Sunday, 29 March 2009

Go West...

Life is peaceful there.

Erm, no.

If there is one thing my childhood home is not - it is peaceful.

Anyway I have to go 'home' today and shall be living in the middle of a field miles from civilization for the rest of the week.

They do now have internet access in the said field so hopefully I will be able to blog (and my family home always provides good blog fodder - when I was there last summer my father ran through the kitchen wearing nothing but a nightie and holding a shotgun whilst shouting 'THERE'S A RAT, THERE'S A F***ING RAT ON THE NUTS!' - he was referring to the bird nuts by the way, just incase you were alarmed), although I am a little bit nervous about using my father's laptop for the purpose. I shall have to be very careful. Very careful indeed.

He's got enough on his plate without checking his history and inadvertently discovering that the piercing of his left testicle and attempts at strangling my brother, have been openly discussed with several hundred random strangers on the internet.....

Anyway - I'm wishing my self Bon Voyage - several hundred miles alone with 2 small children can be wearing. They usually get to the end of the street before starting to enquire if we are nearly at Grandma's house yet. Where's my headphones?

Friday, 27 March 2009


I have just seen someone hoovering their driveway.

And we have just had a hail storm.

Proof, if ever I needed it, that it is the rest of the world and not I, who are in insane.

I just pray it was one of those 'wet and dry' type vacuums.

I will walk back past later and see if there is a patch of scorched earth where once stood a vacuum cleaner.

When it all turns to custard on the home run

Also known as 'it ain't over until the fat lady sings'.

Parenting is one of those jobs where EVEN IF the day goes really well and you have oodles of fun and sit around supping home made ginger beer, eating organic humus sandwiches and patting yourself on the back for cruising through the day with nothing but a beautific smile and flour dusted apron (which, I may as well confess has never happened in this house) THINGS CAN ALL STILL GO TERRIBLY WRONG IN THE LAST HALF HOUR.

You know what it's like - the magical hour of bedtime is within grasp, everyone is happy and you are thinking 'YES! We are going to do this! Everyone is going to go to bed with happy memories of the day and I will be able able to go downstairs and open the wine! RESULT!'.

Yesterday looked like it was going to be one of those days. Everyone was happy. Everyone was well. Everyone had grown and developed through the day (well, they'd come out the other side without any obvious physical or mental scaring, which is always a big tick in my book) - until bath time.

We all trooped upstairs and I set the bath running and flushed the toilet.

And that's where is all went horribly, horribly, wrong.

Those of you that know me via Facebook may be aware that recently we had a toilet roll crisis and no toilet roll in the house for an entire day.

Anyway - we got toilet roll again but it would be appear that the toilet had become used to a 'paper free' diet and its guts rebelled against the invasion of loo roll by totally and utterly blocking.

Now I've written about our blocked toilet and using the baby's comfort blanket to unblock it before - but I'm telling you now - this was on another level entirely.

It was 'code red' (and brown, and every other colour contained in the bowels of the sewage system).

The poo-water was filling the toilet to the brim and running down the sides onto the floor and both children thought this was THE most fascinating thing EVER and came rushing in.

I started screaming - and I mean REALLY screaming. 'GET OUUUUUUT - NOOOOWW' and shoving them backwards.

Of course I scared them both half to death and turned them hysterical. I then had to shut them both in my bedroom which made them even more hysterical.

I'm then trying to unblock the toilet and stop the flow of water (I couldn't turn the water off at the mains because, for our house, this involves going out in the street and lifting up manhole covers - not something I really wanted to get involved in. Mind you I didn't want to get involved with several litres of poo-filled water either - but needs must).

So I'm running up and down trying to 'crisis manage' the situation and calm the children down with only the power of my voice (I couldn't touch them due to being contaminated).

The eldest child keeps opening the door and sobbing 'Mummeee, please, MUMMMEEEE, calm me down, CALM ME DOWN, I need a d-d-d-drink' and I'm going 'I CAN'T, LOOK AT ALL HIS POO! JUST GIVE ME 5 MINUTES!' - but he's not getting it and is crying so hard he can hardly breathe. He's begging me 'Mummmmeeeeeeee, DON'T BE CROSS!' and I'm saying (OK shouting) 'I'm not cross at you! It's the toilet - PLEASE JUST LET ME FIX THE TOILET OR ALL OF YOUR TOYS ARE GOING TO BE WASHED AWAY IN A TSUNAMI OF POO WATER'.

Luckily for him he's been studying a book about natural distasters - so the term tsuanmi was reasonably familiar.

However - my reassuring words did nothing to comfort him and he resorted to that age old favourite 'BUT WHY!?'.

At this stage the baby falls off the bed.


He's moving and crying so doesn't appear to need an ambulance but I am so contaminated by poo water (it's soaked up the arms of my jumper) that I can not cuddle him in any way shape or form.

So they are both now hysterical and the hysteria of one is heightening the hysteria of the other.

It's like dual 'cry until you make yourself sick' marathon.

But I really can not help them at this point. Sorting myself out and getting them calmed down will take the best part of 20 minutes and by that point the poo water will have flooded the bathroom and flowed down the stairs.

It's a harsh call but when it comes to 'children so upset that they will never forget this day for as long they live 'vs' my entire house being contaminated by sewage' I went for emotionally scarring my children.

All the time that I'm weighing up the pros and cons of this decision, I am also wracking my brain as to what material could provide enough of a seal to create a good enough vacuum in the toilet (now that's multi-tasking for you!).

Ignoring the crying and the fact my heart feels like it's going to explode, I ram some sponges down the pipe.


The sponges, funnily enough, just absorb about 9 litres of poo water and get stuck down the pipe.



Next try.

A teddy?

No - that is too harsh - even by my standards.

A tea towel?

OK that's better but I need to get my arms right down the pipe and I have no long rubber gloves. It will have to be Tesco's bags.


Oh. Not great. Tesco's bags have 2 little holes in the bottom.

I think I'm going to be sick.

So I'm in the bathroom with arms soaked in sewage, bits of poo filled sponge everywhere (it started to disintegrate), a tea towel which will never see the kitchen again and some very, very rank Tesco's bags.

Oh and 2 children who are by now almost being sick with hysterical crying and NO amount of calming words is going to stop them.

Another 10 minutes and vast amounts of bleach later I could cuddle them.

My eldest was holding in the baby in his arms and sobbing 'Mummee sniff isn't cross with us sniff, she's very cross at the t-t-t-toilet sniff and the p-p-p-poo'.

It took a long time to calm them down and everyone went to bed with a tear stained face and swollen eyes. Not what I had planned at all.

So there we are - don't count your chickens until everyone is asleep and the toilet has been flushed.

p.s If, god forbid, it should ever happen again I'm going to call Alan Sugar and he can send round The Apprentices. I'd like to see them try and do a better job - preferably with Margaret standing in the backround and raising her eyebrows in a knowing fashion.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Roll up, Roll up, the Great Big Pants Presents Bonanza

Ok my whinging about the Mother's Day debacle of two years ago (I hasten to add I was pregnant at the time which I think excuses you from about 98% of bad behaviour?) has prompted a flurry of 'if you think THAT'S bad, you should see mine....' responses.

