Friday, 31 July 2009

In Which Daughter Takes to High Fashion at Breakfast

Daughter appeared to wear cocktail dress for breakfast this morning. Chosen from bag of clothes kindly given by fifteen year old babysitter.
I could see Middle Son looking Aghast at her outfit. I managed to choke back unkind laughter as she entered the room, looking all pleased with herself.
Head to toe, white with huge black swirly patterns, with shorter skirty bit floating round her knees. Tiny little black sparkly top over her shoulders. Hair loose.
'Gosh.' said Husband.
Daughter sat down and with pleased expression shook cereal into bowl and sat back. Beamed at us all.
We all stared back.
'Why are you wearing that silly dress?' asked Youngest, always Mr Tactful.
'Because I felt like it,' returned Daughter, eating cereal with spoon and little finger extended, just so.
'Well, you look like a silly lady,' announced Youngest.
Daughter appeared not to mind in the slightest.
And she continued to wear the Cocktail Dress throughout the day, while we went shopping, spent some time at a friend's house, and bought some more sawdust for the rabbit cage. People stared. Quite a lot. Daughter totally unfazed by Attention.
For someone aged nine, she possesses the confidence of a Hollywood Starlet.
Too bad it's not appreciated by her brothers.

Off to Devon in the morning for a week. There is No Computer in Devon. Gulp. Well, actually there is one, but it is Grey, Huge and has Dial Up. Get the picture? By the time you get internet it's time to have lunch. The Next Day.
Have a good week, one and all.
I am Remaining Optimistic about the weather.
Ho hum.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Crows Feet

Golly. Mice. Again. In Attic.
However, these were not Normal Mice.
They appeared to do Housework. Or perhaps that might be Mousework.
Moving furniture type of Housework. You know, getting behind the piano to hoover. Sort of thing.
Lay in bed in the early hours the other morning. Crashing. Scraping. Banging. For God's Sake, what were these mice bloody doing?
Spoke to Husband about it later as we sipped our cup of tea in bed.
'Why are those mice so bloody noisy?' I asked, plaintively. 'Could hardly sleep with all that noise.'
'Because they are Crows,' Husband explained kindly. 'On the roof. About twenty of them. Jumping about.'
Oh. Jumping? On the roof? Crows?
Had Absolutely No Faith in Husband. Course they're not Crows. They are Mice. Any Fool would know that.
This morning heard the Noises again. Lay and listened to scratching and rustling.
Thought to self, That is Not A Crow. That is a mouse or even, gulp, a Rat.
Listened a bit more.
Decided to open window because a bit hot.
Crept to window so as not to wake Husband. Opened window. Twenty Big Black Crows who were jumping about on the roof flew off and into the dawn.
That'll be it, then.
Husband is right. Again.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

In which Youngest Displays Admirable Cunning

Recently we acquired a Box of Chocolates.
Youngest delves in box yesterday. Peering closely at Hazelnut Surprise and Strawberry Delight. Rummages about a bit more.
He takes out the biggest.
'What's this?' he asks.
'Truffle Heaven,' I say.
'Oh,' he says, shoving it into his mouth.
Some minutes later the front door opens and Youngest disappears out.
Comes back in again. Asks for another chocolate.
'Your second?' I ask.
He nods. (They can have two sweets after lunch. Sometimes. And That Is That.)
He shovels another one in.
Again the front door opens and he disappears out.
Filled with curiosity I follow him.
Youngest is leaning into flower bed.
'What are you doing?' I ask.
He looks stricken. You can see the Think Bubbles working.
'Well?' I ask. Interestedly.
'I'm looking at the flowers,' he says.
A large piece of chocolate hangs on to the corner of his mouth and then falls. Flop. Onto the path.
'Are you spitting out the chocolates?' I ask him sternly.
Wide eyed he looks back at me. With Guilt written all over him.
We both look down into the flower bed. There, on the newly turned earth, are two Freshly Chewed Chocolates.
We look back at each other.
'Were they revolting?' I ask him in Friendly Tones.
'Yeurch.' he says.
'Come on then, let's get one more. And no more spitting in flower beds. OK?'
He grins at me. Slips his hand into mine. And together we peruse the contents of the box until we find a Caramel Supreme.

