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Showing posts from December, 2018

Love me tender...

Well, did you all survive?
I have a lot to tell you, so today seemed a good time to talk about some of what happened, before I disappear again for a couple of days for the New Year celebrations.
There has been a lot of secrecy involved for this year's Christmas.  First of all, there were the four cardboard snowmen residing in the Wobble Box.  These had been lovingly made by myself for the four children after I saw a picture of them on Facebook.  I love a bit of glueing and sticking, although four hours in when I had two noses which refused to stick on, there was some far from Snow White swearing going on in my kitchen.  This was remedied with a couple of drawing pins.  But eventually, I managed to complete them, even succeeding in secreting a vacuum cleaner within daughter number one's snowman's body.  Here they are with the kids before they destroyed them.


The husband was disappointed that I hadn't done snow-dogs for Percy and Reg (the husband walks a fine line sometimes…

Wish list...

Well ladies, it's time to disappear for a few days while I do every thing I possibly can to ensure I resemble Fatty Arbuckle by Thursday... Today started really well, with two sausage plaits rustled up before the husband even stirred.  As he told me at least twelve times over the weekend, he has today off.  I admit it, I have been a bit 'bah humbug' about this but got my own back this morning with a list.  Now, as we all know, a man with a list is a dangerous thing, even when you do write it in your best handwriting using capital letters to avoid any confusion.  I have fond memories of a very ex-boyfriend bringing home a tube of hemorrhoid cream when all I wanted was an aerosol deodorant....  it's no surprise he's an 'ex'... My list was fairly comprehensive: A piece of wood to put on top of the table to accommodate the food for the starving hordes of folk traipsing through my house over the next week Flowers (schoolgirl error here, as wasn't specific about …

Christmas is all around...

I said to the husband this morning that I felt it was going to be the most perfect pre-Christmas Sunday.  And do you know, for once I was actually right.
We started with a long walk in a very wet wood, timed so the end would coincide with when the pub opened,  We got into the pub two minutes after they opened, got the last table and ordered a couple of drinks.
Now, all round the woods, the husband and I had been salivating over the thought of a bacon sandwich when we got to the pub, feeling that after a five mile walk, this would be well deserved.  The waitress dropped the menu on the table, and with one pair of reading glasses between us, we took a cursory look at the menu.  I mean, we both knew what we were having didn't we?
'Are you ready to order?' 
'Roast lamb please'.
The words were out of my mouth before I even had a chance to think about it.  The husband looked at me in disbelief for about two seconds, before saying, 'Two of those please'.
And boy, it was…

Wrapped up...

The last weekend before Christmas....
A couple of days when you can take it easy before the maelstrom of the Yuletide descends in a whoosh of booze, Brussels and baubles.
Yeah right...
I have spent most of today beetling around the Home Counties trying to tick off the last remaining things from a list as long as your arm.  It was the double cream which nearly finished me off.  In town, I had walked past three supermarkets, and having peered through the window of each one and seen the record breaking queues, I muttered something unrepeatable and kept walking.  Fortunately for all those frequenting the Bird House this Christmas, I was driving the Mother home when I remembered that she had a proper dairy opposite her house.  Swinging the car into their small, fairly empty car park, I managed to tick off the last thing on my list.  Halle-bloody-lujah.
Finally falling onto the sofa about an hour ago, the husband waltzed in.  'Busy day?' he asked. 'You don't want to know', I…

Who am I...

Last night Mrs S and I escaped from our prospective hell-holes and headed to a gin bar for some serious catching up.  We'd only been in there one minute (she at the bar getting the first round in, me in the comfy sofa) when a rather ancient gentleman in a rather suspect Christmas jumper, sidled up to me, and said, 'You look like that actress.  Has anyone ever told you that?'
'Who?  Daisy Duck?' I answered, trying to add a little humour to a rather awkward situation.
'No!' he said, 'Don't put yourself down.  I can't remember her name, but I do know she's British'.
Well that narrowed it down a bit. By now, Mrs S was glancing over her shoulder and making a face which said something along the lines of, 'I can't leave you alone for one minute can I?'
He was nothing if not persistent.  'Has anyone ever told you that you look like a film star?'
Rooting around in the murky depths of my youth, I had a sudden light bulb moment.  …

Leave it alone...

I'm in trouble...
Nothing new about that I hear you say, but I realised today that my ramblings have the capacity to cause trouble in the odd household or two across Oxfordshire.
Which is why we considered locking Mr W in the cleaning product cupboard this morning. A quick note here, we have no stationery cupboard and are therefore considered trustworthy enough where pens and post-it notes are concerned.  Show any of us a can of Pledge though, and we'll make off with it, hence the lockable cleaning product cupboard...
So let me explain.  All week, I have been wittering on about the tempting edible treats and Christmas goodies (should be called 'baddies' really) which have littered the desks of the Transport Office at Binland.  Mr W's good lady, the soon-to-be Mrs W, reads my blog each day, and when Mr W walks through the door each evening after a hard day at work, he is quizzed as to how many mince pies/baklava/cake/biscuits he has consumed in the ten hours since she …

Feed me...

