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.