Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The words...

Lyrics Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah lyrics

Lovely old Squashed Face

Think this handmade robin is looking even more, um, handmade after a good week of Christmas feasting, and partying. He needs a new friend for New Year. But who can we make next? and do we have time after scrubbing the house clean? (Well scrubbing will start in approximately an hour).

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

El Capitain Loves North Devon

We've been drinking this the last couple of days, down in sunny Devon. Really lovely with some cola, and ice. Almost a sensible drink, almost.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, I can't hear this enough times..

I'm adoring this, absolutely and completely. I had to get it for the journey to lovely Braunton. Which is lovely, course the poor children had to listen to me singing it over and over and over...

Mostly the Jeff Buckley version though, the Leonard Cohen is a little too, um, incomprehensible.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Does blogging keep you sane? Or just expose the world to your own madness and therefore make others realise their own madness'?

With the issues of gender based mouse pads, or rather one fingered clicking and dragging, plus my actual computer being out of order I've had nearly a whole month off blogging.
It's been a really busy month; shopping, cooking, concerts, school fairs, nativities, wrapping, um drinks, visiting friends staying and so on. I've also been drinking a lot of fizzy pop this week.

Mistakenly decided how much 'fun' it would be to replicate own Christmas childhood with lurid drinks and bought limeade and cherryade. Course as usual, we had friends up, and some singing to do- on the Singstar at least so we started early. Drove us all bonkers - especially me as I had a solid week of sleeplessness. Culminating in loud shout of the word baby, and cackling at the school carol concert. Totally embarrassed self, amused the parents around me, of course I blame lovely local parents who have amused me all year- but they can control selves in public so is my fault.

So now am on early days self imposed behaving self regime, managed to sleep last night, even despite a few dreams about blogging. And despite a five hour journey home from Hertfordshire yesterday afternoon. Must blog more, must sleep more, and simply must go back to non-1970's food and drink. (Possible exception being the eggnog I bought for slightly inexplicable reasons last week - blame sleep deprivation).

So here we are then, Merry Christmas all readers, have a lovely day/few days - remember its about the nice food not the historic food. (Think we are going down the veggie Toad in Hole route as its a winner with us all). And are ditching the hydrogenated fat snacks - yum yum and luminous drinks, for some lovely fizzy juice, or even better my favourite sparking drink, orange juice and perrier.

Have a good one and let me know your luminous drink and food mistakes to make me feel better if you have any....

Monday, 22 December 2008

Finger pointing and the use of the mouse

Had a rather interesting epiphany the night before last. I asked my friend C to try out the spare laptop to see if it was only men with rough hands who could use it. And she could, and her hands are very soft.

So I watched her using the computer...and realised that she used just one finger on the mouse pad. Not two pointing gun fingers together. Just one, her index finger. A room poll proved the theory, so I tried it out. No more Peter Pointer on the pad, just Ruby Ring and it works! I'm online and on fire.


Friday, 12 December 2008

It's broken down and probably is past repair...

The laptop has gone dark, can't see the words anymore.

So although, I can use a borrowed one - this one, it is not the same anymore. So I'll be blogging off for a while - to repair or start again. I am planning to be a little more productive with my time, and write and do to do lists with my coffee rather than using the time to write as quickly as I can about whatever nonsense my head spins.

So its ta ta for now.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

I love nursery - and I don't even attend!

I adore J's nursery - have absolutely got over fear about it being pre-school boot camp due to uniform wearing, and being quite strict. I've just taken home Term 2's newsletter and here are some gorgeous bits...

' Children were involved in selecting new resources to extend their play, some children expressed a desire for a castle to be purchased. J spent some time with these children looking on the internet for a suitable castle which arrived this morning much to the delight of the children. Many children helped unpack the castle (n.b. I'd have plunked them in front of telly at this point as their little hands made a mess of the bits! but hey, am not lovely teacher), and after looking carefully at the instructions assisted with putting it together'.

Some police came in to the nursery to talk about being safe whilst shopping (common pastime); 'Several children dressed in the police costumes and enjoyed 'patrolling' the nursery.'

And finally;

'All children will need hats and gloves as well as warm coats as the weather gets colder, we do use the outside learning environment as much as possible. Please ensure that you name all items of clothing and where possible gloves attached on elastic through children's coats would be extremely helpful'.

Who knew the practice of elasticated glove/coat combo's had not ended in the 1970's? Am off to buy some elastic today, hope it is still ok with fingerless gloves not mittens.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Oh Bloody God!

Must not swear in front of Children again, J announced the above loudly at school pick up today...

Who is the coolest, youngest looking, most intelligent. gorgeous person in town?

Realised yesterday we spend some time discussing how cool people we know are. We're not mean enough to talk about how totally, like, uncool people are, even though that would be very entertaining.

But I realised several important elements of being a cool person in town, in of course, my view....

1. You must look younger than you are, if doesn't matter if you're really old. The key thing is that everyone knows your age, and marvels at how you don't look it.
2. You must have something going on; best local mummy/daddy, amazing artist/designer, musician. It's not enough to simply have a good job, and it certainly would not be cool just to earn heaps of money.
3. Your clothes must be distinctive, classy almost, but with a nod to style. It's possible to dress like an Old Town local and be cool, i.e. to wear flip flops in the rain, but not to take it too far and be a Lady in a Havana Hat in the sun.
4. You must be funny, really funny so people want to hang with you and your stylish lifestyle.
5. A cool partner helps, but really they can just be quite good looking to help with the cool campaign.

And as to who is the coolest in this town...well I'm not sure, but for today I'm going to name Samara, who not only is v. beautiful and funny, she's got three mini gorgeous little versions of her running about.

Tomorrow its gonna be....

Monday, 8 December 2008

Lovely start to the week

Went for a quick coffee this morning to my favourite cafe, with H, and S and three small children. Children occupied themselves fantastically well with library books on their way back, and cake. The three of us occupied ourselves by having lots of lovely chats, drinking great coffee and for me discovering that thermal underwear comes in black these days. I simply must have some. But really, what a lovely start to the week. Then we were late for library Pre-school Bookclub, so late that they thought we were just straight in off the street but had sat down for singing Christmas songs. Just because we are so good at singing, or something.

Lovely morning though, and had girlie bus ride home so still feeling cheery.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Friday, 5 December 2008

Oh dear god

I'm in absolute agonies of self doubt. I took my little elves in wire baubles to school today to go in to the Christmas fair. Alongside our three papier mache robins, one of which had an accidental squashed stomach.

Taking the elf baubles to the playground was painful, my lovely friends said that they were great. Possibly a little over the top, but that is good for Christmas, but...a couple of other people, like, well Ol's teacher just kind of looked at them. She did ask if they were for sale, but I was thinking that was out of kindness rather than anything else.

I don't know what is going on, I never feel this crazily insecure about my writing, perhaps that means it is OK. Or possibly that I know that it is alright. And I really don't know about my art/craft things - are they OK or are they the mark of a Lady Who Wears Purple.

Fortunately I don't wear purple, and may go in to Hiding at School. But my goodness, this self doubt is crippling. Really really difficult.

And I can't even share photos of loopy art on the web as they are already at school. But what do you think? Is art and craft more personal and more of an insight to you than the written word?

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Giant Shopping Hits Hastings

Well almost, a giant supermarket has come to town. Finally. Pulling up in to the car park is very exciting, and almost exactly like the entrance to Ikea in Edmonton. Very strange. Was so busy commenting on that that almost did not let a be-suited man get in to his own car.

Lovely K took me on a morning visit today, without children I might add. And we looked and looked, but saved ourselves from buying too much. However it is fantastic for toys, loads and loads, of choice and offers. Tesco also seems to have Leapster 2 on offer to £35 down from £50, which is worth thinking about...

It also had both red and white wine on offer for £2.99. Worth a thought too, but possibly not the greatest - still maybe next time.

We both loved the stationary section, and the party bits, plus some crafty bits and bobs. Very sweet little stampers, again needed to think before buying though. Good range of magazines/books/CD's/DVD's and games too.

Sadly the shop let itself down a bit on the clothes and homewear front. There was hardly any, and the research they'd done on Hastings had clearly told them people here only wear badly made, quite cheap fabric clothes. And they are very wrong. As we know, there are many People Like Us on the South Coast, who may hanker after bargains, but um, probably not shiny ones.

Lots of food too, and a really large whole food section, which along with the crisps bit kept us occupied for a bit. Really quite fancy the dried black cherries. Just need to have a plan/recipe for them.

