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Showing posts from June, 2016

Mr Sandman...

Coming back from our last walk with the dogs on Tuesday evening, the husband spied a rather long stick, which had washed up on the beach after the monsoon which had whipped through on Tuesday afternoon.

Picking it up, he said, 'That's perfect for a clothes line prop.  That's coming back with us'.

Now this opens up many questions...

Firstly, the washing line at our holiday home already has rather a lovely clothes prop, so it would be surplus to requirements here.  Secondly, I have no washing line at home, and therefore have no need for a 6' long smooth stick.  I therefore came to the conclusion, that knowing all this, the husband may have had an ulterior motive as he strode down the beach, planting his clothes prop firmly into the sand, looking like a much younger, shorter, beardless and bald version of Gandalf. 

As I write, it's leaning against the wood store - he'll have plans for it, I'm sure, and I am slightly worried that it will be coming home wit…

Golden years...

As I was watching paint dry on Monday evening (some of you might recognise this as 'English Football') the husband casually mentioned in half time that he really wanted to go and visit Abersoch on Tuesday.

Now in all the years I have known the husband, he has talked about this place in hushed, reverent tones, often mentioning it with a happy, glazed look in his eye as he recalls the many childhood summers spent there with his sister, Mrs W.

As the rain had called a truce for a couple of hours, and the wind was down to just a dull roar, we set off with the dogs for the hour's drive to this paradise of his.  As we got nearer and nearer, he started pointing places out which had special meaning to him...

'You see that grey building?  That's the toilet block where I got caught smoking'.
'Look, look!  The fair's still there - my sister could never get me out of there'.
'I got sunburnt on one of those canoes'. (Surely not the same one?)
'I alwa…

Three wheels on my wagon..

They say that riding a bike, is like, well, riding a bike - you never forget how to do it.  After four years of bike famine, yesterday saw the husband and I embark on a sixteen mile round trip to the beach and back on our bikes, with the husband towing Percy and Reg in the Dog Wagon.

It didn't start well.  We had to drive to the car park where the trail starts, going over a toll bridge, costing us 70p.  All the bikes were ready to go, when the husband realised that he'd left his coat at home, along with the cushion which goes in the back of the wagon.  Back over the toll bridge he went (£1.40) leaving me with the bikes, returning about ten minutes later (£2.10).  Just as we were about to set off, he suddenly remembered that he had left the leads on the kitchen table.  Another trip over the toll bridge (£2.80) accompanied with loud cursing, shortly followed by a sheepish return another ten minutes later (£3.50).

And so we were finally off - a fantastic bike ride along the estua…

Blowing in the wind...

Saturday night ended the best possible way...with the husband wielding a box of matches, a bag of charcoal and some chicken quarters.  He said it was chicken, but either they feed their poultry on something far more substantial in Wales, or it was a Dodo (don't think that they are quite extinct down here).   Either way, it was all very tasty, and the four of us chatted late into the night.

I headed up to bed first, leaving the drinkers downstairs.  Miss R had laid out my new pyjamas onto the bed, and I was quite shocked when I saw how far the material spread over the duvet.  I assumed that they would be better when I got them on.  What is that saying about 'assume making an ass out of you and me?'  Well, once on, it became very apparent that a size 16 in Wales bears no resemblance to that on the other side of the Severn Bridge.  There was enough material in the trousers to curtain the whole cottage, and I am surprised that Heathrow haven't been in touch about using the…

Sugar, sugar...

After Friday's 'trial by zip', everyone seemed up for a quieter day yesterday.  Miss R's very good friend, Mrs O, turned up to spend some time with us - she drove all the way from somewhere else in Wales (you know Geography is not my strongest point), so yesterday morning, we all piled into two cars and headed to some unpronounceable/untypeable place just down the road for a middle-aged stroll around the shops.

Stop number one was for a pair of pyjamas for yours truly, having left mine at home.  I don't know if I am slightly odd in saying this, but I always feel slightly vulnerable if I haven't got them on in bed.  The thought of some poor firefighter throwing me over his shoulder in the event of fire is a huge worry to me, as is the eyesight of the firefighter behind us on the ladder.  I often think that they'd take one look at my derriere....then a prolonged game of rock, paper, scissors would ensue to see who would win the dubious pleasure of hoisting my…

Rubber bullets...

