Monday, January 30, 2006

Move along, nothing to read here.

So every day I sit and wonder what I’m going to type about. Some days it’s obvious, as some escapade leaves me with the need to get it down, whether it be to share my frustration, or amusement. Other days…nothing!

Today is a nothing day. And it’s no real surprise as I’ve done nothing today. Except the usual of course, like shopping, clearing-up, bleaching a damp infested wall, and the school runs. I could type a vitriol about the man who’s supposed to be picking up my (absent and overseas) friend’s computer, as he’s the reason I’ve stayed in, and phone kept close in case he can’t find the house. Bet the sod calls to say he’s coming tomorrow. And then I’ll have to get shirty and point out that I do have a life, or would, if I didn’t have to stay home waiting on people.

Maybe I should tell you about Hamish. You’ve heard about this sweetheart before, J’s first boy friend (no not boyfriend, boy friend – she’s not mad about the male of the species. Yet.) He came out of class this afternoon, and eyed up the group of teenage girls waiting for another of his classmates. After waiting to see who the bevy of beauties were waiting for, he turned to his mother and announced, ‘Felicity’s got sexy friends!’ Bearing in mind he’s only four, his mother and I shared astonished giggles. And I guess being the youngest of three boys does make aware of these things a lot earlier!

And he is nearly five, as is my J. In fact they share their birthday and are supposed to be having a party together. I say supposed to be, because us grown-ups have talked about it for the last three months but have yet to book anything. We have a date on Wednesday to finalise what we’re doing. And I’m worried.

I thought sharing a party would mean a saving in my pocket. On the location front I think I’ve got some promising options, and Hamish’s mom told me with glee that she’s found a wonderful childrens act to entertain the monsters darlings with. But bloody hell do they cost! Two men, doing something with custard pies and other silly things comes to near on two hundred quid. Is it me, am I tight? Well yes, I know I am, but I wouldn’t be if I actually had the money to throw at these things. But I don’t. But I also can’t see how I can get out of it. I guess there’s a lesson for me – do not agree to share kids birthday parties with people who (obviously) have money!

Oh well, guess we live and learn. And maybe I should get into childrens entertainment?! On second thoughts, only two hundred pounds?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

It’s internet free day!

Who thinks up these ridiculous ‘days’??!! The newsreader suggests we log off and enjoy real life instead – which with reluctance I’m doing! Don’t normally have so much against real life, but today I’m clearing out the office. Yuck. Seems we have (yet another) damp problem. Woe is me and my nose.

And my stomach! Seems after battling my cold, my body has succumbed to S’s tummy bug. Oh yes, real life is a blast. On the bright side, I’ll deserve some chocolate when I’m better!

Friday, January 27, 2006


It’s Friday, and having done nothing yesterday, my cold has receded and I feel better. Unfortunately S still has her tummy bug. So I cancelled my plans of meeting a friend for morning tea, and figured S could curl up on the couch whilst I caught up with the accounts I should have finished weeks ago (And yes I know she should be in bed, but a three year old sobs if you tell her she has to lie in a bottom bunk-bed all alone, all morning!)

So with Scooby-doo entertaining, I came into the office. I’m not going to claim all I was doing was the accounts. But I checked on her every twenty minutes and could hear her if she needed anything. In fact, I could hear her happily singing.

Then it was lunchtime and I popped my head in to tell her I had some croissants ready.

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I just stood there. Gaping. In fact I stood silently staring for so long, she freaked and ran to her room (can you tell, I normally have something to say about disaster areas?! Even the dog was nervous of my quiet, see him hiding by the door in the second picture?)
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In case you’re not sure what it is you’re seeing, they’re polystyrene balls from a bean bag. Know anything about polystyrene balls and static? Trust me when I say, you don’t want to!

It’s taken me an hour to vacuum up this mess! Though I seriously doubt I have cleared it all up, as the bloody things walk up walls, stick to curtains, hide along the edge of tables, squeeze inside any nook or corner, stick to your shoes, arms, hands, hair, and they just adore the hoover (but not the inside!)
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What surprises me most is that the bag I’ve fought the spilt balls into, isn’t so large! She only managed to empty about an eighth of the bean bag, so I guess I should be grateful for small mercies.

But P isn’t going to be so pleased when I tell him his bean bag has to go. I made it especially for him, and his minx of a sister got through the zip and pulled apart the lining! But I can’t chance this happening again, as I seriously doubt I would greet the scene with silence next time!
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Oh, and I guess she must have needed the loo mid-drama, as I even had to vacuum the bathroom!!!!

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Isn't it Friday yet?

I’m not feeling too bright. On Tuesday I had a thought about how I had managed to avoid all the nasty bugs going around at the moment. Of course, no sooner did I think this, than I started to get a cold!

So I’m home today (the BH is doing the running around – it’s why he’s got the BH title!) entertaining S, who doesn’t have a cold, but managed to catch the tummy bug instead.

As I’m in the mood for trying new things, and I saw this last Friday at Doug’s, I thought I’d give it a go too.

Thirteen Things about Jona

1. My husband and I started dating seventeen years ago this April. I fell in love with him at an exact moment.

2. I have four children, but only gave birth to one. I much preferred the c-sections!

3. If I had enough imagination with food, I’d be a vegetarian.

4. I had my first kiss at thirteen, with a boy I didn’t like just to get it out the way.

5. I am the third generation of women in my family to get engaged on their twenty-first birthday.

6. I went to seven different schools and loathed most. But my favourite teacher was at two of them, and was the first person ever to believe in me – even before me. At the time, I disliked him for it.

7. I know I have at least four half siblings, but doubt any of them know of me.

8. I left home at sixteen, thankfully the door was always open and I returned several times.

9. My favourite job was in an Estate Agents at Bondi Junction in Sydney. I was responsible for rent collections and got to know all the clients with small talk. It drove my boss mad that I offered them tea and knew all about their lives.

10. I’m not too fussed about going on holidays, but have a dream of going on a riding holiday and sleeping under the stars. (Never mind that I haven’t ridden since I was eleven, or have a son who’s allergic to horses, or that I’ll be too old by the time I can go without the kids!)

