Saturday, 30 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 knocked out her front tooth with a catapult when she was 8, and she nicked my boyfriend when I was 21 (while I was in hospital.....I'm over it, I really am). 

Talking of nicking, I understand from her messages that several items have already made it into her handbag.  You may remember me talking about her thieving prowess in a previous blog (Gypsies, tramps and thieves).  I am expecting several Virgin themed items to appear around her kitchen on her return.  Before your thoughts start meandering down a completely inappropriate avenue, I am talking about plane shaped salt and pepper pots, cutlery and probably a pair of slippers, nothing more sinister...

But what makes it worse is that she has gone on holiday again, and to a country with a time difference of 5 hours, which means that I have to really think about when I call her.  Actually, what hacks me off most is the fact that a time difference usually heralds a temperature difference.  I was pondering on that when I was sitting in my Mini yesterday afternoon with the two dogs as the hail chucked itself down.  I had to wait in there for 20 minutes, watching through steamed up windows, till it stopped, as we all know what rain does to newly straightened hair....

So while she sits in a sun lounger for a week, chain-sipping Mojitos, I shall be keeping the hair under a bobble hat, and pulling on thermals, thick socks and waterproofs for my dog walks.  If the weather man is right (he never is) a small snowman could be on the agenda, and I bet she'll be really jealous about that.

Just to get my own back on the fact that she's somewhere hot without me, I'll probably call her this morning to tell her how much I am missing her, conveniently forgetting the time difference.  Once she's woken up properly, I am sure that she'll be thrilled to hear from me...

Of course she will....she loves me...

Friday, 29 April 2016

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 photographer had to take the photo from quite a distance to get all of our hair in.  To be honest, if it hadn't been for the tell-tale hair, you wouldn't have know it was us at all.

Times have changed though, and over the years my sister and I have tried and tested every new fad to get some control over our wayward hair.  These have included wet look hair gel (it was the '80's), wigs, extensions, curling tongs and rollers (both of us on a Sunday night looking like we'd stepped off the set of Coronation Street). But it would appear that we now have it sussed, managing to look fairly presentable as and when required.  GHD's and the Boar Bristle Round Brush are our saviours.

So back to my time in the salon today.  Keratin is the new kid on the block in the battle against the frizz.  Unfortunately, the application of it had to be done over three hours, most of which was spent with my head wrapped in cling film.  I thought I looked like I was wearing an oversized condom on my head, as did the man sitting next to me who failed to stifle a giggle every time our eyes met in the mirror. 

I don't know what he was doing there anyway - men should be made to go the barbers.  The hair salon should be a haven of peace and tranquillity for us girls, not somewhere where men go. I was at the basin next to his when the time eventually came to wash the treatment off.  He didn't want the massage chair on (yes, it was one of those salons), he didn't want a head massage and he definitely didn't want conditioner.  He just wanted 'the basic'.  Well mate, if you don't want the lovely frilly bits, GO TO THE BLOODY BARBERS...

The end result of my condom-wearing afternoon was hair so soft and straight that a hair grip would simply slide off into hair accessory oblivion.

Son number 2 said I reminded him of 2004 Victoria Beckham which was kind of him.

I'm thinking more Iggy Pop.....

Thursday, 28 April 2016

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'?  Well apparently if you don't use the right brush, all hell can break loose in the hair department.  To be honest with you, looking at my hair on curly days, it would appear that I don't need a brush for this to happen.  The only brush I was aware of was a Vent Brush (last used in the 1980's when big hair was in fashion.  For once, I was trendy).

'Can I use a Vent Brush?' 

Well the look of horror she gave me was nothing short of terrifying.. 

'Are you mad?  Of course not.  It'll make your hair frizzy'.

Now my hair is frizzy already.  Would using this brush be the equivalent of two negatives making a positive, or would I just look like a giant fur ball?  It really wasn't worth finding out.  So what else was on offer in the brush department?

'You'll need a Boar Bristle Round Brush' says Miss R assuming I have as much brush knowledge as she does. 'I have an old one of those too'.

I had visions of a stubby bristled brush way past its prime and was slightly concerned as to how many boars would have suffered in the making of the brush, but was pleasantly surprised with the one she offered.  This went into the carrier bag with the hair dryer.

I then had to go to the chemists and buy heat protector, sulphate free shampoo, styling mousse, serum, hairspray and hair clips.  I am told that when you blow dry your hair, it has to be sectioned out.  Miss R didn't tell my how many sections, so I am working on the assumption that eight will be enough.  Not sure how the sections pan head is round, so let's go with orange shaped...

A lovely friend from work whipped out a pair of unwanted straighteners at lunchtime which have also come home with me.  She told me that I must read the instructions before I start, as apparently these straighteners can sometimes fight back, leaving third degree burns on scalps and ears.  They have also been known to turn your hair ginger with overuse.  Son number 2 knows all about this...

