Thursday, 21 September 2017

Bang, bang...

Before I embark on today's meagre offering, can I just thank all of you lovely readers for your kind wishes, get well soons, advice, empathy and emojis of green people vomiting, which I have only managed to look at fully in the last twenty four hours.  It meant a lot to know that you were all thinking of me as various parts of my anatomy were stuck down the loo...

So you'll all be pleased to know that I woke up yesterday feeling completely back to normal.  No pain, no Larry Grayson mincing and wincing, no ten metre dashes across the landing, everything seemed better.  

But the real indicator that I was on the mend was that before I left for work yesterday morning, I had managed to do the cleaning upstairs, hang out the washing, empty the dishwasher, prepare my lunch and walk the dogs.  This is me all over.  Run before you can walk and all that.  Doing all of this meant that by the time I got to Binland at 9.00, I was ready for a power nap.  I did consider penciling in a false set of peepers onto my eyelids and sliding down behind my monitor for a while, but decided that an extra strong mug of coffee might be the better alternative.  As the oldest member of the sales team at Binland, one has to set an example you know.

Going back to my walk yesterday, I have started bringing my wellies indoors.  I had an interesting situation with them last year which involved a slug (have you ever seen the inside of a slug?  I have...), and I now do careful banging before I put them on to go walking.  As the mornings are getting chillier, I thought that it might be a good idea to bring them in, and sit them on an old tea towel in my office, with the aim of having warmer wellies when I do want them.  So I grabbed them yesterday, doing away with the obligatory banging as they had been inside all night, and folding my right trouser leg flat, I slid my foot in.  

Delightful.

Lovely Reg, who has a penchant for 'burying' things in the house had deposited a well sucked dog chew in there.  Lifting my foot back out of the wellie, I shook the chew out onto the carpet, and it was at that point that I gave up a silent thanks to Mrs H from Bath for selling Reg to me in the first place. I know that this is not something I often say about the little bugger, but on this occasion he had outshone himself.

Wrapped around the mangled chew were the remains of a rather large spider.  Now Reg has a fondness for a spider appetizer before his evening meal, so I can't imagine that he would have done a squirrel/nut thing and buried this also in my wellie for later.  I therefore have to assume that the poor old spider had snuggled down for the evening, when suddenly his world caved in.

That so could have been a whole lot worse...


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sick like me...

I have spent the last 53 years thinking that I wouldn't like sushi.  I'm not too sure what made me make this decision, possibly the fact that the rice is overcooked and stodgy, the fish is raw, and it just looks weird.  Perhaps that's why.

Anyway, while we were away in Ibiza a few weeks ago, I tried it for the first time, and decided that it was actually passable fare for a light lunch.  Yes, the rice was stodgy and the fish was raw, but slap it round a cooked prawn and a bit of cream cheese and it seemed to work.

So as you know, last weekend son number two took himself off to university without me in tow, and the husband was away somewhere in Wales hurtling down a mountain on two wheels, which left yours truly on her own on Saturday night.  I'd been for my normal Saturday breakfast with the family, and walking back to my car via the supermarket, I chanced upon their 'sale' section.  There was a small pack of sushi there, and I thought to myself how decadent it would be to have that for my dinner on Saturday evening with perhaps a small glass of wine.  So in the basket it went.

Later on, I opened up the packet, and laid it out on a plate, remembering to throw away that dangerous looking green stuff that always seems to accompany it, and sitting in front of the television, I ate the lot.  Now I have to confess, it didn't taste anywhere as good as the Ibiza offering, but I put that down to the fact that there was no accompanying sunshine.  

Fast forward eight hours, and I'm doing a passable impression of Vesuvius...in both hemispheres of my poor broken body.

I'm not going to bore you with the stories of muscle pain, coma-like sleep, dramatic weight loss, frequent visits to the bathroom etc, but on Monday morning, having dragged myself to the lounge for a change of scenery, a small thought came to mind.  

Staggering out to the kitchen, ricocheting off the walls like a ball bearing in a pinball machine, I opened the kitchen bin, and rifled through the recycling for the empty sushi container.  Finding it, and trying to look at it without actually looking at it, if you know what I mean, I checked the 'eat by' date.

Ah, ok.  It all made sense.  Two days out of date...

So there are lessons to be learned from this.  Firstly, start wearing my bloody glasses when I go shopping so that I can see the small print.  Secondly, when the supermarket assistant asks you whether you need the receipt, as they hold it in the air, ready to crumple up and throw in the bin, say, 'Yes please' instead of 'No thank you'.

Mind you, if I had kept the receipt and written to the supermarket, they might just have sent me a year's supply of sushi as way pf apology.

Even this morning, 72 hours after eating it, that does not sit well with me, and guess what?

I'll never eat it again....not even in Ibiza...


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Leaving...

Well he's gone.

I watched him pull out of the drive at 7.00 yesterday morning, his head tilted at an obscure angle courtesy of the full length mirror he insisted on buying, and headed back upstairs...

