Thursday, 31 March 2016

Let's get physical...

Words from a Bird.  Day 91

I had a complaint when I got into work, about how late I was in publishing the blog this morning   I did think about lying, but in the end, decided that honesty is always best...(unless your husband is asking whether his stomach looks big in a shirt, in which case, lie through your teeth)

'Reg decided to redecorate the utility room in an early 1970's style, focussing on browns and oranges with some lime green thrown in for contrast'.

This was what I was greeted with this morning, and sitting in the middle was Reg, looking like he'd had a very bad set of lowlights put in, happy as a pig in....  well, you know what I mean.  I had to clean the floor in three stages which involved, in no particular order, an entire kitchen roll, two mop heads, disinfectant, a perfumed candle and three cloths.  So this is why my blog was late this morning.  I was up to my neck in s**t.

Having cleaned Reg up, Percy was prepared to welcome him back into the kitchen, and the schnauzer wrestling started up.  It's funny listening to them, as they make the same noise, but probably a couple of octaves apart.  This is what I think they're saying.

Reg: 'Play with me, play with me, play with me!'
Percy: 'Go away'
Reg: 'Play with me, play with me, play with me!'
Percy: 'I'm not interested'
Reg: 'Play with me, play with me, play with me!'
Percy: 'I am too old and sensible, go away'
Reg: 'Play with me, play with me, play with me!'
Percy: 'I can't be bothered'
Reg: 'Play with me, play with me, play with me!'
Percy: 'You're not going to leave me alone are you?'
Reg: 'Play with me, play with me, play with me!'
Percy: 'Oh all right.  Let's go!'
Reg: 'But I'm tired now'
Percy: 'Play with me, play with me, play with me!'
Reg: Snore.......
Percy: 'Pesky kid...'

Of course, they could be discussing quantum physics, but I think it unlikely...

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Blowing in the wind...

Words from a Bird.  Day 90

So the husband dolefully returned to work today, each side of his trousers' waistband not quite on talking terms with the other.  If only he'd listened to me last night....

I was back to work as well, and after four days of washing, ironing, cooking and nagging, the sanity was most welcome.  The reason that I had so much to do was that daughter number 2 had returned from a week's skiing, kindly handing over her suitcase at the front door.  I never complain about skiing holiday cases, as once you have taken out the salopettes, ski jacket and thermals, the weight limit dictates that there's not much left for anything else.  To get round this, I think that both daughters wear as much clothing as possible on the plane to release valuable case space to shoes and make-up.

Going back to daughter number 2's suitcase, in all fairness, she did put the dirty clothes into the washing machine, but there is where her input ground to a complete halt.  As we all know, it is here that the Washing Fairy takes over, waving her magic wand over the grimy socks, sprinkling fairy dust over the grey collared shirts, and finally washing, drying and ironing the whole bloody lot at the expense of her own fragile sanity...

Son number 1 walked through the front door about 24 hours before daughter number 2 with what looked like three weeks of dirty washing. His linen basket looks quite small from the outside, and how he crams so much in there is beyond me.  It's a skill, and probably involves many hours of practised crumpling to achieve.  I have rechristened it 'The Tardis'.  It is the gift which just keeps giving (said through teeth gritted so hard, that three fillings threw themselves on the mercy of the dentist).

So you see, lots of washing.  Unfortunately, I only have drying space for one load at a time, which means that my ground floor takes on the appearance of a U-Washee Chinese laundry, and the windows all steam up which the neighbours can find unsettling.

I'm thinking of buying one of those airers which you can use for drying clothes.  I was at Homebase yesterday (that husband of mine sure knows how to spoil a girl) and bought a new one for my sister.  Hers is broken, a combination of a wet path, a heavy basket and possibly a drink or three.  The end result was something resembling a failed Cat's Cradle, so I offered to get her one while I was there.

Never underestimate how dangerous it is to carry a plastic-wrapped, folded airer in a 70mph wind whilst clutching a potted plant and thirty coat hangers. I almost took off twice, and having reached the arranged 'wife collection spot' resorted to using it as a windbreak.