Monday, 27 July 2009

In Which Youngest Displays Worrying Teenage Traits

Went to cafe in nearby village today.
Youngest ordered huge hot chocolate and croissant.
Promptly spilled hot chocolate all over croissant.
I clear it up, in seconds. Two decades of spillages has made me deft and speedy.
Find cloth, new plate, new knife, new spoon, plonk old croissant on new plate, hot chocolate on new saucer, wipe around table, check Youngest for detritus. Sit back and sip coffee. Get admiring looks from New Mother over the way. I acknowledge her admiration with a friendly nod. Youngest still looking Cross and Grumpy.
Oh, not again, think I.
What?' I ask, somewhat impatiently. 'I've mopped you all up. Eat your croissant and drink your chocolate.'
'Can I have sugar in my chocolate?' he asks, hopefully.
And I Mean No.
'Why not?'
'Because there is already half a ton of it in there,' I explain.
'I won't finish my drink,' he threatens, menacingly. For a five year old.
Finally he twigs. As he always does.
She Means It.
Puts his face in his arms.
In Tragic Tones, deep from the depths of his sleeve,
'Mummy,' he moans,
'You just Don't Understand Me.'

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Mouse Alert

On going out to supper last night a Mouse was Spotted. Amidst the screaming and scraping back of chairs as nervous adults peered under the table, was reminded of Fun Time With Mouse when living in Suffolk a few years ago.
Imagine. Lovely farm house. Cosy kitchen with beams and an Aga. And a rather curious little room, solely for Telephone. Just off the kitchen. With Glass Door that Slid.
House was rented or we would have hurled ourselves at Glass Door and destroyed it. But we didn't, and so there it remained.
Was on phone one evening talking to friend. Feet got a little chilly so felt about on floor for my slippers. Huge, sheepskin, fluffy Nonsenses of Slippers. But damned warm and cosy. Found them with my foot, and slipped them on. One was a little bit smaller than normal.
Strange I thought.
Carried on talking to friend.
Some minutes later, puzzled by smallness of slipper, which normally has Roomy Dimensions, took it off.
Blow me down, if a large brown mouse didn't jump out and start running round the Small Room Housing the Telephone.
I think friend's Ear has Damage for Life.
Screams reached the Far Posts of County. Eldest came tearing in.
What?What?What?What? he screamed. Looking through Glass Door. Eyes like saucers.
By this time I was Screaming Very Loudly Indeed and Trying to Gain Height, away from Floor and Mouse. Trouble was, there was one chair and quite a low roof.
Hit head Quite Severely on Roof in bid for Escape.
Somewhere at end of telephone line I could hear friend going
Panted and yelled and screamed into phone.
No words. Just Big Noisy Sounds.
Friend extremely worried.
Managed to slide back door with aid of Eldest and Make My Escape into Kitchen. Eldest meanwhile opened Back Door and managed to get the Bastard Mouse of All Times Out.
Took about ten minutes, Literally, to stop Hysterical and Unattractive Laughter.
Another five to stop Shaking like unset jelly.
And another five to ring back Poor Friend to Explain.
Bugger Me, friend said.
Thought you'd been Murdered.
Sorreee, I said. Giggling.
Kept giggling for days.
Reaction, you know.
Post Traumatic Mouse Disorder.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Pretty Please

Youngest at breakfast today. Very Cross. Seemed to have woken up in Very Bad Mood.
'Not Hungry,' he said, gruffly. 'Not Eating Anyfing.'
Oh, said I. Starving. Tucking into Four Weetabix.
Youngest sits for a while. Arms crossed. Mouth jutting out and Scowling.
'Get me a plate,' he orders his sister, sitting handily next to the plate cupboard.
Daughter ignores him and carries on eating her Cornflakes.
'Get me a bloody plate.' says Youngest.
We all stare at Youngest in Horror.
'What Do You Say?' asks Daughter, haughtily.
'Get Me A Bloody Plate. Please,' says Youngest.
And it's only Day 2 of the holidays.
Roll on, September.

