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Showing posts from February, 2016

Telephone man...

Words from a Bird.  Day 61

I don't do 'cross'.  I've always found it to be draining and a complete waste of time.  That was until 5.47pm this evening...

The husband came home at lunchtime, and as he left, he hurled a sentence over his shoulder at me.  A sentence awful enough to make my blood run cold....'The internet's down again'. 

For some reason completely unbeknown to me, the responsibility of anything PC, IT, DAB, BBC, FREEVIEW, BT, TALKTALK and SKY all falls to me...a woman whose technology prowess ground to a halt just after they introduced VHS videos.  Kids, if you're reading his, ask your dad... So there I am, 94 minutes spent talking to a very helpful chap in Bombay (we chatted inbetween reboots) at the end of which, he said, 'There's a problem I think', (no s#"t Sherlock)..'we'll need an engineer to call you.  When is a suitable time?'  We agreed on 10.15.  As I said to the lovely man, we should still be up by then.  …

Just another manic Monday...

Words from a Bird.  Day 60

The husband finally surfaced after another night in quarantine, just as the morning tilted over into double figures.  His mission today?  To transfer all of last year's paperwork to the shed, leaving room in the garage for this year's newly finished paperwork, thus making room in his office for the empty folders ready for the coming year.

This all sounded very straightforward.  However, to get to the folders in his office an element of brutal clearing out was needed.  There are filing trays in his office which he hasn't looked in since around 2006.  This was around the time we moved in - I had bought them to help him get organised.  If only I'd known, ten years down the line that the most interesting thing in them would be one cycling glove and a pair of secateurs (which I had replaced in 2012 thinking them lost forever) I probably wouldn't have bothered.  He admitted that he had never even looked at them, thinking that they were the pers…

Feeling hot, hot, hot...

Words from a Bird.  Day 59

The husband has a cold.  Now he is not like other husbands (something I am sure you are aware of by now) in that he never complains about it, he just gets on with it.  This can be applied to any illness or injury he has ever had in the fourteen years we have been together. 

Several years ago, he broke two ribs pushing his motorbike up a hill. He took painkillers for a few days, and then just stopped talking about it (unlike me, who will continue milking it for all it's worth).  This may have had something to do with the kidney stone he developed on day three.  That was enough to take his mind off anything.  I managed to break the land speed record that particular Sunday morning...seven minutes from home to the hospital.  Pretty impressive for a lady driver who doesn't bother using 4th/5th or 6th gears on a normal day (didn't even know I had a 6th gear till son number 2 told me).

So he's soldiering on.  The one complaint this morning, as he …

Lady Marmalade...

Words from a Bird.  Day 58

I thought that I was being very sensible when I ordered an internet shop from Sainsbury's this week.  I mean, with my injury, it's not ideal to carry heavy shopping, so let someone else do the hard work, and all I have to do is pack it away.

Now I am not sure what kind of person they had picking my shopping today.  I am not even sure whether they were human, as there was about as much thought put into my substitutions as a lion would do if gazelle was off the menu....

I had ordered ten satsumas, enough for the three of us for the week.  'Like oranges, do you?' asked John, my orange-clad, semi-retired delivery driver. 'Making marmalade this weekend?' Suspicions raised, I looked closer into the crate he was heaving over my front door step. The substitute for my unavailable satsumas were ten net bags, each containing ten small 'easy peelers'.....ninety more that I actually needed.  These had to do the walk of shame back to the d…

Who let the dogs out?

Words from a Bird.  Day 57.

It was with a rather mincing walk that I set off with the dog this morning.  My first attempt at walking further than the end of my drive was never going to be easy, but as the husband had left home for the bright lights of Swanage for the day, there was really no way out of it.

I say I took him for a walk, but to be honest, it was more of a 'stand'.  I stood in the middle of the field while the fuzzball ran everywhere, coming back to check every now and again that I still hadn't moved.

Once back home, it took me some time to rally.  To be honest, I could have gone back to bed for an hour, but Binland was expecting me, so that wasn't an option.

