Wednesday 30 June 2010

It’s getting way too HOT round here…

Everywhere I look there are tanned fit male bodies; it makes it a little difficult to concentrate. For as much as I try to avert my gaze I find it nigh on impossible. They are just flaunting themselves. I know they don’t mean to and that it is just because it is so hot but I do wish they’d consider the feelings of the poor old forty something woman who is employing them. You see I am old enough to know better but still young enough to remember those glorious days of freedom pre-children, pre-husband and well basically pre-sagginess.
So it’s not as if I could indulge in a bit of flirtation. I mean if I tried, apart from dazzling them with the whiteness of my skin and not in a good Twilight sort of way, more of a blancmange one, I think I would be had up for harassment and then I’d never get anything done around here!
On the plus side it’s not as if any of these men are young. In fact they are all older than me, but they are fit. I mean really fit and tanned. I suppose that is a good thing; there is hope for the over forty men out there, especially if they work with their hands….sorry outside. And there is another thing about these older men: they exude confidence in what they do and I am a sucker for a man who knows what he is doing. After eight years of builders, I promise it is a thrill to see a man able to handle lime mortar in the way it should be handled. The deft quick movements of the trowel, the synchronicity of laying each hand made brick perfectly with the care and precision of a true perfectionist. Each movement is spare and lithe and one is drawn to gaze at the play of muscles across shoulders and backs. The skin on their arms is oiled and tanned contrasting against the peculiar vulnerability of the strangely youthful flesh revealed once shirt and t-shirts are removed. I can understand why artists and sculptors were so enthralled by the male form for it is hauntingly beautiful and way too distracting!
I mean I am a married woman thoughts like these should not intrude upon my daily life. I blame it on the heat! It’s way too hot round here…

Tuesday 29 June 2010

A matter of self preservation...

Do you ever feel slightly overawed by organised people? You know the ones who seem to have life sussed and have time and money to do the nice things in life like have their nails done professionally. You know grown-ups.
Well I ain't ever going to be one of those people. It just isn't me and I can try with all my might to be organised and sussed and it just won't work. I think I lack the will or else I am clinging all too tightly on to the fact that I really don't want to grow up at all.
I have never wanted to grow up. At the age of seven I asked my Mum if it was possible to grow down and stay seven years old forever. She didn't take me seriously.
So it comes as rather a shock to realise that as well as growing up, even if somewhat reluctantly, I am also the mother of a seven year old. And a four year old.
It seems as though my life has happened by accident and I haven't really had any input at all. I am sort of bowled along in the wake of myself and I wonder has anyone noticed?
Good God! People might think I do this on purpose, that I have a plan. I promise I am making it all up as a go along, well actaully I am not just doing that I am actively lying about it to make it seem like I sort of know what I am doing and where I am going.
I do believe this makes me more flexible in the long run able to nimbly alter the direction of life but I have a funny feeling that as I get older and the detrius of my life, in terms of husband, children, dogs, cats, chickens, house, garden and other hangers on, gets more complicated, I am about as nimble as a tanker on the high seas trying to avoid a flotilla of small ships.
I fear the time has come to grow up. It's not a matter of wanting to, it's a matter of self preservation. But I so don't want to, it seems like such a lot of hard work and there are so many other things I want to do! Although I cannot name any in particular right now, but they are there...
I have been doing the big clear out, the grown up thing in my attempt to get better organised and sussed, and I will admit it does make me feel good. It's not quite been done in 30 days but I am over the hump and at the end of it at least I will know where everything is and what we have got. To all intents and purposes that is quite grown up don't you think? You never know the next thing I might do is nip down the beauty parlor...

And if you want to read how everyone else in teh Juen Personal Challenge did why not pop over to Tiddlyompompom!

Sunday 27 June 2010

I think I am a little chicken...

