Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A drain on the resources?

On Saturday we unblocked a drain.  It took 7 bamboo sticks, 2 hose pipes, 2 blankets, 1 pair of pyjamas, (don't ask) 12 saucepans and 3 kettles of boiling water, plus half a pot of bicarbonate of soda, a bag of salt, and 5 bolshy and bad tempered Garnetts.  That's us, by the way.
Husband was seen after lunch brandishing bamboo sticks, and disappearing up to his neck in the two drains close to our kitchen.  Each time I looked out of the kitchen window I  could see him, head deep into the drain with his boots sticking out onto the grass. 
'What are you doing?' I asked him cheerily as I came out to join him.  
'Clearing out the drains,' he said, wiping a rather grimy hand over his hair, leaving small bits of suspicious looking bits in it from the drain.
'Want some help?' I asked, hoping he'd say no. 
And so I pulled on a pair of boots, plus a pair of marigolds, and got stuck in, as it were.
Man, it was fun!
There was a blockage between the two manholes (????? sounds rather unpleasant) which needed to be unblocked. 
First of all I got a huge bucket of water, and hurled it down the manhole nearest the kitchen. Then I ran to the other manhole to see if the water came out.
Like Pooh Sticks!
Only it didn't.  Nothing came out, except the stuff that seemed to be on Husband's hair.
Husband started shoving the hose up the drain. 'Grab it when it comes out!'  he yelled, into the bowels of the drain.  
'I can see it!'  I shouted back into the bowels at my end.  As it were.   The ground was all wet so grabbed a couple of old blankets and laid them down at each manhole (that word is not getting any less savoury) so we wouldn't get soaking wet. And grabbed the end of the hose and pulled it through.  We see-sawed it back and forth with the hose, as Husband instructed, removing rather nasty looking bits of stuff, and then pulled the hose out.
'Let's tie a knot in it and put that through,' says Husband.  I look at him to check he's not joking.
He isn't.  He is tying a knot in it, but it's in the hose, not anything rude.
Then he carefully shoves that into the drain,and we yell at each other from one end to the other when it comes out the other end, and repeat the see saw thing, and then pull the hose out.  Even more stuff comes out!!
'I know,' I say, thinking that I am a perfect natural with drains, and maybe I should be a plumber.  'Let's attach something to the hose, and then pull it through,and that should bring out even MORE stuff!'
'Yes!' agrees Husband, and we carefully attach a pair of my pink pyjamas, long relegated to the 'rags' drawer in the workshop.
And then back the hose goes, into the drain.  And we PULL!  PULL! PULL!
Only this time there is a wee tiny problem.
It gets stuck.
Oh. Dear.
The hose is straining so much it might actually snap, and there appears to be no way at all that we can get  the hose out.
Husband is looking Rather Agitated.
I yell at the children to come and give a hand pulling the damned hose out.  And all five of us, (Eldest is in London) have a go pulling the hose.
It is stuck hard.
'I know!' says I.
Husband is not looking very hopeful.
