Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sniff My Shreddies!

I managed to download this and then had to have a lie down for a couple of days. I'm........................................................... well it's just..........  ........... ..................................

Anyhoo, it's a fabulous idea for my new caption competition.

There is an actual prize to mark my return to bloggerhood. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

I am feeling a little overwhelmed and am trying to write it out. I am currently sitting at the outer edges of a jungle which is in turn, on the outer edges of Rutland. imgres.jpg fierce down by 'ere and
  I am scared to enter this jungle because of what I might find in it. ...namely the lawnmower.
I have already located and isolated a trowel, but this was relatively easy due to its proximity to the house. It had been camouflaged by  a particularly nasty patch of .......I can't remember the name. I knew it last year and every previous year but then again I have spent 2 this my 50th year...thinking of the name for that dark brown stuff you put on's on my shopping list as 'salad vinegar' which I find somewhat distressing. Anyway, I hate these plants but they cover up my drain rather nicely which is why the trowel is there - duh! The prongs of the trowel are great for removing the grate bit of the drain in order to unblock it when all the bits of stuff... have clogged it up, allowing soapy water to flow out and under the rotting doors of the garage. This happens because we need have need of a, but have no, drainage trench at the bottom of the sloping drive. The garage becomes the trench and everything in it becomes damp and rusty then perishes. However, this is definitely not the car, because someone put an ill advised vestibule on the side of the house and now the drive narrows just at the entrance to the garage rendering it superfluous to requirements unless you are parking
a) a sled
b) a bike
c)a scooter
d)a mobility scooter
e) a lawnmower (usually)
There are in fact several bikes and a scooter in there, all rusty, but we can't make use of them because the last time we went in mice (we hope) had eaten the handlebars of the scooter and no one is brave enough to go back in. We'll have to rig up some sort of a gazebo to protect the lawnmower now, if I ever get the grass cut. It's a chicken/egg situation. It's up to my knees now, the grass. Maybe Aidan Turner can come and scythe it for me.imgres.jpg
I absolutely cannot face the strimmer. It is soul destroying switching the power off every two minutes to readjust orange wire that snaps or breaks free every 30 seconds, slices through your leg hair and slippers but cannot cope with the jungle. I really need a petrol blade but I can't afford it.

In fact, I have an idea....

I have ventured down the garden and given myself a right fright. I have taken pics of everything...and cried a bit! I intend to try and blog you the resulting improvements.

Best make a start...

Seed catalogue and power tool distributors or Aidan Turner, can contact me by leaving a comment below.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

'Be Reclusive Not Rejected' ....Discuss

Weird dreams I have been having of late ---weird! Are they telling me something?
Followers of psychotherapy believe that everything within a dream represents an aspect of the sleeper and my dreams have been about coupling.
The world of love a bit of a mystery to me. I crave it yet I run from it. Mine is a world of goodbyes. I feel like an actor who says that despite his success, he is waiting to be discovered a fraud. I simply cut out the success bit and assume the fraudulent position straight off the bat.

I do this in a number of ways. The first is by focussing (a la Jerry Seinfeld) on a trivial thing that becomes insurmountable in my mind; an over long eyebrow; laces that do not match the shoe; a curl that curls the wrong way or an overloud gulp. I make it very known that it's very irritating.The second wave - if those defences fail - is to take any attempt to give me a compliment as a sign that my date is desperate or deranged.
If I still can't shake them off, then in order to bring the situation to a swift resolution, I indulge in poor behaviour brought on by confusion and self doubt. This, I am ashamed to say, often involves flirting wildly with others or blowing hot then cold then desperate, which is not unlike being in Newcastle on a bank holiday.

