Monday, 20 December 2010

Lock Down

So there I was, on the 2nd December, writing away on this blog about going the gym and women who 'yip' during intercourse, and as I wrote it, my 3 years old ('The Beast') was asleep on my lap looking quite poorly. But what kid isn't a bit poorly at this time of year?

After a while I noticed that he really was looking VERY poorly. And he was very very very hot. And he was covered in a rash.


But I'm still not overly alarmed because basically I reached the stage long ago in my life where confronted with yet another catastrophe I sort of mentally go 'whatever' and roll my eyes like a sulky teenager (whilst trying to conceal the stirrings of a deep dark dread and the thumping beginnings of panic).

Anyway I called the doctor and took him in - expecting to leave 10 minutes later with reassurance it was just a virus.

In fact we left 10 minutes later in an ambulance with all the nee naws going.

Didn't see that one coming.

His temperature was over 40 which is pretty considerable considering he'd had Calpol and Ibuprofen. Bits of his rash weren't fading. And above all he was 'unbelievably cranky and hostile'. I wanted to put my hand up at this point in proceedings and say 'but that's normal' but I was too busy being offered a glass of water (water? water? Surely a stiff gin would be more appropriate) by the receptionist as the other receptionist called 999 as the GP couldn't get through to the hospital on her special line thing.

And then off we went in the back of an ambulance for the second time in his short life.

At the other end it was feared he had meningitis. He didn't. Thank heavens. What he did have continued to confound medical science for an entire 6 days and nights.

6 days and nights in which I was forced to exist in the confines of a small bile-yellow coloured hospital room with no break, watching my child be regularly tortured ('the strongest 3 year old we've had to cannulate' as he bucked free and wrestled various medical professionals to the floor....), very little food (they only feed the children or the pregnant - adults are supposed to be able to go out and forage - rather hard when you have a 3 year old you can't leave) and an incredible shortage of tea (not to mention Strongbow).

During this time I was subjected to NHS red-tape at it's very finest. Now I'm a huge fan of the NHS and I really can not fault the way they saved my life 3 years ago, got me sane again not long after and looked after my little boy (plus I work for them sometimes so I need to be nice ;) ) but when it comes to bureaucracy - well they love it. I recently spent an entire morning be ingtrained how to lift up a cardboard box. Brace yourself for this information but you can pick it up either with a 'palm hold' or with a 'diagonal hold'. Don't try using your teeth or wires attached to your nipples. We also got to 're-enact' such tricky procedures as 'pushing a trolley with leaflets in' and, even harder, 'pushing a trolley through a door which needs to be opened'. Two men got to pick up a big armchair together, with full commentary, but us feeble women were spared that indignity. Anyway - this bureaucracy showed itself at it's finest during my stay when my son needed to go for a chest x-ray.

Now bearing in mind he was the ill one and there was NOTHING WRONG WITH ME, it seemed odd I had to go to the x-ray department in a wheelchair. With him on my lap.

A porter (sorry 'member of the multi-functionary team') turned up with a chair and I was slightly worried because he was a very tiny man of Far Eastern origin who looked as if he'd struggle to push a grape, let alone me and my hefty child. Anyway we climbed aboard and off he huffed.

After around 5 minutes he parked me at the side of a cold draughty corridor and went to sit on a bench.

Hmmm. That heavy am I?

After a while I started to shiver so asked him what was happening now (I was actually starting to feel quite scared - should I sit here submissively and await my fate or get up and flee?).

He informed me (as best he could in very broken English) 'We must wait here because it is Sunday. Not many people. It is Sunday. We wait for escort. On Sunday's there could be incident. I could molest. So we have escort. Not on other days. More people'.

So you are potentially a sex pest? But only on a Sunday?

Well that's reassuring then.

Around 10 minutes later a female escort (as in a woman who works for the hospital following men round who are pushing other women in wheelchairs - but only a Sunday. Not escort as in woman you pay to take back to your hotel room) lumbered up and we went on our merry way to the x-ray department.


Not quite as bizarre as another porter who I befriended (without an escort) in the hope of getting a cup of tea (I did, I got 3) and later told me that he knew where I lived and particularly admired my new shed. He'd stood on the bridge and looked down upon it many, many times......

Anyway the main thing is he's fine (my son, not the shed-loving-porter) now (we still aren't quite sure what it was but they have thankfully ruled out some rare auto-immune stuff and a lung x-ray showed he may have a lung infection and new antibiotics co-incided with him getting better) but seriously - you couldn't make this crap up.

I mean is that REALLY how I needed to end this dreaded of years!?


And then I was released back into society (what is that blue expanse above me? The sky! THE SKY! What are those fast moving shiny metal things? CARS! What is this I see before me? A cup of decent tea!!) and managed about 4 normal days before the school told me to come and get my older son as he'd sort of fallen to the ground sobbing and was rather hot.

Yipeee! What now? Rabies? Ebola?

No - just a nice dramatic ear infection and yet another perforated ear drum later he's much better. But not without a 2am nose bleed which I stupidly dealt with by taking him into my own bed to calm him down. This meant that about 10 minutes later when his body decided he wasn't a vampire and it would therefore vomit up the vast amount of blood he's swallowed - he did it all over my bed.

Now I'm all for a bit of excitement in the bedroom and I'm open to new ideas but, erm, having blood spewed over me like something from The Exorcist by a small howling child? Errr no.

So that's where I've been. In yet another form of hell.....

Hopefully normal service will now resume but I can in no way guarantee anything!

Happy Christmas to you all and thanks for sticking by me through this most testing of years.

It nothing else, at least my life's not dull.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Running Just as Fast as We Can

With all the 'hoo har' going on in the rest of my life, several people have enquired, rather nervously, about whether or not I'm still training for the 'big race' next year.
The answer is - yes of course I am! (I did tell one person that I wasn't just doing it, I was damn well winning it, but I was fuelled by 5 pints of Strongbow at the time, which says just about everything about my chances of that happening).
The truth is, I have (brace yourselves) - fallen. in. love. with. the. gym.
Now it's important to point out here that this is NOT a shiny edifice of a gym where toned hotties flex their oiled muscles amidst smoked glass and chrome.
For a start I'm in there.
No - this is the council gym and it's very well equipped and it really is open to everybody - a lot of clients get their memberships on 'prescription' from the GP - so the clientele are a mixed bag.
Notable examples include:
- the very elderly man who moves very slowly on the treadmill, except for when a Katy Perry video comes on MTV. At this point he gets off the treadmill, moves quite rapidly so he's standing about 4 inches from the screen, and remains there for the duration. I'm not sure the GP quite intended this sort of exercise but it clearly does get his old ticker racing.
- the very beautiful, very smartly dressed lady who only ever does one thing. Get on the treadmill, set it to maximum incline (which is so steep she has to hang on to the bar at the front, lest she should drop off) and take very tiny, very dainty steps for a solid hour. She then gets off, not even a hair out of place, and leaves. For some reason this un-nerves me. I think she might be a vampire.
- the bunch of wannabee-muscle-men who hang round the weights machines, mostly talking and swigging out of their drinks bottles in a 'manly' fashion. Every now and then they all start trying to use the machines but don't actually use them properly. 3 of them watch while one of them grunts and hauls himself up and down a few times, not actually using the weights, and then they go back to talking and swigging. I don't know why they bother. They could do the same thing down the pub and just use the Darts Board and/or toilet door for pull ups.
- the lady next to me on the Cross Trainer who kept emitting a noise not unlike a small dog yapping. I had my headphones in and couldn't work out what this weird squeak was so I took them out. It was her. Every time she put in a little bit too much effort a strange kind of 'yap' would escape her throat. I found this very un-nerving. Not least because whilst at university I had the misfortune of living with a very promiscuous housemate who used to make the same noise during 'intimate relations'. As she really was VERY promiscuous this was a) haunting and b) embarrassing. People's mums would pop round for a cup of tea and you'd see them pause, mid-way through putting a custard cream in their mouth, tilt their ear towards the ceiling and try to locate the source of the 'yip yip yip YIP YIP' resonating round the house. You could pass it off as the neighbour's dog, as long as her bed didn't start banging against the radiator. Then the plumbing of the whole house used to start ringing.
- the slightly psychotic looking woman in the non-sporting floral socks and holy leggings, who swigs her water out of a Mr Tickle water bottle (when she can't find her 'proper' one - which is often) and has given up on the arm strap for her iPOD - on the grounds it slips and chafes - and instead fits it nice and firmly down her cleavage. No slipping! No chaffing! Several sideways glances when she has to change a track or adjust the volume mid-run on the treadmill and some possible water damage from excess perspiration (the volume keeps shooting up mid track - even when it's supposedly locked) but still, a near perfect solution.
Yeah - obviously the last ones me.
Keep on running people......

