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Showing posts from November, 2017

Surprise, surprise...

And breathe.....

As I hinted to you in my ramblings this morning, there was a small secret involved in my mini break with the husband and Miss R.  This pre Christmas jolly usually involves somewhere within a three hour flight, and the shout came up last year that we should go to Prague.

What we didn't tell the husband was that we were in fact going to go to New York instead.  Not just that, but courtesy of Miss R and her millions of air miles, we would be flying out first class.  How we've managed to keep this from him for a whole year is beyond me, especially as everyone else knew (including the lady in my local Co-op).

So today was the big reveal.  There had been a couple of close shaves with the husband asking me about return flights and time differences, and I have to confess that my stress levels were through the ceiling, as I desperately tried to avoid mentioning anything which might spoil the surprise.  Standing him in front of the Departure Board, I asked him to find t…

The final countdown...

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Exciting times are on the cards today.  
Miss R and I are taking the husband away for a mini break later on, and there is an element of surprise attached, so I can't divulge too much information.
All I can say is that for the third year running, the three of us will be dumped somewhere cold and snowy, and will remain in a mild state of intoxication for all the time we're there.  I like to blame the thin air, but when the day is dark for all but two hours each day (Norway 2015) there's not much left to do once you've exhausted the funny hat shop, taken selfies and marvelled at the way they can keep everything open even though there's a whole 2" of snow on the ground.
The Norway holiday was a particular favourite, as we booked various excursions, which included a night time husky and sled ride, whale watching, and searching for the Northern Lights.  
The sled ride was a night which I will never forget.  The husband offered to do the hard work, pushing the sled along…

The sweater song...

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Wandering around my local shopping centre yesterday afternoon, a jumper caught my eye in a fairly new shop's window.  It was a beautiful burnt orange colour and was covered in silver stars.  I had a few jobs to do first (these mainly involved eating a Bakewell Tart with a coffee and posting one letter) but on the way back to the car, I thought I'd pop in the shop and get the lowdown on the sweater.
'Afternoon', I said ever so politely, 'The orange sweater in the window?  Is it baggy or is it fitted?'
'I wouldn't say it was exactly fitted', she said, taking the jumper out of the window.  Shaking it out in front of me, it measured around 1.5 metres squared, and from behind the voluminous orange folds, her muffled voice said, 'See what I mean?  Most of our jumpers are like this and come in one size'.
Now ladies.  There is one size, and there is one size.
The first kind, the one we like the best, is the kind which glides over any undulating rolls of…

Too much...

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Sunday was mainly about trifle.
We had a family get together on Saturday night, and I had made the decision to get a take away curry for the eight of us, rather than hopping up and down from the table watching some saucepan or another. and missing out on all the gossip. 
The husband was in charge of ordering the takeaway...
I think you are all nodding sagely at this point, perhaps mentioning the words 'over ordering'?  How right you'd be.  If you base your calculations on a takeaway curry costing around £15 a head, then he had ordered enough for 12.4 people.  Even taking into consideration that son number two was eating with us, this was a massive over calculation of what we could eat. When the curry was delivered, the poor man had to make three trips to the van there were that many bags.  Just to give you some idea, there were eighteen poppadoms for the eight of us.  See what I mean?
Miss R had turned up early with a pair of pigs' ears and a bottle of gin, both of which w…

Time after time...

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As you know, son number two is back in the building for 72 hours.  He says that he's here to see the family, and to catch up on what's been happening while he's been away, but I am more inclined to think that her's here to simply stock up on food like a 6'4" hamster before heading back to Leeds.
So far, he has managed to squeeze in a full English breakfast yesterday morning, a curry last night and there's a bacon sandwich, full roast dinner and toasted marshmallows booked for today.  As well as all this feasting, he also has two carrier bags full of 'scran', as he now calls it, to stave hunger away till Christmas.  I've also paid for a tank of petrol and some wine.
All in all, I have been bled dry, and although I will be sorry to see him leave on Monday morning, my Bank Manager may get the bunting out in celebration.
His beard is continuing to cause issues.  It keeps catching my eye, and I want to do what my nanna used to do when faced with a chil…

Bearded lady...

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Son number two returned home yesterday for a few days of free food and central heating.  His Southern Softy body has yet to acclimatize to the North, and I'm sure that his new university friends believe that he is clinically obese, so numerous are the layers of clothing he wears.  I would imagine he resembles a Russian doll when he gets ready for bed each night...
But the cold might explain the new addition to his face....the beginning of a beard.  

I am calling it a beard, but to be very honest with you, there have been occasions (and I'm not proud to admit this) when I have achieved far greater things in the facial hair department, usually in the winter months, when there is less chance of bright sunlight drawing attention it.