I have avoided this behaviour successfully for years by making no attempt to find a partner. There was one marvellous week in Brighton a while ago where I had my cogs oiled by a young buckaroo but really, that was very much the exception rather than the rule. It precipitated a period of sexting which we entered into with gusto for a while, but which ultimately left us dead inside. He mentioned it first and I was grateful to him: the young are so much better with their emotions. So we apologised to each other in a very British way and thankfully we have never waivered simultaneously. We may have started unconventionally, but we provide solid, good old-fashioned and polite penpal services'd never have known...unless one of us is drunk on Sauvignon Blanc or stoned on something smokeable.
 So these dreams: As ever my weight was bothering me and so in the first,  I seemed to be represented by a chubby friend of mine who is in a long-term relationship. Whilst I slept, she was out and about chatting up all sorts and making overnight dates. When I took her to task, she said that she would never tell her partner because she loved him and would never leave him. But, she said, she needed more than he could give her.
Is that me; wanting to stay true to myself but needing more?  Her approach would  certainly be a change from my current mantra -' Be Reclusive not Rejected'  Yes...If I spread the net wide...a few fish might swim in by mistake.
 The second was about an old beau who had turned out to be a charlatan.  In the dream, he had left me a note which I was rereading for the first time in years.  It contained a flight number and a note  encouraging me not to lose faith in him, he just couldn't stay whilst he felt like a fraud.  Hmm...this psychotherapy shit might have something. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Name My really!

Hello again Pam Pickers!

Righty-ho. I got fed up  myself with the pop star on the bus story a few weeks back so I will summarise and move on. I will call his band Hellish Twelve and the song, Sensation, just for the purposes of the story.

Him: What are we doing on this bus?
Me: You were here first, you tell me
Him: Haha!Honestly...never known anything like this. Why are we on this bus?I'm not used to stuff like this.
Me: (silence....I had been travelling for hours)
Him: I'm not used to stuff like this. I'm in a band.I thought for once, I'd take some time and travel by train and here I am on a bus. Where am I going?
Me: Don't you know?
Him: I'm on a bus. I'm just not used to things like this.I'm in a band -you'd know it.
Me: (More silence and leaning further toward the aisle)
Him: I was on a train. It was supposed to be a 4 hour journey, then they chuck me off and now I am on a bus. I'm a musician, I am not used to this
Me: (The fog is starting to clear) Are you by any chance heading for Birmingham?
Him: Well, Stoke on Trent but you have to change at Birmingham
Me: Right, well you are on the replacement bus service between Peterborough and my town. You can pick the train up again from there. They are updating the line.
Him: Oh. I really didn't know why I was on a bus
Me: No
Him: I was just on this train and then..
Me: Yes, you said.
Him: Travelled the world I have, several times.
Me: I can imagine. And yet... Stoke?
Him: One of my houses is there. I am in this band..
Me: Oh Go on then...tell me
Him: It's Hellish Twelve
Me :Oh hahahaha!. I have your album at home
Him:  Sensation has made us millionaires. I own an island in Norway.
Me :Yes, it's a classic! But I wouldn't want to live in Norway. Too dark
Him : Oh :(
Me: Well, I hope the rest of your journey goes smoothly
Him: You haven't asked for my autograph (mimes signing)
Me: No. Not really an autograph hunter
Him: :( 
Him: I don't like to brag about these things, I like to travel incognito.
Me: Apart from with me
Him: What?
Me: You've told me who you are
Him: I wish I hadn't started this.

Once I got home, I did a bit of Googling in case he was feeding me a line, but no...actually very influential in his field, pictures of him in the actual group that  he said he was in and more impressively, before that, he had started one of my favourite bands and inspired a whole musical movement.
Maybe I've missed a trick...maybe he wouldn't be such a knob if sober. I could have got used to Norway, surely? He is still a very handsome man, in a dishevelled and slightly pissed sort of a way.
As an aside, I was at a pub a fortnight ago that had a huge screen with 80's music blaring out of it and I was telling this anecdote to a friend just as Prince finished strutting his stuff. "Oh", I said, "I was chatted up by this bloke from Hellish Twelve..on the bus, Googled him and everything. He said  that Sensation made him a millionaire."
 I do not lie when I say that at that moment that very song by that very band appeared on the screen and in our ears. Seamlessly, without missing a beat, my mate went
" Oh really, which one?"
"The one on the left"
"Brilliant song. Did you know he started  Monkey Leagues?
"Yep (sigh) I could get used to Norway, right? There are sunbeds?"

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tie a Yellow Ribbon..