Imagine my joy when I returned home after work at lunchtime to see two friends with 5 dogs in the meadow.  Great.  I could now do a 'sit' instead of a 'stand' while he ran around with his buddies.  Tea made for me and the girls, dogs released, I sat down on the bench, looking forward …

I am what I am...

Words from a Bird.  Day 56

It's funny how one thing can lead to another.  I have been writing my daily ramblings for almost two months now, and there's not been a day when I haven't known what I am going to write about.  I suppose that this is because my words are simply what I would say to you if you were standing in front of me - they are just an extension of who I am. 

Two days ago, I was approached to have a go at ghost writing a book for someone I don't know.  This was always going to be a challenge, as I feel to be successful, you have to be sincere, and write about what you know.  You have to be true to both yourself and your readers.   However, I am having a go, because if I can do it, then it will be one hell of an achievement. 

Here's the crux of the matter though...I have to write as a man.  Not just any man though.  Oh no....this is a man who has put his life at risk for his country through a couple of wars. The kind of man you see running through a …

Hey fatty boom boom...

Words from a Bird.  Day 55

This time last year, I was at the vet's with Percy for his annual jabs and health check.  All was going well, until she got Percy onto the scales, at which point she turned to me and said, 'Miss R, your dog is fat'.  Now, I could not have been more upset if she had said that my kids were ugly, and I took this really personally.  It was like facing a member of the Spanish Inquisition, albeit in latex gloves, as she fired questions at me about how much, how often, and what I was feeding my poor dog. Dutifully chastised, the poor dog was put on starvation rations until some semblance of waist and hips reappeared (a bit like me after Christmas).

So you can understand my trepidation as the texts started pinging through, reminding me that Percy was due his annual check.  The appointment was today.  I took the husband with me, as I am unable to lift Percy onto the vet's table because of the broken rib (not because of Percy's weight).  On the way…

Come back, and finish what you started...

Words from a Bird.  Day 54

In days gone by, most of us ladies only had one method of getting anything clean, whether that be clothes, bodies or saucepans.  It basically involved hot water and a pair of hands, together with an appropriate cleaning agent.  It's all very different now, with clever bods in white coats (the clue is there already) inventing the washing machine, the shower and the dishwasher (the bane of my life).

So today, as I was reloading the dishwasher with items from last night's dinner, which hadn't quite made the grade on the squeaky clean front the first time round, it set me thinking.  What were they thinking of?  How could they have got it so wrong? 

First of all, I don't know how many compartments you have in your cutlery basket?  At the last check, I only use four different items of cutlery, these being knife, fork, dessert spoon and tea spoon.  Why do I need eight compartments then?  There will some of you out there who unlike me are quite happ…

Holiday...

Words from a Bird.  Day 53.

So they're back.....the tranquillity bestowed upon me by my mum has disappeared, swept away with six suitcases of dirty washing (four of which were turned away at the front door - there was no way I was going to be able to be able to get it all washed, dried and ironed before tomorrow morning.  I know I am perfect, but miracles can take a some time).

The children are full of tales, some of which I don't probably need to hear (in particular the five complaints made about them over the course of the week by the other hotel guests - that's another place we'll never be able to go back to).  I also wasn't that overjoyed about the husband being 'picked up' by two females.  Apparently, he just stood there, mouthing 'Help me' to the children while they stood there watching him dig a bigger and bigger hole for himself.  Most amusing.

Being Supermum, I had a full Sunday roast waiting for them when they finally returned.  Apparentl…

Homeward bound...

Words from a Bird.  Day 52

There has been a lot of banter going around this week between friends and family members as to the levels of service at my mum's house.  As you all know, I have been staying here for the week recuperating after Tea Towel Night, and as time has progressed, it's become apparent that many people have stayed in the guest room, and that they are all quite territorial over it. 

Mum's house has been renamed 'The B'n'B', and here is my review for anybody considering a visit:

Location
Situated in the leafy Chilterns, the establishment is ideally located for those guests looking to explore the beautiful countryside, or the fleshpots of Stokenchurch if their needs are more squalid.

Proprietors
A lovely couple run this guesthouse, and nothing is too much trouble for them.  (Please bear in mind that they are both quite hard of hearing, so you might need to speak up on occasions).

