Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Keepin' it real...

I have been taken over by the male of the species in the house.  Both sons are now here, and coupled with the husband, who although very much in touch with his feminine side is most definitely male, and the two dogs, I am living in a blue world.

I have recently noticed that the tumble dryer seems to go on at inopportune times.  The boys have taken on board my request that it should not be used over the summer as it is so expensive, so choose instead to leave it running for an hour or two while I am at work, thinking that I'll never find out.  Stupid boys.  I'm a mum, and it's my job to know everything, even the things I rather I didn't.

They always make a schoolboy error because they leave their clothes in the tumble dryer, heated to temperatures of Amazonian extremes, the elastic on their pants almost liquid and their socks small enough to fit the dogs.  There's also the matter of the tropical rain storm which has hit the inside of the utility room window.  Dead giveaway.

But my favourite?  It's when they hang their wet washing (the stuff which can't go anywhere near the tumble drier as it cost them more than a tenner) on top of my almost dry clothes.  I've got one of those  inside laundry airers, and yesterday I came home to find it groaning in pain, such was the weight of wet joggers and sweatshirts draped over my almost dry work trousers. As I untied the rope, and gently lowered the dryer, I'm sure that it shed a tear.  Mind you, that was probably condensation from the tumble dryer...

The other thing which puzzles me is how the fridge can be so bereft of food when I have spent double my normal weekly bill at the supermarket.  I've put this down to the two boys opening a small stall at the end of the road, selling our food to various passers-by so that they have some money to spend on beer.  This is what happens when you're a student/between jobs/unemployed (call it what you will).  All that education and you resort to selling anything which isn't bolted down or chained up to make a quick buck.  I'm counting on son number one's bedroom being empty by the end of the month as times get more desperate.

But enough of complaining...

Somebody asked me yesterday why I do 'that blogging thing'.  It was on the tip of my tongue to tell her that 'thing' was right up there with all the other loves in my life (halibut, sunshine, raspberries, my children, new knickers and of course, the poor husband) but I showed a little restraint, saying that I did it just for pleasure.

As you know, I don't get paid for doing what I do, nor do I put adverts on my blog, because the last thing I want while you're reading is for you to be distracted by an ad for incontinence knickers. This is the problem with adverts; they are geared towards you and your audience.  Mind you, this says as much about you as it does me!

So this set me thinking.  Why do I do it?  I suppose that I have always had a mahoosive love affair with words, and being able to string a few together with the view to making total strangers giggle really appeals to me.  

But in my perfect world, an editor of a woman's magazine, having chortled at my blog for a few weeks, will email me one day asking me to do a weekly column, and WILL PAY ME.

But until that day, while you're still giggling, I'll keep doing 'that blogging thing'...

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Sleeping in...

The husband is in the doghouse yet again.

Let me explain.  Several years ago there was some discussion as to whose side of the bed the radio alarm should go on.  Historically it had always sat on my side as I was able to change the time on the alarm without searching half an hour for a pair of glasses,or resorting to looking like Jackie Chan as squinting was required if the glasses remained unfound.  

He suggested that it might be an idea to have it on his bedside table because I had a lamp, a kindle, my phone and various inhalers scattered across it.  (I am asthmatic, so they can never be more than an arm stretch away).  The husband's bedside table was bare, except for a tin which claimed to be 'Dad's Saving Up Fund for Tools'.  To date this remains empty except for several euros, three washers and a large bolt which I was too nervous to throw away in case it was important.  Anyway, he felt that he was quite capable of having the radio alarm on his side, so one Saturday the poor DAB did the long walk across the bed.

At the time, I did state quite forcefully that he couldn't be trusted with it, but he wasn't having any of it, and he moved the radio this way and that till he was satisfied that it was in the right place.

There have been a couple of occasions where we have overslept since he took over time-keeping duties, mainly because he has a penchant for stretching over just as the radio comes on, and turning it off.  He says that he thinks he's pressing the snooze button, but I'm sure that this is just an excuse.  Without his glasses on, he wouldn't be able to tell whether he was looking at the front or the back of the radio, so my response to his excuse is 'Snooze, shmooze, you were just after a lay in'.

So yesterday morning we overslept.  I had told the husband that I needed to leave the house early to make up for the hours lost to Milton Keynes Hospital and daughter number two, and he agreed that he also needed to get a wriggle on.  Now normally, our alarm goes off at 5.30.  This gives us both time to blog, walk dogs, put make up on, have breakfast, make lunch etc etc.  Stirring this morning, at what I thought was round about getting up time, I asked the husband whether he'd switched the alarm off again. 'Of course not', he said in rather a curmudgeonly manner.

So I went back to sleep.

Reg started scratching at the door some time later, so I got up and headed downstairs. Sitting down with a cup of tea, I happened to glance at the clock.  It was bloody 7.00.

It transpired that the husband took advantage of my enforced absence and changed the alarm time on the radio from 5.30 to 7.00.

And so it came to pass, yet again, that I was right.

I told you he's not to be trusted...

Monday, 24 July 2017

Our house...

Saturday dawned with me being in my own bed rather than camping at daughter number two's bijoux flat.  