11. I have more good friends now, than I ever did as a teenager.

12. I broke my first-love’s heart, but learnt how much it hurt when my second-love broke mine.

13. I became afraid of the sea after I nearly drowned when I was thirteen. My feet got caught in fishing nets protecting swimmers from the rocks, and I can still remember the feeling of calm after I gave up fighting to reach the surface. Luckily for me the boy I had been flirting with noticed I had vanished!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I’m trying something new…

This chap*
has started a new blog, writing forty words a day, for a year, on people who have made an impression upon his life, and mm told me about it as she too is having a go. I love the idea!

It took me half an hour to get down to forty words, but seeing as I wrote one, I figured I might as well create a new blog and join in! Fancy it?

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up here, just that I could do with being a bit more concise and this seems like a fun exercise to help me achieve better writing. And as I said, I love the idea of remembering those who have meant something to me! Just hope I can remember 365 of them…

* (I don't actually know he is a chap, may be a lady, in fact it's such a good idea, it probably is a woman!) Added: err, yes, he's a chap!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

So beautiful…

…I could kick myself! Why is it I keep forgetting my camera?! This morning was exquisite. I woke at half-four and in the moonlight I could see the frost already forming across the lawn. I told myself to get up so I could take a picture, but I closed my eyes for just a second…and then it was half-six and time to rouse the house.

Of course I could have taken a picture right then, but my mind was on who was doing what today, and I didn’t stop to look at the mist till it was light and the girls were getting in the car.

Every road I took revealed more beauty. Almost like a sprinkling of snow, but more perfect because you could still see the sharpness of everything and the dulled colours revealed.

And then the sun rose! Properly! No grey sky today, instead a clear brilliant blue with bright sunshine to make the world sparkle. But not for long. Where the sunlight touched, true colour appeared.

But all day through the shaded patches of lawn, hedges and tress have held the magic of quiet and stillness, contrasted against the noise and vigour of…something beyond winter. Perfectly beautiful, and I am SO glad!

Monday, January 23, 2006

For the first time ever…

I have nothing to say. I know how ridiculous that sounds. And it’s not just the written variety, can’t be bothered to talk much either. It’s the weather. And the time of year. The cold grey sky had plummeted down and infected me.

I could tell you about R’s rugby festival on Saturday, which was fun, though bitterly cold.

But there isn’t much to tell. He ran about enjoying himself while I stood and froze my butt off. (P's the one with the ball!)

I could tell you about my amazing wallpapering skills. But though I spent ALL of Sunday cutting, pasting, and brushing, the room isn’t finished and so you’ll hear about that when I've actually got something to tell.

Oh, one thing I should mention, today is the worst day of the year, and that comes with a scientific formula too! Doesn’t make me feel any better though, so I’ve nothing to add.

But I did have words with P, over whether witches really exist. He thinks they do, and you can tell a witch because they have warts, like his sisters do (each has a wart on their knee). And for P this was the point, that his sisters must be witches, which of course made the girls cry, but he considered quite cool. He listened as I assured them he was talking rubbish, and that witches don’t really exist, whereupon he told me I didn’t know everything and maybe they did in another dimension and maybe they could get here through a door. I told him to prove it when he becomes a quantum physicist. That shut him up. After all, it just not right that a seven-year-old thinks his mother doesn’t know everything!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Angelic nightmare

This is S’s new pseudonym!

Last evening, shortly before nine o’clock, where do you suppose my littlest darling was? Tucked up in bed safe and sound? Hiding out in one of her brothers’ rooms? Unravelling the toilet roll in the bathroom, whilst under the guise of peeing in the right place? Oh, with my Angelic Nightmare I could go on and on…but I reckon some of you have guessed it. At the hospital.

It all began when her big sister fell asleep, and S got bored. She decided to make a funny face. With her own face. How might a three-year-old go about making a funny face? Why with beads of course! Luckily her nose is so small she could only fit the one up there. But it was enough.

She chose a heart, a lovely lilac number, and shoved it (right way up!) as far as it would go. So far in fact, that even with the aid of a torch we could only just spy the very tip. I suppose we should be grateful it hurt and she came and told us immediately, though at some point we may have wondered why she couldn’t stop sticking her finger up her nose and saying, “I can feel it!”

Seeing as I had only just gotten out of the bath and was dripping, the BH earnt the honour of accompanying her to the Accident and Emergency room. Always fun to sit with the poorly, careless, injured and drunk, but at least it’s been well over a year since our last visit and they no longer recognise us on sight.

And apparently she loved it! They have a new kids’ room with lots of toys, and not a peep was heard from her as the doctor stuck some tweezers in and retrieved the offending item. She was then presented with a badge, telling the world what a brave little hero she is!

Heaven help us, as I’m thinking this was way too exciting for her.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One step forward, one step back.

I’m in a bit of a quandary. Is it right to be proud of a child who overcomes a negative personality trait? On the face of it, I think of course!, but then I think about the other kids and how they never made me jump through hoops in the first place…

Well, whatever the correct answer, I’m feeling proud of P at the moment. You see, one of his biggest problems is (not daring to type ‘was’ just yet!) cutting off his nose to spite his face. He’s one of those people who imagines your heart will break, if he punishes himself. For instance, on Monday evening he wanted to watch a movie, but we said no because it was too late for a school night. So with much drama and noise he stormed off to his bedroom shouting that he wouldn’t watch anything then!

I’m sure you can imagine how devastated I was. Not.

He’s been like this for as long as I can remember, and no amount of logic has ever tempted him onto the road of common-sense. Until last night.

We were at the dinner table and he asked if he could go to the canteen today. (The ‘canteen’ is a crappy café at his school which offers the children total rubbish to eat, at exorbitant prices. The boys are allowed to go once a week, based upon certain conditions) Unfortunately P lost this weeks canteen, after he refused to eat several of the meals offered at our own dinner table last week.

When his father said no and reminded him why, P froze mid-mouthful and stared at his plate. It might have ended there with the usual (him refusing to eat any more, him not getting an after dinner treat, him loosing canteen next week, him storming off to his room), but he chose last nights meal, in fact it’s his favourite.

So for five minutes I coaxed, cajoled, and pointed out how foolish it was for him to miss out on a dinner he likes, AND forgo his treat, all because he couldn’t get his own way. And after all, it wasn’t like his behaviour was going to persuade us otherwise! Finally, as J pulled a face at him and told him how silly he was, I asked her to be quiet and explained P reacted like this because he was too young to understand he was the only one missing out. He actually tried arguing with me (which still makes me giggle now), but as his standpoint crumbled so did his resolve.