It all sounds rather dangerous, and quite labour intensive, but I shall persevere.

I give it till Monday...

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

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 got to the room that it became apparent as to the severity of over sunning their very British blue-tinged skin.  Miss R had burned her derriere quite severely, exacerbated further by her time spent on a plastic chair whilst thrashing me at Scrabble (we reckoned that about three layers of skin were lost when she finally stood up).  Mrs W had a different problem altogether, with her scorch marks being around the bosom area. 

The two of them put layer after layer of Aloe Vera on, each resembling something that might live in a swamp (I'm thinking Shrek)  but as the morning of our departure dawned, it became obvious that nothing short of a skin graft was going to solve the problem.

As we were getting dressed for our last breakfast, Mrs W suggested that someone had been in and washed all our jeans on a boil wash and then tumble dried them, as it was the only reason she could think of to explain why all our jeans were snugger than the journey out.  Miss R blamed the Sangria Saddlebags which we all seemed to have grown over the five days.

Tight clothes and sunburn are not a good mix.  Miss R couldn't bend her legs without shouting an expletive, so she goose stepped up and down past the breakfast buffet (thus upsetting the Germans once more).  At one point, her  thighs were in danger of setting the smoke alarms off, so great was the heat resonating from them.  Mrs W was unable to put her brassiere on.  (This cheered the Finns up which evened things out a bit).  Fortunately, she had a scarf, which when artfully draped, concealed what needed concealing. 

As we touched down at Gatwick, their relief was palpable......Not because we had landed safely, oh no.....It was bloody freezing, and I could almost hear Miss R's thighs and Mrs |W's bosom give a small cheer....

I on the other hand did not....

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

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 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.

Unfortunately, the pool staff wouldn't let us in until we had gone through security.  I had to send Mrs W back to the room for our passports, and once these were checked and flip flops frisked, they were happy to open the gate and let us spread our towels out.

Well it was rather boring one to ridicule, annoy, insult or laugh at. After an hour or so, Miss R suggested that it might be more fun on the other side 'with the foreign people', so we asked the pool attendant if we could come out, but his English became non existant, so a break out was planned.

Diverting the pool attendant's attention with a carefully thrown bikini top, we scaled the wooden fence and released ourselves back into European territory.  We have been given a verbal warning though.  Any more nonsense, and we're out.  We've worked out that we only have to behave until 9.15am when the taxi collects us for the airport.

Piece of cake.....

Monday, 25 April 2016

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.....turns out that they are just good
friends.  He hailed from Belgium.  This was my chance to shine, as I
have an O Level in French.  How hard could it be to communicate with
one of our European friends?

As it turns out, my memory of the French studied in the middle of the
last century wasn´t too brilliant, so as I stuttered and stumbled over
my classroom French, I managed to offend him in every way possible.
I think that the only thing I managed to get across to him was that he
was a naughty boy (the word ´homme´ was elusive for a second) for
smoking a spliff.  Miss R was desperate to know what he had in the
carrier bag.  Turns out it was hash...I´m telling you, a change in
hotel could be on the cards next year....he didn´t even offer us a
puff (not that I would have had a clue what to do with it even if he had).

We then moved on to upsetting the annoying Finns who rocked up by the pool again.  Mrs W wanted to chat about how dreadful their tattoos were, while I  wanted to know whether they had seen any sun over the last year.  Miss R said to one of them that she reckoned he was the only handsome man in Finland, looking at the others who all wore grubby white singlets and 3/4 length trousers with long socks and sandals .  That was the end of another beautiful relationship as they moved to the other end of the pool quietly muttering about how rude we were (at least I am assuming that´s what they said.  My Finnish is almost as bad as my French).

Last night saw us heading to the Casino.  As we waited for our taxi, a coach load of middle aged German folk tipped up.  As we watched them hurtling towards Reception, Miss R mentioned that an early morning alarm might be advisable to ensure we got our usual sunloungers.  Mrs W, ever the realist, offered to sleep by the pool overnight just in case...

So back to the Casino.  Well our heads were full of optimism and hour later, despair took over, and a joint coin collaboration was needed to pay for the taxi home.  Back into the bar for the obligatory half pint of Baileys as a nightcap (I may adopt this on my return) at which point Mrs W spotted the piano gathering dust in the corner.  This was her moment to shine....

If you remember Les Dawson on the piano, then you have a pretty good idea of what she subjected us and the rest of the hotel guests to.  The waiter did a passable impersonation of a Thompsons gazelle, as he vaulted over the bar and ran towards her, shouting at her to remove herself from the piano.  So that was the Spanish we managed to pi** off too....

All in all, another sucessful day.  Between you and me, I don´t
think that the IN/OUT vote will be needed to decide whether we stay in

Between lunchtime and midnight yesterday, the decision was made for us.

We´re really not welcome......