Bedroom
The lady of the house is an early riser, standing guard…

It's five o'clock somewhere...

Words from a Bird.  Day 51

I popped home today for the first time in almost a week.  Imagine my joy (sarcasm alert) at seeing the state that it had been left in.  My initial thought was that we'd been burgled, but a downstairs room-by-room inspection confirmed that nothing had been taken, but that some level of abandonment had occurred...

Now this wouldn't normally be too much of a problem, but my best friend is on invalid-sitting duty tonight, so needed a bed for the night.  Question was, which one would take me the least time to sort before she turned up with her overnight bag?

I opted for son number 1's bedroom.  There were several reasons for choosing this one:

1. I could see the carpet, so was optimistic that the clearing up wouldn't take too long.
2. I could see the bed, so sleep would be a possibility
3. It's near the bathroom (no towels, toilet roll or shampoo, but that's easily sorted)
4. I couldn't get the doors to open more than three inches on t…

Spice up your life...

Words from a Bird.  Day 50.

Yesterday afternoon, my mum and her younger half headed off to the pub for 'early doors'.  I have no idea what this means, but as they left the house around 5.15pm (mum only managed one hurried glass of red before leaving) I am assuming that it is polite talk for 'that couple sitting in their bloody car waiting for the pub to open'. 

Leaving me with a meal-for-one microwaveable lasagne (mum felt very guilty about this, as we all know that microwave food is not REAL food), they left.  A meal was planned after the pub, and they promised me that they would be really quiet when they got back, as I was planning an early night.

I was quite excited about being left with the remote controls for the television, (three of them, one of which whose purpose is still a mystery to me) so once my lasagne had pinged, I settled down to trawl through the Sky guide to see what I could find.

Legend - perfect, two Tom Hardys for the price of one.  That would do…

Red, red wine...

Words from a Bird.  Day 49.

Having been with my mum and her younger half for some days now, you get to see the whole of a relationship, rather than just the odd bit here and there.  I said to my mum this morning that it was lovely to see them together and that it was really obvious to see how much they loved each other.  I also said to her, that the two of them to have a really wonderful life.  'Oh yes', says mother, 'We get along quite nicely, and we are always laughing'.

Now.  I have been in this house for a total of 97 hours.  This can be broken down into the following:

32 hours sleeping
7 hours eating
4 hours walking Percy (would have been 3, but they got lost on today's walk)
8 hours reading papers/books
3 hours housework
8 hours Quiz Shows
10 hours explosive TV/Film action
25 hours wine drinking

You will note the two large numbers in this breakdown.  Basically, my mum and her younger half have been either asleep or trolleyed for over half my stay with them, w…

Papa's got a brand new bag...

Words from a Bird.  Day 48

So the Semtex continued to blow, as we sat down to watch The Expendables last night.  (My mum was pulling rank with her choice, and having mentioned it on Saturday night, this film was obviously playing on her mind).  'Oh look, it's Chuck!'  she said all of a sudden.  There I was , searching the screen frantically for a wiry rock and roll singer clutching his Ding-a-ling, when she, on sensing my confusion, said, 'Norris, not Berry'.  All made sense after that...

Actually, this film was slightly better than the uber violent offering from the night before, as it was meant to be funny.  Humour is very personal though, and I did find that I was laughing 'at' rather than 'with' them.  Arnie, Bruce, Dolph, Sly and Vin are so old now, that they are not so much the A Team, as the O'A'P Team.  More expended than expendable even... 

It's my choice of film tonight which is a huge responsibility.  I am swaying between Sle…

Everybody wants to rule the world...

Words from a Bird.  Day 47

When the question of 'Home Care' cropped up last week, I was wondering whether this was something that the children were considering as the husband and I clocked up the years, but thankfully not.  There have been occasions when nursing homes have been mentioned in the past (we are relying on daughter number 2 to fund this).  There have also been times when I have asked if it is too soon to move into one yet....usually when all four offspring are stampeding through the house leaving a trail of food debris and dirty washing.  The idea of having someone look after me can be quite appealing at those times.