There are times in your life when you seriously question a decision made.  One of those times happened yesterday as I was hurtling 450 metres above a Welsh quarry at around 120mph.  When Miss R had booked these tickets with the underhand approval of the husband, it didn't even register on my feeble brain as to what I might actually be asked to do.  Let me take you through the first half of yesterday morning....

Having got over the initial shock of opting out of the EU on Thursday night, and having asked many pertinent questions (mainly will I be able to cash in my £3.78 Euromillions winning ticket from last week) we headed off to ZipWorld in the pouring rain and high winds. 

Why is it that these places, where death is a minor possibility, employ children as instructors.  One of them, who was given the job of telling us how to work the safety harness was so young that his voice hadn't broken.  Another one, with her plaits and braces looked as though she'd stepped off the s…

On the road again...

So children suitably threatened, and lists typed and handed out, it was time for the husband and I to head off to Wales for the week with my sister, Miss R, in tow.  It always surprises me how much he can fit into his car when we go on these self catering jaunts.  Mind you, spending four hours on the M54 with your face squashed up against the passenger window as there are various holdalls, dogs, bikes and cooler bags in the way is not much fun.  By the time we reached Welshpool (loo stop, dog walk, drink, meet up with sister) I resembled the Elephant Man, and had developed a nasty tic.

Pulling up in the services for the obligatory middle aged lady stop (I blamed it on the dogs) the husband, ever thoughtful, suggested that I might like to do the remainder of the journey with my sister, rather than riding shotgun with him.  This was a brave suggestion on his part -we both know that he hates my incessant chattering on long journeys, preferring instead to drive in silence, with maybe a li…

Burning down the house...

So you'll all be pleased to hear that the husband is still alive and kicking after his comments on Monday.  I am especially glad, as he is driving me to Wales at the weekend for a week in a friend's cottage, and I don't know the way...so he does have his uses on occasions.

It's funny how things change as you get older.  When the children were younger, I used to worry the minute they set foot outside the front door, convinced that something terrible would happen to them the minute I wasn't looking.  Of course it didn't, but I suppose it's part of my job description as 'mum' (this also includes counsellor, taxi driver, laundry maid, chef, supplier of thick skin and broad shoulders and banker, so I suppose neurotic paranoia is just an added bonus).

It's different now though.  When we are away, I would rather they weren't here either - I like daughter number two's approach of going to Asia (still no idea where) for a month.  At least I know …

Back for good....

You will remember from last week, my concern about the impending demise of my usefulness as a woman on this planet...ie, the start of the menopause.  The husband, who is getting slightly fed up of sleeping next to a puddle most nights was overjoyed when I said that I was going to book an appointment with the doctor to look at available options.

Well yesterday was my appointment.  The husband, doing his usual 'I need to get out of the door or I'll be late for work' flapping about, had obviously remembered this, and as he was rushing towards the front door, he shouted out,

'Don't forget to ask them about the CBT....'

Now if you are not a motorbike fan, this will mean nothing to you.  CBT is the Compulsory Basic Training necessary to get through your first test for a bike.  It doesn't involve sweating, oestrogen, mood swings or weight gain, but for some reason, it struck a chord with the husband, in his attempt at trying to impress me with the fact that he had…

Another one bites the dust...

When I tell you what went on in my house yesterday, there are those of you who will be slightly appalled.  I've fought this dilemma for some time, only last week coming to the conclusion that I have to confess, so here goes..

'My name is Tracy, and I am no longer able to clean my own home...'. 

You see, that wasn't all that bad.  Once the decision was made, the hardest part was finding someone.  I haven't had the best of luck with my cleaning ladies over the years, their reasons for leaving me involving distance (she moved county to get away from me), cataracts (couldn't make out the dust), height (couldn't see above eye level which was around 4'6" so the cobwebs flourished) and age (perfectly acceptable).  So you imagine my delight when one lady's name kept reverberating around my friends.  Her name was spoken in hushed voices, with the intention of not sharing her too freely.  But I eventually tracked her down, and she started with me yester…

Dance with my father...

