Monday 25 October 2010

Writing under the influence…

Have you ever done it? I mean tried writing when you were drunk? I am doing it now and perhaps that is not a good thing but I suppose it depends on what kind of drunk you are. Of course I am not saying that I am drunk; merely sort of unhinged, no not unhinged that would be me about to go to the nut house when actually I am already there. What I meant was liberated but that’s pretty close to unhinged isn’t it?
There are a lot of squiggly red lines when you are liberated and the question is should one care? Or is that part of the process?
I am merrily drunk, happily pissed, unilaterally uninhibited. If it were warmer I swear I would divest myself of clothing and go frighten the chickens by swanning about nymph like in my wood but I don’t think it would be appreciated. By neither my neighbours nor my husband.
However there’s the devil in me wishing I was really as uninhibited…
I find it fascinating how after all these years my writing reflects how much I feel and how I can tell by those first few lines exactly what I was thinking and feeling at the time even though mostly what I write is fairly prosaic. I am sure we all notice it when we give ourselves the time. It’s a bit like looking at a photograph; you are slightly divorced from the moment and then you are there. It’s all in your mind’s eye and the scents, feelings and sensibility of the occasion all come rushing in as you fight your way back to the time when…
I am a writer but until right now I never admitted it. It’s kind of a bitter secret for by admission I feel I am announcing that I am merely an observer of life rather than one of its participants but it has always been thus. I have never quite fitted in either in my family or with my friends. Maybe I am kinda autistic but perhaps that is wishful thinking. There should be no excuses.
Carpe deum should be my motto but I fear it is more mea culpa and sometimes even cave canem.
Maybe that’s how I should describe my life –apologising for seizing the day then blaming it on the dog…
Well they do say In Vino Veritas….

Wednesday 20 October 2010

The Big Spending Review

So there you have it cuts all round and unlike the French I doubt we'll really squeak for the nature of the average Brit is to grin and bear it especially if we think that probably here's a hint of truth in all the talk.
For without doubt someone somewhere along the line has been a bit flash with the cash. If we look at our own personal lives I'd say a lot of us have been tempted and in many cases have indeed splashed out on stuff that is not strictly necessesary and the problem is we've got used to being a bit loose and a bit off hand about it and basically irresponsible.
There's no point trying to pin the blame on someone else and say: "Oh but they made me do it by making it too easy to borrow etc". You really do have to wise up in this world; nothing is for free however much we'd like it to be. I know that sounds harsh but I've been there, borrowing cash for what I don't really know just living it up  and stuff and getting myself into trouble. Basically I was asset rich and cash poor so tried to borrow myself out of a hole, when what I should have done was radically changed the way I lived and got rid of some of the assets like my car when I lived in London, perhaps not gone on holiday when I really could not afford to and certainly not gone out clothes shopping etc!
It was acutely embarrassing and indeed humiliating to be bailed out by my boyfriend when he became my fiance and I have been paying for it ever since. I am known as fiscally irresponsible and have to put up with sarcastic comments about my lack of economic nouse - still going strong 11 years on. I am much wiser down the line and realise I was indeed fortunate ( as I am reminded every other week) but oh how I wish I had been taught how to be savvy with my money all those years ago...
It's not a good allegory but one that helps me make sense of all that is going on around. We cannot rely on the State to sort things out in fact we have to fix our own mess too. I suspect the less we rely on the State the better things will be I just hope that the lesson won't be as long or as harsh a one as I have had to learn these last 11 years...

Monday 18 October 2010

Review: Toy Story & Toy Story II...PS. Desmond Morris I love you...

