Friday 27 May 2016

Burying Mother ...

I bumped into my neighbours from across the road this morning, Cough and Niggle (obviously those aren't their REAL names but they DO seem to suit them ...).

'Just been to see the undertaker' intoned Niggle in his doom laden voice.

Niggle always sounds like that even when he's imparting good news  and this clearly wasn't ...

'Oh, I'm so sorr ....'

'LOVEY coffin we've picked out' interrupted Cough.

'Cost a bloody fortune though' added Niggle sadly.

'I really am very ...'

'Flowers, got the flowers sorted too' said Cough interrupting my condolences yet again. Don't think we'll bother with a wake though, can't see the point in forking out all that money, people can go home and eat their own food can't they?'

'Well' I started, 'it IS usual to ...'

'And my outfit - got a lovely dress down the Charity shop and picked up Niggle a bright red shirt at the same time - Mother wouldn't have wanted us to wear black, well, blacks not my colour anyway so I can wear that dress ALL summer -

'Bound to rain on the day' fretted Niggle, 'then what we gonna do ...'

'Oh, I'm sure it will be ....'

'Just off to look at poly tunnels  for the allotment now' said Cough talking over me.

'Thinking about getting a 10 x 20 foot one  - course that's gonna cost about a thousand quid so we might have to wait for the money to come through first.'

'Right ...' I said, partly because one word answers increased my chances of actually saying something and partly because I literally couldn't think of anything else to say.

Cough and Niggle looked at me expectantly as though they were slightly disappointed at my response and the lack of opportunity it provided to ignore me and carry on talking.

'Course, it won't be like LAST time' said Cough giving a little giggle.

'Last time?' I questioned - 'You mean you've buried Mother before???'

Cough giggled again ...

'Last time they said she was dying' interjected Niggle - 'We cleared her house and everything but then she got better!'

'Had to quickly put it all back again' Cough said frowning - 'Luckily she couldn't managed the stairs any more so we didn't need to bother with upstairs, we sold that stuff and she never knew!'

My mouth opened but this time I had NO words ...

'Got to rush' said Niggle - 'Lots still to do before we go up and see Mother'.

'SEE her ...' I asked faintly, 'In the Chapel of Rest you mean ...'

'Oh no' Cough said sounding surprised - 'She's not DEAD yet!'

'Won't be long now though' added Niggle in a sinister voice 'You can live several weeks without food you know but hardly any time at all without water ...'

Wednesday 18 May 2016

I Used To Write A Bit Of Fiction ...

Some of it wasn't bad (or so I've been told ...).  Mostly it was based on me to some degree or other.

A writing group that I used to link up with closed very suddenly, I never did find out why and since then I've tried a few other things but nothing really seemed to fit with my style.

I'm a rambler I guess ...

Looking through the blog I've been re-reading a few things I'd put back into draft and then I stumbled on this post that I don't think ever saw the light of day.

So I thought ... Why not ...

It doesn't have a title, never did ...


A tangle of clothes lay in a small dusty pile, incongruous in this room where everything was so clean, so neat and so ordered.

In the moment before her foot sank into the water she examined it closely, covered by a thin veil of fine white powder the polish on her nails slightly chipped and glowing dully, it's shine diminished, it's vibrant colour hidden.

As her toes touched the surface ripples of water washed away the dust.

Drawing her foot out of the warmth she examined it again.  A faint line ran around her ankle, a demarcation line.  Below it her skin was warm and brown, glistening with drops of water.  Above it was dry, filmed with dust and lifeless.

Stepping into the water she slowly lowered herself into the warmth, watching life flow back into her body.  For a moment she sat, knees bent, her arms wrapped around them, hugging them to her chest, head resting on her knees as the tips of her hair trailed in the water.

Throwing her head back she look around her.  The soft colours of the room soothed her, sea green, burnt umber, the palest touch of primrose all brought together in the faded softness of the stripes in the rug beside the bath.

Her breath left her in a long, soft sigh and, closing her eyes, she allowed her body to slide down into the bath.  Feeling the warmth seep along her spine, touching her shoulders where it trickled in two streams across her collar bone meeting in the hollow of her throat it settled for a moment before drifting in a river across her breasts and down across her stomach.