Sunday, 24 April 2016

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'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 heading off the rails at full pelt.

Settling down to watch the night's entertainment, Ricky Lavazza (probably not his real name as he hailed from Caerphilly) the mother piped up with the information that she'd seen him before, and that he had a lovely bottom.  At this point in the evening Miss R and Mrs W had polished off three bottles of red, and were well on the way to breaking the sound barrier with their comments and drunken laughter, most of which was directed at Mr Lavazza's rather pert behind.

Miss R took rather a shine to the Boy from the Valleys, and made us sit five feet away from the stage to watch the show.  As our Welsh boyo prepped for his show, I could see the smile slipping, revealing a level of fear that would only get worse as the night went on.  The two of them subjected him to a barrage of sexual innuendos, and at one point put on rather a risque dance routine to his version of Sex Bomb.  They cleared the dance floor and several of the older guests had to be stretchered off with palpitations, while the head waiter stood in the shadows clutching a pair of defibrillator paddles.

We expected the show to end at 11.00, but Ricky kept on singing, asking for his mummy on several occasions.  While we were glad to hear a few more numbers, part of me was wondering whether he was just trying to remain within the comparative safety of the stage for as long as possible.

I finally managed to get them back to our hotel via a taxi journey that neither remembers.  A quick nightcap turned into fighting off several rather annoying Finns.  I'd never seen such pallid complexions in all my life.  They obviously hadn't seen much sun over the last year, nor exercise if their straining shirt buttons were anything to go by.

By the time I got the two of them upstairs to the room, I had one laid out on the floor telling me that she'd never walk again, while the other had passed out, slumped over on her bed.

No wonder yesterday was so quiet...

Saturday, 23 April 2016

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 Miss R pointed out to a foreign gentleman that keeping your socks on was not conducive to a perfect suntan...this from the crazy English lady who was doing a passable impression of a beef tomato.  He was a lot younger than her (I have older fillings) so out of respect for a woman of similar age to his mother, he removed the socks...

We got locked out of our room this afternoon, and you ladies will appreciate that after eighteen pints (between the three of us) we were all rather keen to get to the loo.  Unfortunately the key was not playing ball, so we sent Mrs R (the only one capable of speech at this time) down to Reception for a reboot.  Between our room and Reception, she had forgotten our room number, and gave the Manager what she thought was our number...

We did leave room 405 in the manner we found it.  Any port in a storm, and all that....

So we are now off to meet the mother and aunt at their hotel for dinner tonight.  Average age is 76 so I am assuming that the food will not put too much strain on the teeth.

Just as well, as our mouths, teeth and feet are all currently working independently of each other....

Friday, 22 April 2016

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 flights.  I would imagine that easyjet will get our business next year, or we will smuggle our own on board.

Once unpacked, it was time to forage for lunch.  Settling for the first restaurant we came to, we all chose Chicken cooked on Hot Stone. What we didn't expect was that it would be a lot of raw chicken and vegetables on a skewer which we would be expected to cook ourselves on a piece of molten lava.  Space was an issue, and I am now suffering from third degree burns where various bits of pepper and onion launched themselves off my hot stone and onto my leg.  Miss R had a similar problem with pieces of onion getting stuck in the turn-ups of her white shorts, and Mrs W managed to narrowly avoid piercing her eyebrow after a particularly zealous waving about of her empty skewer.

We are still unable to locate my mum and aunt who have already been here a few days.  Phones ring with no reply, and their hotel claims to have never heard of them.  Miss R believes that they may have left Spain altogether to avoid the threat of several nights out with us, while Mrs W has suggested that they may have found a couple of toyboys.

Either way, no bar will be safe until we find them....

Thursday, 21 April 2016

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 helpful Brenda on the Check in desk.  Well it wasn't actually...three hairdryers were the problem.  Lovely Brenda decided to add all three suitcase weights together to avoid the excess luggage charge....kind Brenda...

Miss R and Mrs W are indulging in the purchase of the first of many 'extras'.  I am expecting them back any minute with headphones (always forgotten) mints and tacky magazines. These will all end up on the plane floor at some time over Europe, along with empty Prosecco and Gordon's gin bottles. There will also be the remains of our second breakfasts (the one at 5.00am doesn't count) crisp packets and KitKat wrappers. Where's a wheelie bin when you need it?

So time to board.....I have a film to watch, but would imagine that after a couple of gin and tonics (there's no time in a plane so this  is acceptable) it will go unmatched....

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

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, trousers and tops....they all made the trip to sunnier climes with me. 

This was done as I had an irrational fear of 'not having anything to wear'.  Of course, we all know that there are no shops in Europe, and if you forget your toothbrush?  Well, you're stuffed.  This strategy of mine always resulted in returning home with a suitcase full of mainly clean, but crumpled, clothes, all of which had to be washed and ironed.  Not pleasant when you're drying out, having drunk enough red wine to keep the Home Counties going for six months. 