...with two dusters, some multi-purpose cleaner, the hoover and a couple of bin bags.  

Opening his bedroom door slowly, I prepared myself for the worst, but was pleasantly surprised (this is an understatement of the biggest kind, and it was only Reg licking my face which brought me back to consciousness.  So what shocked me?  Well, firstly there were no empty glasses on his bedside table. These are not limited to this poor oversubscribed piece of furniture, but tend to also find their way onto the window sill, his desk, and his hair drying area (don't ask).  But there was not a single glass or bottle to be seen.

Having got over this initial shock, the second followed quickly behind.  I could actually see the carpet.  For the last eleven years, I have known that there was carpet there, but it had been obscured by the four purple towels which reside in the bathroom on the odd occasion. But where were the towels now?  Only hanging up in the bathroom - returned there by him for probably the first time in ten years.  Now if he was trying to impress me, he was maybe leaving it a little too late as he headed up the M1 to pastures new.

I'm sorry to say that there was a distinct lack of loose change in the bedroom - I consider any finds of this nature to be Cleaner's Perks, and have been known to find enough to keep me in trashy magazines for a week.  But of course, now son number two is a student, the room had been scoured for money before departure, and all I came across was a few euros.  OK, hands up, I thought they were pound coins, until I put my glasses on, so what a disappointment that was...

So no surprises, nasty or otherwise.  Just the incredible shock of having no more children in the house.

And boy, does that make me sad...


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Time is on my side...

Well, as Sarah Brightman would say, it's 'Time to Say Goodbye' as son number two heads up to Leeds to start his degree.  I don't know why this makes me feel a little bit weepy, after all, I've done it four times already (this is the second attempt for son number two), but somehow, it just doesn't get any easier.

Cramming all his possessions (and a lot of mine it would seem) into his car yesterday, he hit me with the bombshell that he didn't need me to come up to Leeds with him, when he goes later today as a)there was nothing to go in my car and b) it would be a waste of time and money. 

This was my response...

'But I have to come with you.  I need to hang all your clothes up, sort your bed out, make sure you have photos of us dotted around the room and generally just make sure that you're settled in'

A good argument for an eight hour round trip I felt.  But apparently not.

'These are exactly the reasons why you don't need to come up', said the new undergraduate.  'I'll only re-hang the clothes the way I like them (this is something I have never witnessed in all his days.  He has a special place between the wardrobe and the dirty wash box called The Floor where he likes to 'hang' his clothes).  I made my bed when I went up on Wednesday and whatever you put out around my room, I will move.  So far better I do it myself and save us doing everything twice'.  

This is why he is studying law - I had absolutely no response to this.

So for the second time in 24 hours, I find myself with spare time.

The first happened on Friday.  Master P and Master J (the new boy) were both out all day so yours truly was running the office.  I'm not saying I was busy, but by Friday lunchtime, when I was due to go home, I had just about managed to clear Wednesday's emails.  I had to leave on time because I had a hair appointment at 1.30.  I did toy with cancelling this and working the rest of the afternoon, but decided to go and get my hair done.  Priorities, and all that.

'Is it Mrs R?' asked the lady with her hands wrapped round some poor unfortunate's head in the sink.

'Yes', I replied.  'I'm booked in for half a head'.  (Sorry gentlemen, this will mean nothing to you - ask your wives).

Without breaking stride in the vigorous washing, she said, 'We didn't have your number - your stylist had to go home as she was ill.  Ever so sorry'.

So what did I do with this unexpected two hours which the dicky stylist had gifted to me?

I did the ironing.

Such is the excitement of the life I lead...


Friday, 15 September 2017

It wasn't me...

If I thought that Tuesday's harrumphing could get any worse, I didn't bank on the husband filling his petrol motorbike with diesel yesterday morning.  When he finally came in yesterday afternoon, having waited for over an hour while The Petrol Doctor (yes, there is such a job) did his thing. Apparently, the bike (less than two months old, and on its way back from its first service) had several parts removed and laid out reverently on the floor while the Doctor did his job.  What happened to siphoning it out?  A quick mouthful of diesel never did anyone any harm, did it?

So it was a very sheepish husband who walked through the front door yesterday lunchtime.  Now he hates it when he's made a mistake, and will often go to great lengths to ensure that the blame is neatly shifted to someone else.  

In this instance, it was BP...

'Who's ever heard of BP Ultimate Diesel for goodness' sake?' he said.  'It's very thoughtless of them to give it the same same name as BP Ultimate Petrol'.  I shan't insult your intelligence by pointing out the bloody obvious with regard to the names, but needless to say, I did mention this to the husband. So the muttering yesterday afternoon was mainly taken up with, 'Bloody BP', and '£160...'.  It wasn't the best start to his boys' weekend away.

He headed down to somewhere in Wales yesterday.  Those of you who have been with me for a while will know that much as I love Wales, their weather is not my favourite type, ie wet and windy.  I'm also not so good at place names, so 'Somewhere in Wales' will have to suffice I'm afraid.

