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Showing posts from March, 2016

Let's get physical...

Words from a Bird.  Day 91

I had a complaint when I got into work, about how late I was in publishing the blog this morning   I did think about lying, but in the end, decided that honesty is always best...(unless your husband is asking whether his stomach looks big in a shirt, in which case, lie through your teeth)

'Reg decided to redecorate the utility room in an early 1970's style, focussing on browns and oranges with some lime green thrown in for contrast'.

This was what I was greeted with this morning, and sitting in the middle was Reg, looking like he'd had a very bad set of lowlights put in, happy as a pig in....  well, you know what I mean.  I had to clean the floor in three stages which involved, in no particular order, an entire kitchen roll, two mop heads, disinfectant, a perfumed candle and three cloths.  So this is why my blog was late this morning.  I was up to my neck in s**t.

Having cleaned Reg up, Percy was prepared to welcome him back into the kitchen,…

Blowing in the wind...

Words from a Bird.  Day 90

So the husband dolefully returned to work today, each side of his trousers' waistband not quite on talking terms with the other.  If only he'd listened to me last night....

I was back to work as well, and after four days of washing, ironing, cooking and nagging, the sanity was most welcome.  The reason that I had so much to do was that daughter number 2 had returned from a week's skiing, kindly handing over her suitcase at the front door.  I never complain about skiing holiday cases, as once you have taken out the salopettes, ski jacket and thermals, the weight limit dictates that there's not much left for anything else.  To get round this, I think that both daughters wear as much clothing as possible on the plane to release valuable case space to shoes and make-up.

Going back to daughter number 2's suitcase, in all fairness, she did put the dirty clothes into the washing machine, but there is where her input ground to a complete halt.  A…

Head over feet...

Words from a Bird.  Day 89

Had a row with the husband this evening.  Let me set the scene.....

The shout came up this afternoon for a visit to the cinema to round off the Bank Holiday weekend.  After all the cooking and ironing I had done over the last 48 hours (the kids are at home, need I say more), I welcomed the chance to sit in a dark room for a couple of hours with Eddie the Eagle.  We scooped up my sister en route, and the Three Musketeers were on their way to the bright lights of Maidenhead.

While I collected the tickets (VIP seats naturally) the other two veritably sprinted up the stairs two at a time, to get to the Pick'n'Mix before I got there.  They do this because they know that:

1. They will be restricted on quantity, and

2. They will be made to keep the bag closed until the sweets had been paid for.

Unfortunately, by the time I had sussed out the pre-paid ticket machine, I was too late.  The two of them were standing in the queue, looking like a couple of guilty…

Eve of destruction.....

Words from a Bird.  Day 88

Reg has been in our lives for two weeks now.  We are now where we wanted to be, with Reg and Percy being good mates (albeit mates where one mate gets a little hacked off if the other mate pesters too much).  However, as the time has gone on, and the relationship with Percy has improved, my house and belongings have suffered as follows:

1.  The large Madagascan Dragon Tree, which has been happily living in my kitchen for the last 10 years has been 'got at'.  After removing Reg from the earth for the hundredth time this morning, I came up with the bright idea of cling filming the pot, so that he couldn't get anywhere near it.  This worked for exactly 47 seconds before he started to suck on the cling film.  The tree is now on my desk, its higher branches bent over against the ceiling.  The good thing about this is that the loose electric socket which the plant was hiding, has been replaced by the husband today - every cloud, and all that...

2.  The …

Teenage dirtbag...

Words from a Bird.  Day 87

So it was the usual Saturday breakfast this morning.  We had decided that it might be good to try a different venue for a change, and all six of us trolleyed into Bill's.  No room in that particular inn, so off we went again, heading down Marlow High Street to Barouche, our usual stamping ground.  As we all trotted down the High Street, we resembled a sketch on the Benny Hill Show, with my mother up front, followed by the rest of us.  The only disappointing thing was that she wasn't wearing a skimpy nurse's uniform, and nobody had pinched her bottom.  She still managed a fair pace down the High Street though.  I think it's down to the siren call of the sausage sandwich...

For the second week running, breakfast was pretty good.  My sausage sandwich was served with unbuttered bread, which actually makes it more 'sausages slapped between two slices of bare bread' rather than an actual sandwich, but this was remedied with a butter side or…

Where have all the flowers gone?

