Tag Archives: Family

Big Night Out For Me

15 Apr

If a cancer-stricken elderly lady knocked on your door and invited you to a party, could you say no?  Me neither. Though I did at first. 

Let me explain: I had just come in from church a couple of weeks ago (five minutes later and I’d have missed her) and there was a knock on my door and this old lady asked me, ‘Are you interested in politics?’  When I said ‘Yes’ she wept on my shoulder with relief; when I told her in reply to her next question that I was voting Conservative, she asked if she could have my baby.  We live in a strong Labour ward; there are blood and custard Labour posters all over the place.  Well, I say ‘all over the place’ but I really mean ‘in one window in a house three streets away’ because these days ‘deprived area’ doesn’t mean ‘Russian revolutionary-style activism’ but, ‘if I could be bothered to vote at all, it would be Labour because I work in a low-paid job and don’t have much money and they are the party that will look after me by taxing me to death, from birth to death and everywhere in between; besides, that’s how my parents voted and furthermore, blue doesn’t suit me.’  My old lady wanted me in the audience for tonight’s  ITV Leader’s Debate; a variety of types is needed and there aren’t many working class, Condervative-voting women around, apparently.

I have ranted about electors not bothering to elect in earlier posts so I won’t go there again, but I read a post yesterday that irritated me because it pointed up my inadequacies as a concerned voter: check out http://cubiksrube.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/democracy-in-the-uk/ and he will show you how the work of engaging voters should be done – by appealing to their inclination to do it all from home if they are going to do it at all.  It is a really useful guide to this election.

Perhaps that is why the big media networks are so excited about the debates; it’s a way to interest a largely apathetic electorate.  If we had X Factor-type shows where the duckhouse builders were voted out in the early rounds, it might be more interesting; it would certainly get a bigger turnout.  I think it might have to be proportional representation instead of first-past-the-post politics, however, or we could lose a leader who’s having an off-night, because some perform better than others (naming no names).  That’s what politics is really all about these days: who performs well in the media; who looks good.  You can pass all the anti-discriminatory legislation in the world, but these days, I don’t see any polio-stricken, wheelchair-bound candidates applying for the job of Prime Minister of the UK or President of America; do you?  It’s why I nag Tory Boy to visit the dentist regularly: he’ll never get elected with manky teeth.  They are lovely, actually; and they’d better stay that way or it won’t be just the media making fun of him…Britain’s not gallant.

America has had leaders’ debates for fifty years, but this is our first one (of three).  I almost turned down the opportunity to be in the audience because of the logistics of getting there: three buses and a ten-minute walk.  It’s not getting there so much, but travelling home late at night.  I can’t rely on the Hub being well enough to taxi me around so I always have to assume he can’t, make contingency plans, and cross my fingers that his M.E. won’t be our foe that day.  As it happens, he has had a rough week and he is feeling it, so I will get the buses to Granada Studios and he will rest all day so that he can collect me.  It’s only 23 minutes away but that’s a round-trip of an hour with waiting; it’s too much for him to do that twice today.  Who knew M.E. was the enemy of the voting classes? 

I wonder how the leaders (I keep wanting to add the words ‘Our Glorious’ to that, though I am not at all Orwellian) are travelling to Manchester?  Not by air, I hope.  Iceland, not content with losing millions of our British money, has allowed a volcano to erupt and thus stop those Brits with any money left from going on holiday to recover.  A cloud of volcanic ash is snaking across Britain six kilometers above us, forcing flights to be cancelled.  Britain is not amused.  Questions will be asked tonight, I’m sure; demands to know why the Government has not acted on the issue of erupting volcanoes in foreign countries spoiling British holidays.

I doubt if I’ll get a chance to ask a question: I’m not going on holiday, for a start.  But I heard someone say that, as the debate is only ninety minutes long, it’s likely that there will only be time for eight questions to be asked and answered.  If the audience is one hundred strong – though I think it might be bigger – that gives me an 8% chance.  I’m not holding my breath.

Back to my story: the lady at the door was drooping so I invited her in while we filled out the inevitable paperwork.  It was then that she told me how peeved she was that she couldn’t attend the debate as a hostess because she was having ugly stuff cut from her stomach today.  It was only after she left with my personal details (including passport number) that it occurred to me that it could have been an elaborate scam to steal my money and identity.  Seventeen phone calls from ITV regarding security, questions I might wish to pose, and whether I have any metal body parts later and my fears were eased.  The ticket arrived on Tuesday and, barring a last-minute hiccup when my stolen identity reveals me to be an Icelandic banker and thus persona non grab me in the face and smash me with a useless airline charter, I should be taking my seat around seven tonight.  If you are watching, look out for me: I’ll be the woman in black hiding the right side of her face with straightened hair.  I haven’t had my glasses fixed yet; I should have gone to Specsavers.