I'm surprised I'm here at all...

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Head over feet...

Words from a Bird.  Day 89

Had a row with the husband this evening.  Let me set the scene.....

The shout came up this afternoon for a visit to the cinema to round off the Bank Holiday weekend.  After all the cooking and ironing I had done over the last 48 hours (the kids are at home, need I say more), I welcomed the chance to sit in a dark room for a couple of hours with Eddie the Eagle.  We scooped up my sister en route, and the Three Musketeers were on their way to the bright lights of Maidenhead.

While I collected the tickets (VIP seats naturally) the other two veritably sprinted up the stairs two at a time, to get to the Pick'n'Mix before I got there.  They do this because they know that:

1. They will be restricted on quantity, and

2. They will be made to keep the bag closed until the sweets had been paid for.

Unfortunately, by the time I had sussed out the pre-paid ticket machine, I was too late.  The two of them were standing in the queue, looking like a couple of guilty hamsters, with their cheeks stuffed with stolen confectionary. As we got nearer to the till (and closer to the bottom of the sweet bags) the husband, on seeing the ice cream freezer, shuffled over to pick one. 

I followed him, to try and dissuade him from this, as he already worked his way through a once-full bag of sweets.  As I got to his side, I realised that he was holding a lolly, a joyous smile on his face. 

'Funny Feet?  Not seen them in years.  I'm having two'.

This is where the argument started, as I felt that two ice lollies and a bag of sweets was rather excessive for a film lasting just 102 minutes.  He wasn't having any of it though, and it was only when I threatened to take what was left of the bag of sweets off him, that he reluctantly put one of the Funny Feet back in the freezer.

With a lower lip thrust out in pure resentment, he headed back to the till muttering under his breath. It was then I realised that I probably should have let him have two after all.  I mean, they're not called Funny 'Foot' lollies are they?  They're Funny 'Feet'.

And as we know, feet always come in pairs.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Eve of destruction.....

Words from a Bird.  Day 88

Reg has been in our lives for two weeks now.  We are now where we wanted to be, with Reg and Percy being good mates (albeit mates where one mate gets a little hacked off if the other mate pesters too much).  However, as the time has gone on, and the relationship with Percy has improved, my house and belongings have suffered as follows:

1.  The large Madagascan Dragon Tree, which has been happily living in my kitchen for the last 10 years has been 'got at'.  After removing Reg from the earth for the hundredth time this morning, I came up with the bright idea of cling filming the pot, so that he couldn't get anywhere near it.  This worked for exactly 47 seconds before he started to suck on the cling film.  The tree is now on my desk, its higher branches bent over against the ceiling.  The good thing about this is that the loose electric socket which the plant was hiding, has been replaced by the husband today - every cloud, and all that...

2.  The kitchen waste bin has been turned around so that the flap is facing inwards.  This makes disposing of any rubbish almost impossible, but is does stop Reg from hanging off the front, his legs off the ground, and snout in the bin.

3.  My office bin has been raided on several occasions, with Reg making the shredder surplus to requirements.  The bin is also now on my desk.

4. The rug under my desk now has a beautifully sucked corner, which I only discovered yesterday.  I thought he was quiet under there.  Time is teaching me that quiet = bad.  The rug is now rolled up and is on the printer cupboard next to my desk.  Its width dictates that it encroaches onto my desk, and it is fighting for space with the Dragon Tree and my waste paper bin.  I have given up using my desk for any writing or work, and have resorted to using my knees.

5.  I have no tea towels left.  These have been dragged off the oven rail and are now residing in the flower bed (the unweeded one which means I won't see them until the end of the summer).

6.  There are fourteen small holes on my lawn where 'Digger Reg' has been practising for future bone burying.  He goes at these with such a frenzy that there is no divot to put back into the hole, just a turf equivalent of sawdust.