I do things differently now.  I work out exactly what I am going to wear each night (huge thanks to the goddess of OCD who makes this possible for me), take one pair of neutral coloured sandals which go with anything, and keep the shorts and swimwear to a minimum (in quantity not coverage you will be relieved to hear...)

This means that I can now fit everything into my small case which is a lot easier to hoist off conveyor belts.  It also means however, that there is little room for 'extras'.

These are what I call the items which you often buy on the days that the sun doesn't shine, when  'shopping' is the only  alternative to a sun lounger. They usually include clothes, perfume, shoes and jewellery.  Last year, I made the mistake of buying lots of 'extras' (five pairs of coloured jeans were the starting point if I remember rightly).  When the day came to pack the case for home, it soon became apparent that there was no way that the zip was going to close on my small case even with the assistance of my sister and Mrs W adding some force.  This called for drastic measures. 

I decided that I would have to take out some of the more unnecessary stuff to get my 'extras' in.  The not inadequate pile left behind in the hotel included all my underwear, a black cardigan which had seen better days, one pair of sandals, my shampoo and conditioner, two mugs and my travel kettle.

It's all about priorities, you see...

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

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.  The other always brings in what was left from the night before.  His mum is clearly organised and makes extras each night to allow for this.  I have never done this...not even for myself.

4.They both drink water....very odd (there's tea and coffee for goodness sake).

5. They like to talk about football....a lot.  I gave up on adding anything to these conversations around day 2 of my employment.  One doesn't like to look like one's trying too hard to keep up with the younger folk...

6. I like to dress in what I think is a modern style.  Of course, I am modern in a room full of 52 year olds, but to them?  I just look like their mum...

7.  They like to ask me how to spell words and to check their punctuation.  It's all very 'Mum, can you check my homework before I hand it in?'

8. But it's the difference in music taste which makes me laugh the most.  One of the boys was singing 'Hello' under his breath, which as we all know was a hit taken off the Lionel Richie album Can't Slow Down (circa 1983).  Neither of them were even born when this was released, and I commented about how surprised I was that they knew it as it was so old. And the response?

'Oh, I've always been a fan of Earth, Wind and Fire'.

Beam me up Scotty.  It's going to be a long week...

Monday, 18 April 2016

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 was as he went to get out of the car that he realised he had parked right next to a salt bin, so couldn't open the door wide enough to get out.  I think that he was probably distracted by the lady trying to control two loopy schnauzers who kept muttering 'Silly old fool' under her breath.  Needless to say, more shunting was on the cards.

The husband and I had a wonderful walk along the beach with the dogs.   There were some altercations I am sad to say.  Not with the dogs, but the husband had to deal with a rather condescending woman with two Chihuahuas wearing fur coats (these were in addition to their own).  Percy was stopped just in time from peeing up someone's tent (the owners were in it, so action was needed - I've never seen the husband move so fast), and Reg almost got away with a sausage roll.  The two of them also managed to kick sand over a couple after a joint pee and on the way back, Reg downed tools and refused to move unless I walked backwards proffering treats.

All in all, quite a success....

As we headed back to the car, the husband murmured in my ear...

'Fancy a cream tea?'

I actually fancied a double brandy and a lie down in a dark room listening to whales singing, but a scone and a cup of tea would have to do.  The two cream teas were outstanding.  I felt it was £19.56 well spent.

The husband however, will probably talk about what a rip-off it was for many days to come.

Well that's Sandbanks for you...

Sunday, 17 April 2016

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 subjects with the males in the house, I can guarantee that eyes will glaze over and there will be a job which all of a sudden, must be done immediately.  To date, I have managed to get a cupboard door mended, tyre pressures checked and dogs walked by using this method.

Since starting to write this, the wanderers have returned.  Son number 1 looks exactly how you would imagine after a game of rugby.  I have suggested a shower, which means that the mud will relocate from his shorts to the bathroom floor.

They did lose, and yes the referee did show bias on several occasions (told you).  There has also been a heated conversation about son number 1 being pulled off at half time (I dare you not to say the punch line to this comment) so the husband only got to see him play for 15 minutes. The husband is extremely good at telling us all what he would have done if he'd been the referee. I would have taken my flask and sat in the car, but the husband is made of stronger stuff it would seem.

So what do the two of them do once settled back into the lounge? They have put the rugby on....

Oh goody........

Saturday, 16 April 2016

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 ( 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) and has mastered the art of disguise (fox poo).     