It was Father's Day yesterday.  A day when children spoil their dad, reminding him with gifts, words and cards as to how much they love and appreciate him.  At least, that's how it's meant to go...

Saturday night had been a particularly heavy one for the husband.  We were celebrating the divine Mrs H's 50th birthday at a dinner prepared for her by another gorgeous friend.  The husband, who has a fondness for inappropriate dancing at times, spent the evening gyrating on the patio with various glamour pusses, with numerous shots of grappa and limoncello lubricating his knees.  You should have seen him go..and go..and go.  There were moves undertaken which have yet to be named, and some which are probably barely legal.  After some persuasion, I eventually managed to lever him out well after Cinderella o'clock, and we staggered back home, managing to walk the whole ten metres without stopping.

This was all well and good, until yesterday morning.  I hadn't been drin…

Down Mexico way....

Over the last week or so, there has been a pervading whiff coming from the direction of my fridge.  Up till now, I have been too busy to investigate (aka shutting the fridge door really quickly so no one else notices) but yesterday afternoon it all came to a head, with various people (male mainly) refusing to come into the kitchen just in case they got a whiff of eau de fridge.

Armed with kitchen roll, cloths and several bin liners, I started with the doors and worked my way through the shelves and drawers, taking cautious sniffs of each jar and bottle as it made its way out onto the worktop where it was lined up for inspection.

Now I'm sure that you are very similar to me.  I reckon that fridges should be a lot wider, and a lot shallower, ie one jar deep, thus ensuring that nothing gets hidden on the back, or crawls into a dark corner and dies.  This probably explains why I found three jars of horseradish, neatly lined up, one in front of the other, with the newest being up front…

I remember you....

Isn't it lovely when someone remembers you.....

Settling into my hospital bed at silly o'clock yesterday morning, a face appeared around the curtain.  'I know you, don't I?'  asked the nurse, her eyes scrutinising my face.  As all blood drained from my face, and then promptly returned at the speed of light, giving off enough heat to power a small country, she followed that comment with...

'You were sick all over me last time you were here..'

Of course, this was my chance to apologise, which I did very sincerely, and we had a bit of a giggle about it.  She even remembered the heavily wrinkled, deflated balloon, which apparently took some removing from the end of my bed after I left.  That'll be the husband with his boy scout knowledge....

So back to yesterday.  As a 'writer' of sorts, being with strangers can give me so much material, so I have tried to restrict this to the funnier parts.  The lady next to me (Jo with the Two Bunions) was delight…

99 red balloons...

It's a very early start for me this morning. Having starved myself for 12 hours, bathed in some weird soap guaranteed to kill anything with a pulse and donned a pair of loose trousers (which will be even looser by the end of the day due to starvation rules) I will be ready for the small 'procedure' on my stupid 'old lady ankle'. 

It's only a cortisone injection, but I am such a pansy where pain is concerned that I requested full unconsciousness for the three minutes it will take.  This is all my consultant's fault.  When I asked him whether it would hurt, he shrugged his shoulders, and simply said, 'Yes, of course'.  Well that was it for me - at the age of 52, I see no reason to subject myself to any pain if there is the choice not to...

I am going back to the same ward which was the scene of an extremely embarrassing incident a couple of years ago - on my 50th birthday to be precise.  My consultant wanted to have a bit of a poke around in my knee,…

Sweets for my sweet...

I did something very grown up last week.  For the last ten years or so I have been collecting my medicines from my doctors' surgery, happily chatting to the lovely girls who run the dispensary every couple of weeks or so.  On parking up last Friday (this is never straightforward as the number of spaces is far outweighed by the doctors, nurses and office staff; any patients might as well get the bus there or die quietly at home), I noticed that large signs had appeared at various locations, warning of parking restrictions and future costs for the up till now free car park. 

Now this car park and I go back a long way.  There have been many times when I have eventually found a parking space, having driven round the car park four times, only realising too late that all the driving has caused me to miss my appointment altogether.  You then have to do the walk of shame past the receptionists, who tell you to sit quietly in the corner while they see if you can be fitted in sometime in t…

Hot stuff...