In a final ditch to get his own way, he offered to eat his dinner in return for a treat and canteen today. And though our response hadn’t changed, I could FINALLY see a flicker of reason showing in his eyes and I quickly pointed out that next week’s canteen was still up for grabs.

A stony silence followed, broken only by J and S arguing over the last of the nan bread – which I wouldn’t allow them to eat until I was sure P didn’t want some with his dinner. As the minutes ticked on, the rest of us cleared our plates and we had to resolve the P and nan bread situation, so I counted to five with a warning it would all be over if he didn’t speak up.

I got a begrudged whisper, ‘Alright!’

And with that, he grabbed the bread and wolfed down his meal!

To say the BH and I were pleased is an understatement. With P, this is a real step forward! In fact we were so impressed that half an hour later the BH went and had a chat with him to praise his newfound maturity, and how as a special reward he could go to the canteen today.

So now he’s a happy boy, and with a bit of luck, long may it last!

And I bet you’re wondering what the ‘one step back’ is about (go on, pretend!) Well that’s to do with S. Funny but the eldest of each sex are easy compared to younger, and S is the younger. And the youngest – which she really enjoys!

Last week I mentioned how she had peed on her rug and ballet kit, because she didn’t fancy the toilet anymore. There wasn’t any reason for it, like sleepiness or something. And we’re quite sure of that fact, as she’s taken to peeing where the mood takes her. So far her favourite place is on the bathmat, which I concede in not the end of the world as the floor is tiled and the mat can go in the wash. But that’s not the point! Apart from the worry of where her next mood may lead, my bathroom’s starting to smell like a public loo! (Which I really ought to go and scrub instead of sitting here.) Anyway, one step at a time, forward please.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Preliminary verdict…

We’ve had satellite TV for exactly one week, my verdict: I hate it!

Don’t get me wrong, it sure is clever how you can pause live programs and record up to 80 hours of rubbish stuff, and there is all of one show that I’m not adverse to watching, and I’m really happy the BH is happy, but…the noise is driving me INSANE!

Bad enough that I’m subjected to hours of Scooby-doo each-and-every-damn-day, when S gets in from school. And the Pokemon/Futurearma/Malcolm/Simpsons shows the boys adore are leaving a trail of irritating theme tunes rattling around the darkening abyss that is my mind, but at least they’re catchy! But what is tipping me over the edge of reason are the crowds. You see, even when the BH can’t find a footie match to watch (and there ARE plenty!) he’ll flick over and re-discover his enjoyment of rugby, or take a peek at the American version, and what do all these televised sports come with? Yes, CROWDS!

And what’s my number one hated noise? Yes again, CROWDS! Does the BH know this? Well bloody hell, after fifteen years of living with me, HE SHOULD!

You know I'll have to delete this, before he sees it.

Is time slowing down?!

It’s not often I get to sit here and say, I’m wonder-mom! And I wouldn’t dare to say it, if I wasn’t feeling so pleased with myself – but after covering for two hours at nursery this morning, I then belted around the supermarket to do the weeks worth of shopping (I made a list! AND remembered to take it!!) then into town to return a library book my No.1 had forgotten to give me on Saturday (Grrrr!), and because I was in town I was able to go and buy the note-book the same child has been harping on about. Then I saw the mechanic about my battery (less joy there as their machine still says it’s fine, but I’ve warned them – one more flat battery and they’d be wise to hide when they see me coming!) – all before returning to nursery to pick up S!

And I’ve finally packaged up a parcel I meant to send last week, and it was ready to go – but when I saw they charge a fortune for ANY weight up to a kilo, and a pittance thereafter, so I thought what-the-hell and put more stuff in it! And I should get to the post office before the school run and football match P’s playing in this afternoon.

All in all, I’m amazed at myself, and I even know what we’re having for dinner tonight!

Now I could sit here and write a second proper post, or get off my backside and go clean-up the kitchen…

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Care of FTS:

Four jobs I have had in my life: Barmaid, Nanny, Book-keeper, and Personal Assistant.

Four Movies that I could watch over and over: It’s A Wonderful Life, Twelve Monkeys, Far and Away, and Life of Brian.

Four Places I have lived: Tehran, Bermuda, London, and Jersey.

Four places I have been on vacation: Sydney, Amsterdam, Cape Town, and Hawaii.

Four Websites I visit daily: eBay, Google news, this site, and probably your site.

Four of my favourite foods: Raspberries, Blackberries, Snicker bars, and Nutela.

Four places I would rather be: Walking on an island beach (but without wind, and with warmth!), your kitchen drinking tea and having a natter, a cabin surrounded by snow with the Northern lights in the sky (this was inspired by FTS himself), and right here (as I kind of like it :o))

Apparently I’m not allowed to tag anyone...own free will or some such!


The title sums up my level of alertness this morning after I overslept, due to staying up too late. I was watching a movie, North by Northwest with the adorable Cary Grant and James Mason. Can’t resist those two!

I’ve seen the movie before but after clicking trough two hundred satellite channels and discovering there’s still nothing on (!) I settled on seeing it again. Except, it isn’t like I remember. Most old movies are full of gentlemen being gallant and ladies being demur – but there wasn’t nothing demur about the heroine! She totally threw herself at Cary’s character, with lines that would put many modern girls at shame (at least me!). But that wasn’t the strangest bit. No the bit that had my jaw dropping, is when – hang on, I may need to explain some of the story…

Cary’s character is mistaken by a bad guy (Mason) as an undercover government agent, then the baddy kills someone and Cary is in the frame with a hoard of cops chasing him. His face is on the front of every newspaper and boarding a train he nearly gets caught, but the baddy’s mistress helps him on the orders of her lover. After saying outright she knows he’s wanted for murder, she offers him sex and …

shares a kiss with him.

Well of course she knows he isn’t a murderer, because she’s sleeping with the real murdering mastermind. But she knows he doesn’t know that, and so plays along and says ‘How do I know you aren't a murderer?’ He points out she doesn’t, and she makes a bland attempt at guessing he might kill her there and then, while planting dainty kisses dressed up as passion, all over his face. So he asks her if he should (kill her, there and then) and – this is the bit that’s bothering me – she says, ‘Please do.’

Please do?