7.  Two jumpers have been consigned to the bin, after Reg used the sleeves as an adventure playground when I was ironing, swinging off them like Tarzan at the end of an oversized creeper.

8.  He is now able to scale the barrier erected to keep him in the utility room, sneaking out for surprise raids on Percy as he sleeps.  (Percy has got wise to the fact that Reg can't get onto the sofa, so now sleeps there, confident that he will be left in peace, all the while surreptitiously flicking the V's at Reg.

So not too much destruction overall.  The furniture's still intact as are my fingers and ankles.  We're probably over the worst.

Stop laughing....

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Teenage dirtbag...

Words from a Bird.  Day 87

So it was the usual Saturday breakfast this morning.  We had decided that it might be good to try a different venue for a change, and all six of us trolleyed into Bill's.  No room in that particular inn, so off we went again, heading down Marlow High Street to Barouche, our usual stamping ground.  As we all trotted down the High Street, we resembled a sketch on the Benny Hill Show, with my mother up front, followed by the rest of us.  The only disappointing thing was that she wasn't wearing a skimpy nurse's uniform, and nobody had pinched her bottom.  She still managed a fair pace down the High Street though.  I think it's down to the siren call of the sausage sandwich...

For the second week running, breakfast was pretty good.  My sausage sandwich was served with unbuttered bread, which actually makes it more 'sausages slapped between two slices of bare bread' rather than an actual sandwich, but this was remedied with a butter side order.  (I piled it on in a fit of pique, which I'll probably regret tomorrow, but hey, I live life on the edge...)

After breakfast, it was a final visit to Nanny's house.  Having cleared the flat, the only space left to do was the shed.  This has been left till last for two reasons.

1.  It has been used as a dumping ground for the stuff coming out of the flat.

2. Spiders.....big spiders....

The shed had much to offer.....rubbish, crap and garbage, all covered with a liberal sprinkling of old spider webs and copious amounts of dust.  My sister and I did attempt to foist the tartan terror shopping trolley onto our mother, insisting that she should be thinking ahead, but she didn't find that funny for some reason. So instead, we filled it with all the bits and pieces we could and wheeled it out to the car for its last journey to the local tip.  We looked like a couple of down and outs as we pushed it down the road, the saucepans, broom head, rug and paintbrushes sticking out the top didn't help...

Having locked the shed up, it was time for a final goodbye to my nanny and her home, as I knew I wouldn't be back again.  I went through all the rooms, my fingertips touching the walls of the home she had loved.  I could see her in the kitchen with a plate of macaroons and chocolate rolls, and in the lounge with a cup of tea watching her great grandchildren playing on the rug.  She was in the dining room having her lunch with the Daily Mail listening to Jeremy Vine, and in her last few weeks tucked up in her bed, wishing us 'goodnight' as we tiptoed away.  As I walked out, I could see her so clearly, sitting in the sunshine her face tilted up to the sun.

All this and more, we'll remember.......

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Where have all the flowers gone?

Words from a Bird.  Day 86.

As the weather was so lovely today, I decided that it would make sense to tackle the back garden which has taken to resembling the Congo over the last few weeks.  Percy and Reg have been disappearing for hours at a time - I had a weird suspicion that once I cut it all back, I would find a family of orang-utans living by the ornamental birdbath (if it survived the winter).

So gloves on, trowel in hand ( a Kubota would have been more job appropriate) I set to it, starting at the narrow end of the border, in case I peaked too soon.  Once I had hacked back the creepers and macheted the larger weeds, it wasn't too bad, so kneeling down I started digging over the soil.  And this is where it all went wrong.

The dogs, who had been watching me from a safe distance, all of a sudden appeared at each elbow, in a pincer movement.  There was nowhere to run.  I carried on digging, pulling at the weeds and putting them in a bucket, all the time nervously keeping an eye on the two of them in case they made a sudden move.

And then they did.