Interesting times are on the horizon... I'd like to say that I am excited about this, but history tells me to rein my neck in, take a deep breath and prepare myself for the worst.

I'm not referring to the EU referendum, although it is unusual to have to prepare yourself for the worst case scenario which ever side wins.  Nor am I talking about England probably getting knocked out of the next round of Euro2016. (Assuming they don't get put on the football equivalent of the 'naughty step', ie the ferry home, if the fans cause any more trouble this week).

No, it's all far more serious than that.  It would appear that I have taken the first steps down the path called Menopause Street.  At the ripe old age of fifty two and three quarters, my usefulness on this planet as a woman is coming to an end.  I am redundant (if only that were true).

I thought that the raging heat emanating from my body was down to the kids leaving the heating on overnight.  It would appear not…

Never mind the b*ll*cks...

I don't know about you, but I may just about have had enough football this weekend to last me till the next millennium...

Euro 2016 is upon us, bringing armchair pundits (the husband), gamblers (son number 2) and POW's.  (I'll leave you to fill in whichever word you'd like at this point ladies....Please feel free to join me as one of the P****d Off Wives).  What annoys me most of all is that there is no respite.  Couldn't the major TV channels have got together, and agreed that three of them would show all the matches, while the other two were geared towards the non-football watchers.  I would welcome a channel purely for musicals and soppy chick flicks, while the other could be dedicated to soaps.  There's something for everyone then. 

At work yesterday, one of the boys I work with admitted that he had watched all the televised matches over the weekend, and that he planned to watch all the remaining ones up to the end of the competition.  This is a total of f…

Motorbikin'...

Every now and again, usually when the weather warms up, and always on a Sunday around 10.30am, the husband raises the question of whether he can have a motorbike again.  I should say at this point that it isn't me saying he can't have one.  As a semi-retired biker myself, I always have a soft spot for the husband when he's leathered up, and would welcome the appearance of two wheels and an engine in my garage again. 

However, there is a  stumbling block...ask our children how they feel about us getting motorbikes again, and this is what they say.

Son number two : 'No problem, as long as I can have one too'. 
This will never happen - he couldn't cope with Helmet Hair being the fashion icon that he is...

Daughter number two : 'Mmmm...Is this something you feel strongly about?'
The analytical one - making us think about the pros and cons...

Son number one : 'Do what you like...'
Far to busy with his own life to worry about us - probably didn'…

Should I stay or should I go now...

We had a big family night out on Friday.  As the offspring have got older, it gets harder and harder to get them all in the same room at once.  We failed yet again on Friday, as son number one had received a better offer (hard to believe really), but we had a couple of extras with us, in the shape of daughter number two's LSB (Long Suffering Boyfriend)  and son number two's best friend who spends so much time here, that I have christened her daughter number three.

The night out was to celebrate the fact the daughter number two and the LSB were heading off to somewhere far, far away (still can't remember where) for a month.  Driving to the pub, the husband, who had left the house in somewhat of a hurry, not wanting to miss getting his favourite table, suddenly realised that he had left his wallet behind.  Now here was a dilemma.  Did he turn round and get the wallet, ensuring no embarrassment at payment time, but risk losing the table, or did we keep going?  We kept going. …

Young at heart...

Yesterday, on two separate occasions, I was reminded just how old I am.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not in denial or anything like that.  I only have to look at my face in my 10x magnification mirror to see where everything is heading.  These mirrors are a great invention by the way.  Without mine, my made-up face would resemble a Jackson Pollock masterpiece each morning, with mascara splattered across my cheeks, and lip gloss running down my chin. The trouble with them though, is that they always have a normal mirror on the reverse.   There have been times when I've been caught out, looking at the wrong side, thinking 'Good Lord, I need to get back to the opticians again'. 

So in the morning, 10x gets the privilege of make up application.  Afterwards, I always flip it over to see myself how others will.  This is pure speculation on my part, as I can't see anything apart from a red/pink flash where my lipstick is.  Things have got so bad now, that I have to take …

Let's stick together...