It’s way past my bedtime and I have been making respite homes for poults – young chickens - in the dark. To be honest chickens, especially when they get to that rather ugly teenage stage, aren’t that attractive or even endearing to look at, but for some unknown reason over the last eight or so years I have become rather fond of them.
It took me ages to even touch one and now I am making dens for them in the middle of the night so that they are safe and feel protected and I am not sure that that is really what I should be doing. But let’s just say that when you see six young chickens all covwering in a corner without any shelter because two fat old hens won’t let them in the hut there is only one thing to do…
You know this chicken keeping lark well it just happened. When we came up here in 2001 we just inherited them, a bunch of wild chickens and over time we sort of became attached. We renovated a Victorian chicken hut and they sort of moved in. we introduced some fancy cockerels and they sort of well bred and then we got serious without ever meaning to. Now we have Fat Boys, ones we intend to kill and eat. We have the girls, those we keep for eggs and then we get waifs and strays and I cannot say no even though I know I should. For heaven sake I even had to register with DEFRA as my flock grew to over 50.
I dread to think how much money I have spent on them I probably eat THE most expensive eggs in the country but there is one thing I can say they do taste delicious and I am not the only person who says so – egg connoisseurs from as far afield as Yorkshire and London agree. Even a few individuals from across the pond…
So perhaps I am not as bonkers as I think I am….

Thursday 24 June 2010

Bringing up Boys: Bedtime battles

"Mummy what is Bog Boy doing at the top of the stairs?"
**$5$"£! Yes what IS he doing? I shoot out of the sitting room and bound up the stairs to witness exactly what my youngest is getting up to, and there he is out cold as only small boys can be. Fast asleep, on his back, arms above his head just like he used to do as a baby.
I catch The Boys eye and we stifle a giggle.
"Boy, I have no idea why he is here but I think I'd better put him back in bed don't you?"
He is so heavy and so out cold I don't think he notices the shift at all. It is the culmination of a very, very tiring and trying evening.
Bog Boy has taken to asserting himself and he will repeat his demands forcefully until he gets the answer he requires. I am beginning to just say yes and then reneging on all promises forced from me. As you can imagine I do not rank high in his estimation at present.
He has decided that he no longer likes Nursery and prefers to go to school along with his big brother which he is allowed to do two days a week in preparation for moving up to Reception next year.
So every evening I get:
Bog Boy: "Where am I going tomorrow Mummy?"
Me: "To Nursery darling..."
Bog Boy: "Which Nursery Mummy? School Nursery or Nursery Nursery?"
Me: "To Nursery Nursery darling..."
Bog Boy: "I don't want to go to Nursery Nursery Mummy!"
Me: "If you want to go to School Nursery you have to go to Nursery Nursery Bog Boy, you know the rules..." The rules have been reiterated every day at least five tiems a day ever since he started to make his feeling clear about going to school.
Bog Boy: "But I don't want to!"
Me: "OK Bog Boy but you will not be able to go to School Nursery..."
Bog Boy: "But I want to!"
Me: "Well you know the rules, darling..."
By this time I am usually tidying up his room ready for him to go to bed. I ignore the whining and try to distract him but he's not my son for nothing. He tries again
Bog Boy: "Where am I going tomorrow Mummy?"
I ignore him.
Bog Boy: "Mummy where am I going?"
I ignore him again. He really hates this and gets very adamant.
Bog Boy: "Mummy! Where. Am. I. Going?"
I ignore him and wish him good night and trundle off to get The Boy sorted.
I am haunted by his demands to go to school. He shouts. He screams. He bursts into tears.
He trots downstairs to lure me out and put him back to bed. I do so begrudgingly. He makes his feelings known in no uncertain terms. I bark at him and stomp back down stairs feeling a total heel.
He stomps down the stairs after me. I bark again and tell him to get thee hence to His. Own. Room. On. His. OWN!
I hear nothing more and presume that all is well until...
"Mummy what is Bog Boy doing at the top of the stairs?"

PS: Want tocheck out some Bad Mommy Moments then go HERE courtesy of the lovely Gappy at Single Parenthood who was hosting this weeks BMB Carnival. It's brilliant!

Wednesday 23 June 2010


I’d like to say it’s not often that I talk about myself but that would be lying as I am always talking about myself. I am my own specialised topic and would  score highly on Mastermind but every now and then you get an opportunity to think of yourself a bit differently. The wonderful Lou at Archers at the Larches has tagged five bloggers for interrogation. The questions are left of field and have really got me thinking: What would I do with David Cameron? Snog, Marry or Avoid?