So far the winner goes to the lovely Keri whose darling Terry got her this little beauty one Christmas:

Doesn't that just make your heart beat a little bit faster?

In case Keri wasn't sure what exactly it was she had eagerly torn the wrapping paper from (and let's be honest - I haven't got a clue), Terry had enclosed an explanatory poem.

To be fair - a LOT of effort has gone into this - parts of it even rhyme. Do you think the 300 'kisses' were a subconscious reflection of Terry's concern that the gift may not be well received?

Inspired. Utterly inspired. I particularly love the line 'now it didn't cost as much as you think' - just in case Keri was too overwhelmed by this particular piece of I.T kit and wanted to exchange it for something else. Like a new mouse. Or a pen drive.

It's beautiful Terry. It brings a tear to my eye. Who said romance is dead?

HOWEVER - males reading this and wishing to appeal to potential mates might want to note that I.T hardware is not normally the route to go down when it comes to wanting to encourage women to jump into bed with you. The same can be said for car parts and/or any kind of Sci-Fi memorabilia. There are of course exceptions (just in case any of you are dating a woman with a Yoda fetish and fondness for alloy-wheel trims).

If you wish to add your list of gripes to the Big Pants Present Bonanza - then please, drop me a line and I shall immortalise your ingratitude into cyber space.

That includes you mum and dad for the Forest Green Men's towelling dressing gown you bought me as my main present for my 18th.

My EIGHTEENTH. Everyone else was getting bracelets or cars or whatever and I got something modelled by a man over 50 wearing slippers. What kind of message is that sending out to a young girl at the dawn of adulthood? And it wasn't even accompanied by a poem!

It was a warm dressing gown though - especially when it caught fire during an unfortunate fish finger grilling accident at Uni..... but that's a whole other blog post....

Monday, 23 March 2009

Let them eat cake

So yesterday was Mother's Day. Hope you had a pleasant time if it is relevant to you.

I had a lie in (which is good - very good), a necklace made of brown wool and dried pasta (which was very very thoughtful and meets this season's tribal theme BUT I don't really do brown, or dried pasta, so I have nothing to wear it with. Sorry!) and a card featuring a chimpanzee (which considering monkey's give me the freakin' willies big time wasn't so good - but it's OK, I just have to make sure I don't look at it).

All in all - everything was nice.

Unlike the disaster of two years ago.

At the time I was pregnant and had a small child (if you read this as 'I was a highly strung hormonal nutcase as mad as a bag of snakes' - then 10/10 - you are correct).

In the run up to Mother's Day my OH started to make a BIG thing about it. He said he was getting me something 'very special'. So special he had to take a detour after work to 'collect it'.

I felt a thrill of excitement. If he needed to collect it then surely that meant he'd had to order it? So it must be pretty special. Wow! He'd never got like this over a gift before - this really was something different!

Then he said 'it was something that I needed to make the most of getting now as one day we wouldn't be able to afford things like this'.

Wow and double wow!! It's something really pricey! I felt quite over-whelmed by his generosity. I really wasn't expecting anything so this was fantastic - I felt really treasured and special.

So treasured and special I told ALL my friends and my mum and just about everyone else. They all knew about the mysterious, clearly very expensive, present that he had to go and collect and they were as eager as I was to discover it's identity.

Guesses included personalised jewellery, a special photograph in a special frame or even........ AN ETERNITY RING!

By the time Mother's Day came I was a hive of excitement and anticipation.

I was awake bright and early and my heart was thudding with the thrill of it all when my son tottered into the bedroom to lay something in my hands.

I slowly opened my eyes.

There, lying in my hands, wrapped in celophane, was a slab of fruitcake.

Yes. A slab of fruitcake.

I looked at the cake, I looked at my son, I looked at my OH, I looked at the cake again, I looked back at my OH.

'Erm, it's a bit of cake?'.

'I knew you'd like it!'.

'Erm, is this it then?'.


'THIS is what you had to 'go and collect' and 'save up for?''.

'Well yes! It's from Waitrose!'.

'Are you seriously telling me that I need to prepare myself for a time when we wouldn't be able to save up for months to buy a slab of fruitcake from Waitrose?'.

'Erm, well, maybe'.

'You told me you had to go and collect it - like you'd ordered it in. Waitrose is next to your bloody office - that's not 'collecting something' - that is throwing a bit of cake in the basket when you buy lunch. IT'S NOT EVEN WRAPPED UP! You build me up for weeks about this mystery gift and then chuck a slab of fruitcake on the bed'.

'Don't you like it? It's Dutch! With apples in!'.

'Well yes, of course I like it, it's just that you made this big thing out of it and, erm, I've told everyone...and they are all waiting to find out what this amazing present is that you were saving up for and had to go and collect'.

'Oh. Oh my god. Oh. Whatever you do please please please you mustn't tell anyone. I'm so embarrassed'.

'Well what am I supposed to do when they ask what the big surprise was? LIE!? ARE YOU SOME KIND OF A NUTTER!? We have this cake regularly - it's not ever NEW cake!'.

At that moment my mobile starts chiming with texts as people across the globe (well across the town) start texting me to find out what the amazing gift was. You can imagine the the hilarity when I texted back 'A F***ING FRUIT CAKE'.

Of course I told them all. And now I'm telling the world......

He did make it up to me though - and he's the best guy in the world - so don't let the cake fiasco cloud your judgement of him.

It's his birthday tomorrow - Hopefully I can make up for my ingratitude.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Your Balls are in the Post

You may recall that one of my balls was giving me trouble.

However hard I pumped it it just wouldn't stay hard. 10 minutes or so into bouncing on it and I'd be several inches closer to the ground - and a baggy ball is good for nothing and no-one.

I couldn't see any holes in it so I figured it must have a leaky valve.

Considering it was not cheap (it was a superior deluxe double-skinned professional one - designed not to explode on impact and send pregnant women zooming through space) and was barely used, I decided I should contact the company who sold it to me and report the fault.

This was a difficult conversation:

Me: Hi, it's about one of your balls.

Them: Sorry??

Me: Sorry, that didn't sound quite right! I mean I bought a ball off you and I've barely used it but, well there is no other way of saying this, however hard I inflate it it just won't stay hard - teee heee teee heee (pathetic nervous laughter).

Them: (total deadpan) What do you mean?

Me: Well I blow it up and then, within, minutes it's not hard. It's softish. Sort of a bit baggy.

Them: So there's a hole in it?

Me: No, well I don't think so. It's not going really soft - it's just not like to should be. It's sort of shrunken.

Them: Your ball is shrunken? Can you hear anything?

Me: WHAT??

Them: From your ball. Can you hear a noise? A whistling?

Me: Erm, no. My ball is not whistling.

Them: Well it can't have a hole then.

Me: Erm, well something is wrong with it. It's not normal. I've seen other people's and they aren't like this. I thought it could be the valve?

Them: Have you put the valve in?

Me: Erm, YES!

Them: Is it in properly?

Me: Well yes, I mean it's stuck in the right hole. Fully in.

Them: Well I think you need to get someone else to look at it - one of the other teachers. Compare your ball with theirs and see if your plug is in properly.

Me: Sorry - I do have previous experience of working with balls. I'm confident it's not an error on my part.

Them: (sigh - big sigh) Hang on then.