Thursday, 23 July 2009


Hooray! The Summer Holidays are here at last! Lie ins! Stretchy moments in bed! Long Leisurely Breakfasts!
And then...
Long days with Children.
The typical conversation has already taken place with the 'Organised Mothers' who say things like,
'Well, the children are booked on a Week's Sailing Course in the Lakes followed by a Fortnight Enrichment Course In Maths, English and the Sciences. Oh, and they so love Comunity Work that they have another week in the local library to help with the Summer Reading Week.'
Bollocks to all that. Mine aren't booked onto anything. We are going to Devon to stay with Mother in Law. Then to Essex to house sit for my sister. Otherwise we are Here.
Summer holidays are a bit like Last Minute Dot Com. We do everything at the last minute.
Let's go to the Beach!
Let's go swimming!
Let's go for a picnic!
Let's go and play tennis!
Let's do Bugger All!
Life has been so horrendously busy the last few weeks that have probably missed all the deadlines for tennis and sailing and golf and summer camps and Life Skills in Cookery.
Why am I so Bloody Useless at Organising the Holidays?
Husband comes home at end of day on Typical Summer Holidays Day.
'Did you go to the beach?' he will ask Brightly.
'Nope,' we all reply. Slumped in front of telly.
'Play tennis?'
'Play golf?'
'Go out?'
'What did you do?'
We all look at each other.
'Had lunch,' says someone.
'Yes, and fed the chickens.'
Husband looks grieved and goes out into vegetable garden.
What we did actually do was fun. We probably had a friend over. Cleaned out the chickens. Made lunch together. Went for a walk. Made a castle out of cereal boxes for the rabbit. That Sort Of Thing.
Been Together.
I find that the more I organize for my children the more they want things organised for them. So we just do the odd organised thing. Like that sailing course last year. The rest of the time is theirs and mine. We fill it with inconsequential things. We rest. We play. We go to the beach. We find a tennis court and play, all four of us, on one court. Middle Son loves his tennis so I cram him, last minute style onto any tennis camp I can find.
We go to Pizza Express, the children's Mecca of Restaurants. I bully them to make their sodding beds and clean out their rooms. We wash up together and make the meals together. Feed the chickens and water the pots.
Sometimes we have lovely days. Sometimes they are Crap. Usually they are OK.
Ordinary days of an ordinary life.
And when you look at the news on a typical day, Ordinary seems very good indeed.
Right. Must see when that Tennis Camp starts. Middle son champing to do it. And Daughter wants to have a sleep over or two with her friends. And Youngest wants to go swimming.
So. We'll do that then.
As for the rest of the holidays... let's just see How It Goes.
One day at a time.
St-r-e-t-ch. This Is The Life.
More coffee anyone?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Pelt Up

Oh God. Middle son has just watched Veet Advert on telly. Woman with legs up to armpits taking Non-Existent Hairs off Hairless Leg.

Middle Son notices that woman only does her legs up to knees.
'Why doesn't she do all of her leg?' he asks no one in particular.
'It'll look way better.'
I look at him over my cup of tea.
'Why will it look better?' I ask, worriedly.
'Because otherwise it'll be Hairy. Derrr.'
The poor boy thinks every woman under ninety is as Hairy as his Mother. On a Bad Hair Day.
Oh, well. Will be lovely surprise one day. Girl friend with hairless, smooth, brown legs. Like the Veet Lady.
'Wow! Look at your legs!' Middle Son will say.
'What?' New Girl Friend will ask, somewhat confused.
'No hair!' Middle Son will say, merrily. 'You should see My Mother's.'
Girl Friend will look at my legs from time to time, encased by then in Thick Beige Nylon Hold Ups.
Next life am coming back as Highland Cow.
Have its legs now anyway.

(P.S. Am concerned that readers will think that have thick pelt on legs all year. Not true.
Just the Winter Months.
So that's OK then.)

