Friday, 27 February 2009

Must leave now in case anyone else offends me....

If I could write a list of the people who have made me cross this week it'd be rather on the long side - no, don't worry it is none of you! But in the interests of living in a small town, and running out of people to talk to if I'm not careful I am just going to list the issues.

  1. People who don't like people with 'nice accents' - i.e. me to use or have any benefit of community facilities. Come on, community is for everyone, and if you want proof of poverty then I can show you my bloody minus bank statement.
  2. People who are rude to shop assistants, either because they think they don't matter - are not 'middle class' enough to bother with, or perhaps were just having a bad day, but were still very rude. Yes, and I was the abeit, volunteer shop assistant.
  3. Very sociable people - just because I'm jealous really, and can't always turn on my sociability button.

Can't decide if worrying about these is a form of arrogance - or maybe just sensitivity, still it probably shows my adopted city roots, and forgotten village living.

Anyone have any other issues to add to the Bad List this week?

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Pollution Paranoia

We used to live in town, in Leyton to be precise. Which, along with most of East London can have high levels of pollution, particularly on still days, and close to the A12. One of the scariest, most inadequate moments I've had was walking along Leyton High Road with a baby Ol, at car level in his buggy and realising the air was so polluted I was struggling to breathe let alone a tiny baby.

Of course, clean air was one of the deciding factors in moving out of the city. Most of the time we did not notice the air quality, but every time we went out of the city, even as close as Hertfordshire we noticed the cold improved air. So one of the delights coming to lovely Hastings was the great air, particularly on the sea front of course, nothing like a good sea breeze. Interestingly, have just found out there is nothing intrinsically better about sea air, it just seems better.

However every single time I go up on to Old London Road, in Ore I struggle to find my breath. I have no idea why the pollution is so bad here - its not Hastings 'hot spot' of pollution - which is no surprise near the landfill site and busy Bexhill Road. In fact, I can't find any records anywhere of pollution levels being recorded up here. It is a busy road, with a fair number of lorries and buses , which could be a factor I guess. Or is it just that I'm so used to lovely clean air, when I come across a polluted patch I am more sensitive to it?

What do you think? Can you detect pollution by 'sense' alone? Whose responsibility is it to clean the area?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Thank goodness I'm neither pregnant or pre-menstrual

... I would have cried so much I'd have crashed in to the bottom of the hill this morning. I just saw a hard looking man, in a hoodie with a foot high little dog carrying a frisbee in its mouth. The dog was obviously to in love with his frisbee, and excited to play it he just had to carry it himself.

Normally its adverts that bring a tear to my eye, or when pregnant obviously anything horrible to do with children. But this Knight of Warrior Square* was clearly of the golden hearted variety. (*Hoodies from Hastings shopping centre- coined by a friend - nb. contact me if you want to me named!)

edit: sorry to those who can't understand this post, think it means you are not ever a hormonal woman. It makes sense to me, honest.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Heavy heart

I don't know where people go when they die - heaven, nirvana, limbo, reincarnation but I hope they look down on us, and know we're thinking of them, with heavy hearts sometimes. And remembering. It's been two years since the day that my brother in law died today.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Is there a Gap in the Bluewater market?

Blimey, have had a roller coaster of a busy week with two trips to retail emporiums, a new pink kitchen (well a third of it anyway), a visit to the lovely Tenterton - best children's play park in area, and um, lots of using the marvellous inherited dishwasher. Oh, and an actual night out - almost to see the new Dylan Thomas film but mistakenly did not book so had to go and drink some shots of bonkers juice in the Old town instead. Which was actually quite fun. And we discovered that there are four black cabs in Hastings. Which are actually cabs and you simply flag them down and they take you home. The poor cabbie was quite overcome with our enthusiasm for his vehicle that he admitted three other people this week had also been overly delighted with it.

Anyway - to the point. In Bluewater on Friday to buy jeans for lovely M (much harder than I could have ever imagined). But we went in to Gap. Now usually the staff jump on you hard, many times during a visit. And M just won't have it. But this time I convinced him we should talk to the staff, or members or whatever they are called, and get their help. Because frankly I was running out of opinions on shades of blue, and straight or boot etc etc. And just wanted them to do all the work.