In one single manoeuvre, Reg went for the left hand glove, pulling at it like a thing possessed.  While I was distracted, Percy made a move on the trowel and ran off with it.  Having lost one glove to Reg, I threw the other one onto the border and started chasing the two of them round the garden, trying to get the trowel off Percy and the glove off Reg.  Percy is far more obedient, so I managed to get the trowel off him quite easily.  My glove was another matter.  By the time I had caught Reg, he had given the glove a good mauling.  It resembled road kill, and had more holes in it than daughter number 2's first attempt at scarf knitting. 

In the meantime, Percy had returned to the scene of the crime, and stolen the other glove.  Resigned to losing at least three nails, I went back to the border, and resumed weeding, plunging my gloveless hands into a particularly nasty looking patch.

Oh brilliant.  Nettles.  Cue copious swear words muttered under my breath (the next door neighbour was on the other side of the fence, and I don't think he would have been too impressed by my rich vernacular).

Several hours later, my hands feel like they are plugged into the National Grid, and I have sausage fingers.  We're out for dinner tonight, and I am praying that we're not offered Chinese food.

Sausage fingers and chopsticks?

I'll be coming home hungry...

Friday, 25 March 2016

A day in the life...

Words from a Bird.  Day 85.

So the Bank Holiday weekend is upon us.  I don't know about you, but for me this is always the equivalent of losing a day of my life.  I spend the whole of Thursday thinking its Friday, then Friday is Saturday etc.  It's only 6.00pm on Thursday, and I have already lost Friday twice.  Once to a Depot Meeting at work which totally caught me unawares.  As I was convinced it was Friday, I had assumed that Thursday's Depot Meeting was yesterday.  The boys looked slightly bewildered, and a bit frightened if I'm honest.  They'll learn that the mind of a middle aged woman (I will live to 106) is not one to be trifled with.

I lost it the second time was when I called daughter number 2 in France to ask her if she'd enjoyed her last day's skiing.  She said very patiently that as it was only Thursday, she still had another whole day left.  'Aaah yes', I said, 'it's Thursday, not Friday'.  More chat, then 'Well, have a good flight home in the morning then'.  I could almost see her roll her eyes across the airwaves....'I will, Mum, when I leave on Saturday...'

The upside of all this is then that you feel you've gained a day.  So then I get all giddy, thinking about what I am going to do with all this extra time.  I'll tell you what I am going to do with it, spend the whole day thinking it's tomorrow...

The trouble is that we have lots planned over the weekend - I have visions of an M25 multi-event pile up around 8.30pm on Friday.

So yesterday (or today, not too sure) son number 2 broke up from school.  As he has a penchant for many clothing changes through the day (think BeyoncĂ©) my washing machine and ironing board are on high alert.  They will need the equivalent of a spa day when he goes back in a few weeks. 

Talking about son number 2, I have never known a boy so in love with weird clothes.  There are times when he would give Liberace a run for his money as paisleys, stripes and pictures (usually skulls) crash headfirst into each other, and I find myself wishing that there was a vertical hold button on the remote control which I could point at him.   He is a great believer in individuality where clothing is concerned.  I remember one pair of leopard print brothel creepers which he was particularly fond of.  He was definitely an individual wearing those...well I doubt anyone else would have bought a pair.

I am rather proud of him though.  It takes balls to stand out from the crowd.

Something Liberace would appreciate I'm sure...

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Can't take my eyes off you...

Words from a Bird.  Day 84

It's not every day you get hit in the eye with a foot long, yellow squeaky sausage...thus, my day began.  Having already applied mascara (thank you Rimmel for giving me the appearance of 'awake' these past years) you can imagine what I looked like. 

The satisfying 'thwack' across my left eye (my left, not yours) caused it to start gushing like a southern hemisphere geyser, with a blue/black river rapidly following on behind.  Because of puppy duty this morning, I didn't really have much time to remedy the Coco the Clown/ChiChi look if I wanted to be in work on time.  A rapid drag across the cheek with my sleeve in the car was all I had time for. 