Thursday, 25 November 2010

My Socks is on Fire

I have previously likened sleeping at my mum's house to the Japanese game show 'Endurance' (the modern equivalent of which is, I suppose, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here).

I stand by that claim.

Some of you will probably struggle with this concept so let me go back to basics here and run you through my morning:

1am - still trying to sleep but my mum is still up watching god knows what downstairs and the sub-bass is making the bedroom floor shake ('if your chest ain't rattling, then the bass ain't happening) so I give up and move into the double bed in the other room with my Original Son.

2 am - maybe get to sleep.

4am - so sick of Original Son thrashing around like a conger eel I get up believing and hoping it might be morning. It's 4am. Hmmm.

5am - have got back to sleep but now re awoken by a blinding light and inhuman noise.

It is of course my younger child (a.k.a The Beast).

The Beast is standing at the end of my bed, sweeping it's range with a torch (not just any torch but a proper farmer's flashlight with something like 10 million 'candlepower' - basically enough to blind a fox or scorch a child's eyes from its head), emitting a noise like an air-raid siren and screeching 'wooooo woooo I'm a ghost, I'm a ghost'.

Now there are, possibly, a couple of people on the entire planet who I wouldn't object to standing at the end of my bed at 5am, holding a flashlight and emitting a piercing a wail, but let me just clarify right now - he is NOT one of them.

A kind of hushed tussle ensues with me trying to shout at him in an authoritarian manner - but only in a whisper so we don't disturb his poor exhausted brother.

My whispered attempts fail. Brother arises. A full battle ensues involving a miniature toaster which originated in a second-hand dolls house which I played with during my childhood. Apparently very very tiny toast is 'the' thing to have these days amongst young chaps.

An hour later I give up lying in the middle of a ruck and pretending I am 'somehow' acheiving rest and drag the pair of them downstairs.

It is still pitch black and it's freezing, freezing cold.

I'm wearing a pair of pyjamas two sizes too big which don't stay up and don't' stay done up.

I get to the base of the stairs and flick the lights on.

The lights fuse.

So I'm still standing in the dark with my trousers round my calves and my knockers hanging out and by this point everyone, bar me, is shouting orders.

I only have two children but all at once, apparently, I need to:

- turn the lights on.
- get the TV on.
- make sure they don't miss Octonauts (which isn't even on for HOURS - it's 6am for god's sake).
- get them drinks
- get them some food because they are so hungry they are DYING.
- get rid of the dogs.
- open the curtains.
- find the golf balls my mum STUPIDLY gave them to play with the night before (and I have hidden).
- fit the wheels back on a car which has been stamped on.
- carry them into the kitchen.


- and make porridge.

At the same time the dogs are barking to get let out and all I can smell is the hideous assault of 'ancient dying dog urine'.

This means that, somewhere, in the dark, there lies a pool of dark fetid dog piss. And I need to get the dogs out now but I can't see where it is and I can't flaming breath due to the acrid, bile churning, stench.

And the kids howl on.

At this point I can't contain my frustration any longer and holler 'I CAN'T DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE, THESE DOGS NEED TO DIE! I CAN'T COPE ANY MORE!', pull my trouser up and tuck my knockers back behind the buttons of my 'sleep jacket'.

This is not, I repeat NOT, a good example to set your children but, as I often hear myself singing these days, 'I am not a robot'.

What I really really hope is that my mum will get up and help but she's still sparko after 3 bottles of Blossom Hill and sitting up til 2am with Snoop Dog, P-Diddy and Gay Rabbit Chat.


Some time later (I've 'lost' the next 10 minutes - and I don't want to find it) I try to help my children get dressed. Small (well quite big) problem - one of The Beast's socks is missing. I only bring one pair of socks with me when we go to my mums (basically there are more important things in life than having a spare pair of socks - well so I thought) so a missing sock is not good.

Especially when it's snowing.

I eventually locate the lost sock.

It's floating - like a corpse - in last night's bath.

Last night's bath is 'still in' because the chain has snapped off the plug and thus no one can drain it.

So I have a very wet sock and a child with one cold bare foot throwing a fit.

Well what would you do?

I fried it.

Let me explain.

My mum has an Aga stove thing and she often puts clothes on top of it to warm up/get totally dry.

Ah ha! I thought. What I need to do is that but only TO THE MAX. So I'll lift up the hatch thing and put it on the hot plate. That way it will get really dry really quick!

Errr, yes it will. And then it will go brown, combust and start to burn.

As The Beast himself said 'Mummy, mummy, my socks is on fire!'.

At this point (of course) my mum appeared.

'Darling, what ARE you frying' (she says peering at the hotplate but seeing nothing but smoke and a vague outline of an Argyle pattern).

'A sock mum. Could I have a cup of tea and could you get the dogs humanely euthanised?'.

And then the sun (finally) came up.

And my day began.

I've said it once. I've said it twice. And I will keep on saying it. If I didn't laugh I'd spend my whole life crying!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Tea Towels, Tea Urns and Twitching

So, amidst all the heartache, soul searching and general chaos, my balls came back out.

As we have quite a few new followers to this blog (hello and welcome people, sign up and enjoy the ride. I can assure you, it will never be dull) I probably need to explain what my balls actually are.

Well, they are predominately blue, although one is pink, and they average around 65cm in diameter, although one currently has a puncture so is somewhat smaller. They make driving quite difficult as they tend to bang against my gear stick at inopportune moments and they have a habit of being rather wayward. The most prime example of which was when one was actually liberated by a young 'fan' and tossed into the middle of an electricity sub-station.

I take my balls to halls around the country and get people to bounce on them, lie across them or do whatever they fancy with them - often in a dimly lit room whilst being massaged by a partner.

No - I'm not a sex therapist (although who knows, it could provide a promising second income and I've done weirder sh1t) - I'm an antenatal teacher and bouncing around on giant balls is really great at helping babies get into the best position to be born and can also be jolly handy at getting women in really good positions to cope with contractions and get the baby out during labour.

Failing that - you can stick a few out in the garden once the baby reaches 'toddler-hood' and voila - hours of free childcare whilst they body-surf from ball to ball. Obviously this come with a reasonably high risk of injury but personally I've found the benefits far out-weigh the risks.

Anyway - my balls were back out for the first time in a while and I was entering a new and previously uncharted sphere (no pun intended) - that of the 'well kept village hall'.

My word.

The politics!!

The rules!!

The red tape!!

It was as if I had been given begruded permission to enter a Pharaoh's tomb - only with more tea towels and unruly tea urns.

Having been briefed (at length - great, great length) by the 'key holder' on everything from the fuse in the stair lift (hopefully not needed but you never quite know!) to 'Colin with the Hat - you must know him? Always wears a hat?' (errr no, I don't, is he actually a celebrity? Or only if you live within 3 streets of the village hall?), I was finally left alone in the building to prepare my equipment and pump up my balls. But not without a warning.

A warning about the 'Line Dancers'.

Apparently they would be 'coming through my group to use the kitchen' and I'd know because they would 'sort of stomp'.

Sure enough, whilst holding aloft of an A1 laminated poster of a woman's 'mons pubis' complete with cervix and rotating baby, three elderly women stomped on through muttering something about incorrect tea towel folding.

And then, a few minutes later, whilst examining cervical dilation, they stomped on back, each carrying a steaming glass of a hot yellow liquid which was either a hot toddy or their own urine.

The group looked bemused.

I was bemused.

We were all mutually bemused because the lot of them could barely stand erect, let alone do a few speedy turns to 'Achy Break Heart'.

There was only one thing that could be done. I needed to follow them. And so, during the coffee break, I traced them to the 'Reading Rooms' where they undertook their sinister arts.

Sure enough - they were having a stomp.

I can't call it Line Dancing.

The music was a sort of dirge played on the accordion and they weren't' really dancing - more having a bit of a twitch.

And what was even more thrilling - there was a raffle.

The prizes were lined up on a table at the head of the room and the tickets lay somewhat forlornly at the base of a wicker basket. All 5 of them.

And top prize in the raffle - a 6 pack of Orange Club biscuits.

Can I just say here and now - however bad my life gets, if I ever reach the point where a 'grand night out' constitutes some mild twitching with a man who can barely stand up, topped off with the lure of winning an orange laced biscuit - you have permission to shoot me.