Words from a Bird.  Day 86.

As the weather was so lovely today, I decided that it would make sense to tackle the back garden which has taken to resembling the Congo over the last few weeks.  Percy and Reg have been disappearing for hours at a time - I had a weird suspicion that once I cut it all back, I would find a family of orang-utans living by the ornamental birdbath (if it survived the winter).

So gloves on, trowel in hand ( a Kubota would have been more job appropriate) I set to it, starting at the narrow end of the border, in case I peaked too soon.  Once I had hacked back the creepers and macheted the larger weeds, it wasn't too bad, so kneeling down I started digging over the soil.  And this is where it all went wrong.

The dogs, who had been watching me from a safe distance, all of a sudden appeared at each elbow, in a pincer movement.  There was nowhere to run.  I carried on digging, pulling at the weeds and putting them in a bucket, all the time nervously keeping an eye…

A day in the life...

Words from a Bird.  Day 85.

So the Bank Holiday weekend is upon us.  I don't know about you, but for me this is always the equivalent of losing a day of my life.  I spend the whole of Thursday thinking its Friday, then Friday is Saturday etc.  It's only 6.00pm on Thursday, and I have already lost Friday twice.  Once to a Depot Meeting at work which totally caught me unawares.  As I was convinced it was Friday, I had assumed that Thursday's Depot Meeting was yesterday.  The boys looked slightly bewildered, and a bit frightened if I'm honest.  They'll learn that the mind of a middle aged woman (I will live to 106) is not one to be trifled with.

I lost it the second time was when I called daughter number 2 in France to ask her if she'd enjoyed her last day's skiing.  She said very patiently that as it was only Thursday, she still had another whole day left.  'Aaah yes', I said, 'it's Thursday, not Friday'.  More chat, then 'Well, have a…

Can't take my eyes off you...

Words from a Bird.  Day 84

It's not every day you get hit in the eye with a foot long, yellow squeaky sausage...thus, my day began.  Having already applied mascara (thank you Rimmel for giving me the appearance of 'awake' these past years) you can imagine what I looked like. 

The satisfying 'thwack' across my left eye (my left, not yours) caused it to start gushing like a southern hemisphere geyser, with a blue/black river rapidly following on behind.  Because of puppy duty this morning, I didn't really have much time to remedy the Coco the Clown/ChiChi look if I wanted to be in work on time.  A rapid drag across the cheek with my sleeve in the car was all I had time for. 

My work colleagues are either very polite (likely) or need better glasses, as not one of them mentioned my weeping, bloodshot eye until I brought it up in conversation.  I did consider popping my sunglasses on, but the thought of resembling Ceelo Green for the morning wasn't a good one.…

Perfect day...

Words from a Bird.  Day 83

My day didn't start well....I am not the best arguer in the world, but whilst juicing this morning, son number 2 managed to rile me to such a level that I chucked a tub of fruit across the worktop.  Why is it, that whenever I lose my temper, it's only ever me that has to clear up after myself.  I have a very clear memory of launching an open packet of icing sugar into the air, which was in response to a particularly violent spat between daughter number 2 and son number 2 over a couple of Playmobile figures (this was years ago in case you're wondering). 

When the dust finally settled (literally) I was left looking at two mini old age pensioners, white from head to toe.   Obviously I couldn't laugh, and worse still, I couldn't make them clear it up, so yet again, down to yours truly.  They were sent to the rooms, looking like two extras from Rentaghost, leaving white footprints across the hall.  My kitchen floor resembled that of a skanky …

Just like Eddie...

Words from a Bird.  Day 82

The husband is on a diet.  He doesn't know, as I haven't told him, but rest assured, by the summer I would hope that the hair on his calves might have started growing again after being deprived of sunlight over the winter.

It was a trifle which triggered my decision....a family sized trifle for one. (this would be a single person with no children sort of family)  Need I say more?  Even the husband had the decency to admit that he didn't feel too brilliant after eating it in one sitting.  I suppose that it is slightly my fault that he ended up with a trifle in the first place.  You'll remember from yesterday that I had no pudding to offer after the roast dinner, so when son number 2's BFF offered to drive out and get him something, it was more than he could cope with. 