Yesterday’s prompt was to write a ‘cleave’ poem: it’s a fusion of two vertical poems to make one horizontal one.  I wrote one last year as part of my South Africa collection, though I didn’t know then there was a name for the form:


Anti-Apartheid Movement


crazy in love,

                                they see through

a fervid haze. 

                                razing unjust laws,

passion scars, grazes

                                false cultural ideals. 

black and white

                                race to connect,

skin on skin;

                                ignoring political sin.




Here’s a little other poem so that I have something new to post to fulfill the terms of the napowrimo agreement (write a poem every day):


Old Habits
I used to read
Before babies
Before study
Before I forgot to








Happy Easter

4 Apr

Today’s blog title has nothing to do with what I’m going to write about, but I wanted to wish you all a Happy Easter so, Happy Easter!

Incredibly, my theme for yet another day is ‘big’.  It is entirely by accident, I assure you, that I am sticking to the theme of NaBloPoMo, even though it is not a requirement of the sign-up.

Big Day For TV:

The new Dr Who made his first appearance last night.  I have to say I was impressed.  Yes, he’s ugly, poor fellow, like some neanderthal throwback; but he can act and he took over the role with confidence.  Steven Moffat’s script helped, of course, though it wasn’t as terrifying as ‘Blink’.  I don’t think I’m going to miss David Tennant as much as I expected to.  The new sidekick was pretty good as well; the Hub and Spud both agree, though they stopped before ‘good as well’.

Big Day For City:

The Hub and Spud are walking on metaphorical air: as well as Man City’s 6-1 win over poor Burnley* yesterday, Tottenham were defeated, pushing City into fourth place with a game in hand, and – cherry on the cake – so were united.   Woo-hoo! or words to that effect.

* I am not a true sports fan because I always feel sorry for the losers

Big Day For Tory Boy:

Wiliam Hague is visiting Lancaster tomorrow and Tory Boy is going to be one of the minions showing him around and screening out nutters.  What a great opportunity (to fall flat on his face/say the wrong thing/let the wrong nutter through).  No pressure, my darling.

Big Light Bulb Moment In The Middle Of The Night:

I sat up in bed at three in the morning, having suddenly realised that I have not stuck to the conditions of NaBloPoMo.  Someone on NaPoWriMo posted that they had not commented on other people’s poetry; I didn’t realise that we were supposed to do it and checked the terms of the pledge.  I couldn’t find anything, yet I remembered reading something about twelve comments a day on other posts.  It was for National Blog Posting Month, of course, and not for National Poetry Writing Month, as I remembered in my sleep.  I have only commented once, I think, and that was by accident because I thought I was commenting on a poetry participant’s post.  Ah well.  So many acronyms; so little mind.




Yesterday’s prompt was to write about what scares us.  I have a serious reverse senryu  and a lighthearted rhyming ditty for you.  Don’t judge me too harshly on the ditty: I know it’s not finished but we are supposed to post them anyway; the important thing is to be writing.



I cannot give voice to that

which I most fear,

for that might leave me childless.




What I’m Most Scared Of

Bees and wasps, for they have stings;

every kind of crawling thing. 

Heights and depths and swimming pools. 

Angry men with power tools. 

Rapists, paedos, muggers, thieves;

the scratching sound in my house eaves. 

The aspirations of local chavs:

have-nots who’ll take to make them haves. 

Console games my children play,

teaching them that violence pays. 

Living in this Big Brother state:

it talks of love and foments hate. 


But of NaPoWriMo I’m most scared:

I can’t believe I ever dared

agree to compose daily words.

For sheer hard work I was not prepared.




I Wish I’d Remembered To Tighten The Bottle Cap Before I Shook The Gravy Browning

27 Mar

Early onset of dementia or a lifetime habit of doziness?  You decide. 

I keep doing little jobs like bringing in a cup of tea or turning on the dishwasher, then realising I have no memory of it happening.  How weird is that?  I peeled an apple for the gerbil then threw it in the bin (the apple, not the gerbil; but you are wise to ask).   I’d like to think it’s because my head is in the poetic clouds forming literary masterpieces but the truth is my head is more often in the prosaic clouds forming questions like, ‘Will it rain if I hang out the washing?’