I am waiting for my kids to come home. Not imminently for I am currently in the pub drinking. Not alcohol you understand, but a pot of tea. Not the coffee house tea; not the tea that comes in a pot that you can squirrel away in a mitten if push came to shove, but a great big, heat-preserving pot of tea that pours enough for four cups through a spout that doesn’t piddle it down the outside of the cup or even up your arm in the gravity-defying manner that only tiny chrome teapots can.  
I have had 2 croissants to buffet myself against the storm of offspring to come. They came on separate plates (the croissants, not the offspring though I am sure that Royal babies are delivered thus and on a Duchy Original napkin) with separate jam and butter portions and a knife each. They thought I was ordering for two.  Does anyone ever satisfy a meal-sized hunger with one croissant I wonder? Are those the ones that can get their jeans on? Clarity is emerging through a fog of chocolate and pastry now that I am no longer famished by the 14 minute walk into town. Though, playing devil’s advocate, a croissant fills you up as air would if it was dusted with icing sugar. Is that what a croissant is,prawn-shaped sticky air that someone’s thrown wafer thin pastry flakes at…and most of them have fallen off?
I deserved two…I have trauma coming. I need the sugar. They are returning from 4 days at Dad's!
Approximately 350 days of the year, I bring up three children by myself…without a break… without let up…without whisky or anaesthetic. They in turn, never get a break from me and my highly strung panics, leading to a month or so of box sets. They constantly have to eat food with absolutely no taste or thought put into it, and minimal preparation though despite this, it’s generally overcooked. The only thing I will say for myself is that they constantly complain about the amount of veg they are asked to eat in comparison to their friends. Tick. Good mother. They are getting at least 4 of their 5 a day in one sitting though that makes mealtimes less about togetherness, and more a collection of huffs, but I am secure in my good motheryness so that’s fine. I don’t usually stay in the huff for longer than 20 minutes in any case.
 My children, have been, by and large…if not self-cleaning –then at least low maintenance. I’ve never had to use the guarantee. There was a broken wrist at one point but it really wasn’t a punishable offence so it’s unfair that they still blame me.  I am forever being told how lucky I am, how I don’t know I am born, how spoiled I am that they are the way they are, and it’s not only the kids themselves that tell me so. For my part, I suspect that in order for them to have turned out this way, it took a certain amount of tantrumming, rule setting and expectation from me. (Should newly invented adjectives embrace a double ‘M’? It reminds me of this year’s Christmas concert where the chap behind me repeatedly sung ‘Seven Swims a-Swanning,’ against his will and became quite panicky and upset before finally saying ‘Aw fuck it!’ and embracing the new lyrics)  It hasn’t been easy, being an Earth Mother. It’s a thankless job when no-one is telling them not to speak to their mother like that, or backing you up in any way butI have been, by and large, quite certain of my path. It’s the one thing that seems to come quite naturally to me, that I am confident in…boundaries. I have rarely doubted myself. But now, I seem to have hit a brick wall and it is scary.
 I thought it would be all downhill from here…feet on the handlebars…feeling groovy. We were through unscathed. In the next 20 months, one then another will have left for Uni. I have got them through it. I am almost out of the thicket. True, the nipper has always been more of a handful and though the 15 momth gap between the elder two worked well, the 4 year gap between the younger two (in a Venn diagram my son would be in the overlap) was fabulous but only up to a point. That point is now. It’s nearly just me and her. Me and her…I know who’ll be in charge and for the first time in my parenting career, I suspect it won’t be me.
At my New Year's party this year, one blameless parent  (let's call her Pam) saw her golden boy carried home unconscious due to an overlap in a Venn diagram being filled to the brim with undiluted whisky when he had promised only to paddle in a shallow end of shandy.Shall I tell you that as he eventually snored his way peacefully through the night watched over by shifts of  folk who were supposed to be enjoying themselves, that I Pam had an overwhelming urge to kick the shit out of him? Nah! It’d make me her look bad.
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Looking for the Obvious