Daughter number two arrived back home yesterday afternoon.  I knew it would only be a matter of time before she headed down the M40, in hot pursuit of the precious university stuff (aka crap) which we collected on Saturday.  How she has managed five days without a silk flower arrangement, a piece of carpet, a slow cooker, a carrier bag full of hair extensions and two vases full of Christmas decorations, I shall never know.

She brought with her the LSB (long suffering boyfriend) as they are getting ready for an end of university jaunt across Asia (it's easier pinning their trip to a continent, as I can't say, spell or remember any of the places they plan to visit).  At this point, I would like to remind all of you that the husband and I are managing a week in a friend's cottage in Wales and another week in a shed on a Dorset beach.  And we have jobs....there's something not quite right there...

Anyway, standing in the middle of daughter number two's wardrobe, sorry,…

What I go to school for...

Many of you are in the same boat as I am, having a 'legally an adult' living in your house who is in the throes of exams. 

Son number two is the last one to go through A levels, the final gate on the path to his university of choice.  Returning home yesterday afternoon after a particularly arduous Psychology exam, he was moaning at full pelt about how daft the exam was, only testing him on 7% of everything he'd learned over the last year.  I said to him that the equivalent in a driving test would be scrutinising the Highway Code for six months, then passing just for knowing which side the petrol cap was.  It's not a true reflection on the quantity of information rattling around in that brain of his.

But still, he's doing all he can to get the 'scores on the doors' of the university, and they'll be lucky to have him.  After three months, the guy who runs the Student Union will be able to retire to the Bahamas after the huge increase in his takings, and …

Strawberry fields forever...

The husband and I are engaged in strawberry warfare. 

I have a wonderful raised bed in my garden (built by aforementioned harnessed Northerner) and this year looks like it might just yield a bumper crop.  It is filled with white flowers and tiny green strawberries, all hinting at the promise of things to come.

The husband also has a raised bed, but this one is on our allotment.  Over the last few years, it has been doubling as a 'shelf', with various hand tools, rotting gloves and discarded flower pots littering it.  Much of this detritus has been hidden by nettles and other weedy nasties, but not now.  The husband has spent hours with a trowel and fork, digging up the weeds, and sieving the soil to a grade which McDougall's might consider for their self-raising flour.

He then scavenged around the unloved and unwanted allotments surrounding ours, and dug up some strawberry plants, lovingly planting them into his newly renovated bed.

Every night, he heads over there with t…

Ebony and ivory...

The husband spent the whole of yesterday on the roof of a neighbour's house.  I should point out that this wasn't a rooftop protest he was involved in.  He wasn't screaming out how hard done by he was at regarding his living conditions.  Nor was he moaning about the state of his food (although I am sure there have been times when he's been tempted).  He was in fact tiling a roof as part of a large extension he is doing.

Consequently, he returned home yesterday afternoon with what I fondly call 'roofer's back'.  If you were approaching him from behind, you'd think he'd been sunning his body in the south of France for a month.  Get past him though, and the front is more Scunthorpe than St Tropez.

His tan marks are interesting to say the least.  The husband, being a tough Northern chap, gets into shorts as soon as possible for work.  Of course, from a safety point of view, heavy work boots and thick socks are de rigeur, which give his legs the look of …

Socks 'n' sandals...

Summer was predicted to make a fleeting reappearance yesterday.  I did my normal morning weather peek over the window sill, took one look at the grey clouds and decided that the weathermen were a bunch of liars.  However, as the day crept on, the clouds were replaced with the blue stuff, and the weather man's premonitions were fulfilled...

Of course, as soon as the sun comes out, for however short a time, this is the cue for clothes to be removed all over Britain.  For us ladies, it's all about sandals and shorts, spaghetti straps and tan lines.  For men, it usually means one thing only. Taking their socks off...

The husband's feet, although not the worst I have known by a long shot, should have a chap ringing a bell walking in front of them, just to give passers by a bit of a heads up not to look down. Cosied up in thick socks for eleven months of the year, the big reveal is an event I dread, because as the socks do come off, his open toed sandals are reverently lifted fr…

She's leaving home...

