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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.

A True-ish Story

20 Mar

A Cup of Flour

They say truth is stranger than fiction; sometimes, it’s on par.

I laughed when I saw this cartoon, for something similar once happened to my mother.

Forty years ago, we had just moved to Runcorn and Mum had met our new next door neighbours but no one else.  She answered the door one morning and there stood a strange woman, holding a plate containing an egg and two bacon rashers.

Stranger: Can you please help me?  I’m a bit short for my breakfast; have you got a sausage to lend me?

[Bemused] Mum: Um, erm, sure, yes, hold on a sec.

Later that day, Mum saw our next door neighbour and told her all about the strange Image result for full english breakfastbreakfast-begging woman.

[Laughing] Neighbour: Oh, that was Irene*.  Don’t worry about it: she came to me for the beans!

Irene and her family eventually moved to a better part of town, into a large, posh house.  I wonder how many neighbours’ sausages helped to pay for it?Overnight Blueberry French Toast Recipe : so easy to make the night before and pop in the oven the next morning. A delicious breakfast casserole recipe with the surprise of blueberries and cream cheese and a lovely blueberry sauce topping. Perfect brunch recipe for a special occasion.

*Names changed to preserve privacy: ‘Irene’ is still alive; no doubt living on the neighbours’ Overnight Blueberry French Toast (breakfast has changed a lot in forty years).

30 Reasons To Stay Married

1 Jun

wedding1985008

 

  • The dogs wouldn’t like it if we split up.
  • The kids wouldn’t like it if we split up.
  • The record collection wouldn’t like it if we split up.  Apart from Meat Loaf (mine) and The Sex Pistols (his), they’ve been one big, happy family for too long for a separation to work.
  • The Hub wouldn’t like it if we split up.  He thinks thirty years of fights, kids, pets, fights, moving, troubles, fights, problems, woes and fights should mean something.  What a nitpicker.
  • He strokes my hair when I can’t sleep.
  • I pull his hair when he annoys me.  Whose hair would I pull if I didn’t have the Hub?
  • He still thinks I’m beautiful.
  • Poor, misguided fools are my thing.
  • He doesn’t mind that I spend all of our money on books.  Well, he does; but he doesn’t complain about it.
  • He found it perfectly reasonably that I wanted our wedding song to be one written by a country singer about leaving her famous married lover which I discovered in a movie about a whorehouse.

  • He buys the most thoughtful gifts: Presidential balls; trips to the Globe, the ballet, the theatre; long socks; Maltesers.
  • He knows me inside out – watching a group on last week’s Britain’s Got Talent, he said he knew which one I found the most attractive.  He was right.  Then he said he knew which one I found next-most attractive.  He did.  And so on, through all five of them.  The man’s a freak.
  • He can fix anything.  He can take an appliance apart, put it back together, throw the leftover screws (there are always leftover screws when he repairs something) in the recycling box and the machine works like new.  It’s scary.  And saves us a fortune (next point refers).
  • He only sighs when my techneptitudinal brain breaks appliances by mere confused glances.
  • He makes me laugh.
  • He lets me make fun of him on my blog; which means he makes you lot laugh, too.
  • He’s a know-it-all but, what’s worse, is that he’s not often wrong.  It’s annoying.  I include it as a reason to stay married, however, because I need the challenge of pointing out his errors.  It’s what gets me through the day since I gave up Sudoku.
  • He’s as hard as nails on the outside but a big, soppy mare over animals.  Which is why we have, in the course of thirty years, owned seven gerbils, three cockatiels, three budgies, five cats, four dogs and several thousand fish.  Why do you think I read so much?  I can’t find him in the zoo and I need to pass the time somehow.
  • He gave me two beautiful children.  And seven gerbils, three cockatiels, three budgies, five cats, four dogs and several thousand fish.
  • He sews up a storm.  Our kids always had the best costumes at school events. 

  • He accepts that I am not romantic and all of my love poems to him tend to poke fun at his own wild romanticism.
  • He cooks like a Michelin-starred chef.  He gathers together interesting ingredients and voilà! a three course meal for brunch.  It does my head in that he’s not well enough to cook anymore.  How selfish of him to get ill like that.
  • He can really drive.  I mean really.  His parallel parking is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.
  • He’s the boss.  He says we have to stay married.  You know I’m an obedient wife who never disagrees with him, so staying married it is.
  • He doesn’t like poetry and complains that I should be writing a runaway bestseller to support us.  He totally believes I’m capable of it.  To shut him up, I had a go at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – the aim of which is to write 50,000 words in a month).  I managed 12,000 words of a dull romance in which my hero was a traffic warden.  Need I say more?
  • Back to the not liking poetry – he complains that it won’t make us any money and then ferries me around from one free/unpaid gig/workshop/event to another, leaving me with a kiss and collecting me later with another kiss.
  • He has no patience and a short fuse.  This might not seem like a reason to stay married to him; and you’re right: it’s not.  But I have to remind myself as I’m writing this list that he’s not perfect by any means, despite his great husbandness; otherwise, I might start appreciating him.
  • He’ll read this list and write thirty reasons why he should stay married to me, and I guarantee it’ll be all soppy and nice and make me all gooey inside.  He’s really annoying sometimes.
  • To prove the scoffers wrong.  Lots of people predicted that we would break up within a year when we got married.  I don’t know why; it’s not like I broke off our engagement three times or anything…oh, wait…
  • Love.

