Sunday, 26 October 2008

Just a tiny question

What on god's earth is ;-) ?
Or :)

Just a little question before I really do pack for Spain in the morning.
Have done fridge, note for person doing chickens, cats, rabbit and chicks. No need to do fish as all are dead. Oops.
Have cleaned house, and eaten all food. We are now going to have large whisky by an enormous fire in the sitting room and talk about packing.
Up at 5.00am. Apparently the weather in southern Spain is atrocious. Bollocks.
Right. Am off now.
Have a good week, everyone. And thanks for all the lovely comments and all.
Be safe.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Heady stuff

I am having so much fun! Have made hundreds of friends, been to a million houses and seen right into people's souls. Have been to USA, Australia and Wales! Have been by the sea and in the mountains. Have been to Devon and Suffolk! And have sat on my bottom for the whole thing! Bliss. Will give up on leaving house ever again and will grow my bottom to enormous proportions because will never exercise it ever again.
Will drink tea galore, eat biscuits and ignore family.
Oh God. Oh No. Oh hell.
Have become Blogger Bore.
Will go immediately for Long Walk and find children (where are they) and Do Some Baking.
Damn. Cant. They are in bed. It is late. Baking not possible without children to lick bowl afterwards.
Will make it up to everyone tomorrow. Will not Blog At All. Will be perfect mother and wife. Will bake and sing. (think this is what perfect mothers do)
Will have lovely day. Might even go for bike ride.
Will just quickly check that blog I left a comment on. Oh, look. They've replied to my comment... better do one back...

Sunday, 19 October 2008


I need some help, you lot. This blogging thing is new to me and I just love visiting other blogs and leaving comments. Thing is, I don't know how to add all you lovely lot to the list of blogs I am following. Therefore I am not following anyone. Which button do I press? HOW DO I DO IT...?
Very simple answers, please, using no big words. You are dealing with an Idiot.


Oh dear. I think that I am now addicted to Blogging. Damn and blast. I will have to add this to my addictions of looking in my children's homework books for nice comments from the teacher, washing up before a meal, checking the weather forecast every day, and planting endless pots outside my back door.
Blogging is a more serious matter. Each day I do more. Each day I want to 'check my blog' a bit earlier. Check it for what? Nits? No, just to see if there is a bloody comment. If there is I am euphoric. If there isnt I am a bit downcast. Then I look on other people's blogs and start laughing like a drain. It is all very exhausting and takes me away from the bosom of family, etc etc...
At this moment I have a husband waiting for me in bed. He is naked and Expectant, if you see what I mean. He has just come down to say shall he put out the lights?
Which is a Big Hint, I think.
So, which is it to be... Blog or Bed?
I'll tell you in the morning.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


I bloody hate shopping. But do you know, everytime I go shopping I think, this time it will be different. This time I will get that elusive 'thing' that will make me feel wonderful, make me a whole person and transform my life.
Well, sod that for a game of marbles. I return home each time a shadow of my former self; pale, drawn, and usually quite cross. I will have traipsed through ghastly shop floors with florescent lights, men's pants to the right and women's bras to the left. I mean, why put myself through such hell? I finally make it to a half decent shop only to find out that I don't want what I wanted hours before. I don't know why I don't want it. I just don't want it.
We went to Toys R us the other day. Toys R Us is a euphemism for This is Hell. Florescent lights beamed their evil light down on row after row of toy. Hassled and sad looking people poked about in the enormous piles of child entertainment, filling their trolleys with packets of this and bags of that. My children and I wandered down the rows, initially filled with excitement at all the choice. Soon we became bewildered by so much choice. Finally we became cross with so much choice. Then my daughter began to cry because she didn't know what she wanted. 'I don't know what to get, Mummy,' she sobbed.
Right. Enough.
This is where I can talk about the millions of starving people in the world. And there's me with my moaning children, not being able to choose a toy out of millions of toys.
Do you know, it is almost obscene how much choice, how MUCH we have. I feel ashamed of our wealth, in comparison. And I feel ashamed that I moan too, about not having a new car (ours are ancient but reliable, they have been ancient for years, they are positively Antique) or a new boiler (antique too) or a different TV (not antique but HUGE and HEAVY and not one of those that you can put behind a picture because they are so thin).
I yearn for new clothes that look svelte and trendy. I buy clothes and within days they look, well, old. I buy new kitchen Bling, as I call it, you know, shiny chrome things that do wonders for food or coffee. They just get boring after a day or two. But, oh, the promise of that box on the shelf, and the picture of fresh coffee/bread/sliced tomatoes... irresistible. And total crap when you get it home.
Shameful, really.
What's that commandment... I must not covet my neighbour's goods...?
I covet everything that everyone else has. Because everything looks FAB in other people's houses. And total bollocks in mine.
Oh, well. People like coming here. They say things like, 'But this is such a family home' and 'Oh! I love your photos/chickens/cake/coffee!' They come again. And again.
Did we buy anything from Toys R US? My daughter didn't and cried all the way home. My sons did and taunted my daughter all the way home. I was cross all the way home.
Will we go again? My children will all beg to go. And I will remind them of last time...
Of course we bloody will. Memories will fade and we will return.
Right. Must go. Got to go shopping. Am slave to it really. Got to get food, cat litter and new mat for car. Old mat has hole in it and I keep getting my foot stuck in it at traffic lights. Joy. Might have a quick look in M and S... they had some nice winter coats...