I was suspicious about the children's reactions to us adopting Ike this week.  Daughter number 2 talked me through the application to adopt on the phone, ensuring that I pressed the 'send' button, and daughter number 1 offered to collect him for us.  However, son number 1 was adamant that we couldn't have a dog with a gimpy leg.  I think his street cred would have plummeted if I had made him walk a goose-stepping schnauzer.  Son number 2 was concerned that I was taking on more that I could cope with.  Silly boy.  I had him for goodness sake, and if I can cope with that, then anything else is childs play.  The husband (God bless him) just said, 'Well, we've got four kids, what's the difference?'  Good question.  I may explore that at a later date.

But we didn't get him and I know that he will go to a wonderful home eventually. Many Tears are fabulous about putting the right dog in the right home. I have made a decision though.

If Reg doesn't stop wearing that balaclava and carrying a Kalashnikov, I'm going to break into Many Tears and swap him for Ike. If Ike's gone, I'll just grab the nearest dog.

They'll never know the difference...

Friday, 15 April 2016

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 afternoon, when you'll find me in shirt sleeves.   As the day starts to cool down again, the layers go back on.  Over the course of the day, I go from the Michelin Man to Twiggy (little bit ambitious) and then back to the Michelin Man.  Between October and May, the husband never sees me without thinking of an oversized beach ball. 

I suppose that April isn't all bad.  For example, it's the last month in the year where the word 'bikini' doesn't make my blood run cold.  Come the first of May, I have no excuse to not have beautifully painted nails, shaved legs and a 'bikini ready' body. What is a 'bikini ready body' exactly?  My body is always ready for a bikini, but it's always the bikini which looks a little reluctant when faced with my sun and razor deprived body.  I say reluctant, but I mean terrified. 

As we're heading off to Spain next week, I have made appointments with the sublime Mrs H for some serious repair work on my ravaged body.  By the time we fly, my skin will be less mottled, and more the colour of caramel, I won't resemble Chewbacca, and my toes will look a lot less like pigs' trotters.

But after 5 days in the Spanish sun, with all this handiwork on show, I shall return to England once again .  It will still be April, so the opaque tights, polo-necks, cardigans and thermals will be de rigeur once again.  But never fear ladies,  May is just around the corner.

Now where is my Factor 50?

Thursday, 14 April 2016

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 always raises a laugh over breakfast, and there's always a lurid tale to tell.  The tea seems to have taken a back seat over the last two years though, as the hotel we go to has started serving Prosecco with breakfast.  It's ever so nice on my cornflakes...

So this year, we have my mother and aunt spending half their holiday with us.  They realised a couple of weeks ago that they had planned this all wrong, as the four days spent with the three of us are at the end of their week's holiday.  I am not too sure what they are implying, because these two are the worst when it comes to the wine.  If there is ever a shortage of Rose wine somewhere in the world, you can bet your screwtop bottle that they would have visited there quite recently and drunk the city dry.  They'll deny this, of course, but the truth always hurts. 

To alleviate the alcohol problem, we have booked two different hotels to spread the load slightly.  No doubt by day four, we will be venturing further afield, probably by taxi as we would have already worked our way through the bars which are in walking distance, looking for that last bottle of Rose. 

So we'll drink gallons of Rose, eat too much Steamed Crap and not sleep enough at night.  We'll get dressed up to go out, then spend the rest of the evening complaining that our shoes are too high, and our dresses too tight.

But we'll talk, and we'll laugh.  We'll sing Karaoke and play daft games, and we'll definitely spend at least six hours in the sunglasses shop (A personal favourite of Mrs W who must have more sunglasses than Simon Cowell).

So be warned...if you're heading out to the Costa del Sol over the next two weeks, you might do well to go prepared.

Take a couple of bottles with can't be too careful...

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

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 packet of Imodium
A USB lead

Having removed these items and gone through the multitude of knickers, once I had taken out the baggy, grey, knackered and frayed ones, it left me with one pair of passable drawers.  This is OK as I have already ordered some to supplement my new knicker deficiency which should arrive tomorrow.  If they don't, I shall have to raid the husband's drawer...

The bag was by now full, so muttering 'You're going to need a bigger bag' in my best Roy Scheider voice, I started on the second drawer.  This drawer is always very sparse.  Four bras of varying inelasticity and support lay there in all their glory - for some reason, probably because I am rather sparse myself in that department, bras never feature highly in my shopping requirements.  I have more vests than bras...need I say more.  Anyway, they all went in the bag (except the one which Reg took a liking to which I shall track down later).

The third drawer is where I keep everything else.  I like to say it's just for tights and socks, but it also concealed:
Two more European plugs (no wonder I can never find one)
Five detachable straps from various dresses which I have worn over the years (none matching)
Seven odd socks, three of which I don't even recognise as belonging to anyone in my family
Two Euros
A timer plug
Seventeen knee highs of four different colours (threw them all away as colour matching was driving me insane)

Once all the socks were balled into pairs, it was time to open the final drawer.  This contains everything that doesn't fit under one of the other drawer headings. It also had in it all the knickers I had discarded after losing a load of weight two years ago.  Obviously I had never thought I would keep the weight off, and had hoarded the knickers just in case they fitted me again one day.  I'm not saying these were large, but at one point I contemplated knotting the legs and using a pair as another bag as my one was full. 