I am only 46 so I suspect it’s not really dementia; which leaves me with the conclusion that I am perennially dozy and I need a project to focus my mind.  I miss studying.  I think this particular behaviour has only manifested itself since I finished my degree and it will go away again if I have something to do.*

*Now to contradict myself:

By the way, the incident of the title happened when we were first married and was a joint effort – I forgot to tighten the cap of the bottle before I gave it to the Hub to shake.  Our kitchen walls looked like something Jackson Pollock might have painted when he was having a funny tummy day.



People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.  Anonymous.

People who say it should not be done have obviously just come across their first Jackson Pollock painting.  Tilly Bud.

Thinking about it, it is early onset of dementia: I got married at twenty-one – how crazy is that?  The Hub was twenty – Tory Boy’s almost-age.  No wonder my mother went nuts. 

Ahh, that explains everything: it’s genetic.  If you want evidence, just listen to what my boys did this week:  Spud Bud was playing football and scored a hat trick.  His celebration was to slide along the ground on his knees.  Trouble is, he forgot he was playing on astroturf… <wince>.

Tory Boy was invited to a party where he didn’t know anyone except his flatmate.  Tory Boy wore his favourite granddad shirt, similar to this one:

From: http://images.google.co.uk/ 

He got funny looks all night and he couldn’t help wondering if it was because he was the only non-Indian there.  Finally, his Indian flatmate took him to one side to ask him if he had worn the Nehru shirt to try to fit in, because it really wasn’t necessary and could even be considered a little patronising…

From: http://images.google.co.uk/ 

Fortunately, everyone saw the funny side once TB explained, and it was a good icebreaker.  But it just goes to show

  1. No matter what our background, we are all the same, really.
  2. Dopey is as dopey does.
  3. I have bad genes and my children are paying for it.

Will Smith: An Apology

26 Mar

  Dear Will, I’m sorry we are both happily married to other people because, with your ears and my size we’d have been perfect for a remake of ‘Dumbo’.  Love, Tilly Bud.

I love Will Smith; he’s a natural actor and incredibly funny.  I declare today Will Smith Day, for no other reason than it gives me an excuse to think about him.  I loved him in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  I didn’t know then that he was a rap star and I often wondered about the funny little fellow who couldn’t act who kept making guest appearances (DJ Jazzy Jeff, his rap partner). 

My two favourite movie lines of all time are Will Smith’s in Independence Day, and they both occur in the scene where he and Jeff Goldblum are attempting to plant the virus that will wipe out the alien invaders: ‘We have got to work on our communication’ and ‘I ain’t heard no fat lady!’   Doesn’t sound interesting flat on the screen like that, I know; it is definitely one of those moments where you had to be there.  Like Frank Carson, it’s the way he tells ’em.   If you haven’t seen Independence Day – what is wrong with you?  I have seen it about twenty times.

Do you know what?  I have seen ID about twenty times and it has just occurred to me: what happened to the dog?  Remember how Jasmine risked her and her son’s lives to call Boomer in the tunnel when Los Angeles was being blown up?  And he was in the truck when she was driving around saving what was left of the population?  Boyfriend turns up to rescue her and all of a sudden – no dog.  He’s never seen again in the movie.  

Does anyone know if Will Smith claims to be vegetarian? 

I saw Mr Smith in an interview and he described how, after his first record went platinum or he won Grammy awards or something, he went home and told his Mom and she said, ‘Yes, very nice, now go and get some milk; we’ve run out.’   With a mother like that no wonder he’s grounded.

Speaking of mothers, I am a bereft one.  Tory Boy has not come home for the Easter holidays because he is out canvassing for the prospective Parliamentary candidate for Lancaster.  If he’s not careful, he won’t get a good degree because he’s too busy living the politics to study it.   He has promised to come home for his birthday in April (presumably because there will be presents), so I have that to look forward to.   That, and my forthcoming movie, in which large blonde dogs band together and betray humanity to an alien species.  I call it Independence Day: Boomer’s Revenge.  Tagline: The Day The Dogs Bit Back. 


