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As Promised

3 Apr

Thank you to everyone who donated to Masks For NHS Heroes (there’s still time).

As promised, here’s my new haircut:

It’s Been A While…

30 Mar

I could grovel; or I could explain that I’ve been battling health issues for over a year, which is why this blog has been dormant. With all that’s happening in the world right now, I think I’ll just wave a nonchalant hand in the air and move on.

I will tell you this, though: in the last sixteen months the NHS saved my life and the sight in my right eye, and has dealt with sundry other issues – all for free. Trapped in the house (Hub and I are on a 12-week lockdown because we are both at risk, especially the Hub), I’m frustrated that I can’t help.

So here’s my offer: if ten people reading this make a donation to Masks For NHS Heroes, the Hub will shave me completely bald, and I’ll post the video here.

I know you are all battling for PPE in your own countries, so I’m aiming this at British readers.

Stay safe and well, lovelies, and I’ll see you on the other side x

29th’s the Charm

18 Apr

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Oh boy! It’s my boy’s birthday today. Happy birthday, Birthday Boy.

Happy New Year

15 Jan

Not to you, dear reader – I’m two weeks late for that – but to just one dear reader…

…yes, Spud is 23 today! Happy birthday, Spud.

To celebrate, here’s some of your greatest hits:

 

 

And a little song to celebrate:

 

Not a birthday song, but one of my favourites by Alex and, let’s be honest, when I found out I was pregnant twenty-three years ago, I felt like dancing. Now I dance like felt.

Happy birthday, sweetie pie!

 

 

Trapped Wind Or Not Trapped Wind? That Is The Question

5 Dec

Image result for funny nhs memesIf there was no NHS, it’s not an exaggeration to say that I’d be writing this in heaven right now. Okay, maybe there’s a little exaggeration – as far as I know, heaven doesn’t have wi-fi.

I was lying in bed reading, three weeks ago tonight, when I had sharp chest pain on the left side. I did wonder for a moment, ‘Am I having a heart attack?’ but it soon passed and because there had been nothing weird about my arm, and no nausea or sweating, I realised it was trapped wind.

Over the following days I had some small sharp wind attacks but nothing like the first. Six days later, on a Tuesday morning, I was standing chatting to my friend Pam and I had another painful experience like the first, accompanied by a hot flush and then a cold sweat, and nausea. At the hot flush (menopause, obviously), I stepped outside into the rain to cool down, which explained the cold sweat. The nausea? Well, I had been thinking about housework.

I explained the horrible trapped wind situation to Pam and she urged me to get checked out, thinking of chest infections and pneumonia. That seemed a bit over the top for excess gas but, as it happened, I was booked in for a blood test for my cholesterol level at my doctor’s surgery the following morning. I did some research about chest pain that evening and every single website urged, ‘Tell a doctor!’

I didn’t really want to waste anyone’s time but I couldn’t get the website messages out of my head but, as I was there, I mentioned the chest pain to the nurse, who insisted that I ask to see the on-call doctor, who saw me within fifteen minutes and immediately referred me to the hospital as a precaution (I presented with conflicting symptoms), bypassing A&E and booking me directly into the Acute Care Unit at Stepping Hill Hospital.

The Hub ran me up to the hospital and I was quickly tested and blooded. The ECG showed ‘small anomalies’ and one blood test was ‘inconclusive’. I was re-tested and re-blooded and sent for a chest x-ray.

There was some waiting around, yes, but mostly for test results, all of which came back within an hour. The doctor suspected there was a blood clot on my lung (pulmonary embolism). A nurse injected me (painfully) with blood thinner (to dissolve any possible clots) in my stomach (I still have a bruise, two weeks later), and gave me one to take home to use the next day. I could not for the literal life of me inject myself but the Hub could and did, and that’s why I found myself screaming at him, unNike-like, ‘Just do it!’ when he was murmuring softly that ‘This is going to hurt, I’m afraid, sweetie.’Image result for pulmonary embolism funny

It didn’t hurt, despite the roll of fat he pinched firmly, as instructed. He jabbed instead of glided and there was very little pain and no bruising at all. Professional Nurse: 0, The Hub: 1, as far as he’s concerned. I reckon he stuck it into so much fat, it’s still floating around, lost without a clot to hiss in.