So now my drawers are empty, in more ways than one actually...

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

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 Ark) will subside soon.  I'll give it ten minutes so I don't have to make the dogs wear lifejackets (they're both very short)'.

Ten minutes turned into twenty, and with no letting up of the wet stuff, I threw on my waterproof coat and wellies, and headed out with the dogs.  I had already decided to leave the umbrella at home, as the combination of two leads, a gale force eight and torrential rain had potential disaster (|and a possible relocation if the wind was strong enough) written all over it. 

I had also decided not to wear a hat.  As a naturally curly girl, I knew that squashing my still wet hair under a bobble hat would not do me any favours.  If you can imagine Beaker from the Muppets, you'd not be far off.

So the long and short of it, is that the wind kept blowing my hood off, so my wet hair got even wetter.  I then slipped off the wooden stile, scuffing my smart, black trousers on the way down.  The final straw was Reg and Percy coming at me in a Pincer Movement at the top of a particularly slippery slope.  I really didn't stand a chance...Two dirty knees, and mud rammed under my fingernails.

The only good thing was that by the time I headed for home, the rain had stopped, so the dreaded hood could stay down while the wind dried my hair like a hairdryer stuck on the Turbo button.

Which is why, half an hour later, I looked like a mad sheep crossed with Chi-Chi the panda who had just finished an army assault course.

It's not the best of looks...

Monday, 11 April 2016

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 love motorbikes, I struggle with the whole mud/flying through the air stuff, and was quite bored (don't tell the husband I said this).  The husband, who was thrilled skinny to be watching, kept grabbing me by the arm, pointing somewhere, and saying 'Did you see that?'  Well no, I didn't see much as I was trying to keep Percy under control, whilst trying to eat a chicken sandwich and drink a rather suspect coffee. 

It was cold as well, and we all know what the cold does to ladies of a certain age...  After an hour, I could wait no longer, and in desperation headed off to the row of chemical toilets, standing in the middle of the mud looking like the sole survivors of a WWII bombing raid.  On opening the door, it became apparent that these were not so much chemical toilets, more like chemical warfare. 

It was the fastest 'comfort break' I have ever taken, interrupted only by a woman opening the door, just as I was about to get settled.  Not too sure who was more shocked to be honest. Once the door was locked, I spent the next 7 seconds (yes, I was that quick) cursing the fact that as a woman, I can't pee without having to touch something in the loo.  I did keep my gloves on all through the exercise, but oh to be a man on occasions such as these...

I had to shower and change my clothes when we got home, to rid myself of the smell of the chemical toilets.  Having scrubbed myself down with Dettol and a wire brush, I was ready to go out again, so we decided to take the dogs down to Henley, and walk them along the river. 

The boys were great, never straying too far, and were very friendly with any dogs and people which we met along the way. We stopped at the end of the walk for a sit down, looking out over the river, as the sun tried to cut through the sub zero wind.

I decided that as the boys had been so good, treats were up for grabs.  Percy and Reg really enjoyed their biscuits, and the husband loved his rum and raisin ice cream. 

It's always important to reward good behaviour...

Sunday, 10 April 2016

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 from the slightly suspect Victoria sandwich cake and flapjacks which were laid out on the counter.  This is not an accidental pun, they were that close to death (the baked offerings, not the customers.  Although, now I come to think of it, there were a couple of old girls in the queue who may not have made it as far as the till).

So suitably tanked up with caffeine, Mrs W and I hit the shops, returning back to our respective cars three hours later, looking like a couple of pack mules.  At least £1.00 had been spent on carrier bags alone.  I had actually planned on replenishing the food cupboards after the general exodus of large children yesterday, but spent the money on a pair of jeans and two T-shirts instead.  It's all about priorities you see.  If I look great, the husband won't mind that his meals this week will be slightly sub-standard.  (Even more so after son number 1's edible offerings this week).

The day just got better with a little flutter on the Grand National.  As four of my five horses scampered over the finishing line, I started counting my winnings (a calculator was needed for this).  It was at this point that the husband reminded me that he had paid half of the bet, therefore half my winnings had to go his way.....

Just as well I won a bit though.  It means we'll eat this week after all....

Saturday, 9 April 2016

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?'
'How easy is it to change your name by Deed Poll?'
'I hate you'
'Did Dad and you really do that?'

Well, no you're not, yes I did, not very, no you don't and yes, sometimes we do....

Secretly though, I think they are quite proud of me, as is the husband, who tends to ask me very quietly each evening as to whether he is going to feature that day.  You see, any attention, whether good or bad, is still attention.  I'm not too sure whether I am confusing this with the treatment of the dogs and children, but no matter...