Oh, and a French style coffee shop. Which was nice, even if the prices were slightly Costa rather than Calais!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Dinner Time

We've been really busy at weekends so have cancelled our veggie box for a couple of weeks, and I've missed the inspiration it brings. So much so that I have to confess I've been planning meals around protein, rather than vegetables this week - although they are of course included. It's made me a bit bored actually, and we have had three curries this week; all different and I think I have finally learnt how to make them so all good. But really...the last was potato and pea, with spinach.

I did get pester powered in the greengrocers today to buy some strawberries. I was a bit suspicious about them, and their price but bought them anyway as clearly a lovely pudding. We were delighted about how lovely they were - maybe they had come over from Jersey; or a greenhouse. Not a bad thing to get pestered for fruit rather than sweeties or crisps either.

Next week it is back to the vegetables, and back to normal, especially with a trip to new Tesco planned tomorrow. And thanks to Richard for reminding me how much I love vegetables via his blog.

Learning to Read Time

Ol is learning to read, not Peter and Jane, but some mostly amusing books about silly aliens, and right on Americans. He's loving it. Today's children learn to read, or at least have the first bash with a Phonics system. Lovely M also happends to be Phonics Champion of the World, and Believes in it.
This phonics system appears at first as normal words, i.e. Ol had the word car in his book yesterday. We spelt it out together; k a r. car. All fine so I thought. But no, apparently ar is a phoneme or something so it is now spelt; k aaaarrrr. And I am teaching the wrong thing. I hate being told am wrong so got immensely cross about this last night, and in fact will always be wrong as don't know what is right in this system so feel even more frustrated by that.
By the end of a good few hours we had 'agreed' I will read how I actually read, which is by spelling out words and if I'm honest I think remembering lots of words on sight. And, if I don't know how to say a word asking someone rather than phone-eming it out.
And you know what Ol is getting there with his reading, he's starting to understand it is a cool thing, and spelling words out works. He is also very competitive with a couple of girls in his class, and does not like that they are on a higher level book to him. (Wonder where that spirit came from?)
But, I do have to say in defence of today's phonics that it is not as bad as the ITA system I failed to learn to read with in the 1970's. I just never ever understood the made up letters (the 70's version of phone-ems), which were like ou, or oo or even madder completely made up ones. So yes, I am bitter and twisted about phonics, and was delighted when visiting Ol's school for the first time that the head showed me a special class for children who weren't getting the phonics system.
And you know what, I can read and write without knowing a thing about phonics (no M its not buried in my subconscious!), but will of course moan and moan then support the current way of thinking. How the hell will I cope when it comes to five men dig a hole, get a bus at 2omph and the capacity questions though? Or worse I seem to remember a crucial GCSE one about how many different sides on 50p's and 20p's and what they were called. Course in the middle of my exam I could only think it's money, and gosh, I could buy some more sweeties with it.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Must blog about the 2.5% decrease in VAT as its making me sick

I'm sick and cross about this, it makes no sense at all. I had thought we'd all maybe learned a little about not living above our means, and actually just getting through.

But no, the government have not learned anything. And in fact its a double whammy in inappropriate action. Firstly they are encouraging people to go out and spend, mostly what they have not got, and don't need to spend on luxury items for Christmas, and secondly because it is setting an example of spending what you haven't got and paying for it later. And it will be us who are paying for it. And as for me, I think that is probably the worst thing; we're taking action I don't like, i.e. encouraging people to spend when they can't afford to, and I don't think will work either. I'm not sure anyone, even the government would believe we can spend our way out of the credit crunch/recession at the moment. But we're throwing our money, our public money at this.

Then we'll be paying it all back, just when (hopefully) everyone is getting back on their financial feet. Surely, surely, we've all learnt a financial lesson from this credit crunch; we're learning, especially the Thatcher generation to live within our means. And for lots of us this is for the first time ever. I most certainly do not want to pretend I haven't figured this out (finally of course).

I'm not happy about it, and from what I'm reading I'm not alone. But hey, the shops were busy this weekend...

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Hello old mates

We've just spent a lovely afternoon in Brighton with old friends, Rob and Vic. They live in New York now, and were in Sydney before so are both very well travelled, and hard to meet up with!

But you know what? It was just great to see them despite a gap of probably three years, and lots of incidents and occurrences in lives. Just lovely, particularly as they are still as funny as before. Last time we saw them Rob managed to break a garden chair, this time he lost his car parking ticket a number of times, got a parking ticket, forgot his car keys, and um, was just well Rob.

Anyhow - just wanted to say hello Bob and Vic, and come and visit us in tattyhouse soon.

p.s. Kids thought you were both great too, think they really like the idea of people existing who know their mum and dad had a funny life before they were born, although Ol slightly confused at Mat living with Rob - wasn't sure who was the parent!

The Elves are getting busy to swing in giant baubles

Spent yesterday afternoon sewing some elf dresses for dolly's. Have decided that sewing is not as hard as you might think, and that Barbie who is one of the three dolly's is actually inhuman. The poor thing can't stand up as her feet only work in heels, and her enormous boobs make her look slutty in whatever she wears.

Mind you the big eyed dolly, is from a charity shop and came in just her knickers. We accidentally left her in the cafe, and when we went to collect her they'd made her a little top out of paper to protect her modesty. And I think it really was for that, rather than the fun of it, as it wasn't coloured in or anything.

I've also made two giant bauble/round cages for Christmas. The plan is the little elves will hang delightfully in them. Course now I'm typing it, I can see the error of making slutty Barbie a dancing cage for the infant school fair. And they are banned from school (I think). Still we're missing Christingle service this morning, so will be obvious to all concerned that we are not Christian Good. (Or maybe they will just think we go to another church - perhaps can invent a story about this).

Happy Candle Lighting Day.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Dental Flipping Mental

Can I have a bloody good moan? I've just changed nhs dentists. First one I had outside London was an Evil Man who considered my face in need of punishment. He used to spend all appointments trying to squash my face in to shape, so much so that I used to have to use my hand to grab his and force it away. Sometimes he'd apologise, and sometimes not. I think he genuinely used to like to support his weight on patients faces whilst operating. So I have binned him.

Now I've found a new dentist, who seemed nice, kind, caring even, and on the nhs too. The only worrying thing about the surgery was the speed in which they can offer you an appointment (two weeks). However today they, her and her assistant that is, have really really upset me. It all started off ok, I needed two fillings, went to the appointment on time, sat down, exchanged pleasantries etc etc. Then the dentist got out a GIANT needle, and just jabbed it in to my gums three times. It really really really hurt.

Then the assistant did the suction thing, obviously with the giant injections one half of my face was paralysed. But not my tongue. She bashed it with her tube thing so many times, I got so tense, I simply reached out grabbed her wrist and pushed it away saying; 'Stop it now'. She did stop, but it was all rather embarrassing as could not explain self until another ten minutes or so had passed. We both apologies to each other, me for being a little harsh, and her for hurting me.

Then I left. But have to go back in two weeks. Surely this is all wrong though? My first lovely London dentist in Crouch End promised me he'd never hurt me, and never did, think he used to just wipe no pain something on my gums before an injection. Trouble is, he used to be private but said his charges were the same as nhs, course they were not.

Then second lovely London dentist (ok - I know this is getting a bit City-centric but really they are kinder!), was nhs and private. He was really good looking, irrelevant of course, but most importantly never hurt me, ever. And he was in Wanstead. But he was nhs, and most of my treatment with him was completely free, as spent many years either pregnant or year after having baby. (Nearly four now I come to think of it - Jesus, no wonder I fancy a drink more these days!)

So, is that it then? If you want nice kind pain free dental treatment you have to go to a lovely area, and find a dual nhs/private dentist? But where is that here? Tenterton? There's no dentist in the Old Town which would usually qualify as loveliest area in Hastings.

I wonder if I can bring myself to ask current dentist, who apart from pain issue I like, if she has some anti-hurt wipes? Suspect she thinks I am biggest wuss patient ever already though, and don't want to offend her.

Mouth still not right now, at end of day, after early treatment. Tried to drink coffee but it is as though as have had stroke on left side of face. Managed to eat a pot noodle like a elderly person without teeth though.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

This is sheer cherry choc chip candy for your eyes...

I came across this gorgeous blog whilst hunting down images of vintage elves - (am considering imprisoning them in metal baubles for the Infant School Christmas Fayre) - and I love it...

Reasons to love (sometimes in inverted commas) the countryside/seaside...