My work colleagues are either very polite (likely) or need better glasses, as not one of them mentioned my weeping, bloodshot eye until I brought it up in conversation.  I did consider popping my sunglasses on, but the thought of resembling Ceelo Green for the morning wasn't a good one.  Mind you, if I don't keep off the hot cross buns (Mrs S, that's you I'm talking about) wearing sunglasses indoors won't be the only thing I have in common with Mr Green.

So I am out for dinner this evening with some very glamorous girlfriends, and I am thinking about creating a trendy Gabrielle eyepatch out of some black knicker elastic and a foam insert from an old bra (those of you who are not challenged in that department will have no idea what I am talking about at this point). 

Knowing my luck, I'll probably look more like Mackenzie Crook's character in Pirates of the Caribbean - not the look I am hoping to achieve, but if I can find a pair of stripy trousers, a tricorn hat and a wooden leg, I might pull it off.

Just for the record though, I haven't taken up self-flagellation with the aforementioned yellow sausage.  I was beaten up by 10 inches of miniature schnauzer who wasn't that keen on a cuddle.

I haven't taken it personally, but the sausage is grounded...

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Perfect day...

Words from a Bird.  Day 83

My day didn't start well....I am not the best arguer in the world, but whilst juicing this morning, son number 2 managed to rile me to such a level that I chucked a tub of fruit across the worktop.  Why is it, that whenever I lose my temper, it's only ever me that has to clear up after myself.  I have a very clear memory of launching an open packet of icing sugar into the air, which was in response to a particularly violent spat between daughter number 2 and son number 2 over a couple of Playmobile figures (this was years ago in case you're wondering). 

When the dust finally settled (literally) I was left looking at two mini old age pensioners, white from head to toe.   Obviously I couldn't laugh, and worse still, I couldn't make them clear it up, so yet again, down to yours truly.  They were sent to the rooms, looking like two extras from Rentaghost, leaving white footprints across the hall.  My kitchen floor resembled that of a skanky night club for a week.  All it was missing was the odd fag end, some broken glass and a load of blokes lurking in the corner waiting to make their move in the 'Erection Section'.  This was my teenage phrase for the last dance of the night at the disco.  Not many of you will know that this is where I met the husband at the age of 16.  He did quite of a lot of lurking that night...

So back to this morning.  I left home in not too favourable a mood, mulling over what son number 2 had declared about 'not having enough time to do anything'.....It would appear that I can fill two of my hours with fourteen of his, and that's being conservative.  Perhaps I would be able to do as little as he does if I started sleeping at night and watching TV.  What do you think?

My journey to work, three minutes when I can listen to a bit of chat and half a song if I'm lucky, was marred by an incident at the zebra crossing.  Don't you just love it when you're patiently waiting for the fat kid on the scooter to cross, while his mum stands some way behind, completely oblivious to you.  All credit to the kid though, he kept looking at his mum to gee her up a bit (looking at the size of her, a pasty might have swung it), but nothing was working. 

As I made the decision to continue my journey, she then decided to launch herself at the crossing with a speed which was impressive for someone who probably hasn't seen her feet for many years.  No acknowledgement of the fact that I had been waiting for almost a minute (it sounds petty when I say it now, but you try sitting that long with a queue of traffic behind you).  Winding the window down (this was a bad idea, I know that now) as she reached the other side, I said with a smile...

'I've been waiting quite a while for you to cross.  A thank you might have been nice'.

'Oh f**k off, you stuck up cow...'

How lovely......

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Just like Eddie...

Words from a Bird.  Day 82

The husband is on a diet.  He doesn't know, as I haven't told him, but rest assured, by the summer I would hope that the hair on his calves might have started growing again after being deprived of sunlight over the winter.

It was a trifle which triggered my decision....a family sized trifle for one. (this would be a single person with no children sort of family)  Need I say more?  Even the husband had the decency to admit that he didn't feel too brilliant after eating it in one sitting.  I suppose that it is slightly my fault that he ended up with a trifle in the first place.  You'll remember from yesterday that I had no pudding to offer after the roast dinner, so when son number 2's BFF offered to drive out and get him something, it was more than he could cope with. 