1. Snog, Marry, Avoid: (this exam question relates either to David Cameron or President Obama?)
Let’s be shallow; on looks alone I’d be lucky if I ever got the chance. In terms of character, or how I perceive his character to be based upon the countless articles, news stories, features and interviews that I come across, I’d say he was a keeper. He comes across as straight forward, honest, and realistic. He’s the sort of guy my Mum would have swooned over if I’d ever brought him home as a potential boyfriend.
But looking back on those years he is exactly the sort of boy I would have known to avoid like the plague, having fallen foul of the social mores that the majority with his background navigated as easily as they breathed. I was never good working out what was done and not done, despite having had a similarly privileged background, and subsequently I was severely put down and largely ridiculed as a galumphing, slightly inept, nervous teenager. It all sounds very Jilly Cooper.

2. What's the worst Christmas present you've ever received?
It has got to be the bright yellow silk shirt given by a supposedly close member of the family. It was foul and so obviously bought without any thought at all. I really believe that if you cannot think what to buy a person don’t buy them anything at all or else swallow your pride and ask them what they would like. In fact always ask and if you cannot go directly to them because you have to  go round the houses pretending you know and love them so well that you can mind read, ask the next best person who knows them what they’d like because nothing is so awful as a present that is useless, unattractive and given without care. It is insulting as well as wasteful.
As you have no doubt realised I have had more than one revolting present in my life and I had better stop there before I explode!

3. Describe the worst public toilets you've ever visited.
Actually I find public loos very good. It’s the loos in restaurants and smart hotels that can so easily disappoint. In fact I have been known to remove myself and fellow diners from restaurants and other eateries after visiting karzies that don’t meet my minimum acceptance level. And I am pretty broad minded! However, if these establishments care so little about the state of the ablutions they provide, just imagine what the kitchen hygiene would be like!!!

4. What is the food you most dislike and why?
Sago and semolina – foul gloup that should never have been invented nor should have it been all but forcibly fed to nine year olds…ohh and sardines for exactly the same reason.

5. Do you prefer the curtains/windows open or shut when you sleep?
Curtains shut windows open as I have to know what is going on always…and there is nothing so exciting as twitiching one’s curtains!

6. How competitive are you?
Not particularly, well not overtly. I am quietly competitive and more than likely not to say anything about it so no one knows, then give up when I don’t do well enough pretending I wasn’t doing it anyway…

7. What's the best wedding or birthday party you've attended?
A really lovely country wedding last year held in the back of the local pub with children running around and laughter and good company followed by a barn dance with great live bands, bonfires and children. Relaxed and beautiful!

8. What's the best chat-up line you've ever heard/used?
“Can I be your boyfriend?” It got me hook line and sinker. It came after the most exquisite courtship full of longing, stolen glances, half said words and lots of nearly but not yets. Finally a sensual meal out and well the rest is history. I’d say that boyfriend definitely had it down to a fine art.

9. What's better, a bath or a shower?
Bath every time! A shower is just too proasaic, perfunctory and well boring and relies too much on how powerful it is while a bath well as long as it’s hot what could possibly go wrong.

10.How superstitious are you?
Too much and not enough. My head says don’t be daft and the heart says why not!

Now I have that glorious moment of tagging five more!

Mummmmeeeee at No wine on Wednesdays

And handing out my own interrogation…

1. Which do you prefer City or country?
2. Do you feel old?
3. What was your most embarrassing moment and can you share it?
4. What was the best thing you ever did at school?
5. Who do you most aspire to be like?
6. Do you think you are ambitious?
7. If you didn’t do what you are doing now what would you like to have done?
8. What would be your most perfect meal?
9. Have you ever broken the law?
10. What songs would be in your Top 3?

Saturday 19 June 2010

Someone's been at my camera!

Someone's been at my camera! I wonder who they were and what they were interested in?

Cheeky Monkey!

Thursday 17 June 2010

How to get your wife to do just about anything...