  1. Powercuts happen, and are made worse, as this week, by someone (from the council I imagine) putting tarmac over the electricity control thing, thus making someone else dig up the tarmac before electricity thing can be mended.
  2. We have our own style; like flip flops with Pac A Mac's. People also show no shame in wearing waterproof trousers, even if their thighs look fatter, (n.b. suspect this is unavoidable for all except skinniest yummy mummy).
  3. Children need waterproof trousers to get to school, as umbrella's don't work in high winds.
  4. The shops run out of semi skimmed milk, thus making us sample strange strained milk, and full fat, and try and keep supplies of long life milk about.
  5. Cashpoints regularly run out of money, making you spend less. Strangely this is not just the case with the one decent cashpoint in the Old Town, which is always empty after a busy weekend. It's also the same with banks own cashpoints, even when the banks are open (perhaps they need the cheery Nat West man from the ads ten years ago to fill them). Or possibly they don't have any money in the bank?
  6. There is little vegetarian or healthy food to buy in local shops, one could imagine vegetarianism was a faddish diet, and only purchase food in verified health shops. Least it means local independent health food shop does roaring trade.
  7. Wellies are everyday wear, if deemed too rainy for flip flops. Acceptable alternatives would be boots or Converse. Nothing else.
  8. People are friendly, love to help, chat and freecycle. In particular they adore offering their gems of childcare wisdom to stressed parents on buses or in supermarkets. If they have no wisdom to offer, choke inducing lollipops are offered to babies and small children.
  9. Goths are in fashion, but not as much as in Middle Eastern England where they never went away. They have come and gone and are now back on the South Coast as Emo's. Not to be confused with suicidal people as this is Rude to Emo's.
  10. There is nothing to buy most of the time, but when there is it is expensive. Primark is no longer acceptable, we all know too much. It leads us all in to making our own (which is another story altogether).

Monday, 24 November 2008

Lights out

So last night we were sitting watching telly, an old episode of Ugly Betty to be precise, there was a little click noise and the telly turned itself, as did all the lights. We had the fire lit, so still had a little lovely glowing light. We had a good look up and down the street and saw there were no lights on, apart from a candle glow across the road.

We've had our first power cut as a couple! And I think for both of us the first ever since our childhood's in the 1970's and, possibly 1980's. Really exciting. Drew us both in to reminiscing where the big chunky white candles, which were only ever for practical purposes were kept at home and what lights were available. Luckily I remembered where the torch was yesterday, under the sink, and I knew lovely M had been playing with the battery lantern earlier, and therefore would have left it lying about in the playroom (I was right), plus we had a few odd tea lights scattered around.

Annoyingly M went to pick up his guitar to play and sing as soon as we sorted some light. I got very cross and said that wasn't fair as I'd just have to be a captive audience as it was too dark for me to read or knit or watch telly. And although he is getting better, have to admit is not quite at stage to do private shows, plus he'd bound to end up playing that bloody nothing ever baker street song which along with ska twists my brain.

So, instead we discussed our family histories; who was working class, and why, who was middle class, where they lived and what they did for a living. Spent some time pondering the difference between respectable working class and lower middle class. Can't remember the conclusion but owner occupation was a factor as was occupation of parents of families. (I was definitely respectable working class, jury is still out of rest of the family). One for Christmas discussions I think.

Anyway, then we brushed our teeth by candlelight, got ready for bed, and just as we were about to fall asleep. Ping, the lights were back on, weirdly they all actually came on, so we were woken up properly by a blast of light. Shame, must have some more power cuts this year. Although hopefully not on Christmas day, and not when in middle of shower or anything I need to do.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Stickers Galore

I've printed some stickers, using this as a background. Very very pleased with them, as when peeled off they have little bits of beads and Barbie on them.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Wonder telly...

I loved this; almost as much as the time Helen Daniels in Neighbours got stoned...

Monday, 17 November 2008

How hard can it be to buy a calender, or why I should have more to occupy my leisure time part seven

I've spent the morning scouring the local shops for some black trousers, new wellies, and pants for Ol's school play. All needed apart from the Spongebob pants. Utterly bored with boys clothes now, and utterly bored with not ever finding what I need in the shops.

I've been hunting for the perfect calendar for weeks now, I've searched Hastings, Eastbourne and Bexhill. Every single shop that might sell them, and every single calendar has been examined. And now I'm bored, but still really really want a decent calendar. Had a lovely Ruby Gloom one last year which I was particularly keen on, and a vintage train poster one this year, which was a present.

Possibly the answer to all this hunting the shops is a day trip to town, tired just at the thought of Oxford Street though; know I'd just end up in lovely Leyton, and stay there (n.b. who would have thought Daniel- whose wife died was from there).

Or is the answer Bluewater? Or an amazing online shop I've yet to hear of?

Friday, 14 November 2008

They do bite you know...a man says so,

Good Lord, there are TWO kinds of giant spiders living less than a mile away, possibly a little over a mile away, but either way somewhere I have been. And I have possibly touched them. Or they have possibly touched me, and plotted how to GET ME, because as everyone knows, spiders will eventually be the end of us all. Or worse they will colonise us, I actually heard a story once where a spider laid its egg in a person, then they scratched and all the baby spiders came running out!!
Jesus, this is even worse than the killer ladybirds. And I am never going to those bloody caves again, even if they do let us in for free, or if we have teacher tickets, or if the children beg. Frankly I'd rather do anything else, plus I think they might be after Ol too, as once a Giant Giant One in Wales stood on him when he was a baby.
BBC NEWS England Sussex Exotic spiders dwelling in caves

Just shut up pleease!

Just had an epiphany of sorts, after accidentally telling K's husband he was not that complicated (by which I absolutely meant nice it just came out wrong), and then being laughed at my everyone in the world (ok by my friends at the cafe table, not even the whole cafe in fact). Anyhow, the epiphany was I blog to talk, and I am a bit self-obsessed I know, and as H said today; 'It's not all about you, you know Bev'. I do know, sort of, but I do like to talk.

And its quite rude to constantly talk in public, plus there would not be time for me to hear anything anyone else said if I said all I have inside me when with people. So, I blog. And although people can tell me to shut up via blogging, mostly I expect they just close me down. Which is fine. As I'm very aware I'm not to every one's taste; seem to remember a man called Mike, calling me a bit pointless and stupid at Uni. He was probably right, but once I heard him laughing when I was talking to Jules (with us I thought at the time but am now doubting that).

And it is not just since I had children, and stayed home on my own all the time that I've talked too much, got told off a lot when I worked in a library, one woman at the Health Authority actually told me to pipe down once and stop talking in our office (was doing actual proper chatting to voluntary sector CEO too, never forgave her). Also someone I once worked with asked me when drunk if people often just wanted to tell me to shut up. Nice lady.

So, cheers to me and my mad talking, its got me to ten thousand web hits, and I (hopefully) don't upset people too much by over-talking. And I love blogging, and comments, and the Internet. What do you think? Is blogging all about being self-obsessed?

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Loving the fictional nhs...although sadly not Patsy Kensit

A fellow blogger has critiqued the wonderful Holby City, spurring me on to realise just how much I adore it. I know it is no doubt uncool, and a rubbish drama but it is great. I've worked in the nhs for years, and admire the odd similarities; the power of the Consultants, the need the managers have to work hand in glove with the medical team, the serious good that great managers can do, as well as the perils of alcoholism, drug abuse, shagging fellow team members, um, getting your face cut by Bad Consultants and so on.

It's taught me about traumatic births, seriously got me through the utter scariness of Jem's urgent arrival in the world by remembering I'd seem it before on Holby (and that thankfully it turned out ok, except for broken collarbone - same as Jem's). Course I wasn't sitting happily chatting an hour after it happened fully made up. Rather, I had to lie down to stop all the blood in my body falling out. Still, we all made it as predicted on the telly.

I've seen Holby through a number of different 'famous' staff, important doctors and changes. Remember the mummy's boy Mubbs anyone? And the lovely man Chrissie first went out with? I've fancied a member of the staff, and I've left the nhs, and had two children throughout the programme's existence.

In fact, I was weaned on Casualty at Uni. When our friends were out meeting boys, drinking and dancing, me , Bristol Kate and Jules were sitting in my room at halls. All on a row on my bed watching the black and white telly we'd bought off a drunk for a tenner ( still feel sad about that as he was so drunk he could not even plug it in - wish we'd just given him the money) watching Holby. We loved it. Sometimes we'd brave the Student Union at nine when it finished to buy some cider to take home. No idea why we never went out really on a Saturday. Least we never went to the horrendously hot JFK's with the rest of the fresher's.

And now I'm a lifelong fan of Holby, I'll be like an old fan on Coronation Street, but of Holby, when I'm smoking fags with my hair in rollers up North someday they will come and interview me. And I'll say I grew in to adulthood with Holby and it taught me all I know. (Almost but I'll say that for dramatic effect on the telly).