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Flushed With Success

Well. The moment you have all been waiting for.
The Results of the Flower and Produce Show 2009!
Drum Roll.
Curtains up.
Da Daaaaaaaa!
Husband. Won. The. Cup.
Won The Sodding Cup. The Challenge Cup. For the highest total in the Vegetable Produce Category.
All those evenings of Looking At Vegetables and doing the Felicity Kendall Encouragement Thing has paid off! Oh, and Husband's vegetables. And all his hard work. Of course.
Wait for it.
Third Prize for the Sodding Bloody Bicyle!!!! (not literally, of course) Oh, dear. We did laugh.
Third prize for Wild Life. Snore. Only because photo was very dull one of newt. On Husband's hand. (Robin one was rejected on grounds of Too Much Tit.)
And then, for photo put in at last moment... FIRST PRIZE! Toby the cat as a Garden Pest. 'I love the light, the cat fills the frame and is nice and sharp,' said the Judge. Oh. Whatever.
Oh, and the person who took 200 photos of mole hills? Lost. Quiet Smirk.
As did we. Because, wait for it... we didn't have Mole Hills. We only had a single Mole Hill. Grrr.
But was vastly cheered by having second prize in Decoration in a Tankard. Apparently my Contrast was Weak. Yer wot? Just shoved some bloody flowers in a tankard and sloshed it along to the village hall. Contrast? Eh?
OH. AND. Third prize in Riot of Colour Category!! 'Lovely arrangement' said Judge.
Really? Grabbed a host of wonderfully colourful flowers out of garden and stuck them all into one of those green oasis things and then crammed that into the right size vase. Done. Lovely arrangement, eh?!
So. The village settles down for the next year. A new set of names on all the cups given out. Children dashing off with their book tokens, prizes for the best Garden on a Plate, Picture of a Pet, and Best Handwritten Joke. (Daughter raked up a Second with her Joke).
Gardens can be just Gardens again. No more peering over fences, trying to see how the neighbour's broccolli is doing.
Had very large Whisky and Soda last night. Looking out of window at our glorious view of the Downs. Children cheery in spite of being beaten on every single category. (bar the joke)
I will leave you with the Handwritten Joke by Youngest. No prize, but we loved it. Writing on a slant and picture of duck at the bottom. Heaven.

What time does a duck wake up?
At the Quack of Dawn.

And Daughter's...

Man walks into a pub with a newt on his shoulder.
What's that! asks the Bartender.
That's Tiny, said the man.
Why do you call it that? asks the Bartender.
Man replies, 'Because he's My Newt.'

Boom Boom!

Oh, and the Prize Certificates...

Most satisfactory.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Show Must Go On

The The Village Flower and Produce Show 2009 continues to get nearer and nearer. Namely Saturday. Raspberries are looking good. Runner beans are running. And carrots, peas, lettuces, tomatoes and potatoes are all looking Not Bad At All.
Photographs, however, are proving difficult to produce. Basically because we are Crap at Taking Them.
Husband spent several hot minutes on the lawn at weekend trying to capture me racing by on bike and going over Very Small Plank of Wood so that I would 'take off'. Ho Hum. This is for the Bicycle Category in the Photography Section.
He missed. Twelve times. I would pound up, legs working like a piston, aim for plank, race up, pull up handles on bike for Optimum Lift Off, and then come to a Panting Halt. Each time Husband would check excitedly for Result.
Blank picture.
No Bicycle.
Due to Excessive Heat did not feel like going over plank a Thirteenth Time.
So we moved on to Mole Hills.
Aren't any. So sod that for a game of soldiers.
We could try the Garden Pest category, spoke Husband.
We looked at each other. Blank.
Absolutely No Inspiration there.
Gave up and went back in house for Large G & T as Reward.
Husband quietly rather proud of his Wild Life photograph. Went to restaurant in rather Grand Garden the other day. Perched on the fence surrounding the outside area of the restaurant was a robin.
Quick! we whispered noisely to each other.
Get the Camera!
Forgot to turn camera on.
Pressed Video Button by mistake.
Robin Scarpered.
Back he came a few minutes later.
He's back! I hissed. Get the camera!
Once again we were too late because by the time we'd turned the blasted camera on and turned it towards said Robin, said Robin had buggered off again.
Anyway, while I was inside choosing the Biggest Bastard of a Pudding you've ever seen (raspberry meringue roulade... simply Vast and with Lots of Cream) Husband had been Happy Snapping at Robin. Showed me his Work. All I could see were Statues and Bosoms. Peered harder at photo and could see Very Small Robin. Just.
After all this effort we gave up.

