Thursday, 30 July 2009


Gah - I've lost my voice.

Honestly - I open my mouth and nothing comes out but a strange (very male sounding) croak. I keep answering the phone and scaring people who clearly think they have accidentally dialed through to the bowels of hell and are speaking to some kind of demon.

I promise you it has not (solely) been caused by shouting at the kids - I think there is also some kind of illness afoot.

Anyway - it's making life hard - 2 year olds running fast in the opposite direction don't respond particularly well to frantic arm waving and a vague croaking noise.

That aside - life has been going rather strangely very smoothly. I've gone through several days without being hideously embarrassed in public, exposing myself in an unseemly fashion or having my balls pinched. Bravo.

So instead I shall, once again, reflect on times past or more precisely, birthdays past. You see in about 2 weeks it's my birthday (take note) and birthday aren't what they used to be - which, quite often, is actually a good thing.

For my 16th my best friend organised a huge surprise birthday party for me and filled a barn with all my closest friends. The only problem was, when I walked in, everyone was chatting, playing pool and laughing in groups and I thought 'oh right, how odd! What are all these people doing? God I actually feel quite shy and intimidated by this crowd so I will mumble hello to them and go and sit in the corner and keep myself to myself......'. Everyone presumed I had the hump and didn't like the party and it was only about an hour later that somone actually informed that I was in the midst of my own private party...... No worries though - several litres of White Lightening later things hotted up - a little too far actually because someone suggested strip poker and my friend's mum found me hiding behind the door in nothing but my smalls and promptly informed my mother she had a 'serial undresser' on her hands (Ok I confess, it wasn't the first time - don't worry, I've grown out of it now).

For my 17th I faintly haven't a clue. I know it was a very good summer - so good that it's all a vague haze.

My 18th? My 18th was lame! Apart from my parent's deciding that the gift every 18 year old girl on the cusp of adulthood REALLY wants is a forest-green man's dressing gown from M&S there was the small problem of the night time entertainment.

I decided to go out in the local town with some friends and sample the novelty of being served in pubs and clubs legally. The problem was the rest of the world seemed to have had the same idea and everywhere was a full to 'if your name's not down, you're not coming in' capacity.

And so it was that we ended up at 'NightOwls' possibly the most dubious disco in town (Ok not possibly - definitely). You can imagine our horror when we found that even NightOwls was full. You can not possibly spend the night of your 18th birthday standing in a car park so we tried all the usual tricks to get in e.g. 'we were in there earlier, we just took my friend out because she has an asthma attack, our bags are in there! You have to let us in!' and 'we're friends with the DJ he's expecting us' (how many times must bouncers hear these lines?).

Anyway it was no go but not to be disheartened we put our cunning into an alternative plan.

You see the night club was attached to a hotel and restaurant and linked to it via a walkway (albeit a walkway only for staff to use). So if we went into the hotel and found the way into the walkway - surely we could find a 'bouncer-free' way into the nightclub!? Result!

We did get a few strange looks as we entered the rather quiet and elderly restaurant of the hotel. A member of staff stopped us so we explained we were there for our grandad's 60th and just looking for our parents..... At that point we spotted the doors to the walkway and slipped through. We could now see the doors to the nightclub in front of us - glistening like the gates to the golden world beyond. A world of dry ice, sticky carpets, men called Steve (I had this thing where I always attracted a man called Steve - I was a living Steve-Trap for several tragic years) and women turning to violence in the grips of Diamond White..... And then a hand fell on my shoulder and someone asked where on earth we thought we were going.....

We spun them the 'it's our Grandad's birthday and we're lost' line again (quite how many Grandaughter's attend 60th birthday meals wearing 6 inch platforms and skirts which don't cover their knickers I don't know, but I think it gave the game away somewhat) and were told to 'follow me' as he turned to lead us back from whence we came.... (lesson to be learned there - never turn your back on the accused).

At which point we all looked at eachother and, as one, ran like the wind in the opposite direction.

As we burst through the doors we got a few strange looks but we didn't care. WE'D DONE IT! WE'D BEATEN THE SYSTEM (erm, well OK, we'd broken into a dodgy nightclub - but it felt GOOD!).

We hit the dance floor, laughing and squealing with joy are our cleverness.

Until circa 20 seconds later when a fleet of bouncers armed with walkie-talkies swarmed the dancefloor and, after a brief struggle, carried us aloft, through the thronging masses, back past the queue and out into the car park.


And we were given a life time ban - which secretly I'd quite like test but I can't. Not least because NightOwls is now no more and the building serves a gym (a terrible loss to humankind I am sure).

So I did spend my 18th birthday party in a car park before going home to my forest-green dressing gown and a bowl of Crunch Nut Cornflakes with the olds in the front of the TV.

Party on.

If any of you have tales of equally cruddy 18ths then please do share! It would be nice to know I'm not the only one.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma Christmas Tree... comes and goes, it comes and goooooeees.

