last time being at 4:23am this morning!

It’s a message from O2 helpfully telling me I’m out of credit and directing me to the top-up line.

 Funnily enough, I KNOW IM OUT OF CREDIT!  I know it because when I top up x amount each month I get unlimited texts and x amount of free call time minutes.  So, I put x amount on my phone, O2 takes said x amount and gives me my ‘freebies thus, technically I’m left with no credit but I’m happy.

I am NOT effing happy about being told that I’m out of credit almost every 30 minutes and I have told the nice virtual lady Lucy from the O2 customer services dept. that Id like these helpful messages stopped TWICE now and she’s assured me she has done it as we speak.

I do wonder how I managed before I had a mobile though.  I resisted for a good long while saying Id rather not be contactable every minute of the day, sometimes I LIKE being on my own.  Well, as the children get older and are off and about with their friends it became a bit of a necessity.

It also means that we never have to see or speak to each other.

Master Mac can spend his time on his Play Station in his room and text me ‘what’s for tea’. I can text back ‘nothing until you bring down all my crockery’.  I can text him to turn down his TV/music, whatever, he can text back, ‘can’t hear you, got my headphones on’. The only time I really need to venture into his bedroom is when I’ve lost my voice shouting up the stairs for him to get up in the morning and have to resort to jumping up and down on his bed battering him with a pillow.

Facebook, now that’s another great was to communicate with your children too.  Mine have access to it on the understanding that I am on their friends list.  They don’t like it much and I try (mostly successfully) not to comment on their wall but I’ve heard too much about cyber bullying to be happy about them not having at least a little censoring.

I had a message from Miss Mac the other day.  Now you have to bear in mind that Miss Mac was in the front room and I was in the dining room.  The two rooms have been knocked into to one with French doors between the two, she was literally TWO FEET from me.

“Mother (she said), would you be so kind as to bring me a glass of Cranberry and Raspberry juice, I have just coughed up something yuck and swallowed it again and now my throat BURNS!”

It's small but it's ours
We do talk, of COURSE we do.  Yesterday I enticed them into the garden with the promise of putting the pool up and then I locked the door thus ensuring that they had no option but to converse with me.

We sat there, me asking caring and intelligent questions about school, friends, hopes and dreams. Them grunting occasionally and nodding their heads and tapping their feet.

 It took me a little while to realise that they were both plugged into their mobile phones listening to music!

Well, we shared the same air space for a while and who knows, if it stops raining for long enough, maybe we will all get in the pool tonight. If we don’t talk then at least we might have some fun trying to drown each other.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

No Shit Sherlock

Linking up with Diminishing Lucy

Was my considered response to the text:  "Jet washing parts of the anatomy is NOT recommended!"

this is the BEFORE picture :)

Jet washing the decking well, now that’s fun for the first twenty minutes after that it gets a little tedious but I have to say, it’s now looking totally ...............

I on the other hand looked like crap.  Not only did it take a layer of skin off the one remaining good foot I have but I was also pebble dashed with 10 different kinds of shit.  Why did no one warn me about splash back.

I am not a toy!
Friday afternoon was fairly typical in the Mac household. Bear (he of very little brain) had a new toy.  He played joyfully under the dining table, tossing it in the air, patting it with his paws and generally having a jolly time.

where's my toy???

He wasn’t too happy about having it taken away ..

We thought at first it was dead but then Miss Mac pointed out that although it was lying on it’s back motionless it was still breathing and I would have to DEAL WITH IT!!!!

Arrrgh, I don’t DO dealing with.  As the man of the house I called upon Master Mac to dispatch the poor thing. His answer was something to the effect of ‘ha ha, yeah right Mum’, hmmm, well that’s the polite version anyway.

It was down to me……   Luckily froggy was just playing dead and suddenly flipped over apparently none the worse for his adventures inside Bears mouth. Phew!

This weekend was a chicken sitting weekend, my favourite kind of weekend.  Free range eggs and the first of the Strawberries and Raspberries from Janet’s Garden.


I fed her cat, the tropical fish, the goldfish, the fish in the pond, watered the garden and the plants in the green house, drenched myself reaching up to water the hanging baskets at the front of the house and pottered down to the bottom end of the garden with half a cabbage and a sense of anticipation to collect my reward.

Sadly, Janet is now down to 2 chickens but both are laying most days.  Sure enough there was Esmeralda, bottom parked in the nesting box.

If I cross my legs I can eat the cabbage first!
Now Esmeralda has a real fondness for cabbage and I swear to god, when she saw me coming, green leaves in hand, she sucked the damn egg back up again and hopped off!

No amount of gentle persuasion, threats or chants of sage and onion stuffing would entice her back on again. That chicken wasn’t laying till she was good and ready and certainly not before brunch.