There are men who just get it and then there are the rest; the men who just get it have wives who will do anything for them beyond and above the call of duty. Other men call these men "Lucky B*****ds". Their wives call them "Darling".
But what is it that makes these men so utterely wonderful? Are they rich? Are they handsome? Are they good in bed?
I hate to tell you guys it is none of the above.
I shall illustrate...
I have a new friend whom I am quickly coming to adore. She's bright and fiesty and pretty and just great. However, over the weeks since I first met her I realise that she shows an alarming tenadancy to let the sisterhood down and it doesn't quite sit with her personality.
However, I know it takes all sorts in this world and I let it slide while mentally reminding myself to make sure she never speaks to my husband, in fact I have plans to gag her at any social function just in case my man gets ideas.
This is the woman who gets up at sparrrows fart to walk down the long drive and open the gate for her husband every morning come rain or shine or drifting snow, just so he can save three minutes - if that - on his way to the station. She is doing this at 6am every day. No doubt she has actually provided him with a comforting breakfast as well as the luxury packed lunch to sustain him. I wouldn't be surprised if she also cooks him a three course meal every night for when he comes home and has his drink and slippers ready on his return.
It bothers me, it really does.
That is until I heard  how he does it and suddenly it call came clear. This man is a treasure, worth his weight in gold.
This morning my lovely friend felt a little tired and gently said to her man: "Darling do you mind if I don't open the gate for you this morning?"
His reply was perfect  - "But it is SO lovely to chat..."
...and I am afraid I think I have fallen in love. Needless to say my friend did open the gate but girls wouldn't you?

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Never underestimate the advantage of age....

There is a tendancy to venerate youth; but one should never underestimate the advantage of age with all it's wisdom and it's ability to get liofe into perspective. Shame then that instead of learning it myself I have to be taught it's values by my dog.
Tattie my joyous ancient whippet, OK she gave me a look there, my jouyous mature dog, is not exactly and exemplary specimen of her breed. her head's to small she runs odd and he tail curls too much added to that she has fly away ears. She's not likely to be winning any prizes for her looks.
Now I have put her into classes at most dog shows we trug along to over the years because I am vain and think she is beautiful, which she is to me. Also it gives me something to do. She has never complained and happily prances about the show ring with the best of them and we always trundle home slightly disappointed at not even making a place when there are only four in the ring, even when I attach her to Bog Boy for the sympathy vote.
So the other day when we were at yet another Village Fete there was a dog show and thinking what the heck as I always do, in she went. This time into the veterans. There were loads of them and all very sprightly and well groomed and then there was Tattie. She didn't prance about, she walked along beside me nuzzling my hand. When we stopped she lazed about on the grass, didn't even get up when the judge came by; instead she just rolled on her back and made the judge tickle her tummy.
So you can imagine I held no high hopes. Third prize went, runner up went and I eyed up a very sprightly Norfolk Terrier almost with loathing knowing he would win when suddenly it was tattie's name I heard called out! And why had she been singled out as teh winner? For her laid back attitude to growing old!
My dog the Champion!

Sunday 13 June 2010

Biting one's tongue...

Sometimes it is so hard NOT to say anything especially when you are mad and a tiny bit tipsy. I do not know how on earth I kept my mouth shut maybe a deep seated sense of self preservation prevailed. Maybe I knew deep down I didn't really mean any of the things I was thinking.
But boy I wanted to seriously lash out.
Things have been interesting between DC and I of late, though of course he doesn't actually know that. I have soundly berated him, scorned him and basically given him what for, but of course he has not heard a thing, which is hardly surprising because when I let off steam at him he's usually safely ensconced in his office some 80 miles away and I am invariably driving either to or from School. I actually believe if it wasn't for the school run my marriage would be over or at least in a more critical state than I perceive it at present. Maybe everyone does this sort of thing, which actually when you think about it makes one wonder why women have a far safer driving record than men but there again we are better at multi tasking: Negotiate staggetred junction on busy main road while listening to Chris Evans on Radio Two and dividing up chattels of proposed imaginary divorce. Piece of cake really!
I do pity him, he ambles home innocent of the murderous thoughts whizzing around his wife's head, plonks his newspaper and brief case on the newly cleared kitchen table, pops open the fridge to take out his whisky and soda, leaves aforementioned whisky and soda on Welsh Dresser, seeks out spouse and asks her what sort of day she had. It must baffle him greatly to be met with a scowl or a monosalabic response. I want to say to clarify matters that I am actually protecting him, even if I do sound terribly mean, for by 8.30pm at night I am ready to go bang with pent up frustration but also realise that to do so would just cause unecessary grief.
As far as he is concerned I am a grumpy old bag or it's the time of the month. Perhaps he'll talk to his Mum and she'll mention the need for Vitamin B6, B12 and more leafy green vegetables and that for some women the change comes early...
Maybe it's the age I am, the fact that I don't DO anything that I really want always trying to seocnd guess what everyone else wants or more importantly what he wants.
And I can't get that image out of my mind of a couple in an advert in the 90s. He looking goofily at the camera while sitting in a chair, his wife perched on the arm. He says earnestly: "We want to be together." And you see her just raising an eyebrow.