Now this should have been a moment for rejoicing, and would have been if the husband hadn't spent the last two nights having the complete bed to himself.  Waking up nose-to-nose with him, I realised that violence may be on the agenda if I wanted to coax him back over to his side of the bed.  Slowly bringing my left leg back, I gave him a swift kick on the shin.  I am assuming it was the shin, as the resulting yelp was quieter than it would have been had I aimed a little higher I think.

So, quickly feigning sleep, he grunted and grumbled and hoisted himself over to the left hand side of the bed, and went straight back to sleep.  I stretched out and dropped off too, but woke up again with the birds singing, and the husband snoring in my face.

'Oh dear God', I said, rather too loudly as it had the desired effect of getting him back over to his side, and giving a sigh, I threw in the towel and got up. Wandering around the house, it became apparent than in my absence, the husband and various offspring had had a fine old time without a grown up on the premises.  Washing remained undone, floors were littered with everything from bits of sweetcorn to dog food, and a vase of dead flowers stood in isolated splendour on the kitchen table.

Now this was a puzzle.  Lady H (she of the pneumatic duster and a bottle of multi surface cleaner) had been due to come in on Thursday.  I had even left the money on the microwave in anticipation  of her wondrous works.  Looking to the top of the microwave, I worked my way through the keys, empty envelopes, sunglasses and a half eaten bag of crisps.  Well, there was no money there, so either she had been, or one of the offspring had pilfered the money and spent it on beer.

Sitting in the lounge in the afternoon, while 75% of my children recovered from alcoholic poisoning and 25% from a nasty infection, I asked the husband whether Lady H had cancelled.  Had she been ill?  Had she got a better offer?  

Well it turned out that she had been and had done a sterling job on the house in my absence.  I had been gone for a mere 48 hours.  What they achieved in that time undoing all her good work was incredible.  Thank goodness daughter number two had made a rapid recovery.

Any longer and I doubt the house would have still been standing...

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The hospital song...Part 2...

So, going on from yesterday, the trouble with doing my unexpected Florence Nightingale on daughter number two, was that I had come unprepared.  I had been expecting to be coming home on Wednesday evening having tucked her up into bed with a cup of tea. What I wasn't anticipating was that on Wednesday evening I would be washing my knickers in the sink and wondering whether daughter number two had anything suitable in her wardrobe which I could borrow to wear the next day.  

I came up with the grand idea of stretching my drawers across a clippy hanger and hanging them up at the bathroom window to dry overnight.  Goodness knows what my daughter's neighbours must have thought seeing the vast drawers flapping in the breeze. At my age, dental floss type knickers are no longer an option, and I'm more of a Harvest Festival Knicker wearer (all is safely gathered in).  So these glorious drawers flapped all night at the window, and obscured the streetlight so I didn't need to pull the blind down.  

So getting up the next morning, the knickers were dry, but there was nothing suitable in the wardrobe for me to wear to the hospital.  Throwing on yesterday's clothes, I headed to the nearest Sainsbury's and bought jeans, a top and a new pair of knickers.  As it was so early, there was only one lady on the till, and I explained my predicament about why I had no clothes.  She wished daughter number two a speedy recovery, and I changed in the loo and felt human again.

Fast forward twenty four hours and I'm back at Sainsbury's again, buying another top and another pair of knickers. Unfortunately, the same lady was on the till, and eyeing up the pair of knickers, she said, 'I bet you wished you'd bought a multipack of them now'.  Well yes, I did, but how was I to know that my daughter would refuse to co-operate with the medicines, choosing instead to take a freefall into cardboard hats and plastic sheeting?

By Friday, she had improved somewhat and in my boredom, I suggested we put a couple of bets on the horses.  Her hands had swollen up for some reason, and looking through Friday's runners, I spotted the perfect horse.  

'That's the one we're betting on', I said, brandishing the Daily Express Racing section.
'Sausage Fingers'.

Well, she wasn't amused (neither was I when it limped it seventh), but luckily, I had picked another horse which romped home at 20-1.  

'That's brilliant!' I said, 'I doubled my money!'  

'Great', said the invalid.  'You and go and buy yourself some more knickers now'.

Not funny...

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The hospital song....Part 1

Just as you're pottering along quite nicely, thankful that the stitched head, decapitated thumb and torn calf muscle are behind you, life throws you a curveball.  Not so much a curveball actually, more a cannon ball fired from ten metres by a sniper renowned for his 100% accuracy record.

This was the call I got from daughter number two on Wednesday afternoon.  I was on my way to see her after finding out that she'd spend several hours in A & E the night before. I was only going up to make sure that she was eating properly as it sounded like the treatment she' received at the hands of the NHS was more than adequate.

And then the mobile called in the car as I was halfway there.  Poor daughter number two. She was sobbing her heart out, and between the tears and the bouts of vomiting, I got the gist of what she was saying.

'I'm on my way sweetie', I said, putting my foot to the floor.  'Mummy's coming! Hold on!'

Well, I'm not the fastest of drivers as the boys will confirm.  But dropping down a couple of gears, I almost reached 52mph at least three times.  Scooping her up, I took her down to the hospital where we waited for her to be admitted.  Now daughter number two is single, and one of my favourite pastimes when I am with her is suggesting various chaps as positive suitors.  The first doctor to give her the medical once over was an absolute looker, and I was really disappointed for her, as it's hard to see the best side of someone when they are chucking up into a cardboard hat.  