(That's for those of you old enough to remember Boy George in the days when he confined his notoriety to singing chart hits and taking heroin, rather than chaining rent boys to radiators and being sent to jail).

ANYWAY - during the whole debacle of my missing ball and it's subsequent discovery, nestling amongst several million volts of electricity inside a sub-station - I alluded to it's theft being 'karma' for a very bad thing I did to a village Christmas tree during my youth. As I've moaned about my kids enough this week I shall confine tonight's post to the Tale of the Disappearing Christmas Tree.

It happened like this.

Somewere in the depths of rural Somerset a woman turned 40 in the run up to Christmas. This woman happened to be my friend's mum and thus my friend (and I, as her 'best friend') were allowed to attend the party which was held in a local village hall. The run up to the party was highly exciting and we took great thrill in being put in charge of decorating the hall - even if this did result in us arranging all the balloons in such a fashion that they represented a set of testicles with a large erect penis rising from the midst of them.

There was a huge buffet and alcohol to be got hold of so all looked promising.

Can't go to far wrong can you?

Well the thing is that everyone else was about 40 (funnily enough) and in our eyes rather dull (this was in the middle of farming-centrale so much of the conversation revolved around the price of bull calves and milking yields, not that thrilling to your average teenage girl looking for love, lust and something more appealing than the smell of cow muck). After a while we got bored - VERY bored. And bored teenagers and alcohol are a very dangerous combination (as I'm sure I will see again when my children hit that magnificent era of their lives).

After a while we de-camped to the porch area of the village hall - just so we could 'hang out' away from the 'olds' - and in this porch area was the village's Christmas Tree. A Christmas Tree obtained via charitable funds donated by the church...... So what did we decide to do with it? Leave a small gift beneath it? Add a touch of decorating brilliance? Say a prayer for world peace?


We hoisted it on our backs, smuggled it across the car park and then, using our combined efforts, tossed it like a rather magnificent caber, over a very high fence and onto the very posh golf course whose land neighboured the car park.


I honestly don't know. All I can say (in a true teenage fashion) is 'I dunno, it seemed like a good idea at the time'.

Then we rolled around laughing, went home and fell into alcohol induced deep sleep.

Until circa am the following morning when my friend's mum (the birthday girl herself) came rushing into the room and woke us to inform us that she needed to talk about 'something very serious which had happened in the village'.

It appeared that the cleaner had arrived that morning to see to the hall and the tree was missing. The tree was (apparently) irreplaceable - sourced from church money of which there was no more - and Christmas was - to all intents and purposes - over for the village hall now.

All the parties and concerts and little events planned in the run up to Christmas would be stark shadows of their former glories - because the bloody Christmas Tree was missing.

Her mum - having booked the hall - was being held responsible and, by this point, threatened with having to fund a replacement (they claimed the tree had cost £300 - THREE HUNDRED QUID!? It looked like a £30 job from Wilkos but hey, who am I to argue?). Her mum was practically shaking and seemed fearful that at any moment an angry posse would arrive at the front door demanding she hand over the tree. So she begged us - and I mean BEGGED - to let on if we knew anything, anything at all about the tree's whereabouts.

Oh. Dear.

We glanced at each other nervously. We clearly both felt bad. Really bad. What had been a drunken prank with no obvious consequences (or in fact reason) had now turned into a 'really very bad thing'. As our eyes met we could almost read each other's minds and almost at once we spoke the same words....

.... 'it was Sian'.

Sian was a girl who lived round the corner from the village hall/golf course and she was a huge pain in the arse (I doubt she reads this blog - it would be beneath her). Although she hung out with us from time to time (begrudgingly - in very rural areas you sometimes don't have a lot of choice about who you share taxis with or go to parties with), she clearly viewed us all as mere peasants (on more than one occasion she declared us 'common') whilst, at the same time, she was prone to strange outbursts of violence. I once witnessed her slap a boy for offering her a stick of chewing gum and, at one point, she slammed a pizza into my face for no apparent reason whatsoever. One minute I was standing at a buffet talking, the next minute I was breathing in cheese and pineapple and she was screaming at me. Odd. Very odd.

Anyway - we didn't like her and neither did any of our mums.

"But Sian wasn't at the party!" said my friend's mum.

'Err, she crept in. She saw there was a party and came and sat in the porch with us. She was acting a bit mad and suddenly picked up the Christmas tree and ran off with it. We tried to stop her but she was obviously drunk or high or something'.

Now, quite how plausible it was that a young lady from one of the counties leading Public Schools would randomly appear at the door of a 40th birthday party before abducting the village christmas tree, is somewhat debatable - but the point is my friend's mum believed us.

'SIAN! Well I might have known it! Why didn't you say something at last night!'.

'Because we're scared of her and she was acting REALLY mad!'.

'Right I'm phoning her mother right now!'.


Small hole in our plan there.

'Errr, let us do it, she will talk to us, we can get her to reveal the location of the tree.....PLEASE!'.

'No, I really need to talk to her mother. Does her mother even know she was out? I can't let this go'.