Minding my own business on the way back from the school run the other day I overheard on the radio that watching good quality musical films with your toddler was as good as, if not better than reading a book to them...and with those few simple words a whole weight was lifted from my shoulders, the sun came out, the blue birds sang and as I raced up the hill my arms opening as wide as the mountainous vista before me...sorry that moutainous vista bit is hardly likely to be found in Suffolk and anyway I was driving home not running up a mountain to skive and sing my little heart out: but you get the picture.
Thank you so much Mr Desmond Morris, I no longer need to feel guilty as I skive off work on an afternoon, cuddle up with Bog Boy and do Toy Story  and Toy Story II back to back with a large bowl of popcorn.
Desmond's entertaining commentary  has caused a bit of a whiff among those who take this parenting lark a bit too seriously, relax live a little! The thing I have learnt in life is that a little of what you fancy is Ok - and I do mean a little..and of course DO use common sense, a much maligned and little used commodity. I do not mean hard drugs and any other illegal substance, activity etc etc.
Now let me settle down and watch something my boys and I have seen time and time again as well worn as The Gruffalo and equally as well loved. Toy Story. Such a simple tale and just, well so brilliant. Do you know I bought the video, yes I acquired my original copy of Toy Story way back when..actually long before The Boy was born and I had to wait years and I mean years before I could share it with him. I love it. My boys love it and on a wet afternoon before hurtling off on the school run to fetch The Boy, Bog Boy and I loved it all over again and this time it was just like being that the movies with perfect picture and great quality sound thanks to having at last a copy on Disney Blu Ray. For a classic like this I would fork out the extra esp if like me the only other copy you have is a seriously well worn video tape!
I'll admit over the Summer we all hurtled off on a glorious sunny day, actually one of the very few we had on our annual  pilgrimage to visit my forefathers in Wales, to see Toy Story III in 3D in Carmarthen. I wasn't expecting much but I was totally blown away not because of the 3D which was nice but because the story  was just as brilliantly put together as the previous two!  Attention to detail, an  understanding of childhood and more importantly of growing up and putting away childish things. I blubbed, thank heavens for those 3D glasses and of course waterproof mascara...
I think family movies are great when they themselves are great movies, there are plenty that are not but only time will tell about the classics whether they be books or films, they are the ones you share and talk about, the ones that inspire and delight that provide a bond where child and parent and even grandparent behold something on an equal footing...
So  to get back to things important, sometimes its kinda good not to feel guilty when you plonk yourself down and watch a really good film with your kids... as Mr Morris has said it may even be a bit educational and not juts for the children!

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Bringing up Boys: when being thick skinned is a virtue

The other day I was at a friend's house, just for a catch up, a bit of company. It was the middle of the week and for some unknown reason I got the feeling we weren't exactly welcomed with open arms. I felt kind of guilty for foisting myself on them all when we were all probably a little tired.
Now my friend has two lovely boys, one a bit older than The Boy and one in the same class. Of course they all wanted to travel back in the same car from school but there was only room for three not enough room for Bog Boy, not that the older lot wanted him there. So in order to be fair I suggested that we split the boys up. Mr Friends boys didn’t want to go in HER (i.e. my) car and in order to stop a fight between my boys I hoicked the elder out and we all went in our own separate vehicles.
On arrival at my Friend’s house we all bundled out and trooped in, me telling the boys to find the other two and play while I anticipated a good old girly chat. However, of the other two boys there was no sign; they’d gone off playing elsewhere. A none too subtle hint that we weren’t wanted.
I told the boys not to worry and that if the other two didn’t want to play with them never mind, watch a bit of TV until they came back. I was a bit annoyed to tell the truth as I felt it rude. I longed to go home there and then but I’d promised to buy a take away for supper as a treat for all of us...
The Boy’s class mate came back and soon they were all happily playing on the Wii. Bog Boy came in to the kitchen demanding cakes for tea and we iced some buns and made a cheesecake as he drifted in and out.
When it was time to go and get the take-away, we decided to use my car and after a bit of: “No way not in HER car!” we all bundled in with S9YO, my friends eldest mollified by being allowed to sit in the front while his mum squashed in the back with the rest –all very sick parrot.
I think I tried too hard to engage S9YO and there is nothing worse, is there than a grown up trying too hard. Problem is I couldn’t help myself I needed to get this boy on side but I forget how young he is, only 9. You can’t reason with a 9 year old or try to get him onside if he is determined not to allow it for one minute. There were one or two chinks but they were swiftly closed up and the butt of the anger and frustration being felt was directed at Bog Boy, the youngest.
Bog Boy is nothing if not thick skinned, would that I was too, and the cross words and sarcastic comments seemed to go over his head. Any complaint about him was directed not to me but to S9YO’s mother as if I was not there. And Bog Boy’s name was never used, just the euphemism HE. I loathed it and said things like do you mean Bog Boy? as innocently as I could, while bearing up under the frankly haughty gaze of a nine year old.
Supper was OK, but strained and afterwards I hoped that all would be well. I so longed for a chat. However things that I thought were going well patently were not. Having a nearly five year old tag after one is not tolerated even for a few hours and the evening was cut slightly short by a tearful wail from my youngest.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I found out why. Bog Boy had been put in a wardrobe to get rid of him; I gather he thought it was a game. His elder brother knew different. I was shocked and have promised myself that I will not get Bog Boy in that situation again. He’s not unduly upset by it, but I am. I am very aware of the slights and nuances of dislike and have no wish in making it worse for either The Boy or Bog Boy. Best we are looked on in a favourable light and our visits anticipated with good humour than I ever force a meeting that is quite obviously resented.
It’s a small incidence that shouldn’t make a hap’porth of difference but it does. I feel very uneasy….why didn’t my youngest say anything? How could my eldest let it happen? Apart from nearly going off in the deep end when I heard last night I haven’t and I won’t be mentioning it again. Maybe it’s a boy thing?