For the last twenty years I have been longing to go to Ikea. I went when I was in my mid twenties or so and LOVED IT!!! I think I bought the normal candle sort of thing plus one or two storage jars and thought ohh I must come here again. And didn't.
Twenty years on. I went! Oh, the excitement of those towers in the distance (we went to the Croydon one) thinking of all the times I have had to drive past into London. The thrill of getting a trolley and pushing it through those revolving doors. (can't get the hang of those as either walk too slow or too fast and have to do little tiny step things to stop bumping into person I accidently joined in their bit of revolving door.)
Up the stairs we went to the Show Rooms. Before we could get to the Market Place. Or Whatever. Round and round and around and along and up and down and round. Follow those arrows. We looked and um'd and ah'd and dropped a couple of things in as we went along. And then... the Market Place. Mecca. We agonised over fitted sheets. We pondered over wooden trays. We picked and looked and wondered. Finally we reached Bargain Corner. And left Bargain Corner as the only Bargain you get is getting out of Bargain Corner. We paid a rather cross lady as we kept putting our things in the wrong place.
Now, what did I buy? So nice, you'd love them... some candles and some sweet storage jars. Hang on a minute... isn't that what I got last time?
Hell and damnation. I should have bought those fitted sheets after all. Oh, well, I will have to go again soon. The thing is, I bet it will be another 20 years. The advantage of that is that I'll need some more candles and storage jars by then, I'm sure...

Friday, 10 October 2008


I had a thought last night. Imagine if Matisse hadn't been given his set of paints by his mum, (while he was getting over an illness) would he have known that he was any good at painting? Would his gift ever have come to light?
Do any of us have a gift that we just don't know about? Are we sitting on a king sized bushel with a mega light under it that we have no idea exists? And if we did know about it, is it the sort of gift that would change people's lives? Or would it be another scrap booking talent or being quite good on the recorder?
My son can play the guitar like a dream. He is seriously good. Right now he is at university reading music with guitar as his main instrument.
How come?
Well, when he was thirteen, his step grandmother gave him a small paperback called 'How to play the guitar'. Ben, my son, went up to his room armed with this little book and took out a guitar his dad had given him a couple of years before. As far as I know this guitar had never seen the light of day. From that day on, Ben has played his guitar each and every day. His gift for music was found and developed. What if the book had never been given to him? I have no idea.
I reckon that we need to have a go at things to see how we do. I can't see that everyone can have the most incredible gift such as Matisse. I mean, some people have gifts that seem to burst out of them without any restraint. Musicians like Mozart. But what if Mozart had been born in Bognor Regis with no piano or education? What then?
I just bet there are people living now without any outlet for their amazing ability to swim/ write/ educate/ lead the country/ play the drums/ paint/ score goals just because they don't know that they can do it.
So... what to do? How about doing something today that you have never done before but would like to try? Do something for the first time. I know that genius also needs a massive amount of hard work too. And that brilliance doesn't just arrive. But how exciting would it be, knowing that you had discovered something within yourself that you didn't know you could do, let alone be good at.
Go on! I dare you. Do something today.
And then write and tell me about it.
And I shall have a go too. We can compare notes...

Right, now where did I put that telephone number for NASA...?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


