Tag Archives: Love

Happy Valentine’s Day?

14 Feb

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

A story of true love, it begins at Christmas…

Dear Judge,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I throw myself on the mercy of the court.

Signed, The Moulting Housewife

 

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Men Are From Mars; Women Are From Who Cares?

14 Aug

Picture the scene: a new box of cereal, too tall for the cereal shelf.

Solution: reduce the size of the box.

Here is the Hub’s handiwork:

           Crunchy Neat

Here is mine:

            Rice Tearmies

Where do you stand on the Seriously?  It’s just cereal! debate?

Train Pain

24 Jul

It’s hard to believe that Viv has been gone just over a year.  I went to her funeral and I wanted to tell you about it at the time, but I couldn’t bring myself to write that post.  A year on, however, I have some emotional distance, so here goes. I am writing from memory because, when I checked back to my notebook, there is nothing at all.  Not one word; just the funeral programme, taped in.  I couldn’t even write about it for myself.  That’s grief for you.

Viv’s daughter Sally invited me to read Viv’s self-penned epitaph poem at the funeral.  I was honoured.  I wouldn’t have missed her funeral for anything, but it was lovely to be invited to be a part of it.

My travel anxieties have been well-documented on this blog so you won’t be surprised to learn that as the funeral was held in Newcastle and I live in Stockport, I made sure to leave with time to spare when I arrived.  To be fair, I’d have done the same if I was going one town up: that’s how I roll.  Or clickety-clack.  I don’t trust public transport; or myself on public transport (remind me to tell you why I once missed the first twenty minutes of The Lion King at The Palace Theatre, Manchester, seven minutes away by train).  

To be more fair, the Hub booked my ticket and made sure to leave me with some time to spare when I arrived – but not for my change at Sheffield.  I was miffed to have only 25 minutes because I had to find the platform for the next train and Sheffield is a big station and I am a big panicker.  The Hub assured me I’d be fine.  What could possibly go wrong?

He reserved seats on all four trains for me, over my objections: I always run onto a train and grab the first free seat I can, because that’s how I clickety-clack.  The train from Stockport to Sheffield was packed, however, and I was glad the Hub is bossy because I was able to turf someone out of my reserved seat.

The seat-with-my-name-on-it went a long way towards earning the Hub forgiveness, because it was standing room only all the way from Stockport to Sheffield.  There was no refreshment cart, ergo, no tea, ergo, anxious, panicky, uncaffeinated me.  There was a delay, a slow train, only ten minutes – NOT twenty-five as I had been assured by my perfidious man – to find the platform with my next train.  I fairly erupted onto Platform 1, hitting the ground running, eyes peeled for information screens, clichés exploding from every orifice.

DSCN0956 Sheffield was obviously still feeling the effect of Austerity because there wasn’t one uniformed human in sight.  I ran up the steps to the concourse – no screens!  I ran left – no screens!  I ran right – a screen!  Heaving, bent over my shaky legs, I slowed down enough to glare at the screen which informed me my train left from…Platform 1.  That’s right: the platform I had just run away from.  I had four minutes to get there and had to use the lift because Sheffield Station is just stupid in its weird layout with no stairs down to Platform 1 and absentee staff who probably don’t carry wheelbarrows on their person for exhausted travellers anyway.

I hit the lift button and…waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally – finally! – the doors opened and I ran forward; and then backed up as a thousand people who obviously had at least an hour to find their platform were disgorged.  At last they got out of my way and I jumped onto the lift, slammed the button, and was transported on the slowest elevator known to man to the platform below. Sucking in such oxygen as I could muster the energy for, I ran along the platform just as my train to Newcastle pulled in.

I collapsed into my thankfully reserved space and waited for the sweat to puddle on the seat, the breath to return to my aged lungs, and the spots to disappear from before my eyes.  Then I heard the bad news: no refreshment cart again.  I muttered to myself long and hard.  No one would have heard me if I’d muttered aloud, anyway, because I had no spit to help me articulate my uncaffeinated state.

I settled in, anxious and fidgety – you know, the normal addict state, except that my fix is Earl Grey, black, hot – for the longish journey, and became more anxious and more fidgety as the journey became ever-longer.  I discovered later that there had been a lightning strike on a signal box the day before, causing extended delays.  I watched the time and stressed.  I watched the time and fidgeted.  I watched the time and became tearful. I watched and watched and watched my watch and guess what?  I arrived in Newcastle about the time the funeral started.

I made sure to be first off the train – get out of my way, mother with a baby and elderly wheelchair user!  I’ve got a deceased friend to honour – and ran and ran and ran some more, finally finding the taxi rank when I wiped the sweat from my eyes and could read signs again.  I ran to the first taxi, but I was hailed by a uniformed human – better late than never, eh? – and we had the following conversation:

UH: Oi!  There’s a queue!

TB: OhpleaseI’mlateformyfriend’sfuneralandI’mreadingthepoemandit’salreadystart
edandthetrainwaslateIdon’tknowwhybutI’vegottogetthereassoonaspossibleplease
pleasecanIhavethistaxiplease?Sob

UH: Uh, sure, go ahead.

The taxi driver was wonderful and sympathetic and got me to the cemetery as soon as possible – perhaps wanting to get the hysterical woman out of his cab, but I prefer to think he had the milk of human kindness in abundance – where I encountered a problem: two chapels.

Seriously, folks, how I didn’t have a complete meltdown at this point, I don’t know.