'Trifle....a family one.  And if they don't have a large one, don't worry, I'll have three small ones instead..'

They were gone ages.  I thought at one …

Ice, ice baby...

Words from a Bird.  Day 81

Sundays in my house usually end up going the same way every week.  Whoever has had the good fortune to be sleeping here on Saturday night wakes up thinking that Sunday is going to be a day of rest, a reward for all the hard work put in through the week. 

Everyone gets their wish, long lie ins (except me as I have to sort Reg out), lazy breakfasts (I cook this, and end up with half of a cold sausage sandwich if I am lucky), an afternoon of motorsports (damn you BT Sport, you ruined my life), a roast dinner (once again, me cooking).  Then there's vegging on the sofa (ironing), catching up with friends (washing) and reading the papers (housework).  So you can imagine that by the time I actually sit down on a Sunday, there's not much of it left. Probably just enough for a drool fest targeted at The Night Manager - that's enough excitement for me.

But my favourite time on a Sunday is the weekly roast dinner which is on offer between the months of Oct…

Firestarter...

Words from a Bird.  Day 80

We had a really early start this morning, as the husband had 'offered' to take daughter number two and her BFF to Luton Airport to kick off their week's skiing.  If I had taken them to the airport, I would have parked up, seen them and their luggage in and probably had a coffee with them, before bidding them a teary goodbye.  The husband slowed down for a twenty second period outside the departure gate and kicked them out onto the pavement, such was his resentment at daughter number 2 heading for the powder again. 

The Saturday Family Breakfast went well this morning. The drinks were hot and the food was quick.  You'll wonder why I even mention this, but history has taught us that neither of these is a given.  The conversation then turned to Nerdy Bags.  This is the name my sister has christened a rather large fabric carrier bag which slips neatly into its own zipped pocket to be used instead of the 5p emotional blackmail tax offered at eve…

I'm a boy...

Words from a Bird.  Day 79

I was greeted by the vision of Reg curled up asleep in one cup of a red 36D bra this morning.  Surely not one of yours, I hear you ask.  No, definitely not one of mine. Trainer bras or a sensible vest are more my forte.  Anything larger than that would give my bust the silhouette of a couple of dented ping pong balls and that's not attractive on a woman.

So this will teach daughter number 2 to leave her dirty washing by his basket overnight.  He'd had a field day, and the utility room looked like the aftermath of a financially lucrative night in the red light district.  A pair of tights was casually slung over the side of his bed, and various pairs of drawers littered the floor.  Unfortunately, there was no money left on the side, but I am used to that.

For one dreadful moment, I had thought that perhaps Reg was going the way of his 'gaynine' brother, but taking a slightly different route and dressing up in women's clothing.  We'll se…

Up all night...

Words from a Bird.  Day 78

As I stuck my head down the loo for the third time in an hour this morning, it suddenly all made sense.

As you'll remember from yesterday's blog, I was pondering as to how my dad and the husband manage to win at cards every week.  I had blamed the fact that I was usually half asleep, and also wondered whether the husband was checking out the reflection of my cards in the windows.  Well, there is now a third option.

On Wednesday night, my dad carried in a rather large and exciting looking box.  This is usually something he wants to foist on me, which he no longer wants to give house room to.  He says he doesn't like throwing anything away, so he does it by proxy, giving it to me, so that I can throw it away.  Obviously, I don't have as many scruples as he does.

So back to the box...

'What've you got there then?' I asked, expecting several paperbacks.  I have a Kindle, so books are no good to me any more (until the day that the font…

I should be so lucky...

Words from a Bird.  Day 77

In my house, we have been following the same Wednesday night tradition for over 15 years now.  Let me run it past you...

My dad and his partner turn up for dinner, at around 7.00.  They are never late, except for one occasion when my dad fell asleep in his chair after a particularly arduous game of golf.  By the time he woke up, the dinner I had cooked was long gone. 

They normally turn up with two cans of sugar free, caffeine free coke and two bottles of beer.  It's only been recently that the cokes have actually been in date.  These were left over after a big party in 2012, and it was with a great relief that I opened one a few months ago and it wasn't devoid of bubbles.  The two beers are for the husband (who is still not drinking, so we are stockpiling these in the fridge - hopefully, they'll still be in date by the time he starts drinking again). 