Two More Bits

24 Mar

Defenestration.  Sounds like something that might be a bit naughty, doesn’t it?  It is, in a way.  It is the act of throwing a person out of a window.  Isn’t it bizarre that there should be a word for it?  I can understand words like knifing, shooting, tickling, but defenestrating?  It’s not even as threatening as it ought to be: tell someone you’re going to to knife them or throw them out of a window and the old bladder will start tickling, but how terrified would you be if someone told you, ‘Give me your Barbie doll collection, Ken, or I’m going to defenestrate you’?  I’m thinking not much.*


I remembered this morning that I haven’t shared the poem that Spud wrote for Mother’s Day, so here it is in all its wonderful glory and iffy spelling, excluding the ink blotches:


What more can I say, you brighten up my day.

When the school day starts, your cooking skills are sharp.

Crumpets, cereal or toast, I’ve got right to boast.

I know raising me is hard, which is why I got you an expensive card.

Of all the things you do, there’s no way I could re-pay you,

But wearing my SGS crest, I’ll just have to do my best.

When I’m feeling down, you’re there to kill my frown,

And when my mood is up, you’re there to back me up.

Then on Christmas day you get me a TV-A.

Forever making me the perfect ever Tea.

I love it when we talk, as we go for walks.

I love you oh so much and your special motherly touch.

You’ll be there when I’m shy, and if I need to cry.

I hope you’re always happy and never feeling crappy.

And when I’m old and grey and on my dieing day,

I’ll look back to when I was a kid and thankyou for all you did.




 You can see why I spent the morning of Mother’s Day blubbing into my Maltesers.



*Habit of a lifetime, I’m afraid.








I Didn’ Raise Him To Be No Fool

21 Mar

Tory Boy is an idiot. Don’t get me wrong, I love the child but, seriously, breaking into another hall of residence? What was he thinking?

Let me explain: TB was taking a break from essay writing at three in the morning (hmm). He was chatting outside his residence in the middle of the night to another student, presumably also taking a break from essay writing (yeah, right). They became aware of an acrid smell and a vapour coming from a building across the way. They went to investigate. The kitchen window was obscured by smoke. They decided it was on fire.

Did they call the fire brigade immediately? This is where the idiot part comes in so you might guess that the answer is ‘no’. No, because ‘there are only five fire engines in the area and they might have been busy and it takes them half-an-hour to get here’ – all the more reason to make it your first action, then! They did have the good sense to call the porter, whose mother had clearly raised him correctly because he called the fire brigade.

TB & nameless, genderless friend then attempted to rouse the occupants. Someone let them in through the front door but they had to use their secret knowledge of halls of residence locked doors (I’m afraid to ask) to break in to wake everyone up. They also had to cover their mouths and noses with wet cloths to avoid choking. At least I taught him something he paid attention to.

Turns out it was a smouldering pan. Someone either came back drunk and wanted to cook sausages and forgot halfway through and went to bed; or they were cooking their dinner and forgot to turn off the stove and went to bed.

I’m pleased that my boy has the gumption to try and save lives; I just wish he’d use the common sense he was born with and with which his mother tried to stuff him as he was growing up. You should always call the emergency services first. As the Hub pointed out, if it had been more serious and they had been overcome, the fire brigade wouldn’t have known to look for them and this would have been a very different post.

TB says it’s not as big a deal as it sounds and no-one was hurt, and, yes, he did have a shower afterwards and made sure he could breathe properly and will you please leave me alone, Mother? I’ve been up all night writing – and discussing – essays and I need to catch up on some sleep.

He must think I’m an idiot.

Of Boxes & Boxers

17 Mar

Papier-mâché – such fun!  I was helping in school yesterday.  The girls got stuck in but some of the boys found it gross and didn’t like the mulch under their fingernails.  I’m that way about pastry, which is why I never make it. 

Two of the boys didn’t get past the building a mountain out of egg boxes stage, and asked for my help.  I found myself doing a Hub and completely taking over.  My mountain had a waterfall and caves and the fact that it was green and lumpy and the waterfall was made of a Smarties box means that you have no imagination at all.

Let me explain what I mean by ‘doing a Hub’: if you can ever not be bothered to finish a project, any project, just ask the Hub for his help; sit back; relax; watch a movie; bake a pie (using frozen pastry, naturally); raise a family.  He cannot help himself when he sees that you are not putting enough effort in; not dotting the ‘i’s, crossing the ‘t’s, outlining the crayon with a black marker pen; not using a fork to prettify the pie.  It’s how he got so sick in the first place.  Delegate?  Pah!  He spits on your ‘delegate’ (just got all Rowan Atkinson-French in Not The Nine O’Clock News there).  Why should he delegate when he can do it all himself?  He is not a perfectionist – good grief, no!  He denies the accusation strenuously, insisting that he just trys to be a perfectionist.  I bet 90% of all CFS/ME sufferers have the same complaint.