But they didn't talk to us once. There was no one at the door. Three members of staff were lurking by the jeans section but despite numerous hints about help help help please they did not even look in our direction. They were chatting but not in an upbeat way. Sadly could not manage to actually hear the conversation as would have had to get extremely close, and that would have been weird.

Then there were not the right sizes in the right shades of blue or something, and still no one helped. Then even more shockingly, we realised that the piles of jumpers were mussed up. And not one member of staff had re-folded them. Even the shirts were not 'spaced*' out on the hangers (*old bhs term for having exactly same sized space between each hanger).

What does it mean? Is Gap over? Does Britain no longer need identikit jumpers, casual trousers, and thirty pound canvas bags. Is the era of the pasted striped sock over? I don't know, but in Bluewater it certainly is not at its best.

Blogging Friends and Foes

I've just come to a shocking realisation - some people might not be friends with me because I am a blogger. Not because they think blogging is a slightly bonkers, solitary activity that makes me a bit of a loser (which they might of course). But in case I blog about them.

Stupidly, I hadn't realised that when people talk to me about possibly personal things, then say, you won't blog about it will you? that they actually meant it. But of course they did, and of course having a friend who blogs, and knowing that other friends, and in fact in theory anyone else at all in the world reads it might make you worry.

So to all my lovely friends, and even foes actually - I promise I will never blog about you, ever. Unless of course we do something utterly silly together and agree we can share it. Can't think of anything likely at present - but something on the lines of getting in a lift and just standing there until the doors re-opened, then realising we should have pressed a button. (L!). And realising the tube man was watching us and laughing.

But seriously I won't. 'Cos it is my blog, and if you want to write things publicly I'm sure you will. And I'm not even sure I want to anymore anyway, but more of that another time.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Perfectly Peculiar Pett

It's a bit strange, there are vast expanses of sand, some cool looking old fencing, a view of the nuclear powerstation but it is lovely.

Cold, but lovely.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Poor me

I infected everyone I know (or who I've ever put in my internet address book anyway) with a virus thingy this week. Not sure what it did apart from convince people I was setting up a porn empire/website. Which I'm not. Then we've had the jolly folk at MSN chasing us - how do they know our phone number and saying we need more licences or something. Either way for £65 our computer will be bigger, better, faster and more well behaved. Course we won't be paying them, as have simply changed virus programme to one that will/should actually work. Won't it?

And even worse, I have a random foot injury from wearing cheap slippers that increased in size over the winter. and somehow my foot flapped up but not down. It's been three days now and it still hurts.

And then finally, after making friends with my dentist again at my last visit when it transpired she had tried to make my first pain free and was helping my teeth generally I'm now unhappy again. Not with her, but because I've got a under the inside of tooth infection, and have had it for ages. and the horror is if it doesn't go away (with antibiotics), then more root canal work, then finally it'll be gone. I'll have lost a tooth before the age of forty. And I'll have a bridge! I've been obviously comforted by the fact that my friend L has dentist, um., let say issues too, and I'd thought he already had one. But he hasn't - and says its the steady decline towards forty.

Anyone got any cheery news? Cats saved from trees? Free false teeth etc?

Monday, 16 February 2009

My five favourite things...about today

1. Lovely Ol, upon hearing Little J is making mud soup rather than getting his wellies on straightaway and joining her disappearing upstairs. To draw a round picture of soup, cut it out, draw a ball, and glue it on and draw a rather elderly looking worm and glue it on. Then to put his wellies on and suggest to his sister this is what we need to do.

2. That we've finally improved the view out of the kitchen window - I've planted some lettuce- slightly early but hopefully ok in South Coast, re-planted a lovely cheapie rose, and popped the strawberry plant on the window sill to save it from slugs.

3. Realising that attracting more birds to the garden is the way to rid ourselves of slugs, and buying a truly Blue Peter-esque bird feeder of coconut shell and fat.

4.Loving the great English drink that is cider - only of sampling quantities today, but still..its on its way.

5. Adoring spending time with my family, and having a much needed day out. Why do we leave it so long and get caught up in DIY and blooming life so much?

6. (I know not 5) but absolutely loving living the low carb way - there is no chance of me going back to white bread and pasta, unless my body is no longer my temple etc etc. My waist is back!