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Well you know it’s whatever…

Why is it the things you worry about most just don’t register with your young? Is it just a boy thing to totally dismiss something really brave as a “whatever”?
In a state of extreme anxiety I heroically curb my tongue as we walk back to the car on Friday afternoon, longing to ask a myriad of questions about how the talk on epilepsy went. Did everyone understand? What questions did they ask? Have any of them been horrid since?
Tell me I want to scream tell me everything and if any of them have been beastly then just let me at ‘em!
I get a shrug of his shoulders and a whatever  look and I begin to feel that The Boy is perfectly aware of my agitation and is studiously skirting the subject, scuffing his feet along the ground so that I am soon telling him to pick his feet up properly and not to ruin his shoes:
“Do you know how much they cost!” I bark, “Honestly money doesn’t grow on trees you know. They were brand new only a week ago! Now look at them!”
Bog Boy skips ahead without at care in the world calling out to me how his shoes aren’t all scruffy are they Mummy, in an attempt to gain my approbation and a little of my attention too.
The Boy scowls and scuffs some more muttering under his breath how much he hates his little brother.
“Boy! Have you been listening to me? Pick. Up. Your. Feet!”
Despite the bright sunny September sun, the mood is cloudy by the time we all reach the car and it crosses my mind that this is not what I wanted at all. I want to be the caring Mum, the one who listens, the one who they turn to and here I am being Nag Hag. All I want to do is help and it galls me to think my kind of help is not wanted. I am obviously doing something wrong.
A change of tack is required.
“Who wants sweets?”
Scuffed shoes, annoying brothers and prying mothers are forgotten and as we wander our way along the lanes back home with music blaring and sweets being chomped I get an answer of sorts.
“O says he gets rashes…”
The comparison of ailments I must conclude is a good thing then…

Monday 4 October 2010

"I'm Sorry Mrs Weasle but you'll just have to move...."

I have been bereft, alone but not of my own free will. I was cut off, sidelined, unable to contact anyone - well maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but it comes pretty close to the truth!
Dear old BT have been up to their old tricks again and the world has been cut off from this little haven in Suffolk due to broadband failure: AGAIN!
It's a sort of fame I suppose, to be one of the 2%; the 2% who live in a broadband blackspot but it seems rather silly when BT have their headquarters less than 15 miles away! So if you hear of a demented woman besieging  BT at Martlesham Heath ; it's me. It's got that bad.

Getting broadband in my village really is a hit or miss affair and BT have actually admitted that it is their fault. Their so helpful solution was to tell me if I wanted better connection I should move. I couldn't believe my ears. However the sad fact is my village is unlikely to ever get decent connection purely because it is the only village in the area to have the problem and there are just too few of us to count. Doesn't stop the company from bombarding us all with fliers and telephone calls to get the latest broadband/digital TV connections. What is so horrendous though is that people new to the village actually sign up to them and then spend months, and in some cases years, trying to untangle themselves losing money in the process!
It's really quite simple, the problem is that the cable to the village is too weak to carry a strong enough signal and if that wasn't bad enough part of it is fibreoptic. Broadband connections cannot A) cope with a change of material and B) don't like fibre optics. The village is stuffed although the telphones work, most days...
I thought I had been very clever indeed by opting to get my broadband over the airwaves at more than double the cost as those using more traditional means via a telephone line, but no BT can still get me via the exchange some four miles away, which one of their workmen kindly left open to the rain a few weeks ago rendering me and a few other businesses broadbandless. Because  the company that supplies me with internet access counts as one customer, even though there are about a hundred users relying on it, BT didn't rate the urgency of the problem. Punishment I take it for not sticking with BT's measly intermittant 512MB service.
Oh heck this sounds like a rant when all I wanted to say was I'm sorry for not being around these past few weeks and I have so much to tell you!
Anyway back on line and ever the optimist I'll hold out with BT's promise that they really are trying to get me better connected, though probably not in this lifetime...

Go on you know you want to...


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