'Errr, I think her mum's away at the moment. Her Gran's looking after them and you know she's really old and stuff. Let us talk to her'.

And thus ensued us making a fake phone call to Sian, in front of my friend's mum, complete with fake conversation with the speaking clock about the tree's whereabouts:

'You did what?'

'The time is 8.06 precisely'.

'But why?'

'The time is 8.06 precisely'.

'Where exactly along the fence?'

'The time is 8.07 precisely'

'The golf club you say?'.

'The time is.....'.

We then had to call the golf club and explain and persuade them to retrieve the tree from the bunker into which it had fallen. To say they were none to pleased would be something of an understatement.

And after that we pretty much got away with it - although we did cringe mightily and hold our breath when my friend's mother approached Sian at a local gymkhana and, pointing angrily at her face, shouted "I know ALL about you and the Christmas tree and quite frankly I'm disgusted. I hope you realised just how much trouble you caused! Don't expect to EVER be allowed into my home, EVER again! You got that? Good!" before marching off. I think Sian was slightly confused.

Or at least I thought I got away with it - but the theft of my ball proves that what goes around really does come around - even if it waits a decade and a half to do so.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Assault by Sausage Roll

So here we are - summer holidays.

And it's raining.

And my house is (supposed) to be presented as some kind of show home for the idiots SORRY 'potential purchasers' who want to waste my time by wandering round it and then NEVER EVEN GIVING ANY FEEDBACK LET ALONE MAKING AN OFFER (can you tell I've kinda had enough of this whole farce now?).

And I have 2 rather lively boys under 5.


I have started a sort of 'memory book' of the summer holidays for my eldest as this is his last one before he starts proper school. The holidays are 41 sleeps long (count them FORTY ONE....) and the idea is that for every day he draws a picture (so far we have a picture of a railway for every single day - we could have been to the bloody moon and he'd draw a blimmin' railway) or writes a word (let me guess? TRAIN!) and I add 'comments' and it's a memory of that day (in the world of endless railways). The hope is that I look back in 30 years time and smile (rather than cry).

So today I added to this book of dreams and took them on an outing to...... THE BANK!

Not just any bank - a special bank that they don't have in our town. The nearest branch is in a different town which is rather more well-do-do than the town we live in. In fact parts of it are vay-posh indeed.

For rather complex reasons (basically having my card declined in Asda and having to put 70% of my food, and wine - arrrggghhhh -back, piece by piece until my card cleared) I had to visit this 'special' bank.

Oh well - it's a day out.

Anyway whilst in the vay-posh town the kids got hungry so peering round the local bistros and decided that they were a definite NO with 2 maniacs in tow I decided they could have a sausage roll from Greggs (somebody will probably come and arrest me shortly for this crime, but to be honest, I'm well beyond caring).

So two large sausage rolls purchased, we found a bench so they could tuck into their perfectly balanced meal.

Another mum came and sat down on the bench adjacent to ours. Only she wasn't a 'mum' - she was an 'uber-mummy'. As I rustled my Greggs wrappers she barked very very loudly 'Hermione DO sit down or I won't allow you to have your humus and carrot batons' (I've changed her daughter's name but you get the gist). She also had a very large, very panty, very annoying dog called Marcus (who the HELL calls a dog 'Marcus'!?) who kept leaping up and breathing his dog breath on me (probably in the hope of a sausage roll rather than flaming carrot batons...), to which she would merely plead 'oh MARCUS - don't!' and do - nothing.

Anyway she gave me a cautious smile as if to say 'hello fellow mummy - but I spy your Greggs bag and the fact your toddler's face is covered in scabs (he fell out the front door, face first, onto the coconut matting doormat - it's left an interesting imprint on his face) and I'm not sure I actually want you to engage me in conversation'.

I gave her a cautious smile, as if to say 'I spy your carrot batons and you don't fool me. Your face tells the story of somebody who paints on a smile and makes homemade humus but then goes home and sobs into her Laura Ashley tea towels. It's Ok love, we're all in the same boat.....'.

I then handed the toddler his sausage roll - upon which he uttered a pterodactyl cry (at about the same decibel range as a pneumatic drill) and threw the sausage roll in possibly the biggest fit of rage I've ever seen erupt for him.

Clearly he's more of a humus man.

The sausage roll, unfortunately, sailed through the air in a beautiful arc and smacked into the thigh of Uber-Mummy - before falling to the floor and being greeted gratefully received by 'Marcus'.

For a few moment there was (horrified) silence.

Then the toddler began to wail (I can't read his mind but I would guess he'd changed his mind?) and my older son said 'oh MUMMY - that baby is out of control. AGAIN'.

To which I could do nothing but smile and say 'yes, he is' before gathering up my sausage roll wrappers and with an apologetic smile legging it towards the car.

Oh well - the drawing of 'sausage roll as an assualt weapon' makes an interesting change in the memory book from the endless railways......