The children had to bring boxes into school to make their models.  I’m guessing that some didn’t bother to ask their parents’ permission: one had obviously retrieved his mother’s Canesten Duo box from the bin;  another was going to be in trouble when his mother discovered he had taken tonight’s ready meal from the freezer.  The worst part was that he left the food inside and took it into school three days before the project started.  There were a lot of complaints about the peculiar smell, especially once the heating was turned up.

Children don’t always embarrass their parents; sometimes it’s the other way around.  Tory Boy has joined http://www.formspring.me/.  Anyone can ask you any question and you can answer them.  He has had lots of political questions (Q: If after the election we have a hung parliament, how would you like to see the situation resolved? A: Too dull for this blog) and some personal (Me: Are you eating properly?  TB: Stop nagging), but this one made me laugh:

Q: Boxers or briefs (or other)?

A: Boxers. Always. Also, other? What the hell? No, just no.

I liked his answer so much I Liked it on Facebook.  Five minutes later I received an outraged phone call from my son asking me to Unlike it immediately and to refrain from liking his underwear on a public forum.  And in private, come to think of it.  It was just wrong on so many levels he would have to deny I was his parent if we were ever together in public.  That made me laugh even more: as if I’d ever admit that a politician was related to me, let alone be seen with him in public…how embarrassing.

I’m An Exercise Freak: There’s A Report That Proves It

16 Mar

I was cheered by a report in the Telegraph* that says dog owners get more exercise than non-dog-owning, gym-going folk.  This is true (it says so in the papers so it must be).  My dog has short legs – shorter even than mine – and it was recommended that he get half-an-hour’s walking a day, which means that I get half-an-hour’s walking a day.  He often gets more, of course, but only if it’s not cold, not wet, not dark, not boring and I’m annoyed with the Hub.  If I’m being honest, if it was just the last qualification we would have daily three-hour walks.  Toby also runs around a lot in the house – she’s standing up: there must be food!  He sneezed; I wonder if there’s any food?  The big one’s home; I bet she makes food.  He likes to play tug with his gezillion toys, which means that we play tug with his gezillion toys as well.   He’s very demanding; maybe we should have had another kid instead; at least they grow up and leave you: we’re stuck with this fella until he departs for that great park in the sky.  Hope there’s less poo up there.


Three minutes after being brushed. Typical adolescent.

I was also chuffed to notice a related article which claims that playing Sudoku burns off more calories than is contained in a Hobnob.  Me, I am liking this newspaper.  When I spotted that ‘Comfort eating does work’ and that superdiets are ‘based on myths’, I had to roll around in a box of Maltesers to celebrate. 

I am a little surprised that I don’t look like Posh Spice**, however, given the rigorous exercise & diet regime I have been following.  Next time I am exercising the dog,  I will put away my Sudoku puzzle as I sit virtuously on my park bench, and exercise the little grey cells instead: I’m sure M. Poirot will be able to help me; after all, we look so alike.




*Yes, I know the report appeared at the end of November but give me a break; I’m exhausted from all the walking.

**I first typed,’I am a little surprised that I don’t like Posh Spice’.***  Think it was a Freudian slip?  I don’t; I rather like her, but why does she never smile with all that she’s got to be happy about?  I bet she’s hungry.  She should follow my diet then she could look terrific and be cheerful.

***Then I corrected it and accidentally wrote, ‘I am a little surprised that I don’t loo like Posh Spice’.  Don’t think we’ll go there.

My Mother’s Day

14 Mar

It’s official – I have the best children in the world. I know you other mothers think that you have, but I am here to prove that’s not the case.

My day started nicely, with a wag and a lick from my dog. I went to church and heard via the story of Moses’s mother how good we mothers are, which is always nice to know, and we were all given daffodils as a reward. When I got home, I received my presents. Sadly, Tory Boy wasn’t here but I spoke to him Friday, Saturday and this morning, so I can’t complain. TB sent me a card that had no printed message inside because, he wrote, there is no card in the world that could say how much he loves me. That made me cry a little. Spud Bud spent ages choosing a beautiful card with just the right message. He went to write in it after I went to bed last night, and discovered when he opened it that it was a birthday card. That’s how he and his father came to be making me a card at one o’clock this morning. It was lovely, and I still have the other one to look forward to in September.

Family tradition is cards first, then presents. I received the two best presents in the world from the two best children in the world. TB – via his father, who isn’t bad, either – had a photograph the Hub took of my art gallery poem artwork printed onto canvas, so I have my own miniature version of it. How cool is he?