The hospital had me back on Friday for a V/Q scan, which is when gamma radiation is injected into the body to examine airflow and blood flow in the lungs. Yes, I was radioactive for a while there, and it had nothing to do with the Hub annoying me. After lunch (provided free of charge, both days), I had an echocardiogram – an ultrasound for the heart. That was ay-may-zing, to see my heart on telly, as it was beating in my chest. Wow, Just wow. I love science!

The result of all of this outstanding care is that I definitely have a pulmonary embolism – the pains in my chest were clot moving days – but our fabulous NHS caught it in time and I’m not going to die just yet (buses and absent-mindedness notwithstanding). Nor am I going to be bankrupted for the pleasure of not dying. I am being treated with medication and I have some follow-up appointments but, basically, it’s life as normal, and the bank balance is lighter only by the cost of a medic alert bracelet (if you cut me, do I not bleed copiously and have to be extra careful from now on?).

I have a wonderful husband who was there with me every step of the way (though he does like to needle me), despite his own ill-health. I made him stay home on the Friday, however, because he can just sit there, waiting (his M.E. allowing him to do little else), and I simply can’t. My Kindle felt unloved on Wednesday, when I was forced to talk to the Hub in the waiting room instead of reading; but was happy on Friday, as we idled away the time together between tests.

Our NHS isn’t perfect in everyday life – it can take weeks to get a non-urgent appointment – but in an emergency, there’s no better health care provider, and I have the breath in my lungs to prove it.

And finally…For several days afterwards, this song kept going through my head:

Normal Service Will Shortly Be Resumed

2 Oct

Image result for i'll be back

Hello, bloggers who used to read me.

I have finished the MA and I’m on my rest month (very much needed), but I intend to begin blogging again, at least once a week.

I say ‘rest month’…it includes a choir concert (in which I sing, not listen in the audience. I say ‘sing’…), a visit from the grandson (his first to our home!), the usual writing groups, sundry poetry readings, poetry workshops, a visit to the Hub (still residing here, but I have to schedule him in), and SLEEP.

In the meantime, I thought I’d repost my favourite-ever photograph, to give you something gross to think about:

Photo by Best DSC!

When my hair was long, the Hub shoved it through my sleeve and told me I needed to shave my armpits.

My hair is now short but the latter is true. No time to shave ‘pits when you’re on a deadline.

See you in Movember, when I shall not be plucking my moustache hairs, in solidarity with lazy people.

Give Thanks; It’s Good For You

18 Apr

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Whether you believe in God or not, it is a good habit to count your blessings. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that being thankful for what you have is good for your health and mental wellbeing. I know this because I saw it in a Twitter meme, so it must be true. For it to work, it is recommended that you find at least five things to be thankful for. 

I record daily thanks in a notebook and I’ve been doing it for about six years. I only have bad moods on non-recording days but this might be because I don’t record my thanks because I’m in a bad mood. Science has to get back to me on that one.

Thanks should be personal to you because it’s unrealistic to be thankful for the neighbour a few doors down with the flawless skin and gleaming hair when you’re going through age-mandated repuberty and you look like Dorian Gray’s older, less attractive sister. They don’t need to be big things, though we ought to be thankful for them also. On days when I’m almost in a bad mood and can’t be bothered to be grateful that my fingernails look fabulous, I use my big things as default thanks: husband, kids, grandson, dogs, health, wealth, outstanding personality. More often than not, though, I’m thankful for small things like cheese & onion crisps, panty liners, invites to dinner at friends’ homes=no cooking, etc., and I have been thankful for as many as 23 separate things on Malteser days.

Today, to put my money where my mouth is, I’m going to share my thanks with you.

I am thankful for:

  • My lack of money, because it teaches me the true value of things (a little fake sincerity is surprisingly positive at times)
  • How often my fake sincerity teaches me the true value of things
  • That I’m not in a bad mood
  • For my eldest child; I love him so much
  • For the man he has become
  • Cheese & onion crisps, obviously
  • That he’s a fantastic father
  • That he’s known me for 28 years and yet he still talks to me
  • That blogging is cheaper than a birthday card

Surprise!

