I thought I hadn't blogged for over a year but, lo, it turns out it's more like 11 months so I feel positively virtuous now.
How are things with me? Well much like they were 11 months ago - only kind of on steroids. Or psychotropic drugs. Or both.
The giant dog is even bigger and ate my mother's Chesterfield sofa. We threw a blanket over the gaping wound and kind of pretend it never happened.
The cats now number 3 but this number is subject to rapid change at any one point pending road accidents, kidney disorders or children finding kittens they simply MUST adopt.
The guinea pigs now number zero (sad times) following a massive accidental population explosion followed by a mass escape (they would regularly pop up on local news feeds on my Facebook page under titles like 'FOUND in the taxi rank' or 'this guinea pig was in our recycling bin this morning - anyone know it?' and I'd have to go and reclaim them but often people adopted them so that was kind of a novel way to rehome them) followed by my penning in all the remaining critters only for a stoat to get in one night….. The rest as they say is history. As are the guinea pigs. First time I've been without any in living memory and every time I take the leaves off a cauliflower and have nowhere useful to put them I get a little pang.
Eldest child knows even more about trains than he did last time I blogged and had a lovely holiday sat by the pool in his socks reading 'Railways Illustrated' before befriending a large cat which sadly resided in a bar called 'Striptease Discotech!' which ever more sadly was next to 'Beverly Hills Swingers Club!'. This led to some interesting conversations about appropriate places to hang out with cats. Or not.
Younger child is still so loud he breaks windows (well actually he broke a window at a Stately Home with a stone rather than his voice but we won't dwell on that mainly due to my highly mature response of 'holy fuck, RUN!!! EVERYBODY RUN TO THE WOODS…..'). He's draped his socks over my tele in the hope of luring out Santa early and has taken to role playing a 'bee on fire that is crashing to earth and dying'. Restful it is not.
My mum is an ongoing crisis - I'll will demonstrate this in a moment when I tell you the tale of the Stella and Mr Woody.
I'm single - by choice. I could tell you many an entertaining story involving plants of love, golliwog gifts (I kid yeee not) and anal love beads (unopened but non-returnable) but that would be cruel so lets just leave it that I don't have time to be involved with anyone in a manner that involves any kind of energy.
My life is one going blur of 12.5 hour shifts, commuting, children, pets, logistical childcare nightmares and laughing so I don't cry.
And with that let me get back to my mother.
So on my birthday we went on a coach trip to the Sea Life Centre through a local charity. It wasn't my actual birthday dream to return to the scene of Beaver Creek (see previous blog post) or in fact stare once again at various fish (although I do rather like the Garden Eels) but it was on, it filled a hole in the summer holidays and it happened to be on my birthday.
Things didn't get off to the best of starts. Mother turned up late and we almost missed the coach. She was shaking hard and appeared in the grip of terror. God knows why - if anyone should have been shaking it was me as my youngest child was in a hyperactive frenzy, had put a straw bag over his head and for reasons known only to him was shouting about Afghanistan. Eldest child had a face like thunder and was repeatedly informing me that he hated sea creatures, it was windy (which he hates), there would be queues (intolerable), there would be no trains or in fact heavy industry of any type and the coach wasn't even going on the motorway so this was basically THE WORST DAY OF HIS LIFE.
Happy Bloody Birthday.
About half way there I asked mother if she had actually bought me a birthday present? Oh she said appearing startled 'Happy Birthday darling!' and with that she whipped out a can of Strongbow from the bottom of her picnic hamper.
A can of Strongbow.
On coach trip for children with special needs.
As a birthday present.
Much as I was tempted to down it there and then I decided the day was probably going to get worse before it got better and I'd save it as long as I could. Like a kind of watered down cyanide pill.
By lunchtime eldest child was kind of banging his head repeatedly against hard objects in abject distress over the endless parade of aquatic lifeforms so I decided we should all sit down in the Toddler Splashpool area and have lunch.
With this Mother, to my complete dismay, cracked open a can of Stella and without warning or explanation bellowed across the frisking semi-naked toddlers 'why HELLO MY WOODY!'.
The children, startled, looked to me for reassurance that I just could not give.
I'm sure my dad spun in his grave.
'Mother!' I demanded 'what ARE you doing!'.
'Talking to that Wood Pigeon darling! Look he's just over there with his fine lady wife!'.
And with that she shouted 'MY TOE HURTS BETTY!'.
People who had been nervously glancing after the Woody explosion were openly staring now. Really staring. Eldest child was just about self combusting with shame.
'MOTHER!!!' I demanded 'WHAT IS THIS!?'.
'It's the cry of the Wood Pigeon darling! MY TOE HURTS BETTY MY TOE HURTS BETTY MY TOE HURTS BETTY!'. (I've since googled this and it's recognised bird thing but still, that doesn't make it any better, or appropriate).
'Grandma!' exclaimed my eldest 'never in my life have I heard a bird say that!'.
'MY TOE HURTS BETTY!' Mother continued to yell 'waving her can of Stella aloft in rare moment of seemingly unbridled joy.
And with that I decided it was time to crack open my birthday can.
If you can't beat them then at least meet them half way.
Argh it's good to be back and debrief this shit.
Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the Naked Pedalo Incident.