Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Zombie Badgers and Other Curses

The strings to my bow (Strongbow?) are many and varied.

When I am not teaching people the most effective way of massaging a perinium (if you don't know what that is, don't Google it at work) or getting them to groan into big balls, I am coaching people through equestrian examinations. Well actually, my friend (the mad one with the stiff badger problem) had a big 'horse' exam coming up so she asked me (who else?) to go round and pretend to examine her. On the way there I couldn't help but notice not 1, not 2 but 3 dead badgers at the side of various roads.


The Haunting.

Not wanting to dwell on the prospect of Attack of the Zombie Badgers I parked up in the farmyard and, arming myself with several 'British Horse Society' publications and the exam syllabus (plus circa 17 cups of tea) got testing.

It was an education, that was for sure.

Me: Right, this section is on Health & Safety, OK?

Friend: OK.

Me: Right, you find me lying in the middle of the stable yard. What would you do?

Friend: Wonder what the f*** you are up to.

Me: No. Fail. Imagine I'm an employee, like a PROPER one. What would you do?

Friend: Are you conscious or unconscious?

Me: Erm, conscious.

Friend: I'd give you a kick and ask you what the f*** you were up to.

Me: That is not going to get you a pass.

Friend: Okay okay, I'd kneel down and ask you if you hurt anywhere and if you could feel your legs and then, if you could, help you up.

Me: Better. What if I was unconscious?

Friend: Unconscious? Oh my god. I'd scream and call an ambulance. Maybe throw water on you? I don't know!

Me: Erm, have you done your First Aid training?

Friend: No.

Me: Ok remind me not to lose consciousness in your presence. I think we need to file this one under 'could try harder, needs more work'.

Friend: Ok don't go ON about it!

Me: Lets move on to 'Care of the Grass Kept Horse'.

Friend: Yes, lets.

Me: Ok it says here that you should be checking the horse paddock twice a day, including a perimeter search. What are you checking for?

Friend: That the horses are still in the field?

Me: Well that would be a good starting point.

Friend: Yeah and that the fencing is in good condition, the horses have fresh water and there's no foreigners there.

Me: FOREIGNERS!? FOREIGNERS? What like a selection of French exchange students having a picnic?

Friend: NO! Foreign things like poisonous plants. That might have appeared.

Me: What randomly appeared? Like you suddenly notice a giant Yew tree has materialised in the middle of the field? One day - nothing. The next: 12 foot of glistening toxic evergreen?

Friend: Well that would be a nightmare!
Me: Errr, yeah.

Friend: Well it would be because you can never cut down a Yew tree. It carries a curse.

Me: WHAT!?

Friend: Yeah it's true. If you chop down a Yew tree it curses you forever. We had one up the top field and none of us would touch it.

Me: Where's it gone now then?

Friend: We got my dad to burn it down and dig up the stump.

Me: Erm was this before or after he had another nervous breakdown, tried to shoot himself and ran off to live in a bedsit?

Friend: Before.

(At this point we sort of look at each other in a slightly shocked 'moment of realisation' way before collapsing in a sort of nervous hysteria).

Me: Okay - can I suggest you don't bring this up in the exam. You know. Stay off the topics of foreigners, your lack of resuscitation skills, yew trees and curses?

Friend: Yeah. And badgers.

Me: Yeah. And badgers.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Morning in the Life of a Mother - 6 months on

Back in September (September? It seems like a lifetime ago), I did a post entitled 'Morning in the Life a Mother'. Judging by it's popularity there are a lot of mothers out there who need this kind of post. I think it makes them feel normal. Or better. Or just not quite as bad as they were feeling they might be. Or (in fact) just not quite as bad as me......

Anyway, in the interests of keeping up the experiment and also because, since then, I have moved to the other side of the country and the toddler has started pre-school (oh how deeply deeply happy does this make me?) I thought I would do an update.

So here, my dear people, is what my life is like now, 6 months on. In some some ways its easier. In some ways its more 'challenging'. In every way it is, still, 'Slightly South of Sanity':

My day starts (yet again) in the early hours of the morning. 3am to be precise. My OH has gone to London on a train (hopefully with a rucksack full of tinned mackerel....) and I'm lying next my older child (who has no bed and no bedroom due to the building works that are STILL going on in our house) when I hear the painful cries of the toddler echoing up the stairs.