Finally getting onto the ward, we were surrounded by various other poor souls, and I decided that I would crash at daughter number two's flat for the night.  Falling into her bed on Wednesday night, I realised that this was the bed which she had been poorly in, and it wasn't that special. Tomorrow I would look for another set of bedlinen so that when she came home, she would have a lovely clean bed.

Little did I know...

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Mirror, mirror...

You'll remember from yesterday that I have been asked to try these gorgeous face creams courtesy of a friend.  Now I am not expecting any miracles.  I'm sensible enough to know that the days of looking twenty five are way behind me (around twenty eight years behind me to be precise) so what I am looking for is to be able to look in the mirror, and say each morning, 'Well love, you look the best you can'.

So yesterday morning I tried the Carrot and Mango Cleansing Butter...
It smelt delicious, and for a moment, I did ponder what it would be like on a lightly toasted bagel, but wisdom got the better of me, and I popped some on my raddled old mush and massaged it in.  Well I felt like a queen (a regal one, and not the Lily Savage kind).  Reluctantly wiping it off, it left my skin feeling really smooth (vastly different from the acid laden face wipes which strip several layers off my face each night - if I keep using these, I imagine that I'm going to resemble Skeletor in the not so distant future). 

Anyway, I am going to gradually build up with the products, so I can get a good feel of which ones I like best. This one is a winner though (literally - see the picture) and when my sample is finished, I will definitely be heading over to to buy some.  In fact, if you choose to do the same and quote Words from a Bird, you'll get 15% off. How great is that! 

But the husband struggles with me doing girly stuff like this.  As far as he is concerned, when I leave the house, I look exactly the same as when I woke up.  He lives in ignorance of the cheek buffing, chin plucking, pimple picking and facial disguising (make up) which I do every morning.  If he could see me squinting into my x10 mirror with a pair of tweezers poised for action, it would be a complete shock to him.  When he tells me that I am 'lovely as I am', what he actually means is that I am 'lovely when all the remedial work has been completed' when there is no chance of him getting a shaving rash should he head in for a cheeky smooch.

There is such pressure on us girls to look younger than we are.  You see all these celebrities with their smooth, emotion-free, empty faces, but surely it's better to have face which tells a story?

With my Rose Tree products, perhaps that story will have a happy ending...

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

We go together...

Apologies for going on the missing list  yesterday.  This is what happens when the husband plies me with cider over a length of time.  Six hours to be precise.  By the time I got home, I was bang in the middle of the hangover I should have had on Monday morning, so as you can imagine, humour had taken a back seat.

Anyway, life (and my head) have returned to normal, so it's time to catch up.

Exciting news for me actually.  I have been approached by a lovely local girl, and asked to try out some gorgeous face creams, potions and lotions, with a view to telling you all how I feel about them. Now as we all know, I am a sucker for anything which promises miracles in the wrinkle department, and short of laying myself on the ironing board, I have tried just about everything to halt the wrinkles, jowls and lines which seem to be squatting on my face. (Definitely squatting, as they weren't invited that's for sure).

So over the next couple of weeks, I'll let you know how I'm getting on.  

Going back to the barbecue which we were at on Sunday, this just happened to be taking place at the same time as a vintage car show, and the venue backed on to our friends' garden.  This meant that the husband could drag me (slowly as I'm now crutchless) around a field filled with classic cars, next to which stood various gentlemen who had probably not seen their wives and children for twenty years, such was the commitment to the cars. Some of them probably haven't seen their feet for a while either, but that's a whole different problem.

So having limped around the field, asking the appropriate questions, 

'How old is that?' 
'What's that worth now?' 
'Do you drive it often?'
'Do you have a life?'

the husband then suggested it was time to go to the barbecue.  And that's where it all went wrong I'm afraid.

One cider turned into two, and two into three.  I was playing the 'I have a bad leg and can't walk' card which seemed to be working very well, and the husband kept me in cider and sausages for the afternoon.  As it got nearer to 6.00, the husband got out of his chair, suggesting that it was time to make a move.  He had a load of paperwork to do, so needed to get back.

The trouble was, I really couldn't walk by then.  'Yeah yeah', laughed the husband.  'Come on, up you get'.

He hoisted me out of the wicker chair which had been my home for five hours (ladies, I hope you are impressed with my stamina), and half walked/half carried me back to the car.  Once home, I crashed onto the sofa and started watching Grease.  This is an all time favourite film which I watched nine times when I was 15.  I did go a tenth time, but spent the whole film snogging Gareth Millington, so I suppose that doesn't count.  Seeing the Pink Ladies, the husband sat down, and said, 'Just ten minutes, then I'll go and do that paperwork'.

Well he slept through Grease.
He slept through Wild Alaska.
He slept through Countryfile.

He woke up just as Poldark started, and asked whether 'he'd been asleep long'.

Long enough for me to have two cups of tea and a mini cup-cake, put the washing on, empty the dishwasher and take up my ironing.  I also managed to feed the dogs and get my clothes ready for work.

Bloody lightweight wasn't even drinking...