Another quiet day at Binland interspersed with pieces of daft paperwork.  Why people always want the most crazy bits of information a week before Christmas is beyond me.  I have come to the conclusion that they are probably as bored as I am and are just looking for something to do.  
Anyway, it was a big disappointment at Binland today.  As I said earlier in the week, edible delights have been making a regular appearance in the Transport Office, and remembering this today, I didn't have any breakfast this morning, basically to leave room for whatever was on offer.  Well ladies, you can just imagine my horror when nothing appeared throughout the morning, and my stomach was almost labelled a noise nuisance as the morning wore on.  I managed to leave my lunch alone until 11.41.  Master P and I have an unwritten rule in the Sales Cupboard which is that no lunch should be even looked at till at least 12.00.  I'm not saying that he was in the same boat as me, but at around 10.30 he t…

Posh girls...

I don't know how I manage to get through some days...
It started alright, with a twelve minute diversion to Gregg's on the way to Binland to purchase a dozen of their finest mince pies.  Talk about a disappointment though.  I suppose, in the interest of fairness, I should work my way through at least another five shops' offerings.  After today's excursion to Aldi, (more of this later) theirs will be the next ones I try. Ladies, I shall report back.
As expected, Binland has been very quiet, and Master P and Master J and I spent a very happy coffee break discussing what our favourite Christmas films were.  If I told you that their seasonal favourites were Die Hard and A Muppet Christmas Carol, you'll understand what I am up against each day.  Believe it or not, only one person in the Transport office had heard of The Goodies.  Try explaining their 1970's TV show to  several 20-somethings.  'Well, there was this giant cat, and they had a record called The Funky …

Must be Christmas...

'Bleedin' 'ell Perce.  Do you really 'ave to stop every ten seconds?'  
Such was the look that the newly castrated Reg gave to Percy as he stopped for the fortieth time to leave yet another calling card.  I don't know why he feels the need to do this.  I mean, just how much information can you get in the equivalent of half a teaspoon of liquid.  I am pretty sure that the next dog which passes through will not be taking a whiff, and thinking, 'Mmmm, Percy was here.  The woofter who lives down the road with the other weirdo who's just had his undercarriage tampered with.  I hear he is a wizard with crocheting and his eggnog is sublime'.  
So my walks have changed from romping through the woods after the two boys, to stopping every ten minutes, standing like the Angel of the North for fifteen seconds while Percy leaves yet another billet doux, while Reg, who is further down the path pulls me forward. God help me if I meet someone else on the more narrow …

Cold wind blows...

'I'll walk the dogs in the morning, if you fancy doing the afternoon one'.  
These were the husband's last words as he dropped off to sleep last night.  How lovely of him.  This would mean that I could head off to the normal Saturday ritual of 'breakfast in the pub' looking fairly grown-up rather than disheveled and slightly bag-lady like.  Picking the Mother up en-route, I mentioned to her that it was a tad fresh.  This has to be the understatement of the week as I lost all feeling in my fingers getting from the front door to my Mini this morning.  Her response? 'Well, it's going to get a lot worse this afternoon'.
Brushing this comment off thinking that the weather couldn't make such a drastic change in just a few hours, we met the husband, Miss R and the Father in the pub where coffees were drunk, waffles eaten and fried bread stared at in a jealous fashion (me - I love fried bread).  Leaving the pub a couple of hours later, the weather had cha…

Pictures of you...

Bloody hell, I hate technology...
When I was younger, if you wanted to put some photographs together, you simply rifled through the albums/cardboard box/suitcase took out the ones you wanted and did what you needed to do.
Today I have spent almost three hours trying to get a bit of film footage off my computer.  Amidst the tearing out of hair and foul language, I managed to download something I didn't need, buy an app and upgrade my storage space...twice.  I now have enough space on my laptop to list the entire population of China with their full addresses, but the piece of film?  No chance.
Back to the drawing board on that present then...
You'll be relieved to hear (but not as relieved as I was) that the audit was cancelled at Binland today.  This gave me free rein with the box of Celebrations in the Transport office which some kind soul had given them.  Sticking my beak in the tin, I noticed that there were a lot of Bounty ones languishing in the bottom.  'Don't any of …

Rapper's delight...

There's nothing I like better than being goosed by a wet-nosed Rottweiler...
Such was my Wednesday afternoon, when I got together with three other middle aged harridans to celebrate Christmas with a cup of tea and our body weight in cupcakes.  The trouble is that Neville (Reg's best friend) knows me well, but I would guess that he'd like to get to know me a little better judging by his behaviour.  He'd been banished to the hall but managed to get back into the bosom of the the family lounge by doing a commando crawl down the hall.  Eventually, when it became apparent that he wasn't going to be deterred he was hauled out by his dog mum (Mrs P), deposited in the hall, and the door was firmly closed.  No one ever said that love was easy, even for a Rottweiler.
Christmas is making itself felt at home, with the 14' Christmas tree up, battery powered candles dotted everywhere and stuffed penguins making an appearance round the fireplace.  I also seem to have developed …

Welcome home...