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Ten thousand mark

What shall I do when I get to ten thousand blog views/reads? Cheer/buy champagne or admit to self that can and do write and must try harder? Or possibly give up, and find something more productive to cleaning the floors..

All ideas considered.

Flapping about

Just can't get settled to actually doing anything this week, every time I decide to take on a job, I get distracted by another thing, then have a flap I'm doing nothing. Almost vacuumed yesterday, did the bottom of the house and half the stairs, but instead of carrying on got distracted by, hmm, was so important have forgotten. Almost did the washing this morning, put some in the machine, and turned it on, but have not put dry washing away because I got distracted by the washing up.

I'm not sure if this distraction is telling me something like the house is such a state there is heaps to do; or I actually need some ADHD treatment; or well I have just lost focus/hope. The absolutely boring boring dullest thing about housework is what I remember my mum saying as soon as you've done it it needs doing again. No wonder people can buy covers for their upright vacuum cleaners that make them look like dolly's maids so they can sit in the corner of the room.
And you childless/without messy pets people reading this, I do remember the days you could go for ages, well at least a week without cleaning, and the flat stayed nice. That is because no one wanders about it all day dropping crumbs and sitting on chairs with sticky hands. In fact usually no one has sticky hands or crumbs as when childless you tend not to have a biscuit tin in my experience. Maybe that is why you are all thin, must remember that next time am tempted, and will reach for a umm, not sure what I used to eat before children, sandwich and sometimes broccoli. Certainly did not manage five a day, but then haven't been a size ten for years.

Right, that is enough madness for the day - will go and start some more jobs now. Seriously - is it just me lacking focus?

Monday, 10 November 2008

Cold Feet

Am all cold, wet and chilly. But feeling really pleased with self for managing to join two committees, take notes, do some talking and not have nervous breakdown or over commit self (yet), or worse get Tourette's syndrome in meetings. Course I do have daughter to take on latter role for me. At a Very Important meeting last Friday I was the only one with a child, just did not want to make her go to nursery more days than she already does, so decided to bring her with me, and told everyone it will be fine as she is very good.

It reminded me of the short lived job hunting moment last year when I went to one interview, and was about to take Jem with me until friends hinted I might have Serious Attachment Issue, and couldn't they just look after her. Possibly do have Serious Attachment Issue but also love the fact I'm confident in self to take child with me, and not ever go back to evil days of Full Time Work when children are never seen and are in day care from 8am to 6pm. Never again.

Anyhow, Jem was delightful in first hour of Friday's meeting, playing nicely with some toys that the chair had kindly sorted out for her. Then she got bored. And sat at the table, muttering at first but growing louder and louder. Of course I told her to be quiet, but of course she did not listen, and then apologised for her to the other people. They were very nice about it, and said, oh no, don't worry she'd lovely etc etc. Course then she progressed to shouting and it became apparent what she was saying. It was cannonballs as loud as she could.

Turned the telly on then in the other room, and gave in to sophoric qualities of cbeebies. But cannonball! Really. At least people know she has an older brother, but still, she's so naturally un-organic and un-vegetarian. Probably will grow up and want to be in the army. Or prime minister. Unsure which is worse.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Congratulations America on your new president

Wonderful news for America, as Obama has won the presidential election by a landslide. And of course I am delighted for them, and positive he'll do a good job.

Trouble is, I can't get a note of sour grapes out of my mouth. The rally's in America, particularly the one in Washington was full of young people, black people, hope and fresh ideas. It all makes me a little sad. Mostly because it reminds me of us in the UK.

Remember in 1997, when Labour won the election? For us, in our twenties it was the first time we'd ever remembered or known a Labour government, and for lots of us we'd spent most of our teenage lives campaigning for one. We were full of hope and desire; world politics would be better, education would be free, the health service would improve. Now don't get me wrong, these things have probably, or possibly improved. But the UK was not better, it did not feel any different to live here, we still ended up paying student loans, we still went back to Iraq. And we've lost our innocence.

Please let politics still be a dream to the Americans, and what a wonderful dream; of a united country of the free.

p.s. Adding this two hours later, after coffee and a think. It is a great historic day today, and amazing to hear of the high turn out, and people who care. The world is not all bad. Way to go US of A.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Thank the lord - it is not Chris de Burgh

I've been loving, and I mean really loving the new single; ' Are we human, or are we dancers?' 'My signs are hands are cold'. I just really really like the way, and this is where I give away my musical ignorance, are we dancers is sung. It's fantastic and it makes me happy, and stays in my head all day long.

Trouble is for some reason I thought the track was by Chris de Burgh and even discussed it with lovely husband who normally knows these things. He agreed, so basically, probably was not even listening to me.

But it is not by Chris de Burgh! It's by the Killers, which does explain why its getting so much radio play. Did think it strange that Chris de Burgh was being played on all the stations, and not just by Steve Wright. But the Killers, are semi-cool - well I hope they are.

Which means that finally, to my friends who fall on the floor laughing at my record collection (I like Leonard Cohen a lot ok!) I actually like something that other people do. Amazing. Even if title of song is bit nonsensical.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Pretty Thrifty - ways to save money and (hopefully) not notice

Well, this week we've been reviewing our finances and have found we should have more disposable income than we actually do have. Slightly concerned about this, and a bit sad, as I'd love more money to spend so have entered a new money saving, thrifty living phase.

Our fixed costs are quite high, including mortgage, council tax, utilities, debt etc etc. And these can't be changed, much anyway. However our variable costs, like food, and entertainment, and communication can, and will be changed. Plus, I guess clothes and shoes and beauty budgets...

Firstly food budget; I'm going back to menu planning. It's the only way we ever save money, and stay healthy, as it avoids freezer food temptations and makes sure we (ok, me) plan around protein and vegetables. We've also had retro breakfast of real oats and golden syrup all week, which is far far far cheaper than cereal. In fact, might go as far as most 1970's mums used to and ban all branded cereal, sticking simply to the basic (yucky) varieties. Or oats, which are delicious.

Secondly, entertainment and communication costs. Sadly in Hastings, we don't have cable so can't do cheap cable/TV/phone and broadband deals. After extensive research we've gone back to sky now. We've managed to get all three for £28 a month, and that is no more than without the telly. We did not really want the extra channels, because apart from the movies, which we have not got, its pretty much all dismal.

However, we do have, gasp, gasp, Sky Plus, which was (almost) free last year. This wonderful device has revolutionised our family television watching, so much so that the month we did not have it even four year old Ol was despondent for pausing telly. Course when people do happen upon our planner they find it hilarious that we Sky plus (or record) such a lot of rubbish. But I say loud and proud, its blooming great to have the whole Desperate Housewives series on there, or um, Holby City! Even random Monday nights can be wonderful telly nights with Sky plus. Ok, free ad space over.

The other free entertainment we have is via fre DVD trials. Yes, I am a DVD whore. We nip from service provider to service provider and I find that as long as I write the end dates of trials on my calender I always cancel them before we pay. Saw Hook with the children last week, and loved it, despite the annoying Robin Williams, and the wonderful Son of Ranbow. Don't feel guilty about these free trials at all either, which is a bonus.

My other big saving news, is changing my phone provider, as well, I just can't get a decent signal with current provider in my house and rather than getting a new phone, tempting as current one is same as Stacey off Eastenders, simply getting a SIM. Have to find dodgy person/shop/market stall to unlock old one but they are usually about somewhere. Very delighted with concept that I can save £120 a year with this, and be green to boot.

I'm also going to start freecycling and friday-ad ing all our old bits and bobs like crazy. There is nothing like a good clean out to make you feel all frugal and fresh. Plus saves on Mr Sheen and dusters.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Dancing and Drinking

I've had a great weekend, spent most of Saturday wandering the shops and bought nothing. Which was disappointing but on reflection probably good. As it left more money for red wine and lager. Which I drank together, well not exactly in the same glass but you get the picture.

We went out on the town for the first time in ages, with grandparents babysitting so no need to worry about children. Popped in to an indie pub for a drink, which was pleasingly like being twenty again. Lots of earnest faced indie girls with no make up on drinking pints or too much gothicy make up on.

Then on to an opening and party, in an actual place, that was not a house. With an actual DJ. And people that we met and talked to. It was great. I do feel a bit guilty about menacing the poor DJ to try and get him to play dancing tunes. Can almost remember the words Steps coming out of my mouth, but think that was a joke. Definitely Abba and Wham were mentioned. And I definitely clocked the gallery owner running away from me at one point. Not sure why.