Them: (to the other woman in the office having put the phone down on the desk - so I'm not even on hold) I've got a woman complaining about a ball. Says it isn't up the job, reckons it's the valve. What you do you think? We've never had a faulty ball before have we? Sounds unlikely. No it's not burst - just too soft for her purposes. Apparently.

Them: (back to me) Are you sure you haven't stuck anything sharp in it?

(What kind of question is that? Does she think I get some kind of thrill out of delibrately damaging balls and then trying to return them to their original owner!? The Phantom Ball Burster at large).

Me: No! Look I've only pumped it up a couple of times. It's ALWAYS been like this.

Them: Are you expecting too much do you think?

Me: No. I can assure you my expectations of my ball are entirely realistic.

Them: (very big sigh) Just send it back then. We'll exchange it.

So it's gone. I deflated it fully first (I wouldn't have liked to see the postman struggling up the path with that in his arms) which was fun as I've lost the pipe for the pump. I had to wrap my arms around the ball and sort of bounce it against the walls making loud 'oommph' 'ouf' noises to squeeze every last bit of air out.

I waited until I was alone - I didn't want the kids to have the sight of me bouncing against a wall making groaning sounds as a first memory..

I put it in a bin bag, sent it off recorded delivery and I shall wait and see what the postman brings. Whatch this space....

Friday, 20 March 2009

Toilet Troubles

2 small boys.

1 toilet.

2 minutes.

How much carnage can they cause?

Answer: too much.

The eldest was sat on the loo.

The youngest sat by him.

I went downstairs to get something.

I heard laughter.

I ran back upstairs.

1 entire loo roll unfurled and filling most of the bathroom (it is a very small bathroom).


'I didn't do it!'.


'But mummy, there wasn't a party! Just a loo roll going crazy'.

Que: the sound of ripping and tearing.

I spin round to see son no. 2 ripping up the bathroom floor tiles.

He is holding one up, like he's just found the Holy Grail, and grinning. A lot.


I try to shift him with my foot but he's got stuck to the floor glue (how come he's strong enough to rip a tile off but then glue his own body to the very same surface?).

I use my foot to try and lever him off (my hands are full of loo roll) which leads my eldest son to start wailing 'MUMMEEEE DON'T KICK THE BABY! STOP IT!'.


He's probably going to go to school and tell the teachers that the baby got glued to the floor and mummy kicked him.

Actually - gluing him to the floor might not be that poor an idea. Once he was freed he made a beeline for the burgular alarm wires and ripped several of them off the wall.

What does he think he is? Some kind of rock star?

If he chucks a TV out the window then that really will be it. I'll be sending him to rehab....

Who let the dogs out?

Well I am afraid the huge lion dog/Beast of Dave continues to roam the area.

Two weekends ago it mauled another dog and was taken away in a van (I guess this was by some kind of official rather than a random bloke in a van who wanted a dog the size of a small horse?).

Later on the owner went out and came back - with the dog.

It was out again on Sunday and the police attended.

Well I say 'the police' but actually they sent a 'Community Support Officer' who looked about 12 and was, get this, FRIGHTENED OF DOGS. I know that because she told me.


Every other question I asked her was met by a 'I don't know, I'll have to ask the Sergeant' whilst avoiding eye contact and mumbling. I'd like to see her take on a pack of rowdy yobs....

The Community Support Officer got the owner to catch the dog (this involved a lot of running up and down the road with kids screaming and the blokes from the kebab shop looking like there were going to do something with a very big knife) and gave him the fearsome news that:

'We've been out to this before, okay? You really are going to have to stop it getting out, okay?'.

Strike fear into any hardened criminal that would.

So roll on Tuesday and I get back from my eye-jiggling session (which is going very well, thank you) to be greeted by a neighbour shrieking 'it's out again! The dog! THE DOG!' and sure enough, it's up the road, waiting at the level crossing (perhaps it fancied popping up to Stanstead Airport and catching some winter sun? What with pet passports and all that?).

The level crossing lifted and it went and lay down in the sunshine. Across the railway tracks.

I was envisaging a derailment but just before the barriers went down, it caught site of another dog and it was off - in hot pursuit.

Various scenes ensued - the ones that are fixed in my mind are thinking I was about to see something akin to a lion shredding up an antelope - right outside my window - and a man, not unlike Phil Mitchel, running down the road with a plank of wood and a rolled up newspaper (I would hazard a guess it was the Sun) and joining the melee (of pensioners and small dog and big dog and teeth and spit) and kicking the hell out of the big dog and saving the little one. He looked like he has plenty of experience at kicking the sh1t out of things.

There was a lot of all round fury and a lot of calls to the police.

Who showed up about 3 hours later after everyone had gone, knocked on the owner's door (he was out) and left again.

Where is this going to end??

Word is spreading and people with dogs/small children are already avoiding our street.

For me, that is not an option.


Thursday, 19 March 2009

Bodies of Evidence

Reflecting on the demise of poor Satchmo (see previous post 'Dead Pets' Cemetery) has brought to mind the passing of other pets.

There have been a few. Not, I hasten to add, because I'm some irresponsible pet killer - but because, over the years I've had a lot of small mammals and, sooner or later, they go to the great big hutch in the sky.

Of course, when they die it leaves the problem of disposal.

With the guinea pigs we try to bury them in the garden but we (hell, what do I mean 'we' - I claim hysterical grief and refuse to go outside, thus ensuring my OH spend 30 minutes shoveling soil) have to dig a very deep hole or foxes just dig them up again - which is, erm, 'unpleasant'.

However, larger mammals are a problem. Particularly if you have a small garden with very little spare soil that isn't already a grave.

Thus ensued the farce which was 'The Disposal of Dukey'.

Dukey (or 'Marmaduke' to give him his full title) was a largish rabbit.

He wasn't originally my rabbit - he belonged to someones neighbour and she no longer wanted him or his guinea pig pal so they ended up living in my garden.

He also wasn't originally called Marmaduke. He was called Hedges. And his pal was called 'Benson'. Oh dear, oh dear. I had to change their names - I mean where would a theme like that end? Lambert & Butler? Malboro & Embassy? or god forbid, Rothmans & Superking Extra?

Anyway, Dukey got quite old and then one winter he got the 'snuffles'. I kid you not - the 'snuffles' is actually a real rabbit illness. It sounds harmless but it can be pretty damn fatal. Especially in the case of Dukey.

So Dukey passed.

The weather was freezing - everything was frozen solid - so we wrapped him in the old orange bath towel we used to use to bath him and put him on the patio.

And there he stayed, frozen in time, for some time while we tried to work out what to do with him.

There was no way we could dig a whole to bury him - you would need a JCB and that seemed a trifle excessive.

Putting him in the bin or similar just seemed hugely disrespectful and totally wrong.

Taking him to the vets for cremation at the cost of about £90 seemed, to be frank, absolutely cuckoo (plus I used to work in the vets and have to empty the 'dead pets' freezer and deal with the cremation people and I could tell you stories that would make your hair curl - but I won't).

So I decided, in my own unique way, to 'let his soul run free with his wild brothers and return his spirit to nature'.

A.K.A 'take his towel wrapped body over the railway and into the nature reserve and leave it somewhere wild, which actually meant chucking it down a small ravine'.