My wonderful family and friends, who have stuck with me from the start, nag me if I'm late publishing that day's post, thank me if I make them smile, and hug me if I have made them cry.  Luckily the laughter is more frequent than the tears, but I like to keep you all on your toes.

So here's to the next one hundred days.  May they be filled with lunacy, love and mugs of tea.

Oh, and about 428.66 words of piffle to make you smile...

Friday, 8 April 2016

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 Saturday.

So tonight, I am back in charge of the kitchen as son number 1 is offering his catering skills elsewhere..  There are no fancy meals on my watch, I can tell you.  I tend to plan according to budget, ease and popularity, with a gentle sprinkling of 'can I be bothered?' thrown in for good measure.  

We're having oxtail stew this evening.  Because I have children who may be a little squeamish seeing the tail offcuts in the bowl, I have to decant the meat from the bone before they see it, thus avoiding any questions such as, 'Is that a real tail?'  (It's at this point that visions of Pin the Tail on the Donkey flash before me) or 'Do they just cut off the tail, and let the cow carry on living?' (like a Manx cow?) or even 'Can you do the same thing with a pig's tail?' (You'd need a hell of a lot of pigs' tails for that).

Far too many questions for a Thursday night......

Thursday, 7 April 2016

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.  Unfortunately, he hasn't twigged on that all that good work is undone, and he is back to where he started, with a linen basket full of dirty washing.  Of course, I realised this on Tuesday, but I've said nothing, leaving it till Thursday morning to make this announcement, as there will be nowhere near enough time to turn it all around again before he leaves on Friday (My Supermum capabilities can be sporadic at best).  I'll be at work by the time he reads this, so maybe he'll put it on himself....hint hint....

Daughter number 2 approaches her washing in a rather different way.  The last clothes I washed for her were over almost two weeks ago, when she returned from skiing.  These are still hanging up on my ironing rail, untouched.  She would appear to have lived in a pair of tracksuit bottoms, a bobble hat and her dressing gown for the last ten days, thus ensuring that there is minimal washing to do on her return to university at the weekend.  Clever girl...

However, the one that worries me most is son number 2. He lives at home, and yet I have had nothing from him since he broke up from school.  Bracing myself to open his bedroom door yesterday, it would appear that every item of clothing he owns (clean and dirty) is on the floor.  I have a bad feeling about this, as I know that on Sunday afternoon, just as I am sitting down with my book, he will appear, carrying the clothes equivalent of the Isle of Wight, wanting it washed and ironed.  I may refuse on the grounds that it is my day off.  Ladies of the world are united in laughter at this last comment....when does a mum ever get a day off?

I think that the nearest I have had to a day off recently was when I went to stay with my mum a couple of months ago to recover from my broken rib. 

I wonder if she'd offer the same level of care for someone with ironer's elbow?

It's worth a try...

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

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 so perfect.  There's always one though, and tonight it was a Hungarian Vizler called George.  Standing two feet tall at twelve weeks, he had feet which wouldn't have looked out of place on a pony, and he created havoc amongst the other puppies, some of which wouldn't venture out from under the chairs as they were terrified of him.  Puddles appeared at regular intervals, prompted by fear, and when George finally relieved himself on the floor, we all had to lift our feet up to avoid getting our shoes wet. 

It all came to a marvellous conclusion, when the lovely lady in charge showed us all how to handle our dogs in preparation for any future vet visits.  As she had George on the examining table, stroking him reassuringly, the owner piped up....

'Just a word of warning, he can get a little over excited when you stroke him down there...'

Well, the conversation turned quite X-rated as the owner explained how George loved to mount her as she walked through the kitchen.  It was at this point that I was really hoping she was talking about the dog, and not her husband.  Turned out she was.  The dog had never mounted her husband, just her, so George was obviously making life choices already.

Some advice was given, which ended with the following sentence...

'You need to sort this now, as no one wants to be mounted by 30kg of Vizler.  You wouldn't stand a chance'.

I wanted to say that she should bring George down to the vet if he carries on with the mounting.  Not for any 'calming down surgery', but just to get his nails clipped.

At least he won't ladder her tights....

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

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 avoided calling the fire brigade after daughter number 2's attempt at cooking a chicken, I take no chances.  Apparently, when I called her asking her to put the chicken in the oven, I didn't tell her to put it in a tin.  I didn't ask her to take it out the wrapping either, but in some small part of her brain, she decided that it would be wise to do so...

The label on the chicken said that it would feed seven people.  Seven?  Yes, I would agree if Snow White was heading round with a few mates, or we were feeding Hobbits, but my lot?  I estimate that four people will benefit from the breast-massaged, stuffed chicken.  I will be having a chicken salad (without the chicken) and two others will be having chicken and chips (again without the chicken).