Marvelous Middle Farm

I loved it, as did the children. We saw baby pigs, cows and lovely llamas. The llamas in particular were very attractive, with their long lashes and nosy dispositions. Not so keen on dirty sheep or older pigs, who were a bit rough. But it's truly the best place I've ever been to see animals. Not an unhappy fat animal in sight, and they all looked clean and well cared for. Much as I think City Farms are a good idea in principle, in practice some of them, are well hideous. And as for the local zoo here - well it is not right.

But Middle Farm has the animals, the lovely coffee and cake, the playgrounds, and the children's favourite - a barn of hay to play in. A real hay barn to roll around in with the feral cats and the friendly chicken. And there are many chickens, they've obviously learnt to lurk about a bit when sandwiches are out, and to sort of push your legs to get a bit of attention. Some of them are massive breeds, and allowed to play all over the farm. Clearly not good for anyone scared of birds, but fantastic to see what it'd be like to own them. In honesty I think I'd find it like sharing a garden with a tortoise. Which we used to, and it was kind of cool, but really a bit scary as he'd try and nibble your toes if you lay down and forgot about him.

The bestest thing about Middle Farm for grown ups though is the cider. Barrels and barrels of it to try, and then buy. We did manage to be very adult about it and only try a few varieties. Really I just wanted to pretend I was in California at a vinery and try every one. But I didn't. And we managed to only buy four pints. Four pints, at about a million times stronger than normal booze. Yay!

Are you the f'''ing farmer?

Off for a proper lovely middle class day trip out to Middle Farm this morning. Highly tempted to break low carb diet for their as yet untried apparantly wonderful cider.

It's also been two years now since we saw the lovely lovely lambs in Wales gamboling over fields in the way of the car. We weren't chasing them on purpose, but were staying in a field, sort of so had to drive very very slowly. I suspect the pesky lambs will be some of the children's first memories as we were so taken with them. Can't wait. Although Grumpy Teenage at 5 Ol keeps wanting to know if there will be monkeys, lions, and other random zoo animals. He does this everytime we go to the Country and I seem to fall for it every time - spending ages earnestly describing the natural homes of all animals.

Outwitted again.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

And today's news...

The children have decided that their soft toy; Chick has got nits, and are using the nit comb on him. Sadly, a sign of being a school child is an obsession by children with nits.

I-Teddy, the one with the telly in his tummy can't take i-player programmes but now has the Sonic X music on him.

And it is so cold we had to de-ice the car door before it would shut.

Off for a slipperly walk down the hill now.


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Spring is coming...

Absolutely lovely day here today, and even better we got caught in the rain. And you know what? It was big heavy drops of summer rain that smelt lovely.
I'm pleased.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

How blessed thou art.

Or something. Do you know I've been thinking about how lucky I am to get to spend time with my children everyday, watch them grow up, have snacks over the kitchen table and just be well about. I was intending to blog something poignant and real about it today, and was planning to stop moaning about money, and when things go a little wrong, and being, sometimes a little under employed in the intelligence front.

However, I've just heard from a good friend that her partner has been seriously ill for the past few months. And its caught me off guard. They're such lovely people, and full of life seriously. They really don't moan about the tiniest details and enjoy what they do.

He's over the worst now, but it really make you think sometimes. And get well soon P - we're thinking about you - and will save some strange ingredients for you to produce yummy cocktails with next time we see you.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Focus on my Face

I've been working on my skin for the last few days. And yes, it is work, hardly a tough day down the mines but it has needed some thinking about and has paid off. As I've got older my pores have got visible, my skin seems less, um, difficult to describe without resorting to cosmetic lady words but is less luminescence if I may use the word.

So I've done a few different things; I've had some trials of DHC system lurking about for a while to decided to use them this weekend. Weirdly they consist of olive oil, to cleanse and moisturise, plus a toner and soap less soap. Actually a four part system which is a whole two parts more than I usually use. But it is really good. The olive oil moisturiser (am imagining it is more than neat oil) made my face all glowy after use. And the three part cleansing seemed to really made it shiny and clean (although shiny never good on faces it wore off).