I'll leave the bit about the gas leak, the alarm and the left behind birthday cake that wasn't really left behind until next time...

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Firstly can I just say a hand on heart thank you for all the messages of support after my rather surprising last blog post. It honestly really does make a huge difference, so thank you. Watch this space and come what may I'll promise to still try and entertain you - because if my life is one thing it is certainly never dull. Or even slightly ordinary.

Anyway - considering my current bed-state (i.e. sleeping with nothing but a rather threadbare stuffed Ted and long may it remain that way. Ahhh the bliss of lying diagonally across an entire double bed. Some people have to go to sleep on a mat on the floor, amidst a pile of blankets. Rather like a dog. But you make your bed and ye shall lie in it. Amen), I was rather surprised to open my eyes last week and be greeted by the sight of an erection.

And not just any erection.

A MIGHTY erection.

And not just any mighty erection, but a mighty erection with a blue band round the middle and a red end.


The erection was actually made entirely of Lego and had been hand crafted by my children (at something like 5am - but I'll forgive for that - this once) and as they gingerly held it aloft my Original Son informed me that it was 'The Tower of Love' and that they'd made it for me.

The Tower of Love (a rather fragile structure if ever I saw one) now stands beside my bed and serves as a reminder of the fact that however fragile love is, the love of your children is ever present and although being a parent is the hardest, most exhausting, most all consuming job you will ever do it is also the greatest privilege you will ever have. And to forget that or take it for granted would be the a very great mistake indeed.

So thank you to my children - for taking me to places I never dreamed or feared of going and carrying me on through it all, regardless, and out the other side. I could and would have never done it all without you and whatever I have lost for you, you have given me far, far more.

Now if you could just stay nice and asleep until the clock reads something more akin to 7 then I'd be just that'll tiny bit extra happy and less prone to shrieking, feeding you nothing but fishfingers and going out with odd shoes on.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

And then I Opened the Box and the Bomb Went Off

Right well as (approximately) half the nation is waiting with baited breath to find out what happened when I went to my MIL's house a few weeks back, I'd better stop rolling round on the carpet in a deranged state and get on with it.

Please don't fret - I did make it back. If I hadn't I'd probably be a dessicated husk by now, caught between a psychotic looking china rabbit playing a banjo and a drummer boy with more than a passing resemblance to Chucky.

However, for reasons too personal to go into (even I have to draw a line somewhere, wee, poo, insanity and piles are OK, this is a step too far) I came home alone (well I kept the kids, obviously, one more day in the Biome and they'd have needed rehydration therapy).

So Husband-With-A-Sad-Face is no longer actually Husband-with-A-Sad-Face. I'm not actually sure what category his face falls into now (other than 'under the heel of my shoe' - joke - he's a fan of this blog so I'd better now be too harsh now had I?) but whatever his face does, he's no longer actually my husband. Well he is on paper until the divorce comes through but we are now 'separated'. Like eggs. I'm not sure who is the yolk and who is the white but one part always gets left in the fridge and then binned so hopefully that's not me.


I told you the bomb went off didn't I?

There will be people all over the nation (and possibly overseas, and who knows, maybe on a space station somewhere) falling off their chairs right now and having to re-read that bit but yup - that's what happened next.

So in the last 3 years I've:

- given birth
- been extremely very critically ill.
- gone nuts.
- spend 2 months living in a psychiatric unit.
- cared for 2 small children.
- gained useful employment.
- relocated to the other side of the country.
- gone through major building works with both kids in the midst of it.
- watched my dad die of a brain tumour.
- tried to hold my mum together as she falls apart, again and again..
and now for (hopefully) the big FINALE!!!!


Well he's not actually 'left' me - legally this is his home too so he's living in the loft.

And actually, yes, I am still laughing. You can't go through all that and survive vaguely mentally intact without being able to put a bit of a spin on things and trying (really trying) to see some kind of glimmer of hilarity in them all.

So there we are - now you know.

On the plus side, it got me out of staying longer at my MIL's house.........

And even better - I got my balls back out last week and it felt SOOOOOO good. More on that later (it was, of course, eventful. Airing my balls in never a smooth passage of 'pump, bounce and go' - this time it included elderly line dancers, a large ginger Tom and a gas leak).

Now a couple of questions:

1. How much for the film rights? I'm happy to play myself. My whole existence frequently feels like I'm walking through the part of someone in a bad soap opera anyway, so I'm more than qualified.

2. Can you get stretchmark removal on the NHS?

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Central Heating will Kill You and Herald the Arrival of Aliens...

...and other such far fetched ideas.

Or at least that's the case if you're a dyed in the wool old West Country Boy (or girl).

Many a time during my youth did I overhear conversations along the lines of:

'Old Bob's gone on' (gone on means died, just in case you're mistaken and think he's 'gone on the bus' or something equally less terminal).

'Oooooooooooo (deep intake of breath). Well you know what that's down to then, don't you?'.

(The obvious answer would be that Bob was 106 and his time was up but no....)


'Yup, he'd had the Central Heating put in' (you'd think by the way they said Central Heating it akin to Crack Cocaine)

'Yup, said it would be the end of him and it was'.

'Yup. And 'is brother's Aunt's dog's gone on too. That there Central Heating stopped it's heart - the shock - dropped down it did'.

Going by what the old timers believe, the Winter Fuel Allowance is in reality a form of Genocide for the over 60's.

And it's not just death and canine destruction that Central Heating allegedly causes. I have also heard it held responsible for:

- all skin complaints that have ever existed.
- all breathing problems that have ever existed.
- all joint problems that have ever existed.
- all hair loss problems that have ever existed.
- lax morals.
- compulsive gambling (as in 'they got that there Central Heating and that t'internet and the next thing she's on that Foxy Bingo 24/7. Gambled the house. Central Heating and all....).
- infidelity ('well what do you expect? They got that Central Heating put in and before you know it she's walking the floors in her smalls and having men in')

Oddly the one thing I've never heard it held responsible for is Global Warming.


Anyway, I'm staying at my mum's and it's cold. Very cold. She does have Central Heating but to turn it on you need to have started to show secondary symptoms of Frostbite. However she has lit the fire which is marvelous - as long as your sat by it and don't need to move anywhere. Ever.

However, I am attempting to embrace this sensation because come Saturday I'm off to my Mother in Law's house. Yup - the one who lives in Lincolnshire's equivalent of a Tropical Biome and collects figurines so horrific they should come with a blindfold....

Don't worry - I'll blog about it once I get back and have managed to re-hydrate and restore my lax morals.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Every Little Heartbeat

So me and mum were sat in her front room trying to watch some kind of a crime detective programme on the BBC.

I say trying because it's hard to concetrate. As well as the moving pictures and the characters speaking, there is also the somewhat alarming presence of a well spoken lady speaking very very quickly over the top of the programme, describing EXACTLY what is happening.

'Geoff walks down a path in terraced street. He enters a red door. The wall paper is flocked and stripped. A gas fire is lit. A woman in a flannelette nightdress is seated. The woman appears pensive. Geoff rolls his eyes. A cigarette burns in an ashtray'.

For a split second a feeling of unease chills me.

Am I hearing voices in my head?

Is this what it has come to?

And if so, am I not supposed to hear someone telling me that I AM the Virgin Mary or perhaps the Second Coming (or at the very least that my soul will find redemption if go outside with no clothes on bar a pair of Argyle socks).

I never thought true aural psychosis would involve a man called Geoff and a woman in a flannelette nightie.


But then it clicks. It's not in my head. My mum's got the 'extra visual description' function turned on the TV. You know, the facility for blind people so they can actually follow what's happening between the dialogue.


'Yes Darling!'.

'Why have you got that mad commentary thing on the tele?'.

'Oh I know darling, it's the new thing it seems. All the programmes seem to have it these days. I'm surprised someone hasn't written into Points of View about it!'.

'Does Points of View still exist?'.

'I don't know actually, but it's very odd isn't it?'.

'Mum. It's for blind people'.

'What, Points of View?'.

'No. That crazy woman talking. It's a special thing to use if you can't see the pictures. Last time I looked you weren't blind and I don't think you've had THAT much white wine'.

'Oh (stunned). I just thought it was the trend'.

'Did you not ever stop to wonder why EVERY programme had the same woman talking, manically, over the dialogue?'.

'Erm, no'.