Possibly I then hugged the school governor and his wife who were at the party. Then there was lots of dancing with my new best friends. Guess music got better.

Sadly we left, and sadly took a wander around historical Rye today. All went well until we got trapped in a small gift shop with Ol buying a Dancing Robot, that he planned to use as a fighting robot. We got stuck behind a lady buying picture frames that needed a lot of wrapping. And it was hot. So then I was sick. By a wall. Ol decided to chant; 'Mummy's been sick, Mummy's been sick'. In front of three generations of my family. Hate indigestion. I had to miss my Sunday lunch but remarkably recovered for fish and chips by three.

Will never drink red wine with lager again. And will remember that I get shocking indigestion when drinking and keep stocks of chocolate milk cure in the fridge, if I ever attempt drinking again that is.

For now I'm sticking to water.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Tired, dizzy and excited

It's Halloween tomorrow, we've made some scary wreaths, put the Skeletons up in the window and are ready...all bar making some crepe paper pumpkins.
I'm tired out from all the crafting and decorating activity, on top of frugal bread and biscuit making so intend on spending the rest of the afternoon lying on the sofa.

However, if you live locally, be prepared for a visit. The witch in a handmade hessian dress, and the ghost pirate will be mine! And don't ask why hessian, let's just say I had a problem with the previous more witchy material.

Happy Halloween

n.b. must remember to take Halloween frozen marrows out of the freezer later.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cocaine for the masses

No, we haven't been taking drugs, but we have been drinking Stella. All eight cans I bought yesterday because they were on offer. In our defence it was between three of ourselves, and we did not beat any wives. It is strange stuff though...

Ten reasons I should remember not to touch the delicious reassuringly expensive lager again:

  1. It makes me have a Stella glow, which although amusing gives way to a Stella rant quite rapidly.
  2. Stella rants are quite like any other slightly boozed up rambling, as you truly believe you have access to some amazing knowledge that others don't have. For example if you are friend S that sheep just exist in the south east on reservoirs to mow the lawns.
  3. I think I have some unique talent to drink a lot of lager and not be very drunk.
  4. We are all too noisy, no doubt embarrassingly so on a Monday night (albeit it is half term).
  5. I think I have a special knowledge of fashion, apparently men should never ever wear sports trainers unless they are engaged in sport. They should source retro trainers, or at a push wear sort of skater style. Course L thought it was ok he wears sports trainers, as otherwise he'd look like a thirty something Dad in skater sized ones.
  6. We argue with our best friends about fashion.
  7. I think I am more intelligent than lots of people (apparently more intelligent than people who work hard) - but not as intelligent as others.
  8. I spend some minutes, rather hours lamenting my rubbish education, farmers comp followed by old poly. This is therefore the reason I am not as intelligent as other people, rather than the fact I've never done any academic work apart from when I fancy it.
  9. Arguing with best friends about fashion brings up critique's of me and I'm not good about this, and in fact disagree that trousers over dresses is only visible on the South Coast and Would Never Be Seen in London.
  10. The hangover from Stella's special mix of chemicals hurts quite a lot.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Why did they drink Liebfraumilch in the 1970's?

I've discovered why Liebfraumilch and probably Blue Nun were popular in the 1970's. Remarkably it is not because our parents generation were uneducated wine quaffers who knew no better. It is because it is cheap. Really cheap.
Yesterday we gave ourselves a frugal treat of a fiver between us for some booze. Got tempted with a nice bottle of Chardonnay, but knew we'd want we bought wine at under £2.50 a bottle. Sadly, or gladly Sainsbury's were out of their economy wine, just not sure what that would be like. So we bought this. And you know what, after every mouthful I did have a pull a sort of sucked a lemon face, but it cheered us right up.
Hip hip hooray for recession busting wine!
n.b. Met a right idiot 'artist' yesterday who claimed the credit crunch was rubbish, if I had not have been in a public place would have let rip. Also met a silly snobby woman who was rude about the fact some cool t-shirts were for babies only. Both times kept mouth shut, needless to say silly snobby woman, you might not know who I am, but I know you. Won't be talking to you again, that is, if you ever talked to me in the first place!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Think I need to climb a tree and drink lager

Feel really cross today, too grumpy to go to playgroup, and too moody to think of anything more productive to do than make bread which did not rise.

Would love to go to the Common in Kings Langley, find my favourite climbing tree which looks a lot like this and drink some lager. Lots of lager, and smoke some fags, real ones, not poxy roll ups.

Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep Cheep

Discussing how we wake up cheerful sometimes, saying; 'Ooh, what shall we do today, playgroup, swimming, the library'. K has decided not too be that cheerful anymore as her son doesn't always appreciate smiley happy mummy. Then we worried for some time that we are quite annoyingly chirpy and cheerful generally in a middle class way. Did not think too much about it at the time, but came back to haunt me last night.

Really hate the idea of being super chirpy, like a jolly Radio One presenter. In fact for absolutely years my worst insult for someone was that they sound like the above. Now its me. And to make it worse, although K and I are fairly well educated we do spend our days discussing the, um, less intellectual like children, or sometimes hair, or even on odd occasions our favourite cereal.

Now I am concerned about this blog, is it full of jolly hockey sticks chirpiness, and is my worst nightmare true - am I actually less clever than everyone else? Possibly in my defence I don't blog when I am truly miserable, but seriously must always be lacking in brightness.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Hooray for Eric - the gas man

Our heating and hot water broke last night, the boiler just made some hideous cranking noises and passed out. Spent the night planning how we could manage without it, as we do have an electric shower.

Mat wasn't keen on shaving in cold water, but I was almost gleeful about the exciting heat less adventure - well we'd still have the woodburner. And thought we could get a couple of electric heaters. And hot water bottles, and um, warm socks!

No need though, lovely Eric, who has now visited us at least five times, the gas man, came out this morning, and fixed it. Apparantly it was jammed and think he actually mended it by hitting it with a hammer. Good job! I'm now delighted and less gleeful about the 1970's heating adventure - just happy to be warm.

Suspect heating broke as I un-frugally had it on during the day yesterday when we had some friends here. Too much luxury for our house maybe.

Thanks Eric.

Monday, 20 October 2008

School is great.

I love my son's school, in fact I love school all together. I'd forgotten how lovely it is for children to all play together at lunchtime, to have almost unlimited number of friends, to have coat pegs with their names on and to enjoy some freedom away from their parents.

I also love the reading books, they are actually funny these days, and the children enjoy them. No more Peter and Jane, or ITA (the evil 1970's reading scheme I grew up with), learning to read is all about fun and enjoyment. They can choose their own books, move up shelves to harder books, and learn them by rote, or recognise words.

So glad did not give in to tiny part of self that wanted to home educate children, so they were socialised how I want them to be, not to be factory made so to speak. The children's school is part of the community, it teaches them about the area, manners and behaviour and how to be a generally lovely person. I love it. Couldn't spend too much time there though, a morning last week was enough, as have to admit just can't muster enough enthusiasm up for chase or jumping in puddles, or the letter 'p'.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Comments please

Firstly can I just say the bugs are still there, watching and waiting and plotting their new house lifestyles within my window. Make them go please. (Too scared to do it myself).

Secondly, very surprising night last night we had people playing guitar and singing in our living room. Sadly, their favourite song was that; 'Nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all'. Which, along with that bloody Baker Street song gets in my head and gives me murderous thoughts, if the singer and the world is that bloody miserable then they should just hop on the Met Line to hmm, Uxbridge which must be even worse and stay there.

Liked it when they did Summer of 69 though, and if had taken some confidence pills, and could sing would have joined in. Sadly, neither had happened so kept myself busy in the kitchen putting vegetables away.

Right, but am making a comment plea, just to say I really love them, so more more more.

Have a good weekend everyone, we're off shopping, then to a party then to see the alarming Fire Night of Hastings, with boyes who Have Flames.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Ladybird invasion at church - Hastings Today - Back to Home Page

Ladybird invasion at church - Hastings Today - Back to Home Page

They will bite you know

Oh God, oh please save us sweet Jesus, they are back!

The people biting, native ladybird eating foreigners are back, in my house! On the window frame in the living room, in the exact same place as last year! Do they live for a whole year, and have amazing elephant type memories? Or did they sneakily lay eggs last year, which laid silently and evilly dormant for a year in my house?