And then they carry on with their half hearted kisses. Is it me? I can almost get my head around her coming across as some weird femme-fatale who digs murderers – but shouldn’t HE be a bit bothered, being that he isn’t a murderer?! I mean if I was kissing a virtual stranger who said they were up for me killing them, I’d think twice about getting hot and steamy with that person. Maybe the kisses are supposed to be such a distraction she doesn’t know what she’s saying, or maybe he’s so hot he doesn’t have the ability to think about what she saying, or if he does, doesn’t taken her seriously because he’s so irresistible he’s used to women becoming incoherent and requesting such bizarre things. But honestly the kisses weren’t so hot (I swear I could do better! (with an ALIVE Cary Grant!!)).

Anyways the whole thing has left me wondering at the naivety of society at that time. I always imagine things were more innocent then, but after the chat-up lines, I was thinking if it’s me who’s naïve. But then the ‘please kill me’ line puts me right back at square one, because really, would anyone be so foolish as to say it today?!

Oh, and then I had a flat battery (this morning I mean).

Friday, January 13, 2006

Can you feel it?

It’s Friday!

Of course in reality it’s like any other day around here, full of school runs, grey skies, laundry and lunch-boxes. But I do love the feeling that for two days things are about to change.

Sometimes I try and work out why the anticipation of change brings me such joy, after all, the change comes with more activities, running about and five other people wanting to be fed on a near continuous basis. I think it must be having them all about, but beyond that I won’t delve as I might talk myself out of this feeling!

J gifted me an extra wave of love this morning. We were driving up a narrow hill near her school and I had to slow the car and wait for a woman and her two children to pass us. J looked out the window and said, “Mummy, she’s got a girl and a boy.” I nodded as J watched them, “That’s only half of us, you’ve got two boys and two girls.” I nodded again and smiled at her, “You’re so lucky, Mummy!”

Yes I am!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Over at Daisy’s I discovered it’s National De-lurking week! Which is handy, as I would very much appreciate any and all lurkers giving a little wave and saying ‘Hi!’ After all, I bear all here, and it would be nice to know who’s reading my waffle. So please, before you leave…

And on a less chirpy note, did you know, it’s National Break-up day? According to the amused tone of the news-reader this morning, twice as many couples break-up today, as on any other day of the year. But please, don't feel the need to join in!

And lastly, having stuffed myself silly eaten our way through the second batch of Daisy’s cookies, and already used all the peanut butter Hershey Kisses (our favourites!) I started thinking about how I can continue making them. And being a big fan of eBay, I checked out whether Kisses are on offer.

Expect food doesn’t appear to be on offer, and there are people making a pretty-penny out of this!

Being that I think £4.75 + £2.95 postage (about $14 total) is a tad steep, I shall have to improvise. However this has got me thinking! Obviously I can’t sell Hershey’s Kisses, and all the favourite American things (seriously, your stuff is loved!) but British things like Tetley tea and Jaffa Cakes (is it a cake or a biscuit? Hmm), I could! (And I wouldn’t charge what some charge, and I could buy two for one when things are on offer, and only buy the stuff I use, and this'll never make me rich but…)

So if I start posting questions like: can you buy Heinz Tomato Sauce/ McVities Digestives/ Cadbury’s Chocolate locally? on this page, please forgive me and let me know (and adding your country of origin would be useful too ;o))

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Fighting the lethargy

I’m not feeling very pleased with myself today. I had plans, hopes of getting to grips with the cleaning and laundry, whilst doing some baking.

But it hasn’t happened. It started well with an overabundance of optimism, but the paprika stuffed my plans up. Or rather I stuffed the plans up with the thought I had paprika in the cupboard and only discovered I didn’t, when the shopping was done and the onions sizzling. It threw my timetable totally. It shouldn’t have done, but I guess I let it. And by lunchtime I had a headache brewing. It’s still brewing, like my shoulders and their dull ache. ‘Getting ill’ annoys me! You should either be ill, or not. Just wish my brain could convince my body of this fact.

But then, I’m wondering if I am really ‘getting ill’ or just inflicting the aches upon myself. I think I may be, as I’m experiencing a running tension. Like I was yesterday.

And speaking of yesterday – which I’m NOT doing today – I just wanted to say thanks to all of you, for your comments and thoughts. But I’m afraid that I’m not going back to that post and speaking individually to you, as Maureen is getting to know me so well she can predict what I’ll regret posting about. Nothing to do with any of the comments I hasten to add, it’s just I store stuff like this in boxes at the back of my mind and I find when I open them and dwell, I might as well be back there reliving it. And who the hell would want to do that?!

And whilst I'm describing storing memories, I came across a blog where the author described her mind as like a house, with different rooms for the collection of different memories. Unfortunately I didn’t bookmark the page, but in the days since reading it, the description has played on my mind (especially as the authors mind sounded like a nicer place than mine!) Most of the rooms described were beautiful with sunlight streaming in and colour galore, and the one room not liked, was sensibly locked.

But apart from my lack of imaginative DIY skills in the state of my mind, it got me thinking about many of us image these things, and I wonder how you did yours?

Like I said, for me, I imagine my past stored in boxes. Some are bright and cheery and at night when I can’t sleep I rummage through and smile to myself in the dark. Others get opened with a prompt, and I sit back amazed with the details I recall. And the ones at the back, again sometimes it’s a prompt, other times the cardboard rots and I’m forced to deal with the mess.

And days of the week affect me like this too. I am particularly fond of that US saying ‘hump day’ to describe Wednesday (of course you couldn’t say that in Britain, as people would imagine you were giving them too much detail ;o)). And thanks to quitting after-school swimming, Wednesdays are no longer my hump day, but the theme is right! I see the week as a mountain range, with some days a gentle valley and others a huge mountain blowing a gale. And then the months work like this too, but as more of an ocean (I suppose because nothing changes, it all just rolls along. Except for December which plunges like a waterfall – exhilarating as you’re falling down it, but don’t forget you have to swim up a hill in January and February.)

Does this sound odd? You can be honest…

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I’m feeling bruised. Not literally (although the BH has move me up from Never-a-sex-bomb to Novice-sex-bomb), but emotionally, like I’ve been through some drama or upset. There’s no reason for it (apart from a dead grandmother I’ll explain about in a minute) and I can only assume my dreams weren’t pukka last night.

And going into town first thing didn’t help. It was quiet enough, but knocking a stack of cups and saucers off a shelf was traumatic! And who in their right mind puts these things on the bottom shelf where your bags might hit them inadvertently?! Thankfully the only thing damaged was my pride as I hurriedly stacked them up again and grinned at the man next to me.