Oh yes. That's right. He's in bed without his beloved 'blue rag' (the same one my OH sucked down the hoover that fateful day). Last night he fell asleep in the car and was put in his cot and everyone failed to notice the blue rag was missing.

I have better things to do at 3am then scour the entire house for a piece of tatty blue muslin cloth the size of a flannel, but such was the volume of his rage that I felt I had no choice.

20 minutes later (he's still at full volume) I contemplate cutting up a pair of blue pyjamas but know, in my heart, that will never pass muster. There is only one blue rag.

10 minutes later I find the 'blue rag'. In my bloody bed. In my BLOODY BED! The one I should have been sleeping in. I have no idea how it got there. An evil joke indeed.

I throw the 'blue rag' on to his sweaty, rage filled face and within 20 seconds he's asleep (how does that work? That love for a piece of cloth!? CLOTH! Cloth with powers).

I, eventually, fall back into a fractured sleep. Until.......5am! Yes at 5am he's off again. This time he's soaked in his own piss.

Jeez - can he not leave this a few years? You know, until the years of 12 pints of Stella and a bad kebab?

Clearly not. He's done so much wee it's gone through a 'super' nappy, through his pyjamas, through his entire bed. I fumble around drying him off and changing his bedding (well throwing a large towel over the wet - one of my new 'makes your pubic hair look infested ' towels no less). I go back to bed. As my head hits my pillow, my eldest son rises up from his pillow and attempts to start up a conversation about British Summer Time. Not now son. NOT NOW. And then a freight train goes passes. 'Hold me up mummy! HOLD ME UP!' (he wants to watch it out of the Velux windows in the roof - the ones several feet above the bed). I groan from my pillow and the freight train passes. He starts to sob.......

Sometime later I admit defeat and give up and get up.

I pick my way downstairs, across the dusty, nail-strewn, jagged floor boards and to the ground floor. The ground floor which is basically a building site apart from the living room. 'Living' room in the loosest sense of the word as all the furniture from everywhere else is piled up in it and there is approximately 2 square foot of carpet from which to operate.

I take the children in some breakfast (which may or may not have been dry Mini Weetabix on a plate) and place it on their 2 square foot of carpet.

I go to get dressed and return to find they have both disappeared. They are now underneath the pile of stacked furniture somewhere near the window, somewhat like vermin.

A lot of shouting ensues and the older one extracts himself. The younger one is, however, stuck. I can't reach him, he can't get out and I can't move the furniture.


I eventually manage to drag him out screaming (whilst standing atop a pile of boxes) by one arm (which, miraculously didn't dislocate).

During this time the builders have arrived and let themselves in (they have a key). They are contemplating the today's re-plastering as I am contemplating getting the children dressed.

The older child's school uniform is thick with plaster dust but I'm beyond worrying about that (he wears a sort of 'dusted and distressed' look). The younger child meanwhile has noticed that his pyjama bottoms feature Iggle Bloody Piggle and he won't take them off. Every time I try to pull them down he screams and screams and screams, shouting 'NO GIGGLE ON, NO GIGGLE ON' louder and louder. In view of the fact that this scene is being watched by a team of builders I decide that life is too short to wrestle with a semi-naked toddler on 2 square foot of (dusty) carpet and he can bloody well go to pre-school in his pyjama bottoms.

I start loading the car with the 250 bags my children seem to need for school only to realise that I need to tackle the builders about the subject of the upstairs paint-job.

You see yesterday we asked them, via a rather crackly mobile phone, to paint one of the bedrooms blue below the dado rail and cream above it. That is blue and cream. I came home to find it beautifully painted and green. As in 'blue and green should never be seen'.


'We did wonder what on earth you'd been smoking!' one of them replied.

Hmm, clearly not as much as they have.

Anyway the blue and green is staying. I can't be arsed to get it changed. I will theme the room around 'the world' and the green can be the land and the blue the sea. Some stick on sea monsters and a few volcanoes and 'voila' - Laurence Llewellyn Bowen eat your heart out.

Anyway this decorating conversation took place whilst I was stacking the car with stuff and thus we set off without my son's swimming bag......


