Tag Archives: Husbands

Promises, Promises

12 Jan

IMG_0088I thought I’d tell you about two of my Christmas presents: the tourmaline necklace and emerald ring (no, it wasn’t my usual hyperbole; I really did receive a ton of gifts).

Our story begins a long time ago in a continent far, far away…the Hub was in Madagascar on business.  He was always away on business, which meant he spent half his time shopping for guilt presents for me and then only child Baby Boy.  

Browsing a huge market, he came across a stall selling precious and semi-precious stones.  He bought four for around R10 (roughly 2-3 pounds/dollars), including the tourmaline and emerald.

When he first gave them to me, he promised to have the emerald set in a ring as soon as we had some spare cash.  That was twenty-four years ago.

Life happened: we bought a house; he started his own business; we had another baby; we left South Africa; he became ill, etc., etc.  The stones languished in my jewellery box, forgotten, I thought.  I wasn’t particularly bothered; he bought the stones on a market stall – I wasn’t convinced it was even a real emerald.

Fast forward twenty-four years.  It was three weeks before Christmas.  The Hub raided my jewellery box and took the two stones to a local jeweller.  He figured that if he was getting one stone set, he might get a deal on another.  The jeweller was impressed by the emerald – rare colouring these days, apparently; and of very good quality.

The Hub was specific about the setting, because he knows I’m specific about jewellery – I don’t do big or bulky or fancy or showy.  I have a small frame and small hands and I like delicate and dainty and not too much of anything.

He went to collect them the day before Christmas Eve.  The  tourmaline necklace was perfect.  The emerald ring…not so much.  The setting was fancy; too fancy for this Hub’s wife, he knew.  He was adamant that it be re-set in time for Christmas.

It took the jeweller three weeks to get it wrong and 24 hours to get it right.  The Hub collected the ring in its new setting on Christmas Eve, packed it in a giant box to throw me off the scent, and had one spectacularly happy spouse on Christmas morning.

It took twenty-four years but the man kept a small promise he made to me.  That was the real Christmas gift.

Christmas Conversations

4 Jan

November

The Hub: What do you want for Christmas?

Tilly Bud: Nothing, really.  I could do with some new socks.  Oh, and I’ve run out of perfume.  Maltesers, of course.  A large Amazon book voucher.  And somebody better buy me the Outlander DVD or you three are going to have a miserable Christmas.  But nothing, really.  You know I don’t need much.

 

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The Week Before Christmas

Alex and I went to the local care home to join in with my church carol singing. We’re a small church but, even so, I was disappointed that he and I were the only people to show up.

Attendant: Who are you here to see?

TB: We’re here for the St Matthew’s carol singing.

Attendant: That’s tomorrow.

Christmas Eve

Here’s a conversation I never expected to have.  I was watching ‘White Christmas’ with Spud.  Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye were performing to ‘Sisters’.

TB: I can so see you and Sam doing that.

Spud: [Enthusiastically] Yeah!  I can, too.  I’ll speak to him about it.

TB: I’ve got the perfect dress you could borrow.

Spud: [Still enthusiastic].  Great!  Thanks, Ma!

*

Christmas Eve Continued

TB: Don’t let me forget the starter tomorrow.  Every year, I forget to prepare and serve the starter.  But not this year!

The Hub: I have faith in you.

 

Christmas Eve Continued Again

TB: Hub!  The dishwasher’s not working!  Argh!IMG_0095

Hub: I’ll fix it.

Three days and seven hundred handwashed-by-me dishes later:

Hub: I can’t fix it. [TB stares] Please don’t leave me.  I prefer hospital. [TB stares] But I’d rather not go to hospital. [TB stares] But we can’t afford a new dishwasher; it’s Christmas. [TB stares] Gulp.

Ten minutes later:

Hub: I bought you a new dishwasher.  It’ll be here on Tuesday.

Christmas Day

TB: Thank you, Hub, for the socks, the perfume, the Maltesers, the other sweets, the autographed photos of Cliff Richard and Chris Hemsworth, the tourmaline necklace, the emerald ring, the Outlander DVD and the twenty-seven stocking fillers.  I told you I didn’t want much; I’m glad you listened.

The Hub: You deserve it all, so sweet and undemanding as you are.

TB: [Blush]

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Christmas Day Continued

TB: Dinner!  Enjoy, my darlings.  Merry Christmas!

The Hub: Um, I don’t want to upset you but you remember how you swore you wouldn’t forget the starter this year…?

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Bank Holiday Monday

My brother was visiting from down south.

TB: Did you watch A Gert Lush Christmas? It was so funny.  [American readers, think redneck stereotypes

Bro [Who lives in the general area of the programme’s setting]: It’s really like that.

TB: Seriously?

Bro: Seriously. They had to close Cinderford CSI, you know; they couldn’t solve any crimes.  

TB [Walking right into it]: Why?

Bro: Because there were no dental records; and everyone’s got the same DNA.

