Saturday, 16 December 2017

They're coming to take me away...

As I limp towards the weekend, I'm surprised to have reached this stage without a) killing myself b) killing someone else c) being escorted off the premises by the men in white coats or, my own particular favourite, d) running away to join the circus.

Son number two is back from university and he brings his own work load to add to my already over subscribed pre-Christmas list of 'Stuff To Do'.  I can cope with every aspect of the pre-Christmas planning, but lump them all together and I tip....

Let me tell you tipped me over yesterday.  The straw, as it were....

Son number two loves his pants.  He loves them so much, that it is not unheard of for him to wear four pairs in a day.  Now, these are not small pants.  These are pants which can block out the sun when hung on the line.  The type of pants which could double up as a spinnaker sail in an emergency and which could house a small family of rodents (I hope that the Christmas tree mouse doesn't start squatting in a pair - hiding nuts might take on a whole new meaning).   

As it's winter, my washing is now all hung up on an overhead airer which, through means of ropes and pulleys, hoists the washing up to dry (unless son number one gets anywhere near it, in which case, it stays at head bumping height as he can't be bothered to take it all the way up).  

Anyway, unloading the washing machine again yesterday morning, I pulled out pair after pair of pants.  The airer was full of them, and there was no room for my one sweater, which is draped over a kitchen chair as I write).

Taking them off the airer last night, I said to son number two, who was hovering around the fridge looking for anything, and I mean anything, to eat.

'You are not allowed to wear any more pants this week', I said.  'I'm fed up with looking at them'.   

I'm not going to tell you what his response was, as you're probably eating your breakfast, but needless to say, I am going to be washing those pants for at least another three weeks, until I can ease him out of the front door and back to Leeds (Vaseline and a large bar of chocolate on the drive should swing it).

I also did double bubble at Binland yesterday, finally crawling out of the door after 5.00.  Why everyone wants to talk rubbish with me the week before Christmas is anyone's guess, but there was one giggle moment, around 4.17....

Me 'Can I take your surname please?'
Customer 'It's Shearer'.
Me 'Oh, like Alan Shearer?'
Customer 'Exactly like Alan Shearer.  Just with a bit more hair'.
Me 'Let's face it, a snooker ball has more hair than Alan Shearer'

How we laughed.

A tad too hysterically if I'm honest...



Thursday, 14 December 2017

Baby, come back...

Now that Christmas is looming, the children are heading back to the homestead in various shape and form.  

Daughter number one, who has been living away from home for some years now, really only comes home to visit.  This visit will always involve food and if Prosecco is involved, will also include a sleepover.  If daughter number two's bedroom can't be high jacked for this purpose, then yours truly will spend half an hour removing all the crap off daughter number one's bed so that she can get in it.  

This is the problem when you have a ground floor bedroom situated between the kitchen and the front door.  It rapidly becomes a dumping ground, and as I write it's housing all of the husband's biking paraphernalia, winter clothing accessories (my scarf box was decimated by Reg one afternoon, so my scarves now languish across the bed) and shoes....lots of shoes.  I have daughters, what do you expect.

Daughter number two moved out fourteen months ago, and still clings onto her home and bedroom (even though the dogs now live in there).  When she arrives, it's usually for a few days, and it's like she's never been away.  By this, I mean that there will be at least three empty shampoo/conditioner/moisturizer/shower gel bottles scattered across the bathroom.  The carpet will look like a depressed Afghan hound has been in residence (she has hair extensions) and there's usually some stray underwear knocking about.  She's in and out like a whirlwind, generally leaving a couple of pairs of drawers behind as a rule.

Son number one is flitting between houses at the moment, as befitting someone who has just left university.  Student-hood seems rather difficult to leave behind.  When he visits, it's usually just for food and washing.  He's planning on moving into his own place next year, so I would imagine that his visits will start to resemble daughter number one's, but without the hair extensions.