So one cold and frosty morning I stashed his cold little body underneath the pram (not your typical changing bag contents I will admit) and off we went - for the final goodbye.

I wandered up and down the railway embankment for a while amidst the wild rabbit warrens, trying to find the 'right' place but soon realised I would have to actually chuck my orange parcel quite high in the air to get it down 'where the wild things are' (please note: Dukey and his towel were fully biodegradable so I do not consider what I did as litter dropping - something I utterly hate). Funnily enough this was not something I wanted to be witnessed doing and every time I went to launch him, a dog walker would appear and I'd have to suddenly act all normal and give them a smiley 'morning'.

Anyway, eventually the deed was done, I memorised the spot, wished him well on his journey to the afterlife, and went home and got on with my life.

Until about a week later when I came home to find the police helicopter hovering over the railway embankment, squad cars everywhere and the whole area cordoned off.

The area was a hive of activity with the words on everybody's lips 'what IS going on!?'.

The word was there was a suspicious package and something to do with a body.

OH HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF THE LORD, I thought, someone's dog has clearly 'retrieved' Dukey and a small body wrapped in a towel has sparked the biggest police operation the area has ever seen.

My heart was racing. I mean I've been involved in some farces but this really topped it. Would they be able to trace me? Would my DNA be on the towel? What could I be charged with? Would people misunderstand my story and label me somekind of pet killing psycho? Had their been witnesses? I toyed with going to the police and holding my hands and saying 'Look OK, it was me, it's a rabbit, the towel is his shroud' but I was worried they might section me.

I could seriously barely sleep that night. Every time I heard someone say 'they've found a body!' my heart would lurch.

As it turned out it wasn't Dukey. It was actually some poor other soul but I think it's safe to say that I won't be returning any other dead pets to the wild.

Next time I think I'll go the viking route - you know, blazing longboat down the canal.....

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Disturbing Scenes...

In the hairdressers.

I went to get my hair cut on Saturday - just at the little local salon down the road.

The first thing that made me raise my eyebrows and shudder slightly was the sight of an elderly lady (as in 'little old lady' of about 80) engrossed in the latest copy of 'More!' magazine.

For those of you who have never read 'More!' (or have, and have long since forgotten the content) - it is a women's magazine primarily read by teenage girls. It stands out amongst other similar titles because of the breadth, depth and, erm, explicitness of its content on sex.

It always had the most lewd Problem Page and double page articles with titles like 'Going Down? Getting it Right!' and '100 things you never knew about sex toys'.

It was probably most famous for it's 'Position of the Fortnight' column which gave you a graphic drawing of a couple getting it on in a ludicrously energetic looking fashion. The positions had names like 'The Wheelbarrow' or 'Spinning the Dice'.

The magazine was (at one point) never out of the Daily Mail or off Kilroy style discussion programmes, as it was held aloft and single handedly blamed for everything from teenage pregnancies, to global warming and the breakdown of society.

I used to get my copy in Asda and make sure it was hidden in the bottom of my mum's trolley with the cover facing down. She probably thought it was Horse and Hound.....

Anyway - there was just something wrong-diddly-wrong about seeing an elderly lady engrossed in an article on oral sex. For a start I don't think they cover specific points for denture wearers.

Maybe that shows prejudice in me? I mean apparently Old Folks Homes are dens of sexual deviance these days, due to the 'Curse of Viagra' Ethel and Norman are throwing off their incontinence pants, chucking their walking frames to one side and going at it in the rose bushes like Billyo. Well accordingly to the Daily Mail anyway.....

Anyway - I had just recovered from the mental image of 'Granny Does Dallas' when a little boy came in to get his hair cut. A very well behaved young chap he was too - sat as good as gold as they did his hair (I so hope he couldn't see Position of the Fortnight).

It turned out he was 4 - the same age as my eldest.

'What's your favourite tele programme?' the hairdresser asked him.

'Cookie Street!' he replied!

'Cookie Street? Oh that must be new'.

'Nah he means Only Fools and Horses' piped up his mum.

'Oh you like Only Fools and Horses do ya?'

At this point the mum butts in 'Yeah, go on Dave (not his real name) tell her what your favourite episode is!'.

Dave speaks......

...'The one with the blow up dolls'.

His mother is so proud she's positively beaming.

The hairdresser looks a bit shocked 'the blow up dolls?' (just in case you have escaped Only Fools and Horses and the one with the blow up dolls, it features Del Boy buying loads of cheap dolls for the market, only for them to be blow up dolls for men to pretend to have sex with - much hilarity ensues as they try to get rid of them and they inflate themselves in the back of his van).

'Yeah he LOVES 'em, wanted one for Christmas didn't ya Dave? Didn't get one though. Santa couldn't get his hands on one. HA HA HA HA. Maybe for your birthday mate, maybe for your birthday....'.

Erm, diamond.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Dead Pets' Cemetery

Well there has been blog-fodder aplenty this weekend, but more of that later this week.

Let's start with this morning (yes it's barely 8am but I've already been exposed to my daily dose of surrealism).

There are several ways which I would chose to spend 5am (the front runner, by a mile, being sleeping) but one way which is not on my 'yes please!' list is sitting cross legged on my eldest son's bedroom carpet having a philosophical discussion about death.

You see yesterday, my son found out that Satchmo had died.

No my son is not particularly upset about the demise of the original Satchmo - the world famous American Jazz Trumpeter who died in 1971. That would be odd.... This Satchmo was a large Silver Agouti Rex Boar (this means he was a big fat male guinea pig to those of you not acquainted with the Cavy Fancy).

Our Satchmo (god rest his soul):

The original Satchmo (also god rest his soul, although he never sat on my lap and certainly isn't buried in my garden):

You would have a job to confuse the two.

Don't ask why he was called Satchmo. It's complicated and you should be aware of my history in naming pets following my post entitled 'Happy Easter' dealing with the curious incident of the cockerel named Jesus and his gay disciples.

Anyway, our Satchmo actually died some time ago but my son hadn't noticed as the guinea pigs are my domain and kept in the back garden. What with all the bad weather he hadn't been out there for any length of time. And then the sun came out....

Whilst examining the hutches he noticed Satch was missing and thus the questions started. He seemed quite happy with my OH's explanation of 'he got very old and died, he's not here anymore' and that was that.

Until 5am this morning.

Son: 'Mummeeee, Mummeeee, Mummeeee'.

Me: 'Quiet! It's not time to get up'.

Son: 'Mummeee PLEASE'.

Me: 'Grrrr' followed by 'WHAT!?'.

Son: 'Mummy, where's Satchmo gone?'.

Me: (to myself: argh feck) 'Well he's died darling!'.

Son: 'But why?'.

Me: 'Well he got very old. He slowed down and got slower and slower and then stopped. That's what happens when things get very old and worn out'.

Son: 'But why did he get old?'

Me: 'Well everything gets old after a lot of time' (argh dangerous ground now... where is this leading? I need to change tack) 'Shall we get a new guinea pig then? One that looks the same? To replace him? (WHAT kind of message is that to give a child? 'It doesn't matter if something dies, you can easily replace it with a new improved younger version?!').

Son: 'But where is he?'.