How did they get in and what do they really want from us? I can't stand it and am worried they will run out of food and turn on the family. How will we rid ourselves of this new menace on our shores? Expert opinion follows;

Dr Mike Majerus, a Cambridge University academic who first warned of the threat three years ago, said: "They are as far north as Durham now, and it's very possible that we may get them in Scotland by the end of the year.
"They normally try to find southfacing mountains over the winter.
"But of course, we are a little short of mountains in England so they make do with pale-coloured southfacing walls.
"I had an email from someone who says the entire side of their house is covered. For the first time we are seeing plagues of them in homes."
Harlequins are known in America as Halloween ladybirds because they appear at the end of October.
The above is an extract from the mail online.
Then there was this hideous incident in a local church, how did they know to go back to the exact same spot over a hundred years later. Are they really linked to the Devil, hence Halloween bugs?

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Did you or I cause the credit crunch?

To those of us who grew up in Thatcher's England, and went to college with Loans not Grants, and free overdrafts that could be increased on a whim, and student credit cards - was it our fault that the financial world has crashed down? Most of us protested about loans, had parents who did not want us to take them out, but who could not have afforded to keep us in the Manner in Which we Lived without them.

We took out loans, sometimes in addition to small grants, we had free overdrafts, which we increased to go away for the weekend, or shopping, or the pub. We had credit cards, which we only ever paid back tiny amounts on, and we maxed out more than one free overdraft before leaving Uni. No one I knew bothered to actually live on a budget, or well, not bothered, just didn't really get the point. If we needed more money, we knew which banks would help us increase our overdrafts, or we got part time jobs.

I worked all through Uni, first at the University Bookshop, at least two days a week, then later at the bookies. I worked through all the holidays, as a cook, or an admin temp, and I spent every penny I had, plus at least ten thousand pounds I did not have.

I had a fantastic time, used to go out all the time with all my friends, who did the same. I think it was just L and I who worked (and as we both said we were the most working class people so possibly had something to do with it). Either that, or just loved spending money the most.

I hardly bought anything, bar food, booze, the odd outfit, but did travel a fair bit up and down to London, and visiting people and eating out and so on. We never went to expensive restaurants, never had posh make up, or clothes and mostly made do with the belongings we had. I did buy a few books, usually unrelated to my course, but it was, and still is, my money weakness.

So what did we do with all our money? Really and truly, we went out too much, although only to cheap student places and not spending too much money, we bought train tickets, and well, just lived. Which we did in debt, and do now in debt. Being in debt from such an early age, 18 meant we were not scared of debt, of getting a new credit card, or racking up an overdraft long after we left Uni. We'd never lived off the money we had, because, well we never had any to live off.

And now, it's us, our generation who have partly caused this credit crunch. The UK's debt is triple that of its GNP. The party has ended. My internet bank no longer had a little overdraft page, saying, x amount of overdraft is reserved for you. You and I have to manage on what we have, actually have in cash, not have in space on overdrafts. And do you know what, its really liberating. Sometimes we can't do everything we want, had to refuse a wedding invitation for a weekend event Up North this summer because estimated cost would have been around the £500 mark for all of us to attend. And we did not want to just put it on a credit card, because you know what, we'll have to pay it back eventually, and we just can't afford to.

But, I really really don't mind. I like knowing exactly how much money we have, and where it is, and how much we need to get through the month. I'm not keen on not having a large buffer around, but until we build that up, I guess that is what credit cards are for. Emergencies, not fancying new clothes/books/holidays etc.

But is it all really our fault? Of course there is the sub-prime mortgage market issue, whereby all Americans, and many British people thought it their right to own a home, even if, maybe they could not afford it, or the one they wanted. But that is just part of the problem, and not the total issue, certainly not in the UK.

How did we get here though? Is it the fault of the banks? Or is it truly the neo-Liberal politics of the 1980's. Did the big political thinking, the vision if you like of late capitalism inevitably lead us here? And did we all follow along like sheep without really thinking through our participation in this World Order? Course we did, even, almost especially the intelligent people of our generation. We forgot all we learned growing up in hard times, we forgot budget, meal planning, making do, and the cardinal rule of never a borrower or a lender be.

God I feel stupid about it, and even stupider that its taken me until yesterday at approximately five pm, so begin to piece it all together.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Retro Cooking for Vegetarians - the Joy of Beanfeast

I was a rubbish vegetarian in the 1990's. I turned against meat and fish when 13, as a bet with my friend. Then just kept going. Once I'd got over the dreams of Grandma's meat pie, frying bacon, and home made sausage rolls there was not turning back. I became both politicised about meat eating, and well I was going to say sickened but grossed out would be a better word.

As a 13 year old living at home I used to eat a lot of bourbon biscuits, marmite on toast, baked beans, veggie pasties and meals with Danepak vegetarian substitutes (cauliflower grills anyone?). Then when I went off to the New World of Uni for the second time, (can't remember eating anything apart from chips and curry sauce or cheese toasties the first time), we discovered beanfeast. Me and my two friends, Kate - from Bristol and Jules used to make it all the time. And thought we were really cooking! Especially when we realised you could add ingredients, like kidney beans and chopped onions. Kate used to actually cook food like pasta sauce from scratch so think she just joined in to help as a veggie support thing to me, as we used to cook together. But it was great! We made chilli's with it, vegetarian shepherds pie, pasta and curry.

I was delighted when another vegetarian, Andy came to visit and showed us you could add real chilli's. It was the first time I could remember eating chilli and I loved it. I was still cooking beanfeasts all the time when I met lovely M, now husband. He used to shock me by popping in to our kitchen and just eating out of the pan. How decadent! Had never known anything like it. Was also very pleased with self in hideous 1950's fashion that I could cook a meal for a man.

It did make us fart a lot though. And sort of tasted a bit funny, although did not mind as least had cooked something. Oh, lovely Beanfeast you have not passed through our door in a very long time. In fact sadly have noticed it contains the horrible monosodium glutomate which probably explains why we used to eat so much we farted.

Eventually I discovered cookbooks, really not until five years ago though, when realised small children could not be bought up on food from packets, and neither should we. But still harken back to the good old innocent days of delighting in packet food. Course as a veggie don't think I stooped so low as lovely M who used to eat, wait for it, stew in a tin when I met him. Surely that was dog food. And worse, can you imagine what value food in a tin would contain?

Nowadays I still like to browse the supernoodle aisle and reminisce about eating them with peas and grated cheese with a hangover, or even better Pot Noodles for dinner!

Monday, 13 October 2008

It's bin day in Hastings

And I wish they all looked like this and did not smell. Even in lovely suburban areas the bin lorry, and bins make me feel queasy. Not as ill as thinking about what might be in corned beef which I mistakenly did this morning. Varicose vein hash anyone?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Telling off...

Just been told off by head at school for waving at my son in his classroom and whispering hello. She came past and said; 'Ssssh', then 'Don't talk to him, its not fair on the other children'.
Course I made it worse by eating a yummy cheese scone in the corridor while she was talking to me.

Later on she told me she still loved me and not to worry about it all day. So now feel I have to worry about it all day.

Don't feel as bad as time Kate - from Bristol and I talked, well laughed uncontrollably through David Bowie playing at Glastonbury as she suggested he might not be the real one and how would we know. People, well our boyfriends, in particular who had been waiting their whole lives to see him said of course we know, he is singing as David Bowie. A man in front of us made the mistake of telling us off, and as basically nice girls we then apologised for some time. Until he turned around and told us to ' JUST shut up please'.

Course also got told to shut up in a nunnery in Krakov once. We'd only just got to Poland from Czech Republic and had not realised how strong the lager was. There was also a ten o'clock curfew in the nunnery hostel so we'd necked as much lager as we could before ten then ran home after stealing glasses full of lager from the pub. Apparently we were so annoying with our chatting a proper hostel traveller, who probably planned on walking with stout shoes the next day said'; Please, please just be quiet'. In the saddest most desperate way ever.

Course the next time I was in Krakov I had not learned my lesson and drank so much lager I had to subtly be sick up my own sleeve in the pub. Then when we went off to Zakopane, and my lovely boyfriend, now lovely husband and I stayed in another hostel with mixed rooms when we heard snoring we threw all the rubbish we could in the room at snoring man to make him stop. Blame the crazy Polish lager, 'cos could have just woken him up or told him to shut up.

Now, don't think I was drinking this morning but I was over-excited by coffee morning with proper cakes, first real one I think as stay at home parent.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Here's Daisy Dog - the loveliest spaniel

Darling Daisy, the dog, hope she enjoyed her stay in Hastings - can't believe the whole family allowed ourselves to love her so much. Bye Bye Daisy.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The politics of tofu...

And I'm all for tofu...especially grilled with tamari on steamed greens. Yum.

Monday, 6 October 2008

New friends, real friends and life friends...