'Let's boil all the saucepans, and the kettle, and pour it down the drain, so that it melts all the nasty fat in the drain!'  It appears that the hose can't get through because of huge deposits of fat along the pipe.
So in we go, leaving Husband up to his armpits in the drain, trying to pull bits of fat out.
There's lots of jolly chat about what will work best, and what saucepans we should use, and who will pour them out and what will happen then.
The saucepans finally boil, and out we troop, four of us with brimming saucepans.  Back I go to get the kettle.  And with a ONE TWO THREE we pour the boiling water down the drain at the same time, and watch with bated breath for a result.
There is no result.  Nothing happens.  Bugger all.
There is a thin drizzle of rather dark looking fluid that seeps out of the end of the drain.
Husband says nothing but lowers himself again into the drain with a very gloomy expression on his face.
'Let's pull on the hose!' I suggest, and we all have a heave and a ho, but the hose stays resolutely where it  was.
'Back we go!' I say, with a forced cheer, 'Let's boil some more saucepans!'  And back we go and boil all the saucepans again, this time loading them up with salt and bicarbonate of soda, as someone has read on Google that this is what is needed with fat in drains.
Out we go again, with the four saucepans and the kettle.  We all say ONE TWO THREE,  and WHOOSH!  Down goes the boiling water, and we tear to the other end of the drain and watch with barely suppressed excitement for a result.
There is no result.  Nothing happens. Bugger all.
That thin drizzle thing happens again.
Husband looks like Eeyore.
We heave a bit more on the hose.  Daughter is convinced she can hear the hose snapping.
'That's not the hose,' says Husband, 'That is my foot.'
'Back we go again!' I say.  Children are beginning to grizzle a bit about the repetition of boiling saucepans and kettles and one of them wanders off to watch the telly.  Middle Son roars at them to come back.
They do.
And so we wait another 7 minutes for the water to boil, and then out we go again.
We aren't very optimistic.
ONE TWO THREE!  WHOOSH.... and down goes the boiling water.  There is a gurgle and then silence.
'Let's pull the hose!' I shout.  My enthusiasm is quite genuine, but I can see that my optimism is not matched by Husband or by children.
We heave.  We heave a bit more.  And oh JOY, the hose starts to move a little.
Husband starts to shout orders.  'Stop.  Start.  Pull. Stop.'
Thoroughly confused we stop and start, and then feel the hose REALLY moving.  And then, with a slurp and a whoosh, OUT comes the hose, and we all yell and shout with joy.
My poor pyjamas.  They are utterly disgusting.  Clinging to them are bits of fat and grease.
There is a healthy sound of rushing water, and out comes the most disgusting display of fat and detritus.
'Ewwwww,' we all say, awe at such a revolting sight.  And we cheer and dance and pump the air.
And after that we clear all the bamboo sticks and saucepans away, and take Milo for a walk, our patient labrador, who had been watching the entire episode sitting on his haunches, with his beautiful head on one side.
Such fun, as Miranda would say.
Am definitely going to train as Plumber.  Clearly very gifted with kettles and boiling water and old pjamas.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