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Just shut up and cut

Before I begin - could the person who just found my blog by Googling 'getting my balls sucked' please leave. I may talk about my balls and their adventures rather a lot, but I have (personally) never sucked them. You need to talk to the Disabled Lift at the Youth Hostel about that one.

Anyway, I digress.

Today I went to the hairdressers.

This was a rare and much looked forward to event.

Being in the hairdressers means the following:

Cups of tea get brought to you, you do not have to move for OVER AN HOUR, nobody cries (well not usually), nobody tells you they need a wee and can't touch their willy because they don't want to wash their hands (and if they did, somebody would call the police) and nobody starts to cry when you tell them they can't have a biscuit.

So I was looking forward to 100 Minutes of Solitude.

But no.

The woman who cuts my hair is very good at cutting hair but she is NOT very good at taking the hint and just getting on with the job at hand rather than waffling on about utter piffle.

It went something like this (thoughts in italics):

Her: So you got anything exciting planned for tonight?

Me: (What? Are you kidding? This is a Saturday night? The most exciting thing that happens to people like me is watching people fall off the giant red balls on 'Total Wipeout') No, not tonight.

Her: Whaaaat? No parties? On a SATURDAY!?

Me: (Yes my life is THAT lame) Well I've got 2 small kids, it's hard you know.


Me: (Yes kids, they're not actually contagious, you don't need to make it sound as if I've got Rabies or, in fact, Swine Flu) Yeah, two.

Her: OH. MY. GOD

Me: (What? You don't normally cut the hair of women who have bred?) Yeah.

Her: Going away this summer?

Me: No.

Her: Oh.

Me: (Feeling I have to apologise for my sheer boringness) Well we had to go to the Lake District for a week for my Grandad's 90th........ (this isn't helping is it?).

Her: Oh well that must have been AMAZING. At least you got out.

Me: Thanks (I think).

Her: My mum and dad have been in Portugal this last week and I HATE IT. Your life just isn't normal anymore - you constantly find yourself stressing about stuff like whether or not you've shut the front door or turned the oven off.

Me: Erm, yeah, that must be really stressful (what? WHAT!? She's in her twenties this girl - by that age I could cope with turning the oven off).

Her: Do you worry about that stuff then?

Me: Not any more.

Her: Do ya watch Big Brother?

Me: No.

Her: Oh OK then, well it's like this...... (20 solid minutes of her describing every detail of a show that I have spent the last x week deliberately avoiding. From what I can recall, they are all a 'bunch of bitches').

Me: Oh right. Sounds, erm, fascinating.

Her: AND hamster DIED.

Me: What? On Big Brother?

Her: No, in his cage. God I am SO DEPRESSED.

Me: (Here we go again, having to smile and take whinge-bags using the word 'depressed' to describe sh1t like their hamster dying rather than the actual reality of wandering in a black void from which there feels to be no escape and in which hope is lost to the point of truly wanting to die) Yeah it must have been, erm, sad.

Her: Yeah it was SO DEPRESSING. Like the worst thing EVER.

Me: How old was he?

Her: 3

Me: (Well what the f'ck do you expect? That is ancient in hamster years. Did you expect him to defy the laws of nature and live forever or something? You numpty) Well it was a good age. For a rodent. I had a lot of hamsters as a kid. 6 actually. One after the other. Spanning 12 years. Hammy 1, Hammy 2, Hammy 3, Hammy catch my drift. In the end I thought it was all a bit pointless. Guinea pigs are better anyway. 2 years is normal so he did well - don't beat yourself up about it.


Me: Oh (well, hate to say this love, but it's gonna get worse).

Her: So I'm gonna get a tortoise.

Me: Riiiiiiight (hamster? tortoise? Same thing innit? No - it's not).

Her: Yeah they live to like a ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD. So hopefully I will die first.

Me: Yes, hopefully you will.

Her: It will save me from the pain.

Me: mmmmm (I could say a lot here but I dare not).

Her: It was either that or a parrot. They get really old too. But I couldn't take the mess. Or the noise.

Me: Yes I shouldn't imagine tortoises are that noisy.

Her: No. Far as I know they don't say nothing.

Me: No, can't say I've ever heard one make a noise let alone say anything... sorry could I have another magazine? (Images of talking tortoises flashing through my brain....).

And with that I was presented with a pile of magazines containing approximately 3,600 photographs of Michael Jackson and 2,600 'exclusive' pieces of information about Jordan and Peter's marriage.


Well at least my hair looks better.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

If we learn from our mistakes...

..then at what age will all this insanity stop?

If life is a journey then this one went on a diversion several years ago and has forgotten where it was going in the first place - let alone how to get there.

Anyway - 3 important lessons I have learned today and wish to share with you (either so that you can refrain from making the same errors yourself or, more likely, so you can have a jolly good laugh for a couple of minutes and forget about work/childcare/essay/ironing/chores you should actually be doing) are as follows:

Lesson 1:

Do NOT leave a tube of wasabi paste (as in that bright green eye-bleedingly hot Japanese horseradish you get with sushi) in the door of your fridge if you are caring from small people with tiny minds who will decide that it looks very very fun indeed and if it's not paint it may well be toothpaste...... It will all end in tears. Literally.