But this was something much better.  My lovely mum offered to look after me in the husband's absence, her aim to make sure that I sit quietly in a peaceful environment, giving my rib a chance to heal.  She told me that she would not let me lift a finger, and promised that my stay with her would be the equivalent of floating on a pink fluffy cloud, …

Love is in the air...

Words from a Bird.  Day 46

As the husband has been given a week's grace from nursing duties (I quite liked him in that white dress and orthopaedic shoes) and headed off skiing, last night he handed me over to my mum for my continued convalescence.

Saying goodbye was tough, as it is rare for us to be apart for more than our work day dictates.  But it's ok, I still have Percy, replacing one short, grey haired companion for another short, grey haired companion, albeit one with four legs and a wet nose.

Now spending Valentine's Day apart from your significant other is not for the fainthearted.  I watched my mum and her younger half exchange beautifully crafted words of love and gifts this morning.  A lot of effort had gone into making the other feel special, especially from the younger half who was battling the hangover from hell this morning. 

As I have been housebound since Tea Towel Night, there's been no opportunity for me to buy the husband either card or gift.  This…

Always something there to remind me...

Words from a Bird.  Day 45

I can tell that I am improving slightly, as I am starting to feel a bit useless.  Every part of me is screaming out to be let loose with the hoover, the washing machine or the iron, or any other appliance whose location seems to be a secret to the rest of my family members.

I feel the need to sort out how the fridge is looking - the ketchup is in the wrong place and I still can't find the milk (assuming that anyone else has thought to buy any that is).  Lids have been almost returned to Tupperware boxes, their contents relieved of any scrap of moisture that they were clinging on to.

There are clothes everywhere, and I want to sort them into 'washing', 'ironing', 'hanging up' or 'God knows' piles.  Looking at the amount of clothing lying around, I won't be surprised if the other house occupants resort to nudity soon as the only obvious alternative to their lack of clothing.

However, I am still at the stage where getting…

It's a mystery...

Words from a Bird.  Day 44

Since Monday night's tea towel debacle, sleep has been restricted to the odd 5 or 10 minutes here and there.  This is because as my rib snapped, a one tonne medicine ball took residence under my left armpit.  Now this is quite happy all the time I am sitting quietly, regulating my breathing and playing the adult version of Sleeping Tigers.  But the minute I start moving around, it's like shaking a giant pinball machine, with the ball rolling around battering various internal organs.  The ball particularly likes it when I lie down on my side in a feeble attempt to sleep.  Do you remember that Christmas cracker game, where you had to balance a tiny ball bearing into a very shallow hole?  Well, that's what it feels like.  My poor dented ribs allow the ball to sit quite beautifully, squishing everything on the left to anywhere on the right.  This means no sleep. 

A return trip to A&E was on the cards today, with more x-rays confirming the broken…

Hurt...

Words from a Bird.  Day 43. Today, the phrase, 'Woman, know your limits' could not be more perfect.  Having taken 45 minutes to crawl out of bed this morning, I am beginning to realise that Wonder Woman I am not.  The husband had to help me and at one point was threatening me with a forklift. The only thing that made me think he might be joking was the fact that he would have had to get it upstairs.  Mind you, seeing what he has done over the years, I would put nothing past him, so I did my best slug impersonation, dragging myself across the mattress, my nails clawing into the fitted sheet until gravity kicked in, rendering me upright of sorts.The pain of a broken rib is quite peculiar, in that it is the very simplest of things that you do which cause the greatest pain, like breathing.  I have given up on talking as much as usual (it must be quite noticeable, as the husband has stopped using earplugs while I am around) and shouting is a complete no-no.  To this end, the husban…

Money for nothing...

Words from a Bird.  Day 42

Today I have ventured downstairs, hauling my sorry carcass gingerly down the stairs, making a new camp in the lounge.  This has opened up to me the joy of day time TV.  I have decided that if you are of a certain age (probably somewhere over 75) then watching this drivel all day is just speeding up the process of shuffling off this mortal coil.