Then I tried an India Knight trick, oh yes, she is my new hero, from her Frugal Book. Apparently asprin contains the same ingredient as some expensive face products. So she recommends crushing three with a little water, using as a face mask, keeping on for a few minutes, then exfoliating with removal. It was quite a grainy texture, but I guess what is the point for the removal. And smelt a bit strange. But it again, was good, made me a bit glowy.

Not sure its quite as good as usual clay mask, but will experiment again, and costs about three pence. Oh, and finally I found a cheapie Tesco own non-comogenic facial moisturiser which I'm trialing. Fingers crossed it is as good as expensive ones - it has one fault already though, the bottle is remarkably unstable and wobbles over. But if that is the only problem then I'll be delighted.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

64 Garden Avenue

I've been reminded of my grandma at every turn for the last month or so. She died over ten years ago now, about the time we first moved to London. She sadly never got to meet lovely M, although I did tell her about him, and she told me she was looking forward to it; as soon as she was a little better.
I absolutely and unconditionally loved my grandma, she was always there in my life' and that of others and was rumoured to make the best ever Yorkshire pudding. Most of the memories I have are wrapped up in her house; a 1930's semi on what was a very respectable quiet street in South London when purchased. Over the years it got a little rougher, particularly in the 1980's I think, with Grandma getting mugged twice near hospital. I imagine with the rise of South West London it'll be getting a little nicer again, as Tooting for one local town is on the up.

As a little girl I loved to go shopping with Grandma, it was never a simply pop to the local shop and buy milk trip. We'd meet so many of her friends and neighbours on every walk that it would take so long to walk a few feet along the path. And she liked to go in different shops for each purchase, I think I remember her cigarettes; Craven A being cheaper in the off licence so we'd go there. We'd also always go to the Old Dairy for milk and bread. I never tired of hearing of the story of how it was a proper dairy once, and how Uncle K as a young boy used to work with the milkman and his horse on his rounds.

Grandma's street itself was best in autumn as a country girl I'd never known anything like the feel of fallen crispy leaves on top of a hard pavement. The crunching, crisping and kicking feeling was one I'd almost look forward to every year. The street had been very white I guess, full of respectable older people when I was tiny. Then it began to change subtly and middle class Afro-Caribbean people moved in. Grandma's friends made different food, and had different drinks at Christmas time, but they were still all very similar.

Then I think towards the end of her time there, she began to know less people. More younger couples I guess moved in, less keen to be part of a fifty odd year old community. It didn't stop the regulars like the milkman popping in for a fag and a cup of tea; or the old friends up the road nipping out when they could and helping each other out.

Inside Grandma's house was where I played, met the family, ate her delicious food and loved to be. I used to adore the polished parquet flooring in the hall, made safer my a middle rug but still accessible for quick slides. I loved Grandma's bathroom with its blue bath and gold taps, and accoutrement's in the shape of fish. I loved the scary picture of a mans' squashed head in Uncle A's bedroom and I loved the sense of family and history that ran through it.

And I guess that is what it is all about; Grandma believed in history, family, fun and good times, oh and taking the Telegraph for the crossword. She'd have loved our children, and they her.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The hazards of beauty

Yesterday morning I was filled with the joy of having an extra 15 minutes to get ready as I was driving rather than walking. So I decided to shave my legs, trouble is I was a bit too speedy and shaved a three inch long piece of skin off my ankle. It really bled, needs four plasters (albeit children's ones) to cover it, and it still hurts. Regret it now.

I tried to wear false eyelashes once too, cleverly put them on to see what they looked like. Then realised I looked a bit stupid but the glue in those days, might have improved now, doesn't allow you to change your mind and just wears off in time. And I of course tried them on just before going out. I remember managing to get one off, but then having to stay in as the other was just stuck on too hard.

This was around the time I suffered a small dry red patch on my face for some weeks. Eventually I succumbed to the worry of my doctor laughing at a consultation for a bit of dry skin and visited the surgery. Imagine my horror when I was told, it wasn't just a patch of dry skin, it was actually a mould. I had a mouldy face! And my mum told her friends (note to self however tempting don't spill beans on children's future embarrassing illness'). Luckily it was remedied healthy again with some sort of anti-fungus cream.

Anyone else care to share?

Friday, 6 February 2009

Gymnasts are lucky...