What next?

Went shopping with Youngest.  Started at the Post Office where I had large amounts of Cash to pay in, and where Youngest had brought all his savings, wanting to exchange his twenties, tens and pound coins for lots of £5 notes.  This was because he wanted to be able to 'throw them all up into the air'.
As you do.
So we did that, and out came Youngest with £130 worth of £5 notes.  I managed to stop him from throwing them all up into the air before we got home, and also managed to get them out of his clutched hands, in case he dropped the damned things.
Into the Pet Shop we went, to get yet more rabbit food.  This is clearly for our  rabbits, two of them, rescued some years ago for the gasp inducing price of £200. At the Pet Shop they cost £25 each.
Long story, but due to having to have 'inspection' from the Rabbit Rescue Place where we had visited, after our dear old Milly the rabbit had died.  We passed this fearful examination.  I lived in agony for three days before the Rabbit Lady came, attempting to make our garden a Rabbit haven, and not the Dump Ground it had been for old lawn mowers, rotting furniture and rusting ironware...)
We were then allowed to pick up our rabbits from the Rabbit Centre, which was THIRTY MILES AWAY and then go and get a VAST rabbit cage as our one wasn't big enough.
Husband had very nice colleague at his work who didn't want her old rabbit cage (vast) and so off we went in a Rented Van costing £100 for three days to get the double rabbit hutch from FORTY FIVE MILES AWAY, ditch our old one, plus get the sodding rabbits, who cost £120 as they had been stuffed full of every vaccination possible known to Rabbit-kind, plus a Donation which quite frankly I felt like stuffing up the Rabbit Lady's dungarees.
Anyway, I digress.
So into the pet shop we went today, and while purchasing Said Food, had a conversation about Antlers with the sales lady, as you do.
Dogs rather like chewing the things, and in particular Antlers, and there were a whole lot of the rather sinister looking antlers for sale. Youngest listened earnestly while Sales Lady talked about how strong the necks were on Deer, owing to the Antlers, and how huge the Antlers were, and wasn't it amazing.  Clearly we agreed, and after another minute or two about Antlers and Necks and Dogs, we left.
'What next?' asked Youngest, as we dragged the Rabbit Food along the street.
'Co-op,' I said
'No, what's NEXT,' asked Youngest again.
'CO-OP,' said I again, loudly and clearly.
'No, Mummy, what's NEXT?'
This time I think I shouted it.  'CO-OP!!!!'
'No, Mummy, I said, NEXT.  What NEXT?'
Oh, my dear Lord Almighty.  If I had a choice I might have smashed my aching head against some nice thick concrete and achieved the blessed oblivion of the dead..
But I didn't.  Clearly I wasn't getting what Youngest was going on about.
So with an admirable display of Patience and Motherliness I asked him what he meant.
'Next'.  He said.  'Next.  What next?'
I wondered then about his sanity.  'We. Are. Going. To. The. Co-op.'
Youngest then spoke in Patient Tones as if to a moron. 'Mummy, NECKS.   What NECKS?'
Oh, Ker-ist.  Necks!!  It dawned, finally, like the promise of light at the end of a very long Tunnel.
'You mean the necks, with the antlers?' I ask with barely suppressed excitement.
'Yes!' he replied,  'What necks?'
And with relief and a fair amount of giggling, I explain that they are Deer Necks and very strong.
And with the odd chuckle from both of us, we enter the Co-op and continue our shopping.
Honestly, whatever next.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Oh, deary, deary, me.  It's NOT good.
Youngest has done it again.
We were talking about what present to give my friend whose birthday is on Friday.  Last year gave her the most enormous pair of pants EVER.
HUGE.  SO vast that two grown men can fit, one entire body in each pant.  As it were.
Why? Why did I give her enormous pants?
Absolutely no idea.
It is her birthday again, so thinking caps were on, and my three children were all having a thought about what I could give her.
Giant thongs? asked Middle Son, guffawing and spitting out tea.
Youngest giggles hard.  Obviously finds that very amusing indeed.
'What's a thong?'
We all spit out our tea again, and try to explain what a thong is.  Difficult to keep it clean.
As it were.
Anyway, we all agreed that it's NOT a great idea, not in the grand scheme of things. Thongs.
Big silence while we all think again.
'Giant condom?' asks Daughter, hardly able to get the words out.
After we've all shouted EWWW and told her how disgusting that is, and NO, I WILL NOT buy giant condoms, we all settle down again.
Youngest still giggling.  You can see the think bubbles working.
'What's a condom?' he asks, clear voice slicing the quiet air like a knife.
Oh, no.
'Well,' I say.  'Um.'  I absolutely can't think of a nice, clean way to explain this one.
The other older children looking across at me with grins as wide as the M25.  Wondering what on EARTH I am going to say.
Youngest pipes up.  'Is it a Love Bag?'
That's it.  We've all had it.  Tea, biscuits, spit, all comes out in total hysterical bout of painful laughter.  Youngest looking on, all interested and amused that he has caused such a riot.
Middle Son horrified and delighted at the same time.  Daughter pealing with laughter and unable to talk, let alone stay on her chair.
'Love bag?' I ask feebly, unable to frame words with mouth that is so wide open in mirth it has stopped functioning as tool for language.
'Yes, is it a Love Bag?' asks Youngest.  You could even HEAR the capital letters as he said the words.
It was no good.  I couldn't answer as paralysed by hysteria.  Gave up.  Washed up and ran bath for still giggling Youngest.
And as I did so, mused in confused sort of a way WHY Youngest would come up with Love Bag?? But have to say that it is rather brilliant way of describing said item.  New marketing tool?

And so Youngest now believes that condoms are Love Bags and that thongs are pants without a bottom.
Great conversationalist, my kids.
And so my friend's birthday?  What will I get her?  I thought a nice book and a bunch of flowers.
Am SO not asking my children for any more advice.  EVER.