Friday 11 June 2010

Bringing up boys: First attempt at pulling a sickie....

Mum, Mum I still feel sick I can’t go to school tomorrow...
I think this is a case of a Mum being far too indulgent of her offspring leading them to believe that being ill is some sort of wonderful fairy tale whereby they are the centre of attention, waited on hand and foot, tempted with goodies not normally entertained  and get to watch TV all day.
It is so easy to do and my heart breaks at the thought that even though I would love him to stay with me and do all of the above, it is time to get back to work for both of us. He to school, and me to my deadlines; the idyll is over.
A brief two days, just The Boy and me, I feel terribly cruel and have vowed that  I shall be more like Nanny McFee rather than Mary Poppins. If either of them are ill apart from the tasty morsels to tempt their appetite and  mopping of fevered brows when called to the other extras will be off limits perhaps then the idea of school and playing with their mates might be a little more appealing.
However, there is a bit of me that recognizes the need to have your Mum all to yourself, the pampering, the cuddles and the total uninterrupted loving. I don’t think a day of R&R did any lasting harm and I noted how swiftly he felt better when I replied that as he was still so obviously ill then there was only one thing I could think of to help him to get better: “You’ll just have to stay in your Room all day Darling, with no TV, as obviously Mummy was wrong in letting you watch it as you are still ill. I had also better get some more pink medicine, I know you don’t like it but it does help you get better. Perhaps I should double the dose? No? No, don’t worry poppet Mummy will sort it out. What you are feeling better already? Miracles never cease!”

Thursday 10 June 2010

Dusty old barns and memory lane...

Cleaning out the barn of the detritus of the past ten years of our lives has been like a visit to the psychotherapist in that you have to go places you would rather not ever go again.
As you start to delve into musty old boxes covered in grimy layers of dust which you can’t help sneezing up and making your nose twitch you are confronted by memories, good and bad and/or embarrassing.
I cringe at the evidence of my poor taste and wonder that I ever wasted so much money on so much tat. Although the boxes and bags were put in the barn nigh on ten years ago the stuff that is racked there, goes back way longer. I mean I even have my toys dumped here; not that I mind, as I have given them to the boys for what is a toy if it is not played with?
I remember packing them away in 1981 before we embarked on our first major overseas posting in a decade. Each one was lovingly wrapped and sadly bade farewell by name. I was crying and then I was furious because my sister and her friend, five years younger than me, had heard me and were sniggering on the other side of the door. Hell hath no fury like a 15 year old teenager caught out and embarrassed. I think my sister was forcibly told to erase the whole episode from her mind forever. Since she has never mentioned it I can only presume she took my advice.
So now the toys are out again and I am afraid I don’t remember all their names and the memories are both bitter sweet and welcome.
Not so the memories engendered by my dubious taste in jumpers, purple plastic bead necklaces and faux suede pussy pelmets. God I must have looked a sight but I bet I thought I was the bee’s knees….

Monday 7 June 2010

Mad cat ladies and official form filling....

I have a feeling that it is not good for me to think. Thinking should be banned except when you are being nice, feel in a great mood or need to drive safely, otherwise it is an overated pastime.
What gets achieved when you think? Nothing because you are too busy thinking and thinking can lead you down some very strange alleys if you don't keep it firmly in check.
There you are minding your own busienss driving back home from school and the next thing you know you are envisaging your life as a lonley old woman wearing clothes riddled with cat fleas and being known as the mad cat woman in the village, all because you extrapolated what might happen if you forget to sign a school outing form. It can be MOST disconcerting! It's not as if I have that many cats...
So how did I get from school outing form to mad cat lady living on my ownsome? failing to sign said form child did not go on outing scarring him for life and resulting in label as bad mother. As a bad mother one of course would expect also to be a bad wife leading understandably to husband swapping defunct wife nos 1 for superior model that works better and doesn't forget basic things like school forms. Since known as Bad mother children would live with father and only occasionlly be forced to visit bad mother for form's sake before abandoning all pretence at age of majority. Bad mother would seek soalce in the feline form etc etc
Now I had better get that form filled in....