Happy birthday, darling! 

Thank goodness that’s over with.

Oops! Did I say that out loud? Thank goodness he didn’t read me. And that he has a great sense of humour…

Excluding what we have established is the boring (family/pets/health/etc.), what are YOU thankful for?

Two Funnies

13 Apr

Related image

No time to write so I’ll borrow instead. Read these somewhere on t’internet and thought I’d share.

A Joke

A woman is sitting at her deceased husband’s funeral. A man leans in to her and asks, “Do you mind if I say a word?”

“No, go right ahead,” the woman replies.

The man stands, clears his throat, says, “Plethora,” and sits back down.

“Thanks,” the woman says, “that means a lot.”

From @AllieLia

A Happy Coincidence

From @invisibleman_17

 

Happy Friday!

 

 

Spot The Difference

19 Mar

Sometime before Christmas, I was given an old drawers unit that was unwanted by our local community centre:

As you can see, it is tatty and grim-seventies in style, but functional. Exactly what I need, in fact, for my poetry collections and stationery; and I am extremely grateful to have it. My intention is to upcycle it in the summer i.e. give it a coat of paint.

The brown plastic drawers are miserable to look at and not conducive to making this housewife laugh, but I had a solution. The Hub bought me some gorgeous sticky back plastic: silver, glittery and textured. I confess, I like to stroke it, especially when I’m stressed. I have it on notebooks, backing a framed document signed by Queen Victoria, and now here:

I was really pleased with my temporary cheerful fix.

And then the Hub did this:

Yes, folks, that’s right: every time I sit at my desk, I get to look at the Hub’s ‘PENiS’.

Three guesses what I’m going to do with my next roll of sticky back plastic.

 

Yet More Dancing

14 Mar

An old pic of me dancing (in the rain)
The reason for oldmedancing is shared below

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions for my forthcoming book’s #I’mNotAllowedToSayTheNameYet dance song. I decided to go with – well, I had to, really, didn’t I? – the suggestion from ME Lewis at France Says:

Picture me boogying to this in my bedroom after hitting Send to my publisher.

You’ll have to picture it, because there are no pictures of it;  I haven’t boogied yet. Right after sending off my manuscript, I succumbed to a bacterial infection which saw me in bed for days, gulping down not one but two courses of those increasingly hard-to-get miracle pills, antibiotics. I’m on the mend now but it was touch and go for a while there whether I’d be able to eat all of my Maltesers. I’m happy to report that as of today I have none left.

When looking for a song, I came across this:

As much as I’d love to have used it, it’s not dancey enough. I found another which is quite dancey but, sadly, not entirely appropriate for a family-friendly blog. But go look it up; Google #MENOPAUSE MONDAYS®A Singing Uterus Explains Perimenopause and Menopause. Hilarious in an I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing way.

The family and I – Hub, me, Spud, DisgustedwiththeTories Boy, and our newest member, Daddy’s Boy – were all dancing for joy this week, for an entirely different reason.

Debra at Breathe Lighter asked me a while back what Alex plans to do post-uni. I am now allowed to tell you that he got into not one, but two drama schools, and has accepted a funded place on a one year course at Oxford School of Drama.

When we heard the news, we all did this:

Image result for laura linney love actually gif

Just to be clear – we’re all Laura Linney, not Karl on the right, who is every new graduate who has just realised the fun’s over; real life starts and oh no! here come the bills.

Fortunately, that’s not Alex. He won’t start work at McDonald’s for at least another twelve months.

 

Frazzled – the battle with adrenaline

7 Mar

An amusing – and fraught! – read from a dear friend of mine. A terrifying insight into what awaits me…

Nicola Hulme Author

I’ve been so far out of my comfort zone for so long, I’m not sure I know my way back.

In the last 6 months, I’ve been drawn away from the pleasure of writing, to be called upon for public speaking events. Moving away from the private relationship between writer and page into a pubic life of presenting the published book to unknown audiences. It’s uncomfortable. It sounds ungrateful, and sulky, but for those of you, who long for the label of published, let me give you an insight into what is then expected of you.