My friend is writing this in the third person because my friend does not want to cry in public and she is sitting in a woodland cafe.. Though, you’d think she’d be used to it by now. Tears are always burrowing up and under and out before making their way down her face at a march, at a plod, at a sprint. Some cross the finish-line in ones or twos whilst others get caught up in a bottleneck then are all spewed out together. Sometimes she shakes at their escape, sometimes she wants to vomit with the strength of them but often she doesn’t even notice them until she licks one off her lips. She doesn’t mind the crying per se.  It usually heralds a revelation, some greater understanding of herself, a hitting of the nail on the head;  an end to pain. It dissolves the dull, aching of her head which has obscured work and thought and sleep.It allows the solution to flow through the bars of the keep and make its way out of nose, eyes and ears, leaving nothing behind but blessed emptiness, exhaustion,and hunger.
There is a key to the headaches, to the inability to motivate herself, to this unending cycle of weeping and pain, release and fatigue, but she can never remember where she put it. The motto on its fob says “If it’s nothing else, then it must be the obvious’, With a small adaptation, this also works for things you’ve lost
“If it’s nowhere else, it must be in the obvious place’, never fails. It allows you to return to where you know the item should be several times before discovering it was there all along. Let me demonstrate: If you have lost your favourite mug and it isn’t beside your bed where you drank your last fennel tea of the day, and it isn’t in the bathroom, where you put it down to brush your teeth, and it isn’t in the dishwasher, then it’s in the mug cupboard without a shadow of a doubt.. No matter that you’ve looked in there six times before, no matter that you only just had it in your hand. Move something aside, squint from a new angle to the dark bit in the corner –the mug’ll be there…I guarantee it.Or rather,my friend will guarantee it. It’s the same with her headaches. The remedy for the headaches is not a migraine tablet, nor a hot water bottle, not even (as her osteopath had assured her)  Cold! Cold! Hot! - a cold flannel on the forehead, a cold flannel on the neck and a hot water bottle on the tummy, all directing blood flow away from the head. It wasn’t avoiding chocolate, embracing a hot bath or indulging in meditation. No, it was hitting the nail on the head and having a bloody good cry.

So, she searched her head while The Obvious played a game of Hide-and-Seek.. It obscured itself behind petty squabbles, faint niggles and Big Questions She examined the events of the past few days and weeks, which put her poor, aching head under more strain. Sometimes, she thought she was getting warmer, when in fact she was very cold indeed.  The absence of tears was telling her she'd been looking in the wrong place.
Let’s go back a few days to when my friend stood in a perishing autumn field, watching her son play football for the first time in 2 years. Why she doesn’t do that more often is for another day. Now, it is enough to know that on Sunday, she was a football Mom. She was cold, but she was proud. She watched his long legs looking goose-bumped and wiry and noticed that the new boots he’d bought with the £40 she’d given him were exactly the same £20 boots that he said he wouldn’t be seen dead in when she’d described them over the phone from TK Maxx. Her boy; her lovely, handsome, blond, clever, mother-loving, grumpy, slightly whiffy in a (nearly) 17 year-old sort of a way, son.  !7! Sheesh!
She realised that she very rarely got to participate in his life and the things that meant something to him. She was having  a rare and privileged glimpse into his world and she realised as she clapped gloved hands together on that patch of green, that once another two years had passed, she’d have lost him to university. Everything would be irrevocably changed. She shed a tear. No mystery there. A mother grieving for a son not yet lost. She had already grieved  the loss of her first born baby; a daughter who had turned 18 a few months beforehand.
On the Monday after the Sunday, my friend fulfilled her role as a child. She is a Youth Advocate. She harnesses the wishes and feelings of children and then attends meetings that last all day with the child’s family. She stands in for the child, ensuring always that its voice is heard. Usually that family is at war. It’s a fraught job and an emotive one but ultimately satisfying. Often, she notices a headache on the day she is to attend a meeting, or the day afterwards. She knows she gets over involved; over identifies. Sometimes, such as this time, it leads her to be thoughtless towards adults, so anxious is she to make them hear the child for the first time. She knows that’s the child in her, asking to be recognised. Afterwards, she feels the need to be punished for insulting her elders. She calls herself stupid. She feels the familiar sway of vertigo; an ungrounding, an anxiety…an obscuring of her vision in the middle of her right eye; a misshapen fly in the ointment.
Luckily, a GCSE presentation that same evening, kept her occupied. Afterwards, she thought about the family-at war and the children with the long eye-lashes and the wicked stepmother. She didn’t want to see them in her sleep and so stayed up too late watching TV. No surprise then, that the migraine was between stations when she woke up. Regardless, she managed to speak to several children in crisis and  tried to look after herself. She bought herself a pure new wool-and-cashmere coat in a second-hand shop between visits. She ate Paracetamol and Ibuprofen as though they were Smarties.  She drank coffee because it was worth a try.
That evening, she tried to explain the headache into dissolution by chatting to a friend. This almost always works –giving the headache a voice of its own. But still, the pain lingered as they chatted on about work, damp proof paint, gigs and football matches. By this morning things were much worse because they were stuck. Sinuses were blocked, her head was filled with barbed cotton wool and she was dragging her body around the house as though every limb were filled with coal. Her bones ached. She reluctantly cancelled work for the day to give herself time to sift through the obvious places of her mind. She was in crisis.