Happy 30th anniversary, darling.  Love you. x

 

 

 

Why I’ll Never Leave The Hub

20 Feb

I went out to visit a friend this afternoon; I found this hidden in my laptop when I got back:

Photo by Best DSC!

Photo by Best DSC!

It was a song I’d never heard before.  Read the lyrics when you listen:

What woman in her right mind would willingly give up such a romantic?  

Not me, that’s for sure.

Found In Translation

21 May

Click on image for source

Well I never!  Or I should say, Beh io mai!

I signed in to my blog to visit all of yours, and discovered a comment which needed approval:

You may be interested to know that we have written a review of the anthology In Protest, 150 Poems for Human Rights: http://www.margutte.com/?p=5629&lang=en
We have also translated some of the poems in Italian, including your poem: http://www.margutte.com/?p=5629

Thanks for your contribution.

Best regards,

Silvia Pio (editor)

That’s the same poem which was read at a memorial meeting for Nelson Mandela, and I learned of it after the event.

It seems it’s not just my kids who are going off having lives of their own.

By the way, I’m chuffed!  I love the idea of my poem taking on a life of its own, making new friends, learning new languages.  It has a way more interesting time than I do.

But at least it won’t break my heart when it moves into student accommodation in September.

The Best Days Of His Life

19 May

My baby’s all grown up.  Sad faces all round…though I am relieved he survived my cooking.

This was him seven years ago:

alex 1stday stockgram 06082007 (26)

 

This was him two weeks ago:

DSCN2885

That uniform really lasted!

1794774_10203745469216786_5170206785749170175_nSpud is now on study leave for his A Levels and then – idiocy and/or idleness notwithstanding – he’s off to university in the autumn.

The school gave them a good send off: Leavers’ Day started with a Full English Breakfast; followed by a huge dragon bouncy castle with tunnel and slide.  As the Hub said, they filled them up then emptied them again…

Lots of fun activities ensued including a barbecue and the handing out of Most Likely To… certificates (decided by each student’s friends).  Spud was found Most Likely To Run The Grand National, because his nickname is ‘Stallion’.  I daren’t ask for details.  Finally, they let off the traditional balloons in the school colours.10252131_10203745537178485_259882759226844147_n10175955_10201016035723498_8529203522459418278_n

They were given leavers’ hoodies:

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I asked why he was the number 14.  So did the Hub.  I admit it: sometimes, parents are stupid.10277565_10203745529338289_7679196353554244942_n

They received Year Books; but they didn’t write in them.  The tradition is for each child to buy a hard notebook and pass it around; teachers and friends write pages and pages of memories, good and bad.  It’s a lovely tradition.  Spud read the clean ones out to us.  I may have sobbed a little.

In the evening, they attended a Leavers’ Ball.  Five of Spud’s friends came here for pre-ball drinks and post-ball sleep.  What a funny world it is: hundreds of screaming teenagers on a bouncy castle in the morning and hundreds of screaming drunk teenagers bouncing on the dance floor in the evening.

They boys passed their school on the way there and back to the ball.  Both times, they spontaneously burst into the first two lines of the school psalm (no one ever remembers the third-plus lines).  ‘How middle class are we?’ asked Spud’s friend; before coming back to sleep on the floor of our council house and be fed a breakfast of homemade pancakes – some burned, some not; it’s the luck of the draw.10151876_10203745559339039_8569076471560965562_n

Spud has had seven happy years at a wonderful school.  He has been given a first class education at their expense.  He has great relationships with friends and teachers and many great memories.

It’s all downhill from here.

Happy future, darling.

 

 

Snippets

18 Feb

Looking for poetic inspiration, I’ve been trawling my old notebooks.  I found some fun stuff which I’d like to share; but don’t worry – there’s not a poem in sight.  Let me worry about that.

From 2008:

Alec the paperboy passed the house as I opened the door.  I waved to him.  

Spud, 12, to Alec: ‘I’m sorry about my Mum; she’s a weirdo.’