'Right well I'll turn it off. It's an option. Not compulsory'

(A brief tussle with the remote control later I have failed to turn it off. What I have acheived are sub-titles. So now we have moving pictures, dialogue, woman frantically describing wallpaper and facial expressions AND the written word).

We fall into a defeated silence, our senses overloaded.

Sometime later, my mum speaks.

'Would you look at that. My wine is moving to the rhythmn of my heartbeat'.

'You what!?'.

'The surface of my wine. When my heart beats. It moves. How extraordinary'.

'Erm, mum. Is your heart beating really hard or something? The wine is on the table. You are in your chair. How on earth could your heart be making the floor vibrate?'.

'I don't know. It's like we're connected'.


(She watches the wine shimmer for a few more minutes).

'Oh actually, no. It's not my hearbeat. Its the dishwasher'.

'Mum, those plants by the front gate, are they still intact?'

And they think I'm the mad one.......

Friday, 8 October 2010

Da Weed

Me: (Trying to get out of front gate and into my car) Mum?

Mum: (Emerging from home in her dressing gown) Yes darling?

Me: You appear to be growing cannabis? Around the front gate.

Mum: Oh, that'll be the birds.

Me: What the birds have started up their very own skunk factory? I never knew they had it in them.

Mum: No, it'll be from their seed. I put their seeds on the gate and they get knocked off and grow. We get all sorts!

Me: You feed the birds dope?

Mum: No but I expect it's in the mix.

Me: (thinking it's too early in the day for this kind of conversation) Commercial bird seed contains cannabis?

(I can see The Sun headline now 'Blue Tits Off Their Tits on Seedy Seed').

Mum: Well maybe. It was from Asda. Or it maybe blew in from somewhere?

Me: (glancing round at the surrounding vista of desolate, cannabis free, fields) Riiiiiiiggggghhhht. All the same, is it wise to leave it growing by the gate hear. I mean a lot of people come through here. The postie, the man who brings the oil, the, erm, vicar......

Mum: I'll get my glasses.....

Mum (again - this time sounding slightly thrilled): Ohhhhhh, you know what, it IS cannabis isn't it!

This was on Monday.

It's still there, reaching for the sky amidst the Autumn sunshine and showers.

Quite a harvest.

I'm keeping out of this but if you see a gentle looking lady in Breton stripes and M&S jeans on the local news for running a miniature cannabis farm, you know the situation has deteriorated.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Friction Burns

I have a large friction burn on my inner thigh and I can't close my legs.

Not, I'm afraid, quite as exciting as it first sounds (if it ever did sound exciting).

You see I have decided, in a moment of insania, to attempt (note the 'attempt') to run a Half Marathon. This is to raise money for the Hospice that took such wonderful care of my dad and it's not til next year so (I am assured) even I will be able to do it.

Lets just saying running is NOT my forte (those of you who were at school with me may recall me deliberately forgetting my PE kit in order to get out of Cross Country Running only to be forced to run barefoot. As if this was not shameful enough, I tried to cut short my humiliation by cutting across a compost heap and, tragically, sunk deeply into it).

I was going to keep this running part of my life secret (even I have to draw the line at some point with regards to public humiliation) but, hell, it seemed like a waste of a rich seam of comedy because, let's face it, me trying to cover 13 odd miles is going to have comedy elements.

Anyway the training has started and this morning I went to the gym to grind out a few meters on the treadmill......

That's right - I am now a gym bunny.

Well, less of a bunny, more of a Giant Lop.......

(No I don't know who the guy in the blue shirt is, no he's never had his hand between my legs and NO he is not the source of my friction burns).

Anyway I pounded the treadmill good and hard, leapt off, towelled down my sweat glistening body, chugged back the cool water from my sports bottle and......

...and noticed a searing agonising pain centered on my inner thigh. A pain not unlike many wasps stinging me or, in fact, a small localised fire breaking out.

I dropped my towel and water and, in full view of all the bods grinding away on the cross trainers, started to frantically inspect my crotch.

There I found, not a forest fire, but a large split in my left-leg legging . My thigh was poking out the hole and what with the fact that I don't have a gap between my thighs, for every step I'd taken, that bare thigh had ground against the nylon seam of the opposite legging. Again and again and again.... (and a few more agains as I managed more than 3 strides).


At this point I realised I couldn't close my legs. At all. Now I'd stopped moving the pain had hit and I really could not let my legs touch eachother.

Like John Wayne after a hard 2 day ride I hobbled, legs akimbo down the stairs towards the safety of home, breathing heavily through the pain.

Everyone stared.

I got to the locker.

I realised I'd left my headphones plugged in to the running machine.

Struggled up the stairs again.

People were glancing nervously, clearly concerned I'd either suffered a horrendous muscle tear or wet myself (or given the heavy breathing, maybe a birth was imminent?).

I (eventually) made it to the car.

I then realised that I HAD to go to Asda. Not only did we have no milk or bread but also we were on our way, very shortly, to a child's birthday party and I had no card and no present.

I gritted my teeth and set off.

Resembling one of those lizards that runs very strangely on hot sand with it's legs sticking out at jaunty angles, I made it round Dairy Produce, Baked Goods and Plastic Tat for 4 year Old Girls (now there's a frightening aisle) and to the tills whilst not allowing my scorched flesh to meet it's nylon nemesis. I didn't get too many odd looks because, in Asda, walking like you've got a hedgehog in your pants doesn't get you special attention. This is a place where anything goes. Just the other day I saw a woman covered in random, very bad tattoos, including one of a man's Y-Fronts. I did ponder for some time why you'd want a pair of blokes' undercrackers forever ingrained on your left breast but, to be honest, my head started to hurt so I stopped.

I managed a shower (painful), a wee (yes, painful) and some clothes (yup, more pain) and went to the party where I sat very, very still for a very, very long time.

And now I'm sat here, with my PJs on, legs nicely spread, Savlon cooling on my thighs, wondering how the hell I'm going to come across in the school playground tomorrow and then later at work where I need to ask my boss for a character reference....

All this, and as yet, I can only run 1 mile.

This could be, erm, painful.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

We are the Champions...

Well actually, no, I am the champion.


Yup - thanks to you lot I only went to actually won the 'Funniest Blog' section in the 2010 MADS Awards.

I honestly can't thank you enough - in this dessert of despair (and cat poo) it has brought me an immense amount of good cheer and happiness.

Sadly I couldn't even attend the awards ceremony so I didn't get to have fun, eat nice food, get wasted, do my speech and sob all over the red carpet but if I could have said something it would probably gone something like this....

'When I had my first baby my Aunt (who had 3) said 'whatever you do, keep your sense of humour, you're gonna need it!' and how right she was.

That baby is 6 today and I had NO idea just where that journey into being a mother would take me, but all things considered, so far so good. I'm still alive and I'm not currently sectioned so that's two good things.....

This is not just all about me though - there are many people who I have to thank. First and foremost, my husband, without whom I really don't think I'd be here (and if I was I'd still be in the nuthouse, trying to explain to psych nurses that owning rather too much grey knitwear is NOT a sign of mania and no, I don't want to play pingpong. Ever).

Then I'd like to thank my friends - who have been there through all the shit and held me together. I'm sure some of them can remember things I can't (and it's best I never do) about the baddest, maddest days - but I haven't scared them off for good yet....... Amongst those friends I'd like to thank the countless internet friends and blog readers who really do feel part of my life and have given me SO much encouragement and so many positive vibes over the years. Big love - seriously - you have made such a difference.

I'd also like to the thank the world I live in for being so bloody random - the badgers that died for me, the balls that burst for me, the "people that lie on mattresses and cry" therapy group who made me feel more normal, the cockerels that turned gay, the guinea pigs that died and left a legacy (especially Satchmo who went to space - apparently), the kids for being rather eccentric and my friends for knowing people with really bad tattoos and running kinky clothing shops. While I'm at it, I may as well thank the county of Somerset for being a brilliantly random place full of brilliantly random people and surely the most eclectic (i.e nuts) selection of adult education classes in the country?

I dedicate this award to my dad - he would have been so bloody proud, even though he'd be rather cross about my mocking of his knife obsession at a National Level and deriding of Osborne's Big Man's Catalouge.... My dad always wanted to write a book but he died before he got the chance to even retire. I took my story telling skills from him so maybe I will finally get my arse in gear, take up his mantle, and do it..... Thank you and good bye. Until tomorrow....'.

See - good job I wasn't at the ceremony - everyone would have been asleep by the end of that!