He's gone with several like minded friends to pedal up mountains and hurtle down hills. This is an annual event, and to date, there has not been a year when one of them hasn't ended up in hospital. Luckily, it's never been anything too serious which has landed them there, just more of a pride dent, which as we know ladies, is completely curable with lots of 'There there's' and alcohol.

Although I will miss him, (no, really, I will) I'm going to be very busy transporting son number two and all his worldly goods up to Leeds, where he is going to be studying for the next three years (with any luck).  He tried this last year down in Brighton, and it didn't go well for him, so I'm proud of him for giving it another go.  Perhaps living oop North will work out better for him.  Having popped up there on Wednesday with some of his stuff, on his return he could tell me nothing other than how cheap the drink was so I think he'll be fine.

Of course, I'm now wondering whether there'll be a difference in the price of petrol?

Or diesel.....take your pick...


Thursday, 14 September 2017

The birds...

Do you ever watch a film or read a book, and wonder what you would do if you found yourself in the same situation? This is the kind of nonsense which runs through my brain when walking the fuzzballs in the morning, and yesterday, it was The Birds (the Daphne du Maurier book version) which was causing me some distress.  There were a lot of crows milling around in the field, and after much reflection, I decided that the large airing cupboard in daughter number two's bedroom would probably be where I would hide.  

Why this room?  Well those naughty old birdies would have to get through a couple of doors to get to me, the last one being quite sturdy, and there is a lot of stuff I could use to protect myself if they managed to peck their way through.

Having forgotten all about this as the day went on, I came home yesterday afternoon and started phase two of 'Getting Your Child Ready For University'.  This involved going into the aforementioned airing cupboard and looking for a couple of fitted sheets.  Now this airing cupboard is renowned for being the Bermuda Triangle in my house. Things go in, but they never come out again, so as you can imagine, it's a little busy in there.  Trawling through the shelves looking for the sheets, I thought back to my predicament with the vicious birds.  Looking around the airing cupboard, I wondered what I could use to protect myself if push came to shove. 

Well there were towels, bedding and spare duvets which wouldn't have been much use, but delving deeper into the dark recesses of the airing cupboard, I managed to find the following:

A three foot long blue shark moulting plastic beads
A Warhammer Castle, one wall missing
An amplifier 
An empty television box 
A shower door with fittings beautifully tied to the knob
Twenty four hangers
A crash helmet (the most useful thing so far)
Five years' supply of Economics textbooks (you never know when they'll be useful apparently)

So that was my problem solved.  I could wrap myself in a duvet, pop the crash helmet on (visor down naturally) and read the Economics textbooks out loud into the microphone attached to the amp, thus boring the birds to death.

This is what it feels like when daughter number two, who is training to become a Financial Advisor, starts talking about pensions and ISA's.  Her siblings have resorted to sticking their fingers in their ears while singing, 'La la la..'

Very grown up...



Wednesday, 13 September 2017

When I'm 64...

The husband spent most of last night harrumphing around the house muttering various expletives under his breath.

And the reason for this?

Well.  He had mail yesterday, and he has the most annoying habit of opening it and walking at the same time.  This usually means that I spend most of the evening thrusting various missives under his nose and asking him, 'Did you want this?  Or, 'Does this need paying?' or 'That should have gone next door'.

Like most of us I suppose, he likes to leave anything which looks vaguely interesting (not a bill or circular) till the end, and it was with an excited look that he picked up the A5 white envelope.  'Wonder what this is?'  he said.  Why do people always say this...

I am always tempted to say to him, 'Let's guess shall we!' and not let him open it till his frustration peaks, but I think the suspense would kill him.

'Open it, and you'll find out', I said, adopting the position of Voice Of Reason for the evening.

And then it all kicked off...

Turned out that the glamorous looking envelope was an invitation to view a brand new retirement home in a town down the road from us.  Now the husband is far from retiring (purely for the reason that the thought of having him at home all day rearranging my kitchen cupboards is not one I care to take on just yet) so I could understand his incredulity.  

'Why on earth are they sending me this?  I'm nowhere near retirement (silent prayer of thanks from yours truly).  They must have made a mistake'.  Funnily enough, another friend of mine had received the same leaflet yesterday and she's the same age as the husband, so I assume that 'people of a certain age' had been targeted.

'How come you didn't get one?' asked the husband ripping the glossy cardboard to shreds.

'Well that's obvious, isn't it?' I replied.  'I'm still 53, whereas you are well into being 54'.

His reply was fruity, and rather unprintable...

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Pretty girl...

I've just about come back to 2017 with a rather unsavoury bump.  My hair will take a little longer to recover from the vicious back combing and ozone layer destroying amounts of hairspray, buy hey, beauty always has a price...

It's really shocking how much effort those WW2 gals went to to look beautiful for their returning heroes.  Puts my wash with a wet flannel and shaved legs to shame.  To be honest, I'll be surprised if the husband ever comes home again after seeing the scarlet lipped vixens on show at Revival.  