Sometimes later we are stuck in traffic when my son notices a large badger at the side of the road (yes, seriously, the Haunting by Badgers continues).

'Mummy, is he waiting to the cross the road?' he enquires.

Considering his body is tilted at an angle of 45 degrees, his tongue his sticking out and he's stiff as a board, probably not but lets not dwell on that. At least he's got a view of the pylons......

We (finally) get to the school.

Lockers are loaded, book bags deposited, coats hung. Original son hits the playground and KABOOM - straight over his own feet his face hits the floor.


Blood, spit and tears.

The bell goes.

'Mummy (sob, sniff) you can't leave me when I'm still hurting!'.
'Darling, I can and I have to........' (I think I'm more scared of his teacher than he is).

Smaller child gets hustled into playgroup (in his pyjamas) and I hit the road off to see my new nephew.

Bum on sofa, tea at hand, baby in arms, several hours later........OH. MY. GOD.

I've forgotten to get the toddler from Pre-School.


I (eventually) track down my mother (who is on the banks of a canal feeding some robins....) and inform her of my utter failure. She comes to the rescue.

And by then it's the afternoon and as this post is about the Morning in the Life of a Mother I have to stop there.

Which is probably a rather good thing.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Birthday Boy

First off - apologies if this post is slightly garbled. In light of the fact that the government has decided that I should contribute more than the average punter to repaying the National Debt by raising the price of cider dramatically, I have tried out some whisky.

I'm not sure it was a good move.

I've only had 3 (largish) swigs and the floor is moving.

Anyway moving on (gently).

I'm sitting here drinking my OH's fancy whisky and he's on a train to London. Which is sad because it's his birthday. He had the day off work but as he needs to be in London for work first thing tomorrow his plans of a nice dinner, a bit of booze and some love (some love? Who am I kidding. We have a displaced child sleeping in our bed, a hole in the dining room wall and most of our furniture taking up the only habitable living space. It would take more than the Karma Sutra to find a suitable position. It would take a fork lift truck and a team of builders).

Anyway - despite the rather rubbish ending, I hope he enjoyed the rest of his birthday.

Because of 'the current situation' (i.e the state of things, in particular the house) I wasn't able to give much time or preparation for the big day. In fact the only preparation I was able to give was standing in Sainsbury's yesterday thinking 'oh shit, it's his birthday tomorrow, what the hell am I going to buy him?'.

I contemplated some new socks and perhaps a vest but then realised he wasn't actually my grandad and our relationship hasn't quite reached that point so had a quick rethink.

Well what would you do?

He doesn't want aftershave or a new dressing gown or a selection of spring bulbs.

He doesn't want breakfast cereal or chicken fillets or toilet rolls.

No. What this man needs is tinned mackerel.

Not just ANY tinned mackerel but a medley of tinned mackerel.

He's always been a fan of the oily fish. It keeps his coat glossy and his eyes bright. Rather like a Labrador. So I thought I'd indulge him.

Mackerel in sunflower oil.
Mackerel in olive oil.
Mackerel in tomato sauce.
Mackerel in spicy tomato sauce.
Mackerel in mustard sauce.
Mackerel in pepper sauce.
Mackerel in chili sauce.

Surely every man's fantasy?

This morning I came downstairs and made him a cup of tea and a hot cross bun and then the kids and I burst in and thrilled him with our selection of the Fruits of the Sea (actually we woke him up and gave him an awful shock but the thought was there).

I think his exact words were 'oh great!' followed by a pained smile.

'Well you won't be stuck for lunch ideas now!' I added (with a pained smile).

At this point WWIII broke out between the children as they both developed a sudden and insatiable desire to add 'full complement of tinned mackerel' to their toy collection.

Apparently tins of mackerel make excellent train carriages and also marvellous towers. And you can't just have half the tins. Oh no - you must have ALL the tins. And you will fight to the death to get them (including lobbing them at each other's heads).

Tins of mackerel confiscated and removed to a 'very high shelf' we left my OH on his floor cushions (remember, this man is still sleeping on the floor) with his cold hot cross buns and tepid tea and retreated to the rubble filled ground floor.

Happy Birthday OH. I hope you know how special you are. There's no other man out there I'd buy mackerel.........