First up was Loose Women.  Looking at the four ladies on there today, there was nothing loose about them that I could see, unless you wanted to talk about their clothing.  Three of the four were into layering as I believe it's called.  I call this kind of dressing camouflage, as you are obviously trying to hide something, unsuccessfully it would appear.  The subjects they discussed today were kids being on their mobiles too much, which then morphed very neatly into mental illness.  All in the same sentence, as smooth as the Irish Sea in October.  How neatly it flowed...

Jeremy Kyle was next.  You all know how I fe…

Enough is enough...

Words from a Bird.  Day 41 In my opiate crazed brain, I am not sure whether this is in fact Day 41, so if you feel either shortchanged or in the money where days are concerned, you can blame me! The broken rib is making writing humour tricky.  You're not meant to laugh at your own jokes, but my blog invariably makes me giggle sometimes, so it's with a 'dog chewing a wasp' face that I write.  The pain I can cope with.  I am a mother, for goodness sake, I've had worse.  But here's what I can't cope with...
1. No laughing, of any kind, whether a gentle titter or large guffaw.  Forget it, it's not going to happen.
2. No coughing - great...I'm asthmatic.  Better increase my meds to counter any problems.
3. Can't take meds as I can't breathe in.  This just gets better..
4. No sniffing...mmmmmm, I am a lady so don't tend to sniff. (Doesn't mean I wouldn't like to though, given half a chance)
5. NO SNEEZING....this situation has not ari…

Everyday, I'm shuffling...

Words from a Bird.  Day 39

So, Dad's Army on a west and windy Sunday afternoon - let me set the scene for you dear reader...

As I knew we would be, we were the youngest people in the cinema, apart from the pre-pubescent cinema staff (probably management).  The vast majority were 75+ with most of the men wearing flat caps, and the women lightweight raincoats in a pastel hue which matched their hair. The whiff of formaldehyde from the better preserved ladies almost disguised the underlying smell of wet wool and Rennies, and looking round the cinema, I noticed that I was the only one eating popcorn.  Perhaps it's not the best thing to munch on when you have dentures?  Soft fudge was probably that afternoon's best seller, along with hot chocolate and vanilla ice cream (none of that exotic stuff for this discerning audience).

As the lights dimmed, the caps were whipped off, bald pates gently reflecting the green of the Exit signs, and macs were folded neatly and put into inappr…

Smooth operator...

Words from a Bird.  Day 38

As I got ready to leave work on Friday, I made the foolish mistake of asking my (almost young enough to be my grandson) colleague what he had planned for the coming weekend.  He then spent the next five minutes reeling off an extremely well planned two days and three nights of frivolity.   Yes, you read right my friend,  three nights.  Apparently Sunday night is now classed as a weekend night, and not the night you shave your legs, have a bath and watch Antiques Roadshow.  My, how things have changed. 

So going back to his plans, there was something for everyone.  A meal out with his friends, family time with his siblings, a concert (The Game...no, I had never heard of them either.  Apparently, he/she/they is/are a rapper/rappers) and an evening with his girlfriend.  Quite impressive for a twenty six year old.

At the weekly family breakfast yesterday, once again, the question of Saturday night plans was raised.  My mother and her younger half were heading …

Tea for two...

Words from a Bird.   Day 37.

After the 'My name's Tracy and I cheat at Fitbit' confession yesterday, I was baffled by the response from other members of this week's challenge.  Jealousy seemed to be the prevailing reaction rapidly followed by regret that they hadn't thought of it first.  Throughout the day, there were ideas of upping the cheating with various suggestions being made as to where you could clip the Fitbit to achieve maximum steps.  One of the cleaner ideas was clipping it to the saddle of the horse running in the 3.15 at Sandown.  Lets hope that race was a long one, and not a 5 furlong dash - that won't make an impact on anyone's step counter.  Even Percy can walk further than that.

After my awful behaviour on Thursday, I thought it would be a great idea to counter this by doing something half decent.  I decided to host a tea party in the afternoon, and invited some of my closest (literally and geographically) friends to pop in for tea and cak…

One step beyond...