Yes. I do. Work. I love it. However, I didn't use to. Back in those days when I had been up till 3.00am and had a hangover to rival the Black Death, I went to work, worked reasonably hard through the pounding headache and then left. The evening would stretch ahead with possibilities. 9.00am to 5.00 am was sensible time. 5.00pm to 3.00am was Fun Time. Not every night, mind you. I enjoyed those nights in with telly, flat mates and idle chat about nothing. We all agonised over the boy friends, leaped onto the phone when it rang. This is before the days of the Mobile Phone. Or almost. Some nerds had them. Huge clunking things the size of a telephone box that they would carry in a Special Box. These Nerds would also have a computer at home and would talk about Technology and the Future. No one paid any attention to them. My boyfriend at the time was heavily into all of that. Now he makes vast amounts of money and is filthy rich. Damn.
Anyway... they were nerds then.
But now... now I am in bed long before midnight, usually reading my Book Club book frantically before the next meeting. My husband has given up on sex and now reads companionably with me. He knows that when there is a book in my hand there ain't room for anything else, as it were.
In the morning of yesteryear, I would get up 20 minutes before I had to go to work and sling on work clothes (teacher wear... sensible but just a little flirty) and rush out of the door, into car, and drive the same old route to school.
Now I am up at dawn, down to the kitchen to make lunch boxes, feed cats, feed chickens, make breakfast, get dressed, and eat breakfast with children.
From the detritus of breakfast,having hurled plates and cups into the dish washer, I leave the house waving madly to my three younger children as they walk the 50 yard walk to school. Their back views with their book bags and PE kits look so sweet I want to run up to them for one more kiss. Sometimes I do.
The car ride to work takes four and a half minutes. Work is in my own pre-school which was started up nearly four years ago. I run it with my friend, Sarah. We both love what we do. We both have young children and a mad life style, but having Stepping Stones grounds us and makes us proud.
I simply love it. From the moment I walk in the door with cheery hello's from staff already there, I am in a completely different world.
Small brightly coloured tables are scattered about with a selection of toys on them. There are windows on both sides of the building and it is wonderfully sunny and warm. We have an antiquated heater which takes me back to the days of my own primary school. I can still remember my old headmaster leaning against it on cold frosty mornings and talking about all sorts of things that bore absolutely no relation to anything we needed to learn.
Our children come pouring in at 9.00am. Their faces are expectant and so pleased to be there! Everyone says good morning to each to other. Mums and Dads greet one another and have a quick chat over the lego. One child might show his brand new Spider Man outfit. And wear it all morning because, quite frankly, why not?
Then comes the best bit. I get to play all morning. Now, I know what lots of you are thinking. That you Hate Playing With Children Although You Pretend to Like It. Yes, I know. I do too.
But not at my work.
The other morning a little boy wanted to make a treasure map and got out a piece of paper to make one. I asked him if he'd like to make a map with some special soft linoneum material we had. The look on his face was a picture. This lino stuff looked just like an old map. He drew some lines with a felt tip pen and said that those were boats and islands and rivers. Then he drew a cross and said 'X marks the treasure.' This is from a child who absolutely hates drawing or writing. Other children had drifted up, as they do, and wanted to make one themselves. They all had a go. Then we made an enormous map along the floor, with about 10 children helping. Then we had a treasure hunt outside. It was Brilliant! The sense of achievement was huge. Learning with a capital L was a'happening. And I can do it all tomorrow!
12.30 comes and the children go home. I mean, it's not exactly hard, is it? Mind you, when mothers come in to help, they always leave looking totally exhausted. But then being a perfect mother for 3 hours in a row is damned tiring. I don't have to be perfect. Or a mother. It's great!
Work really is a euphemism for play in my case. Oh, and long holidays.
Good, innit!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A Tad Distracted

Oh dear. This blog business is rather difficult. You see, all I want to do, apparently, is Share My Posting. I think it would be easier for me to remove my own pancreas. I have hit every button, clicked on every possible link.
In between all this hitting the phone has rung, I have had cups of tea, and been distracted by numerous household tasks. The cat had been sick in the bathroom. This led to frantic cleaning of not just carpet under sick, but carpet all round bath and basin... which led to hoovering frenzy and dusting of my chest of drawers. This led, inexplicably, to tidying out my husband's pants drawer. I haven't cleared out his pants drawer for years. For God's sake,why now? Why don't I just sit here at the computer and find out what I need to? Because I can't. That's why. Distraction is my enemy. Whenever distraction calls, I go. Whether into the attic, pants drawers, shopping, sick clearance or de-flea'ing the cat I go straight to the distraction like a bee to honey.
God, I need a cup of tea. Hold on while I get one.
Well, that was exciting. Got to the kettle and saw that it was filthy so got out cloth from under sink when saw that my husband has bought MORE DISH WASHER POWDER. This is small miracle. So rang him up to congratulate him. He wasn't there but Clare was. Clare is lovely girl who always answers the phone when Mark (husband) can't. Anyway she is pregnant! So we chatted about prams and no sleep for about 20 minutes. Am so pleased for her. Came off phone. Somewhat confused as to what I was trying to do. Found myself near kettle so switched it on. Noticed again that it was dirty and so once again looked for cloth under sink...
Do you now get my distraction thing? Not good is it? I have to trail through hundreds of my actions to find out what I was trying to do in the first place.
Which was...finding out how to Share My Postings!
Oh, well, let's find a few more buttons to press... it can't be that hard, can it? Christ, look at this button. It's got chocolate on it. Better find a tissue...

