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Showing posts from April, 2016

Time in a bottle...

Words from a Bird.  Day 121.

Daughter number 2 has returned to the fold, hurtling into the house in a manner not unlike the Tasmanian Devil (just with more clothes).  It would appear that she and the boyfriend are using my home as a basecamp this weekend as she seems to have much planned.  I'm not saying that they aim to spend as little time here as possible, but she has already informed me that there will be no need to cook for them....unfortunately, I am sure that this concession will not apply to any washing she may have snuck into the washing machine while my attention was diverted by an Amazon delivery man. He had three teeth in his head (all equally spaced out) which made me laugh as he was delivering replacement heads for my electric toothbrush...

So my wonderful sister has abandoned me today.  I always feel her loss more than any other person in my life.  After all, she's the person I shall know the longest.  We've always been incredibly close, even though I knocke…

China girl...

Words from a Bird.  Day 120

So the hair straightening saga continued yesterday, with me spending almost three hours in the salon having a treatment to remove all my frizz.  I always thought that only a razor would do this, but it would appear that technology has improved somewhat over the years.

When my sister and I were children, there was nothing on the market to control our frizzy hair.  Our mum, who should have known better, insisted on scraping our hair off our foreheads into buns (with a lovely crocheted cap), plaits, bunches and pony tails.  She pulled it so tightly, that our squinting eyes gave us limited vision, and all the kids at our school thought we were Chinese.

When she had the hair satisfactorily hauled into a rubber band, she would then tease a little bit out, spit on it and create a couple of curls which stuck out from our heads like a couple of antennae.  Our headmistress used to call us The Brillo Kids, and there are many school photos of the two of us, where the p…

Straight down the middle...

Words from a Bird.  Day 119.

I can be a bit of a flibbertigibbet where my hair is concerned.  Having naturally curly hair, every now and again I like to buck the trend and try something different.

My sister, Mss R (an expert at wielding a hairdryer - if this was an Olympic sport, she'd win the gold medal every time) had straightened my hair on holiday, and I kind of liked it.  Having made the decision that I was going to keep it that way for a few months, it became necessary to have an appliance whip-round, so that I had all the necessary tools to keep this up.

First item was a hairdryer, which I didn't possess, so Miss R very kindly donated one of her older ones to test drive. Early indications are that you need to be either double jointed, or a freak with three arms to get this pointing in the right direction....'down the shaft' apparently...

Next were the brushes...'Have you got the right one?' asked Miss R.  What does she mean, 'the right one'?  Wel…

Sunshine on my shoulder.....

Words from a Bird.  Day 118...

As befitting a last day in the sunshine, the three of us really went hell for leather (appropriate choice of word) on Monday.  The temperature probably tipped at around 30 degrees, but did we care?  No, we just kept on piling the factor 30 (or in Mrs W's case, two layers of factor 15).  Keeping hydrated was obviously vital, so fifteen pints of Sangria were imbibed throughout the afternoon ( from 11.00 actually, but let's not be too picky).  There was an element of turning over between drunken snoozes, to ensure an even suntan, but I have to confess that as Mrs W and I didn't need to disrobe for some months, we concentrated on the bits people could see - face and hands. 

By the end of the day, if you had been walking behind me, you would have thought that I had been to Scarborough for a week, but the front looked fab, so I was happy.  Mrs W and Miss R had a few red patches, but seemingly nothing too much to worry about.

It wasn't till we …

Rule Britannia........

Words from a Bird.  Day 117

Well we threw caution to the wind yesterday morning and decided to take our chances with getting our usual sunbeds.  I mean, how many Germans, Finns and Spaniards were there in the hotel?  Surely there would be enough to go round...

You can imagine our surprise when we came down to the pool before breakfast, with the intention of laying claim to our sunbeds....to find our sunbeds in the same place, but neatly cordoned off from the rest of the pool area by carefully arranged concrete planters, parasols and a four foot fence.  Closer inspection revealed that much there had been an element of thought put into this as there were union flags draped over each lounger and tea making facilities in one corner.  Three neatly ironed copies of the Daily Mail were laid on the side tables together with a copy of The People's Friend.  How thoughtful of them to set aside this little corner of England for us, away from all the other non-British European folk.

Unfortunat…

Jeux sans frontieres...

