Thursday 29 September 2011

Do You Ever Feel Guilty About (not) Blogging?

I hold my hands up. I am guilty. Guilty of not blogging but there again when I do do it, I feel guilty about blogging. It seems as though I were caught between a rock and a hard place.
Blogging should be fun.
How did it get that I feel guilty for not blogging? That I feel bad for not checking in and reading everyone's posts, for not commenting and twittering? Why do I feel a sense of obligation?
I love reading people's blogs and I enjoy writing comments and I think that I can make a differnce if only a little bit to each person's day through an acknowlegement however short. I know I like people to comment and I treasure each and everyone. Is it that then? The fact that I have been remiss and not been active showing people that I appreciate it when they visit?
I've been rude and I know it and thus I feel guilty.
What excuse shall I drum up? Should I make excuses at all?
I've had a difficult time chickens to the vet, whole flock to be medicated serious thoughts on whether to carry on with them; boys to clubs and partries and school and matches - it feels as if there are no more weekends. I have entered my taxi years.
And then I've been ill with a flu-like virus. High temperature headaches, aching joints, feeling like death and slightly, ever so slightly out of my mind. Only good thing to come out of it is a loss of appetite and  a drop of a kilo in weight (one must look on the bright side of things).
So I make excuses.
I ask to be forgiven.
I know everyone will be generous. It's why I love the blogospehere.
Wish I could be as generous with myself, for I still feel guilty for not blogging. I hope to be back on form soon, to do better, to get out there and perhaps you never know enjoy myself again without the guilt pecking away too much....!

Friday 23 September 2011

So when I die...

So when I die, give everything away.
I mean everything!
There’s no point keeping it as it won’t do me any good. And anyway most of it will be old and well used I hope.
You won’t want to have to deal with it all. Let someone else who wants it take it.
I promise it will save you money. Dying is awful expensive these days.
I’m not talking about my worldly goods here nor am I talking about my soul. I am talking about something far more valuable to other people than that.
I’m talking about my body.
The cadaver.
Every piece of my body should be got rid of or to put it another way recycled and reused if it is of any use to someone else.
But perhaps, and it is something I sincerely hope, it will be too old and worn for  the internal organs and bits and pieces to be used for transplants but then my body should go for dissection and experimentation.
A healthy albeit old body will be a bit of a novelty for all those young doctors in training and I quite like the idea that  perhaps by using me  they may be able to save someone else.
I know there are those out there who feel a tad squeamish about giving away their bits and pieces but I promise if you were on the receiving end and it was your life that hung in the balance you would be exceedingly grateful.
It is so easy to become a donor and carry a donor card in your purse or wallet; just in case.
But now here comes the tricky bit/
Would you be willing to let your child be a donor? Would you be able to overcome your grief and let doctors take your child’s body and harvest it for organs so that another child or even children could live? Could you be brave enough?
Please say you will.
For there is a dreadful shortage of transplant organs for children not just here in the UK but in Europe too.
Many years ago my Drama teacher’s youngest son fell off a wall and died. I cannot imagine how losing a child in those circumstances must feel but both he and his wife agreed that they would offer their son’s organs for transplant. That beautiful little boy allowed four others to live. Their bravery is an inspiration.
When I heard about the accident and what they had gone through I signed up there and then to be an organ donor and  promised myself that should I ever be in that situation, which I hope and pray I will never be, but if I am I would want to be as brave and allow the doctors  to take my child so that others may live.
A body is not the soul for that can never die. It is something to remember…

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Bringing up boys: Homework

I hate homework.
I hate it because The Boy hates it.
I hate it because it is SUCH a trial and I always either a) land up shouting at him to get on with it or b) land up doing it myself after shouting at him if only to get the wretched stuff over and done with before midnight.
I'd like to say he is fine in the classroom but from my conversation with his form teacher this morning he isn't. He flops about not getting on with it in exactly the same way as he flops about not getting on with it at home.
How can I get him to wake up to the fact that the quicker he gets his homework done the more time he has for doing stuff he enjoys? How can I get him to focus?
I swear if I left him to finish his homework all by himself he would still be sitting at the dining room table the following day with not a word written down or a sum answered.
I want to shake him!
I've lectured, I've cried, I've timed him, I've bribed, I've threatrened, I've taken away treats but NOTHING gets through to him.
Is he stupid or something?
It gets to the stage that I just want to run screaming from the house as soon as I catch a glimpse of his Prep Diary. It's not funny you know. I thought once I had left school I would NEVER have to do homework again and now look whtat's happened!
You know they don't tell you this in any of the baby or toddler manuals.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Being a pushy mom...