Words from a Bird.  Day 36

Just before Christmas, a rather energetic friend suggested to me that I should get a Fitbit. Now, there are occasions in my dim and murky past when I have been called a Fit Bit of something or other, (more of a  Fat Bat now though) so once she explained to me that is was a posh pedometer, I was more than relieved.  I was convinced that she was suggesting I get myself a young toy boy (at my age, I really don't have the inclination or the stamina).

So I bought one (a Fitbit, not a toyboy).  Now this is a nifty little thing which clips onto your clothing and monitors every step you take.  It tells you how far you've walked and how many calories you've used up (very useful when involved in a staring competition with a chocolate ├ęclair).

So as January plodded along, so did I.  Monitoring my recommended daily10,000 steps or so, I tried to increase the steps each day, regularly outdoing myself.

This was all going really well, until several members of my…

Welcome home...

Words from a Bird.  Day 35

Yesterday saw the last of the visiting offspring depart.  Once they all have left, I then go into each of their rooms to see:

a) What they've left behind
b) What is missing
c) What they have broken
d) What is causing that smell
e) How much loose change is lying around
f) Glassware and crockery

The girls are usually the ones who leave things behind.  Daughter number 1 has left me three jumpers, a mini bottle of champagne (foolish child), a pair of dubious looking slippers and a lovely silver bracelet (I am relying on her not reading this, as I have been wearing this bracelet for two days now).  No obvious breakages, just one leg missing off her electric heater.  Admittedly, this has been missing for some time, but as the heater rarely leaves her room, I must hold her historically responsible.  Oh, and one of the knobs off her wardrobe door seems to have gone AWOL.  No loose change unfortunately, but two glasses and a mug returned to the kitchen.

Daughter…

Gypsies, tramps and thieves....

Words from a Bird.  Day 34

As is often the case at the end of a funeral party (as we liked to call it) hard-core friends and family sat round the table reminiscing and chatting.  The wine had been flowing rather too freely, and the conversation had turned to petty theft, instigated by the repositioning of some rather posh water bottles from the table to the larger handbags. 

'Well, I've never stolen anything...' said I.

The rapid intake of breath from thirty two people left our waiter gasping for air.  The oxygen levels dropped so quickly, he turned blue. 

'Well I haven't', I insisted.

The clamour of thirty two friends and family members shouting me down was incredible, and yet, I still couldn't remember ever pinching anything.

Then the penny dropped - my favourite trick is to see something I quite like on a night out (usually salt and pepper pots, but there's also been a pretty dish and a tapestry cushion with Do not Disturb on it, courtesy of Clived…

Goodnight sweetheart...

Words from a Bird.  Day 33

Yesterday was a day of as many emotions as you could think of.  As a family, we knew that this final goodbye would be the hardest, the one which we would have to drawer every ounce of strength for.

Arriving at the church, we were told that the church was almost full.  Over a hundred friends and family had braved the cold to show their love for this incredible lady.  We were overwhelmed.

Four grandsons carried Nanny into the church, which she would have loved.  Her eulogy, a poem about laughter and a reading about love were all read by family members.  None of us wanted a stranger saying our words for us. It was far too important.

A windy graveside farewell, with tears and red roses, and another poem before we slowly walked away, leaving her in the care of our Grandad.

And then, as the friends gathered around us, photographs were pulled out of jacket pockets and stories told.  She was back in the room with us, brought alive again by love and shared memories.

I can&…

Food, glorious food...

Words from a Bird.  Day 32

I must confess that it is with some surprise that I discover I am still going with my resolution to write each day.  Previous resolutions have been nowhere near as successful, and I am now realising that when you pick the right thing to do, it's easy!

The adult-sized children are still rampaging through the house, eating anything that stands still long enough, a trail of crumbs leading to the devastation that my normally tidy kitchen has to endure when they are in residence.  Every single glass in the house has headed upstairs.  Rather than retrieve these and bring them down, the children are getting more and more inventive in what they drink their water from.  Mugs (just about do-able), my Irish Coffee glasses (unforgivable), egg cups (?) and, at the last check, a plastic measuring jug and the cup off their dad's flask.  All in all, they are being very inventive, it's the student life I think.

So the husband and I headed up to Sainsbury this mor…