As I write, the chicken is cooked, the potatoes are ready, and a salad has been prepared for me.  However, the chips haven't gone in (suggested as back-up to the insufficient jackets) so it could be a bit of an HP meal...

Eaten in instalments....

Monday, 4 April 2016

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.  Apparently, and I quote, this is what he has planned...

' loads, go to the gym, walk the dogs, be a housewife etc'...

You can see where this is heading can't you? 

I announced this afternoon that my roast dinner this evening would be the last meal I would prepare this week, as son number 1 would be taking over from tomorrow morning.  I have also been practising vital questions and excuses while he is in charge....

'What time's dinner?'
'Where are my jeans?'
'What's for dinner?'
'Have you seen my trainers?' (I don't possess exercise attire of any sort, so will have to think of something else to ask for).
'Are my jeans clean?'
'What's for lunch?'
'Are my jeans ironed?'
'Do we have pesto?'
'What's for breakfast?'
'Where did you put my jeans when you'd ironed them?'
'I can't walk the dogs, I have a bad leg/rugby injury/hangover'.

I am going to milk this for all it's worth this week....

By the way, daughter number 2's boyfriend arrived home safely.  I was relieved, as I thought he might have forgotten where he lived.

If everything goes to plan this week, I may have a similar problem...

Sunday, 3 April 2016

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.  He finally staggered through the front door about 20 minutes before the table was booked, both eyes working independently of each other, merrily giggling at something which was a complete mystery to the rest of us.

We all piled into the husband's rather tall pick up (think 'double decker bus') and headed down to the pub.  I executed some perfect reversing (no one was more surprised than me, I can tell you) and then got out of the pick up.  It was at this point that I forgot that I wasn't in my Mini and fell out of the door completely.  This was the cue for a very poor impression of Dudley Moore in Arthur...'I fell out the goddamn car etc etc etc.'.

But the meal was great, the children extremely entertaining, and we'll probably go back.  I was a bit shocked that son number 2's BFF knocks back lager IN A PINT GLASS which, of course, you'd never catch me doing as I am a lady, but as she is perfect in every other way, I can forgive her.

So back into the pick up, and homeward bound.   More perfect vehicle placing in the drive, and then I fell out of the door again, onto our drive this time.  On the way down, scrabbling for a handhold, I also managed to blast the very loud horn for a couple of seconds, scaring the pants off anyone in a 20 feet radius.

Not sure the neighbours were too impressed, but I am sure they got back to sleep eventually...

Saturday, 2 April 2016


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 currently being built around here at the moment will be lined with frayed pieces of rope, the greens and blues brightening up a normally dull looking abode for a bird. 

But a new toy is in town.  This toy has provided hours of fun, with Reg and Percy playing tug-of-war with it.  Percy likes to use it to drag Reg round the tiled hall floor, and I keep finding Reg rolled up in it, making him look like he's been attacked by a boa constrictor.  They can both sit there quite happily chomping at each end (picture the spaghetti scene in Lady and the Tramp).

And what is this wonderful thing that is keeping my boys occupied for hours on end? 

Well, it's the pair of black tights which Reg stuck a claw into four minutes before I was leaving for work yesterday, casually leaving a hole the size of Gibraltar in.  These were new on yesterday morning, straight out of the packet, and I am now wondering whether this was a plan concocted by the two of them. 

Perhaps they have been planning this for days, watching me carefully for the day when a new pair would be reverently drawn out of the packet.  Obviously, they weren't interested in the tights I have been wearing for some time.  Those would be the ones being held up by braces as the elastic had gone in the waistband, the ones which were hanging on by a thread with more ladders than Homebase.  They had perhaps worked out that these would probably rip at the first tug-of-war.  No, far better that they wait for the new 100 denier pair, the ones with extra strength around the derriere (a must), and the reinforced toes.  This was a pair of tights to aim for.

I must confess that I am quite impressed by the tights' staying power.  Having seen what the dogs have done with them, it makes me more inclined to buy that particular brand again.  If they can survive what the dogs have put them through, it bodes well for the control of my ungovernable derriere.

And who doesn't want that at 52?

Friday, 1 April 2016

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 pedicure this last month, the therapist would have been well advised to wear a hard hat.

With so much pressure on us girls to look fabulous as we get older, this is my small nod towards 'doing my best' where my face is concerned.  With regard to the rest of me (that would be the bits covered in clothing which no one else sees) that gets very little attention.  A scrub down with a coarse flannel and a flick round with a disposable razor is the extent to which I'll go.  No one sees it (except the husband, and he has a very high pain threshold and a strong stomach) so why bother?

I do sometimes wonder whether the husband will make a complaint about me under the Trade Descriptions Act, as there are times when my face looks like it's been on this planet about 30 years less than the rest of me.

But he never has.  I have his longsighted vision to thank for this, as anything closer than a meter to him immediately goes into soft focus.

Very useful when you haven't shaved your legs for a fortnight...