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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  Another poem, sadly unpublished, even though it has a pretty font.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.


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.




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.


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


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


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.



I Wonder…

16 Mar

What I would do with my time if I stopped blogging?

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For Sidey’s weekend theme, I wonder…

RIP Spooks

24 Oct

*Alert* No spoilers here!

I’ve just watched the last-ever episode of Spooks.  The irritating Hub worked out who the villain was, of course, but even he was surprised by the surprise right at the end.

I have watched every episode except one, and loved them all.  I knew it was something different from the very first series, when a major character died in a chip pan.

RIP Spooks; you’ll be badly missed.

For those of my readers who don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s okay: everybody knows that Spooks operate in secret.

Star Trekking Across The Universe (Not)

21 Jul
Atlantis deploys the landing gear before landi...

Image via Wikipedia

Are you happy or sad the Space Shuttle has been retired?

This is the second time we’ve been asked this question, and Nancy suggested I re-post my first answer.  Given the state of the economy, and in a bid to save the world, I’ve taken her advice, because it’s good to recycle and re-use things; so don’t go thinking it’s laziness on my part that brought you here.

I waited for today to answer this question (again), because today, Thursday, 21 July 2011, sees the return to earth of the last Space Shuttle; the last flight any shuttle will ever make.  I could cry. 

We should be out there, crossing the final frontier.  And by ‘we’ I mean, of course, ‘the Americans’, because, well, that’s what they do.  I’ll settle for the Russians, the Chinese, the Fijians if necessary; but I don’t read or speak Russian, Chinese or Fijian, so following a space programme on their websites – assuming they have websites; you know how secretive the Fijians are – is going to be difficult.

That’s the mushy bit over with; here’s the original post, complete with the WordPress prompter’s then-factually incorrect question:

Tomorrow is the last Space Shuttle mission. Does this make you, happy, sad, or indifferent? Why?

Okay, it might not be tomorrow; it might already have happened because I’m writing this yesterday but in the future of the moment the prompt was given. So it might be tomorrow, or not: Space Shuttles are notoriously unreliable. I guess any plane that needs a parachute to land is going to have glitches, however, so I don’t hold that against them.

I am truly sad that the era of the Shuttle has come to an end. We should be out there in space, doing stuff.*

*Bear with me: I’m an enthusiast but not so hot on the technical jargon.

Stuff is what we do: search out new lives and new civilisations. Boldly go where no split infinitives have gone before.

It started with the bloke who thought, ‘This village is all right but there must be more than just us out there,’ and went to see for himself, dragging his missus and kids along so there was always supper on the table and someone to haul the water.

Having found he wasn’t alone in his universe and there was, in fact, another village over yonder (with his missus sighing, ‘It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it: they eat their bread butter side down. I blame that Seuss fella’), he felt the urge to search out more villages, maybe one with a posh hotel and a shower: ‘Clean me up, snotty. I’ve travelled five miles to get here.’

And so he (it’s always a he because paternalistic attitudes prevail even in these enlightened times when a woman can’t get elected President because she doesn’t cry and people don’t like it because she’s hard and then she does cry and people don’t like it because who wants a cry baby as leader of the free world?) conquers the villages he visits and moves on to the next. On to towns, cities, shires, countries, new worlds across the sea, taking care not to fall off the edge on the way.

Finally, he thinks that space might be a good idea because those pesky communists wanted it first. Illogical, yes, but great motivation.

In 1969 he makes one giant leap for mankind (have you tried walking daintily in those huge suits?) and celebrates with a game of golf and a growth industry of conspiracy theorists who claim there was no way he got a hole in one with no shadows to prove it.

Some of his mates follow in his moon boots then bam! 1972 passes and nothing…no more moon walks that don’t involve a single white glove.

How did that happen? It’s like someone decided: been there, done that, got the space shirt; now we have a parking garage and huge garbage dump and we can live happily ever after.

Maybe they have a point: despite all the movies, we haven’t been invaded yet. What self-respecting alien wants to live in a world that uses space trash instead of ozone to keep the temperature ambient? A world that doesn’t want a follow-up to velcro?