 

Five Days After Christmas

TB: Hub!  The washing machine broke down!

Hub: I’m leaving you.*

*Not really; fear makes him babble.

 

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Six Days After Christmas

TB: Right, that’s my sack full of presents finally put away.  Everything was on my desk but I had to clear them to wrap Pam’s birthday present.  You know, I’ve got the feeling I’m missing something, but for the life of me, I can’t think what.

The Hub: The starters?

The Hub: Ow!

 

 

New Year

WordPress: Here’s your annual stats.

TB: Thank you, WordPress!  How did I do?

WP: 22 posts all year?  Loser!

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January 3rd

Friend Pam: Thank you for the lovely birthday presents!

TB: Presents?  It was just one present; the framed painting.

FP: No, no; you also gave me autographed photos of Cliff Richard and Chris Hemsworth.  Weird gifts, especially Cliff’s, but I loved the Chris Hemsworth one. Thank you so much!

*

And finally…less talking, more singing: here’s Alex with his friends, just before Christmas.

 

 

 

Untidy Lounge, Untidy Mind.

21 Dec

My house is cluttered; you know this.  

You also know that from time to time the mess gets me down even though, for the most part, I can live with it.

Last Wednesday was such a day.

This was my train of thought: I‘m never going to get rid of this stuff.  Well, not until there’s just me, anyway, and I can decide without argument what stays and what goes.

Here’s what I said to the Hub: I can’t wait until you die and I can get rid of this stuff.

Worst wife ever.

Wonder if I’ll get a Christmas present this year?

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.

That Was The Week That Was (II)

22 Aug
The Hub in pre-rabbit days

The Hub before he was brutally savaged by a rabbit

The story so far: one broken husband and one disdainful rabbit combine to make one weary of constant Ow-ow-ows from the Hub.

*

Monday 11 August

My monthly visit to Write Out Loud at the art gallery, an open mic poetry night.

The Hub refused to go to A&E.

*

Tuesday 12 August

Tea and toast with Friend Pam at Olive Café in Edgeley, a joint-church venture which is doing remarkable well.

The Hub refused to go to A&E between his groans.  I began to feel a tad irritated.

*

Wednesday 13 August

The Hub refused to at least visit the doctor but had me feel up his swollen shoulder.  I began to plot ways of making his suffering even worse.

Spud went out to a pre-results party with his friends so they could all be nervous together instead of in their separate homes.

DSCF1367The Hub and I went to church. 

Yes, you did that read that right – the arch-atheist Hub and I went to church.  New Chapel in Denton where, the Hub had discovered via the magic that is the internet, his great-uncle John Ellor, who died in Egypt in 1918, had his name on the Sunday School Roll of Honour for those who died during the Great War.

A wonderful couple – she works as the church secretary – called Christine and Barry pulled out all of the old records and we found lots of relatives from the Hub’s father’s side – and his grandparents’ 1927 marriage certificate.  To actually touch their signatures was emotional even for me, who has no blood connection.  It’s the first time the Hub has had a good time in church since he married me 29 years ago.

Ah!  Just realised why he’s never been back…

2:15 a.m.

I woke up to hear the Hub creeping downstairs…on his way to A&E to get his swelling checked out.  He was in agony and unable to sleep.  It was worth going in the middle of the night to avoid the I-told-you-sos, and because it took less than an hour for the Hub to be checked over, x-rayed and told that his scapula might be broken but he was so badly bruised that it was impossible to tell.  Take ibuprofen and try not to be too smug in your wife’s face or you might end up back here with  a definite broken scapula.

*

Thursday 14 August

Morning

Made with love

Made with love

Results day.  Spud arrived home exhausted but too excited to sleep; and starving.  He had a breakfast of 2 eggs and 3 toast followed by 6 lots of cheese and crackers.

Spud slept all day.

Evening

Spud’s friends arrived for drinks-before-the-real-boozing-starts-in-town (Manchester) celebration.  We have known most of the boys for the last seven years and they are a lovely lot, so we cracked open a bottle of champagne with them, drinking from paper cups because Spud insisted.  Then we went off to bed and they went out about ten p.m.

*

Pre-drinks before the real drinks

Pre-drinks before the real drinks

Friday 15 August

6:05 a.m.

Spud crept in.  Spud slept all day.

9:15 a.m.  I went out for the day to Llandudno, on the church charabanc. 

I went on a boat!  A three-year old girl loved it; her older brother screamed the whole time. 

I went on the beach as the tide came in.  So I wasn’t on the beach for long.

A beautiful Welsh beach

A beautiful Welsh beach

I went on the country’s longest pier – a mile and a half, I think. 

I went on the tuppeny slots, just like I did on Welsh holidays as a child. 

I discovered you can’t slice a scone without a knife but it tastes just as good when buttered, creamed and jammed with a spoon. 