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Back together...

Me and the crutches have fallen out.

It's not been the best of relationships to be honest.  Over the past week, although they have been quite supportive, they have also given me blisters on both hands, and several nasty bruises around my upper arms where my skin has been pinched.  Actually, my arms look like I've had one of those tribal tattoos done, so there'll be no spaghetti straps for me for the next few days (just as well summer seems to have taken a well earned break, as I can get my cardies out again).

Yesterday was judgement day.  As you know, I was whittled down to one crutch last week, with instructions from the physio to 'put all my bodyweight onto the crutch rather than my foot'.  Easy for her to say.  I seem to have developed an interesting gait since Wednesday, leaning over to the left at a 45 degree angle and looking like I've had one too many sherberts if you know what I mean.  

So yesterday I was on my own in the house for the afternoon.  The males in this house have tried very hard to keep it running as smoothly as possible while I've been incapacitated, but to be honest, their sporadic attempts at washing, ironing and tidying have been inadequate to keep my 'bubbling under the surface' OCD at bay.  Clutching a couple of bin liners yesterday, I hopped up the stairs, with a view to one bag being filled with any rubbish I could find, and the other was for all the hangers so I could do the ironing (this was risking becoming wedged between the shelf and the ceiling such was the amount of of clothing which needed flattening).

Hobbling back down the stairs half an hour later, with two full bags and one crutch, I dumped the hangers, and carried on outside with the rubbish to stick it into the bin.

It had been raining.

Now this has the effect of turning my patio into an ice ring, so I planted my crutch very slowly and carefully making my way to the wheelie bin.  As I turned the corner, I had the misfortune to plant my crutch onto a particularly slippery paving slab (as it's on the corner, it doesn't get the same food tread as the others so is like glass).  You all know what happened next...  

The crutch went.
I went.
The bag of rubbish went.

Luckily, the wheelie bin stopped me from completely lacerating myself on the gravel which surrounded it, and I slowly heaved myself up.

'Bloody crutch', I muttered under my breath. 'I've had enough'.

So this morning, the two crutches have been reunited and are languishing behind the wardrobe in the spare room once again.  I know the physio was adamant that I should use the crutch till Wednesday, but the rate I'm going, I'll do myself more damage than good. I'm sure she'll be fine about my decision, but just in case, I might take the crutch out of retirement for my next appointment with her.

She doesn't scare me, but she does have access to that machine which puts electric shocks through my calf to help with the healing, so I don't want to upset her too much.

So today, I will mainly be doing a watered down goose step around a field of vintage cars. This is the husband's idea of a 'good day out'.

I beg to differ...

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Baby driver...

On Wednesday, I suggested to the husband that we might go to the cinema at the weekend.

He gave me that look.  The one which asks:

Has it got foreign subtitles?
Is it a slushy romance which might involve a heaving bosom?
Does a dog get lost/get hurt/die in it?
Will you be crying all the way through it?
Does it involve two gay cowboys? (He's never recovered from Brokeback Mountain)

Well I surprised him with the trailer for Baby Driver, and he agreed that it looked like something he might enjoy at a push. Despicable Me 3 was his last choice, so you can see what I am dealing with here.  Barry Norman he isn't.

Now we are fairly spoilt around here, with a relative smorgasbord of cinemas to choose from. However, since going to see Despicable Me 3 a couple of weeks ago, all cinemas bar one have been scrapped as far as he is concerned. Why is this?  Well firstly this particular cinema does his favourite rum and raisin ice cream, so when we went to order, the girl behind the counter asked whether he wanted 'two scoops, three scoops or seven in a milkshake'.  Well the husband's eyebrows almost disappeared over the horizon of his bald pate, and wide-eyed he nodded.  'Seven please'.

So I booked the tickets for this cinema (based on a milkshake), and last night we went to see Baby Driver.  We'd decided last minute that we both needed to eat, so the husband suggested that we 'stop at the first pub we see'. Well it turned out that the pub we went to had staff who had all graduated from the Jack Dee School of Charm.  The waitress looked like she'd rather steal your handbag than fetch you some real butter (Flora on a jacket potato just isn't right) and the landlord looked like Droopy he was so bloody miserable. Having said that that the food was lovely (I have to say that that in case the waitress reads this - I bet she has connections) but it took quite some time to get to us, so by the time we actually got out of the pub, we had approximately seven minutes to get to the cinema, park up, get the tickets and buy the ice cream.  Something was going to have to be sacrificed...

The husband screeched to a halt as close to the cinema as he could, and pushed me out of the car, saying rapidly, 'You get the tickets, I'll go and park.  And don't run on that crutch'. Doing my best one legged trot, I went and got the tickets.  Just as I was heading to the ice cream area, the husband tore into the cinema, red faced. 'I'll get go to the loo, quick, before it starts'.  

There was a massive queue for ice cream (this is normal as the girls there are not built for speed if you know what I mean).  Coming back from my well needed comfort break, he steered me towards the cinema.  'Go and get the seats, I'll catch you up with the ice creams'. 

Handing over the tickets to the boy on the door, I told him that my husband would be coming through with no ticket, so could they let him in.  They asked me what he looked like so that they could wave him through.