Son number two returned from university on Saturday.  He surprised me as I wasn't expecting him till next week.  Unfortunately I was out - this will teach him to call ahead.  Does he not realise that my life is no longer governed by him and the other three?  Anyway, he's back with almost every piece of clothing he has owned since 2012 and my washing machine is on 25gm of Valium per day.  

Here's the thing though.  He waits for me to come home after work, and then expects me to take him somewhere for the afternoon.  On Wednesday, I made the mistake of asking him if he wanted to come into town with me as I had something to take back to a shop.

I should have known that it was going to cost me, when he agreed.  He played the poverty stricken student all the way round, and fleeced me for razors and chocolate.  There was then a lunch in Greggs as he was 'starving'.  This turned into a three course meal and I'm sure that the Manager was just about to offer the meal for free if son number two had managed to force down the second chicken pie.  All in all, it cost me about £50 to have him riding shotgun.  Just as we were heading back to the car, he had the audacity to tell me that he'd got £67.50 as a trade in for his old mobile.

Ah yes, the mobile.  That would be the one I have been paying £35 a month for since 2015...

Saying to him that surely that money was mine as I had paid for it (and the new one he's just got) he looked at me quite thoughtfully.

Handing me £7.50 in loose change, he said, 'Knock yourself out Mumpty and buy yourself an ice cream'.

Does he not realise that this Mumpty Numpty is in sole charge of his Christmas presents? I have a feeling that I may be returning even more parcels back to the shops over the next few days.

And this time, I'll be leaving him at home... 


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The lumberjack song...

On Sunday, we put the Christmas tree up.  This is an event which the husband looks forward to every year and he usually starts harping on about it around the beginning of October.  This year, for the first time, he took my advice  and went and pre-ordered the tree.  This meant tramping through the pine forest until he saw one vaguely suitable for our hall.  

You see, we have a very high ceilinged hall, and it will accommodate a rather large tree quite comfortably.  Over the years, there have been a few disasters.  There was the year it was too small, around 12', and the husband compared it to something you see strapped to a lorry's radiator grill around this time each year.  Then there was the disaster which was 2014.  I should have known it  was going to be big, when I saw the forklift putting it on the back of the trailer. Once up, it was impossible to get to my kitchen via the hall as you can see from the photo below...


I was not amused, and neither was son number one who spent at least an hour pinned underneath it as the husband tried to get it upright (still talking about the tree here).

So this year, the husband went and pre-ordered a 16' tree, which is the optimum size we have come to learn over the years.  Getting it back to the house was no mean feat as this was the day that the snow came down, so we laid the hair-netted tree outside the front door while various rugs and tables were moved to make space.  

And then there was a loud shriek from son number one.  'Look! Its a mouse!'  Squashed up against the netting was a tiny field mouse, probably wondering what the hell was going on.  The trouble was, we couldn't take the net off until we had the tree upright because we wouldn't have got it through the front door, so I came up with the bright idea of shutting all the doors while the husband released the net, we would them all be primed and ready to catch the little critter as it was released into the hall.  

As it was, we found an empty nest but no mouse, so I am expecting rustling in the night any time soon.

As to the tree, it wasn't 16', but actually 18', so the husband had to take on the role of lumberjack and cut 2' from the bottom.  He swore blind that it was 16' when he'd ordered it, and seeing the look I gave him (the one which shouldn't be trifled with) he suggested that perhaps it had grown another two feet after he'd selected it back in November.  As I said to him, still glaring, 'It's a Nordic Spruce, not a bloody bamboo'.

But it's up and looks beautiful, and has more lights on it than Winter Wonderland has.


I just love Christmas, and now the tree is up, it's time to start celebrating...


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Saturday night's alright for fightin'...

If I'd been on a fair ground ride for the last three days, it would have to be the dodgems.  Pottering along quite nicely when all of a sudden, I'm rammed up the derriere by some lunatic...