Words from a Bird.  Day 116

If there was any doubt as to whether Britain should remain in Europe,
there certainly wasn't one after our attempts at international
relations around the pool yesterday afternoon.

We had been watching two men of indeterminate sexuality making out around the pool, rubbing suncream into each other´s rather rotund
bodies and sharing the largest spliff I have ever seen.  As the
afternoon wore on, and the spliff got shorter, one of the men started
acting rather strangely, taking on the appearance of Animal from the
Muppets, waving his arms around in the air in an erratic fashion.  As we continued to be amused by their behaviour, laughing loudly on our sunloungers, it was only a matter of time before Animal headed our way, clutching the remains of his spliff and a carrier bag.  Miss R, who prides herself on her ability to flush out a gay man, insisted on telling him how wonderful it was that they were so open with their love for each other.  The man was appalled.....…

Sex bomb.....

Words from a Bird.  Day 115

I know that many of you are sitting wondering what the hell happened between leaving for a quiet dinner with the mother and aunt and the mammoth hangovers suffered by Miss R and Mrs W yesterday morning.  Well, dear reader, let me enlighten you, and I'll warn you now.....it's not for the faint hearted.

After the eighteen pints of Sangria, time had become immaterial until we suddenly realised that we had 17 minutes before we were due to meet the other two.  A rushed call was made to the aunt (the mother rarely answers her mobile, and when it rings she has a habit of holding it as though it's going to go off in her hand).  This gave us an extra 40 minutes.  My naturally curly hair had a whiff of Ken Dodd going on, so Miss R, armed with her straighters suggested flattening it for speed.

Duly ironed, and all slightly more coherent, we headed off to the mother and aunt's hotel for a lovely meal.  It was here that my two younger companions started …

Light my fire....

Words from a bird.  Day 114

Well the day started full of good intentions, with a fruit laden breakfast and talk of getting an English paper....I am ashamed to say that the day took a turn for the worse around 11.09 when Miss R declared it to be officially Sangria o'clock.....eighteen pints later, (between three before you start thinking about calling AA)  things are not looking so sensible....

Mrs W and I treated the other pool dwellers to a marvellous rendion of a montage of Doors hits.  Between you and me, several of them looked like they would like to light a fire and throw the pair of us on top, but we were undeterred, pushing through the whole album with gusto.

Miss R entertained us with her version of Name that Tune courtesy of her ipod....the pulse of her music taste stopped beating circa 1987 so you can imagine the sort of rubbish we were working with.  Mrs W and I had to resort to feigning sleep to get out of playing..

An international incident was narrowly avoided when M…

Feeling hot, hot, hot...

Words from a Bird.  Day 113

I knew the flight was going to be all trouble when the pilot announced as we were getting settled, 'Now all the heavy bags are on board, we are clear to go'.  I thought that they kept the cockpit door closed these days, but maybe word had filtered down the plane.

The girls and I were looking forward to a gin and tonic and eagerly awaited the reassuring clicking of miniature bottles as they made their way down the aisle.  Well the tea was first.  We all had one of those in preparation for the main event.  Then came the duty free....yes, yes, buy some perfume, now hurry along as we're waiting for the gin.

Well we waited, and we waited.  Fifteen minutes from landing, it became apparent that there was no drinks trolley.  This was a dry flight...... Miss R, on disembarking, pinned the camp steward up against the cockpit door, and snarled menacingly at him regarding the lack of gin. Apparently, BA don't offer alcohol on their early morning flight…

Up, up and away....

Words from a Bird.  Day 112

So much for packing thoughtfully....zipping my case up for our journey to Gatwick, I had to release the extension zip.  This is the equivalent of loosening your belt a couple of notches after a heavy meal, and I could almost hear my clothes breathe a sigh of relief.  Miss R drove Mrs W and me to the airport (this was after we gaily drove past Mrs W's house at a rate of knots.  Miss R was struggling with the demister, the radio and the satnav at the same time.  Her multi tasking is impressive though selective...

Having reached the airport, a full tour of the multi storey car park was done, before realising we were in the wrong place.  Cue Benny Hill theme tune, as we shot out of there in an anticlockwise spiral, finally locating the Valet Parking some distance away.