Spud, who has no money at the moment due to the plethora of new games recently released onto a hungry market, is going to cook my dinner tonight, for which I love him; but he also wrote me a poem telling me how great I am, for which I love him even more. That made me cry too. How cool is he? Plus, he drained his money-box of spare change to buy me a birthday card and the largest box of Maltesers I have ever seen, and added to his goodness by helping me to eat them.

It’s like the Hub said, we can’t remember many of the gifts they have bought us over the years (though we still have them all because we never part with anything they give us), but the love and thought that goes into handwritten poems and one-off artworks will be treasured more than anything.

The Hub and I popped out at twelve for what was supposed to be a one-hour round-trip to the cemetery. Three hours later we collapsed starving into our lounge. The traffic was horrendous and we have decided never to go anywhere on Mother’s Day again. I was supposed to be visiting my friend this afternoon but I was shattered from the last 180 minutes of gritting my teeth and restraining the Hub, who wanted to leap from his car and stone every driver who cut in on the hard shoulder instead of waiting their turn like decent people.

After a revivifying toasted chicken sandwich and mug of tea, I retired to the boudoir with Forrest, Forrest Gump. He has a pretty good mother, too. I have seen the film about twenty times but I never grow tired of it, and that’s all I have to say about that.

Just as I was settling down, Spud’s Best Friend ands Spud’s Best Friend’s Granddad arrived to watch the match. Spud’s BF, who has a home from home here, brought me a beautiful bunch of flowers. So I not only have the best children in the world, I also have the best children’s best best friend in the world.

I am one lucky mother.

Mother’s Day

14 Mar

Today in Britain it is Mother’s Day, so apologies for the uncharacteristically sloppy nature of this post. 

I’ll be getting presents about mid-morning;  visiting my own Mum at lunchtime, in her cosy Widnes cemetery; clearing off to drink a glass of wine with my friend while The Men watch The Football in the afternoon; and Spud is going to make tonight’s dinner all by himself.  Lovely!

Every day in my prayers I give thanks for my children: they personify the word ‘blessing’ as far as I’m concerned; but it occurred to me this morning that I should also give thanks for the privilege of being their mother.  It is the best job I will ever have and I have never once regretted giving up work to be at home with them.

   My bonny boy                                      My bonny boy



Travel Travails

10 Mar

Don't be fooled - behind this cute face lies a daft interior

You wait ages for a child, then one comes along every three minutes.  In this instance, the same child.  Spud left for school this morning in the usual manner: me hassling him and telling him he’s going to be late if he doesn’t get a move on will you just hurry UP!  and him…taking…his…time…I’ll be fine…don’t worry.  Sometimes I hate being proved right.  Our creaky door bell – creaky because the battery is dying and instead of a chirpy Bing! Bong! we get a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggggg…boooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggcough…splutter…fade to black – announced his return, three minutes after he had left the house two minutes late.  He missed the bus because it was five minutes early which, by my calculation, equals if a = plus2 and b = minus5 then c = too long in the bathroom with the hair gel, remainder ten, as in, leave the house ten minutes earlier tomorrow if you want to be sure of getting your bus.

He tantrummed on the doorstep along the lines of busesIhatebusesbusesarerubbishwhydowehavetohave busestheymakememiserable? for a couple of minutes; explained that he had come to tell me he was going to be late for school because he had no money on his phone i.e. that he was telling me he had no money on his phone which was why he had come to tell me that he had missed his bus, not that he had missed his bus because he had no money on his phone.  Just thought I’d better clear that up.  Then he stomped off to the bus stop for the 8:05 bus, which would make him late for school. 

I returned to the important business of King.com and thought no more of it.   Five minutes later the familiar biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggggg…boooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggcough…splutter…fade to black interrupted the first chance I have had to beat my high score on Rainbow Rescue in months.  It was Spud, enraged, at the door.  He had come to tell me he had missed his second bus as a consequence of coming to tell me he had missed his first bus and now he was going to be reallllllllly late for school.  Stupid buses!  I sent him away with the warning not to come and tell me if he missed his third bus, but to take the radical decision to stay put.

Kids!  They are so selfish – it’s going to be weeks before I get close to beating my high score again.