I know I said I wouldn’t do it. I said I wouldn’t get all pushy.
It worked!
Ever since The Boy sobbed in my arms so bitterly disappointed that he’d NOT made it into the B team for Cricket (Bringing Up Boys: The Bitterness of Disappointement)  I swore to myself that it would NEVER happen again. I felt so strongly for him but I couldn’t really make him see that the things you really want you have to fight for.
So in the Summer I was determined that by hook or by crook he’d make it into the Hockey B team come the Autumn. So he was made a member of the local Hockey Club, enrolled on a couple of hockey courses along with a whole host of other kids and dropped off to do it all by himself.
He was brilliant for I know I would have kicked up way more of a stink at his age. Didn’t seem to turn a hair and by all accounts loved it. I think the best thing about the courses was that parents weren’t allowed to hang around. I do remember the headmaster’s wife once saying to me that in another life she’d quite like to come back and run an orphanage. She explained: “The kids are wonderful; it’s the parents who are such a pain!”
Anyway, last Sunday when I stayed at home to work The Boy, Bog Boy – his younger brother – and Dad went off to Hockey Club. On their return I was told that The Boy had spent the last part of the training playing a hockey match but all he had done was wander up and down the pitch with his hockey stick over his shoulder and trotting after his father to see if he could play with his younger brother.
I blew a fuse.
I got so upset I had to sequester myself in my office and try to focus on work.
I was still angry on Monday morning.
How in the world could I get this boy to focus? To wake up! To understand!
Still mithering about it  and snapping at the same time, I managed to get both boys in the car on the way to school and I kid you not I lectured the poor little souls for 20 minutes on the reasons why some people get chosen for teams and why some don’t.
“You have two people both equally good but one saunters up and down the pitch like Dolly Daydream and the other is out there really trying to get the ball, which one is the coach going to pick?”
“The one who is trying.”
Eureka! He’s got it! Yes!
“But Mum how will I know if I’ve been trying?”
How will he know he’s been trying? It dawned on me that he doesn’t know how to try because he’s never learned how. When you have absence seizures you blank a lot all the time only for a few seconds mind but imagine trying to concentrate through that. It would be like trying to work out the lyrics of a jumping record when you only get to hear it once. Concentration is impossible. Without concentration you will find it very difficult to try, because trying requires concentration.
Trying is something you learn, usually when you are very young and as you get older you can try harder because you can concentrate for longer and longer periods. Now that The Boy is on the proper medication for his epilepsy he is beginning to concentrate and so he can now start to try.
But my problem was to explain to him how to try in hockey. No good me telling him to concentrate he needed something more concrete than that.
“You’ll know if you tried hard enough by the fact that you will come back in really hot and sweaty.”
“What even on a cold day?”
“If you try really hard you won’t even feel the cold”
I collected him that afternoon and he glowed with happiness telling me he had come back in to change really hot and sweaty with his hair sticking up.
“I was playing defender with Freddie but then they let me do it on my own and even though there were five of them I still took the ball from them!”
“How did it make you feel?”
I was so proud but beginning to feel a tad uncomfortable. Perhaps he was only saying that so I would be pleased.
On Wednesday, it was hockey again, the last bit of training before the teams were chosen. Up until now I gathered that The Boy had been put in the bottom group for training. It looked like he’s be in the C team again and unlikely to get any Away fixture treats. But The Boy went out there determined to be seriously sweaty. I asked him if he had had a good time.
“It was great Mum!”
This morning he met up with a friend on the way into school and asked me if it was alright to check to see if he had made it onto the team while I put Bog Boy into his class. I cheerily waved him off but with great foreboding.
What if after all this he didn’t make it? What would I do with a sobbing little boy again?
I felt quietly sick as I trudged down the path.
He burst upon me just as I left his brother in the capable hands of his teacher. Flinging himself into my arms he announced to all and sundry he’d made it in to the B team. Oh it was brilliant. Now he could go on away matches, now he could play with his mates, now he belonged so much more. He was just so happy! I couldn’t have been more proud. He’d made that team on his own. “Trying” had worked.
….maybe being a pushy mother can help!