But back to dead Grandmothers. Apparently mine died a week ago yesterday. I only got called yesterday, so I don’t think anyone is wanting me at the funeral. In fact the person telling me, made a point of saying it was just close family going and I suppose I should be grateful he thought to call.

And it’s not like I knew her. Only met her once. At her youngest daughter’s funeral, nearly eight years ago to the day. Her youngest daughter was my mother.

Geeze how I hate using that word (mother, in case you’re already confused). I could add ‘biological’ in front to make the point that she wasn’t anything other than host. Do I sound cold? I don’t mean to, it’s just there aren’t any suitable words for a person who just gives birth to you, but nothing else.

Funny but of late I’ve been wondering about whether to continue this blogging lark, but I didn’t want to stop till I’d told this story. I suppose more for me than anyone else. But it’s not an easy subject to get in to, though things like birth and death days come around – but how and where do you start? I guess here, with my biological- grandmother dying.

She had a good innings, made it to eighty-nine and only lost her husband three years ago. At least I think that’s a good innings, after a world war and four kids. No doubt broke her heart to bury one though. I spoke with her at that funeral. Her and her husband, my biological-grandfather. He didn’t say a lot, but then he’d probably long figured out he was blamed by my biological-mother for my adoption. But I didn’t blame him, but neither did I tell him that. When I was there she asked for a picture of me and my son (my last three weren’t yet born, though I was pregnant with P). I thought maybe it meant they had some interest in me. That maybe the family stayed away because my biological-mother had still been angry, but she's dead and they could have written or phoned occasionally if they’d really wanted to know me.

That funeral was weird. My mother’s husband (not my biological-father) invited me, and on the morning, after visiting the funeral parlour, I was shown to the lead car. I had to sit in it with her parents. They didn’t speak to me then. Not a word. I stared at the back of my grandmothers head, wondering if she would ever look at me.

And the church was even stranger. I could hear people asking who I was. Didn’t hear the answers mind. No one spoke to me there. But by the end of the service they all knew about me. Complete bloody run down of how she got herself pregnant, and couldn’t keep her child. Looking back it reminds me of Princess Diana’s funeral with some family members making the point of sticking the knife in to others, because they could. Would have preferred it not to have been at my expense, but then no one asked me.

It really threw me too. I didn’t know she’d tried to get me back. Can you imagine doing that to a child you gave up? Waiting till they were six and believing they had a mommy, daddy and baby brother, and then going to court to try and destroy their world and take everything they knew away? Of course it didn’t happen, and I never knew about her efforts. Made me feel bad though, that her pain never eased with the knowledge I was loved.

The wake didn’t get an easier either. The older people who’d known about me all kept their distance, no doubt wary. There was one man though, Andrew, who came over and asked me out-right if I was Michelle.

No is the easy answer. I’m not Michelle. Haven’t been Michelle for a very long time, but I was once. He told me his mother had tried to adopt me within the family, he said he would have been my big brother if our grandfather had of allowed it. That made me cry. I always wanted a big brother, and he was so nice. Very good looking too, which felt like an odd thing to notice about a man who could have been my brother, and is biologically a cousin.

And there was a woman, another cousin. She talked with me as I stared at her. It’s a very strange thing to meet someone who looks like you and twiddles their hair in the same way you do, when you’ve never met anyone related by blood before. My hair twiddling has always driven my Dad mad, goes to show some things you can’t help.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Monday update (because I can’t resist!)

The new satellite TV is going down well, as I discovered within half an hour of turning it on. I thought S might like to watch Scooby-do in the time we had before leaving to collect the others from school, and I was right, she was thrilled.

So thrilled that when I told her it was time to leave, she refused. I persisted. So did she. At three years old she’s telling me, she’s staying home to watch TV instead!

Deciding I didn’t want a hissy tantrum I stood right in front of her (lounging on the couch) and told her (firmly!) to turn the television off. When she sat up I thought I was winning! But it was just to see around me.

I think normally I might have got cross, but in truth I couldn’t help giggling at her determination, and how I was being proved RIGHT about how disruptive having endless TV could be. So I picked her up by her heals and carried her upside down and squealing with delight to the off switch.

And she still refused! By that time we were approaching need-to-leave-NOW-time and I had to get tough, so turned it off myself. Unfortunately, sure enough she was screaming as I tucked her under my arm and headed for the door! Hehe…

Trying new things…

Is it Monday already? Oh how I wish it wasn’t!

Though if I cared about TV I might be excited, as today’s the day we’re getting satellite. Earlier than expected but they called and said they had a ‘slot’ free between eleven and two. What does that mean between eleven and two? Does it mean they’ll arrive at eleven and be finished by two, or that they may show up between those times (if I’m lucky)?

I took to mean they’d be finished by two and arranged nursery pick-up for S, so I’d be home for them. But by half twelve no-one had arrived and I was beginning to panic with the thought they’d show at two and I’d be leaving them in the house when I went on the school run.

Am I the only person not to like strange men alone in my house? In my younger days, I’d worry that they might walk around and help themselves to the camera or something, now I’ve got insurance and instead worry about strange habits. When I mentioned my fears to the BH (feeling silly) he immediately remembered we have to call a plumber. Reminding me of strange plumbers does nothing for my nerves, and now I can pin-point exactly why I’m freaky about strangers in my house – except I used to demand the BH was home when our plumber was due around – not enough that I was home, that man scared the living daylights out of me. In fact we should be calling him to fix one of his problems, but I’d rather pay someone else more, just to make sure I don’t have to see him again!

But back to the satellite man. I called the number they gave me and spoke with the boss, explaining that I only had two hours before I had to go out again. He started by daring to say they may have to give me another ‘slot’, but I cut him short and said I’d already cancelled my morning and had people running around on school runs for me. I think he could tell he was going to get a row if he suggested their time was more important than mine.

And sure enough the man is now here! He’s on the roof right now. I can see him leaning over the gutter as I type. Bet he’s pleased we’ve got an ugly flat roof he’s unlikely to fall off!

I can’t wait to see the kids faces. They don’t know, and even though I’m a miserable moo who doesn’t like TV too much – I know they’re going to be ecstatic!

Plus I’ve been baking. How perfect is that, from a child’s perspective? Home-made cookies and never-ending TV!