Talking of travel travails, if you want to hear Tom Wrigglesworth’s amusing take on the horrors of train travel, go to this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00r673j/An_Open_Letter_to_Richard_Branson/   Don’t be put off by the fact that he looks like a Marsh-wiggle; I was listening to him on Radio 4 last night and he had me laughing out loud.  But I think you only have a week to listen, so get a move on; you don’t want to miss the bus.

The Worst Thumb In The World

4 Mar

I’ve just heard that the Olympics have finished.  The Winter Olympics that is, not the real ones.  Who won?  Does anybody know?  It has been a bit of a non-event in this country.  I don’t think it’s because of the different time zone; I think it’s largely a matter of indifference: if they ain’t using a ball, it ain’t a sport.

I really should have known the games had ended because the Hub is not so keen to let me go up to bed at seven o’clock anymore.  Olympic highlights were on BBC 2 from seven to nine, you see, so I could make my escape.  The Hub is sports mad.  Sometimes he’s just mad; usually when I go to bed at seven on a school night and there’s no sport on the telly.  I’d ask him to join me but there’s no room for him and my book, my notebook, my netbook, my pencil case, my cup of tea, my light snack and my pear tree.  Something has to give and if there’s food involved, it won’t be me.

Thinking about the Olympics reminds me of the real ones in 2004.  Not that I remember them at all, but that was the year we held our own Olympiad, one Sunday night.   The boys had had their baths and the whole family was sitting on our bed chatting about this and that, me not yet owning a notebook, netbook, book, et al, and the boys decided to have a mini Olympics to fill the time until Top Gear.  The Hub was too fatigued to take part so he was voted the equipment and me the referee.  We had five events – underarting, eye pumping, zerbeting, dadprodding and wedgying.  If I tell you that underarting consists of little boys’ armpits making rude noises, you’ll get the idea.  Eye pumping is not as gross as it sounds, and involves bigger boys making rude noises by cupping their sockets.

The main event was the zerbeting competition; aficionados of The Cosby Show will know exactly what I’m talking about, but if you are uninitiated I will explain – childish wet lips blowing bubbles on reluctant parents’ skins, as long and as loud as possible.  The Hub is the perfect victim: he has a belly that wobbles like Santa’s when under attack from his children; if zerbeting was a real Olympic sport he’d be sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Spud is our acknowledged King of Zerbeters but he was a little off form that night, despite a couple of short sharp zerbets, so I was forced to make the boys try over and over and over and over and over and over until I finally had to declare a draw.  Poor Hub.  If he’d been exhausted before, he was now exhausted and covered in spit.

The penultimate event was a bout of dadprodding which caused the Hub to demand the Government set up an NSPCD (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Dads).  The finishing flourish was Spud wedgying himself into his pyjamas, and then turning them into the largest y-fronts you’ve ever seen.  At this point the referee took part in the competition, but only because her own particular wedgy had been a work in progress for the past eight years, as her backside spread ever wider.

2004 was the year the boys went table tennis mad; they set up their tt table in the lounge in front of the telly; we had to stand to watch tv: that’s okay for a while, but try following both marathon events standing up and, like us, you’d soon be looking out for adoption agencies.  We played table tennis constantly for two weeks.  Tory Boy is pretty good at it but the ball kept hitting his thumb and he got more and more frustrated.  He was playing with Spud, who happened to be winning because said ball kept hitting said TB’s said thumb and as a result the point is not allowed.  Tory Boy finally lost his temper, slammed down his bat, thrust his thumb into the air and raged, ‘I hate this thumb!  This is the worst thumb in the world!’

Boys Will Be Tory Boys

3 Mar


The question has been asked of me: ‘Why are you such a cruel and terrible mother that you can refer to your first born as “Tory Boy”?’

My answer: ‘Huh?’

It was all ignorance, you see.  Not being a fan of Harry Enfield, I didn’t know he had a monster of a character called Tory Boy.   I was pretty horrified when I found out; so horrified, I couldn’t stop laughing for days.

Tory Boy has been a real Tory Boy this past weekend.  He attended the Conservatives’ Spring Conference in Brighton.  Yes, that Brighton, where they blew up Margaret Thatcher and where the name ‘Tory Boy’ can have a whole other meaning.  He went with three other idealists and they stayed in Worthing and bused in to the conference.  He had a fabulous time.

He met some of his heroes, including William Hague.  He had a long chat with Michael Gove, who came up to him next day and told TB that he had used some of his ideas in his speech!  He stayed in the empty conference hall after George Osborne‘s speech and noticed he had left his notes behind on the lectern.  I’m not saying anything that might reflect badly on the future Prime Minister of the World (teachers – look out; Tory Boy is coming to get you), but let’s just say that if Mr Osborne went back to find the notes, if he wasn’t looking in Tory Boy’s trousers, he was looking in the wrong place.