We have a grown up dinner, and then the cards come out for the weekly games of crib.  We have…

Bag boy...

Words from a Bird.  Day 76

So the Brawl on the Lawn seems to be subsiding just a little.  The odd growl here and there, and the occasional 'Bite my balls one more time and you're cat food' glance from Percy seem to be doing the trick.  Reg decided to scare the life out of me today while playing in the (heavily weeded) border in the back garden.  Having spent 10 minutes limping around the garden in the style of Robert 'Long John Silver' Newton, my wonderful friend, Mrs P, suggested a visit to the vet to make sure that he was ok.

In the words of daughter number 2 and son number 2, when baking cakes with the husband one time, 'How hard could it be?'

Very hard, it would appear.  I have no dog carrier for Reg, so was left with a couple of options.  Either I carry him on my lap in the car all the way there and back or I stick him in a hessian shopper with 'I Love Wine' emblazoned across both sides. (This was so obviously borrowed from my mother). As safe…

Never ever...

Words from a Bird.   Day 75

So the visitors keep appearing.....one lot turned up with the most amazing cakes today.  I forgave them the fact that they hadn't really come to see me at all, especially once I had polished off a Raspberry Mousse Sponge, a Rum Latte Ganache and half a Lemon Cheesecake, all made by my friend's son. 

In defence of my gluttony, these measured approximately 3" square, so were more the size of those miniature puddings which get handed round on a large platter at Christmas parties.  I think it's perfectly acceptable to cram at least twenty of these in at one sitting (or standing I suppose, more accurately).

Daughters number 1 and 2 are both in residence tonight.  The older one is cooking dinner for us.  It is on occasions like this that I tend to vacate the kitchen.  Not because I have any doubts as to her cooking prowess (she's much better than me) but I struggle with the sight of every knife, chopping board and saucepan I possess being us…

The leader of the pack...

Words from a Bird.  Day 74

Well I am back, having wrestled the keyboard off Percy, who was in the process of typing a 'Room to Let' poster.  To be honest, there are a few other people whose rooms will be let before his.....kids, I'll let you work out for yourself which one of you would go first.

So the day has been filled with visitors, none of them have come to see the husband and me of course.  Our guests push past us, their eyes levelled at about 7 inches off the floor.  Everyone wants a cuddle of the mini fuzzball, who is quite happy to oblige, giving it his best puppy dog eyes. 

Percy is being very patient with the new addition.  A couple of left hooks have persuaded Reg that hanging off Percy's crown jewels is not the best way to make friends.  Of course, Percy has this technique down to a fine art, and has found it quite successful on a couple of occasions when making new male friends of dubious character. 

All of the children, bar one, have been here today,  …

My brother...

Blog from a Dog.  Day 73

Percy here.  I have taken over the laptop today as my mum seems slightly distracted .

Well today started much the same as every other one.  A cuddle with my mum and dad in their bed, a walk and then breakfast.  See, nothing unusual about that.  What was  a bit odd was when they disappeared in the car with my old bed.  When I saw them getting in the car, I thought that we might have been going on holiday again.  Possibly to the beach again, my personal destination of choice.  But no, they were heading off alone.

Some hours later, they returned.  Mum came in the front door, and I gave her a sniff..it was weird, but she smelt of ANOTHER DOG.  How could she, the fickle woman. 

This, it would transpire, was the least of my problems.  Heading out to the back garden, there was a pesky kid waiting for me.  It looked like a smaller version of me.  As someone who has been an only child for four years, this wasn't looking good, I can tell you. 

Well, I introduced m…

Reflections...

Words from a Bird.  Day 72

So another week draws to a close, and it's time to reflect on the things I have learned over the last seven days...

1.  When you are waiting for the arrival of a new puppy, you will ask yourself whether you are doing the right thing at least four times every day.  Your answer will be the same every time....(sorry, it's completely unprintable).

2.  I am able to reduce the husband to a blubbering wreck by simply cupping one ear with my right hand, looking up at the ceiling, and whispering, 'Sssh, did you hear that?'

3. The husband is thrilled to be able to come out of the Northern closet on occasions.  Twenty four hours on, and I am quite accustomed to the foreign lingo and strange habits. He will however, be bundled back in come Sunday evening...with force, if necessary.