Raising her knees she slid lower, the water touched the nape of her neck and taking a deep breath she allowed the water to consume her. All sound disappeared, replace by the rhythmic thud of her heart strumming in her ears.

Opening her eyes she watched as her hair floated like ribbons of seaweed around her face buffeted by the slight waves caused by the movement of her body. Sunlight streaming through the window touched the surface of the water breaking and refracting into a million pinpricks of light like a galaxy of stars above her.

As the blood started to pound in her ears she broke the surface, gasping for breath, water poured down her face catching in her lashes.  Wiping the moisture from her eyes she reached for the soap.  The scent of orange blossom and calendula hung in a heady mist as she scrubbed every inch of her body, the heat making her skin glow like sand touched by a setting sun.

Finally she stood, the warmth of her skin turning the droplets of water to steam that drifted around her in a swirling, sweet scented mist as she reached  for a towel wrapping it's softness about her.

Stepping out of the bath she walked across to the mirror leaving a trail of damp footprints in her wake.  Her reflection softened and muted in the steamy glass, the pale blue cotton contrasting with the golden glow of her skin and her hair darkened by the water.

A finger drawn across the glass left a trail of true reflection with bright colours and clear outlines, a small section of herself sharply in focus.

Taking the edge of the towel she carefully wiped the steam from the mirror, uncovering her true colours, defining her shape, uncovering herself.

Letting the towel slide to the floor she stood, remembering who she was before turning and slowly walking across to the bath to pull the plug out and allow the grime and the dust to drain away.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Repeating Myself (this one's for Emma Kate)

You probably remember a post I did a while ago where I (finally) revealed my bathroom makeover.

You may also remember that I told you I'd managed to delete all the photos on my blog!

Well, Emma Kate popped by to take a look at my bathroom but of course there were no photos to go with it so I decided to take a few more and re-write the post just for her.

It all started with this:

The retro garage print 0n the wall that I'd bought for SD.

I'd wanted a change in my bathroom for a while.  Previously it was blue and white stripes like a beach hut with lots of beach style accessories.

I'd decided I really liked the idea of a sophisticated grey but I also wanted some kind of theme.

So, with the purchase of the print the idea was born - my bathroom was going to have a workshop theme!

But ...

Well, I saw a few things that also made me really like the idea of a municipal baths kind of feel for the room so what was I to do ...

COMBINE the two ideas of course!

So I bought this:

The 'Hot Bath' sign from The Range.

See the taps underneath?

Originally they were a set of hooks from Dunn Elm but I got SD to cut off the hooks and attached them to the wall so they (hopefully) look like working taps.

I also had a few things that I really wanted to use but that needed a re-vamp.

The first thing was this:

A large bamboo laundry bin that sits perfectly beside my bath housing spare toilet rolls etc and the top acts as a table.

But it just didn't fit in anymore.

I really can't tell you where the idea for the transformation came from.  I just got this idea into my head and couldn't shake it.  I discussed it with SD expecting him to say it was a little mad but he said to give it a go - what was the worst that could happen?

So, I took it outside and gave it a good sanding.  Applied a couple of coats of undercoat.  Got a tin of gloss paint and some stickers and voila!

Behold my oil drum laundry/storage bin - I'm chuffed to bits with how well it turned out!

Then I was on a roll ...

I also had this:

An oak cupboard picked up on Ebay for a couple of quid.  After a quick sanding to remove the varnish it got a couple of coats of undercoat too and a couple more of gloss and I added a sticker:

I now have a Massey Furguson tool cupboard that hold all of our bits and pieces!

So, what else ...

Well, SD rooted around at the farm, I trawled car boot sales and antique shops and we found a few things to go on the wall:

SD bought me an outsized clock from The Range:

A latch from a garden gate that we found at the farm:

 Was hung next to the mirror over the sink and I can either hang a hand towel from it or a glass cloth for wiping the mirror when it steams up.

Incidentally, I spray painted the mirror in silver and plan to steam punk it at some point.

There was this great find on Ebay for a shelving unit:

And the metal measuring jug hold our toothbrushes and toothpaste.

