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Showing posts from December, 2017

Salad days...

So the ghost of Christmas past is still lying prostrate on the sofa, feebly demanding cups of tea, small slices of sausage plait and decongestant tablets.  Such is the lot of a woman with a sickly other half.  Like I don't have enough to do over Christmas...
Luckily, the husband managed to rally sufficiently to join me, several children and other family members at the pantomime on Friday night. Two hours of laughter courtesy of Bradley Walsh, and two hours of drooling thanks to Martin Kemp seemed to work for us ladies, but the men had Tinkerbell.  A rather annoying girl in pink spandex shorts, clip on wings and a lot of zhuzhed up net curtains.  The way the husband looked at her, it might be a look to adopt on his next birthday....or not.  I'm not sure that there is enough net left in the world to drape around my post Christmas bulk, and I might have to resort to a pair of flesh coloured Spanx instead of the sparkly shorts, but hopefully, he'll get the idea of what I am try…

I believe I can fly...

I made rather a large faux pas this week.
You'll remember how amazing I was at keeping the secret from the husband for almost a year - the one where he was going to New York and not Prague?  Well, another secret had been foisted upon me on the 16th October this year, but this one involved the four children.
You see, I love the pantomime and since the children have been old enough to say 'no thank you' or 'not bloody likely', we haven't been at all.  Trawling the internet on the night of the 16th October, the husband suddenly looked up and said, 'Tell the kids that they have to keep the 29th December free.  I've booked the panto, but don't tell them where we're going'.  Now this wasn't your local, am-dram panto, with fading X Factor star and bad effects, but Peter Pan with Bradley Walsh and Martin Kemp (swoon...) in it.  Between us, we decided that it would be a bit of a hoot not to tell the children where they were going, simply for the re…

Let's stick together...

I've had many embarrassing things happen to me over the years.  Some involving careless comments, others concerning fire escapes and pints of milk (this can wait for another day when I have nothing to write about) or waiting outside a doctor's surgery while his door was open (most educational - who'd have known...)
The evening with daughters one and two at the dead posh health spa will go down in my red-faced historical memoirs, but first, I need to go back a couple of weeks.
I'm sitting in the doctor's surgery having a good old moan.
'I'm fed up with eating, crying and sweating', I said to the very sympathetic (middle-aged lady) doctor.  
You see, after two years or so of desperately trying to keep the menopause at bay, I'd given in.  Having spent over 50% of my disposable income at the local health shop (you know the kind, the ones which have an all pervading whiff of stale marigold and menthol) I had finally realised that the effects of the Red Clove…

Rubber ball...

Bloody hell, my trousers are tight...
Yet again, my waistline has disappeared for it's annual sojourn somewhere far, far away, leaving in its place a rather shabby looking 205/55R16.  (For those of you not blessed with an understanding husband, this is a Ford Focus tyre).
So the tyre sits there, unable to be reduced without regular dosage of Gaviscon (other deflaters are available).  It gets stuck in my jeans zip, and forces my belt to make that awful decision...
Over the stomach, or under it.  Which way is better?
Go over and I look six months gone, go under, and I have a muffin top resembling something not seen since the Michelin Man overdid it on the carbs last Christmas.  Unfortunately, I can blame no one but myself.  I made and bought a lot of food this year, naturally assuming that the children would be with us for the time between Christmas and New Year.  
How wrong I was...
As soon as the presents were unwrapped and stored in their cars, they basically disappeared in a puff of w…

Driving home for Christmas...

And breathe....
Yesterday was spent running around the Home Counties like a Duracell Bunny who's been eating Skittles all morning.  There's always the most bizarre things left on the shopping list as you get nearer to Christmas Day, and mine was no different yesterday.  
I'd collected the Mother from her home and drove her down to Marlow for our usual Saturday breakfast,  We were a bit thin on the ground yesterday as Miss R is still in Asia (working her way round various tourist spots with a beer in hand) and Mrs Jangles has headed off to the fleshpots of Woolacombe where my cousin lives. But there were four of us in the end, as the Father and his partner Miss G turned up.  
Having drunk the obligatory lukewarm coffee, and burnt my fingers on the plate my pastry was served on (I think the chef uses a flame thrower to warm up the plates - pity he cant use it on the coffee, but hey, you can't have it all) the Mother then schlepped around Marlow with me as I ticked off the w…

The wonder of you...

Taking my Lemon Drizzle into Binland yesterday morning, I have to confess to feeling just a little nervous.  I had made what I soon discovered, a massive error.  Deviating away from my tried and tested recipe, I had looked up online for the 'Best Ever Lemon Drizzle Recipe'.  Finding which professed to be so, I set about making it.  However, it wasn't till I read through to the syrup ingredients (demerara sugar?) that I realised that the Bake Off might not be in the bag.  Right at that moment in time, it was clinging onto the handles, waiting to be told which way to jump.
Placing it reverently on Master J's desk (empty because he took a sneaky day off yesterday) I waited for Brains to bring over his offering.  We'd agreed that the judging should be done at 10.30 which in Binland, is lunchtime.  I could then distribute my drizzle (and the other two I'd made) around my colleagues.
The minutes ticked away, and as 10.30 got closer, I felt sicker and sicker, terrified …

The lemon song...