'Oh you can't miss him', I said.  'He's the red faced chap with a mile wide smile, carrying a bucket of milkshake'.

We just made the opening credits. And the film?

Daft.  Brilliant, but daft...

Friday, 14 July 2017

Tumble and fall...

So it was back to the physiotherapist yesterday to see whether all the sitting around I'd done had worked.

Now my physio operates out of a small prefab at the top of a hill, and there are three parking spaces there.  This wasn't an issue when son number two drove me there on Monday, as he merely slowed the car down to a crawl and pushed me out of the passenger door.  However, yesterday I drove myself there, and on getting to the carpark, it was obvious that there were no spaces, even for my Mini. Reversing back out onto the road, I drove down the hill into town, where I drove around two car parks before finding a space where I could leave myself enough room for me and the crutches to get out.  

I now had to climb the steep hill to get to the physio.  On crutches.  Now I have navigated this hill on many occasions, usually with a squiffy husband or sister in tow, but doing it on crutches took it to another level. Gravity was not on my side, and I had to throw everything forward to propel myself up the 1:4.  By the time I reached the physio's, the torn calf muscle was the least of my worries, and as I walked into the waiting room, I could see the receptionist struggling to decide whether to offer me a seat, a drink or a session with the defibulators.

Waiting for my appointment, something dawned on me.  I had to walk back down that bloody hill on crutches in about half an hour's time.  All I could imagine were those daft toys you used to throw at the window which then tip down the glass, over and over (well they did until their hands and feet got covered in fluff where they'd landed on the carpet too many times). Window Tumblers I think? Well that would be me.  A crumpled heap of limbs (real and substitute) gently sobbing outside the Town Hall (the Window Tumbler equivalent of the window sill).

But it was good news!  The physio felt that I had done so well over the last few days, that she took one of my crutches away, so now I had to learn a new Crutch Technique which involved me walking up and down the corridor, humming Jake The Peg under my breath whilst trying to get my co-ordination right.  

So going down the hill back to my car was much better than I anticipated.  At least I made it all the way down, remaining vertical with my dignity intact.  

The trouble is, that when you only have one crutch, you lose all your symmetry.  I found that I was listing over to the left to avoid putting weight on the right leg, and all of a sudden I realised who I looked like.  

Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques, that's who...

Macaroon anyone?

Thursday, 13 July 2017

In my secret life...

I'm starting to like my crutches.  Here's what I achieved yesterday...

Tea in bed (I can't carry my mug further than the microwave, and even that involves an element of sliding it across the work top in a 'Set 'em up Joe', sort of way.

Dogs walked by the husband - in the pouring rain while I was drinking my tea.  This was excellent, as it meant that I wouldn't have to do a rescue job on my hair before work.  

Ironing board and iron were set up, hangers retrieved from bedrooms and hanging rail brought in to kitchen.  Son number two also put the bar stool there so I could sit and iron. Perched on it like a slightly overweight budgie, I managed to do at least half of the ironing.  And the best bit?  I left it all there for one of the males in the house to put away later.

At Binland, I had my mug washed and filled with glorious tea at least three times, by colleagues who have so many more important things to do than pander to my every need.  
I then came home and got son number one to vacuum the lounge and walk and feed the dogs.

Ironing was taken up and put away by him also, and the ironing board and iron put back by son number two.

The husband made and served dinner.  Son number one loaded the dishwasher, and the husband brought me yet another cup of tea as I watched Corrie.

All in all, there are a lot of positives about being so bloody useless.  Tuesday evening, I was mourning the loss of life as I knew it, and moaning to everyone about how I wanted to throw my damned crutches as far as my chicken-winged arms could manage.  Fast forward to this morning, and I am thinking about asking the physio when I go later today whether I can keep them.  

Even if she says I can lose them, I may not tell the husband and the boys, but simply keep hobbling around the house while they do all the jobs I would normally do.  Of course, while no one is in the house it will be business as usual, with yours truly hurtling up and down the stairs like Usain Bolt attempting a world record.

I wonder how long I could keep this up before they started asking questions...

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Walking back to happiness...

So 48 hours into crutch use, several things have become apparent.

Firstly my tea consumption has been slaughtered by around 90%.  This is because I can't make my own tea and carry it to my final destination.  Either I drink it by the kettle, which is not very relaxing, or I wait until some kind person utters those wonderful words, 'Fancy a cup of tea?'  Luckily, I am surrounded by kindly souls at work in Binland,who made me several cups of tea yesterday morning. Of course, it helps that my office door has to be passed en route to the kitchen, so I have taken to leaving the door open and doing a passable Darth Vader impersonation every time I hear footsteps heading my way.  There were many references to Peg Leg, Stumpy and Long John yesterday, but keep the tea coming, and I forgive them anything.

Coming home to an empty house yesterday afternoon, I was gasping for a cup of tea, and had to wait till the Bookkeeping Queen, Mrs B-T appeared.  Coming through the front door with a schnauzer hanging off each of her trouser legs, the first thing she did was make me a cup of tea.  She knows me too well I feel.