What is it with Mother Nature?  Not content with gifting us with spreading waistlines and wrinkles as us girls get older, she made the decision that at around the age of 45, a beard might be useful.   And not just any beard, mind you.  No, this is one whi…

Forever Autumn...

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I have no trees in my garden.  And yet, piles of unwanted leaves are scattered around the outside of my house like winos in shop doorways.
When we had the windy night on Wednesday, the husband raised the question as to which would be the best way for it to blow?  Would it be better to go from back to front, steering the crispy invaders across the drive and over the road, or would a side to side gust be better.  Trouble is, both my neighbours have lovely trees in their gardens, so this could have brought even more trouble.
Coming back from walking the dogs on Thursday morning, the husband, dripping wet from the horizontal rain was muttering.   (I had done a deal the night before involving a chicken sandwich so that he'd walk the dogs - being a sensible old soul, I always check the weather).
'Well, at least we know where all the bloody leaves are'. he growled (he wasn't happy).
'Where did they end up then?'I asked, fearing the worst.  Well, apparently it wasn't a…

Ready or not....

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A certain question seems to be rearing its ugly head around Binland...
As you know, the Christmas Party is on the horizon, and I was asked the following question yesterday morning while I was trying to squeeze some sort of colour out of my tea bag in the kitchen.  (When the 96,492 remaining tea bags are used up, I may suggest that we swap the brand we use).
Anyway, back to the question.  Here's how it went.
'What are you wearing to the Christmas Party?'
Now, as we all know, this is quite a dilemma. My colleagues for the most part are half my age and the majority of them are of the male variety. They are used to seeing me in my normal Binland garb of boots, leggings and tunic top, and I probably bear a striking resemblance to some of their mothers in my appearance.  But when you have a big night out, you want to make an impact, don't you?  You want your colleagues to see you as you really are, and not just as someone who likes to kick the copier once a week.
So what am I wea…

Rappers delight....

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So now the kids have gone (again) I have been able to see my way clear to get more prep work done for the impending festivities.
First job yesterday morning was to buy wrapping paper. Now, when you have four children, many rolls of wrapping paper are vital.  Every year, I calculate in my head how much paper I will need to wrap our gifts to the children and I buy accordingly.  I like to have different papers for the four children for no other reason than it appeals to my OCD.  The same goes for bows, ribbon and sticky tape. So by the beginning of December, I will be completely organised to wrap all the presents, which by then, should all be bought.  
The husband has already said that he'll do his bit for the Christmas preparations.  This involves transferring some money into my bank account, and then he's done. (Except for the tree, but that's another story which we will revisit in around three weeks).
It's around a week before Christmas that things start getting a little …

Back here...

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Just when you think you have your weekend sorted, something happens to turn it all t*ts up in a most glorious fashion.
The husband and I were out on Friday night at the cinema.  We went to see Justice League (don't bother) which had Superman, Batman and a host of other cross dressing superheroes in tights fighting some bloke with bad skin and childhood issues which should really have been dealt with way before puberty.  The only saving grace was a rather lovely specimen who wasn't too keen on wearing a shirt (thumbs up to whoever made that decision).  He was the only reason I stayed in the cinema, but he wasn't enough to stop the husband from sleeping all through it.  This wasn't a bad thing though as he couldn't see me drooling at Aquaman as he was apparently called.
Anyway, we had Friday at the cinema, and meals planned for Saturday and Sunday.  I know...three nights out on the bounce, what were we thinking of?  But, as we both agreed, there would be time for lots …

It's a party...

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Who loves a spreadsheet?
Not the kind which you see at the accountants (let's not go down that route - I've just about recovered after Thursday afternoon), or on the screensaver of an statistician.  No, the spreadsheet I am talking about is the one you do when you have to pre-order the food for the Office Christmas Party...
Yes, it's that time of year again.  Mrs S gets the job of securing the venue for the annual Binland Christmas bash.  Once booked, she sends everyone the menu with instructions to send choices to me so that I can do the spreadsheet.  The idea of pre-ordering is a great one because the food comes out quickly, leaving the participants more time to drink bad wine and dance to equally out of date music.  You also have the answers should someone peak too soon and deny all knowledge of ordering the Roast Turkey.
I had saved the spreadsheet from last year.  There were a couple of tweaks to be made (some people leave, some people start), and all I had to do was put…

Share with me...