Brains, he of the science-based qualification who works in the Technical Department at Binland, threw down the culinary gauntlet yesterday.
Sticking his head round the door, just after I'd finished having a rather taxing external audit, he said, 'Are you making a cake tomorrow?  I've never managed to try your cake, and word on the street is that they're pretty good.  And it is Christmas...'  Well after some argy bargy as to whether chocolate chip cookies would be an acceptable alternative (they weren't), I said to Brains that I would make a cake.  'What's your favourite then?'
Mr W, who had up till that moment been mulling over whether enough had been done in the audit, suddenly piped up with, 'Let me give you a clue.  He's known as Drizzee Rascal down in Technical because he makes a mean Lemon Drizzle'.
And then the question was raised as to whose drizzle would be better...
So later today, there is to be a Drizzle Bake Off, with a chap from…

It's Christmas time...

And now for something completely different.  I should mention that no husbands were hurt in the creating of this 'masterpiece'...

Just one job, my husband has, at every Christmas time No lists to get, 
Peruse and check.  
No unusual gifts to find.
No Wrapper's Stoop from days of wrapping Or headaches and stress from hours of flapping. No worrying about turkey being overcooked or tough Or piggies in blankets - are there ever enough?
No need to buy paper, tape, tags or ties Incredibly, this is already supplied By yours truly who prepares ahead Hating to panic about these things instead
Just one job, my husband has, at every Christmas time Is it the drink?  The beer?  The wine? Is it the shopping three days before Two trolleys filled to the brim and more?
Well, it's not the beds, which all need to be made For lovely family who are coming to stay. The washing and drying of pillows and sheets The cleaning of loos and guests' ensuites
None of these are on his list of things to do Because they…

Back in Vietnam...

Well, what a day yesterday was.  It started with talking rubbish all morning, buying it all afternoon, and then writing it in the evening...
It was my annual sojourn into the exciting world of broadcasting, you see.  Three hours of chatting on a local radio station with my friend Mr Z.  The chat was interspersed with mince pies and fancy coffee, and was a complete joy.  We covered lots of Christmassy topics, what with it being the Christmas show and all, and it was as I was telling the unsuspecting folk of Buckinghamshire about Triflegate and exploding snowmen that it suddenly hit me.  They must think that I am completely bonkers.  But then you knew that already, didn't you.  
The highlight was a telephone call from Miss R to the radio station, who had just packed her bike on the back of the van in Ho Chi Minh, and who was headed to the next stage of her three week trip through Asia.  Anyway, it gave me the opportunity to do something I have always longed to do.  Pushing my chair aw…

Dominic the donkey...

Christmas is going to be a tough one for me this year.
For the first time in 52 years, Miss R and I will not be spending Christmas Day together.  This is because she is cycling across Vietnam as I write, having another one of her adventures.  These usually involve pain and a bike which is why I leave her to it, but this year, she won't be back until after Christmas Day.
It's a daunting thought, because usually, the two of us always conjure up the Christmas lunch together.  If we're at her's, I sort the place settings and spuds, and I help with the washing up, whereas when she's at mine, there's always daft games and extra After Eights, and she and the Mother always do the washing up while I lie prostrate on the sofa like a stuck pig.
So this year, I'm on my own.  While she strokes elephants, I'll have my hand up a turkey's backside, and while she is wondering whether her sun cream is strong enough, I'll be debating as to whether my thick thermal dr…

Twinkle, twinkle little star...

Coming into our estate last night, I said to the husband, 'I hate flashing Christmas lights.  Why waste valuable twinkle time with all that fading and flashing malarkey?'
It's a pet hate of mine and in recent years, lights have come with so many settings, that by the time you get the one you like (on all the time, no fading, no flashing) either the batteries have run out or it's Boxing Day.  The husband used to like winding me up by setting the lights on our Christmas tree to various different settings while I slept.  His personal favourite was the one where they fade very subtly.  This was judged a success, as I didn't notice for two days.  After Triflegate on Saturday, it's more than his life's worth to tinker with my fairy lights, so I think it's safe to stay that they will stay on my favourite setting this Christmas.
We had a rather lovely Sunday, as daughter number one invited us over to her flat for lunch.  A roast, no less.
This is the first time th…

Christmas lights...