As a result our Photography Offerings look a bit like this...

Bicycle Category

Wild Life Category

Yup. Bollocks.
We'll keep you posted.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Run, Rabbit, Run

Am Absolutely Not saving any more rabbits.
As much as I love them. And all. Fluffy little bunnies.
But am not going to run round the garden in my T-shirt and knickers, leaping like a mad woman through the Broad Beans in the vegetable garden, in order to save a small baby bunny from our cat, Toby.
Let me explain...
Was brushing my hair the other morning. Looking fondly out of the window at Daughter feeding chickens in her nightie. Rubbed some fake tan ( an absolute must for those with Pale Skin) into my now rather Brown Legs, and was looking admiringly at the back of the calves, when heard Blood Curdling Screams. Emanating from the Vegetable Garden.
In Blind Panic threw window open and yelled out at Daughter,
Daughter was then seen, running full pelt, past the greenhouse and appeared to have thrown herself under the hedge. Throughout her run, she Screamed,'TOBEEEEEEE. NO!!!!!!!'
I yelled again.
Daughter answered, rather muffled, from the Depths of the hedge,
'He's got another rabbit... NNOOOOOO, TOBEEEEEE!'
At this point was leaning so far out of window that became a little anxious that I might fall out, so made the Sensible Decision to go down and Save The Rabbit. Again.
Toby, our cat, has had an awful lot of fun with the Bunnies in our garden, particularly with the Baby Ones. Which seems awfully mean of him. But then again, he is a Cat. And that's what they Do.
Heave open Back Door, always quite a Feat, as is old and warped.
Daughter still under hedge, and still shouting.
Suddenly she emerges. Shouting momentarily stopped.
In her arms is a small, badly frightened and injured baby rabbit.
Daughter is in tears.
'Poor little thing,' she says. 'Bad Toby.'
At this point I am aware that I am wearing a small, light-blue T-shirt and a pair of rather racy knickers.
May I say that this is Highly Unusual.
For some Very Strange Reason, I had run out of the normal M & S knickers normally worn on an Ordinary sort of day. They had all Disappeared off the Face of the Earth. Not in drawer. Not in wash. Not on line. Not in Hot Cupboard. Not Bloody Anywhere. Had someone Eaten them?
So. Had to find Alternative Arrangements. It was Racy Lacy or Very Large Black Pants. Very large ones were tortuously tight and hot. Had rejected those in favour of something cooler.
Hence the Lacy Racy Pair I was Adorning.
Pulling T-shirt down and hoping the post man wouldn't make his appearance any minute, I made Sympathetic Noises re. the rabbit and suggested we put it somewhere quiet.
Gently lifted it from Daughter and carried it over the lawn.
Blood all over the T-Shirt. Hands. Daughter. Rather keen not to get it on Pants.
Rabbit then promply died.
Poor little thing.
Daughter cried.
Youngest and Middle Son came out to inspect the damage. Mildly astonished at my Attire.
'Mummy, why are you wearing no trousers?' sort of questions.
Replied rather tersely that had had no time to find trousers when Saving Rabbits.
We all helped lay rabbit under the beech hedge that surrounds the garden.
Poor little rabbit. It looked so tiny.
All felt rather sad.
Then we all trooped in to the house.
Toby was on the window sill in the kitchen, cleaning his paws and looking adorable.
Grrrrrr, we all said.
Phone rang.
Husband already at work.
'We've just saved a bunny but it died,' I told him.
Marvellous, he said.
Honestly. Husbands. Didn't bother telling him about the Racy Lacy knickers. Would have put him off his work and raised his blood pressure.
Washed head to toe...again... and made breakfast for everyone.
Where's Toby? asked Daughter.
Oh, Christ.
Out we all dash again... TOBEEEE,NOOOOOOO!

Can't wait for the Bloody Winter.

(Toby Himself...on top of the hedge, under which he inevitably finds his Rabbit Victims. )