Having told us that there was no weight limit on our cases with British Airways, Miss R was mortified to be told that she was 6.5kg overweight.  'That'll be your wash bag, said helpf…

Pack up your troubles...

Words from a Bird.  Day 111

So the day has finally arrived...the one where I haul my suitcase from under the bed in preparation for my mini break (this is what I call it, the husband calls it a holiday implying that I will be away longer than I actually am).

It's funny how things change as you get older.  Over the years, my suitcases have ranged in size from one so large that it needed two men to get it in and out of the car and which doubled up as storage for the lawnmower in the winter, to my current one which can sometimes get confused as hand luggage.

When I was younger, I panic-packed, stuffing every piece of clothing I owned into the suitcase, along with shoes to match every conceivable outfit.  There would be jackets, jeans in case it rained, jumpers in case it was cold, and probably even an umbrella.  There would also be a choice of several bikinis (those were the days), four pairs of shorts (this works out at a new pair for every day which is ludicrous), dresses, skirts, …

Born too late...

Words from a Bird.  Day 110

Working closely with two males who have each been on this earth approximately half the time I have, can bring issues to the fore.  Here are some of the more obvious ones which I have noted over the last year.

1. The two of them always seems to speak more loudly when anything verbal is directed at me.  They haven't started adding the word 'dear' at the end of each sentence, but I am sure that it is just a matter of time.

2. They like to make me tea. They've obviously both been brought up extremely well, and have been trained to make their mums tea, probably from the age of 7 if mine are anything to go by.  Of course, the sheer implication of this is that they have pigeon-holed me in the same age group as their mums, which is understandable if not regrettable.

3. Weird food is brought in for their lunches, for which they often apologise.  One of the boys tends to have lunches which sound like Trill before he has added the obligatory hot water.…

Beyond the sea...

Words from a Bird.  Day 109

The sun returned yesterday.  What better excuse did the husband need to suggest a trip to the beach with the dogs?  Well I'll tell you what the better reason was.  He had to go and tighten some nuts (one of his most favoured plumbing terms) at a customer's bathroom on Sandbanks, and thought I'd like to go with him. 

I had to do son number 1's ironing before we left for the beach.  He had made sure that it was all washed and dried in readiness for my half hour available slot this morning.  Thoughtful boy...

So jobs all done, it was off to the beach.

I decided that Sandbanks is full of people who really should know better.  I watched one old chap park his Maserati in a space big enough for two Sherman tanks, while waiting for the husband who was on Mr Whippy duty.  He shunted it back and forth fourteen times, before settling the car right in the middle of the space, thus ensuring that no one else could park either in front or behind him.  It …

Papa don't preach...

Words from a Bird.  Day 108

I am waiting for testosterone to hit the house with full impact.  Son number 1 has been playing rugby this afternoon, and the husband went to support.  This will mean that the whole match will have to be verbally regurgitated in real time over the course of the next two hours, while I sit here with a beatific smile on my face, wondering whether they'll notice if I leave home.  There will be talk of a bias ref (especially if they lose) and the husband will talk about how 'they were robbed'. 

With two male dogs in the house also, I crave the female company which is no longer in situ.  Daughter number 1 pops back every now and again, but not often enough to make a credible impact on the blue corner, and daughter number 2 won't be back home till June.

It's a problem when you don't have any females to talk to in the house.  Who can I discuss Tom Hiddleston, kissproof lipstick, padded bras and hair mousse with.  If I raise any of these su…

Rescue me...

Words from a Bird.   Day 107

So the end of another week has crept up on me in felt slippers.  It's had its highs (winning on the horses and welcoming size 12 back into the wardrobe) and it's had its lows (flashing my derriere to a complete stranger and mud wrestling before work).

It's been sad too.  I had my eye on a cute schnauzer pup who had been dumped by his breeder, as he was unsellable due to having a fused right leg.  Wanting to do something kind, I badgered the Animal Rescue Centre ( http://www.manytearsrescue.org/) to put myself forward as a potential furball mummy.

I thought we were perfect for Ike, but it appears not.  I had to bow down to their experience, and to the wonderful love for these pups they rescue.  Obviously, word has reached them of the terrorist we are harbouring.  This is Reg, 13 weeks old and adept at guerrilla warfare, ambushing any unclad foot which happens to be in his vicinity.  He has also learned to scale tall buildings (the stair gate) an…

Bring me sunshine...