Like a Wimbledon viewer trapped between two players serving high-speed aces, I gazed back and forth, back and forth between the chapels, paralysed by uncertainty.  What if I burst into the wrong funeral?  The odds were good that it would happen, because I never met a blunder I didn’t make. My favourite photo of Viv

Just then, a limousine rolled up and I was inspired to ask the sad-faced woman emerging, ‘Excuse me, I’m looking for a funeral and I know it’s not yours because you’ve just arrived; can you please tell me which chapel you’re going to because I’m so late and my funeral must be in the other.’ Bless her, she did.

I burst into Viv’s funeral as quietly as possible and only eighty percent of the people looked at me, including the eulogising vicar.  Small mercies, eh?  I was ushered to a seat, given a programme, offered a glass of water – because I clearly looked like Mr Rochester’s first wife at this point – and sat my trembling bum on the seat so I could frantically scan the programme to see if I’d missed my spot.

I hadn’t missed my spot!

If I had never believed in God up to that point, I believed in Him that day.  The vicar finished talking and it was my turn to get up and read Viv’s poem.  I’m proud to say I read it as if I’d travelled to Newcastle the week before and spent three days in a spa, being massaged from head to foot and back again.  I would never have let Viv down.

Several people came up to me afterwards and greeted me as if they knew me. Turns out they did: Viv’s friends I’d met and fellow bloggers amongst them.  I was still in Yellow Wallpaper mode, however, and couldn’t register anyone until at least two teas later.  I apologise if you felt slighted, but I assure you it was not on purpose.  Travel in general and lateness in particular send me a little crazy; throw in grief for a beloved friend and it’s a wonder I didn’t end up in Newcastle-Under-Lyme instead of Newcastle Upon Tyne.  Viv’s family were wonderful and understanding, and I was so grateful to them.

My only consolation is that Viv would have loved this post.  As far as I’m concerned, that makes any craziness on my part entirely worth it.  Just as well, eh?

 

What Are You Up To, Dad?

7 Jul

Here’s a gratuitous pic of my gorgeous grandson.  We call it ‘Suspicious Baby’.

21 Today!

15 Jan

Linda & Alex 15011996

Happy birthday, Spud!  You survived me to manhood; you deserve a medal…or at the very least, a trip to the RSC to see Simon Russell Beale smash Prospero.

Oh, wait, we did that yesterday!

This is you, handsome as always:

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This is you, letting me be in the picture this time:

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We love you; we’re proud of you; please get rich so that you can look after us in our old age.  That’s why we had you, after all.

Here’s a birthday poem for you:

Happy birthday to Spud
You’re not quite a dud
You like Shakespeare
And have big hair
You’re a good kid, though weird*

*Seriously, what do you expect?  It’s almost midnight last night and I was out on trains, eating chips, and at the theatre all day; if that isn’t good mothering, I don’t know what is.  Don’t expect great poetry as well.

Happy birthday, darling boy!  

PS Angry Men!  Snow!

 

Rogue’s Gallery

10 Oct

Happy birthday to the Hub!
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Such a cheerful man.  You can see why I’ve stayed married to him for so long, can’t you?

He was a good glass; a reliable glass...

Here's how I did react

A honeymoon pic.  He was twenty.

DSCN0832A barrel of laughs.

A silent Hub

A self-portrait he made which freaked the heck out of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda pregnant 1996005When a man looks that good, here’s the inevitable result…

Viv

15 Jul
My favourite photo of Viv

My favourite photo of Viv

I never truly understood the concept of a heavy heart until this past week, when I heard the news that my beloved friend Viv had died.

Many of you knew her, whether online or in person; many more must have read her comments on my blog: she was one of my greatest supporters and cheerleaders. I loved her very much.  I’m glad I told her so.

I am not alone in my love: once the news had been posted by her family, on her blog, comments poured in from all over the world; dismay and sadness were the chief emotions, but many happy memories were shared.  The comment box not being enough, other bloggers posted their own tributes to Viv.  She deserves each and every one.

This isn’t a case of not speaking evil of the dead: she was a genuinely good and generous woman.  She was passionate about music, nature, the environment, quilting, poetry, education, friends, family…but most of all, she was passionate about life.  She lived.  She lived fully.  Despite pain and suffering, she lived right up to the end.  You could never accuse her of apathy.

She was always honest – here’s what turned out to be her last critique of one of my poems:

No and thrice no.  In questionable taste and unfunny!!!!!

I shall treasure it forever.

DSCN0956My heart has been heavy because of her loss; but also because I wanted to write this post – even had it roughed out in my head – but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  If I put it into print, then it became true: my dear Viv has gone.

My dear Viv has gone.

Upon hearing the news of a beloved’s death, people react differently: some cry, some scream, some freeze.  Some pretend it never happened. Some can’t believe that it happened.  All wish it hadn’t happened.

But for each person, no matter their reaction, there is one constant: emotion, like a boulder, sits on the chest – in the chest – where the beloved once resided.  Like Sisyphus, we try to push it away.  Unlike Sisyphus, we eventually succeed.  It may take months, years, decades but, sooner or later, the unbearable loss becomes bearable, and only love remains.

Once a person lodges in your heart, they never leave.  An osmosis occurs; and separation is merely physical.

Viv will always be a part of my life; I will always remember her.  How could I not? Before I met her, when we were friends online only, her personality was such that I was convinced ‘Viv’ was short for ‘vivacious’.  Imagine the full force of her charm and sweetness (she was often tart in print; never in person, that I ever saw) once we actually did meet.  I loved her at once.  You would have, too.

ViV compressed

Photo © Blake/Hutt
Viv graduating from the Open University

Do yourself a favour and visit her blog, if you haven’t before.  She wrote poetry from the heart – like she lived her life – but it was always accessible.  Enjoy her rants on war, politicians, terrorism, the way we treat the environment.  Revel in her sublime appreciation of nature.  Mourn the loss of a unique and special woman; and, like me, be grateful if you knew her at all.

 

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