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Old Girls Choir

Yesterday I had the most extraordinary day. I joined a group of Old Girls from my Old School and we all sang together at the Cadogan Hall in London. This was extraordinary for several reasons: the life I generally live is spent largely in the kitchen, or a series of rooms in our house. Within these walls I will be cleaning or, more likely, clearing up after the five other members of the family. Clearing Up is Very Very Boring. (I have already indicated how much I like Capital Letters. I shall Use Them a Lot in this posting)_
I dont think house wives should be called house wives. I think we should be called People Who Clear Everyone's else's Crap Away and Dont Get Paid For It. (PWCEECAADGP for short - catchy, eh?)
I spend the mornings before breakfast clearing away yesterday's mess in kitchen, bedrooms and sitting room, including loos and bathrooms. Then I make breakfast and clear that up. Then I clear up the mess made in the time between children getting up and going to school. Then I clear clothes from clothes basket in laundry room and put the first of five loads on. Then I try to clear my head with a nice cup of tea. I will clear the cat's litter tray and then think about what I need to do that day. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to work that out. How on earth do you decide to do something when you dont know what it is?
Should I get the week's food from our local supermarket? Should I do some much needed gardening? Should I do some work for the pre-school I run? Should I go and buy some wretched tights for my daughter who has torn the third pair she possesses? Should I ring my darling mother? Should I ring my friend who's mother has just died? Should I ring my friend who is doing a month's TEFL course and is hating every minute? Or my friend who has just had her appendix out?
All these things need doing. And do you know what? I think that this is going on in every single house hold in the country. We are all madly trying to work out what to do first and end up doing all the wrong things and then get cross that nothing ever gets done.
Well, to hell with it. I went singing yesterday. Like I said. We sang to an audience of six hundred. We sang two songs at the end of a gala evening in aid of my old school. I achieved nothing. I did nothing. I cleared nothing. But, bloody hell, I had fun! I laughed until I cried with my old class mates. We sang our guts out, quite well really, and felt such pride that we had had a go. As I stood there at the end with all the Old Girls, age ranging from sixties down to school leavers, I felt I had really Done Something. We all did.
Life really is about getting up and getting out. I won't think on my death bed, why didn't I clean that oven...
I will keep on clearing up. But I will also clear off.
In equal measure I think.
Watch this space.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

On the wall

Timid dad had scarpered today. Never mind. We talked on the wall of dull but necessary things like bra sizes and getting your breasts fitted, secondary schools (really dull), and what to have for tea. Then everyone seemed to go home with someone else's children. I ended up with boy and girl for my own boy and girl while younger son went with friend who was having another friend's boy. After complicated and detailed discussions about who would pick up who, where and at what time, we all went home. Tea was a riot as other friends arrived with cockerel in box. I had apparently said I would have Said Cockerel while at Ploughing Match the other day. Looked in stunned disbelief at bird but smiled brightly and took bird and friends round to chicken run to introduce him to our 5 hens. Will call him Cocky Bastard.
When introduced to my hens (Peggy, Katie, Doris, Thin Lizzy and Victoria) Cocky Bastard went straight to bed. Lazy Bastard maybe?
Tea was disintegrating by the time I returned to kitchen. Children shouting out maths problems with my calculator. 'WHAT IS 230,000 TIMES THE LOGARITHM OF 245,789?' Then they would all yell the (wrong) answer.
I put an end to this with a swift Be Quiet or No Pudding.
Everyone in bed now. Husband at yet another Secondary School Open Evening. Filthy supper for him when he gets home. Perhaps will give him large drink too. Will need it after school hall with strip lighting and only tea and biscuits to get his teeth into and headmaster going on about results and GCSE options. My husband still calls them O'levels. Hope he is OK.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

After school chat

We were joined by a dad yesterday.
Picking up our children from primary school. Waiting for older ones still in Chess Club.
He came and sat on Our Wall.
We all moved up a bit to give him some room and smiled encouragingly at him. He smiled back.
It was a good start.
Then one of us said. 'Who watched Sex Education last night on Channel 4?'
There followed a Lively Conversation about genital warts, haemorroids and bikini waxes.
Our dad gamely stayed on the wall. Even had a few words. (No, God, Shit, Help)
The banter went on. Dad straining his facial muscles into a smile.
Then someone said,
'Its 4.15, they're coming out of chess.'
We leaped to our feet and ran to the door. Met our children. Took them home. Got on with the evening.
Only later did I think about the dad.
Will he join us tomorrow?
Will he go and tell his wife what we all spoke about?
Or will he need therapy?
Poor, poor man.