Me: (OK the right answer here is not: under 2 foot of soil in the back garden being eaten by worms but at the same time I swore I was never going to go down the 'Heaven as a Religious Utopia route') 'Erm, his body is gone but his spirit has gone on to better place' (really really crap answer considering my son has as much idea about the concept of 'spirit' as he does about Calculus).


Me: (argh, sod it, it's 5am, here comes the cop out...) 'Heaven'.

Son: 'What IS heaven?'.

Me: 'A special place dead things go to'.

Son: 'But where is it?'.

Me: (argh, 5am and 4 year olds do not combine for an informed debate on metaphysics - here comes cop out two) 'In the stars darling, IN THE STARS!'.

Son: 'IN THE STARS! WHAT!? So can I see him then? In the stars?'.

Me: (my head is now filled with a strangely disturbing image of a serene dead guinea pig orbiting the moon) 'Well no, we can't see him, he's beyond the stars'.

Son: 'But mummy, there is NOTHING after the stars. The stars go on forever!'.

Me: (sigh) 'Well yes space goes on for ever, it's called infinity, but somewhere is a place for dead things' (bloody marvellous explanation there methinks).

Son: 'BUT WHERE!?'.

Me: 'Look he's in the stars. You can't see him because he's very far away and quite small when compared with very big things like the sun. He's with Rhy's cat!'.

Son: 'Are they together?'.

Me: 'Yes, they are never lonely in heaven, they have lots of friends' (good answer, surely I'm only seconds away from my 'Return to Bed'?).

Son: 'But Satchmo didn't like cats. They scared him'.

Me: (Argggh!!!) 'Well yes but it's different in heaven. Everybody is friends, nobody gets scared'

Son: 'But mummy....'.

Me: 'Look just play with your cars for a bit. I have to go back to bed or I might get a bit worn out and fall apart...' (WHY did I say that? Will he put 2 and 2 together and add on 'and die - just like Satchmo' to the end of my statement?).

Anyway I went back to bed and spent the next 40 minutes tossing and turning and mulling over the biggest questions in the Universe. And then I got up and made a cup of tea. With Elton John's Rocket Man going round and round my head - accompanied by the image of a furry rodent in a space suit.

Altogether now: 'Mar's ain't the kind of place to raise the Pigs, in fact it's cold as hell...'.

I have a feeling this week will be interesting.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Pump, Squat, Pee?

You might thing that an aerobics class is a purely physical workout but I have found that, at times, my mind is more active than my body. 60 minutes of (supposedly) co-ordinated activity in a room full of lycra clad strangers can lead to a lot of questions.

On Wednesday night it went something like this:

1. WHY are there so many mirrors in these goddam studios? Surely I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a deep desire to watch herself jiggling around like psychotic interpretation of Iggle Piggle?

2. Why is everyone going left when I’m going right?

3. Why is everyone right when I’m going left?

4. Are we going left or right? Oh no forwards….

5. Oh, so your forwards is our backwards? Sorry, sorry, sorry… yes I’m sure you foot will be OK. Eventually.

6. Why am I, once again, the tallest person in the room by a whole HEAD? I look like a transvestite lurking at the back of the class.

7. Why oh why did I wear stripes? Everybody else is in black. I’m less Iggle Piggle, more Fimble. There is no avoiding me. I am the stripy transvestite going the wrong way and standing on your foot.

8. What time is it? 5 past? 55 more minutes of this!?

9. What exactly IS a ‘grapevine’? I’ve been doing aerobics on and off for 13 years and I still can’t figure it out. When the teacher shouts 'gravevine!', I just sort of run sideways crossing my legs and pray nobody notices.

10. I’m getting too hot, I need to take my top off. I’ve got a vest on underneath but the important question is: have I shaved my armpits in the last fortnight?

11. Ok, armpit foliage or no armpit foliage, I’m going to have to strip down to my vest….

12. Right, arms in the air like I just don't care…is anybody staring? Or retching? Or pointing and whispering ‘look at that transvestite over there….he’s got more hair than Captain Caveman’.

13. No? Good. Phew. Now what time is it? 15 minutes past? Surely not!

14. Ah the hand weights are coming out. Now which colour is which weight?

15. I’ve got green ones. Green looks ‘mild’. Green, it appears, is NOT mild.

16. Am I the only person trying not snigger when the teacher asks us all to ‘pump it harder?’.

17. What times is it? 20 minutes past…..

18. Are we nearly there yet?

19. Sh1t – I think there’s a hole in my leggings. I can feel a breeze….

20. OK nobody is going to notice. Are they? What colour are my pants? If they are the same colour as my leggings then nobody is going to notice. If they are neon pink – I’m stuffed.

21. Am I actually wearing any pants??? (don't worry, this was just my paranoia playing tricks on me - I don't work out pantless. Ever. Just in case of you were thinking of writing to the Council and complaining).

22. Dare I have a quick feel and see how big the hole is, or am I risking looking like I’m not just a stripy transvestite with co-ordination problems, but also a pervert and/or suffering from a yeast infection?

23. Ok sod the leggings. Nobody is looking at my crotch anyway. Are they?

24. Power squats? Did you say power squats WITH weights? Have you not looked at the demographic you are teaching? Do you want puddles? It's not so much 'pump, squat, push', more 'pump, squat, piss'..... Or maybe you’ve got shares in Tena Lady…..

25. Hmm, if someone really did wee themselves what would happen? Would they bring a bucket of sand in like they used to do at school when someone was sick? I don't want to be the one that finds out though.

26. Argh, I’m not concentrating – why is everyone else facing the back wall?

27. Oh, we’re doing the ‘easy walk’. Why is it called ‘the easy walk’? You do it with your legs spread and a swagger. Is the teacher actually asking her ladies to walk like hookers? Do they know? Dare I ask?

28. Are we nearly there yet?

29. Oh good – we’re getting on the mats to work our abdominals. This means we get to lie down. I mustn't like in any wet patches though. But how are you supposed to mirror what the teacher’s doing when you’re staring at the ceiling tiles? I'll just thrust around a bit and look like I'm toning something...

30. Oh my god. I am never eating lentil curry on a Wednesday night again.…EVER.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

If you think I'm mad, you should see the neighbours...(a.k.a Rose's Revenge)

No not Mr Squirrel, we've already talked about him. The people on the end - now they really do put the odd into oddball.

At the moment they have a large heap of hardback books outside their house (and half way across the pavement) with a sign saying 'Books! Take what you want!'. How very generous - if you are looking for a Haynes Car Manual for an Austin Allegra or want to read about 'Unsolved Crimes of the 70's' with half the pages missing and two weeks worth of rain on it.

Anyway - while trying to push the pram through the book mountain earlier I reflected on a exceedingly strange event that took place at their house last summer - an event which I am still none the wiser as to discovering what happened. I wrote about the incident at the time and here is a copy of what I said:

Ok I am sure that there will be people out there who believe that I am living in a fantasy land or on my way back to the loonybin (or in fact perhaps both) but this really did happen this afternoon - and my husband (and the rest of our street) can vouch for it. Even I am left stunned at what I've just witnessed.