Clearly, our prime directive is to save money and stay at home, avoiding the neighbours.

Of course I’m sad.

26 Years And Counting

1 Jun

I am attending another workshop today.

It is also our anniversary.

The workshop is on conflict management. I believe I may have acquired some skill in that area over the last quarter-of-a-century.

Happy Anniversary sweatheart.  Love you.  xx*

*Blogging is way cheaper than buying a card.

Happy Birthday, Dad

10 May

My Dad would have been 75 today.  I miss him.

I Promised You A Secret

25 Apr

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read this post. 

Remember last week how I was so busy I ignored you all?  I was busy with this:

The Hub’s father once gave him a set of photo albums with pictures of his life.  Last August I thought that would be a lovely gift for Tory Boy’s birthday, with the addition of the stories of the photos, as much as I could remember.  My idea was to buy a couple of scrapbooks but the Hub thought it should be something special.  He found an old photo album in a charity shop, re-covered it, and bought two plaques: one for the cover with TB’s name and D.O.B., and one inside with a loving message from us all.  Spud chose the font; it was a family project.

By January I had sorted our extensive photo collection into His ‘n’ Ours groups.  I already had them filed by years into boxes, so it was a big job but not as big as it could have been.  All that remained was to stick them into the album and write comments.

Tory Boy’s (should I start calling him Tory Man now, do you think?) birthday was last Monday.  On the Thursday I thought I’d better get a move on, and did.  Ten-thirty Thursday night found me crying in the Hub’s arms that I’dusedtheoursphotosinsteadofthehisphotsnadI’dhavetostartalloveragain.  The Hub sent me to bed with instructions to start afresh the next day.  He was right. 

He would have helped me but he wasn’t allowed because every time he came near to offer guidance and advice I snarled getlostdivorcethiswasmyideayou’vedoneyourbit and he retreated to the safety of Sky Sports watching.  We haven’t stayed married this long by ignoring the danger signs.

Friday and Saturday were busy days but I got about seven hours in; Sunday, I locked myself in the bedroom all day, fortified by mugs of Earl Grey passed through a grill, and my secret chocolate stash.

On Sunday evening around eleven, it was done.  That boy better appreciate how much we love him.  His father and brother had to live with me like that for three days.  Think panic, hormones (my baby was no longer a baby, as every baby photograph reminded me) and blog-withdrawal.

The great day dawned:

That’s the album on the right.

He loved it; it was his best present, and his presents included an antique pocket watch:

a fabulous jellyroll quilt made by Viv (so he wouldn’t steal mine):

a Playstation 1 and Nintendo Gameboy from his brother:

and of course, books, dvds and lots of dosh – the last bit not from us, but from kind family and friends.  We are buying Tory Boy’s air ticket to wherever he wants to go that we can afford, and he will use his birthday cash as spends.  Making memories is more fun than material goods; though they are nice, too.

The PS1 and GB might seem like odd gifts, but TB is into old games.  The Gameboy used to belong to Spud and he sold it to a friend early last year.  TB was upset so Spud persuaded his friend (after a lot of harassing and restraining orders) to sell it back to him.  He happened to spot the PS1 on a boot sale the week before TB’s birthday and bought it because he felt bad that he had not been able to find the particular game TB wanted to go with the GB. 

Do I not have thoughtful, generous children?  I think I do.

We bought Tory Boy the obligatory key, of course:

From the pound shop.  He had a gold charm for his eighteenth and we know from experience that those keys end up packed away, one week after the important birthday, never to be seen again, so we thought our money was better spent on the ingredients for his birthday fridge tart:

It’s a favourite recipe of TB’s but costs a fortune to make.  The key ingredient is Peppermint Crisp (it’s a South African recipe) and TB supplied that himself, having ordered it from an online South African shop and presenting it to me with the words, Make fridge tart.

We couldn’t persuade him to have a party or even a few family and friends round on the day.  He wanted to spend it quietly at home with us, and he did, and declared it perfect.

He’s a man now; I suppose I have to let him do what he wants.  As proud of him as I am, however, I miss my baby.  I could make him get a haircut when he needed one.


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