And this weekend I will re-open The Tedster Bistro. The special 'home restaurant' I only open for birthday's and anniversaries where I cook 3 marvelous courses all themed around dead pets.

What more do you want?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Life, Death and Love

Hello people.

Sorry I haven't been on for a while. Firstly I've had trouble getting on the internet full stop and then, even when I have, I've been too tired to actually type. I think if I could use one word to describe my current state it would be 'brittle'. I think that's like fragile but with harder edges. I feel so tired that I forget what I'm saying mid-sentence. I leave the keys in the car ignition and find out in the morning I've forgotten to take my clothes off when I went to bed.

I think the last year (or should that be years?) are catching up with me a bit now that I'm in a better place. They say that when you are going through things you kind of run on adrenaline and somehow cope (I guess my coping includes being consigned to a psychiatric unit but we won't dwell on that....) and it's when the dust settles that your body and mind go 'urgh'. A nice restful sunny summer should fix it.

On the better side of life I'm an Auntie! My brother and his wife (this is my lovely Sister in Law, not the 'Special Pasta' one - she hasn't any plans to breed - thank god. She's probably serve the baby up with raw onion and frozen mince) had a gorgeous baby boy 48 hours ago. This makes me very very happy indeed.

Meanwhile, the ceiling in the toddler's bedroom fell down and he's now sleeping in the office. The wall of the eldest son's bedroom was found to be rotten and he's now sleeping.......... IN OUR BLOODY BED. He doesn't make the best of bed partners. I wake up with his foot in my back. Or my face.

A bad bedfellow he might be, but he does provide me with a unique and rather lovely view of the world at times. As I'm beyond thinking this evening I shall present you with a summary of his thoughts on those things that make the world go round - namely Life, Death and Love.

On Life:

Me: Wow! Your baby cousin will be here soon! He's just getting ready to be born!
Him: When he comes out will the skin go back together?
Me: Erm, yes (sort of).
Him: I do know where the baby comes out you know.
Me: Do you? (Actually - why am I surprised. Given that this child has grown up in a house where a full set of graphic cross-sections of childbirth are kept beneath the sofa, including a rather fetching one of the baby's head rotating as it exits. We used to have a copy of 'Active Birth' in the bathroom but my OH was so alarmed by seeing that much pubic hair whilst cleaning his teeth that it was relocated to a locked cupboard).
Him: Yes mummy. That place which is SO hairy (does he read this blog?) AND has NO WILLY.

So there we have it.

On Death:

(Whilst feeding the 32 year old horse named Oscar who resides in a field behind my parent's house).

Him: Mummy why doesn't Oscar have shiny shoes on? (I'm guessing he means horse shoes here? Not patent Mary Janes?)
Me: Well he is VERY old so nobody rides him so he doesn't need shoes on. He just lives in this field.
Him: Yes, that's right. And soon he will die.
Me: Erm, yes, he will die one day (whilst thinking 'whhoooaaaa!').
Him: When he gets to the next number he will die (what? Is he some kind of horse prophet?)
Me: Maybe.
Him: But he won't mind.
Me: No that's right (he clearly knows more about horse after-life than I do).
Him: No he won't mind because all these years he's been stood in this field able to look at those telegraph poles and the pylons in the distance. That would make ANYONE happy. Anyone.


On Love:

Me: Now DON'T tell me anything about it but have you made anything at school this week to give me on Mother's Day?
Him: Yes. I've made you a card which is in my book bag and it's blue and on the front I have drawn you a BEAUTIFUL freight train diesel engine which is yellow and with a pylon in the background.

And he had.

Right I'm off to bed now to spend another night with the boy's (who loves me enough to draw me freight trains and believes that heaven lies at the feet of the pylons) feet in my face......

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Well bit by bit the building work is getting there and we now have a 'shower room' (i.e. a very small upstairs bathroom). This is VERY exciting.

Firstly there is a lock on the door so I can shut the toddler out and go about my business without him hanging on my leg sobbing. He may be on the other side of the door sobbing (and hammering) but at least I can't actually see him.

Secondly, it contains a heated-towel-rail, an item I have been hankering after ever since I achieved my previous 'great aim' of acquiring a giant pom pom (remind me to blog about the pom pom sometime). The heated-towel-rail is a sign that I have truly made it I feel.