4. When son number 2 tells you that he has broken his toe, there is a good chance he just might be telling the truth.  (In fact, it was a lot worse than that, which increased …

Southern nights...

Words from a Bird.  Day 71

The northern contingency of the family has arrived at my house this afternoon.  The husband's sister and lovely other half are crashing at ours for a few days, as a half way house between Cheshire and Dorset.  Between you and me, I think that their maths is a bit skew, but I am not going to question their figures, as I am just thrilled to see them both.

The husband, who has not lived 'up north' for three quarters of his life, and who would be labelled as a Southern Softy by anyone further north than Watford, sees this as a great opportunity to reconnect with his northern roots.  Within three minutes of being with his sister, his accent kicks in again, and I find myself frantically pointing the remote control at him, looking for the subtitles button.  Give it another five minutes, and every person we chat about is re-christened with a new first name... 'Our'... although this is pronounced 'Are', just to confuse me even more. 

So …

The only way is up...

Words from a Bird.  Day 70

So the countdown has started till Reg arrives.  We have two days left of relative sanity. 

There are signs of the approaching mayhem. A new dog bed has appeared in the kitchen, and the tiniest red collar in the world is waiting on the kitchen worktop.  There is puppy food and treats, and squeaky toys and balls. All the things a new puppy would want.

Couple this with my slight (ha!) OCD, and now let's look at what is really going on in the house.  Well for a start, anything chewable has been removed from the lower shelves, carefully hidden away from little teeth. This doesn't sit too well with me as you can imagine.  I mean, who wants to see a giant red cherry on the same shelf as a miniature turquoise stem vase.  It's like a bloody Bring and Buy sale in my kitchen as it has lots of higher storage, so things are just stacked anywhere with no aesthetic consideration.

The stair gate has been reinstated in the kitchen.  I can guarantee that the husb…

M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E.

Words from a Bird.  Day 69

We have a mouse in the loft.  When I'm in bed, quietly reading, I can hear its scratchy little claws doing a quickstep across the ceiling.  In my mind, this little critter is over two feet long, and would eat me alive if it got the chance.  I've read James Herbert's The Rats...however irrational my thoughts are, that bloody book will stay with me forever.

Unlike me, the husband is actually scared of mice, which probably explains why we have never got round to putting a loft ladder in - I think he's worried that Little Mickey upstairs might get the hang of the loft hatch and start invading our living accommodation, planting a miniature flag on top of the fruit bowl.  It was with some trepidation then that I told him about the nocturnal scuttlings upstairs, and I watched the blood drain from his face. 

He remembers very clearly when he was woken up abruptly in the middle of the night by something plucking a hair off the top of his big toe, as…

Too much, too young...

Words from a Bird.  Day 68.

When you have access to as many kids as I do, the question often arises as to which one is the 'favourite'.  This is daughter number 1's most frequent statement when we're all together, and to be honest, over the last 14 years, she has said it so many times that the rest of the kids have been brainwashed into believing that it actually might be true.

Of course, as a parent, you never have favourites.  There might be the odd occasion when one might nip in front of the others for a nano-second (such as when son number 2 bought me the lovely bracelet for Mother's Day) and there are also times when one of them might fall slightly behind (such as when son number 2 left his room looking like 1945 Dresden this morning) but for the whole there are no favourites, and I love them all the same.

However, here is the crux of the matter...over breakfast this morning, the husband and son number 2 were discussing where they came in the family pecking o…

Mamma mia...

Words from a Bird.  Day 67

Mother's Day is one of those wonderful days, when (assuming you are a mum) you are going to get spoilt rotten.  I woke up this morning full of eager anticipation, waiting for someone younger than the husband and I to bring me a cup of tea, followed by breakfast in bed, cards, flowers and gifts.  Between us, we have four kids, so the chances were looking good.

Now let's see where my children were on this very special day.  Daughter number 1 was still recovering after coaching the winning team at a major netball tournament.  I had already received a lovely text from her wishing me a Happy Mother's Day. Daughter number 2 was holed up in Kent after a house party.  (I was at a house party last night also.....but at the house next door.  No need for a Railcard).  Son number 2 had decided to sleep over at his best friend's house, having cooked her mum a special dinner on Saturday night.  (Can you sense my rage growing?) So everything rested on son n…

Second hand Rose....