Tuesday 13 September 2011

I think I am turning into one of THOSE mothers……

You know, you see them on the side-lines at every football/hockey/rugby match up and down the country barely able to contain themselves as they holler from the side-lines exhorting their Little Darlings to “Get in there! Get a move on! Pass! For Chissakes pass!”
Their Little Darlings look more like exhausted automatons desperately trying to live up to expectation and wear grim looks of determination rather than those of sheer exuberance and joy in the sport.
Their parents have had them playing since almost before they could crawl and have put them up for every coaching course going with the excuse “But he loves it.”
You politely ask when they showed such aptitude and you usually get it that they picked it up from Daddy who was once a very keen sportsman before he became prosperous in the City.
Quite how they picked it up when you know said Daddy would find it hard running for a bus let alone for a Rugby ball is beside the point. You just know that the child has had the talk and been shown the numerous team photographs of Daddy at his pre-prep school, which was lucky to field one let alone two teams with everyone in the school playing.
Or else you get the smug response: “I have no idea! Neither his father or I were very keen on sport.” Which basically means they were crap at school sports and never got in a team and now they are determined to make up for the omission.
The ignominy of being left out of not being good enough has marred them in some inexplicable way despite relative success in later life. They are determined to be one of the in crowd this time through their kids making it into the top team at the school or club. They are utterly ruthless.
In fact I fear I was nearly as bad. I chucked The Boy into extra hockey coaching over the summer so that he might stand a fighting chance of getting into the “B” team. I, of course, asked if he would like to play hockey, but only after he was signed up. And he sweetly said yes. But I didn’t really admit to myself that possibly I wanted him to be the “B” team rather more than he did. He would be happy just playing and talking to folk. In fact he talks to a lot of people and finds out loads of stuff when he should be watching the ball. It doesn’t matter to him all that much if he wins or loses until, that is, he sees us grown-ups then his smiles will disappear and he’ll go how horrid it was that the team lost again.
I bemoan the fact that he’d rather pick daisies than play and try to get people to laugh about it. I down play his abilities because I suppose I am disappointed he is in the bottom team at school and I have to get my head round that. My dreams of him being pushed into the A team because of his extra coaching and then having a stellar career on the field are just dreams and more importantly mine not his. He’d just like to have the occasional away match so he could nosey about at another school, meet loads more people and chat. For him sport at present is about having fun.
I keep forgetting how horrid it is to see pushy parents and how sorry I feel for those kids who land up loathing the thing they are actually quite good at...I need to learn a whole lot from my son.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Chicken of the Week

Chicken of the Week: Belle, a Yellow Pencilled Friesian
Chicken of the week is Belle, a yellow pencilled Frieisan from Holland.
Belle is two and a half years old and lays lovely white eggs.
She loves gardening, digging, climbing trees, rolling in the dirt and hunting bugs.
She loves all good food and particularly likes worms. She loves newly planted brassicas.
She would like to have her own brood one day but has yet to find the right cockerel.

Thursday 8 September 2011

The Dog is off the hook but now I feel worse!