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A few weeks ago, Miss R brought round some treats for Percy and Reg (my two four-legged fuzzballs).  Rummaging around in her hand bag, she proudly pulled out a pair of pigs ears.  I should reassure you that these were not still connected to a pig, nor did they originally belong to one owner judging by the difference in size.  
I can't begin to tell you what excitement this caused in my kitchen.  Percy, being the elder of the two, got his ear first, and positively goose-stepped across to the back door, his prize firmly clamped between his gnashers, just in case Reg didn't get one, and 'sharing' was required.  He went out into the garden with it, and remained there in isolated splendour (in the dark, I should add) for a whole hour and a half, till it was all gone.
Reg got his and skulked off to the lounge.
I like to think that maybe they discussed this new addition to their menu while chatting before bedtime...
Reg: 'Bleedin' 'ell, Perce. Wot woz that the auntie …

Bleeding love...

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Well it worked...
All it took was for my best friend, Mrs S, to call the husband asking how to bleed her radiator.  Overhearing the conversation, I stepped in...
'If you think that you are bleeding hers before mine, then you are treading on very thin ice, my friend'.  This was accompanied with one of my 'looks'.  These are renowned in my house, and are not to be trifled with, especially when the eyes peer over the top of the varifocals a la Mrs Slocombe. 
Handing over the phone to me, I chatted to Mrs S about various matters, including warm drawers, and twenty minutes later, by which time we'd exhausted every plumbing joke we could think of, two out of the three jobs were done.  The house was cosy this morning when I came downstairs, and last night, I managed to have something which I haven't had for eons....Warm pyjamas.
The shower is still doing a passable impression of Crazy Daisy (see below) but I mustn't push him.


I had a fantastic day yesterday (how could …

Cold water...

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I had a call from one of my Binland colleagues yesterday morning, complimenting me on my blog.  Well, this was a lovely start to the day, and in conversation we pondered as to his pseudonym, should he reach the giddy heights of a mention.  After much thought, I have decided that henceforth, he shall be known as Brains.  This is purely because he works in the Technical Department and is not based on any facial similarities with the character on Thunderbirds.  
Unlike my side of the business, he works with people who are highly intelligent (no offence to my lovely Binland colleagues), and who have a good understanding of what the Periodic Table is all about.  Apparently, it's not just something printed on a tea towel which kids buy for their mums after a school trip to the Science Museum.  It's so much more...
Anyway, he was very kind, and said that he found it hard to believe that I fell into, and I quote, 'that age bracket'.  I was just on the verge of getting the buntin…

Wishin' and hopin'...

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Well between the slow cooker and my roll of grease-proof paper, the puddings are now cooked, wrapped and ready to go.  While finishing off the last ones yesterday morning, I had put on the Heart Christmas station on my radio which went live this week.  Trilling along to A Spaceman Came Travelling, the husband chanced upon me, and said sternly, 'You can pack that in.  It's only bloody November'.  This is just what you need when you're up to your armpits in snowflake covered cellophane, red ribbon and dark rum, and reluctantly I turned it off.  He can be a bit 'Bah Humbug' on occasions, but like every single man who ever walked this planet, he has completely no idea of what is involved in preparing a family for Christmas.
My Christmas started in January.  By the end of that month, I had bought my Christmas cards in the sale, and squirreled them away in my office.  And there they will remain, until I finally succumb to getting my posh pen and address book out.  The…

The weight of love...

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I must be ill.  Yesterday, I didn't make Saturday Breakfast with my family.  This is probably only the third time in around thirty two years, so I hope that Miss R and the rest of the ne'er-do-wells forgive me.  I chose instead to make my Christmas cakes and puddings (note the plural in both cases).  
I may have mentioned this before, but in my life before Binland, I made cakes for a living.  Each year, this reached a crescendo with two hundred puddings and fifty cakes to flog at Christmas Fairs and the like.  Since I have stopped catering for the masses, I have found it almost impossible to make just one of each, so usually end up with six puddings and three cakes.  I start trying to find homes for them before I start, so that at least I know that some of them will have homes to go to before Christmas.
I'd done quite well this year, I had three cakes accounted for, so no surplus there, but the puddings?  Well, this was a different story.  The thing is, I use my Nanny Joyce&…

All birds look like chickens to me...

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So my nose has continued to improve both in size and wattage.  The husband has suggested that it might not be a good idea to go into the garden until I'm better.  This is because we have a military base close by, and I think he's frightened of waking up to a Chinook on the patio one morning.
I'm actually feeling the tiniest bit Christmassy at the moment (this has nothing to do with the Rudolf accessory I am currently sporting).  This is because yesterday, I went and collected my turkey.  Little bit early, I hear you say, and you would be right if it wasn't going straight into the freezer.  Since I have been shopping at Aldi, my eyes have been opened to a myriad of ways where I can save a few pennies here and there, and this turkey is just the start of it.
The turkey is Mrs S's fault (this is the Binland Mrs S rather than the bijoux residence one).  'Get on to facebook!' she'd shouted at me on Tuesday morning while I was peering at my screen through my one…