Perhaps I'll surprise him one night.  I can just imagine him putting the key in the door to be greeted by yours truly, draped over the stair fully made up and looking like an extra from Pearl Harbour.  I reckon he'd back out the door slowly, muttering something about being at the wrong address and I'd never see him again.  Such is the level of shabbiness which greets him most evenings...

I've never really been one for 'girl clothes' (this encompasses everything which isn't jeans) but maybe a change in direction is needed...

Changing the subject, I'm in the middle of a serious deja vu episode.  After son number two's unsavoury university experience last year, he is now having another go (brave boy), so yet again, I am trawling pound shops looking for stuff for him to take with him.  This involves saucepans which will never see a gas ring, hangers which will never hold a shirt, cutlery which will wind its weary way into the bin with takeaway detritus in the first week, Fairy Liquid which will remain unopened (this goes for the tea towels and multi-purpose cleaner) and best of all, a linen basket which will hold nothing but the odd empty crisp packet.  

I'll tell you what though.  It's a great way to get rid of things which I don't really need any more.  Unwanted crockery is now heading north, as our two spare knives, an old wok, a plastic jug so old that you can't see the measurements, old pillows(I'm keeping the new ones we bought yesterday - he won't notice) and two baking trays which have seen better days.

He's also taking twenty homemade meals for one which I have lovingly made and frozen for him, with description and cooking instructions written on the lid.  These will last a week at the most, not because he has eaten them, or entertained his flatmates.

Oh no.  There would have been some haggling gone on, with two Shepherd's Pies and a Chicken Curry being swapped for a bottle of Disaronno.  The bolognese would have been exchanged for half an hour's ironing and the Fish Pies would have been excellent currency for a couple of essays.

And don't get me started on the mini roasts...



Monday, 11 September 2017

Flashback....

I was born too late.  It's a well known fact in my family that if I could turn time back, I would set myself very soundly around 1942.  I love the music, the dancing, the fashions and just the whole thing about that time.  I blame this solely on my Nanny Joyce who lived through the war in Portsmouth, as she filled my head with stories from an early age.

So when I got the chance to go to the Goodwood Revival this weekend just gone, I almost had my manager's hand off when he waved a couple of weekend passes under my nose. Of course, there was a small matter of Binland work to be done while I was there, but surely this wouldn't impact on my enjoyment?

But where were the dearly beloved and I to sleep?  Well, the idea of a tent was bandied around, but a good friend lent us their wobbly box for the weekend.  (A caravan called a Golden Osprey, which son number two rechristened The Golden Pikey, once he saw the husband tow it into the drive).  

And so it was that we headed down to Chichester on Friday.  The wobbly box was laden with bags, most of which contained every bit of 40's style paraphernalia I could muster up.  This consisted of shoes, dresses, a Land Girl costume, and a last minute buy from a fancy dress shop of a Home Guard costume for the husband.  I didn't have much hope of coercing the husband into this, and the fact that I insisted on calling him Captain Mainwaring all the way down didn't help.

We arrived at a very muddy campsite around 5.00pm and slid The Golden Pikey into position, and once the husband was happy that it was secure, we took a walk over to the Festival.  Well, it was like I'd time travelled back to 1940, and I was in complete heaven. 

Wandering through, dressed in jeans and walking boots, the two of us looked like we were the odd ones out, as everyone was dressed 40's style.  There were uniforms, tea dresses, eyeliner, and Victory Rolls everywhere.  Seeing these, I vowed that the wig would not be unpacked and that we would be back in the morning bright and early to look for some patient lady who might be able to do something with my errant hair.

I'm sure that the husband wasn't planning on being back on site at 7.30am, but I wasn't prepared to miss a single moment of that day.  Dressed in my 40's tea dress, we headed over and lo and behold, the first stall we came to was a 40's makeover stand.  I think I only managed to mow down three other ladies in my eagerness to take a seat, and in only 27 minutes they had transformed me into a 40's bombshell, complete with false eyelashes, Victory Roll and the reddest lipstick ever (I managed to leave remnants of this on two coffee cups, a bacon sandwich, the husband and seven gin and tonics - it was very resilient that's for sure).

The husband, who had naturally refused to wear his costume, was dressed in blue shorts and matching t-shirt, and looked nothing like anything from the 40's.  To be honest, he looked more like the waste contractor than I claimed to be, and he was quite happy to compound this at every security gate,as we blagged our way into various banned areas.

There were cars, live bands (we did a lovely Lindy Hop in our mud splattered walking boots) and stalls selling all manner of vintage treasures, but it was the clothes which left me open mouthed.

The husband, who felt like he'd let me down by not dressing up, has vowed to get his act together before we return next year.  I see him in an RAF uniform, probably an officer.  He has other plans though.  He's going as a Peaky Blinder.

He bought the hat on Saturday, and apparently he's going to buy the rest...

Vintage sock by vintage sock..