The dog is off the hook. The Wickedest Whippet has been found not guilty this time and although I should be relieved that she doesn’t have a penchant for pinching pink purses I am afraid I don’t feel very good at all.
Last night I had a caller who had picked up my purse from the bottom of a dried up pond near a footpath across the village from here. The land where it was found belongs to the same farmer who owns the fields at the back of my house.
I couldn’t help it but I put two and two together and probably made five. But it seems such a coincidence.
Perhaps I had better explain. The person who stole my purse had to have entered my house through the back door. My back door cannot be accessed from the front of the house. It is found in an enclosed back garden. The only way to acces the garden is ove the fence at the back, through the house itself or via the side door which leads out to  the kitchen garden. On Tuesday last you would have had to encounter Tatu the gardner who was working on the veg patch right by the door. So the only way to reach the backdoor last Tuesday would have been over the fence at the bottom via the Farmer’s fields.
Problem is there are no footpaths around those fields so a casual passer-by is hardly likely to pass by and see my back door open and saunter in on the off chance. There is no way of seeing the back of my house at all from any road or other byway.
I can’t help it but I think the perpetrator is someone who was working the fields who could see into my back garden and note the door was open.
The reason why I feel so awful is that the only people working the field were the farmer and his sons.
I don’t want to believe it. But a complete stranger is so random especially whern there have been no other reported crimes of this nature according to the police. This was a total one off.
So all last night I mithered over this. All today I have been acutely aware of the ploughing going on and the revs from the tractor and all I seem to be able to do is get angry and frustrated. For they are far more likely NOT to have done anything at all but my mind just refuses to focus on anything else. It seems stuck on the fact that it must have been them.
Or maybe it is just me preferring it that way. Wanting it to be someone I know rather than a scary stranger poking their way into the sanctuary that is my home in the broad daylight while my boys say barley 10 feet away. I hate feeling so vulnerable.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Tattie Whippet - the best!

Tattie Whippet: trying to get some sleep
As far as whippets go my Tattie Whippet, for whom this blog is named, is quite simply the best.
She's not naughty like the EBJ (Evil Black Job) aka Sassy aka The Wickedest Whippet; she doesn't steal...much, she just loves me and has to be near me. I cannot go anywhere without her knowing. She even gets in the car, which she loathes, to be with me. She usually vomits quietly by the side of the seat so I won't notice while I am driving. She's considerate like that...
She trained with me for the Flora London Marathon in 2009 running beside me never too fast, never lagging behind. She came out in rain and sleet and snow and hail.She wasn't much impressed but when I was having a seriously hard time around Mile 15 I saw her in my minds eye plugging away just ahead and it helped me to keep going when I longed to stop.
I hate to admit it but I sleep with her too. We curl up together to keep warm on winter nights and try to push each other off the bed during the summer months. If I manage to win she jumps back on the bed and just stares at me until I wake up - it is very disconcerting to know that you have been woken up by a dog just staring at you in the middle of the night.
During the day she sleeps in my office keeping an eye on things and making sure I stay where I ought. She does not like sharing her basket with Sassy but for me will put up with it.
I am hers and she is mine forever.
She also likes curling up in the laundry...

Monday 5 September 2011

They’re back at school…so now what?

They are back at school so now what do I do? All summer long I have longed for them to go back to school as I couldn’t get anything done and now they are back and already time is hanging heavy.
I suppose it’s because I have the time that I manage to fill it. Everything gets organised (sort of) and jobs get done on a regular basis. The clocks all tick, the bins are never too full, the clothes get put away (at least once a week), the dogs get walked, my office floor can be seen, bills get paid on time, I have cash in my purse.
It’s just when they appear for any length of time that things unravel and priorities change. Getting them up and organised and entertained is top of my list. I cart them to swimming, to riding, to hockey, to friends. I organise parties and BBQs and holidays. I make sure they eat and stay semi clean. And I try to keep my head above water.
And now this morning I have managed to clear the kitchen, make bread, take the dogs out, sort the office, done an interview for work, sort the laundry, feed the cat, feed and move the chickens, kill some cockerels, prepare lunch and start writing a blog post.
There is still loads more to do, reams and reams of stuff, but it’s kind of quiet, too quiet and no one is interrupting me to say:
“The Boy hurt me!”
“I did not! You wouldn’t do as you’re told and anyway you hit me first….”
“Mummmmmmmy! Boy hurt me here, LOOK!”
“I didn’t Mum and anyway I didn’t hit him hard…he’s always saying it hurts”
Yep it is far too quiet, at least until 3.15….

Go on you know you want to...


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