The woods have always been like a warm bath to my friend. They release her mental blocks she tells me, and provide her with clean air and support. Once, she said, she held onto a leaf that sprung from a hazel, as though she were a child holding its mother’s hand, and cried until there was nothing left for pain to stuff itself with. Today, she was relieved to be among her woody friends. She walked in silence and breathed deeply… still nothing; not guilt, not the anxious children of her working day. She wondered if she could afford to give up this type of work. She couldn’t go on with migraines, no-one would expect it of her. As it was,my friend wondered how she was going to pay the bills when her maintenance dropped and tax credits halved? Would her three babies have their childhood home to come home to?  Her nose tingled and she felt the wax melt in her ears. The sinuses gave up their grip on her breath and now she knew she’d been looking in the wrong place. She thought of her son leaving home and the tears tunnelled furiously upwards through blocked canals. She thought of losing the home her children grew up in and the tears exploded like a geyser; cheeks and gloves  covered in snot and despair. She thought of how change had come for her children and their mother. She waded through mud, sobbing. She clung to her life yet grieved for its loss.

 She hadn’t let herself notice that the first year without her daughter would be the last year with her son. A journey filled with loss was about to begin and she didn't want to go. She knew not how to save her house which was fed on alimony. She didn’t think she could earn enough. To lose her home and her children would be unbearable.  She couldn't navigate this new world all by herself. She had been looking in the wrong place.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

..Lead us not into... (part 1)

I recently travelled from here to there on a bus, two trains and a tube. The last leg was a replacement coach service. There weren’t many seats available - a single here and a single there perhaps. As I boarded, a man signalled to me before pointing eagerly to the chair next to him. ‘Sit here, sit here’ he said as though we were old friends on a magical mystery tour. I imagined jam sandwiches in tin foil squashed into a doughy mess in his pocket. He looked a little older than me but not unattractive. A tad scruffy perhaps…fingerless gloves always have a touch of the Steptoe about them I think. He was wiry and bearded, and wearing a beanie. It’s my opinion that if  a hat of any description is worn by a man when it isn’t absolutely necessary (…on a bus for example) it’s probably hiding a degree of baldness. Well, that’s what I imagine anyway.  If only they knew they were worrying about nothing. If only they knew that we women don’t care. We don’t give a freaking or proverbial monkey’s about hair once we are past a certain age, because we are too busy worrying about whether the sexy bald guy has noticed the size of our arse.  Men who actually suit hats, are young enough to have a full head of hair and are wearing the hat to celebrate. Tufts of it are usually escaping coquettishly here or there. By the bye, if it’s actually snowing, feel free to wear the hat. It makes sense.
Anyway, my newest companion was wearing fingerless gloves and a beanie on the bus. He smelt vaguely of several days’ travel without a flannel and I have watched enough detective dramas to clock a 3 day-old 5 o’clock shadow. There was something about the droop of his eyelids and childlike excitement at a Sunday night coach trip, that led me to believe he was  pissed. I channelled my inner Benedict Cumberbatch (always an entertaining night) and deduced that the man-child had, in all likelihood, been keeping himself topped up without over-spilling, for the duration of his journey. He was incredibly annoying but quite famous in quite an impressive yet terribly naff sort of a way.

I’ll tell you more tomorrow…or the next day…maybe.