Friday, 8 September 2017

Hairspray queen...

So after several attempts involving hair grips, spray, a strange looking sponge sausage and what felt like seven thumbs and three fingers, I have finally given up on trying to coax my hair into a 1940's style Victory Roll.  But because I like to throw myself into everything with complete gusto, yesterday, after a frantic trawl across the internet, I bought a wig.

Now there is a risk that I may have panic-purchased.  For a start it's brunette, and beneath the grey and the highlights, I am marginally fairer, so unless I manage to get my own hair all hidden, I run the chance of looking like I have a small badger on my head. Secondly, it's only arriving today, and no doubt would have been vacuum-packed flat for several years till some numpty (me) bought it.  So the curl at the front might not even look as good as the one that I managed yesterday.  Anyway, I shan't worry too much because it comes with a headscarf, and as we all know, these can cover a multitude of sins and flat curls.  To be honest, the weather's not looking too good anyway, so I'll probably have to wear my very modern raincoat over my 1940's dress and nylon wig.  

Changing the subject somewhat, I went for a mammogram yesterday.  It's a special breed of lady which runs the mobile mammogram unit you know.  I walked in to be greeted by a curt smile, and 'Name please?'   then 'Date of birth?', and then finally, 'First line of your address?'  Having given all the correct answers, she ushered me into a side room, curtained off from the main area, and told me to strip to the waist.  'Someone will be with you shortly', she said, whipping the curtain shut to preserve my modesty.

So I stripped off and sat down on the bench waiting for the door to open.

'Come on in', said the Receptionist (changing into a white tunic wasn't going to fool me). 'Name please'.  I repeated it slowly, in case she hadn't heard me first time.  'Date of birth?'  With eyebrows raised, I gave the date again.  When she asked me for the first line of my address, I was sorely tempted to give her my house name instead of the number I'd given before as it may have got across to her how hacked off I was at repeating myself, but I showed a little restraint.

And why are their hands always cold?  She was a little rough as well, and I felt like I was being manhandled by a stroppy haddock with an ASBO.

And then it was done.  Back into the changing room, where I got dressed and into the waiting area, when the Receptionist/Nurse was back behind the desk.  'Everything alright?' she asked with a smile.  I wanted to say to her, 'Well you were there...you tell me love', but I smiled back and opening the door, released myself into the comparative sanity of the hospital car park.

Two weeks before I get the results - I expect she'll be writing the letter having done almost every other job...


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

How I roll....

I've been practising my Victory Roll....this is part of the reason there were no words from this Bird yesterday morning as Mrs S was showing me how to do one in the pub late into the night in between the fish and chips and alcohol.  

I'm off to Goodwood Revival at the weekend you see, and an element of looking the part is vital.  For those of you who haven't got a clue what I'm talking about (this was me last year) it's a festival of cars and music from 1940-1960. I'm going in the capacity of a Binland employee as we're in charge of waste management this year, and in between taking photographs of bins (my life is so glamorous), touching up my lipstick and perfecting my Victory Roll, I'll be having a fine old time with the husband looking at the cars and dancing to the 1940's swing music I love so much.

We've managed to borrow a caravan to sleep in while we're there.  To be honest, the thought of getting my seams straight under canvas was not a pleasant one, especially as we wouldn't have had any electricity.  I might have had legs looking like a pair of helter-skelters, and that's no good.

So back to the Victory Roll...

Mrs S made it look very easy, quickly twisting her hair into something which wouldn't have looked out of place in a blackout, mine on the other hand looked like I'd plugged myself into the National Grid. But not to worry, I have a rather large head scarf which will hold everything in place and a very large can of Elnett (extra firm hold).  If it rains (and it will, I'm sure) my version of the Victory Roll might end up looking like a sausage roll (one that has been sat on and left out in the rain, at that). 

But there is just one problem...

The husband and I haven't been to Swing Dance Club for three months, due to the holidays, a torn calf muscle and various other injuries, so both of us have forgotten all that we learned.  It won't be like last week in Amnesia when we both stood there waving our arms around like Animal from the Muppets.  I'm just hoping that the caravan has a decent amount of floor so that we can practise a bit.

If that doesn't work, then we'll have to site on the sidelines like a couple of wall flowers.  

One of which will have a sausage roll on her head...



Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Crumblin' down...

Well the first day of the husband's 'COTC' diet ('Cut Out The Crap' in case you're wondering) didn't go so well.  I am blaming the Mother...

I texted her yesterday to see if she fancied coming over for a walk with the dogs and then a cup of tea. Turns out that she was that keen, that she got to my house before I did, and when I eventually escaped from Binland and headed home, there she was, ensconced in the kitchen with son number two chatting away, hardly noticing when I dragged myself through the front door carrying heavy shopping.

So we had a cup of tea, and then took the dogs over to the allotment to pick my sweetcorn (huge success in the patch of dirt), and maybe get some blackberries.  We both had coats on as it looked a bit iffy (this is a British term which is often used to describe any weather which is not sunny) so we set out with a large plastic bowl and the dogs.