The book launch itself was a huge party. Surrounded by friends and family I was supported throughout the whole event and I loved every minute. A lot of hard work studying the craft had paid off, and seeing my name of the front cover of a picture book was a dream come true.

Beyond…

View original post 815 more words

I Need A Dance Song

1 Mar

Three points:

  • I love writing but it is tedious at times, especially when you’re as anal as I am
  • I have no money
  • I like to reward myself when I finish something
  • I can’t count

When I completed my first two (unpublished) collections, at various stages I danced: a reward for sticking with the drafting/editing/proofing process. Dancing is better than money. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.

The habit began by accident.  I wrote my South African collection over twenty years. One day, it occurred to me that I had unwittingly written a themed collection but it needed crafting. I listened to Mango Groove, a South African band, as I worked on it, and I felt like dancing after weeks slaving over a hot computer, so I put on Dance Sum More:

When it came to my second collection, Wholly Man, the South African vibe was all wrong, so I found this:

My third collection, published this summer, is a lighthearted look at menopause and motherhood. I have just completed the first draft and sent it off to my publisher* – literally ten minutes ago – and I was appalled to realise I have no dance song to celebrate.

Any suggestions?

It has to be cheerful and danceable and related to menopause and/or motherhood.

Find me something – I know you love a challenge.

*Which is why I haven’t yet replied to your comments; but I will, I promise…as soon as I finish reading my next course text (once I begin reading it) and write a poem based on it, due in tomorrow lunchtime.

 

Thank You

22 Feb

Thank you, everyone, for your good wishes this week. It’s a thrill to know how many friends I have, in the real and virtual worlds. I intend to respond to you all but this has been a manic week for me – although, these days, when is it not?

Image result for the music man

I wanted to take a minute to share a video with you. As you know, Alex has sung with Sheffield University Broadway Orchestra many times, performing lost (though presumably found by the time they get to him) and forgotten (though presumably remembered etc., etc.) songs, some of which he was the first person ever to sing, or the first person in Britain ever to sing, for as many as eighty years.

On Sunday, he will sing in what will probably be his last Broadway concert, as he graduates this year.  

😦

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Sorry, I needed a moment there. I have LOVED these concerts. Apart from The Tree of War (obviously), they have been my favourite shows to watch. They are fabulous.

The show is composed of songs from The Music Man, in honour of its sixtieth birthday. I had thought that they are not lost or forgotten but the website says the show includes ten songs cut from the original. Either way, they are rarely performed these days so, if you are in the Sheffield area on Sunday night, why not pop along? Here’s a link: The Music Man

To whet your appetite, here’s a snippet from rehearsal. Alex is singing with his regular collaborator, Debra Finch.

Exciting News! (For Me, Anyway)

17 Feb

So guess what I did yesterday? You’ll never guess. I’ll just tell you, shall I?

I did this:

That’s me signing something.

Shall we have a poll? We haven’t had a poll in years. Let’s have a poll!

Heeheeheeheeheeheehee!

I may be a little giddy with excitement: I’ve always wanted my own Malteser factory. I mean, I’ve always wanted to put the Hub away. No, no, I mean, my first poetry collection is coming out in the summer. 

Here’s my publisher’s website. They are based in Marple and have been going for about twenty years.

Did you catch that? ‘Here’s my publisher’s website.’ Giddy doesn’t begin to cover it 🙂 

Heeheeheeheeheeheehee!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day?

14 Feb

I’m not in the mood (or the position) to make retailers rich today, but I am in the mood to make you laugh, and laughter is the greatest gift, so it’s a win for you, a win for me, and a win for my pocket. Assuming, of course, that my story, originally posted in 2012, amuses you. Image result for twelve days of christmas funny

A story of true love, it begins at Christmas…

Dear Judge,

I know I killed my True Love in a fit of rage but I think, once you hear my tale, you will have to acknowledge that I was provoked beyond what any reasonable person could stand.

Things started off well. On the first day of Christmas, my True Love sent me a partridge in a pear tree. A little weird, I thought, but I let it pass. To be honest, as the first day of Christmas is Christmas Day, I’d have preferred a turkey.