Thirdly, it means that since moving house I've gone from having one toilet that doesn't really flush to having TWO toilets. That FLUSH. What with that and a heated-towel-rail I am clearly now moving on up.

Anyway, all this called for celebrating in the form of purchasing a new toilet brush and some towels that weren't actually the colour of 'ingrained dirt and possibly some mildew'. To guard against future discolourings, I went for brown.

So tonight (after a day which lets just say could have been better) I treated myself to a shower in my new shower room. I then plucked my new towels from my new heated-towel-rail (I'm just showing off now aren't I?) and gave myself a vigorous rub down.

I bent down to dry between my toes and...............


There were little brown things scattered around my 'feminine area' (I have to be careful what I say here, having once offended a man to the point of him writing in when I mentioned wee - but I'm hoping you know what I'm talking about? You know, the area previously denuded in the Curious Incident of the Chemical Burns which has now returned to full bloom).


Now my son did recently have a letter home about an outbreak of nits at his school but I had NO idea nits were that brown or that big and surely there wouldn't be that many so quickly and, besides anything else, what on earth where they were doing 'down there'? I thought nits down there were called.......

Oh my god. No. Surely not? How on earth?

My mind raced. Maybe it wasn't lice? Maybe it was some other kind of infestation? I mean stranger things have happened (to me). Maybe the toddler had poured coffee granules into the laundry basket or a family of immature woodlice had relocated to the knicker draw?

I steeled myself for a closer look.

I plucked one for a closer examination.

I lay it under one of the (new) spotlights........

It was a piece of a fluff from the new brown towel.

Ah well - at least I hadn't raced off down the doctors and asked for a full examination of my crabs......

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Pink Pussies

Well the big news here is that (brace yourself) my new bedroom has reached the stage of having a carpet and my mattress has moved from the living room floor to the bedroom floor!! Whoop whoop. The kids are slightly devastated at the loss of their 'soft play centre' but I am over the moon I now have a living room you can actually walk in (rather than bound from point to point). It is slightly odd sleeping upstairs but I'm sure I'll get used to it. The next step is obtaining a bed.

The next news is that I've been poorly. The day after I tossed the badger my eyes swelled up,3 went all red and started to close. I know what your thinking, by catapulting that badger across the barn I have somehow upset the laws of Badger Karma and this is my punishment. Either that or I've got TB.

No it's not badger related, I think (pray?) it's just a virus. By Friday it had progressed to a migraine and the inability to move very far (or breathe very hard) so I had to call in my mum to do the school run (this is a huge luxury I've never had before as I've never lived near family).

While my mum was here she asked if there was anything else she could do for me and I realised that on Saturday my son had a 5 year old's birthday party to go to and I had no present. to send Could she possibly (as she was going to the supermarket anyway) pick up something for a 5 year old boy?

Yes of course she could. No problem.

Thanks mum BUT LISTEN. When you are choosing this gift can you please please please bear something in mind?

1. It's not 1982 anymore and times have moved on.

2. Even when it was 1982 you did me no favours by insisting that I wore nothing but lace up Startrite shoes or wellies 24/7 (I think they may have even been boys' Startrite shoes), dressing me in those brown corduroy dungarees with appliqued ducks on which a relative sent via the post inside an old 'Winalot' dog food bag and thus always smelt slightly of a dried meat dog biscuits.

3. My son is not like 'every other 5 year old boy'. My son may be sitting here now watching a BBC Four documentary on Indian Hill Railways and clutching a slightly battered stuffed guinea pig (a toy one, I haven't yet added taxidermy to the list of option awaiting the Dead Pets) but many other 5 year old boys are keener to open presents emblazoned with words like KABBOOMMM!!! SMASH!!!! FAST!!! and linked to some kind of commercial television programme. If you really can't face that, just get some Lego. OK?

What was I thinking!?


This was, after all, the woman who bought her 18 year old only daughter a men's fern green dressing gown from M&S as her 'Coming of Age' birthday present. Not to mention that in the face of 'but everyone else is going as Madonna!' sent her daughter to school dressed as an elephant...... (and don't forget the Spandex Lacewing).

She returned with.......

.......a £2.99 'Make Your Own Pom Pom Pets' set replete with photos of kittens adorned with pink sequins. PINK SEQUINS!