...when they do 'tumbling', which is lots of back flips and forward flips etc all in a row. I've spent part of the afternoon walking on their bouncy tumbling track, finally succoming to running up and down it with a friend. Apart from dodging small children it was fantastic. Sort of like running on springs, or maybe the moon.

Highly recommended as a Friday afternoon activity. And have no idea what the people not playing running thought of us, and even better only care slightly.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Mornings are difficult at the best of times but today..

I woke up to a total crisis in confidence. I've been stuck in the house, or very close to it for three days now. Leading me to get more and more bored.

This morning I felt like I was absolutely wasted at spending my days planning what to have for tea, organising social lives of small people, cleaning, shopping, and doing washing. I realised I was moaning as I got to the bottom of the hill, and had not said a positive word about being a stay at home mummy. Oh, except I really really do want to be there when the children go to and get out of school. It's such a lovely part of the day, and I think they really do need a parent there to discuss all their day time issues with; i.e. So and so got a yellow card in the playground, I met a policeman and so on.

But what about me? Then a chance comment by another parent really made me think. She asked in all seriousness what on earth I do all day. Again, I felt utterly useless, a bit like the comment last week from a working mother who told me she has no time for blogging because she has a life. Now of course I know I do loads and look after my family as best as I can.

I also know I couldn't cope with a high pressured full time job, and that the only time I have to work is between 9.30 and 11.30 four days a week, when J's in nursery. And if I worked in those two hours, I wouldn't be able to clear up from breakfast, wash up, clean, make beds, open curtains, do washing, shopping and so on. That is, unless I did it all after 7pm at night, which is what used to happen when I was working.

Course, rather than thinking all this through rationally, I came home from school/nursery run and watched Jeremy Kyle for the first time ever. And that made me feel even worse, as it was possible the most unproductive and counter productive use of my time ever.

However, crisis of confidence over now - course being always careful with money is a challenge, as is intellectual stimulation every now and again, I wouldn't, and I think the whole family wouldn't change our situation for anything in the world. (Course still don't like silly report that says children need mummies at home, and no divorces etc. etc.which was just one man's, and his gang's opinion really).

People called Jeremy

I've just realised that Jeremy Vine and Jeremy Kyle are different people. Even though they are both sensationalist and I don't like them.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

My first ever crush

..was on Laurie from Little Women. I just wanted to be Jo, in the attic with my bag of apples. If my sister Amy had married him instead of me I might just have had to throw an absolute tantrum rather than stoically accept it. Evil pretty Amy!

Staying at home activities....

Yesterday we...cleaned, re-arranged furniture in playroom and downstairs dining/play/bedroom, baked, played with the car track, dusted inside the dolls house and re-arranged their furniture, half made a cushion, did some washing, cooking, sent lots of texts, drank lots of coffee, went to play with some friends, went in the garden, played on, and finally watched some tv.

Amazing the amount of activities one can get in to an Ice Day. Still preferred Snow Day, and me and J are stuck inside today due to her getting mysterious sick bug. Which made its appearance at 6am in my bed of course.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ice Day not as exciting as Snow Day, as some roads are passable, the snow is melting and it is just a bit cold.
Think will go to the supermarket instead of Ice Day activities.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow Day

A lovely snow day today! We've sledged the streets, albeit on a body board. Unfortunately I managed to snap the pulley bit off (just too fat) when it was my turn. Mended it enough to drag children around the local area. Brilliant fun!

Children have also made a big big snowman, with a carrot for a nose. Lovely M, was not so lovely, and smashed a Giant Snowball in my face. Apparently an accident as I was bending down (?). Still cross about that five hours later, but am planning to sneakily drink all the low carb beer we have, and leave him with Cheap Brandy. Feel a little mean might let him have one.

We're wondering what will happen tomorrow, will it be an Ice Day - think that would be the first one ever. Slightly confused about how that would work but am a little anxious about getting down giant hill if it turns in to a wave of ice. I guess we could fashion some ice pick walking sticks out of um, stick and kitchen knives if necessary though.

Can't wait to see what an Ice Day is like - just hope its not too scary. Used to have an ice train when I worked in Bat and Ball (Sevenoaks) - as soon as it was chilly the train could not get up the slight incline to the station due to the ice. It was often snowy when I worked in Kent come to think of it. Weird local weather.