Lesson 2:

Do NOT think you can get away with wearing a pair of raggedy-arsed-baggy-craggy old SEE-THROUGH leggings over your polka dot knickers merely by throwing a voluminous dress over the top of them and securing the dress in place with a large belt. No. What will actually happen is that you will attempt the school run only to find storm force winds are afoot and with both arms pushing the pram you will not be able to hold the dress down. The wind will go up your dress and inflate it, zeppelin like, so that it spends 98% of the journey up round your neck and your raggedy-arsed-baggy-craggy see-through leggings (and therefore polka dot pants) will be displayed to all those who pass by. Big shout going out to the men at the 'Fast Fit' garage who hollered at me at the way there and then on the way back. I hope you get your fingers stuck in your socket-sets this afternoon.

Lesson 3:

If someone at the school gates informs you 'there's something inside your rain cover' don't just shoot them a withering look and think 'yeah, smart arse, it's called a BABY'. Oh no. Investigate my friends. INVESTIGATE. Otherwise, several odd looks later, you will find that the inside of the pram rain cover is actually covered in what looks, very much like, a good thick coating of poo. It is not poo. It is peanut butter. Peanut butter which has carefully (and no doubt delightfully) been removed from a round of sandwiches and painstakingly painted all over the inside of the rain cover. How you get it off again is something I haven't learned yet.

And here endeth the lesson (for today at least).

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Age of Why

Any of you who have raised a child to the age of 3 will have no doubt come across the Era of Why.

As in:

Why do rainbows come?
Because sun shines through water in the air.
Because that's the weather
Because jet streams in the upper atmosphere mean the weather is very changeable at the moment.
Oh look - there appears to be a biscuit in the cupboard - would you like it!?


Why is my brother's willy very tiny?
Because he's smaller than you.
Because he's just a baby
Because he's only 1 and you are 4.
Because you were born in 2004 and he was born in 2007. OK?
Because that is WHEN YOU WERE BORN!
Because 9 months earlier I got sh1tfaced on honeymoon and it seemed like a good idea at the time (Ok, I didn't really say that bit but you get the idea).

The why business can be very trying and the most frustrating thing is, you never get to do it back because they just won't play ball.

If I COULD get them to play ball though there are several why? questions which I would like them to answer regarding their behavior today:

To Son No. 1:

WHY did you think it was acceptable and agreeable behaviour to toss all of your beloved Lego into the elderly lady next doors garden where some of it landed in dog poo and I have to not only beg for it back, but wash the dog mess off it?

WHY did you then think it could have possibly pleased me, in the slightest, to discover that my right-hand flip flop (and only summer shoe I possess which does not shred my foot to ribbons) should reside alongside your Lego in the aforementioned garden (but, fortunately, not in the dog poo)?

WHY did you fail to mention that the guinea pig's had 'escaped' (for that read 'been let out') until I was tucking you into bed when you saw fit to briefly ask if 'Rex is still shaking in the bushes'?

WHY did you then try to convince me that your 1 year old brother possessed the strength to single-handedly over-turn a 6 foot square wood and wire guinea pig run?

WHY do you think I want to look at your poo, let alone rejoice at the size of it?

WHY did you collapse sobbing at the sight of a plate of scrambled eggs saying 'but I only ever, ever, EVER want to eat fish fingers' when I presented you with your dinner?

And to your younger brother:

WHY do you eat something one day and then the next scream as if you have been stabbed the minute you lay eyes on it and then fall, face down, onto the table sobbing fat hot tears of sorrow? It's only scrambled eggs. It isn't THAT bad. No one died. Not even the chicken.

WHY do I then find you raiding the bottom draw of the fridge and happily chowing down on peas still in their pods - pods and all? Green goo is flowing out of your mouth and you are smiling. I'm the one who has to change your nappies.

WHY do you find great humour in stealing your brother's clothes as he tries to get dressed and tossing them out of the nearest open window? He needs his pants, OK?

WHY do you insist on going stiff as a board every time I try to get you into a pushchair/car seat/high chair/your clothes. You should know by now that this is a battle that you will never win - however much force it takes. I AM BIGGER THAN YOU - GET IT?!

WHY do you express your joy and deep love for books by becoming so excited you shred them!?

And that's just today.


Sunday, 12 July 2009

Lets talk about sex baby, let's talk about you and me..

..or actually let's NOT. Especially if you are 4 and you decide to do so in front of 'potential purchaser of this humble abode'.

Sigh (I do a lot of sighing don't I?).

We had a viewing today. Never had one on a Sunday before so I wanted to make the most of the fact it was nice and quiet and it would be unlikely that there would be any enraged menfolk outside shouting 'move ya farkin' motor or I'll farkin' 'ave you'.

Also plenty of warning meant they wouldn't find anything too alarming on the kitchen table.

However my OH had to work all day so I had both children and no other help so I was pulling every last trick out the box to keep them (semi) still.