Saturday saw the beginning of the end of three years of university life for daughter number 2.   The husband and I were summoned with the 'big car' to bring home all of the extremely precious and important stuff which she has accumulated over that time.  I say this, because that is how it was described, but having taken a peek into carrier bags, boxes and bin liners, I would say that it is not a fair description.  'Crap' would have covered it better....

She had let slip that every bag of rubbish which the landlord had to remove would be charged at £7.50.  I can only imagine that having read 'What a waste' on Friday morning, she realised that her mum had hidden talents...waste removal being one of them.  So basically, the husband and I were bin men yesterday, carefully removing all of her rubbish and driving it back down the M1.  On getting home, it was unloaded and stored in the garage for future sorting.

Here's the stumbling block.  Previous experience wit…

I beg your pardon...

It was a very difficult day for me yesterday after my debut on the waste vehicles of Oxfordshire on Thursday.  Every now and again, another part of my body would shriek at me, 'For goodness sake woman!  Have you lost your mind?  You're 52....what were you thinking of?'

Well, I'll be honest with you, it wasn't the effect on my body the next day, that's for sure.  When I crawled (literally, as I couldn't walk) into bed on Thursday night, I was still grinning like Heath Ledger's Joker, replaying my brilliant day over and over again. 

But on waking up yesterday morning, it became apparent that I may have 'overdone it'.  This is one of the mother's favourite phrases, and on this occasion, I think it's safe to say that I really had.

Let me take you through some of the results of heaving industrial sized wheelie bins to waste trucks for the day....

1.  Overnight, I think someone came to my bed, unscrewed my legs, and then screwed them back on,…

What a waste...

If anyone ever asks me what the best day of my life was, it would normally involve one of my children, or the husband.  Up till yesterday....

On Thursday, I spent the day on a waste lorry, collecting rubbish from the businesses of the Home Counties.  Now I know that there are those of you reading this now, thinking 'Crazy woman', but I promise you, it was just brilliant, and I would imagine that I will be grinning till Tuesday at least.

We left the Depot at around 4.30am.  Being the super-organised lady that I am, I had laid out my clothes the night before.  The bright blue trousers and sweatshirt coupled with a hi-vis waistcoat and steel toecap boots would not necessarily have been my outfit of choice for the day, but a skirt and a pair of kitten heels may not have been helpful when climbing in and out of the cab. 

Poor Graham was the driver whose 'mate' I was for the day.  I had already apologised to him the day before, as I reckoned I would bore the pants off him b…

Dude looks like a lady...

It was a big day for me yesterday.  For the last four years I have been waiting for someone with a medical degree to give the go-ahead for some treatment for my old-lady ankle (curse you, arthritis). Yesterday was my pre-op, the last appointment before the big day in a couple of weeks.

I got there early, thinking that I could go and see those lovely ladies in the League of Friends CafĂ© and have one of their legendary Chelsea buns with a cup of tea.  Well they didn't open till 10.00, so it was into the hospital canteen for something which was called coffee, but tasted more like dishwater, and a cinnamon swirl which needed some defibrillation, it had so little life in it.  Suitably disappointed, I headed down to the reception area to check in.

I was one of seven people in the waiting room.  Seeing a fairly respectable looking lady, I sat down next to her, and waited.  We had a vicious knitter opposite and a very miserable looking couple who obviously had far more important things th…

Stupid boy...

There are times when I question the sanity of my children.  Son number two announced last night that he had made an appointment to discuss taking part in a clinical trial.  After the stunned silence over the Chinese takeaway (we hadn't moved on from the Bank Holiday), I managed to get more information from him.

He had been approached at a festival over the weekend by some doctors.  I asked him how he knew they were doctors.  Did they have stethoscopes casually hung around their bow-tie decorated necks?  Were they wearing brown Cornish Pasty shoes? Did they know which end of a thermometer went where?

'No', explains son number two, 'but they were wearing jumpers over their shoulders with that knot at the front'.

So it would appear that this is all that is necessary for a doctor to gain some kudos.  Why bother with the seven plus years of hard toil, when a Marks & Spencer V-neck slung across the shoulders will do just as well?  Son number 2 also suggested that per…