Words from a Bird.  Day 106

The British weather has driven me insane this week.  There is nowhere on this planet, as far as I am aware, where you can be wearing a ski jacket and bobble hat on a Monday, shorts and flip-flops on a Wednesday and waterproofs and wellies on a Thursday, with snow forecast on Saturday.

April is rapidly becoming my least favourite month of the year.  It's near enough to Easter to still be mourning the loss of my waistline (actually, I never found it again after Christmas) and there is that daily wardrobe quandary as to 'what to wear'.  At least in March you know it's going to be bloody cold, so getting dressed in the morning is fairly straightforward.  April?  Now that's a different matter. 

The way I get round this is to dress like an onion.  Not literally like an onion you understand, but simply wear layer on top of layer on top of layer.  As the frost bitten morning warms up, I peel off a single layer, peaking around 2.00 in the aftern…

Y viva Espana...

Words from a Bird.  Day 105

Today my sister reminded me that it was only eight sleeps till we headed off to Spain with our excellent friend Mrs W.  This is an annual event, and the three of us have never missed a year yet although other friends and family members dip in and out.  One year there were ten of us, which was really too many.  We all know what it's  like when ten women get together to discuss where they're going to eat.  I think we walked past twelve restaurants one night, all taking time to look at the menus, before discarding them and deciding there might be something better further up.  There never is.  I came to the conclusion a long time ago that they probably all share the same kitchen, have the same menu, but just have different spelling mistakes.  Favourites over the years have included:

Pork Cop
Craque Monsuer
Steamed Crap with Ginger (Spanish Chinese restaurant)

As an avid tea drinker, in the absence of my PG Tips, the Spanish offer Horniman teabags.  This…

All fur coat and no knickers....

Words from a Bird.  Day 104

As I looked at the tumbleweeds sculling across my laundry floor (now the kids have gone, I've not set foot in there for three days) I realised that now was the time to do a job which I have been putting off for about a year or so.

It was time to tackle the chest of drawers which sits in my bedroom.  This is the one which houses my knickers, bras and anything leg or foot related (socks, tights etc).  One drawer for each category, to make getting dressed in the morning simple.  If I am honest with you, my inherited OCD demands that I lay out all my clothes the night before, but let's not dwell on that.

So armed with a carrier bag (ever the optimist) I started on the first drawer, the knickers one.  On closer inspection, it would appear that when I pull a pair of knickers out of here, I only ever take from the front, never venturing towards the murky depths at the back.  Here's what I found when I dug deep:

Two European plugs
A hotel sewing kit
A p…

These boots were made for walking...

Words from a Bird.  Day 103

Yesterday was the first day that I had to take the two dogs out for their early walk before I headed off to work.  This normally falls into the remit of the husband's responsibilities.  As he works outdoors, he is usually suitable attired for whatever the weather has to throw at him, so it makes sense for him to walk them rather than me.  I don't mind doing the afternoon one, as I can change from my work clothes into dog-appropriate clobber.

But yesterday, as the rain, which was 'almost-cold-enough-to-be-snow' hurled itself at the windows, he sprung a lovely surprise on me (steady ladies, it was a Monday for goodness sake).

'I have to leave early today.  Can you walk the boys this morning?'

Well I had just washed my hair, and was already dressed in my office gear, so you can imagine that on a scale of 1 to 10 on the Pi**ed Off Scale, I was definitely in double figures.

'No problem.  I expect the second flood (think Noah and his A…

Blue moon...

Words from a Bird.  Day 102

As I cleared the last two baskets of ironing yesterday morning, I noticed a sudden movement from the corner of the kitchen.  It was the husband, slumped at the table, rapidly blinking in the sudden daylight as the baskets were moved from the windows. 

'Have they actually gone?'  he asked, a tremor of fear in his voice, his eyes darting around the kitchen as if he was expecting one of our many children to leap out at him.

'Yes, all gone', I said patting the back of his hand gently.  'It's just you, me and the dogs now.  What would you like to do today?'

And so began a day of reconnecting with the husband.  First stop was a couple of hours watching ten years olds on motorbikes, throwing themselves up and down muddy hills.  What were their parents thinking of?  Mind you, when we spotted the parents (white vans, grey tracksuits, baseball caps, tattoos, piercings - this was just the women) it sort of all made sense. 