There is a recurring issue whenever I go and harvest anything from my allotment, in that I always assume that one of the clean poop bags will be enough to bring back whatever I've had the luck not to kill or hand over to the rabbits. This time was no different...

So we picked eight sweetcorn and seven runner beans (just enough for her dinner last night), and then walked over to the many blackberry bushes which litter the field I walk in.  I have to confess that it was a case of 'one for the bowl, and two for me', but notwithstanding that, the bowl was almost full, and we decided to go back home.

While I was walking back, the very clear image of a blackberry and apple crumble came into my head, and I suggested that we stop off at the orchard on the way through and collect some apples. This is where it all went wrong.

We had corns in the bag, runner beans and blackberries in the bowl, so there was nowhere to put the apples.  As it was quite warm yesterday, I had taken my coat off and tied it around my waist, and clocking this, the Mother's eyes lit up.  

'I'll put them in your hood', she said, loading aforementioned hood with around ten large Bramleys. Extra care was needed for the final stretch home, as the weight of the apples was dragging my coat down over my backside, so a wide legged stance was required to avoid losing the lot.  I also had to stoop forward to balance out the additional weight.  Thank goodness we didn't meet anyone on the way home, as I looked like a cross between John Wayne and a Victorian coal miner (without the sooty smudges and pony).  Anyway, we made it, and I divvied up the goods, and the Mother took a lovely fresh food parcel home with her.

Once she'd gone, I set to making the crumble.  We had it after dinner with custard leftover from Sunday, and it was delicious.

The husband's eyes and mine met over the empty Ambrosia carton.  'Tomorrow?' we both said simultaneously.  Perhaps.  Mind you, I'm meeting up with Mrs S later today, and there may be pizza.

Who am I kidding?  

Of course there'll be pizza, and rhubarb gin, and pudding, and oh, I just give up...



Monday, 4 September 2017

Tomorrow belongs to me...

Yesterday was mostly spent cursing the weather.  It's always really hard coming home from warmer climes, but when you have seven loads of washing to get washed and dried, and only have one laundry airer to hang it on, it takes planning and ingenuity to get it all done.

It's my own fault really.  The husband has offered me various washing lines over the years, but as our garden is a funny shape (wide and shallow) I have always turned him and his whirlygig down.  Not that having a washing line would have made any difference yesterday thanks to the bloody rain though.  So I ended up with clothes half drying in open doorways, hung over curtain rails, on the airer, over the kitchen chairs and even hanging from the kitchen drawer handles.

Once the clothes were slightly less sodden, I started ironing them dry, and then removing them upstairs to the wearer's bedroom, where they could now be hung on their curtain rails and wardrobe knobs to finish off.  Add in one large tumble drier load of underwear and socks and by 1.00 yesterday nearly all the clothes were back where they should be.  I know, I know, just call me Superwoman (or anally retentive madwoman/OCD lunatic/freak.. you choose).  

Talking of underwear and socks, the amount that three males can use in a week never ceases to amaze me.  I used seven pairs of drawers, and that was it. Yesterday I washed thirty six pairs of boxer shorts and fourteen pairs of socks.  I can sort of get the boxer shorts thing, as apparently, it is necessary to wear a pair under swim shorts to avoid chaffing. (As an ample-thighed woman, I do get this, and I suppose that wearing a pair of shorts underneath is preferable to walking like John Wayne, or having strangers think that you have piles.  I resort to tights....)

Anyway, it's all done, and I can go back to Binland this morning knowing that my house is in order again.

Going back to yesterday morning, the husband, having steeled himself for the short walk to the bathroom scales, announced that the diet would start right now.  Well I gave his diet announcement ten minutes, and true to form, he completely forgot and made us both heavily buttered bagels for breakfast.

'So much for the diet', I said.

'We'll start lunchtime', he said, melted butter dribbling down his chin.

At lunchtime (roast lamb as requested), we were joined by Miss R, my favourite nephew Master G and his beautiful girlfriend, Little Miss Sunshine (she's always happy so it's the perfect name for her).  Having troughed through home grown roasties and runner beans, cauliflower cheese, peas and yorkies, Miss R then produced sticky toffee puddings for one and all.

As the husband poured custard and cream (this is a Northern thing to do apparently) over his, I reminded him about the diet.

'Tomorrow.  We'll start tomorrow', he said, easing the top button open on his jeans.

Works for me...


Sunday, 3 September 2017

Hurt...

So it's back down to earth with a bump for me and mine.  Landing back at Birmingham airport yesterday afternoon, there was an audible sigh from my lot as we all quietly realised that there would be no Sangria o'clock on Sunday morning.

Mind you, after the amount of partying we've all done, I think I could do with another week's holiday to dry out. Talking of drying out, the night/morning at Amnesia really took its toll on all of us on Friday.  The husband and I had made the sensible approach not to drink at the club (the fact that a small bottle of water cost 14 euros was enough reason, but we also didn't want hangovers having had literally no sleep).  However, the offspring, having not been blessed with a couple of things called 'middle age' and 'wisdom', really went for it and we left them in the club for the last half hour or so.