Words from a Bird.  Day 66

I got it in the ear at the family breakfast get together this morning.  My aunt was most miffed by the fact that I had failed to mention that she single-handedly had won Quiz Night on one occasion.  As I said to her, 'Well, if you will insist on hiding your light under a bushel, what can you expect?'  Still, I may have to find some really good things to say about her over the next few days if I want to continue receiving Christmas presents...

So a big day in our house today.  The husband and I set out for an exciting hour at our local pet shop this afternoon.  Our aim was to get all the things we would need when Reg gets here next Saturday.  You would think that we would have everything from when Percy tipped up,  but we haven't.  The reason is that never in a million years could I see us getting another dog, so as Percy outgrew/chewed up/destroyed his collar/lead/toys I simply threw the remains away.  Just as well that I did, as the husband had…

How can I be sure....

Words from a Bird.  Day 65

Last night I headed off to Bourne End, collecting my mother en route.  We were off to meet my sister and my aunt at The Bourne End Community Centre for our monthly attempt at utilizing the fluff between our ears.  Now this is no ordinary pub quiz.  There are people there who probably turned down Mensa as they were looking for more of a challenge.  Their knowledge is so extensive, that I wonder how they fit normal life in around all the reading and swotting they do.  Oh, but of course, they don't...Life is just one big series of Pointless with a couple of episodes of QI thrown in to give them a more human touch.

Historically, my aunt had done spectacularly badly before the rest of us started tagging along.  She had a personal best of 6th overall, which although sounding impressive, counts for diddly when I tell you that there were only 6 teams on that particular night.   Her PB wasn't so much a Personal Best, more a Pathetic Bottom. 

Anyway, since th…

Doctor, doctor...

Words from a Bird.  Day 64.

Yesterday, another trip to the doctors was on the cards.  I'm not saying that I've been down there too many times this year, but yesterday, the lovely Receptionist (with whom I am now on first name terms and who will probably send me a Christmas card this year)  handed me a loyalty card and escorted me to my own chair.  I felt very special.... My doctor wasn't available (this is no surprise, as I haven't seen my own doctor since 1997...my last appointment with him was for a pregnancy test which turned out to be a positive for son number 2) so I was booked in to see a relatively new doctor.  'New' doesn't really describe what met me at the consultant room door, as he was wearing short trousers and carrying a satchel.  'Oh, is it 'Bring your Son to Work Day' today?' I asked.  The look he gave me said it all.  Duly humbled, I shuffled into the surgery, and sat down.  He also sat down, adjusting his booster cushion …

Sisters are doin' it for themselves...

Words from a Bird.  Day 63

There are some days when one blog would not be enough to cover the events of the last 24 hours, but I'll have a go...

My morning started with a new dress for work, navy blue, good length, trendy (came from New Look, so must be).  I felt great....On coming into the kitchen, the husband did a double take, and said, 'Ooh, hello Matron.  I always did like a nurse's uniform'.  The fact that I had a red cardigan draped over my shoulders obviously hadn't helped the whole 'nurse' situation, and I was starting to get rather concerned at the way he was looking at me.  A bit like how a lion would look at an overweight antelope with three legs who just couldn't run any further.  'Just you be careful', I warned him, 'this came with a stethoscope and a pair of latex gloves'.  As I headed upstairs to swap the red cardigan for something less hospital related, I heard him shout, 'Nurse!  The screens!'  Very funny.  He w…

Where do you go to, my lovely?

Words from a Bird.  Day 62

So here is where you find me....sitting in Waitrose carpark, desperately trying to find enough 2/3/4G to fire up the internet on my mobile.

I have spent the last two hours holding my mobile at various heights and angles around the house with no joy.  I have balanced it on chairs, window sills and the tops of doors, looking for those elusive wavy lines to appear...nothing, absolutely nothing.  So I have grabbed Percy (like he was going to let me go for a drive without riding shotgun) and headed out to Wallingford.

So here I am, pondering life without the web.  I do feel a bit disconnected from you all, and I know that some of you really hate the evening post as opposed to the morning tea read.  However, the thought of sitting in Waitrose car parkwith my pyjamas on at 6.00am is not really working for me!  As it is, I have had four people I know tap on the window and ask me what I'm doing.  Three if these are blog readers, and two of them asked if they cou…