Even though I l…

My generation...

Words from a Bird.  Day 101.

Today has been one of those days which started well, and ended even better.

There's nothing like a morning of retail therapy with a best friend to kick a Saturday off.  What makes it better is when almost every item of clothing you try on is too big, so that you have to ask in a VERY LOUD VOICE, for the next size down.  Most satisfying...

We had kicked off with coffees and scones (it's a middle aged lady thing) in a café within a department store.  Now I quite like the clothes in this store, but my good friend is of the opinion that the store is for ladies a lot older than we are.  This was confirmed in the café by the group of ladies standing at the counter.  I christened them 'Fifty Shades of Beige'.  Their hair colour (Golden Wheat and Apricot Frost) merged beautifully with the beige waterproofs (you can't be too careful at this time of the year) and the robust, but functional shoes, and it was almost impossible to distinguish them f…

More than words...

Words from a Bird.  Day 100

Well I'll be honest with you, I never in a million Sundays thought that I would get to this day.  Today is my centenary, one hundred posts, 42,866 words (before you start thinking how sad it is that I have counted each day's words, this is an average figure based on randomly picked offerings - those Maths lessons came in handy after all) and almost three hundred devoted readers (how I love you!)

When I wrote my first Words from a Bird on January 1, it was with some trepidation that I pressed the 'Publish' button.  It's a brave thing laying yourself bare for all to see (not literally, I do keep my vest on).  After all, in theory, you can only write about what you know, so that opens you up to all sorts of questions and reactions, especially from your children.  The most frequent ones over the last three months have been along the lines of:

'Are you sure we're not adopted?' 
'Did you really have to tell everyone that?'…

I like to move it, move it...

Words from a Bird.  Day 99

This week, we have had some very exotic evening meals, courtesy of son number 1 and his ambition to be a housewife for a week. There have been king prawns, chorizo and mussels bought by yours truly for these extravagant dishes, and I have spent more money on food since Monday than I spent for the whole of March.

It's quite disturbing when I see how much food five people can eat in less than a week.  Since Saturday, we have somehow managed to polish off 48 eggs.  Now I don't eat eggs, and I know that the husband hasn't had any over the last week, which leaves an average of 16 eggs per person consumed over 6 days. 

Three loaves have also been eaten.  The husband and I are avoiding the white stuff at the moment, so again, that's one loaf each in a week.

We have drunk 16 pints of milk (OK, hands up, this is mainly down to me and daughter number 2's fanatical tea consumption) and I have made three visits to the greengrocer for fruit since Sa…

The tunnel of love...

Words from a Bird.  Day 98

I am counting down the days....

Don't get me wrong, I love all of my children, and the last four days have been great now that son number one has taken over the job of 'cooking a well planned, healthy meal for the rest of the family, when all you really want to do is have a large glass of wine and watch TV'.  It's been lovely not having to come up with ideas for something different each morning...almost a relief.

So there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is called Friday, as this is the day that son number 1 and daughter number 2's holidays come to an end, and they vacate the premises.  As that day draws nearer, I have realised that neither of them have put much thought into their washing and ironing situation.

Son number 1 gave me all his washing and ironing when he first arrived.  This was all back on the hangers within 24 hours ( just call me Supermum) so he had a good choice of clothing throughout the week.  Unfortuna…

George, don't do that...

Words from a Bird.  Day 97

This evening found me, the husband, son number 1 and daughter number 2 at our local vet surgery with Reg. 

Let me explain.  When you have a puppy for the first time, you have to learn lots of new things, such as handling, house training, dealing with nipping etc etc.  You do all the training classes, read breed-appropriate books, and scour the internet for information to make your dog the best it can be.  But by the time you have the second, all of this is deemed unnecessary as YOU KNOW IT ALL. 

However, we thought it would be a great idea to take Reg to the Puppy Party which the surgery holds each month.  Two hours of greeting (barking), socialising (peeing) and snacks (for the puppies, not the humans), and a chance to ask questions.

Reg was superb.  He didn't embarrass us by peeing on the floor, nor did he bark at the other puppies.  He didn't bite anyone, or jump up.  For a few minutes, we wondered whether we had brought the right dog, he was s…

There ain't nobody here, but us chickens...