I've been thinking about who could be my new friends, and enhance my life. And whose lives I could enhance.

Top of my list of people to be friends with is Will Young, he's funny, has a degree in politics, and as I'm so up on current affairs we're bound to get on. He also sometimes comes down to the South Coast, he even played at the 1940's street party last year in the Old Town High Street. Unfortunately I wasn't there so befriend him, but if he was to drop in we'd get on so well. I also heard him on Johnathan Ross saying he wanted a dog (like me) so we'd bond over long walks and commiserations about periods of heat. We're also about the same age I suspect, plus, I get the impression Will could chat randomly about things like boxes, and roads, and friends for hours on end. I also have a handy friend I think he could might fancy...

Lovely M and I were wondering about that very famous man who sings Starman, waiting to be found etc etc. Have forgotten his name so not a very good start but think he is too famous to make a good mate to the non-famous types. I expect he has very specific food and drink requirements, and would not be happy with re-heated coffee in the microwave or home-made pumpkin soup, or even one of my classier meals like home made veggie burgers. Frankly he's also a bit weird, and has a keenness for metallic clothing, which I am not so hot on.

Then there is Paul McCartney, who is undoubtedly a nice chap, and has the added bonus of an ex and daughter fairly locally, so he must pop down our way from time to time. I would be rather surprised to see him doing his grocery shopping in Morrisons, but suspect he might pop to local country pubs for halves of real ale from time to time. M and I could start drinking ale, oh and halves and see if we can track him down. We're all from working class backgrounds, have similar aged children, well his youngest. I'm vegetarian like his late first wife, although would have to admit I find her food mostly the lowest common denominator of vegetarian food. It started a trend though so I could discuss that.

In terms of music I like his older stuff, might struggle to have a meaningful conversation about the Frog Song but would be interested in his motivation. I've also been the the same soft play as his daughter once so that's a good starter for ten.

I could never be friends with Danni Minogue unfortunately, which is a real shame as I'm starting to feel sorry for her now. I suspect she could do with more mates, unfortunately I'm unable to look at her as her face is too fixed. Her emotionless state sort of freaks me out, and reminds me of the dangers of cosmetic surgery, again a shame as she is also about my age, but sadly now looks more robot than woman. Not too keen on her music either, although I have heard she is friends with Kathy Lette, so if I also became friends with Kathy I'd need to get on with her.

Finally Elton John, again a superstar, but definitely one with a sense of humour. We also share the same home town, sort of, I went to college there and once saw a football match at his stadium. We're both married, and have younger partners. No children in common and I have to confess no interest in royals on my side. I could imagine having a weep while he plays the piano in the living room though. Think he might struggle with being friends with the little people though, and also may be quite specific about food. It'd also be a challenge to never mention his hair or glasses.

What do you think? Who would you like as a sleb friend?

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Great Parties

Went to a fab children's party at my friends house around the corner yesterday, it was for a 3 year old and was great! It made me think about the essential elements of a good (small) children's party, and these are:

  • Lots of people, even if its a bit of a squeeze on the sofa
  • A good sized kitchen with lots of drinks to lurk about it (for both kids and adults, at yesterdays party did notice some children, and grown ups spending a fair bit of time around the kitchen table!).
  • Nice guests, all up for joining in, and enjoying their children.
  • Games, even if the children don't totally understand them (a.k.a. hunt the kangaroo) they love it, oh and the prizes.
  • Some yummy looking cupcakes (I never make nice ones, but will itry harder in future, 'specially swirly toppings on them).
  • White wine and beer, and lemonade, plus some apple juice for the children.
  • A Grandad who's up for being Game Man, well does not have to be actual Grandad but one person who's not shy, and can lead antics is always good.
  • A quiet space away from the action, in this case B's bedroom with some great toys in, n.b. shaky car game where they crash is actually fun. And accessible for quite young ones, unlike Hot Wheels whereby even I struggle to put the tracks together. Suspect Hot Wheels loved universally by over 6's though, especially as have noticed children playing chant; ' Beat that' (the advert) enthusiastically.
  • Good timing, 3-5pm is perfect, as children actually hungry by time for party tea, and adults can stay on for sneaky extra glass of wine at end, but still be home in time for bed/bath time.

Lovely party, will come again please!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

The heating plan...

We have a plan. This should save money on our heating bills, and keep us warm this, and every winter.

1. Have heating on a timer first thing in the morning, and from about six to seven in the evening only. This should mean we can get out of bed, have a shower in the warm, and the children can have a bath and go to bed in the warm.

2. Learn to light and use the woodburner, I seem incapable of lighting it and keeping it alight, this may be me, the size of the wood, or draw. But I simply must learn and definitely put it on for four/five o'clock on the evening on cold days.

3. Collect as much 'found' wood as possible for the woodburner, and add to coal and wood piles whenever cheap supplies found.

4. Put blankets and spare duvets on top of mattress' but under the sheets, we did it on ours last night and its fantastically warm.

5. All wear and find slippers, finding more of a challenge but am sure we all have a pair somewhere.

6. Put as many rugs down on the plain wooden floors as possible, and fill any gaps in the floor boards with tiny tight pieces of rolled up newspaper.

7. Heavy curtains, we have decent fitting curtains in most of the rooms now, just lacking some in the kitchen. The kitchen door has a number of air gaps around it. Top tip to find these is simply run your hand slowly around the door to find cold spots. I must find a decent piece of material to make in to a curtain this weekend, and fit it, am positive we're losing lots of heat through the door, and around, the admittedly lovely picture window.

8. Make sausage dogs for kitchen door, and dining room door, again these could be lovely, and keep us nice and warm.

9. Wear jumpers, we all need to reminded of this, as given a preference, am afraid we'd all prefer the heating on and wandering around in t-shirts and shorts.

10. Wear my lovely hand made leg warmers more in the evening to keep warm.

11. Just use one room in the evening, to heat up and stay warm. This should either be our bedroom, which we can now watch telly in, or the woodburning living room.

12. Buy some condensation granules for the windows at the front of the house, this really is a problem on sea facing windows all winter. Other than that will have to resort to drying the windows every morning. And frankly life is too short for that.

13. Hang out in the kitchen when we're cooking as its lovely and warm.

14. Buy firelighters in case I can't get the hang of the fire.

15. And the final outside heating part is sort out all our winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves, and wash them and put them in order of who they belong to on the coat rack. Can't believe its only just occurred to me that if say all my things were on one peg I could find them in the morning. This is good home learning borrowed from the nursery school.

Any other tips more than welcome...

Friday, 3 October 2008

Busy day, and very complicated

Children, dogs, arrangements, faxes, and travel are all causing me to enter near mind melt this evening. I've also further complicated my own brain by deciding that I simply must make a vegetarian toad in the hole for dinner tonight, so that we finish up our runner beans and carrots. Not sure have ever made one, or a batter for that matter. Think me and Jules used to buy batter mixes and make toad in the hole at Uni until we were found out by our better cook friend Kate who said we could not buy them anymore.

Magically Kate could make things without scales, or recipe books, do actually know it was because her Mum was, and is Proper and taught her. In fact, she is a great cook, and even made my wedding cake, which was fantastic and very glittery, far cooler than people on top.

I will research how to make toad in the hole, and report back, if good suspect it fits meal criteria of carbs and protein, and vegetables on the side. And saves on washing up. If bad, poor German students whom have not informed we are veggie, and am just surprising them every other day with a delightful home made veggie concoction, and then some kind of meat covered in things so I don't have to touch it the next (chicken burgers, pies etc you get the picture.) will hmm , just be surprised by funny English people. If they are not already that is, though do think apart from sick in middle of night whole family awake incident this week has passed by very quietly.

And will again tonight, as are being frugal and don't intend to buy wine, but instead have interesting conversations around the fire together, or alternatively just watch Sky plus'd things.

Any good toad in the hole for vegetarians but deliciously low in fat and calories to help me keep off the 3 pounds I have lost from Hill Walking this week anyone??

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Good news for Friday mornings..

The Bridge Community Cafe in Hastings assures me it will always keep semi skimmed milk in stock, someone else please now ask for a continual stock of croissants.

Thinking about clothes

I actually considered my outfit this morning, decided on a knee length black cotton skirt, black leggings, brown boots, slouchy t-shirt and zipped hoodie. A sort of thirty something relaxed but nod to style look.

Course the day hasn't gone as planned, was hoping to meet friends for coffee, possibly go shopping, possibly lunch with K, and just have a couple of hours away from housework/dogs/children.