I don't know what I'll spend my vouchers on - I always said bedroom curtains but that is TOO dull. I still don't have any bedroom curtains but I have fixed a fleece blanket over the window and that will do. It's Autumn now and dark outside anyway..... I want to get something I will keep forever and will help me remember that I held it together this year, despite everything, and still managed to make people laugh.

I just did a very brave thing and told my mum about this blog. It's always been a total secret (apart from anything - does my mum REALLY need to read about the incident of the pubic hair and the chemical burns?). I was worried what she'd say but she actually cried and said she was so proud (hell, she didn't even say that when I got my degree, or got married or had a baby!) and dad would have been even happier (not that she's actually read it yet) and that they should do a book and a documentary (at this point you need to bear in mind she was rather drunk and gushing somewhat, inbetween crying at some strangers getting married on BBC3 - it's a cultural whirlwind here).

Anyway - cheers folks - chin chin and here's to the next year of (almost) sanity.

Pussy Problems

In my previous post I alluded to some difficulties involving pussies.

The situation is thus - some idiots (sorry 'young people') who live down the road from me bought 2 kittens, shut them outside all summer thus providing my kids with free entertainment from dawn til dusk, and then announced that they didn't want the cats anymore as they'd got a Staffie puppy. The cats would be going 'somewhere else' as the dog kept trying to kill them (I'm sure you will be hearing about this dog again - probably on the national news).

You can imagine the rest - begging, pleading, crying (and that was just from Husband with the Sad Face) and me eventually going 'oh OK then, we can keep them, but two things, 1. you pay for ANY expenses they occur and 2. you are totally responsible for ALL of their care. GOT IT?

I still bear the scars of previously owned 're-homed from neighbours' psychotic rabbits - the last thing I need are 2 malnourished kittens but hey, underneath all the shouting and threats, I must have a soft center.......

Roll the clock forward a bit and the kittens need to go the vets to ensure that the never reproduce (my friend Badger Girl has cats that birth in her bed. I might be fully OK with talking about placentas but I've no wish to roll over at 5am and rest my head on one, let alone one belonging to a cat).

Guess who has to take them to the vets?
Guess who has to round them up and shut them in a totally unsuitable cardboard box because 'the man supposedly in charge of the cats' hasn't actually arranged anything more substantial?
Guess who gets as far as the major roundabout in rush hour traffic only for the kids to screech 'waahhh mummmeeee there's a kitten on the parcel shelf! And ANOTHER one!'?
Guess who then has to negotiate the town with kittens pingponging round the car?

Muggins here.

After all that I was told the kittens were actually too small to neuter/spay and I'd have to take them home again...... In a more suitable container...... And pray they weren't sexual active before they reached 2kg in weight.


Never have I fed so much food to two kittens.

Anyway that episode was over and I'd almost forgotten about it until last Monday.

Last Monday I went back to a shift I do in the local hospital.

For this job I have to wear a uniform - a sort of tunic.

I keep the tunic in the boot of my car and put it on once I park (the tunic is pink and is channeling Discount Fashion Stores circa 1982 so I like to keep contact with it to a minimum, last of my street cred and all that).

Anyway on picking up my tunic and I was confused to see something brown attached, rather like a brooch, to the lapel of it.

'Hmmmm' I mused 'what is that? A fir cone? But why would a fir cone be stuck to my tunic??'.

I looked closer.

I blinked.

Could it be mud?

I looked again.

It looked, to be frank, not unlike a cat poo. A dried, adhered to fabric, cat poo.

I bent closer and nervously sniffed.

Noooo, how on earth would my work tunic get dried cat turd attached to it? It hadn't been out the boot of my car.....


Yes. One of those delightful kittens - THAT BELONG TO MY HUSBAND - had shat all over my work uniform during its 'trip to the vets' escapade.

Oh what to do?

My first thought was 'nevermind, hopefully it's on the inside so the stain won't show and I'm sure I've got a can of Impulse somewhere in the car' but that was quickly followed by an attack of conscious. I mean what's the point in alcohol gelling your hands 20 times a day and being 'naked from the elbow down' if you are going to sport 'essence de cat shite' inside your uniform and spread some kind of feline bacterium from Ward to Ward?

I can see the local paper now. Just below the story about someone's Glorious Cock being bothered by local youths and above an article inviting you to pop along to the library to see a demonstration on the dangers of chip pan fires, it will read 'Mystery Bug Rampages Through Hospital - Infected Pussy Sought' and I shall never sleep easy again.

I threw it back in the boot, pretended I'd forgotten it, and boil washed it when I got home.

And that, I hope, is that.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Back to School...

...back to, even more, insanity.

First of all a huge thank you for everyone's kind wishes and words about my dad. I will tell you about the funeral another time but it went as well as it possibly could, although I never again want to kiss that many people in one day and I certainly don't want to be felt up by any more men of a pensionable age (it wasn't just me, my mum had her fair share of 'over jealous hugs' too) and, in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have drunk so much I couldn't actually see by tea time, but hey, it was as a good a tribute as we could have possibly given him and in some ways, was very healing (though my liver would probably disagree).

Anyway, rather surreally, here we are back on the school run after a summer that seemed to stretch a thousand years.

In other words I'm back standing in the street screeching like Peggy Mitchell at 8.32am (I'm doing this because if we leave any later than 8.30am EXACTLY we will be late). It doesn't matter how organised you are, how laid out everything is, how 'on time' you seem to be, someone will always need to run back inside to look for some ridiculous item or do a wee or stroke a cat (more on the cats in my next post - I have a pussy problem) and then they will take an inordinate amount of time doing this task and I, thus, end up shouting.

Yesterday I had one child 200 yards down the road (the younger one) and one child back in the house searching for a train that was vital to his daily existence and I had to bellow 'FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, HURRY UP!' at full volume, only for the bin men (right at the other end of the street) to shout back 'alright love, we're going as fast as we can' before collapsing in hysterics. Such was my shame I had to take the long way out of the street in order to avoid them.

Anyway now the kids are off my hands now and again I can do other, more cerebral activities and it was thus I found myself today, back at the home of Badger Girl (as in the one with the stiff badger I had to toss) testing her for her next big horse exam.

Her knowledge is outstanding but her pronunciation of some of the more technical terms needs work.

She has a particular problem with sphincters.

When she pronounced the cardiac sphincter was a cardiac spinster we had to conduct an emergency elocution lesson.

It was like the West Country version of My Fair Lady....'the spinster in my sphincter is like the una in my ulna and the far-inks in my pharynx' (i.e. wrong and potential confusing for the examiner).

Unfortunately our tea drinking and equine anatomy session was interrupted by the arrival of a pigeon with his wing hanging off (who knows where he came from, perhaps he was sent from wherever the badger ended up to avenge his death? But such is the random nature of life at her house).

We managed to catch the pigeon with a bath towel (as you do) but then couldn't work out where to put it. My suggestion of 'in a large cooking pot' didn't go down very well and it ended up in special cage with fresh oats, water and a nest of hay. It has also been named - Percy. Apparently it will be as good as new in 2 days. And if it's not it will 'go to live with Wendy'. I'm not quite sure who Wendy is and if she is ready and willing to take on a damaged pigeon but there we go. Or maybe Wendy is actually a euphemism for 'the place the badger went to'? You know as in 'mummy, what's happened to my hamster?', 'not to worry darling, he's just gone to live with Wendy....'.

Wendy has never seemed more sinister.

Anyway pigeon dealt with (sort of), pronunciation of difficult anatomy dealt with (vaguely) we moved on to my friend's other current project. When not training horses and catering for large functions, she is actually opening a shop selling very skimpy clothes and suchlike for young party animals (as I've said before, she's my special mate because if she could type ,her blog would leave mine standing in the sidelines - her life takes it to a whole new level of randomness).

It appears I will be working in this shop on the opening day. I've been instructed I will need fake tan, fake nails, fake eyelashes and possibly fake hair. I'm tempted to go the whole hog and just send a mannequin to take my place, but at some point someone would probably notice I was unusually quiet and not asking for a drink and my (plastic) cover would be blown.

Anyway amidst all the stock of funfur boots, dresses that I can just about get round one thigh, tops that don't appear to have a back OR a front and skirts that wouldn't cover my 'lady garden', let alone my arse, I found a box of whips and whistles.

VOILA! No more standing in the street screeching like a fishwife! I can just go crack my whip, blow my whistle, herd my children and entertain the bin men in a whole new way.......

Monday, 23 August 2010

End Credits

Well lets keep this simple.

My dad has died.

