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).