I toyed with the idea of crawling from my sick bed (actually as I haven't got a bed it's my sick mattress) to supplement it with a 'Death Eating Cage Wrestler' or similar but couldn't actually be arsed.

So sorry mate - and at the end of the day who knows, maybe sequined pink pussies are right up your tree? This could be the start of something beautiful.

Or maybe not.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Badger Tossing

Scene: Over at the house of one of my childhood friends (you can tell she's childhood - you tolerate her and her 'adventures' like family). She lives out in the wilds on a farm and leads a life that makes my goings on look utterly dull. I've just finished a morning working with her in the great outdoors.

Friend: Stickhead (she does actually call me that, always has done, long story).
Me: Yup.
Friend: Before you head on, could you do me a favour?
Me: Erm, yes (already wary).
Friend: There's something in the end barn that needs moving. You'd better bring a barrow and a pitchfork.
Me: Righty ho (even more wary).

(We pick our way through knee deep mud to the aforementioned barn).

Friend: Ok, at the weekend I was in here and I noticed a badger curled up in the straw.
Friend: Errr yeah. And it looks well fierce so I didn't get too close. And I'm worried because I can't get the door closed as it's too swollen.
Me: WHAT!? The badger is so swollen you can't shut the barn door!?
Friend: No you idiot. The barn door is swollen, not the badger. Anyway I need the badger out of there.
Me: Right. Can you not just shoo it out!?
Friend: Well I think it might be dead.
Me: And you reasoning for that is?
Friend: Well, it hasn't moved since Sunday.
Me: Point taken.
Friend: It gives me the fear.
Me: Seriously? (This girl grew up on a farm and I've seen her with my own eyes plucking geese and chopping up dead chickens).
Friend: Yeah. Could you have a closer look? Just in case it's not dead like.
Me: Well I'd say it's defiantly dead (it's lying there all stiff with a glazed look in it's eyes). I don't need to get any closer.
Friend: What if it's hibernating?
Me: Badgers do not hibernate.
Friend: Are you SURE? I don't want it to burst into life.
Me: It's not about to burst anywhere. I can assure you (although I have a small surge of fear that it might defy the odds and come back to life the minute I get near. If you aren't overly au fait with badgers then they are the largest carnivorous mammal in the UK. They have very sharp teeth, VERY sharp claws, are very strong and not pleasant if threatened).

Me: Anyway can you help me get it in the barrow. If you hold shovel, I can move it with the pitchfork.
Me: Oh for gods sake. Give me the pitchfork and I'll get it in the barrow myself (clearly 5 years of changing nappies has totally desensitised me to horrible sights).
Friend: Do you think we should work out why it died first? I think you're meant to report it.
Me: Are YOU volunteering to conduct an autopsy?
Friend: Err, no.
Me: Well then. We shall just dispose of it and no one will ever know (I have many years experience of disposing of dead pets in illegal fashions).

With that I start trying to lift it up with a pitchfork.

Small problem.

It weighs about 4 stone, is much too large to fit on the end of the pitchfork, is rock solid and awfully stiff.

Me: Gah - it's too heavy, I can't hold it, hang on, I'm going to have to toss it......
Friend: DON'T!
Me: URRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH (inhuman strength surges through my arms. At the end of the day I do not want the bugger coming back on top of me).

With that I lever it up with the pitchfork and with an almighty heave-ho fire catapult it across the barn. It hits the bottom of the wheelbarrow with an almighty thwack and comes to rest.

Friend: What the f**k did you do that for!?
Me: As opposed to what? Caress it's disease ridden body with both arms and give it a full State Funeral?

(Actually by this point a kind of grim black humour had overtaken us and we couldn't stand upright for laughing so hard. Sorry badger - God rest your rather stiff soul and all that).

At this point my phone bleeps with a text.

Husband: Do you want lunch? Where are you?
Me: I'm just tossing a dead badger. I think I'll give lunch a miss.
Husband: Erm, Ok.

Friend: Can you move the barrow for me and empty it.
Me: Yeah.
Friend: I just can't be TOTALLY sure it's dead.
Me: (In disbelief) What else do you need me to do to demonstrate it's dead?
Friend: I get your point, but all the same, it could be hibernating........