I could write a book on the whole thing (the before, the during, the after so far) but then I could write a book on a lot of things. None of them particularly joyous events but yet gripping, entertaining and, at times, funny in that kind of hysterically dark 'if we didn't laugh we'd cry' way.

Anyway, if you follow this blog you could probably have guessed he had died, thus my absense. Let's face it - I wasn't likely to be away on a cruise round the Caribbean was I? (On any level). Or camping in a field somewhere. Or, erm, just having fun? Nooooooo.

That just wouldn't be the way it would run.

Anyway, I'm back, you can't get rid of me. Life so far has tried to sink me in a multitude of forms, but yet, it hasn't yet pushed me to the depths from which I can not rise back up and wrestle it to the ground. Like a giant squid. Or Jaws (before he bit into an underground electric gable and died with smoke pouring from his fibreglass eyes).

Anyway he died last week, the funeral is Friday. I've been to Matalan and bought my frock. I tried to go to John Lewis but, on leaving the M5, got caught up in a series of mini-roundabouts, signs asking me to decide between 'The Mall, The Venue, The Retail Park and The Super-Retail Park' and, to cut a long, traumatic and expletive strewn story short, ended back on the motorway going in the wrong direction. At that point I gave up and decided I'd been out of the Big Smoke long enough to truly start to sweat once I pass Weston-Super-Mare.

How do you fill a hole this big? Well you can't. For the moment the panther that is this grief walks beside me. I know that he is there and sometimes we fix eachother with our stares, but for now I walk with his stride. I do not let him overtake me so that he can turn back and stop me in my tracks. I do not let him fall behind so that he can push me to the ground. I match his stride, I listen to his breath and I wonder. About it all. But I do not let him take me. Yet.

So many of our memories of my dad are now taken up with the last few months. And these are not what he was. So the most important thing that people can do for the moment is help us all remember who he REALLY was. The real man.

The vicar is trying to put together 'some words' to summarise my dad on Friday.

How long has she got?

My mum wondered if she'd like to tell the story about the 'left-behind darning needle' and his left testicle but we decided that was, perhaps, a bit too much for the vicar, however 'Vicar of Dibley-Stylee' she may be.

If you think my life is random, if you think I can tell a good story......Well you never met my dad. He always wanted to write a book but he never got there. He never even got to retirement age.

Today, during a rather dark afternoon, I got an email from his old work colleagues, passing on some stories for the vicar to retell. This one just about sums him up. As I said, the apple doesn't fall from the tree...........

Dad (or Doug as he is in this), this one's for you:

Doug had gone to New Zealand via the USA in Boston and Russ met him in Auckland.

He was exhausted and really grumpy as his luggage had not turned up and all he was left with was the clothes he was standing in.

They had to fly down to Christchurch for a meeting so couldn’t wait around and Russ told him that the luggage would have to catch him up.

In Christchurch they found a large man's shop (Doug was 6' 7" and over 25 stone) and got him ashirt and trousers but the boxer shorts were way too small so Russ told him he would need to wash the pair he was wearing every night and they should dry ok as it was summer.

He went to Doug’s room the following morning and as the door opened he could hear whoosh.....whoosh ..........whoosh. What on earth?

Well Doug had attached his damp boxers to the overhead cooling propeller type fan and put the thing on full speed!!!!. There were his pants, rotating round the hotel room ceiling at top speed whilst Doug checked his emails on the laptop. Russ collapsed in laugher whilst only being able to have visions of a large schooner in full sail. Doug however carried on as if this were perfectly normal behaviour for a man on the road who had to be adaptable.

Nuff said.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Kids are great. Even though they wreck your figure, sanity, bank balance, house, car (did I tell you the toddler ran down the side of mine with a rock in his hand gouging out a deep scratch from bonnet to boot? People keeps saying 'oh my god, someone's keyed your car!' and I have to tell them it was my child.... and that was before he threw up half a field of pick-your-own strawberries all over the back seats), love life and ability to look 'together' (not that I have ever managed to channel that look) they do manage to keep you grounded and make you laugh, even when the rest of your life is a bucket of poo (and yeah, they like poo too).

Take my eldest son last night whilst playing with Winky.

Now before I go on I need to explain that Winky is in fact an 8 foot long stuffed rattlesnake with a bell in his tail who came from Ikea back in the days when me and my OH were still 'young lovers' and thought a large fake snake with a bell-end was the kind of 'funky interior design' that would look good in our first flat (along with a lava lamp, fibre-optic 'UFO' light and large plastic cactus that acted as a lamp. I actually sold the cactus at a car boot sale to a woman who collects them and 'plants' them in her garden. She claimed that people walking past 'stop and stare'. I'll bet they bloody do love.).

Many many times I have gone to chuck Winky out only to stop and realise that he held (note the past tense used there) a soft spot in my heart - and then the kids got old enough to play with him so he's staying. Forever it appears.

He didn't used to have a name and it was the kids who named him Winky We won't dwell on that one other that to say, boys will be boys....

Anyway they have a favourite game with Winky which is called 'poisoning mummy'. The rules are thus:

Mummy has to remain on the bed and they attack her with Winky. If either his tongue or 'rattle' touches her she is poisoned and dies horribly (with sound effects) unless she reaches the 'antidote' and rubs it on the poisoned bit. The antidote is a stuffed guinea pig (also from Ikea - not actually a real stuffed deceased pet - that would, erm, a step too far. Even for me. You can probably get arrested for rolling around on the bed whilst rubbing your body with deceased pets, and if not, you should be). They try and keep the guinea pig from me at all costs.

This game always ends with everybody totally and utterly hysterical (including me) and someone always hits their head or falls off the bed (or both) and thus I requested that they could, perhaps, poison Daddy instead. No, I was told. They only enjoy poisoning Mummy.

Hmmm, this is not what I imagined that long-ago day when I stared down at those thin blue lines on the pregnancy test, but then again I didn't imagine much else of what happened next either. Which is probably for the best.

Anyway, Winky is very much loved (by them, not me, I actually find him slightly sinister these days and make sure I never voluntarily touch his 'poisoned' areas, just in case, you know, there is some truth in their claims, call me paranoid and all that but the way my luck runs, you never can be too careful) and then last night my eldest said:

'I wish I could keep Winky longer'.

Of course you can we said, why couldn't you keep him?

'What you mean I can keep him until I'm a TEENAGER!'.

Yes, of course you can.

'WHAT! I can keep him forever!'.

Yes, he's yours!

'YES! I can keep Winky until I DIE and then I can leave him to somebody else......'.

Erm, right yes, that would be lovely.

So there we are. We now have a family heirloom. I expect him to appear on the Antiques Roadshow 200 years from now, together with a print out of this blog post to prove his provenance.

Priceless, that's what Winky is. Just make sure you don't touch his bell-end. Well not unless you've got a stuffed guinea-pig to hand.....

Friday, 30 July 2010

Egg on Your Face (and everywhere else)

I had kind of hoped that after the last few years I had already reached the summit of public humiliation.
But no.
As I never actually get a proper holiday (as in one where you are relieved of some of your daily duties) I have a holiday project in progress whereby my children eat out as much as possible thus minimising the need for me to undertake such hideous chores as handling peanut butter and picking rice out from the cracks in the floorboards. For reasons of budget this means basically conducting a tour of supermarket cafes.
On Tuesday this project enabled me to reach new heights of shame when my youngest decided it appropriate behaviour to launch an egg mayonnaise sandwich over the railing in Sainsbury's Cafe.
This situation was made infinitely worse because of the fact that Sainsbury's Cafe is situated on a mezzanine floor, with lofty views across the shop floor, and the eggy-delight sailed onward and downward and into the newspaper stand.
A couple of slightly bemused gentlemen looked upwards but bearing in mind this Sainsbury's is nationally notorious for having had a robin living INSIDE the store (there were even Facebook campaigns dedicated to saving its life) they probably just presumed it was bird sh1t.
A woman behind me said 'ohhh you should slap him' but considering the fact that she had previously been wittering on about how the air ambulance was bringing 'outsiders' in to steal 'locals' hospital beds, I just scowled at her. She was actually outraged that she'd seen an air ambulance landing with 'Dorset' written on it. I mean the HORROR - people that might have been injured/fallen ill in a different county might CROSS THE BORDER and make use of a nationally funded major trauma centre...... That and the small issue that the air ambulance is actually called 'The Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance' and is funded by charitable contributions from both counties....... Hopefully she'll fall sick in Devon and they'll turn her away for not looking local enough.
Anyway from now on I think I'll avoid egg mayo. This isn't my first run in with it.
Back in the days when I was pregnant and commuting daily on the Tube, I reached the end of a long working day and was rushing for the train when I realised if I didn't eat NOW I would either be sick or collapse (or both), so I ran into the cafe and grabbed the only sandwich they had left - egg mayo. I then jumped on the Tube train and realised that egg mayo wasn't the most appropriate thing to consume on packed public transport - but yet if I didn't eat I'd vomit..... So I kept the sandwich inside my handbag, snuck of the wrapping off, dipped my head into the handbag and took a surreptitious mouthful.
A large dollop of egg mayo promptly shot out the end of the sandwich and onto the suited leg of the business man rammed up against me.
Oh. Help.
This was almost as embarrassing as the time I opened a bottle of 'shaken up Coke' on the Tube just after September 11th and the soft popping noise followed by violent hissing caused people to fall to the floor and scream.
Anyway, the man looked down at his newly soiled leg and recoiled in horror.
I stayed very still, daring not to even swallow the evidence.
The man started to look, searchingly, at his fellow commuters.
My heart began to thud and I quickly formulated a plan that, if caught I'd inform him I was diabetic and it was a case of 'egg mayo or fall into a coma' (not that egg mayo is a particularly likely choice for a diabetic in trouble but hey ho, I hoped he wasn't a doctor).
He began to search more and more, all the time looking more and more furious (and who could blame him).
I bailed ou at the next station and stood, panting, on the platform swearing that I would never again get involved with egg mayo in a public place.
Clearly I should have taken my own advice....