And the cookies are YUM! I followed Daisy Mae’s recipe, or at least I nearly followed it. Wasn’t sure whether the peanut butter should be crunchy or smooth, but went with crunchy ‘coz that’s the one I like best. But I also had to guess how much as I couldn’t find a conversion for how much half a cup of PB was! They don’t look quite like Daisy’s, or the picture she sent me – but who cares?? They taste wonderful anyway! Luckily I took this picture before S got home, as there’re a few less now. And I discovered I like them warm after a couple crumbled off the cooling rack and required immediate eating ;o)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A moment

Lying in bed in the very early hours of this morning, I had a moment of clarity:

Life is good right now.

It sounds simple enough, and maybe some of you are lucky enough to think and feel this everyday when life isn’t beating you the short stick, but for me these bursts of overwhelming joy are rare as I guess I allow the hum-drum of irritating trivia to bog me down.

And somewhat predictably, the joy had thinned six hours later when I was standing in the rain watching rugby practice.

But at least I had it for a moment.

Hope you're having a good weekend!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

My favourite time of the week…

What a super start to the weekend! Tennis and swimming don’t kick off for another week so the BH and I got a lie-in. It’s sheer bliss to start a day so slowly! Of course once we were up, the usual pace began.

And guess what little delight S had in store…this one’s a real gem! Having woken in the night, she decided she didn’t like using the toilet anymore, so improvised! I think she thought I’d be grateful she got out of bed, but peeing all over her ballet kit and rug (to the point of soaking the carpet), didn’t result in the delight she was expecting from me, what joy these children bring!

And dilemmas. You remember P plays rugby? And because of the wind and rain, it’s often under duress on his part (and mine too! Wind and snow predicted for tomorrow!!). One of the big reasons he’s willing to stick at it, is the away trips. At the end of the season (around March/April) the club organises games against other teams – except this is an island with one team, so…

He gets to go on an aeroplane. Last year it was just a day trip to our sister isle, and whilst I fretted over his travelling without us, as well as the cost, we managed it and he was thrilled! But this year they’ve upped the stakes.

They’ve sent an email explaining that there are going to be three overnight trips to the UK, and want notification if anyone can’t be considered for the teams.

On the face of it, there’s no guarantee he’ll be picked (in fact it would be unlikely if they based it solely on performance), but I spoke with an organiser and every boy is guaranteed to go away at least once, possibly twice.

But the sting is the cost. And our little rock is one of the most expensive places in the world to get on and off. What’s worse is an adult has to go with him too. There’s always the possibility I could ask another parent to be responsible for him, but even so, we can’t afford his airfare.

I’m not sure what to do. Cripple ourselves and get into debt over it? Tell them he can’t be picked, and have a broken-hearted son? Or, quit rugby so he doesn’t find out?

I hate this, because I can’t see an easy option. Or rather I can, but am reluctant to consider it. I don’t even want to tell you, but you can probably guess – go cap in hand to family.

But even if I did ask – I would then have to cope with him away overnight. That’s assuming I could find someone willing to chaperone him, but usually the favour is expected in return the following year – which would mean we were committed to next year’s thing (and I’ve long learnt we’re never better off!). But he’ll hate me if he realises he’s the only boy not going (and I’m reasonably sure he would be based on the amount of holidays his team mates go on). Plus R is away for a week in February, so he might take it as favouritism (skiing with family).

On the face of the easiest thing to do, is give the rugby up. I would get a lie-in on Sundays, and he’d be none the wiser. But he needs the interaction, and he’d have lots more energy, (which wouldn’t be such a great side-effect during the winter!).

What really winds me up is why they do this in the first place? He’s only seven and doesn’t need these trips, so why put me in the possible position of being a bad-guy to my son?! Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!

Anyway, on to sweeter news! At the end of March J and S will be appearing on stage at the local Opera House with their Ballet school. J will be in three evening performances and a matinee, and S just the matinee. They are sooooooo excited, especially J who was measured for her fish costume today and will start learning her moves next week. It's going to be a medley of children’s ballets and J’s class will be appearing in The Little Mermaid (no idea if it’s the original story, or the Hollywood version). Gleefully I can afford to look forward to this event, as all it’ll cost is the price of a ticket!


Update (before I’ve even posted!): I wrote this earlier, but didn’t post as I was bothered by my lack of resolve with the P situation. Suddenly realised I should just tell him! So I did, as kindly as possible. He took it so well, and made me mighty proud! Though at one point he had tears in his eyes and made me feel so wretched, in desperation I said, ‘If love were money, I’d be rich enough to buy you the moon!’ – his face lit up with a giggle and he started coming up with things we have a lots of, that would make us rich if it were money (kisses were his favourite :o)) Phew, I feel better! And he still wants to go to rugby! Double win!!

Friday, January 06, 2006

That Crunchie Friday feeling has to be around here somewhere!

I’m typing offline again. Haven’t had internet since the engineer was here this morning – just after he left because everything was great! He reckons it’s our router, but as I can’t be bothered talking geeky speculation blab, I’ll shut up.

Other tiresome events news included J being off school because she felt ill in the playground and asked to come home. I guess it must be the same type of sickness P suffers from, as she’s been alright ever since!

I didn’t get a new battery because the old one passed whatever tests the garage devised. I was gracious enough about it, and smiled sweetly as I told the man that if I got stuck in a line of school traffic and held everyone up with a flat battery, I’d be back to rip his head off. For a moment he hesitated, but said he couldn’t authorise a new one when this one was behaving.

But something a little odd did happen when I arrived at the garage – when I walked into the office, the manager asked me which one I was. Being that I’m poor at telepathy, or understanding nonsensical sentences (unless I’m writing them ;o)), I simply frowned.

“Sparks, or battery?”

“Battery,” I confirmed.

He laughed and explained they’d tried to give my battery to another woman not two hours earlier. Not being sure if this was supposed to amuse me I raised my eyebrows.

“Weird,” he shook his head, “that two people look so alike and drive the same type of car!” Then after going through the test results, the mechanic showed up and was told to put the old battery back in my car. He looked me up and down before asking his boss if he was sure.

As I stood freezing my butt off waiting, I chatted with the mechanic and found out my double is definitely still around (he was as bemused as his boss).