So, Saturday was the night of Binland's Christmas Do.  Mrs S and I had done a lot of work to find a good venue for the dinner, the only criteria being that there had to be music, and that it was cheap.  We managed both, and after some girly cocktails in a bar, we headed off to the venue, expectations high, and temperatures low (it was bloody cold and not conducive to a lacy party frock).  

Walking in, the pub was busy which we decided was a good sign, and having sat down, the food started to arrive.

Now there is a lot you can get for £15 (especially if you shop at Aldi like I do) but the pub's attempt at a festive three course meal was pitiful.  I had four prawns spread over two courses, and two and a half of these were in the Prawn Cocktail starter, resplendent with radio active Marie Rose sauce.  The main course, a Seafood Parcel, was a huge disappointment.  It looked lovely when it arrived, the crispy pastry surrounded by seasonal vegetables, and I grabbed a sneaky carrot off my plate as I waited for my colleagues' meals to tip up.  It was stone cold.  Not just lukewarm, but the sort of temperature you'd get from taking the veg out of the freezer and leaving them on the side for ten minutes.

But not to worry.  The Seafood Parcel was of a temperature which would melt asbestos and was labelled as 'dangerously hot' almost immediately.  Mashing the contents of the parcel (one and a prawns and a rather unexpected pepper sauce which would have been better suited to a sirloin steak) with the vegetables, they soon heated up and were now able to be eaten without setting my sensitive teeth off.

The evening went from bad to worse as fights broke out around us and the DJ played tracks which no one had ever heard of.  This was obvious as no one was dancing, choosing instead to sit at the table and shout at each other.  The 'ladies' (I am making an assumption here, as they were wearing dresses, but had the vocabulary of a docker) on the table next to us eventually attracted the attention of the bouncers, and it was a very brave man who quietened them down.

We eventually decided to vote with our feet, and walked to another bar down the road.  This had a better clientele (no fighting, swearing or spitting) but the live band that was performing looked like it should have defibrillators on its Christmas list. Finding a quiet booth, the four of us who were still standing carried on drinking and chatting, and I finally rolled in at around 1.00am

Sunday was Christmas Tree Erection Day.

We'll talk about this tomorrow as it deserves a page all to itself...


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Pinch me...

Yesterday was a very trying day.

It started well with mild hypothermia on my early morning walk but got steadily worse.  I was on my own in the sales department at Binland yesterday morning, because 25% of my team was laid up in bed, while the other 50% were on another jolly.  This seemed to be the day that everyone wanted to have a dig at me, and by the time I crawled out of there, I'd had what is commonly known as 'enough'.

But not to worry.  I was off to do a slightly festive shop, and was then heading to Mrs H at my local salon for some facial work, so I had some good things to keep me busy.  There were also a couple of parcels to drop off at the post office, which just happened to double up as a petrol station, so I had it all planned.

Let's start at the supermarket shall we.  All I was doing was bending down, looking at a shelf of cooker bulbs trying to decide which one looked familiar.  Suddenly, with no warning, I was goosed by a trolley.  Straightening up rather abruptly, I said I was sorry (why I felt the need to apologise is anyone's guess.  Being British has something to do with it I would imagine).  The man, for a man it was completely disregarded my apology and leered at me.  Now it's a long time since I've been leered at, and the assistant who was helping me with my light bulb choice said to me as the man walked by, 'He did that on purpose.  He had plenty of room to get past you.  Bloody pervert'.  

This made me feel a bit odd to be honest.  I'd been alright till she said that, so it was best foot forward, and catching him up at the foil and cling film, I said very loudly and slowly that if he ever tried doing something like that again, I would be shouting 'Pervert' to anyone who cared.  Luckily, his wife was just behind me, so hopefully, he might be able to walk again by Christmas.

So it was then off to the petrol station.  I filled the car up and paid for the fuel, and then got into the queue for the post office.  Having stood there for seven minutes, I realised that there was now a queue behind my car, and the 'gentleman' in the Shogun behind my car was pomping on his hooter rather insistently.  Almost throwing the parcels across the counter, I ran out to the car, with an apology ready.