On the second day he sent me two turtle doves. Romantic, because I believe they mate for life, so I could see the symbolism. But he also sent me another partridge in a pear tree. What was that about?

Next day it was three French hens – or should I say, trois French hens? My little joke, Judge. I still had a sense of humour at that point. Plus two more doves and another partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day I was afraid to open the door to the postman. I was right to be afraid: ten birds arrived that morning, four of which were colly birds. Is there anyone on the planet who knows what a colly bird is? I think my True Love made that one up, or he ordered calling birds, but the shop saw a chance to finally offload the 36 colly birds they had lying around in the storeroom which they had ordered by accident.Image result for true love funny

Probably guessing from my enraged texts and emails that by now I was a little miffed, he had the good sense to send me five gold rings on day five of Christmasgate. I was mollified enough to think it would be okay to accept day six’s gift. Boy, was I ever wrong! Six – count them: one-two-three-four-five-SIX – geese-a-laying. The eggs would have been acceptable but I couldn’t get near them. Do you know how protective geese are of their eggs? I still have the bill marks on my legs. And it’s not nice to be hissed at by 42 geese (yes, 42; because he sent me six more geese who wouldn’t share, every day for the next six days).  It’s like I’m living in a really bad pantomime in the comfort of my own home – though there’s not much comfort to be had with 184 birds running around, making a racket and pooping like there’s no tomorrow. Which there wasn’t for those I managed to store in my freezer… Not to mention the 42 goslings under my feet, imprinting on me. It made shopping impossible.

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And yes, you did read that right, Judge: 184 birds in total is what my True Love sent to me. 226, if you count the inevitable babies.

But he saved the best for last, which I’ll call Day Seven, because it was. I may have been a little unhinged by this point. I refused to open the door so the delivery truck left my idiot boyfriend’s ridiculous idea of a love token in my tiny back garden: seven swans-a-swimming. Seven swans-a-swimming! You know what that means, don’t you? An inflatable pool! In my pocket garden! And not just one inflatable pool, oh no! SIX inflatable pools, because he sent me the same gift for the next five days, along with eight maids-a-milking, nine ladies dancing (I don’t even watch Strictly), ten lords-a-leaping (I’m interested in politics, yes, but not to the point of inviting the second chamber into my home – and the ornaments those old codgers broke…), eleven pipers piping, and twelve drummers drumming, right through my skull.Image result for true love funny

By the time I got the injunction against my True Love, it was too late – the neighbours had complained about the smell, the illegal poultry farm I had set up, and the music played at full volume at all hours of the day and night.  I was evicted by the council for antisocial behaviour.  I was homeless, penniless (having spent all my money on bird seed and feeding guests) and furious – mostly because all swans are owned by the Crown, so my True Love had scuppered the chance of me ever appearing on any future Honours List.

I admit to seeking out my True Love who, while big on romantic gestures, was a slacker when it came to paying for the upkeep of all those birds or feeding 140 people – though I’ll accept, the poultry and the eighty buckets of milk did come in handy there.Image result for true love funny

I also admit to pelting him with rock hard pears (they were out of season; what was the silly beggar thinking?) and, when that didn’t work, belting him with as many pipes, drums and drumsticks as I could lay my hands on. But the death stroke was, I’m convinced, administered by the swans, who didn’t like it when, weighed down by 40 gold rings, I fell into one of their pools and almost drowned whilst trying to pry the human leech off me.  I did manage to escape though he, sadly, did not.  All was not lost however – the sale of the forty rings to Gold ‘R ‘ Us paid for his funeral, and the cortege, comprised of my personal aviary, attracted media attention and led to my new career in reality TV, specifically, Come Dine With Me (which I won, thanks to some exotic poultry dishes), How Clean Is Your House? (not very, as it happens), and Farmer Wants A Wife.

So, dear Judge, I think you can see that I acted under extreme provocation while the balance of my mind was disturbed and my feet were in three tons of guano.

If you let me off, I will be free to marry one of the drummers, Bill, who has promised to give me only chocolates, toiletries and DVDs as Christmas presents.

I throw myself on the mercy of the court.

Signed, The Moulting Housewife

 

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