I live in the middle of a row of terraced houses. The house at the end is very rundown and an elderly lady lives there with her adult son. They are lovely people but she's an alcoholic (she has had a tragic life) and her son has learning difficulties. They are both very kind and often bring me sweets and things. As far as we I know (we've lived here 7 years and I chat to them regularly) nobody else lives in the house - although you often hear a very fierce bad dog barking (but never see it) and lots of people come and go.

ANYWAY this afternoon at about 3pm I came back from the shops with my eldest son. I jumped out of the car and wondered why there is a large group of blokes, with pints in hands, standing outside the pub opposite staring across the road.

As I start getting my son out I heard smashing glass and one of the blokes outside the pub shouts 'RUN, get out of here' and I look up to see........

...a man, naked from the waist up (and he was a BIG man) smashing his way out of the living room window of the house at the end. He looks totally wild and is screaming 'GET ME OUT OF THESE F'CKING CHAINS' and is wrapped up in what looks like the chains you use to hang hanging baskets up with.

I seriously thought someone might be toting a gun so I picked up my son and bolted to my front door (I thought 'World's Wildest Police Videos' was taking place outside my house at this point).

There was more smashing glass and a big old rumpus and people shouting 'get out of here, HE'S COMING OUT THE WINDOW' and then this bloke emerged - cut to ribbons and (and this is where it gets REALLY odd) holding a large rose bush/tree still embedded in a very large plastic flower pot.

He collapsed in the road and a (very brave/mad) woman ran to his aid. He shook her off and then bolted (complete with his rose bush) into the pub opposite. Must have been an interesting moment for all the old geezers enjoying a Sunday afternoon pint....

People ran over to the house and were trying to break the front door down but the dog inside was going mad. Someone was shouting there was a little girl in there (there wasn't) and it all got very chaotic.

Shortly afterwards 5 squad cars, a riot van and 2 ambulances showed up. Various things happened and they all slowly left (together with Rose Bush Man) and everyone went back to standing around outside the pub having their pints and saying things like 'bleedin' eck that was diamond!'.

Sorry but WHAT!?!?! I had never seen this guy before and the people who live in the house weren't in.

He was pretty porky so he's obviously not been kept chained up in there for years or anything (unless they fed him well).

Answers on a postcard!?

Ok so that was last year and the developments since are:

1. The dog had died. Well I guess it was the dog? A shallow grave appeared on the front lawn and I've not heard it barking since.

2. NOTHING ELSE! I still have no idea what happened. Just after that we went on holiday and by the time we got back it was too late to start being really nosy and saying 'erm, you know the other week when that man in the chains burst through the window? Yeah, that's right, the one with the rosebush! Well, erm, WHAT was all that about?'.

Everyone else seemed to be so calm, like they were 'in' on the situation.

I have so many questions. Who was the guy? Where is he now? Is he back living in there? Has he been there all along? Why did he come out through the window? Why the rose bush? Why the chains?

Perhaps it was just a case of botanical repotting (whilst having some kind of paranoid delusion...) that went horribly wrong?

I guess we will never know.

But if, by some remote chance, you DO know then please, please, please let me know...

Thank you!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Sk8ter Grrl

Or not as the case is (highly likely) to be.

Oh dear oh dear.

Can you imagine me on roller skates? No? Well neither can I. The only words that spring to mind are ones like 'pain', 'disaster', 'horror' and 'everyone else having a bloody good laugh at my expense'. I am just about the most un-coordinated person that ever lived and a friend of mine has just announced that her Hen Do will be held at a Roller Disco. So that's lots of drunken women dancing - with skates on. In public....

Now before I go on I think it's fair to point out that my track record with Hen-dos is less than comforting.

On my own Hen Do I was mistaken for a transvestite. I am over 6ft in heels and I was wearing a very camp pink wig, but all the same the comment 'I knew you must have been born a woman because your tits don't look that plastic' wasn't really what a young bride wanted to hear. That and the taxi driver asking if I'd enjoyed my Stag night.....

Then there was the Hen Do where the chief bridesmaid tried to have the bride arrested for possession of cocaine BUT the less said about that the better as they are still waiting to go to court.....

So it is with some trepidation that I approach the idea of the Roller Disco. Because apart from anything else I absolutely 100% CAN NOT roller skate. However hard I try. And I'm scared of it. Really very scared!

Now if you are female and aged between about 25 and 40 the words 'Roller Disco' will have you either:

a) thinking 'oh my god how absolutely brilliant! What a FANTASTIC idea! I can't wait to get my skates back on! Oh do you remember the good old days... the way we used to make up our own routines! Sipping Cherry Coke round the back of the sports halls... Kissing Lee for the first time....Ohhhhhhh I'm squealing with joy! Now where's my leg warmers and Cindi Lauper cassette tape?


b) What? Are you serious? Roller skating? To music? With ME involved? (heart beat increases, cold sweat starts to pour from forehead) ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH!? Have you SEEN what happens when I attach unstable footwear to my feet? No? Well it ain't pretty. I basically end up clutching the side rail whilst doing an impression of the young Bambi (only fatter and less cute - and without the white spots on my arse) and wailing a lot whilst counting the minutes until I can return to normal footwear. I thought this torment died out around 1992 when everyone discovered Ecstasy and didn't need to tie wheels to their feet in order to reach a higher plain of consciousness?

If you answered a) to the above question then chances are you liked New Kids on the Block/Bros/Take That et al and read Smash Hits and Just Seventeen, were very good at netball and all round very tanned and vigorous and chirpy.

If you answered b) to the above then chances are you carved CND symbols into your pencil case, used Tipex to proclaim your love for Kurt Cobain, wore DMs and stripy tights, were shit at netball (in fact draw that out to include all school sports), were pale yet (you hoped) 'darkly mysterious' and (possibly) never really felt like you fitted in with the rest of your school. You CERTAINLY didn't fit in down at the roller disco.

What am I going to do? Spend the night on the toilet or face down on the dancefloor? (Hmm, mind you - wouldn't be the first time).

Dark psychological musings aside, the really important question is....


If it transpires that the bar is on the other side of the roller-rink then I am going to have to transverse it in order to get my mitts on any kind of alcoholic beverage.

I can see me now - scrabbling across the vinyl floor covering on my hands and knees, tutu covered backside jiggling from side to side (yes, tutus are compulsory) gasping 'cider...cider...I need cider'....

If I can get to the bar, I will be OK. I can just stay there for the evening and they can use my skates to drag me back to the taxi afterwards. A drunk on wheels has got to be easier than a drunk without them? (Can you see I'm desperately trying to look on the bright- side here?).

It's at the end of May.

I'm sure this isn't the last you will be hearing about it.

Brace yourself girls - I'm shopping for Spandex.....

Monday, 9 March 2009

Lost in Translation - Part Deux

A discussion about a recipe for moist chocolate fudge cake has reminded me that it's not just my son who gets the words wrong - it's also spell check....

As you are probably aware (what with being able to use a computer and all that), spell check is a very helpful tool - but a rather blunt one.

A friend of mine learned this the hard way when she handed in her University Dissertation on child psychology. She had focused on the theories of Piaget (Piaget is a Swiss philosopher and natural scientist, well known for his work studying children, his theory of cognitive development and for his epistemological view called "genetic epistemology" - that is courtesy of Wikipedia - I hadn't got a freakin' clue).