After yesterday's present wrapping marathon, I have developed a wrapper's stoop.  Gently bent over at a 45 degree angle with a biro tucked behind one ear, bits of sellotape stuck all over me and a precious and rare pair of scissors dangling from my clawed hand (this also with scraps of sellotape stuck to it).
The problem with present wrapping is that recipients tend to bowl in and out of the kitchen while I am in full flow, putting their hand over their eyes, declaring, 'I'm not looking', all the time peeking between their fingers, desperate to get a clue as to what they are getting.
There is some doubt as to whether the husband will be getting any kind of present from me this year after his throwaway comment yesterday morning.  We were discussing trifle, my pudding of choice for Christmas Day, and I was muttering about whether to pop the usual cherries on top, or go with chocolate sprinkles for a change.   
'Why don't you get a couple of trifles from Aldi'…

They're coming to take me away...

As I limp towards the weekend, I'm surprised to have reached this stage without a) killing myself b) killing someone else c) being escorted off the premises by the men in white coats or, my own particular favourite, d) running away to join the circus.
Son number two is back from university and he brings his own work load to add to my already over subscribed pre-Christmas list of 'Stuff To Do'.  I can cope with every aspect of the pre-Christmas planning, but lump them all together and I tip....
Let me tell you tipped me over yesterday.  The straw, as it were....
Son number two loves his pants.  He loves them so much, that it is not unheard of for him to wear four pairs in a day.  Now, these are not small pants.  These are pants which can block out the sun when hung on the line.  The type of pants which could double up as a spinnaker sail in an emergency and which could house a small family of rodents (I hope that the Christmas tree mouse doesn't start squatting in a pair -…

Baby, come back...

Now that Christmas is looming, the children are heading back to the homestead in various shape and form.  
Daughter number one, who has been living away from home for some years now, really only comes home to visit.  This visit will always involve food and if Prosecco is involved, will also include a sleepover.  If daughter number two's bedroom can't be high jacked for this purpose, then yours truly will spend half an hour removing all the crap off daughter number one's bed so that she can get in it.  
This is the problem when you have a ground floor bedroom situated between the kitchen and the front door.  It rapidly becomes a dumping ground, and as I write it's housing all of the husband's biking paraphernalia, winter clothing accessories (my scarf box was decimated by Reg one afternoon, so my scarves now languish across the bed) and shoes....lots of shoes.  I have daughters, what do you expect.
Daughter number two moved out fourteen months ago, and still clings ont…

The lumberjack song...

On Sunday, we put the Christmas tree up.  This is an event which the husband looks forward to every year and he usually starts harping on about it around the beginning of October.  This year, for the first time, he took my advice  and went and pre-ordered the tree.  This meant tramping through the pine forest until he saw one vaguely suitable for our hall.  
You see, we have a very high ceilinged hall, and it will accommodate a rather large tree quite comfortably.  Over the years, there have been a few disasters.  There was the year it was too small, around 12', and the husband compared it to something you see strapped to a lorry's radiator grill around this time each year.  Then there was the disaster which was 2014.  I should have known it  was going to be big, when I saw the forklift putting it on the back of the trailer. Once up, it was impossible to get to my kitchen via the hall as you can see from the photo below...

I was not amused, and neither was son number one who spe…

Saturday night's alright for fightin'...

If I'd been on a fair ground ride for the last three days, it would have to be the dodgems.  Pottering along quite nicely when all of a sudden, I'm rammed up the derriere by some lunatic...
So, Saturday was the night of Binland's Christmas Do.  Mrs S and I had done a lot of work to find a good venue for the dinner, the only criteria being that there had to be music, and that it was cheap.  We managed both, and after some girly cocktails in a bar, we headed off to the venue, expectations high, and temperatures low (it was bloody cold and not conducive to a lacy party frock).  

Walking in, the pub was busy which we decided was a good sign, and having sat down, the food started to arrive.
Now there is a lot you can get for £15 (especially if you shop at Aldi like I do) but the pub's attempt at a festive three course meal was pitiful.  I had four prawns spread over two courses, and two and a half of these were in the Prawn Cocktail starter, resplendent with radio active Marie…

Pinch me...

Yesterday was a very trying day.
It started well with mild hypothermia on my early morning walk but got steadily worse.  I was on my own in the sales department at Binland yesterday morning, because 25% of my team was laid up in bed, while the other 50% were on another jolly.  This seemed to be the day that everyone wanted to have a dig at me, and by the time I crawled out of there, I'd had what is commonly known as 'enough'.
But not to worry.  I was off to do a slightly festive shop, and was then heading to Mrs H at my local salon for some facial work, so I had some good things to keep me busy.  There were also a couple of parcels to drop off at the post office, which just happened to double up as a petrol station, so I had it all planned.
Let's start at the supermarket shall we.  All I was doing was bending down, looking at a shelf of cooker bulbs trying to decide which one looked familiar.  Suddenly, with no warning, I was goosed by a trolley.  Straightening up rather …