Ah yes: larceny and deception.  What a wonderful MP my son will one day make.  I always knew he’d bring shame on the family. 

Still, it could have been so much worse: at least he’s not a vegetarian.

The Post Woman Only Slaps Once

28 Feb

I am just about to go to bed; I am having visitors tomorrow so I thought I would get my post in now and then I won’t have to worry about it. Bed is supposed to be a place of rest and recuperation (well it is at my age) but it wasn’t like that for the Hub last night: I turned over in my sleep and slapped him in the face. They say we do the things in our dreams that we would like to do in life but don’t have the courage for…poor Hub.

Before you start feeling sorry for him, let me tell you that I am not the only violent sleeper in this marriage: more than once he has dreamed he’s in a fight and has punched the wall. Sometimes he wakes up with a bruised hand and wonders why; sometimes I wake him up by yelling at him that he nearly got me that time. Then he mutters, ‘Curses!  Foiled again.’  Maybe we should think about separate beds or arguing less. No: when I suggested it we argued more.

We are great squabblers over stupid things: the door’s not quite shut; whichever one of us closed the curtains left a gap; the pillows are the wrong way round on the bed; one of us ate all the cheese & onion crisps. It used to bother me but now I think it works like a whistling kettle (on a stove top, naturally): a little tension is released each day so we avoid drying up and exploding. I have known the break up of couples who never argue; by annoying each other each day we are actually saving our marriage. That’s what I’ll tell him next time he moans that I didn’t take my empty cup into the kitchen. Right before I throw it at him.

I wonder if it’s the squabbles that make me punish the Hub in the night, when we are both asleep? Apparently, I often yank his pillow out from under him so that his head crashes to the mattress. It wouldn’t hurt when awake but he tells me it’s a shocker when you’re dreaming that Demi Moore has at last seen the light and dumped Ashton for a real man, and you suddenly find yourself flat on your back with a humped-back woman hogging the bed. The humped-back woman is me cuddling his pillow and imitating a chevron.

Then there is the matter of the duvet: the poor love is under the impression that, because he sleeps in the same bed, he’s entitled to a share in it; he has delusions of equality. Men think the funniest things, don’t they? He’ll be wanting more than a quarter of the mattress next.

Quite Interesting

25 Feb

I was watching QI recently and I learned two interesting facts:

  1. The Netherlands now has its own version.  I first typed ‘Holland’ but luckily I remembered that an episode of QI explained why that is incorrect.  I’m not going to bother telling you why it is, because I’ve forgotten. 

I checked out the QI website and I don’t think it’s that helpful for the kind of information I was looking for – which other countries have their own version?  But it did steer me towards the QI entry in Wikipedia , the first time I have known that to happen, and this in spite of QI’s regular mockery of the veracity of Wikipedia’s entries.  The answer was The Netherlands only.  (Wikipedia cleverly avoided the Holland trap by saying ‘The Dutch’.)  The only reason it hasn’t been picked up by other countries, apparently, is the issue of copyright of the images broadcast.

It took me so long to type that, I’ve forgotten what number 2 is.  How annoying.

Took a chocolate break and it came flooding back; chocolate is clearly brain food – how else do you explain the number of degrees given out each year to 21 year-olds who believe that three years of eating crisps, chocolate, pizza and Coke constitutes a balanced diet? 

There is – allegedly – a website in America called seeitrot.com, where you can buy a webcam for a coffin and watched your loved one moulder to dust away.  I say ‘allegedly’ because of course I had to check it out, and nothing came up except lots of laments about rotten food, and advice on protecting your boat because salt water will otherwise kill it off.  Didn’t know that either.  This self-educating business is fun.

I found the seeitrot.com thing interesting because of my Mum.  I hasten to assure you I had no desire to watch her rot away – it would have been kind of dull, anyway, because she’s a pile of ash – but she had a phobia of being buried or burned alive in her coffin and  I’m sure she’d have insisted I sign up if she’d known about it.  She made everyone she knew swear to stick a pin in her when the time came, to confirm she was truly dead.  Everyone agreed to do it – well, you have to placate crazies, don’t you? – but only the Hub and I followed through.  Just as well, really as, with that many holes in her, the pall bearers would have had embalming fluid stains on their suit shoulders at the funeral.  Now that would have been interesting.

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