I saw this tin bath at Asda, it's meant to be filled with ice and have bottles of beer in it for bbqs or parties but it's the perfect size for hanging on the wall and adding to the municipal baths feel in that corner.

Under it hangs this little retro metal calendar with
magnets to ring the month and date.

These three small metal signs were another Ebay find and hang on the wall above the door.

I've really struggled to take a photo that shows the bathroom in it's entirety.


Too many corners and the bath sits in an alcove so this is the best I could do:

As you walk into the bathroom

Standing by the sink looking towards the bath

Practically getting into the sink!!!

I guess you can't really get the full effect without actually seeing it in real life.

I'll put the kettle on if anyone fancies a cuppa ...

Monday 16 May 2016

It's Own Reward

Before I start, you may have noticed the new photo of me on the front page of Fudge.

Got to say, it's rather LARGER than I had thought it would be - I thought it would be thumbnail sized but never mind ...

You may (as Emma Kate has discovered) also noticed that all the photos are gone from the Fudge blog posts.

That was me I'm afraid - pressed a button and BAM - no photos left which is why I inserted the new photo - I expect you were all tired of seeing me in my bikini anyway!

So, on with the post ...

I like to think that I'm the kind of person who would happily do something for nothing.

My default isn't 'what's in it for me' but that doesn't mean I get nothing out of it - far from it.

Helping Janet move house the other week was back breaking work but I know, if I were in the same position, Janet would do the same for me so I didn't do it for the thanks, I didn't do it for the personal gratification.  I didn't do it for any other reason than she is my friend and she needed me.

I'd do the same for any of my true friends in the sure and certain knowledge that they would do the same for me.

But I WAS rewarded!

Janet had a huge amount of STUFF and every time I admired something she tried to give it to me.

Well, I could have filled two houses over with the amount of things she had to admire and I wasn't helping with that in mind but I did see the value in some of the things that she just doesn't have room for any more so I said I would take a few of them and then, in the Summer when SD and I do the rounds of the VW shows I would happily set out a stall, sit in the sun and sell a few of those things she didn't want anymore.

It wasn't entirely altruistic - SD will have me sitting there with a pile of wheels and tyres and other car related things anyway no doubt so it will be nice to have a few other things of interest to draw people in.

People involved in the VW scene are very into anything retro, anything vintage, anything they can accessorise their vans with and so a wicker picnic basket which, although not complete and not in perfect condition was a bit of a find:

This kind of thing is loved not only by the Vdubbers but also the vintage car owners who will put it on the back seat of their car.  Even incomplete it will probably fetch £30 - £40.

I also came across this (something I hadn't seen before) - a Pac A Pic preci ware stacking picnic set.  Again, it's not complete.  There is one tupperware lid missing and some of the cutlery is also missing but anyone with an orange and white camper van would love to own this:

Again, I think it should fetch good money for Janet.

There are a few other odds and ends too - a huge stack of VW magazines, some rarer than others, many still in plastic wrapping.  I really need to do a little investigating to see if Ebay may be the best place to sell on some of them.

In a drawer I came across a little bag full of badges.  I was curious as Miss Mac collects badges to pin to her college bag but these I think are worth trying to sell:

Certainly the Robinsons one's I have seen being sold for about £5 each and the Action Man ones have a following too.  The Guiding badges may be of interest to someone and I rather like the Lyptons tea badge and the Miss Piggy badge.

But these aren't my reward although like I said, it's nice to have something non car related around.

There were a couple of things that Janet offered me that I did say yes to keeping for myself.

The first thing is this:

A little cupboard with a drawer.  Something about it really caught my eye.  It needs a little work doing to it.  One of the legs is a bit wobbly and it really needs repainting but you can't see the best thing about it from this photo :

The cupboard is hinged at the bottom - I LOVE the quirkiness of it!

Fully open it looks like this - SO cool!

The other thing she gave me is this:

This little set of drawers is made from a kind of covered card and was part of a filing system at the Post Office at some point.  Inside each drawer there is a stamp:

Supplied for the Public Service with a crown above the stamp.

It's a little bit worn and battered but I think I like it like that so other than giving it a good clean I'm not doing anything to it.