But as we know, everything has a price, and I have started to restrict the number of treks I take to the downstairs loo.  It's such a bloody palaver, and our loo is quite small, so a fight normally ensues as I'm getting comfortable, with the crutches, which I like to lean up against the sink, making a bid for freedom, and usually ending up on the floor, possibly swiping me a blow across my left ear on the way down.

Of course, the tea doesn't help with this, but it's a small price to pay I suppose. 

The other thing I've learned is how often I stop for snacks. (This sounds like a confession by the way).  Yesterday, I literally went to work, and then came straight home again. There was no stopping for morning cappuccinos, no snacks bought from the vending machine in the canteen, and no home time Magnum (Still trying to track down the new Double Raspberry, but have successfully worked through the entire Magnum range over the last few weeks). Coupled with the fact that the husband has taken on cooking duties for the next few days, I would imagine that the weight will fall off me.  Every cloud, and all that I suppose.

I can't do the ironing either, unless I can persuade the husband to set it all up for me. He's loathe to help me do anything which will slow down my healing, so I can't see him doing that.  Mind you, I'd have to sit on my office chair to do it and as it doesn't have any kind of brakes, this is open to all manner of disasters.  Most of which would involve me circumnavigating the ironing board at a rate of knots, clutching a crumpled shirt and the iron.

But I am doing as I am told (this is what is frequently known as a 'first' according to the husband) in the hope that by next week I'll be back to normal.  

However.  If the husband decided to employ someone to do the ironing, I may eke the healing out just a little longer.

Now this is what is frequently known as 'milking it'...

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Falling down...

I've been grounded.  Two weeks on crutches.  No dancing.  No dog walking.  No Pilates. 

No joke.

When you're someone who has but one gear (forward and top speed) to be told that you have to use crutches for two weeks and rest is not the best thing.  After various prodding, rubbing and electric shocking (interesting) the lovely physiotherapist confirmed that my failed high jump over a cider filled cooler bag had ripped my calf muscle.  Not too seriously, but just enough to be a total pain in the butt.  

I had planned to go away with Miss R, the Mother and Mrs Jangles this coming weekend, but have had to cancel. There would have been a lot of beach time, and I am not too sure that crutches and sand is the best combination.  I can just see myself face planting into the lapping waves as the crutches disappear into the sand.  Mrs Jangles did offer wheelchair service, but unless it was a 4WD, I'm not too sure that would work either.  

Also, I've seen her wheelchair pushing technique.  I'm always amazed that my wonderful Nanny Joyce lived as long as she did with Mrs Jangles and the Mother pushing her around town in her wheelchair.  I'm not surprised that she always fumbled for the seatbelt as soon as she got into it, and the helmet and shin pads were an added safety feature which she often insisted on, especially when there were hills or kerbs on the cards...

So, for the time being, there's no wheelchair, just shuffling around on the crutches which we found at the side of a wardrobe on Sunday night.

When I got up to leave the physio appointment yesterday, the therapist insisted on some lessons on 'crutch technique'. Standing up, she looked at me and asked whether they were actually my crutches as they were set up for a much taller patient.  This is because the last person using them was 6'3" son number two.  No wonder the handles were almost under my chin.  Coupled with this, one was higher than the other.  To be honest, I'm surprised I wasn't just walking round in circles instead of a forward direction.

So 'crutch technique' sussed, it was back home where I installed myself on the sofa with the remote control, a bag of peas and a bacon sandwich courtesy of son number two (who I am insisting on calling 'Sister' much to his joy). Talking of joy, I then reminded myself exactly why I never watch daytime TV.  After half an hour of flicking, and watching snippets of judging, moving, dinner-dating and people with no teeth and lots of attitude, I gave up and watched a film.  

But after my enforced sofa afternoon, it's back to work today.  Master P and Mr W have been most supportive, and have renamed me 'Sicknote'.

I may find uses for those crutches which my physio could only dream of...

Monday, 10 July 2017

The streak...

I fell over yesterday, and I'm blaming the drink. 

I hadn't actually started drinking.  We had just arrived at a local cricket pitch to watch son number two play a local Derby, and I had prepared a stonker of a picnic, as Miss R was joining us. Three cooler bags were full of rolls, cheeses, dips and salad, with Eton Mess neatly tucked away with sponge cakes and chocolate biscuits.  The fourth cooler bag contained the drink.  This contained several bottles of my favourite Red Dog Cider, and also had a bottle of orange juice in it just in case someone wanted a drink which wasn't alcoholic.

Getting to the designated picnic area, there was a lot of milling around,as we tried to decide where was best to sit. Amidst all the to-ing and fro-ing, I managed to step backwards and fell over the drinks cooler bag, twisting my calf quite spectacularly.

Plonking down onto the nearest folding chair, I had to stay there for the the next four hours while we watched the cricket.  Desperate to go to the loo which was a ten minute walk away, I just had to wait, as I couldn't stand up, let alone walk that far.  Miss R suggested that she strap me to her bike's crossbar and cycle down to the loos, but even this wasn't possible.  Feeling rather sorry for myself, and wistfully watching other family members head down to the loo, the husband knelt down in front of me, and started squeezing my calf.  When I yelped, narrowly avoiding slapping him around his newly stitched head, he nodded his head sagely.  'Mmmm.  You've got what I had.  You're going to be in a hell of a lot of pain for the next few weeks'.