Friday, 26 April 2013

In which Youngest becomes a Pirate

Youngest and Husband are off for on a Rugby Tour today.
Staying in a Caravan for two nights.  Not exactly the Dorchester, but should be good fun.
Rugby all day Saturday, and nearly all day on Sunday.  Otherwise mucking about with lots of other eight/nine year olds, doing all sorts of eight/nine year old sort of stuff.  Kicking balls. Throwing balls.  Scratching balls.
Youngest had some worries about Stuff.
I asked him fondly what it was that was worrying him.
'Well,' he 'pondered.  'I think that I am a bit worried about the caravan.'
Well, so am I, my angel.  So am I.
'And I think that I am a bit worried about the Pirates.'
It seems that he is a Pirate for the weekend.  Has to take some Pirate costume sort of thing.
Husband had come home from work this afternoon, with about an hour to spare before leaving for Rugby Tour, and started to think about what sort of Pirate things they could take.
(he's had about two months to think about what sort of Pirate things they could take.)
He had found two eye patches in a shop.  Hooray!
Nothing else.  Naught.  Nada.
Right. OK then. Time for Motherly Intervention.
And so together we find two spotted handkerchiefs.
Full. Stop.
'I think Youngest might need something else apart from a spotted handkerchief and an eye patch,' I said, hurling Youngest's pajamas and socks into suitcase.
'No!  He'll be fine with this,' says Husband, hurling pajamas and socks into suitcase.  His own.
Youngest arrives home from school.
'Daddy is the stupidest daddy in the world,' he tells me as he hurls pajamas and socks into a suitcase.  Apparently I had packed it 'all wrong'.
'Why?' I asked, repacking the hurled pajamas as soon as they touched the suitcase.
'Because all I have for a pirate is a stupid hanky and a stupid eye patch.'  He scowls at the socks and stuffs in about fourteen t-shirts.  I take them out, fold, remove twelve of them, and stuff them back in.
'Better make one then,' I say nonchalantly.
I can feel him staring at me, appalled.
'Make one?'
'Yes.  Make one.  We need a really tatty pair of trousers and we hack them to pieces. Got any?'
His eyes light up, hope shining bright. He searches his room.
'This pair?' and he holds up a longish pair of shorts, hideous shade of goose poo green, and never worn.
Our eyes meet and we grin at each other.
'Come on!' I say, and we TEAR into the kitchen and race over to the scissors.
I grab the orange pair. They cut like a dream, and I start to cut jagged lines up and down the hem line.
Youngest gets really excited and pleads with me for him to have a go.  He attempts to make holes in the shorts.  I warn him not to have huge holes in the wrong places.
'Or all your friends will see your pants.'
Youngest finds this hysterical, which doesn't particularly help with the cutting.
But we get it done and within five minutes the shorts are tattered and beautifully Pirate like.
'Right.  Now all we need is a top with horizontal stripes.  WHERE will we find one of those?'  I look suitably doubtful, knowing full well there is a top with horizontal stripes sitting in his chest of drawers.
'WAIT!' he shouts and dashes out of the kitchen.
Twenty seconds later he is back.  Brandishing the top with horizontal stripes.
'HOORAY!' I shout, and we grin some more.
He tears off his school uniform and puts on the new Pirate costume, along with spotted handkerchief so despised five minutes before.
And with the generous loan of my gorgeous eye liner ready to be applied later to create a suitable moustache, my darling Youngest and Husband are off, grinning like Cheshire cats.
As their car crunches over the gravel I wave and wave.  Youngest is waving back, all reservations gone, looking JUST like Jack Sparrow.
Only MUCH more handsome.
I SO love being a mother.
Have fun, Youngest.  And don't you DARE lose my eye liner.

Friday, 1 March 2013

So Much Chocolate, so little time

Daughter decided to make pudding the other night to welcome Grandmother who was staying with us.  She took ages to choose which one, and then eventually went for a Chocolate Swiss Roll.
Goody, we all thought.  And left her to it.
From the kitchen came the sounds of cooking and pans being moved about. 
We lit a fire in the sitting room.  I sat back knowing that the casserole was in the oven, potatoes cooking nicely, and vegetables ready to go when needed. 
Delicious smells from the kitchen.  And not long later we all sit round the table.
And finally pudding arrives.
Proudly, Daughter places it in the middle of the table, next to the candles.  We all stare at it, spellbound.  It is beautiful.  A chocolate swiss roll, all delicately powdered with icing sugar, cream gleaming from the carefully folded rolls of chocolate sponge. 
Youngest stares at it too.
There is a short silence while he thinks.
And then he speaks.  Oh, dear God, no...
'Now THAT is exactly the size of Middle Son's poo,' he announces finally, in triumphant tones.
For DAYS he has been trying to describe the size of said Son's poo, viewed with incredulity one morning before school in the downstairs loo.
There is an appalled silence. 
And then chaos.  I cannot keep in the bellyful of laughter, and heave great wheezing gasps of mirth.  Daughter gives out peal after peal of giggles, which makes us all go off again.  Middle Son is utterly appalled and then totally pole-axed with laughter.  Mother in law goes pink, and then is off herself, giggling helplessly.  Husband is seen bend double over his glass of wine.  On close inspection he is crying with laughter and cannot sit upright.
And so it continued, for about 3 minutes of solid (do beg your pardon) laughter, until with hiccups and sighs and 'oh dears' we gradually stop.
Husband gallantly takes up knife to serve pudding.
'Right, who wants a piece.'
And we're off again.
Honestly, you really can't take us anywhere.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A trying sort of a day....