This included digging out the trusty DVD entitled 'Florida Rails - Trains of the Sunshine State'.

You see my children are OBSESSED by trains (and when I say obsessed - I really do mean it - whole days revolve around railways and railway paraphernalia. I am waiting for the day where I finally snap and run away to live in the shed with something pink and fluffy that doesn't feature a level crossing).

We have several rather serious DVDs aimed at the railway enthusiast and Florida Rails is a hot favourite (and it's better than the highly disturbing one about model railways where, no word of a lie, a guy demonstrates how to make miniature spokes for your miniature bicycle out of HUMAN HAIR. He doesn't specify precisely from where on his body he has sourced this hair but looking at it, I could guess):

Basically it's about an hour of a very odd sounding man (who sounds like he should probably be residing in Broadmoor - maybe he his? Do they let the inmates do voice overs?) telling you EXACTLY how you should holiday in Florida to make the most of the States 'fascinating' railways. If you do find yourself heading that way be sure to go to Jacksonville and look out for the Tropicana Juice Train but remember to cross the tracks 'quickly and carefully, looking both ways' (how many times have I seen this DVD? Don't ask. Please - DON'T ask).

I actually thought most people from the UK who holidayed in Florida went looking for sunshine, Everglades and Disney - but no. It appears that some people go looking for trains.

Anyway - needs must and I dug out 'Florida Rails'.

Now it's been a while since we've watched it (can't think why?) and since then my eldest son has become more interested in letters and sounds.

One of the freight trains is pulling a large convoy of wagons with the letters CSX on the side of them and he asked me what it said.

Without even stopping to think about what I was saying I sounded it out phonetically, just like school tell you to.......


Cur Sex? He replies.


'Mummy? Why are there so many wagons with Sex on them?'.


'Erm it's the name of the company that owns them darling Ok - oh look here comes the lady to look at the house! Now remember JUST BE QUIET when she's here - we need her to like the house and buy it. REMEMBER!'.

'Yes mummy'.

And he was as good as gold.

He sat quietly in the living room watching his DVD with his baby brother.

And just as the potential-buyers were leaving and I was chatting in the hallway about council tax bands and loft space he said to his brother, very very loudly,.....

'Ohhh look! Here come more Sex wagons! And LOOK! There's a Sex locomotive too!'.

Jolly good.

Friday, 10 July 2009

My Ball is Back in Town!

Well actually it's currently in the passenger seat of my car but the main thing is it is no longer nestling amidst several million volts of electricity and trespassing on EDF Energy property.

I spent quite some thinking time toying with how exactly to call EDF and enable it's rescue.

There was a 'call in an emergency' number on the sub-station but I felt I'd put myself at risk of being arrested for making crank calls if I rang that and presented myself as an adult woman who'd had her ball stolen and wanted it back.

So that left a 'general' EDF customer help-line which I feared would actually put me through to someone in Mumbai reading off a script - a script highly unlikely to contain the words necessary to rescue a birth ball from a sub-station..... I can't think they have too many calls of that nature.

Me: It's my ball, it's gone over the fence, in the electricity sub-station.

Them: Your bill? Your bill has gone up? Electricity?

Me: No BALL. BALL. Big ball. In danger. In sub-station.

Them: Your bill is too big? You have difficulty paying? It is a danger to you?

Me: NO BALL.....

Them: Your ball has risen? It is too big? Electric ball? Ah bill!

Me: Arrggghhh - don't worry about

You catch my drift.

While I was pondering all of this I went back down there as I realised I would need the 'number' of the sub-station (they each have their own unique ID - fascinating fact of the day there). So off I went, armed with paper and pen, and whilst I was rustling around in the bushes and peering through gaps a man approached me and asked me if I was OK. I think this was actually a polite way of asking me 'what the f*** are you up to you strange woman lurking in the bushes - we've got you on CCTV taking photos and now this!' as I was actually now on the property of the water sports centre and clearly acting quite strangely.

I explained the situation (as briefly as I could) and although he did give me a very strange look and clearly hadn't a clue quite what my ball was really for and what it was doing in the middle of a sub-station, he did summon a rescue party and, finding a 'less well protected' spot in the fence, they scaled it and I got my ball back..

So thank you to everybody who had been involved in the Great Ball Liberation - it's nice to see people come together and break the law - even if it's (once again) due my misfortune.

And that - I hope -is the end of that.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Photographic Evidence of My Ball's Plight

I couldn't leave it.

I've just been down there - in the glowering twilight - and seen my ball.

I feel so helpless.

So near, yet so untouchable.

So far it appears so small:

Just beneath the DANGER OF DEATH and TRESPASSERS WILL BE INCINERATED type signs is this:

Now clearly this is not a matter of life and death but I'm guessing calling that number is the only way that ball is going to get out of there?

My ball has been located!

Exciting news!

However please note the use of the word 'located' - not 'returned' or in fact 'retrieved'.