So while we were hunkered down in our bed, grabbing a couple of precious hours, they were falling out of a taxi, stumbling into the hotel reception past a group of very sober people waiting to get their coach home.  Daughter number two, who makes many decisions based on her stomach, decided that as the hotel restaurant was open, it would be a good idea to go and eat breakfast before falling into bed.  What she didn't anticipate was falling asleep at the table, and when the waitress gently shook her shoulder to wake her, she looked up at her, with a half eaten croissant stuck to her left cheek.

None of them surfaced till lunchtime.  Daughter number one was the first one down, who seemed ok, but I felt she was putting on a brave face.  Next down was son number two, who came down for food and painkillers, and then went back to bed.  Son number one and daughter number two were the worst, and the pool was very quiet for the most of Friday.

The husband made a good effort and came down for about two hours and then trundled back upstairs 'for half an hour's kip.  This turned into four hours actually, but no one was counting.  And me?  Well I just dozed on and off all day, and by 2.00 was back on the Sangria.

But we're home now, and the husband and I are once again on our own and a pile of washing and ironing is blocking the door of the laundry.  While we were away, son number one asked me whether I minded doing all their washing and ironing, and here's what I told him...

'I don't have you with me for very long, so while you are, I will look after you all and care for you all as much as I can. I don't mind doing this for you, because you're young for such a short time.  So enjoy it for now, because when you grow up and go, it's all down to you'.

I'll be honest with you.  When I booked this holiday back in March, I didn't know how it would pan out.  The four kids have all gone in different directions over the last few years, and times together have been sweet but short.  But they were great, and watching them all rediscover their love and friendship with each other has been wonderful.  Even better, they wanted to be with us, rather than sneaking out together after putting me and the husband to bed.

They have all been fantastic company, and I'm very proud of all of them.

Even daughter number two who has a propensity to headbutt baked goods...


Friday, 1 September 2017

In da club...

Please excuse any typos this morning.  I crawled into bed at 7.00 this morning so I'm doing this rather quickly before removing myself to the deckchair for the day.

As you know, last night we went to Amnesia to see Fat Boy Slim, but the kids had told us that we shouldn't get there till 1.00, so we headed into Ibiza Town for a few drinks to warm up.  This was going really well, until daughter number one sidled up to me to tell me that daughter number two's dress had a rather large hole in it which looked too far gone for safety pins.  Taking her to one side, we gently  suggested that she might need to buy a new dress (there was no way we were going back home to get changed).  

There were still a few dress shops open at midnight, so we stuck daughter number two in a changing room, while the ever so helpful assistant (imagine this to be dripping with sarcasm if you will.  She was as much use as a one legged man at an arse kicking party) produced dress after dress.  She eventually found one which fitted, and saying the old adage, 'Can I wear it home?' we headed back to where the boys were waiting.

More drinks in another bar, and we finally decided that it was time to go to the club.  

And what a time the husband and I had.  It would appear that they don't see very many 54 year olds dancing to trance music, and we became minor celebrities for the night/morning.  In fact, a very young chap came and asked me to dance, having asked permission from the husband first of course. There were confetti drops and ice canons (basically a very cold blast of air conditioning which was shot out across the crowd rendering you blind for about five seconds). These cold blasts happened every ten minutes or so, and after the third, I was soaked through.  

The husband at this point thought it would be exciting to get as near to the front as possible (Fat Boy Slim was now in the chair) so we hustled past kids until we were almost at touching distance.  When the ice canon went  off the next time, we were rather too close, and if I hadn't have been clinging to the husband's best trousers, I would have ended up at the back of the room.

So to recap...

Danced like a wild thing for five hours
Deaf in both ears
Can't walk due to aforementioned dancing
Can't speak due to screaming (mainly at the ice canon)
Financially stripped (water at 9 euros a bottle)

But the kids had an amazing time (as did the husband who was giving it everything he had), and it was so funny seeing them see us in a different light.  They danced with us and were really proud to say to onlookers that we were their parents, and at the end of the night/day, the club photographer came and took a photo of us all.

And here we are...



Thursday, 31 August 2017

Darling Nikki...

Apologies for the lateness of today's ramblings.  Yesterday did not really go as planned whatsoever...

It started with good intentions.  I wanted to go and see the famous Hippie Market at Es Cana, and had forcibly dragged five reluctant family members along with me for the ride. I have never seen so many beards and tie dye t-shirts in my life, and coupled with the overwhelming smell of joss sticks and weed, it was altogether quite an interesting experience.  Naturally, nothing was bought by the other five, but I managed to buy a couple of bracelets which will probably last till I get on the plane, such is the level of workmanship.