I think it will sit on top of my 15 drawer merchants chest which I had been considering changing the handles on for card holders like the ones on these drawers so it will go with it perfectly!

Finally, a bit of a curio really and I'm not sure how or where to go about selling this for Janet but it seemed wrong to let it go to the tip!

Janets late husband used to have an aviary at the top of the garden where he kept small birds like finches etc.  This box was clearly custom made for transporting small birds.

Inside it are four of these cages:

I'm pretty sure they wouldn't meet modern regulations and so couldn't be used for their original purpose but I'm equally sure that there must be someone out there who would love to have this - I just have to find them!

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Things YOU wouldn't do (a re-run)

 I was reading a post by Val just now about how Hick has bought a goat to keep the mini pony company and it reminded me of the time that we thought it would be a good idea to buy a sheep to keep SD's Dads goat company.

It  really, REALLY wasn't ...


Yesterday after a conversation with a friend, I suggested that my next blog post could be something along the lines of the things I've done that normal people probably wouldn't.

When he said 'That would be an incredibly long blog post ....' I have to admit to being slightly affronted!

Bloody cheek!

How dare he.

How dare he be so ...

So ...

SO. ...


I'm FULL of great ideas.

That's why Thursday evening found me straddling a sheep as it repeatedly smacked the crap out of my face with it's bony little head.

Remember I told you a couple of weeks ago that we were going to get a cute little lambykin to keep the goat company?

Cute little lambykins grow people - cute little lambykins bloody grow!!!

Not only had that cute little sucker almost doubled in size in the last two weeks - she is now slightly bigger than my dog Gus and twice his weight but she had also been out in the field and suddenly wasn't quite so people friendly.  Added to which she was extremely pissed off at having her ears tagged that morning.

A couple of weeks ago when she had been cute and cuddly and tried climbing out of the pen so I could scratch her behind the ears it had all seemed like such a doddle.  She was going to sit on my lap on the way to the farm while I told her tales of how lovely life was going to be as she frolicked in the paddock with her soon to be big sis the nanny goat.

Cue reality check!!

I got into the back of the van and opened my arms for a woolly little bundle of fluffiness and Will (who's bastard sheep it was) heaved this thrashing mass of pissed off mutton with flailing legs into my arms.


I grabbed a hank of oily wool in each hand and looked into it's mean little eyes - 'GET OFF MY BLOODY FOOT YOU BASTARD' I crooned lovely in it's fluffy little ear.

It headbutted me.


It headbutted me again.


It headbutted me again, shit on my foot and then SAT on it!!!

Will (the bastard)  had been watching all this with great amusement eventually stepped in and said 'try this' as he whipped her head around to the side and appeared to almost insert it up her rectum.

I tried it.

She headbutted me.

'Ok, try THIS' he said not even trying to control his mirth and he picked up one of her legs and held it under her belly.

I tried it.

She headbutted me.

'Hang on' said Will and he disappeared for a couple of minutes and returned with a paper feed sack.

He popped it over her head and half her body.

'That should calm her down he said'.


Then she headbutted me.

Next followed the longest 20 minutes of my entire life as we drove to the farm.

I was hanging off my seat with my legs clamped around her fat little belly.  One hand gripping her wool so tightly my hand still hurts, the other holding the bag over her head as she shouted really loudly in my ear and smacked me in the face every couple of seconds.

SD of course thought I was making a fuss about nothing!!

Ive no idea what the people in the car that pulled up beside us at the lights thought but I could see them all looking on in opened mouthed horror at this screaming harpy in the back of a van who appeared to be riding a large thrashing, paper bag as it bleating frantically and she shouted 'keep still you little fucker unless you want me to shove your head right back up you arse again!'

nb the 4th time the sheep escaped and hi-tailed it over the road to join a neighbouring flock we gave up and sold it to the farmer where instead of living a long and happy life it no doubt ended up in someone's freezer (serves it right!).

Oh, and the goat?  Well she dropped dead a couple of weeks later - the INGRATITUDE! 

Friday 6 May 2016

Deconstructing (and don't crowd the mushrooms ...)

I'm a bit of an addict ...

I'm addicted to cookery shows - there, I've confessed ...