Saturday 5 June 2010

Now here's a question...

Have you always been "in love" with your partner? And how do you know if it is love? Could it just be lust? Does it stay with you always or does it wax and wane?
It seems the process of sorting out my stuff has thrown up some unexpected questions and made me look more closely at my life. And I am a tad confused. I have my ups and downs like everyone I suppose, but let's say, perhaps the way I conduct my marriage is a little alien to some; for starters we have separate rooms because he snores and I don't sleep well. We're not that physical, not that I am bothered. I worry because, well men are different. And therefore perhaps I should be bothered.
But then my thinking took me further am I not bothered because I am no longer "in love" with my husband? And if so how long have I not been "in love"? When did it happen? And do I actually know what love is? Does anyone? And if I have to ask does that mean I have never been in love?
I think I am a little naive and the basis of a good marriage is mutual respectand interests in common - but I fall short on those things too because I don't think I am. Do I respect him? Of course I do! He's a kind caring man mostly and many would say I am lucky to have him but I think we are out of sync and have been for a long time. Perhaps this happens to all married couples I mean it is a lot to expect people to stick at it isn't it?

Friday 4 June 2010

Excuses: You know when you have got a job to do and you really don't want to...

I have come up with a myriad of excuses today thousands, trust me thousands of excuses not to be doing what I should be...
It's too sunny.
There's no milk, I must just pop out and get some...
The chicken water feeders need a good scrub down.
The dog's collar could so with a good clean.
It's too sunny...
Oh those poor builders need a drink working so hard in this heat.
Better scoop the poop in the garden.
I must pop these keys in the barn for J.
It's too sunny...
The washing needs doing.
I must ring up that chap about planking the logs.
The bins need putting out for tomorrow.
It's too sunny...
I need to build a volcano...OK My children want me to build a volcano...
Ooohhh my nails are lovely and long perhaps I could paint them.
Good heavens is it really nearly lunch time? Alfresco I think!
What things do you find to do when really you should be doing something else?
Oh what is it I should be doing...ah yes sroting everything out ....well there is this afternoon!
Now I really think I ought to paint the Boy's Army Hut.....

Thursday 3 June 2010

The problem with Organisation is Discipline....

The problem with organisation is discipline and by that you can discover I have neither in my life – it is a problem.
For living the way I do in a disorganised and undisciplined world, although wildly romantic and sometimes adventurous, is the cause I fear of the one great tragedy in my life; stress.
Stress the modern day scourge of the Western states more prevalent than the bubonic plague and equally as harmful sapping the will from countless millions and in a world where we have untold wealth and freedom the cause of so much unhappiness.
Well basically I have found a cure or if not that a great reliever of stress and that is organisation; I have just got to get it.
If I were organised I would have more time, time to relax and thus stay one step ahead of stress not stress due to big life affirming or changing events such as hatch, match and dispatch but of the more mundane things like running out of underwear or food and failing to keep up with bank accounts and school trips that sort of everyday, low lying stress which niggles and naggles at you and haunts your dreams so you never get any rest.
They say if you can do a thing for 20 days it will become a habit; I’m crossing my fingers that THEY are correct for in the next 30 days I am going to get organised once and for all and the first thing I am going to do is find out what the heck we have and I mean everything. For how can you get organised if you don’t know what you have to organise? This is the nitty gritty of my life. Stuff.
Get a grip on the small things and I’ll get a clearer view of the big picture once that is done I will know what the heck it is I am expected to do and no doubt get a better perspective on how I want to live.
So every draw and pocket, box and bag, cupboard and cubby hole will be gone through with a fine tooth comb. Everything will be sorted out and either put back in the place it belongs or thrown out. There will be no room for hangers on.
It sounds frightfully decisive doesn’t it? Ho hum let’s hope I have the will to do it and not get distracted along the way and that is why in a vain attempt to give the whole task a sense of urgency, a deadline if you will, I am joining Tiddlyompompom on this mad course to see if by stating it out loud I will have the discipline to carry it through.Wish me luck!!!

Go on you know you want to...


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