Words from a Bird.  Day 96

I have to confess that I am loving being redundant in the house, as son number 1 takes control of the room where I live (other people call it the kitchen, but it's my home...)

His meal of choice for this evening's dinner is roast chicken with jacket potatoes.  We haven't been called in yet, but looking at the size of the chicken, the number of potatoes and the unexpected increase in places needed at the table, I could be going without.

The preparation of the chicken was suspect - all I could hear from son number 1 were comments such as 'Stuff that bird', and 'You have to massage the breasts well'.  It was at this point that I was questioning whether he was taking my job role seriously and what life experience he was drawing on with regard to the unfortunate chicken.

So the chicken went into the oven, with a reminder from me to make sure it went into a roasting tin.  This may sound slightly pedantic on my part, but having narrowly…

Man, I feel like a woman...

Words from a Bird.  Day 95

There was a bit of a swap round at our house today.  Daughter number 2's boyfriend headed home, as his parents had forgotten what he looked like.  He's been here so long, that he has been added to the electoral roll in Oxfordshire, and his post has been redirected.

He returned home just as son number 2 came back for a week's holiday here.  Now as far as I am concerned, every day is a bloody holiday in this house for my children.  The only difference between staying here or in a hotel is that fact that I don't charge them.  Never fear, I have a little book with a running total of all charges incurred to date.  It makes interesting reading, and when the husband and I are ready to head off to our nursing home, we will be calling in all monies due...

So daughter number 1, who as a teacher, is also on holiday, asked son number 1 what he had planned for his 'week off'.  Well, his response triggered quite a reaction from yours truly.  Appare…

Free fallin'...

Words from a Bird.  Day 94

Last night, we took son number two, his BFF and her cousin out for dinner, celebrating the fact that yet again, I have managed to end the week without killing or losing any of my children (it was a close thing a couple of times this week, but we got through it.  Isn't alcohol marvellous?)

A once sleepy pub close to us has been given a full makeover, and on the recommendation of Mrs H (my beauty therapist who was chatting about it as she was shooting 720volts through my cheek bones earlier this week) I decided a night out was on the cards.  Looking at the menu online, it was limited to food you would probably find in Texas....ribs, burgers, coleslaw, chips, but for a Friday night, I felt it was spot on. 

Unfortunately, the husband had disappeared for an hour to a neighbour's house.  Now these neighbours are loved by us dearly, but the husband can be persuaded very easily into drinking too many beers in very little time when he's there without me.…

Uptight...

Words from a Bird.  Day 93

Over the last few weeks, a lot of cash has been forked out on expensive toys and chews for Reg. (If you're new to my blog, Reg is our new puppy, and not my long-suffering husband who has no desire for noisy toys).  Reg has a squeaky turkey in a red polka dot bikini (how this is vaguely dog appropriate I have no idea, but my sister, who bought it, thought it had a damn fine squeak).  He also has a bright yellow caterpillar.  Once more, this has no bearing on the canine breed, and again, was bought by my sister. We have knotted rope toys, a green plastic bone, balls, balls on the end of knotted rope and plush soft toys.

But in the past 48 hours, these toys have all been consigned to the garden.  The primary colour plastic lies abandoned in the flower beds, only visited by the odd daft bird thinking it's struck lucky when it sees the size of the caterpillar, only to hop away looking very disappointed.  I am thinking that many of the nests which are curr…

I feel pretty...

Words from a Bird.  Day 92.

It is with some relief that I finally found time (between the ironing basket, the oven and the puppy) to book myself in for a well earned CACI facial today.

'But you look so young',  I hear you say....  This is what I like to believe you're saying, but I'm sure a lot of you are wondering how bad I would actually look if I didn't go for these facials regularly.

CACI is quite an unusual facial in that it doesn't just involve lotions and potions.  It demands tenacity, commitment and a gentle therapist (thank you Mrs H) as there is ELECTRICITY involved.  I started these just over a year ago, and having had the initial 10 sessions in very quick succession, I am now on maintenance, treating myself to one or two a month.

Unfortunately, life has somewhat got in the way over the last few weeks, so I haven't made it down to the salon.  I feel that my face has dropped so far and fast, that should I have actually found the time for a quick p…