Before handing it in she spell checked it and then (fatal error here) didn't give it a final proof read.

Spell check had turned every single 'Piaget' into a 'piglet'. And funnily enough, in a dissertation about Piaget there were a lot of Piagets......and it did change the nature of the work somewhat.

So her dissertation now contained statements like 'Piglet was not only a philosopher, his work with children is renowned across the globe.....' and 'whilst I agree with Piglet's findings in regard to cognitive development, I can not concur with all of his assumptions....'.

Fortunately her tutor took pity and handed it back to her recommending she 'take a second look' before signing it over (I think the fact that the title was on the front cover, in CAPS, saying something like 'A COMPARISON OF PIGLET'S METHODOLOGIES' might have given him an early warning.....

Oh how I laughed, but then I thought 'actually - I've been there myself with the misuse of Word Tools and in my case it was less a case of piglets and more a case of 'moist panties' (ohhh a statement like that could get all kinds of the wrong type of attention to this blog....).

It happened like this:

When I was at College doing my A levels we used to do our work on computers in the library.

This was always a veritable riot. The librarians were easy game and we took great delight in sending them to the edges of their sanity. Actually - that's not totally true. A couple of them were really cool and we respected them and they treated us like (almost) adults. But then there were a couple who took the TOTAL disciplinarian front - and it back fired. One used to go mad if anybody ate anything in the library - which everybody did because there was no where else to eat your snacks when it rained and teenagers can't go more than about 5 minutes without putting something in their mouth.

One day she caught me holding a whole kiwi fruit in my hand.

'WHAT is in your hand!?' she demanded'.

'Nothing!' I lied (blatanatly).

'SHOW me! AND I AM TELLING YOUR RIGHT NOW IF IT'S FOOD THEN YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE' she shouted (I had no idea that holding a kiwi fruit was so controversial, but there you are).

By this time all my friends were rolling around clutching their sides with mirth at my 'plight' so I took advantage of her distraction and shoved the whole kiwi into my mouth.

I held my empty hands up to her and smiled (albeit with a large hamster style cheek).

'WHERE IS IT?' she demanded.

'Mmmm' I shrugged.


Well by this time half the library were in hysterics and I wasn't far behind. As I simultaneously tried to swallow an entire kiwi fruit and breath and laugh - I choked. Quite spectacularly. And then threw up.... all over the library carpet.

There wasn't a lot she could do about that - the ethos at our college was one of us being responsible adults (ho hum) so you didn't get detention or lines or anything. I think if you did something really really bad, like take drugs in class, they would ask you to rethink your subject options, but really it was a bit of a free-for-all. I went to Step Aerobics instead of English Literature every Wednesday afternoon for a year and nobody seemed to think it was worth commenting on.

That librarian left shortly after that. Apparently the pupils had driven her to it.

Ironically enough she got a job at the local agricultural college - where the main activities (other than learning to drive a tractor and muck out sheds) appeared to be setting fire to things 'for a laugh', hotwiring quad bikes and shagging. I'm sure she had a oodles of fun...... Or maybe she did because nobody there actually used the library (or even knew where it was?). Perhaps she's still there, enjoying the peace and making sure that all the signs for the 'Learning Resource Centre' are well hidden?

Anyway - I digress - back to my moist panties.

So I was in the library and I'd just finished an essay for my Geography A level on the subject of the Moist TROPICS. I, somewhat foolishly, left it up on the screen and went outside for 'some fresh air' (read into that what you will). While I was gone, another student (Tannoy - if you are reading this it was Stuart) used the 'find and replace' function to 'find' every single example of 'Moist Tropics' in my essay and 'replace' it with 'Moist Panties'.

And I handed it in.

Oh how they laughed, and laughed, and laughed....

Quite bizarrely, after that my Geography teacher told me I was greatly gifted in the subject and must take it further.

And on that note, I'm off to spell check this - carefully.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Lost in Translation

My eldest son is at the age where he picks up song lyrics and sings them back to you - normally in his own unique way - which at times is preferable to him getting the words right.

I can still remember my brother picking up the lyrics to the Bodyform sanitary towel advert perfectly which was less than ideal. He broke into 'Bodyform, Bodyform for YOOOOUUUU' in the middle of a family lunch involving my grandparents. There is a time and place for discussions on sanitary protection, and this wasn't one of them.

On the other hand, I was, until a reasonable age, convinced that words to Madonna's 'Like a Virgin' were 'poppadom peach, I'm eating my baby now' - and my mother never corrected me.

Earlier this week I was flicking through radio stations when Britney Spear's 'Womanizer' came on. I think it reasonable to assume that Britney Spears is not my normal acoustic accompaniment but my son was more than impressed.

'Ohhh mummy - I LOVE this song' he proclaimed.

'Oh. Do you?' I say, thinking 'please god no, don't let him start walking round the streets singing 'womanizer, womanizer, you're a womanizer' for the next two weeks. Surely I've reached my "public humiliation quota" for this month already?

'Yes, I'm going to sing it'.

And ever since he's been wandering around the house singing 'Womble-izer Womble-izer, hmmm, I'm a Womble-izer' while his younger brother gyrates beside him like a toddler version of Bez from the Happy Mondays.

I'm note sure what a Womble-izer is. It sounds potentially sinister. Like some kind of a ray gun that you can shoot at people and it turns them instantly into a Womble.

I wish I could get my hands on one.

Chucking your fag packet in my front garden? KABOOM - there we are I've turned you into Uncle Bulgaria. Try getting a fag out of the packet with THOSE fingers.

Dropping your kebab wrapper outside my gate? KABOOM - see how you get on in the pub now you're a 6ft high hairy critter with compulsive tidying habits, an interesting taste in scarfs and go by the name of 'Orinoco'.

Ohh I could have a lot of fun with that.

Womble-izer, Womble-izer, hhmmm, I'm a Womble-izer.......

Friday, 6 March 2009

For Your Eyes Only

I have some advice for you, based upon:

a) bitter experience


b) my acute powers of observation (albeit several hours too late).

THIS is a bottle of Clinique's excellent make-up remover 'Take the Day Off' which is for (quote) 'lips, lashes and lids':

THIS on the other hand is a bottle of Lactulose. A syrupy medicinal substance based around fruit sugars which is suitable for treating constipation in small children:

Unless you enjoy having your eyes glued shut and spending far too much time removing ingrained bits of cotton wool from your eyelashes, I wholeheartedly DO NOT recommend you confuse the two.

My eyes! My eyes!

As for 'Take the Day Off!'s' properties as a laxative, I couldn't possibly comment.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Killing Floor

Once again, Tesco has provided me with ample opportunity to be shamed and provided rich fodder for my blog. To be honest I'd rather just get my shopping done in a smooth and orderly manner, but I guess that ended when I had children?

You know there was a time when you could pop in for a pint of milk, loaf of bread and a bottle of laxatives (not for me, honestly) without:

a) Having to run up and down the car park in a howling gale in the vain hope of finding a double trolley that can seat 2 children. 3,000 trolleys and none of them suitable for purpose later you have to accost a trolley attendant who only speaks Polish and try to mime 'double seats' to him which, unfortunatley, makes you look as if you are actually shaping imaginary buttocks with your hands....