The other reason to go to Es Cana was so that some of the more energetic of us could do some watersports.  This did not include me, I have to say.  I stopped going further than my knees into the sea circa 1975 when a certain shark made its appearance.  My dad was very fond of saying that he wouldn't go into the sea because of 'that naughty old shark', and I have continued with this line of thought.

And so it was that daughter number one, son number one and the husband headed out to the sea for a bit of paddle boarding.  The beach wasn't much to write home about, and just at the top of the beach I spotted the place which I had really come to see on the quiet.  Nikki Beach (www.nikkibeach.com).  My best friend Mrs S had been here earlier in the year, and after what she told me, it was definitely on my list of  'Things to do in Ibiza'. It was like an oasis of white leather beds, pool, DJ, expensive drinks. It was all going on, and I dragged the kids in there.

Now I'm not saying that I felt slightly out of place in my M&S shorts and flip flops, but I reckon that the bikinis on show in there would have fed my family for a week. Notwithstanding that, the other two kids and I settled down at the bar and ordered Mojitos. By the time the husband got back, we'd managed another couple, so weren't going anywhere fast.  In fact, we were there for six hours, by which time, the husband was having a dancing lesson from son number two, and daughter number one had passed out on a sunlounger.

It was an amazing day though, but with the kind of bill at the end which means that you'll only ever do it once.  We will be on short rations for September, that's for sure.

So today has been rather a quiet one.  Just as well because tonight we're off to Amnesia. The kids reckon that 2.30am should be a good time to get there, and I am aiming to stay till at least 6.30.  The kids are running a book as to who will cave first, but I have a feeling that it won't be either of us (pride will not allow this to happen).  The blog will be late again tomorrow for obvious reasons, but I know none of you will mind too much, because you will all know what state I'll be in, and will be quietly tutting over a cup of tea.

Knowing that I'm going to be burning the midnight oil, I've tried to take some power naps today to increase the chances of staying up all night, but on both occasions have been woken by two different Welsh ladies.  

The first one wanted a cushion which was at my feet on the double bed I was stretched out on.  Fine, I wasn't using it.  What's more, if she hadn't said anything, I wouldn't have noticed or cared that it had gone.

The second lady nudged me this afternoon asking me for a light.  Stirring, I murmured that I didn't smoke.

'Are you sure you don't have a light?  There's a pack of cigarettes by you'.

Confused and now completely awake, I looked round to find the offending cigarettes.

'That's a pack of cards', I said, 'not cigarettes'.

Peering at the box, she apologised and walked away.  Just as I was settling back down to sleep, she shouted across the pool, 'Sorry if I woke you up by the way'.

Not too worry dear, I'll get my own back at 7.00 tomorrow morning when I come in rather worse for wear...


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Dog eat dog...

As you all know by now, I am a very keen on Pilates, so when one of the hotel entertainment team came round yesterday telling us that there would be yoga (they pronounced it Joga, but I am assured that it is the same) I jumped at it, and told the girl that I would be there at 10.30 to do it.  Daughter number two offered to do it with me, so I was quite looking forward to a bit of mum/daughter bonding.

However...

On Monday night, the kids suggested that a night into Ibiza Town might be a good idea, so we had our dinner, danced like crazy things to a better than average funk band and headed off in a taxi to the fleshpots of Ibiza's capital.

The town was beautiful, and fill of people wearing outfits which came with health warnings such as:

This will chafe
This will not cover any of your vital organs
This will make you sweat
This will catch fire if left in the sun too long

Needless to say, I assumed that I would feel very old amongst the young and beautiful, but a couple of tramps on a bench put pay to that, and we went into the first bar we came too (opposite Michael Kors' yacht which is worth £280m in case you're interested)

The bar menu had no prices.  Now as we all know, this is not a good sign, but notwithstanding that, the six of us proceeded to order the most glamourous drinks we could see (I had a frozen banana Daiquiri which rendered me useless for the rest of the night) and we sat there for a couple of hours watching the world and his trophy girlfriend wander by.

When the time came to leave, we asked for the bill.  It came to 92 euros.  The husband may stop talking about this by about Thursday, but as I see it, paying that to sit for two hours outside Michael Kors' yacht (£280m - did I say?) on the off chance that he might spot daughter number two lounging on a white leatherette sofa in her New Look dress was money well spent.

Only four of us came home.  Daughter number two and son number two headed to Pacha for the weekly FlowerPower Club night.  This was music from the 60's. 70's and 80's and 24 hours on, I am kicking myself for not going.

So back to the yoga/joga.  I was ready at 10.30 to start.  Unfortunately, neither of the girls was up to joining me. Daughter number one was more interested in tanning her already creosote skin a couple of shades darker, and daughter number two was still in bed, having only got home three hours earlier.

So it was just me...

A 53 year old, sweating, overweight woman wearing a bikini (because she never thought for one moment to pack her pilates pants) on a stage with the teacher, all alone (literally all alone as no one else turned up) except for a couple reading their newspaper who looked up every now and again for a smirk.

When I bent down to do a rather reluctant Downward Dog, I'm sure the husband choked on his cappuccino...