Thursday, 22 July 2010


Well here I am on 'Hospice Watch' and if I don't talk to you lot, I've got to talk to my mum and as she is currently talking to a mosquito, it has to be you lot.

Seriously. I've just heard her say 'you're right in my ear, you bugger, you are humming in my ear, sorry, but I'm going to have to squash you, now where have you gone now? Ahhh yes.....'

So either it's a mosquito troubling her or she's taken up 'Polite Dominatrix Phone Line Sex Chat' - and I know which is most likely. And it's not the one that pays.

Actually, I'll pause now whilst I hear her shout 'BUT YOU'RE LOCAL!'.

No, it's defiantly a mosquito, the paper just came down, hard and fast. And the phone's still on the hook......

Anyway here we go folks - HAPPY HOLIDAYS! My kids broke up today and we now have 6+ week of sheer unadulterated fun FUN FUN!!

My oath not to shout and to enjoy every tiny moment of these precious days (which I do truly appreciate in case you have no sense of humour and think I don't actually realise the magic of these days) lasted until about 3.25pm (10 minutes after school was out) when I was heard to bellow 'what did I just say about not making big noises!? SHUT UP' down the corridor of the hospice - approximately 10 times louder than either of my children.

Anyway - this holidays - family tragedy and other such crap aside - if the strain of the kids doesn't get me, the poo talk will.


Let me just say NOW you can not comprehend the depth and breadth of poo talk unless you have ever held custody of a 5 year old boy child. Or possibly a girl (depending on whether they are into Hannah Montana or poo - I'll pause on making a judgement there.....).

If you don't 'get' just how all encompassing and random and just NUTS poo-talk is here is today's bath time, the songs mentioned are actually hymns. Hymns with bespoke lyrics:

Son 1 (singing in a lovely fashion): He's got the whole world in his hands, he's got the whole wide world in his hands, he's got the plants and the poo poos in his hands, he's got the whole poo poo in his hands.

Son 2: HA HA HA HA HA.

Me: Deep exhale, what did I say about poo poo talk in front of grown ups?

Son 1: Carpenter carpenter make me a wee, that's the work or some poo poo far greater than me. Somebody greater than you and me, put the poo pants in the apple tree,the flowers in the earth and the poo in the sea, they're by somebody far greater than you or me.



Son 1: I can't stand the rain on my poo poo pain.

Me: And breath.

Son 1: We are climbing Jesus' ladder ladder, we are climbing Jesus bladder bladder, poo poo of the LORD.

Son 2: Who is the Lord?

Son 1: What?

Me: Who IS the Lord? In your song?

Son 2: LADY GA GA.

Me: Or dear LORD ABOVE, not this again.....

Son 1: Lady Ga Ga is ........................................... boobies.


(10 minutes later as I try to extricate children from bath, by this time one glass of wine and 1 pint of cider later, under the distinct impression that parents get is wrong-diddly-wrong when they crack open the booze after bedtime - DO IT BEFORE - it's the secret to being able to get excited about 'The Great Big Little Red Train' for the 350th reading. NEVER will have the coupling-up of a load of logs to a wagon of old sofas sounded so utterly, endorphin fuelled, thrillingly FANTASTIC. It's like being back on that podium punching the air and thinking you can dance the world out of depression all over again - but with a little red steam train and a quaint sketch of a forest. Maybe).

Me: Right, out of the bath now (as I swing down the Thatcher's Old Rascal with the one hand not holding up a flannel, because this isn't my house and I can't find a towel).

Son 1: Mummy, if I'm going to get out the bath you need to know this very important thing.

Me: What?

Son 1: This icecream tub, with a lid (only the best bath toys for my children) contains my PRECIOUS water. NOBODY, especially not that toddler more than anything, must EVER DESTROY my precious water.

Me: Err, fine.

(Rustling of flannel and attempted drying of children ensues).


Son 1: MUMMMEEEEEE, the toddler's got my precious water!!!

Son 2 (who is NOT a toddler): This is WEE WEE!!!

Son 1: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO (and thus takes precious water and runs, yes RUNS, with a rapidly draining icecream tub of water through the upstairs floor of my mum's house).

Me: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (and thus pursues rapidly draining ice cream tub of precious water through upstairs of mum's house).

Son 2: That water is WEE WEE.

Me (under my breath): Jesus.

Son 1: Jesus CHRIST. If that toddler doesn't stop ANNOYING ME, I'll send him back from where he came from.

Me: I think I need to open another bottle.

Son 1: The water, water of life, Jesus gives us the wee wee of life......

My mum: Darling, can you bring down the Wasp-Eze, I've been bitten......

Me: Where are those mediational singing bowels when you need them?

Son 1: Go down to the city into the street, tell the people of Jesus, let his poo poos meet.

Me: If you don't actually follow the instructions and inhale Wasp-Eze , deeply, what does it do......?

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Interview Technique

Wow - you disappear into the fug 'hideous life' for a couple of weeks and can't blog and what happens? Loads more people start following you! (Virtually - not 'actually' - well I hope not- I don't want to wake up one morning and find 149 'fans' in the street outside waiting for me to make them laugh. It would be like something from 'The Life of Brian').

Anyway - hello everyone, lovely to see you, big shout going out to the blog-following-massive and all that.

Now before I go on, a lot of people have been asking me about two things. 1. My dad and 2. The MADs Awards so here goes:

1. My dad is currently in a hospice. Things have been immensely difficult for various reasons but tonight, at least, he is safe and comfortable and in his own way, happy, and I feel 'free' enough to actually log on to the computer.

2. The MAD award's winners aren't actually announced until September at a 'live' ceremony (in Bognor, no less). Very sadly I can't go for obvious reasons which is a tad gutting but that's the way life goes. So I don't know if I won anything, and no, I still don't have any bedroom curtains, and yes, that is trying at 4.45am when the goddam sun comes over the goddam horizon. I keep toying with the idea of a flight-mask but realise I'll probably wake up, think I've gone blind, have a panic attack and fall down the stairs (or similar), plus, I don't know if I want Husband with a Sad Face to see me like that. We'll skip all the other ways he's seen me, and just focus on the flight mask being 'not my look'. Anyway - thank you for all your support. Who knows - it was certainly worth a shot.

Anyway - in amongst all the hospice visiting, raising children, looking after my mum, trying to sleep past 4am crap - I also had a job interview. Random I know. It was only for very part time, 'come and go' type work but it's a foot in a door that I feared was rapidly closing so I couldn't say no. Even if the timing was a tad poor.

It went very well. If there's one thing the past few years have taught me, it's that basically, stuff like job interviews are nothing to worry about.

I took it all in my stride, perhaps a tad too much, but hey, you need to appear relaxed and confident........

Interviewer 1: Could you summarise your life to date?

Me: Gulp (thinking to myself 'they only know what you tell them') 'well as you can see, I'm a graduate with MARVELOUS experience across SEVERAL fields..... (waffle on for 5 minutes, leaving out all references to insanity, near death, people dying, random acts of insanity, gay pets and the fact I once worked for a man who bought me silk pyjamas in a special box and a bottle of 'Allure' before telling me he'd never once looked at a pornographic image).