'What is it with you f***ing women that you have to do the f***ing shopping in the f***ing garage?' he said, rather loudly.

I could have responded with many things, especially having just been goosed, but I decided I was better than that.

'And a Merry Christmas to you too', I said with a big smile, finishing the sentence with, '...you bloody idiot' once I was in the safety of my car.

Bloody men....


Friday, 8 December 2017

Super trooper...

As you know, we have a house guest in the shape of a rather handsome Westie called Sidney.  With Percy and Reg already here, my house is starting to resemble an old people's home.  All I need is an Ethel and a Wanda and I'll have a full house.

So the thing with Sidney is that he's not too keen on our staircase.  I don't know whether he has the same issues at home, but for some reason, he gazes at the staircase like it was Everest, probably thinking to himself, 'Why couldn't they have left me with someone who has a bungalow?'

When the husband's alarm goes off at 5.30 in the morning, I tend to get up.  I make myself a cup of tea, publish this drivel, and then go back to bed for half an hour.  Since Sidney has been with us, I've been getting up when the husband gets up.  And I've been staying up.  There seems to be no point in going back to bed with a cup of tea when I have a Westie downstairs looking pretty hacked off that he can't join me in the boudoir.

But this has its benefits.  First of all, I did the ironing before 6.00 this morning, then bought a  couple of last minute Christmas presents , and, wait for it....I made soup.

I had panicked on Wednesday night, as I had no lunch for yesterday, and then I remembered a tin of Carrot and Coriander soup in the cupboard.  This has been sitting in the cupboard in isolated splendour for some time, being ignored for finer fare like pasta and baked beans, but beggars can't be choosers, so I opened the can, and poured it into my soup flask.  It had a smell like no other, and I felt the top layers of my eyeballs peel off.  Screwing the lid on, I left it on the side to take to Binland later that morning.

And then I had a thought. Why not make my own?  Ferreting around the fridge, I found a bag of carrots, a rather limp onion and a potato with more eyes than The Fly.  Having boiled it for the allotted time, I got my blender out and whizzed it down to something which resembled soup.

It was much better than the canned stuff, mainly for the reason that it was carrot coloured, rather than looking like something out of a blocked drain.  

Mind you, it might have helped if I'd added the coriander.

Sidney is such a lovely, cuddly distraction.  It's no wonder I forgot...


Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Christmas shoes...

'Make sure you put your drinking shoes on'...

These were the parting words from my 'young enough to be my son' boss, Mr W, as I left Binland yesterday lunchtime.  It's the Binland Christmas Party on Saturday night, and Mr W and me are the only two members of the sales team who will now be going.  The two youngsters, Master J and Master P have cried off for various reasons, most of them perfectly viable, and I had joked with Master J yesterday morning that it would be my responsibility to keep Mr W on the straight and narrow (by the sounds of it, this is a road seldom trod).  

So what on earth are 'drinking shoes'?  I pondered this yesterday while walking the three dogs around the field.  (This was interesting because my two have only one speed, which is Top, while our lovely house guest Sidney, likes to take a more ponderous walk, taking time to sniff every blade of grass.  Between shouting 'Whoa boys!' and 'Come on, Sid', we managed a lovely walk and the three of them are now firm friends. How do I know this?  Well Sid has stopped doing his Elvis impersonation every time Reg comes near and Percy has removed his nose from Sidney's derriere).

Anyway, I digress.  Drinking shoes...  

Would these be shoes with a wide area touching the floor (flats then) to aid balance after one too many?  

Perhaps they are trainers so that we can go from pub to pub quickly?

Either way, I shall be wearing my kitten heels, so I am hoping that I can show some Prosecco restraint and stay upright for most of the evening.  Also, as the two establishments which have the dubious honour of hosting our party this year, are quite close together, there shouldn't be anything more necessary than ladylike staggering between the bars.

I'm the oldest one going on Saturday.  

I do hope that they won't be looking to me to be the sensible one...