You see I’ve heard about this woman before. When I was fourteen I got into trouble with my father for skipping school, after he’d seen me in town one lunchtime – except I didn’t skip school (well, not that school). When I was seventeen my best friend asked why I’d been standing at a bus stop instead of using my car – I hadn’t been (but I did ask when she hadn’t stopped to discover it wasn’t me!) When I was nineteen I was screamed at in the street by some bloke who thought I was ignoring him – I didn’t know him (I would assume him a lonely weirdo, except his girlfriend was with him, looking horrified). At twenty-three I was standing in a queue and the woman behind me started talking like she knew me – it was a very confused conversation and it took several minutes for her to realise I wasn’t the person she thought. Then I changed my hair colour to brown and heard no more. But a year ago I went blonde again and now it seems the confusion is back.

Strange that we’ve never met considering the size of the island. But then, I wonder if I’d recognise her? I know that sounds silly, but think about it, would you recognise yourself other than in a mirror or picture? I’m not sure I would, as I know what I’m like if people I know show up at odd places I don’t expect!

In the old days it used to bother me, and the wonder of who she was would consume me for days afterward. But back then all I knew was, I was adopted and didn’t know where I came from. Now I do, and whilst there’s always a remote chance we’re related, I’ve found that I no longer care and see it as a coincidence. Bit if a shame, as I think I miss the big mystery.

Now after all that, you can guess from the tone that my mood isn’t on a high. But at the same time it isn’t in a pit. This is partly down to it being Friday, partly the hope that I may get online later, and partly Daisy Mae! You see Daisy sent me a parcel and it arrived today! Just like Christmas all over again! And she spoilt me rotten with Hershey’s Kisses, magazines and some other treats too. Thank you so much Daisy, you made my day!

I had hoped to do some baking with the kisses (J was keen! (with nothing else to do!!!)), and I even had the time – but as I couldn’t get on the internet, I couldn’t convert the American cup measurements into actual weights. But if and when I ever get online, I shall be taking notes for future reference (not that I’m a pessimist or anything!), so watch this space – there’s cookies a-coming!


I'm on with wireless, but can’t get my to my email on this machine! Will these trials never end?!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Apologies up front.

If I appear to be ignoring you and not visiting your site - I'm not! Or at least I'm not meaning to. It's just this computer takes soooooo long to load a page (when it will!) and then leaving a comment verges on a super-human stress-test challenge! But not to worry, an engineer is coming to visit with a laptop sometime tomorrow (and heaven help him if he tells me the speed is satisfactory!!).

But I'm not going to shout about that again right now. To you, or the BH
- who last night asked me not to call him at work so I could SCREAM my frustration, but I have to let it out somewhere, and he's supposed to be my best friend! Which I guess he is, as I think most other people would hang-up on me ;o)

He also wasn't best pleased I'd told the world he'd said I wasn't a sex bomb. Why, I wonder? Surely it should be me not wanting the world to know? Maybe he thinks I'll get my own back at a later date.

But never mind that, this is a new day. Or is it? Seems like it could be groundhog day around here with a flat battery AGAIN! However - for once
- it seems I'm lucky! After jump-starting my car and taking the girls to school (yes they all started back today, but I didn't dare turn the engine off and had to leave my car running as I took S inside!) I visited the garage who sold me the battery less than two years ago. They confirmed it was faulty and still under guarantee, but then told me I had to take it to another garage to complete the warranty. After plenty of silent sighs from me they too agreed it was dead and lent me one till they've charged it for twenty-four hours and checked it again. So - luck being on my side - I should get a new FREE battery tomorrow! I can't believe I kept the receipt in my purse this long! Wow, does this make me a responsible grown-up? It's a first!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And the imperfections mount…

Of course, it’s not like I didn’t know I’m imperfect. But knowing I have imperfections and being told I have them, are two different things. I think.

The first knock came yesterday morning, and I’ll admit I’m mortified with this one. I took the children shopping, usually a traumatic experience in itself, but it really wasn’t too bad and I managed to get around the supermarket without shouting at or threatening anyone. (I’m telling you this, because I believe it was because of this that I ‘switched off’. You see you’re going to read the next bit and think I’m dim – and at that precise moment I was being dim, but it wasn’t my fault, it was because…because…the children had lulled my senses!?!)

We came out with me pushing the trolley, R at my side and the three others dancing around, which wasn’t a safety issue because we were parked in the Mother & Child bay, just outside the shop. In fact so close to the shop, that the little ones ducked under the parking sign leaving me to sigh that there wasn’t enough room to get the trolley through the gap between the sign and the car, to reach the car door. And rather than take the trolley around and into the road I figured I’d squeeze through and R could pass the bags to me. Except when I told R my idea, he gave me a funny look.

Then, after I’d squished my body through and stood with arms held out (ready for the bags), he started laughing. “What’s on earth’s the matter with you?” I asked.

He just raised his eyebrows and rolled the trolley forward.

Which he was able to do. Because it was easily lower than the sign.

How stupid did I feel? How stupid do I feel? Very. I’ve always expected this boy to end up smarter than me, but it’s not right for a child to know it before he turns twelve. He’s still chuckling about it, and keeps muttering, “Under!” with a pushing motion and a cheeky grin whenever he catches my eye.

Damn, I feel dim.

The next thing REALLY isn’t my fault! This one’s inherited (I think?) And I’ve known about since I scared the girls at boarding school silly, as they thought it was creepy. My finger joints are odd. It could be that they’re double jointed, but I’ve never really figured what that means, so I’ll stick with calling them odd. I can keep my middle joint straight, whilst bending the end ones.

Here’s what made the girls squeal:
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They're not really so bad. Are they?

Anyway, to the point. Before bed last night R was showing me his guitar playing skills, and I got interested and asked if I could have a go. Never tried strumming on a guitar before and I had no idea you had to press down so hard! It flippin’ hurts after a minute or two!

Nevertheless, I persisted as he showed me different cords. Till we got to one particular cord (I think it was A), and I had to press down on a string with my ring finger, and at the same time you’re supposed to curl (?) your fingers so that they’re not interrupting with other strings.

Well I couldn’t do it. The joint in my ring finger cannot carry ANY weight when applying pressure in the curled position – instead it pops and springs down. Like this: (And that ISN’T R’s guitar! I borrowed the girls’ for the picture – couldn’t ask R, as he’s ask why…)

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Is that funny? I didn’t really think so, but I guess maybe to an eleven year old, as he thinks it’s hilarious! He went and told everyone in the house, like it was some big joke! It’s hardly my fault.