I got home at six-thirty and I was in bed thirty minutes later.*

If I'd had the money, I would have bought the boys - all three of them - one each of these onesies

If I’d had the money, I would have bought the boys – all three of them – one each of these onesies

Saturday 16 August

Tory Boy phoned: I’m at the hospital with suspected appendicitis.

*

Come back soon for the final, exciting instalment – is Tory Boy fit to burst?

 

That Was The Week That Was (I)

19 Aug

 

Such a good looking boy...

Such a good looking boy…

Hello Readers.

I don’t know if you remember me – I used to blog.  I’ve been so busy lately, however, I haven’t had a chance – well, we’ve had a couple of weeks here at Tilly Bud Towers!  A bruised scapula from chasing a rabbit; a septic appendix; and a hysterical teenager.  Not to mention exam results and poetry readings.  I’ll break it down into diary form or it will take up a third of the page just to repeat, ‘…and on Suchaday we…’  It will probably take a couple of days to regale you – you know I can never make a long story less than Lord of the Rings length.

Saturday 9 August

In the week prior to a week-last-Saturday, First World War anniversary fever hit me hard.  The Hub, Spud and I attended a candlelit walk around the park on Monday 4th, along with several hundred others, following a piper and six flag-wielding WWII veterans.  A short service followed before the Last Post was played, and all candles were extinguished at eleven p.m., to signal the moment one hundred years ago when Britain began to be at war with Germany.  It was incredibly moving.

I don’t know if my non-Brit readers know the story of Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, but it is worth repeating:

A friend came to see me on one of the evenings of the last week […]. We were standing at a window of my room in the Foreign Office. It was getting dusk, and the lamps were being lit in the space below on which we were looking. My friend recalls that I remarked on this with the words: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

From Grey’s memoir, published in 1925

DSCF1354To commemorate the start of the war, my church held an open morning with the theme, The Lamps Are Going Out.  As I was one of two people organising it, I spent the whole week working with my friend Pam The Great Administrator (she’s amazing and must only be spoken of in capital letters in my hearing) to collect artefacts, set up a slide show, arrange for costumes, rehearse poems and heavily promote the event.  The last bit worked especially well because we more than quadrupled our usual Saturday morning numbers.  Actually, it was even more than that, only I don’t know the correct term for ‘five times as many people came into church than is usual’.

We expected two tables of old bits on display but we had six.  Some people brought a table’s worth alone, and stayed with their stuff to chat to visitors and explain the (fascinating) history.

Pam baked delicious Anzac biscuits.  The children decorated glass candle holders.  We had period music playing in the background.  And Spud and I gave two readings of poems written between 1914-1919.  The whole event was a huge success, not least because it reminded us of what was sacrificed, at home and abroad.  Spud remarked to me that, as he was just eighteen, if he’d been born a hundred years ago he would probably have been off to war with all of his pals.  A sobering thought.DSCN3284

Sunday 10 August

Morning

Church followed by Stockport Writers.  It was my turn to chair.  I wanted to take the August meeting so I could use the theme, The Start of the War.  I hadn’t considered, three months earlier when I put down my name, that it came back-to-back with yesterday’s event and I woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of Thursday night, realising that I had nothing prepared.  Two hours and one irritable Molly later, it was done: I pared fictional and actual events down to their bare essentials – e.g. the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand became An angry teenager with a gun – and used them as prompts.

Afternoon

I had been in five minutes and had just poured boiling water into three mugs when there was a knock at the door.  A neighbour had seen a runaway rabbit and called at my house because I was on the corner and therefore would probably know who it belonged to.  With logic like that, it’s hard to believe we can win a raffle, never mind two world wars.

Still, I’m a sucker for a scared pie filling so I went out to help, calling for my pretty assistant the Hub to come along: animals love him and if anyone could catch it, it would be him.

Turns out anyone couldn’t catch it, including the Hub – it sat in a shrubbery patch, snaffling the carrots we used to entice it and ignoring the umbrella-thrashing we gave the bushes in an attempt to frighten it out.  The last we heard, it had eloped with a runaway pig and they had set up home in Tamworth.

The poor Hub didn’t have such a lucky escape: it was raining and he slipped on some cobbles, landing flat – hard! – on his back and breaking his watch, to the amusement of those neighbours who had come out to watch us chase the rabbit but felt no need to join in.  Or to help him up.

When I got him back inside, Spud was in a spin: having had a late night, he had only just got up.  He came downstairs to find half-made tea, still warm; the car in the drive; the back door unlocked; but no parents.  He tried calling us but our phones rang inside the house…he was creeped out like only a half-asleep teen with a vivid imagination can be.  The Hub would have laughed if it hadn’t hurt so much; but he refused to go to the hospital.

The Hub wasting away because of my neglect

The Hub wasting away because of my neglect

*

Tune in again – date to be determined because the excitement is still ongoing.

Coming soon: A day trip to Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vivinfrance's Blog

mainly poetry, also quilts, pictures, life-writing and the occasional short story.

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