'Why thank you Doctor', I said, 'now piss off and get me a cider'.

The drink took my mind off the cricket which was just as well, as it was slightly boring to say the least.  Again, Miss R came up with another suggestion, this time, to liven up proceedings.  She suggested streaking across the pitch and vaulting over the wicket, sneakily stealing the bails without breaking her stride, but we managed to talk her out of it thank goodness.  I'm not sure that her nephew (poor son number two) would have been particularly impressed, especially as he was on wicket duty.

So I am on crutches.  This has its good points as I am unable to do anything which involves putting one foot in front of the other, and it also provided me with a legal weapon to brandish when my lackeys aren't quick enough with mugs of tea.

But boy, am I hacked off...

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Food for thought...

I don't know about you, but isn't it easy to get into a rut where your weekly food shop is concerned? With time being so precious, I'd got into the really lazy habit of internet shopping.  What this means, is that I take a look at a list of purchases I've made before, and go down the list with my mouse and cursor, picking the things I need.

Every week, I get to the end of my auto-pilot ticking, book my delivery slot and pay. And that's it, all done.  The trouble is that I tend to buy the same things week in, week out, which means that my fridge can be a little boring and predictable.

So yesterday, I had a couple of hours spare, and decided to go to a different supermarket on the way home and do an up close and personal shop.  Now this supermarket is different from the internet shop in one major way.  They have stuff in the store which doesn't come under the 'consumables' header.  Stuff like clothes, home accessories, electricals and handbags, and I knew that a modicum of self control would be needed.

Well that flew straight out of the window five metres from the sliding doors as I spotted some denim shorts.  'Very cheap', I murmured, dropping them into the trolley. These were followed by a large plastic food storage box, some citronella candles, a green vase, two folding chairs, a colander (my one at home only has three legs, so this purchase was acceptable I felt), four pillows and two bras.  Looking at my now half full trolley (I hadn't even reached the food section) I decided that it might be an idea to go and pay for this lot, and then come back for the food with an unfettered mind.  

Twenty minutes of queuing later, my car boot was full (remember I have but a humble Mini at this point) and I was back into the store, muttering 'Food, food, food', like a mantra, especially as I walked past the small electrical section which I hadn't seen on my first lap.

Well, it was a revelation.  It was like watching a trolley dash as I shot up and down the aisles.  All I needed was a creosoted Dale Winton egging me on.  There were things which went in my trolley which I had never seen before, and I imagined how thrilled my family would be unpacking all these exciting things.

When I couldn't perch anything else on top of the trolley (I'm not one of those people who has that skill, nurtured at the Pizza Hut Salad Bar in the 1980's) I headed back to the till again.  To be honest, I'm not sure if it was space in the trolley which curbed my enthusiasm, or the fact that to move the trolley, I needed to be at a 45 degree angle, side stepping while I turned the trolley on the spot each time an aisle corner approached. Anyway, the ten carrier bags I'd brought with me, had been whittled down for four after my first trip round, so when the cashier, who I could just about make out beyond the precariously piled food on the conveyor belt, asked me how many bags I needed, I said that perhaps we should start with 15.

I never understand why bagged shopping takes up twice as much room as loose, and as I pushed the trolley back to the car, I had both arms stretched over the trolley's contents, while my stomach steered the trolley.  Getting it all in my car was interesting.  Knotting the carrier bags, as I'd realised that I would have to put the roof down to get everything in, I stacked them up on the back seat, the front seat and all the footwells.  There was just enough room for me, so seatbelt on, I headed home.  

Enrolling a little child labour, I got son number two and daughter number two to help me in with all the bags, and the unpacking started. Never again will they say that my fridge is boring.  It is so full, that getting anything out this week will be like playing Jenga.  I expect it will stay like that till about Monday at 5.30pm, when son number one returns to the fold.

By 6.00, I am expecting to open the fridge and find nothing but a couple of tumbleweeds and a half eaten packet of cheese.

Such is the joy of having boys in the house... 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Back for good...

There's not many better ways of spending an afternoon than laid out on your back semi naked while a much younger gentleman plies your skin with expensive smelling oils.  If only I didn't have to pay him by the hour...

But that's osteopaths for you I suppose...

I was back there (excuse the pun) to have my head pulled out of my shoulders.  This is an annual event, brought on by a car accident zillions of years ago, and my wonderful osteopath (Jon McSwiney at has been doing this for me for so long now, that when I appear in his waiting room, no words are really necessary, other than, 'Get on the bed'.  He does something with my head which defies all laws common to nature, and it doesn't matter how many times he does it, I am always mildly surprised that my head is still on my shoulders when I leave.   One day I reckon he's going to hand me my head in a carrier bag saying, 'Ever so sorry, I may have pushed that a little too far today'.

But what I love best about my osteopath is that I rarely have to go back twice for treatment in the same year.  He's that good, that one session always does the trick.  If only every practitioner I've seen over the years was the same.  I have been victim to some spectacular 'fobbing off' over the years.  One of my personal favourites was a locum doctor telling me that the intense knee pain I was suffering was because my 'patella had derailed'.  