So it seems I’m dim, and have an odd body. Could it get worse?


In a miraculously empty kitchen, the BH and I shared a quick kiss and he generously offered to ravage me. Being all for a good ravaging, I said yes thinking he meant later. But he didn’t, and so after a moment I stepped away with a giggle and reminded him there were too many little people still about.

He didn’t argue or pout, he just smiled and said, “You’ll never make a sex bomb!”

I’ll never make a sex bomb.

Now I know I have a shy nature and have never been an overly forward woman but, I’ll never make a sex bomb? This is what my HUSBAND thinks?!!!

The BH saw my face and immediately wrapped his arms around me. (Which was probably wise, as I might not ever make a sex bomb, but I could probably learn to slap. Holding me tight and trying to swallow his laughter, he said he didn’t mean anything by it. He didn’t say a lot more, except that he wasn’t saying more, because he reckoned if he said anything, it would be with both feet, and so figured it’d be best to stay quiet.


So yesterday I discovered: I’m dim, odd, and no sex bomb (and never to be a sex bomb!). None of these things are a shock, but being reminded of them by my loved ones, doesn’t make for the best of days.

But now I’ve told my secrets, I have to know – what would a sex bomb have done differently?

Don’t say a word!

Don’t say a word!

I am so seriously sick to death of everything going wrong at the moment! This is why people run away or go insane. Every bloody thing that can go wrong, is going wrong. I had a sh*tty day yesterday - which I would have posted about (it’s written!) – if blogger had let me publish. Of course that would have to be between the internet NOT dropping. And now today… not only have I had my parents around this morning, and had words with the people at the phone company (AGAIN!), but now – the car battery is as dead as a doornail. Would I care IF my son had listened to me and NOT rented a PS2 game when he was with his father? Not in the bloody least! I would wait until tomorrow. But he didn’t listen and now I have to wait on the battery to return it in time. On top of that my brother reminded me my parents are about to leave for six weeks in the sun (again!) and I should have bought Dad’s birthday present so they can take it with them. I don’t even know what I’m going to get the-man-who-has-everything! So no present, no card, and I’m a useless thoughtless daughter with a crap car. AND it means I’ve got to drive to swimming for the next six weeks. Oh no, make that nine weeks, ‘coz then they’re going skiing. It’s one of those days that feels like life is teaching me a lesson. If I was a better person, I would take a deep breath and remember none of this matters. BUT I’M NOT A BETTER PERSON!!! I am a mean, nasty, short-tempered person, who wants to kick something!! HARD!!! ARRRRRGGGGGGHGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Okay…I think I can breathe again…

Apparently my absence of the last few days was down to a loose wire – which is now fixed – YIPPPPEEEEE!!!!! But...why haven’t my problems ended? I still keep getting knocked off every few minutes, but EVERY time I phone the helpline to SCREAM at them - it comes online immediately!! Very frustrating. And we know it’s the phone companies fault as lots of our friends are complaining of the same thing and it’s no secret they’re screwing around with the system as the island is about to let other companies in to offer the same service! Guess who’ll be jumping ship first?!

But never mind, I’m here right now and am hoping the kids will stay content with their movie long enough to allow me to visit some of you, back later for a proper post…

What I wrote on the 2nd January:

I’ve woken to my second day without the internet and phone. I think I’m coping quite well. Have discovered I don’t miss the phone at all – till I get bored without the internet and think to call a friend, but it’s the internet that’s really bugging me! I didn’t even realise how much I use it for little things, like checking what a medicine I found in the back of the cupboard was for, or the ratings on a late night movie, and whether a book I found on my bookcase is a first edition – tiny things I hadn’t realised I used the internet for! And I’m missing my email a LOT. Not to mention all of you and eBay! It’s like falling off the world and knowing it’s going on without you. Bummer. I keep thinking, if I try it one more time – maybe it’ll work (like it did on NY Eve!) but it doesn’t, and I just waste time trying and hoping.

But I’m not shouting or screaming (which surprises even me!) and am instead sewing and reading. And playing Buzz on the playstation with the kids. It’s a music gameshow and the first few times we played it we thought it was great. Then I discovered my eldest is a little *#!*\#$

Bad enough that the game itself is out to nick your points with rounds such as ‘Pass the Bomb’ and ‘Point-stealer’ but then R goes out of his way to take joy in destroying his mother! Yes, it’s just me he’s out to get. He knows he can’t beat the BH on music trivia, he knows the girls are useless as they can’t even read the questions (though that hasn’t stopped J from beating me by just pressing whatever colour she fancies), and P is amazingly good for someone his age – but not good enough, so R’s out to get ME!

I always though he was such a nice boy, but this game has really shown me another side of him as he screams and jumps with glee at my downfalls. Charming. And how does he know so much about music anyway?

J was also ill with the vomiting bug. That’s all the kids this holiday now, and I’m sitting here not feeling good and am desperately hoping this queasy feeling is going to go away with my next cup of tea. I’m also tired and have decided it’s not healthy getting more than six hours sleep. I got eight last night and feel worse than ever for it. Must have been another noisy night in dreamland as I woke with puffy eyes and feeling disorientated like I’d slept forever.

It’s the final day of the BH’s holiday and we took the decorations down. Now it’s January, and I HATE January! Except for the stuff on sale. The UK stores understand what a Sale is (unlike ours here!) and I want to see what I can get delivered, but I can’t – because of the damned internet!

What I wrote on New Year’s Day:

Frankly my dear…

We have TV again! After many perilous trips to the roof by the BH, and lots of shouting out the window by me (visual updates), we again have TV! And in less than an hour I plan to drive any noisy children from the lounge and takeover the couch, so I can watch Gone with the Wind. Again. Yep, I’m a sucker for Rhett. In fact, I wanted to name P Rhett, but the BH wasn’t having any of it. And it’s probably not a bad thing considering how the namesake was a wus for stroppy women. (And it would have been confusing for bl*g purposes, having two R’s!)

Anyways, on to other things. Happy New Year! And with the exception of Dave who went to bed early (surprising as there was a cricket special on!), I don’t doubt you all had a more exciting time than I. But I got my midnight kiss, so the year started as it should! (Well, not quite, as I’m still struggling with internet access. At the moment it’s down and I’ve not been able to say good morning to any of you, and I’m not sure I’ll get to post this today, but being the first of January, I type with optimism!)