However J was sick last night, in the middle of my bed, and in hers, and on the floor, and in her hair. So that's taken a lot of cleaning, and washing, and inevitable cleaning up poo to get to washing line (the dogs not children's!). Then she insisted she wanted to go to nursery, but could not eat anything, or muster the energy to hold her friends hands or walk. So I said no. This resulted in the most spectacular meltdown our family has had in Hastings, on the lovely Godwin Road. In front of lots of my friends, some other parents, two lovely ladies walking dogs who could not stop watching, a nice older couple who were trying to park in their drive but could not get in due to daughter spreadeagled on pavement screaming. Most tricky bit was when Daisy the Dog decided to pull at lead and bark at Other Dog walked by lovely ladies, who kindly just crossed the road, as they could see child on floor, dragging itself behind buggy, excited dog and stressed mummy was not good combination.

The morning has improved with the perking up of daughter, oh and some cleaning. However am quite embarrassed to ever go down lovely roads again. Might just stick to walking on main roads where its dangerous so can justifiably strap her in the buggy and walk very quickly, with a fag on preferably!

Jesus, and its not even lunchtime yet. Must dig out copy of Toddler Taming, and start again I think. Biscuit bribery as a method of child control is not very helpful whilst child is sick, also bit embarassing especially in front of other decent mothers with rice cakes.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

How much fun can you have in a bookshop (quite a lot)

Back to 1992, and Charter Place, Watford. After the closing of the long stay 'mental' hospital there were a number of people who met the 'care in the community' category who spent their days cruising the shops.

My absolute favourite was the Pointing Man who usually sat on a bench at a busy road junction, between Cassio and Watford Roads if I remember rightly. His job was to point at all the vehicles coming down the road. Sometimes he had to do this very quickly, because it was quite a busy road. He used to also point at pedestrians, but only if he did not recognise them. I was delighted to be one of the people he did not point at, after about a year of walking past him. I really did feel accepted in the community.

We also had the barking man, who was quite small, and well used to bark, he was often found in the lift in the bookshop. This was quite scary, especially when he growled. Some people said he was not actually barking but muttering swear words under his breath. I'm not sure about that. Of course the barking man inspired one of the boys, not sure if it was Tim or Nick but they were never found out anyway to answer the phone in the bookshop by barking. Sadly, rather than an amused twentysomething calling, it was Head Office who insisted upon an Investigation. Really, they should have just banned drinking at lunchtime.

I have to admit to a fear of the Red Indian Man too, so called as he was amazingly tall, and had a feather or two in his hair. He mostly just walked about, was never heard talking or making other noises but was once spotted trying the underarm roll on deodorants in Boots. Which does remind me of another bookshop employee from Books etc days who scared us silly once by telling us he shaved under one arm to see what it was like. Not quite sure why I was so fearful of him, but it was proper unusual.

I was however, highly impressed by Not Very Bad Boy, actually quite Nice Nick, who later evilly two timed me's best trick; this was to change the words on the computer. Favourite time was when he changed an obscure Thomas the Tank Engine book, to well you guessed it Thomas the Wank... And a lovely middle class lady found it written on her till receipt.

Think there was another Investigation, again stopping staff drinking at lunchtime would surely have worked...

And of course how could I forget the first proper real gay man I met, although have forgot his name now. He was the Deputy Manager, and as such was allowed to wear grown up smart clothes. Unfortunately he was a little rotund and often wore a beige jumper and brown trousers, occasionally mean members of staff said mean things about them. Me, I went to Heaven with him, and had a great time. Was just sad was not allowed unlimited days off work afterwards to recover.

Course then it was alleged that he robbed the shop. They thought it was him because I think there was an Investigation in to discounts, and so on. Plus he had keys, and whoever had done the robbing of the safe took the time to wander the shelves and find a copy of 'Crime and Punishment' to pop in the safe. Probably a fairly literate robber.

Those days...course now most fun in a bookshop we have is looking at the gold fish, or drinking coffee (which is absolutely fantastic improvement since the Olden Days).

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Vintage housekeeping and home schooling equates to very strong Christian beliefs.

Oh gosh, or golly golly gosh! Have just realised that people who call themselves vintage whatever; schoolgirls, housekeepers, parents etc mean they are Very Christian and probably would hate me.

I thought vintage was more about having a lot of old bits, or lots of pretend old bits a.k.a. Cath Kidson. But this is not the case, I think it may actually be a belief that a woman's lot is housekeeping and homemaking and child rearing so that they should not work, or go to school, or have any more fun than doing crafts and talking to other women.

See also home schooling, and possibly extended breastfeeding, because what other better way to control women than to control their boobs! Although do think this might be extending argument quite far. Had thought that home schooling was about belief in loveliness of the world, wanting children to grow up free of pointless authority, and political ideology, oh and a belief in the whole child education. (n.b. note to Harriet - fantastic idea for your dissertation religious thought as related to child centred education...).

Anyway am now disillusioned with whole world, and prefer conventional to unconventional, if unconventional is Radical Christianity. Can I start an AntiChrist Craft Group please? Where are all the non believers these days? Have people dropped Atheism along with the Labour party?

Cutesy Kitsch Rubbish

Can get too much, fills holes of house with clutter, can turn from cute to twee and I'm sick of it.

From now on my new style is modernist, sort of 90's habitat, all good edges, some soft lines on sofa's, and greys and pale pinks. I will no longer covert the tat that I don't have, but in true 90's style will get a new career, earn lots of money, and then put all my new purchases on credit card. I shall not pay these cards off in a timely manner because I will be too busy taking little weekend breaks to new 'happening' cities like Prague and Seville, and possibly even Marrakesh. I may actually purchase a little house in the souk in Marrakesh on my credit card, and do it up by employing reliable colourful locals, and fill it with authentic blue coloured Moroccan 'finds'.

Or, alternatively, I might just go to bed early with a new book, come down in the morning, bored with my unstylish house, and knit some things to jazz it up a bit.

Style ideas anyone?

Monday, 29 September 2008

I want one of these, oh and a cute baby to play with it..

Heal's Christmas catalogue is now out, and cunning people sent it to me in the post. Don't they know its credit crunch/credit all gone in my house time.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Nothing to say

I enjoy a good chat wherever I am, and whatever I'm doing (well except to drunken men on buses) but am just too tired to chat this evening. Must go and lie in a sort of coma on sofa for next three hours, until sun is over yard arm and could be revived with a lovely gin and tonic.
Can't wait for the revival.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

I'm in 1992

I've been transported back to 1992, I'm a size ten and work in a big bookshop called Dillons in Watford Town Centre. My hair is sort of longish brown, and I wear it tied up with my bookish glasses. Sometimes I leave my glasses off to look more attractive, but struggle to recognise people without them.

I arrive at Dillons aged 19 after one year at Uni, which was just too much, too young for me, and a couple of months as a pizza restaurant waitress where I became a little manically obsessed about serving customers quickly, and thus probably was quite annoying to work with. I took a Christmas job at Dillons- ended up staying for two years, and wore my striped uniform shirt, undone over a long sleeved t-shirt. I can't remember what trousers I used to wear then, although I know I was over hot pants but not totally over shorts.

I worked at on the first floor at the back of the shop, with a man called Chris, who was the supervisor. He used to wear red jumpers and smoke matching red Marlboro's. There was Tim Cater, and Caroline, both Uni graduates passing time in the shop.

At the top of the stairs there were sections about flower decorating and cooking. A grown up lady called Caroline was in charge of these, and was very, um accessorised. She worked with a cheerful young man called Luke, who was I think the supervisor.

The staff downstairs seemed to change more frequently, but Craig, the floor manager was always there, as was Tanya, his deputy (or was it the other way around). Tanya used to brush her hair every break time, and was the first woman I'd ever met who did not use hair products or was styled. She was possibly a kind of hippie being from Australia, and once said she thought incest between twins was probably acceptable. I am still shocked by this statement 16 years later.

I fell in love with Nick from downstairs, over Spitting Image puppets in the window. He broke my heart by sleeping with a cocktail waitress in America. I never forgave him.

Later, I got back with my crazy first year at Uni boyfriend and got caught snogging him outside the shop once when I was supposed to be already at work. That was the day that one side of my face rose up in high red weals. After being sent home on the bus, I visited the doctor, who diagnosed flea bites from sleeping on the dog's cushion.

1992 - with lunch from bhs, cigarettes on the bench, beer after work, purple DM's, opaque tights, The Guardian and New Statesman and Society, the Diceman, 1984 and CND Christmas cards.

What a blast - and hello to Luke, from that time who I have just unexpectedly bumped in to miles from Watford in our local nursery.