I have, just a few moments ago, received the following email from the venue:

Hi xxxxx

We have located your ball. Somehow it has ended up in the electricity compound which is just to the right as you enter our main gate. The area is locked up and surrouned by a high fence with barbed wire and belongs to EDF Energy.

Good Luck.


What? WHAT!? So my ball has 'somehow' ended up in the electricity substation.



Oohh well let me ponder for a while on how that could have POSSIBLY happened. Could it, per chance, have been a sudden (very sudden) tornado that swept through the car park in the 5 minutes I was absent and picked my ball up before plonking it down admist several million volts of electricity?


Could it, just maybe, have been picked up by an immense bird of prey that somehow mistook it for a mutated (and rather blue) Field Vole?

Erm no.

Oh well - maybe the ball has been practising the art of teleportation and, like Dr Who's Tardis, has found itself somewhere it shouldn't be.

Bollocks it has.

No - funnily enough I have a really sneaky suspicision that some little sod has chucked it in there.

'Somehow' my arse.


I also like the way she casually drops in the bit about the locks and the barbed wire and then drops in a 'good luck' at the end.

This 'good luck' is actually her way of saying 'because you're going to need it love and don't think for one moment that any of us are going to help you with THIS one'.

So there we are - I now need to find a contact number for EDF Energy and ask them if I can have my ball back......

(p.s. I have suddenly recalled a rather shameful incident from my youth involving the Village Christmas Tree and the local Golf Club. I shall tell you more tomorrow but I think this may be what they call 'Karma' a.k.a what goes around, comes around...BE WARNED CHILDREN BE WARNED. MESS WITH PEOPLE'S STUFF AND ONE DAY SOMEONE WILL COME IN THE NIGHT AND ELECTRICUTE YOUR BALLS).

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Bang! And the kids are gone!

A.K.A the alternative guide to childcare.

Heat bothering you?

Feeling tired, grumpy and like lifting a limb is beyond reasonable?

Have small children who, despite the heat, want to run around like lunatics?

Well the solution is thus:

Sit yourself outside (preferably the garden but if you don't have one you may have to venture to the local park) in a shady spot with a good book and cold drink (add alcohol if the situation is severe and you need further removing from reality i.e. your actual life) and arm yourself with a spray gun (you know, the kind you get Greenfly Killer or Cillit Bang in - but obviously it is NOT to be filled with highly corrosive kitchen cleaner or pesticides - just water please. I repeat - JUST WATER).

Sit back and chill and when the kids get too close and look like they might need something, throw out a hand and zap them with the water spray. With practice you can manage this without even looking up from your book (but you may need to put your drink down).

They will run away, hysterical with joy and spend the next 2 hours racing up and down the garden daring each other to go near 'spraying mummy' (the mind boggles) whilst simultaneously wearing each other out and not destroying anything..... Everyone's a winner.

I need to send this in to Take a Break's 'Brainwaves Roadshow' and get my £50. It could buy me a new pair of balls.

(No news on the ball front I'm afraid. Still AWOL).

Friday, 3 July 2009

Bring my bl@@dy ball back!

Ok this tale is going to push the limits of my credibility but I swear on my life (which having come very close to losing at one point I don't swear on lightly) that it is true and, in fact, may appear in the local papers. Which will be 'interesting'.

You know I have a lot of trouble with my balls?

You know how this blog has had an ongoing theme around them?

The ones that escaped, wouldn't get hard, had to go off in the post, got lost, came back, interfered with my gear stick and, last week, got stuck down the disabled lift?

Well I'm afraid that wasn't the end of the saga but this may well be.

After the class last night one of the guys offered to carry my ball down to my car and leave it by the boot - he did me the same favour last week. I thanked him and got on with tidying up and chatting to a couple who stayed behind with some extra questions.

They left and I followed them down about 10 minutes later.

I was somewhat surprised to find them still in the car park, ferreting round in the nettle beds with a bloke that looked like Peter Kay but was wearing a badge saying 'Security'.

'Stickhead' said the guy (obviously using my real name - which isn't actually stickhead).

'Yes?' I enquired, slightly worried by the graveness of his tone.

'We think someone has stolen your ball'.


'It's gone'.

'But it's 10pm, we are in the middle of a country park, there isn't a soul around and it's huge'.

'We know but it's gone'.

And it had.

My humongous inflatable ball had vanished.

It wasn't as if the guy who had carried it down could have accidentally slipped it into his car without noticing. It had been left beside my car and in the 5 minutes in which it was unattended it had been abducted.

As I stood there pondering the blogging possibilities the ball theft offered, more of the Youth Hostel staff had been summoned to help in the search. People called for torches. Someone went down to the river. 'Assistance needed, assembly point 1' went out over the intercom.

I went back and spoke to reception.

'Erm, you know my huge big ball?'

'Oh yes, we know it!'.

'Well it's gone missing'.


'Yes - it appears to have been taken from the car park'

'I'm so sorry'

'Why? Did did you take it?'