*

Some neologisms of mine (you may recognise a couple but I share them again in the hope of one day having an entry in the Oxford Dictionary):

  • Smail: newsy email.  Obsolete now I have a blog.
  • Techneptitude: technical ineptitude of the highest order (my special gift).  I got a published poem out of this one.
  • Suburbani: modern wage slaves.  Another poem, sadly unpublished, even though it has a pretty font.
  • Weepiknees: crying, with trembling legs.  I inadvertently predicted my Toby Tale with this one.

*

From The Sunday Telegraph supplement, Seven, 11/05/08:

Anxiety: fear in search of a cause.

*

A Re-run

I’m sure I’ve shared this before but I find it so amusing, I have to tell it again.

There was a South African politician called Ferdi Hartzenberg; and a South African newsreader who shall remain nameless.

Journalists had a nickname  for Mr H and this particular journalist once, live on television, accidentally used it: Herdi Farts ‘n’ Burps.

*

If you like your politicians mocked, head over to Edwina Currie Made Me Start This Blog, my newest blog.  You’ll find more from my old notebooks.

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The Winding Up Begins

30 Nov
English: Joke shield of Princess Beatrice of York.

English: Joke shield of Princess Beatrice of York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I tell the last few jokes of the challenge, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourites of the previous jokes.

Every day, I will post a new joke and an old joke.  I’m sure you won’t mind.

I’ll share this joke to start the ball rolling; it’s one of my favourites simply because it’s Joke 1, posted on March 25, 2011.  It’s actually rubbish but I have a sentimental fondness for it:

*

*In a grammar lesson in eighth grade Mrs. O’Neill said, “Paul, give me a sentence with a direct object.”

Paul replied. “Everyone thinks you are the best teacher in the school.”

“Thank you, Paul,” responded Mrs. O’Neill, “but what is the object?”

“To get the best mark possible,” said Paul.

*

From ajokeaday.com

 

Welcome To The Glass House

14 Oct
The family gather round

The family gather round

Spud has a thing about his cups and glasses: only he must use them.  He has special items that are his and his alone.

Unfortunately for Spud, we didn’t know that for a long time.

When he revealed it to us in a strop one day, because we had all, at some point, had our dirty, germ-ridden mouths on the bulk of his drinking receptacles, we agreed not to use the one unsullied glass in his hitherto unknown collection.

On Friday he came home from school, poured himself a cool drink, and disappeared upstairs.

SCREAM!

Spud had dropped his last glass; it had shattered.  Spud was gutted.

Once cleared up (into the loving arms of a plastic bag), Spud insisted that we give it a proper send off.  Fortunately, we were all suitably attired: me in black; the Hub in grey; Spud in black.  

Click on the first photo to read the captions.

You can’t see me because I was the official photographer for the event.

 

Somebody Went To Prison And All I Got Was This Lousy Anniversary Card

1 Jun

wedding1985008

Today is my 28th wedding anniversary.  

Our wedding anniversary, I should say.

Nelson Mandela served twenty-seven years and he got a Nobel Peace Prize.  Me? I got an extra year, a card, and the most loving husband on the planet.

If you don’t believe me, ask my recent escapee, Janet.

Janet of Janet’s Notebook came to visit this week, for five days, with her son, Ben.  They wore me out but we had a great time.  You will be reading about our adventures over the next week or so, when I’ve recovered, but if you can’t wait until then, here are some of her posts about our time together:

Granny Liu: On accents

Who is that dog walker?: On dogs

The north south divide: On the phone

Laughter and love: On being soppy

I know how much you love me so don’t think she’s having fun at my expense (she is, but not maliciously), though I have to admit, it’s a weird sensation to be the butt instead of the butter of the joke.

However, I had great fun learning about another blogger and her quirks.  And of my own.  Janet made me wonder how the Hub has put up with me all of these years.

Now for the next twenty-eight.  Gulp.

Love you, my darling.  But please don’t tell anyone, it ruins my image.  

Happy anniversary xx

wedding1985012

It’s That Time Of Year Again…

4 May

I know I do this every year, but I just can’t help myself:

May the 4th Be With You

For more Six Word Saturdays, go here:

 

Happy Birthday, Tory Boy!

18 Apr

My beloved eldest child is 23 today.  From 12:41 p.m., Wednesday 18th April 1990, Tory Boy was my ylem.  The moment I saw him, I loved.

I might even have cried a little (probably thinking about the pregnancy fat I was never going to shake off).

‘Bonding’ had come into fashion when I was carrying TB; I asked my gynea if I would be able to hold the baby as soon as it was born.  He told me that bonding takes a life time, not a moment.  He was right.

What he failed to mention, however, is that as soon as you’ve bonded, you have to start preparing yourself to let go of them.  Tory Boy works; he has a lovely girlfriend; he lives away from home; he calls and visits (occasionally; usually when he needs something); he sends me poems that make me laugh and weep.  I did my job.  His father helped, when I let him.