I made a deconstructed rhubarb crumble this morning.  That is, I cooked the crumble mixture separately rather than on top of the crumble to stop it going soggy in the juices and then put it together. It's the very last of the rhubarb I'll be getting from Janet's garden because the house doesn't belong to her any more.

We have spent the last 5 days solid moving her worldly possessions around the corner to the house she will be staying until the work on her new house has been completed.

I am BROKEN ...

Five days of emptying cupboards, packing boxes, runs to the tip and charity shops, cleaning, running up and down her stairs, running up and down the stairs in the new house, carrying boxes,  furniture, rubbish bags.  Trundling a trolley from one house to the other with a handle far to short for me so my neck and my back are killing me and my calf muscles have completely seized up.

But - IT IS DONE!!!

I'm in pain and I'm sun burnt after yesterdays unexpectedly lovely weather.  I'm sad that I will no longer be able to perch on the side of Janet's fish pond in the sunshine and admire her lovely garden.  I'm sad that when they go away I'll no longer be able to pop over to feed her fat white cat Mouse or utilise her exceptionally long washing line to dry my sheets on.  I'll miss the bounty of fruit and veg she shared with me and the endless supply of plants she grows in her garden.

I'll miss HER dammit!

We have been friends for so long - my eldest son is the same age as her youngest and they went to school together.  Funnily enough, her youngest is now Miss Mac's boss at her Saturday job.

She's been such a good friend over the years and although we will still keep in touch, I will go and see her - well, it just won't be the same.

This week has been hard on all of us but there have been one or two bright spots.  Finding the pocket watch that belonged to her late husband and that she thought had been lost - BIG bright spot!

On Wednesday morning I was on my way round bright and early when I saw Sue lurking in the front garden of our noble secretary.  She was talking to our esteemed leader (the chair of the parks committee) in her very earnest way waving her fist at him.

Why she was lurking there I didn't know.  Our noble secretary is on holiday for the next week so she appeared to have no reason for her lurking.

There was no avoiding them, I had been seen!

'We were discussing cracks' Sue proclaimed a I drew nearer.  'Cracks and damp patches'  she gestured waving her arms about randomly.  'I haven't even begun to get on to my hot spots yet!'

Our esteemed leader looked thoroughly perplexed as people often do when talking to Sue.

It was clear that he was keen to escape but she was gripping his sleeve  with her suprisingly strong hand.

'We are in a bit of a hurry' I told her - 'Lots to do over at Janets' and I tried to prise her hand from his arm.

'It won't do you know' she told me bringing her face rather closer to mine than I would have liked given her 40 a day habit. 'Our noble secretary isn't here you know and he's my whipping boy! When I've finished with him I pass him on to Mary and she carries on where I've left off - he's not here and it just WON'T DO!'

She loosened her grip and our esteemed leader made a hasty escape.  As I made to follow him she called me back and, in a conspiratorial whisper she told me:

'I have hidden the hyacinth bulbs in the bird seed box' - she looked at me solemnly while I tried to work out if we were talking in code and I might do better to nip home and don a beige rain coat with a belt that I could do up at the back and pick up a cigar to chew the end of while I nodded knowingly.

'I'm wearing red pants' she called after our esteemed leader who hurried on head down pretending not to hear.

'I'm not showing them to you though' she bellowed down the street - 'You've already examined my cracks and damp spots - we will save the pants for another day!' (for those who think pants are trousers - well, no, not in England they aren't!).

'I've only seen 2 frogs' she whispered turning back to me - 'one had been run over - did you see the skeleton under the wheelie bin?'

I stared at her  lost for words ...

'I think the other had been frozen - I haven't seen anymore - HAVE YOU????'

I admitted to not having seen any frogs at all, squashed, frozen or otherwise.

'Lets keep THAT news between ourselves' she nodded suggestively and winked at me.

I made to leave.

She picked up a spray bottle of weed killer and proceeded to give Mary's Jasmine (that she loving tends and which has been growing all over the front of her house for as many years as I can remember) a thorough dousing.

'I don't know where you live' she shouted after me 'and I don't WANT to'.

I silently echoed her sentiment.

So yes, in between the back breakingly hard work there HAVE been a few bright spots ...