Interviewer 2: Have you ever worked in a role where you have needed to use the telephone?

Me: (You weren't listening to a f'cking word I said, were you? How could you do any of those jobs and NOT use a telephone? How, for example, would you 'liaise with clients across the globe' without using the telephone? Rock up on the back of a camel and ask them to just double check you had booked your boss a suite in Dubai Hilton?). Errr, yes. I have lots of experience using a telephone. And doing fancy things with it to, like putting people one hold. And, erm, stuff.

Interviewer 1: Can you tell us what you understand by the word 'teamwork'?

Me: (Yup. It means having to deal with loads of other people, most of them a drain on your resources and/or a pain in the arse when really you'd just like to get on with it. People are either total muppets and make things worse or they are great, in that they make you laugh and stop you doing any real work, either way, team work is a BAD IDEA for the company as a whole) Yes, being part of a team is crucial to getting a job done effectively. The most important element of team work is communication (yawn...drone on like a robot for 2 minutes).

Interviewer 2: Can you think of a time when you have dealt with something which hasn't gone to plan?

Me: (Let out a involuntary guffaw of laughter and then frantically scrabble through mind to try and recall something which I could dare to actually share in an interview, but all I can see is blood, mental health units, crying people, small children weeing in very inappropriate places and, erm, that German guy in the Youth Hostel frantically trying to pump up my balls. I need to search deeper. There is NOTHING since I had children which is fit for interview-consumption) Erm, yes. I was once running a training seminar (something like 10 years ago) and when we got up in the morning the venue was under several foot of water. That posed some interesting problems.

Interviewer 2: Wow, yes, I can imagine. So what did you do?

Me: (Think YEE HAA AND PRAISE THE LORD!!! I haven't got to spend an entire day making an arse of myself infront of miserable gits in tweed. I can go home early and lie about on the sofa watching This Morning and eating cake) Well I immediately put in to place an effective and comprehensive communication strategy to inform those affected.....(i..e I phoned them all up and told them not to come and then stood at the top of the motorway sliproad with a sign saying 'event cancelled').

Interviewer 1: Well thank you for your time, could you just let me have your CRB form so I can photocopy it?

Me: Yes certainly (reaching into handbag feeling rather organised for once).

Interviewer 1: (Looks down at CRB form, looks confused, looks more confused, peers closely at what should be proof that I have no history of molesting children or robbing old ladies).

Interviewer 1: Erm, sorry, this is isn't your CRB form.

Me: Oh sorry (more like oh shit!).

Interviewer 1: No. It's actually a tourist information leaflet on boat trips to go Puffin watching on Lundy Island.

Me: Ah so it is......

Interviewer 1: Have you been? To Lundy that it is?

Me: Err, no (and to tell you the truth I have no idea how it even got in my handbag).

Interviewer 2: Well it's been wonderful meeting you. If you could just fill in the Occupational Health forms and I'm sure we'll meet again.......

Me: (Only if I lie on the forms).

Well it take all sorts......and something's got to pay for those curtains.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

An Adult Education

I have had, through my door, a booklet outlining what Somerset has to offer in terms of Adult Education.

During darker times, this document has cheered me up no end.

There are parts which are, to be frank, bonkers.

This may sound rich coming from someone who goes around attempting to get adults wrestling with my giant balls whilst panting and connecting with their pelvic floors, but hey, that's different.....(and at least I don't get people to lie on mattresses and cry, well unless they go home to do that bit?).

Anyway, my own activities aside, I can tell I've gone West and back where I belong.

I'm used to evening classes being all 'Cooking for One', 'Double Entry Book Keeping for the New' and 'How to Spend 12 Weeks Slaving Over A Sewing Machine Only to Produce a Pair of Trouser Which Could Only Be Used for the Back End of a Panto Camel'.

That was my attempt at learning dress making but my career ended prematurely when I used a pattern for a pair of floaty wide leg summer trousers and, for my fabric, selected thick GOLD velvet. Very thick. I think it may actually have been upholstery fabric. Nope, I have no idea what I was thinking either. I should have just cut my loses, chopped off the waist band and turned them into two extra-fat draught excluders, but instead I took them home and tried them on alone before sending them to Help the Aged. I've never got over it.

Evening classes here seem a little different.

Don't get me wrong, there is still your Lace Making, Pottery and German Immersion (turns out its in the language, not amongst being dipped amongst actual German bodies) - but amid all this is an eclectic mix if ever I saw one.

Let's take a closer look......

We have 'Solar Panel DIY' (who would have thought there was such a market for fiddling with your own solar panels?), 'Bee Smart -for people with no experience with bees' (??), a 12 hour course on 'First steps with your digital camera enabling you to change the settings' (alternatively you could save yourself £60 and read the manual, but hey, that's just a suggestion) and an intriguing sounding course called 'Taming the Shrew - could this be you?' Aimed at women going through the menopause.

We also have:

Practical Animal Workshop - Dogs
'Learn how to handle, communicate and control dogs, using kind methods'.

What as opposed to a course educating you on how to control dogs using cruel and inhumane things like sticks and electric prods? It makes no mention of bringing our own dog and is held in a hall so I guess no real dogs are involved? Do you think everyone has to 'pretend' with a stuffed toy or do they use eachother? 'Please secure a lead around Cyril's neck and if he sits when asked, reward him with a chicken morsel and a tummy rub. Do NOT kick him or jerk him to strongly'. I bet they love it. Most popular course in the prospectus I would imagine.

Next to that (and if it's got you thinking) there is:

Philosophy - Part 1
'What exactly is philosophy? If it can help you think more clearly and expose, nonsense, why haven't you done it before'?

Erm, I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Interestingly there is no 'Philosophy - Part 2' listed. Perhaps once is enough for everyone? Or they just learn to think more clearly and 'expose nonsense'?

Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster - Offshore
Experience the channel in the classroom!

Forgive me for pointing out a small problem with this but surely the classroom (in landlocked Illminster) is not 'offshore'? I've got visions of a dozen men of a certain age, wearing thick jumpers and yellow wellies whilst sitting atop a school desk and rocking it from side to side vigorously. Meanwhile someone flickers the lights on and off and plays a tape of 'waves crashing'. Ahh I can almost taste the sea......

The course includes 'navigating offshore passages'. I find this a teensy bit worrying. Do they leave the class room blind -folded and have to direct each other to the toilets and back without bumping into any tea trolleys or stacks of chairs?

Perhaps before embarking on this you would have been wise to attend:

Five Animal Frolics

You what!? WHAT!? This got me reading more. I had visions of learning to 'frolic' with 5 different types of beast. But no. Apparently 'Five Animal Frolics is an ancient Chinese Qigong Practice'.

Riiiiight. So that clears up my confusion there then.

If that confused me then I was even more befuddled by:

Singing Bowel Meditations and Applications
'Experience singing bowel sounds for emotional wellbeing'.

Even for Glastonbury this sounded a bit way out. Do people actually come together, open their mouths and make farting noises in order to restore inner peace? I needed to know more! I mean I used to go a Pilate's class where the instructor asked us to relax our anuses and once lent me a book which turned out to be highly disturbing, pornographic and badly translated from French (slightly awkward one that, she said she'd 'known it was for me the minute she saw me', before handing it over with a special smile. I never felt comfortable relaxing my anus in front of her again).

Then I realised I'd misread the title and it was actually Singing BOWL Meditations. A quick Google assures me that the bowls are Tibetan, stop 'internal dialogue' and don't make farting noises.

I still like the farting idea though. I might put a proposal forward.

I mean someone out there is getting paid to run a 6 week, 12 hour course on (brace yourself for this)

'Buying and Selling on Ebay'.

'By the end of the course you will be able to set up an account and have insight into its use'.

An INSIGHT!? After 12 hours of paid tuition I'd be wanting complete mastery with knobs on.

Well I'll be blowed.

Coming soon to a village hall near you (run by me):

'How to open a blog account and, if you're feeling brave, write some words on the Internet!'

Price includes unlimited cheap squash and custard creams, bring your own mattress for compulsory crying and perhaps a bowl to block out your inner voices. Frolicking with Chinese Animals not compulsory but who doesn't want to grapple with a Giant Panda? Menopausal women especially welcome. Offshore passages will not be navigated and kindness to dogs will be encouraged'.

It got 'sold out' written all over it.