But how I miss those moments, early in the morning, when it was just him and me.  When I would soothe and feed him and he would fall asleep in my arms.

Our bonding began on the Saturday after he was born, when the Hub was given permission not to visit until the evening (after the match).  I fed Tory Boy; he fell asleep; and I simply could not bear to let go of him.  I sat in a chair with my beautiful baby in my arms and we stayed there for many hours.  My demanding body, which needs a toilet break every hour and a food break every half hour, knew not to mess with me that day.

I looked at my baby and I loved him; and that has never changed.

 

The ‘Ahhhh!’ Factor

28 Nov

My friend Pam shared this on Facebook yesterday.  It’s not her cat, by the way.

 

You Reign, Dear

13 Jun

Okay…I admit it: the Hub isn’t all bad.  Fumbling for the kettle first thing this morning, I found that he had left me a love potato:

I’ve mentioned his habit of leaving love notes before, but if you’re new here you won’t have seen them, so here’s a recap:

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There are many more; these are just the ones I photographed over the last year.

To misquote the ex-Mr Roseanne Barr:

Husbands: can’t live with ’em; can’t kill ’em.

Especially when he still makes me gooey after thirty years.

Don’t tell him I said that!  He’ll expect me to be nice to him.

*

It’s All Over For At Least Another Sixty Years

6 Jun

 A jolly good time was had by all except half my Facebook friends.  And all of my family – anti-monarchists, the lot of them; atheists as well.  I sometimes wonder if I really exist in this house or if I’m a figment of my imagination.

I finally got to watch a Queen’s Speech last night, because I wasn’t eating my Christmas Dinner.  It was brief and to the point: Thanks guys; you’re great.

The service at St Paul’s was nice.  I’ve been there once; it’s a beautiful building.  As the camera panned back to show the whole thing, I was horrified at how huge it is: I can’t believe I ever let my boys go to the top of it, on the outside, without me.  Yes, they survived, but now I’m going to have a sleepless night or three imagining that they didn’t (I’m a retrospective worrier). 

As you can see – great view of London from outside St Paul’s dome – and of Tory Boy’s arm. Not sure what happened to this photo.

The only member of the Royal Family I’ve seen in real life is Prince Philip, when I was nine.  It was at my Big Brother’s passing out parade at Aldershot barracks, when he joined the army.  Unfortunately, I only have the knowledge of the memory, not the actual memory, if you know what I mean: I know I was there; I know Prince Philip was there…but that’s it – in my mind, only a blur of soldiers and the back of a tall man who might or might not have been royal, is all I have.  But I do remember eating lunch in the NAAFI. 

It was the same for the Silver Jubilee in 1977.  I was thirteen.  I know we had a street party because Mum and I played bingo in Jeanette Achilles’ Mum’s kitchen with the other neighbourhood women for twelve months, helping to raise funds; but I have no recollection at all of the day.  I have told this story before but it’s vaguely topical and I’ve had lots of new readers since I last told it and besides, I’ve never really gotten over it:

I attended each weekly bingo session with my Mum, who paid all my fees.  I won a bread board and wanted to give it to the first of my Big Brother’s many wives; my Mum was a little miffed.  Clearly, she could see into the future and knew that bread board was going to have a temporary home at best.  My Dad insisted I gave it to my Mum.  It still hurts.

 

My Jubilee posts gave rise to some interesting comments.  Here are two of my favourites:

From Rory Bore, in response to our Jubilee picnic:

I danced for her when I was a little girl. She was genuinely delighted and impressed to watch our little step dancing group perform. kept asking for another dance. While poor Prince Phillip was being “entertained” by my stepfather taking about their huge ship anchored out on Lake Ontario. (must be a Navy man thing. LOL)  They were both such a delight

From Bluebee, in response to the Jubilee concert post, where I mentioned a Right Said Fred concert I attended in Johannesburg in the Nineties:

I was at that very same RSF concert in JHB

Talk about a small world! 

Stand Up (Right Said Fred album)

Stand Up (Right Said Fred album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t let this post pass without a recommendation that you visit Kate Shrewsday and her Jubilee party post; you must listen to the audio of her delightful little nephew, Big Al, who solemnly apologised to the Queen:

I’m sorry I blew a raspberry at you.

Finally, yet another showing for my favourite-ever Queen story.  I know many of you could recite it by heart, but new readers will enjoy it, I’m sure; it is supposed to be true:

The Queen was entertaining a visiting head of state; they were parading down the Mall in a horse-drawn carriage, chatting nicely, when one of the horses made what can only be described as a rude noise.

QEII: I’m so sorry about that.

HoS: Please don’t apologise; if you hadn’t said anything, I’d have assumed it was the horse.

 

 

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