Well, I had no access to google, and couldn't look up what a 'patella' was, so to be honest with you, at that moment he could have been talking about any part of my body, and secondly, since when did a kneecap (I asked him in the absence of my laptop) sit on rails? Ignorance can be taken advantage of on occasions I feel.

So back to yesterday.  After my 'adjustment', I met up with some lovely friends from work for an early doors supper and drinks down by the river.  These kind of evenings when you can sit outside past 9.00pm without having to grab a jumper/thermal jacket/knee rug are so rare, and it was a beautiful way to end a hard week.  Sitting next to us was a couple with a happy little dog, who didn't stop wagging his tail for the whole three hours we were there.

I did consider asking them if they fancied selling him, or at least hiring him out, as having him next to the bed at night would be great as his bushy tail wafted over me keeping me slightly cooler than boiling point. Getting out of the small puddle this morning which makes up my side of the bed, I cursed the hot night with as much passion as I had praised the beautiful evening which had preceded it.

If only the night had a thermostat...

Friday, 7 July 2017

Sweat it out...

I have come to the conclusion that I now know what is the biggest lie ever.  Spoon fed to us mere mortals since the age of around 15, it's taken till now (38 years later) to realise that I have been taken for a fool.

And the object of my disgust?  Anti-perspirant/deodorant, that's what.

In the old days, my Mum deodorant seemed to do what it said on the side of the bottle (always been a roll on girl). As the years have gone by, and technology has improved (don't make me laugh) I have stuck with one particular roll on, and banked on it doing the job it's meant to do.  Which is:

1.  Stop you smelling like you've not showered for a week
2.  Stop you sweating

It is the second claim I have the issue with, as I can confirm that raising my arms emits a waft of roses, cotton or linen, depending on which flavour I have purchased.  However, several weeks ago, I noticed that I was having to be more careful with what I wore, as sweaty armpits are not attractive on a lady of advanced years.  I blame this on the dreaded menopausal 'hotties' which have reared their ugly head again.  Why they only surface in the summer months is anybody's guess.  The money I could have saved on the heating if they'd persevered through the winter months would have been enough to keep me in battery-operated fans till at least May.  

So, having decided that I needed something a little more hardcore, I expanded my search to the bottom shelf of the antiperspirant/deodorant shelf, where the bad boys sit.  These aerosols promised 12 whole hours of dryness, so I popped one in the trolley and tried it out for a couple of days.

And do you know what?  There was no difference whatsoever.  My armpits were still doing a passable impression of a water slide and the pale pink shirt in my wardrobe remained unworn (couldn't risk wearing it till I was sure).

Going back to the supermarket, I then found another one which promised 48 hours of dryness. My theory was, that I only needed it to do 8 hours, so even if it only had a 50% success rate, I should be covered.

Once improvement. In fact this one was worse, as it set me off coughing every time I used it.  (Never had this problem with a roll-on...)

So I have decided to try a different tack.  Perhaps I need something a little more hardcore.  I hear that Ronseal do a product called 'One Coat Damp Seal', guaranteed to permanently block damp.   

I wonder if it does what it says on the tim...

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Under my thumb...

When I married the husband many years ago, I never expected that I would be rattling off around two thousand words a day for total strangers to read (many of which have since become virtual friends).  Nor did I expect the husband to be such a rich source of tales.

You'll remember that last Wednesday, we were unable to go to our Swing Dance classes because the husband had decided to head butt a scaffold pole.  He had come home stitched up like a kipper and had been erratically shaved so was grounded from any exercise.

So I was really looking forward to dancing last night.  Yes, I knew it would be hot, and yes, I knew that I would have a face like an exploded tomato come the end of the class, and yes, I knew that my knees would be creaking, but nevertheless, I was still looking forward to hurling myself round the dance floor.  But all of these expectations came crashing to the floor at around 4.00 yesterday afternoon, when the husband called me and with a very apologetic voice told me that he 'couldn't go dancing'.

'Oh for goodness' sake', I said jokingly, 'you haven't injured yourself again have you?'

There was a pause and then a rather sheepish, 


Turned out that he'd managed to slice the top third of his thumb off with a 'very sharp Stanley knife'.  Being the caring wife that I am, I didn't state the obvious about how none of this would have happened if he'd chosen to use a blunt one, but boy, did that take some doing.  Telling son number one what his dad had done this week, he suggested that perhaps his dad was of an age where he was not allowed to go out unchaperoned.  I took it one step further and said that I wouldn't allow him to leave the house next Wednesday, just in case something else happened.

Just as I was considering serving the boys their dinner (if I had heard one of them ask 'What's for dinner?' or  'What time will dinner be?' there may have been trouble, so I was loathe to wait too long before throwing their food at them and running for cover) the door opened, and in walked the Hunter/Gatherer I share my home with.

Now I'm not saying that it was a larger than expected bandage, but the husband was stooped to one side, his left hand knuckles dragging gracefully across the carpet as he walked into the kitchen.

What with that and the stitched head, I was reminded of Quasimodo, and yet again, there was some uncontrollable mirth at his expense.

Sitting outside after dinner, he glanced over to me, and said, 'If you're wondering why my flies are undone, it's because I can't do them up with this bloody bandage on'.

Well, it's a thumbs up from me...