Whether he knew what I was really after or was just scared I was going to fondle his arse, I will never know, but he got me a trolley.

b) Having to leave the biscuit aisle at high speed with the cries of infants echoing in my ears and complaints that it's been 'a very long time indeed since we saw a Jaffa Cake and that makes me SO sad'.

c) Having to leave the pharmaceutical aisle at even higher speed after son No. 1 begins pointing out every item which he recognises from our home.

There is only so much 'oh look mummy! You've got that cream! HAVEN'T YOU! That cream there - THE LADY CREAM. What's it for? MUMMEEEE TALK TO ME.....WHAT IS THAT LADY CREAM FOR....' one can take without half the town knowing everything about my inner faults.

d) Having to answer 1001 questions about the fish on the fish counter - including 'why aren't they moving?', 'are they dead FOREVER?', 'who killed them?', 'do they feel sad about it?' and 'what would happen if you ate one and it wasn't dead? Would it come out when you did a poo?'.

and finally, just to finish it all off with a cherry on top:

e) Leaving the shop, only to notice that your eldest child is clutching a book which he has stolen.

Now kids sometimes pick up things and leave shops with them - it happens. But normally it is a small toy or a little bar of chocolate. That you can explain to the store detective.

What it is NOT normal/excusable is for them to steal an adult novel . An adult novel called 'The Killing Floor' in which, according to the blurb on the back, "the body count mounts. And the killing turns into an epidemic".

Not exactly 'Spot visits his Grandparents' then?

Raising my eyes to the heavens and feeling grateful I hadn't felt the cold hand of the store detective on my shoulder (yet) I took the book from his thieving little paws, only for him to burst into hysterical tears because I had taken his 'special book' away.

I then looked at the front cover:

If you are a small boy, obsessed with level crossing and telegraph poles, then I have to admit that the book does look very appealing.

Anyway, tears of small boys aside, it was NOT being read as a bedtime story, so I scuttled back in and threw it in with the Mother's Day cards.

I think I need to return to ordering my groceries on-line....

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Taking my Balls Out

I took one of my balls on a day trip yesterday.

To Salisbury and back. That's a round trip of just over 4 hours just in case you're taking notes.

I didn't mean to (that really would be nuts) - it's just that after a morning of howling, crying, sobbing and tantruming (and that was just me - I think my least dignified moment was sprinting down the high-street with the pram, chasing the silhouette of my OH, shouting 'DON'T GO INTO TESCO! I'VE GOT NAPPIES.'), I threw myself into the car and onto the M25 with such vigour that I'd pretty much reached Heathrow before I noticed that I wasn't alone.

There was a very large blue ball sitting in the passenger seat and banging on the dashboard every time I braked.

It looked rather odd, but not as odd as the inflatable men you can buy to put in the passenger seat of your car.

I kid you not.

Apparently they are supposed to deter wannabee car-jackers/attackers. You plug them into the cigarette lighter and they inflate and 'accompany' you on your travels. I'm sure any gun-toting maniac high on crack would be petrified of, what is clearly, an utterly shite blow up doll.

See here:

Hmm, the most disturbing thing about that picture is not, in fact, how utterly ridiculous the whole concept is, but that the woman driving looks uncannily like my 'special pasta' sister-in-law.

I must get the wedding photos back out. Perhaps she actually married an inflatable..... That would go some way to explaining things.

Anyhow, I didn't have a 'man' - I just had a great big ball. I didn't talk to the ball or expect it to save me from situations of peril but I did smell it.

Yup, as the temperature in the car rose and the ball bounced against the heating vents, it became apparent that my balls are scented.


A sort of sickly sweet fake-Vanilla scent.

I find this reasonably interesting.

They are actually proper gym balls - normally used by physios or personal trainers for 'core stability' training. Perhaps such heavy use by multiple indivduals leads to problems with sweaty balls - thus the need for the scenting?

Perhaps someone out there with more ball experience than me will be able to enlighten me? I'm looking forward to comparing notes....

The Secret to Eternal Life (for dogs)

I'm a terrible one for eavesdropping on other people's conversations but there is too much fascination in the mundane for me to ignore it.

Other people are standing in the queue in Tesco thinking 'boring, boring, boring, I wonder what's on TV tonight?' whereas I'm standing in the queue in Tesco looking at the bloke to my right, who is buying 30 odd packs of 'Tesco Value Chicken Roll' and thinking 'WHAT is that all about? Let's listen in and I might be able to blog about it!'.

And I wasn't disappointed.

The bloke was a bit of a 'smoothie' (for that read 'creepy greaseball who thought he was god's gift to women and talked REALLY REALLY loudly so that we could all be impressed by his immense knowledge of life, the universe and, as it turned out, Value chicken).

The check out girl was scanning pack of chicken after pack of chicken and looking slightly confused (he didn't look like the sort of man who lived on Value Chicken). Slimy man jumped at the opportunity to spread his 'wisdom':

Slimy Man: 'It's for my dog!'.

Girl: 'You feed your dog this? Why doesn't it have dog food?'.

Slimy Man: 'DOG FOOD! Pah. It's practically POISON!'.

Girl: 'Really?'.

Slimy Man: 'Yes! It's full of chemicals. Preservatives and stuff. KILLS dogs it does'.

Girl: 'Dog food kills dogs?'

Slimy Man: 'Yup'.

Girl: 'Are you having me on?'.

Slimy Man: 'No, it's a scientific fact.'

Girl: 'But what if you buy special 'natural' dog food?'.

Slimy Man: 'Nope - even that has preservatives in. Otherwise they couldn't keep it in a can'. (At this point I so wanted to butt in and point out that canning was actually a method of food PRESERVATION and what did he think was in Value Chicken Roll? Nothing but the breasts of virgin chickens raised on Spring Water and organic mung beans? I somehow doubt it. But I had a feeling my input would not have been well received).

Girl: 'Wow, that really surprises me. I must tell my mum. She's got a Shit-Zu. She'd be gutted if he died'.

Slimy Man: 'Well tell her I've had 2 Alsatians. The first one I gave dog food and he lived for 11 years. The second one I fed chicken roll and it lived for 15 years' (well there's a robust scientific trial if ever I did hear it).

Girl: Is that in normal years or dog years? (WHAT!!? Isn't a dog year like 7 human years or something? So that would mean is oldest dog had lived 2 human years. Mind you....).

Slimy Man: 'Normal years' (hmm, he didn't look older than 35. 11 + 15 + 26. Has he really been researching the diet of dogs since he was 9?).

Girl: 'It still died then?' (erm, I would be somewhat surprised if Tesco Value Chicken Roll was actually the elixir to Eternal Life...but go one, surprise me!).

Slimy Man: 'Well yes, it did but 15 years is a long time for a pedigree dog'.

Girl: 'So - if it's dead then who is all this for?'.

Slimy Man: 'My new dog'.

Girl: 'Oh right, well good luck with it, hope the chicken works!'.

So there we are. It was certainly an education for me. An education in the madness of smarmy, know-it-all Alsation owning blokes.

Christ - I hope the owner of the Giant-Lion-Dog/Hound-of-the-Baskervilles stalking my road doesn't hear about the magical properties of Value Chicken Roll. It could be humping my neighbours for decades to come.