Thank goodness it's Monday.  I can sit quietly at my desk with a lovely cup of tea talking rubbish (literally) with the good folk of the Home Counties while I desperately try to remember what the hell happened over the weekend.
It all kicked off on Friday afternoon with an invite to a neighbour's for mulled wine and mince pies.  This started at 4.00, and if I had been sensible like all the other ladies, I would have headed back home around 6.00.  But instead, like a complete numpty, I carried on knocking back the mulled wine for another three hours, and it was a very wobbly Bird who sheepishly walked through the front door on Friday night to be met with a most disapproving look from the husband.
Of course I had a hangover on Saturday morning.  It goes without saying that I was still in bed at 8.30 sporting a headache which rendered me useless for most of the day and drew even more disapproving looks from the saintly husband.  This was not good news as we had to catch a train at …

Get the party started...

It's the Binland Christmas party tonight, and much of this week has been spent wondering what to wear.
Stupidly, I involved the husband in this discussion, and his only input was, 'Well, I have every confidence that you will find something in that clothes cave of yours'.  Clothes cave?  I think he turned right instead of left, and caught a glimpse of his side of the wardrobe, where floor hanging is obligatory and nothing makes sense.  Unlike my wardrobe which is arranged according to type of clothing, and then further whittled down to colour.  
Anyway, I thought long and hard as to what would be appropriate for our night out.  All I know is that there is food, alcohol and music involved, so it had to be something which would travel down the early evening to midnight road without causing too much trouble.  But as is always the case, there are roadblocks on the way, and Things To Avoid.
First question was trousers or dress?  Because of the nature of my work, I tend to wear a lo…

Little bird...

Well ladies, I have my turkey.  Admittedly, it's a legless bird, but based on Christmas' past, I'm sure it will fit in just fine with my family.
For too many years, I went to a rather expensive butcher and paid a small ransom for a turkey which had been spoon fed Scottish porridge whilst lying on a memory foam mattress with Debussy playing softly in the background.  And then last year Mrs S (Binland Mrs S) introduced me to the merits of Bob the Butcher and his cut price crowns.  I admit I was a bit dubious, and handing over £30 instead of £130 last year, I wondered whether I was doing the right thing.
I treated my bargain bird like it was made of gold, rubbing butter into the skin, and lovingly wrapping it in foil before putting it into the oven.  I'd been brave and didn't have a Plan B (a packet of Turkey Twizzlers in the freezer) so it was an anxious Bird who unwrapped the cooked one a couple of hours later.
Well it looked alright.
It carved beautifully.
And as to its…

I'll be seeing you...

I am slowly but surely falling apart...
Once I reached my half century some years ago, everyone warned me what was in store with ominous warnings of  'it's all downhill from here', and my own personal favourite, 'what doesn't wear out or drop off will simply stop working'.  
And they were right.
The last five years have been spent trying to hold back the tide of the now called 'upper' middle age.  Imagine if you will, King Canute standing resolutely in the sea trying to stop the tide of old age as it runs faster and faster towards me, a maniacal grin on its face as it gets closer and closer.  
So I eventually made an appointment to go to the opticians, having bought the equivalent of around fifty pairs of 'ready readers' from Boots over the past few years.  My opening comment to the lovely optician was that I 'wanted something a little more grown up' now I was fifty five. Now if she'd had any sense, she might have made some comment about…

Rat trap...

Living in the countryside, I'm sort of OK with sharing parts of my address with critters.  Almost every year, we have to invite Andrew the Rat Man over to sort out the mice in the loft (who like to do a version of Riverdance across my bedroom ceiling...wearing clogs).  I hate the thought of killing any animal, but having tried catching them alive and driving them ten miles down the road to release them, only to find that more have taken their place, I finally relented and agreed that bumping them off was the only option.  
We did try Little Nippers in the loft (had to check I'd spelt that right) but they don't half make you jump when they go off at three in the morning, so Andrew now does things which I really don't want to know about.  All I do know is that he follows up whatever he does with three visits involving a large stick and blue shoe covers.
Anyway, I digress...
Some weeks ago, one of my neighbours sent a round-robin email to say that he'd noticed some ratty…

Roll up...

Well that's another fabulous weekend away put to bed, and a beautiful city ticked off my list.
Having been reading these ramblings for the past three years, you might have twigged by now that me, the husband and Miss R always go for away for a few days in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  To date, we have managed Poland, Norway, New York and now Prague, and this last city was the most beautiful by far.
Other than it being blinking cold, I didn't really know what to expect from Prague, so the only preparation was the wonderful coat loaned to me by my sister in law Mrs H.  Not an hour went by when I didn't silently thank her for parting with the coat for a few days, and I can honestly say that I wasn't cold once.  The husband and Miss R who were cloaked in ski jackets did their utmost not to complain of the cold, but Miss R's red nose gave the game away, and if the husband thought I hadn't noticed the occasional shiver, he's much mistaken.
We did all the oblig…