'Well it's not your fault then is it'

'No, but it reflects badly on the establishment'

'Erm, I see. Well I don't think it does really - it could have been anyone. I don't think you'll get a reputation as harbouring ball nickers or anything'.

'Ball knickers?'.

'I mean people that steal stuff - like balls'.

'Oh yeah - well it was probably that bloke that was just in'.

'Ah ha! What what was he like?'.

'Erm, wearing a suit, looking to hire the place for his daughter's wedding'

'The father of the bride?'

'Guess so'

'Doesn't sound like the type who would decide to make off with a giant inflatable ball for the crack of it but you never know - I guess it takes all sorts'.

'It certainly does - it's always the quiet ones. People steal things to buy drugs you know!'

'Not, generally, giant inflatable balls though?'

(When it comes to the stolen goods market, inflatable balls don't really go down that well).

'Well no, but you'd be surprised!'

(believe me love, I already have been)

At this point I was starting to worry she was going to put together a posse of German school children to hunt down a, very probably innocent, guy who had come looking for a price list and nothing more and was going to end up being accused of being a crack addicted ball thief and probably be thrown into the river.

'Don't worry I'll get more help to look for it' (she leans behind the bar 'COULD YOU COME AND HELP THIS LADY LOOK FOR HER LOST BALL', everybody turns and stares at the 'lady with the misplaced ball' i.e. me).

In the meantime the security guard is in his element. He's gone into over-drive. He's muttering into his walkie-talkie and asking people to spread out and 'flush the bushes'. If he'd had a sniffer dog, he'd have used it (which thank god - he didn't, because the last thing that had been in contact with the ball and therefore carried it's scent, was my arse....I've done some odd things via work but giving a Springer Spaniel permission to pick up the scent of my backside isn't one of them).

'Don't worry love, we'll 'ave 'em on CCTV'.

Wow - this is impressive. I may actually get to see my ball being taken. We could get in on Crimestoppers. I could be interviewed with my face fuzzed out sobbing about how the loss of my ball has changed me forever and I just want justice.

We run the footage.

Small problem. The camera isn't actually pointing at the car park - it's pointing in the bushes (we could ponder why this might be long and hard but we won't) and my ball has not absconded to the bushes.


Someone else goes down to the river.

I'm holding breath - if it's gone in the river then it could be at the weir by now. And then? AND THEN!?!?

Well for a start it could get caught in the radial gates causing them to jam and leading to some minor flooding in the lower stretches of the valley but I'd best not ponder that or I won't be able to sleep.

It's now approaching 10.30pm and there is no sign of it. Its time to call off the search but everyone seems strangely reluctant. I'm actually quite touched by how much finding my ball means to them (either that or they're all bored sh1tless and just happy to have a chance to be part of a real life search party).

'Look' I say 'I think we have to be realistic here. It's probably a long way away by now - it was only a ball, I'll come back tomorrow in daylight'.

'There's still hope' says one of my clients, clutching my arm and giving me a comforting pat.

'Yes' I said 'there's always hope'.

'You must tell the police' the lady from reception tells me.

'Erm Ok'.

Well that's going to be an interesting conversation isn't it.

And meanwhile the search goes on. So if you see a very large blue ball on your travels today please but him somewhere safe and message me.....

Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Mystery of Michael Jackson

In case it has escaped your notice, Michael Jackson - the King of Pop - has died.

Even my 4 year old has noticed - how could he not? And this provoked, yet another, 'interesting' discussion about 'passing away' (to see previous forays into this area I suggest you check out the demise of Satchmo ). It went something like this:

Son: Mummy?

Me: Yes darling dearest?

Son: Who is Michael Jackson?

Me: Well he was a very, very famous pop singer'.

Son: Why is he always on the news?

Me: Err well he's died now.

Son: Why?

Me: Erm, he was quite old (if you are 4 then 50 is ancient I am sure) and he got very poorly.

Son: Couldn't the doctors make him better?

Me: Well no and I think he might have taken some medicine that he shouldn't have taken.

Son: Was it the medicine that I have? To help my poo come out?

Me: I very much doubt it.

Son: So did his poo come out Ok then?

Me: Yes (although, to be fair, I have no idea whether or not constipation was a problem for dear Michael and I have no inclination to Google it).

Son: What was it for then?

Me: Problems. A lot of problems.

Son: But not poo?

Me: No, not poo.

Son: Is that Michael Jackson?

Me: (looking up to see Gordon Brown on the screen) Erm, no.

Son: Is that man dead too?

Me: Well not exactly.

Son: Is everyone on the news dead?

Me: No. Obviously not.

Son: Just Michael Jackson?

Me: Erm, probably.

Son: Is Michael Jackson with Satchmo now? And Rhy's cat? And that rat that was all stiff on the patio that Daddy found?

Me: Erm (once again) probably.

Son: Can we see him or is he too tiny?

Me: He's too tiny.

(At this moment some news commentator states that 'it was when Michael Jackson performed on stage that he really came alive') .

Son: Ahh it's alright mummy - he's come back to life now. They just said.

So that's alright then.....