The clock is ticking.  The house is quiet.  Everyone is in bed, except me and my mug of horlicks.  As I sip at the deliciously creamy warming drink, my socked feet curling up with pleasure, I sigh with the joy of solitude.  ALL DAY LONG people have talked and chatted, laughed and giggled.  And I have talked and chatted, laughed and giggled back.  Lovely.  But how lovely too, to be here in my silent sitting room, tapping away on these keys, while the fire crackles and mutters to itself, and the curtains are shut to the cold night air.
NOVEMBER!!!!  That's when I last tapped away on my last post.  Crikey.  A while back.
Christmas.  New Year.  January.  February.  Nearly flipping March.
Oh! Just loving the peace.
Had a somewhat trying day yesterday.  Mother in law here going off to Malaysia to visit other son.  Wanted to wrap up a sword to take on plane to Malaysia.
Don't ask.
Husband had kindly bought an ENORMOUS snow boarding case in which to pack sword.  About five feet long.  Two feet wide.
Sword is two and a half feet long.  About eight inches wide.
And so, yesterday afternoon, while the children were at school, and Husband was at work, we stuff the sword into huge yawning space of snowboard case.  Stand back.
A bit big.  We think.
Mother in law thinks we should bend the snowboard case in half.
I think we should put sword back in car and forget it.
Mother in law suggests binder twine.
I think we should put sword back in car and forget it.
Mother in law suggests putting other things in snowboarding case.
I think we should put sword back in car and forget it.
Mother in law repeats all the above quite a lot of times.
I go to shed.  Get the binder twine.  Put all sorts of things inside the snowboarding case that Mother in law passes to me. Bend the snowboarding case in half.  Sit on it.  Put binder twine round the snowboarding case and pull hard at binder twine until snowboarding case is shrivelled to half the size it was. Tie binder twine very hard.  Repeat at other end of snowboarding case. Get the label that has disappeared INSIDE the folds of the snowboarding case OUT, having undone half of the binder twine knots I had already tied, and put label back again, this time clearly visible to the naked eye.
Finally, it is done.
Stand back and admire.
Mother in law very pleased.
I wander off to the kitchen, thankful that the complicated exercise is now over.  Cup of tea time, I think.
Mother in law wanders in after me.
'I think that I may have left the other travel labels in the snowboarding case.' she says.
Start to unwrap the first bit of binder twine.
Mother in law insists that we don't do that.
But spends the next four hours wondering whereabouts in the snowboarding case her labels are. I know that the labels are NOT in the snowboarding case, as I got to know the inside of the flipping thing very well indeed.
After quite a lot of wandering about and 'I wonder if they might be in here...' sort of thing, finally the labels are found inside her handbag.  Hooray!  Duty done, I retire to kitchen to make some supper.
Mother in law enters into kitchen.
Could Husband bring into the house the gun cupboard that is in the car, although it might be a Bit Heavy.
Go out to car. Peer through the boot window.  In the gloom can see totally MASSIVE gun cupboard lying across the boot, while the back seat is down as the fecking thing is so huge it fills the entire backside of the car.  Weights LITERALLY a ton.
Sigh heavily.  Want to pound head against cool metal of car until I can't see, hear or think.
Go back inside the house and tell Mother in law that Husband can sort it out when he gets home.
As she starts to worry out loud about the gun cupboard being too heavy for the car and it might break it, I DON'T say that if it's that heavy perhaps it might not be such a good idea for Husband to stagger in with the bloody thing on his back.
Nor do I remind Mother in law that we already have a gun cupboard that has never been used because we Don't Have A Gun.
So, carry on with supper, offering Mother in law a nice big whisky and soda.
I pour rather a large one for myself too.
And together we raise a glass to each other, while shoulder to shoulder we prepare supper for the family.
Which is why, tonight is rather wonderful.  No one is wanting anything or asking questions about gun cupboards (yes, it IS still in the car and probably will be there until she returns in three weeks time) or searching for something that it seems only I can find.  Instead, the fire carries on crackling, and I carry on typing.
Mother in law is safely en route to Malaysia.  Everyone else is in bed.  And it's Just Me.
Sheer. Heaven.