'Trifle....a family one.  And if they don't have a large one, don't worry, I'll have three small ones instead..'

They were gone ages.  I thought at one point that the husband might have given up and gone to bed.  His spoon (one of those large serving spoons which are generally found stuck in a bowl of sprouts at Christmas) had gone warm, he had been holding it that long.

So the family trifle arrived.  It took a lot less time to leave the building than it did to get here, and having finished it, the husband looked like Eddie Izzard after his twenty seven marathons.... slightly grey with a glistening sheen of sweat across his forehead.

So tonight I served spaghetti with spicy salmon for dinner.  I would normally use two bags of pasta for the three of us, but tonight only opened one.  My decision was based on the 'if it's not there, you can't eat it' theory.

Dinner was placed in front of the husband who immediately looked panicked.

'Have I missed our anniversary or something?'

'No, why do you ask?'

'Well, you don't normally do a starter, so I assumed we were celebrating something...'

Maybe twenty seven marathons would be easier...

Monday, 21 March 2016

Ice, ice baby...

Words from a Bird.  Day 81

Sundays in my house usually end up going the same way every week.  Whoever has had the good fortune to be sleeping here on Saturday night wakes up thinking that Sunday is going to be a day of rest, a reward for all the hard work put in through the week. 

Everyone gets their wish, long lie ins (except me as I have to sort Reg out), lazy breakfasts (I cook this, and end up with half of a cold sausage sandwich if I am lucky), an afternoon of motorsports (damn you BT Sport, you ruined my life), a roast dinner (once again, me cooking).  Then there's vegging on the sofa (ironing), catching up with friends (washing) and reading the papers (housework).  So you can imagine that by the time I actually sit down on a Sunday, there's not much of it left. Probably just enough for a drool fest targeted at The Night Manager - that's enough excitement for me.

But my favourite time on a Sunday is the weekly roast dinner which is on offer between the months of October and April.  The husband resumes BBQ duties outside of this period...I am already salivating at the thought of an incinerated sausage, and am considering going veggie for the summer months.  I can't imagine that his cooking would have the same effect on lettuce and a Quorn burger.

So sitting round the table today were the usual suspects, me, the husband, son number 2 and his BFF who joins us every week.  As dinner finished, the two younger table guests were discussing whether they would be back in time from a Percy walk, as they wanted to watch something at 8.00pm.

'What's that then?' asks the husband.  'Another box set?'

'Penn and Teller', they both chorus, the excitement mounting on their cherubic faces.

'Isn't that an ice cream?' asks the husband looking bewildered (it never takes much to achieve this)

The three of us look confused, and try to work out what he thought we were talking about.  It wasn't Ben and Jerry's, Cornetto or Vienetta.  It wasn't even Frankie and Benny's (they have no ice cream connection whatsoever, but we were desperate by then), and then the penny dropped.

'It's Panna Cotta', I say, 'and that's definitely not an ice cream'.

'Oh right', says the husband.  'Have we got any in the freezer?'

I still don't know whether he was wanting ice cream or an Italian pudding.

We had neither, so I don't suppose it mattered...

Sunday, 20 March 2016


Words from a Bird.  Day 80

We had a really early start this morning, as the husband had 'offered' to take daughter number two and her BFF to Luton Airport to kick off their week's skiing.  If I had taken them to the airport, I would have parked up, seen them and their luggage in and probably had a coffee with them, before bidding them a teary goodbye.  The husband slowed down for a twenty second period outside the departure gate and kicked them out onto the pavement, such was his resentment at daughter number 2 heading for the powder again. 

The Saturday Family Breakfast went well this morning. The drinks were hot and the food was quick.  You'll wonder why I even mention this, but history has taught us that neither of these is a given.  The conversation then turned to Nerdy Bags.  This is the name my sister has christened a rather large fabric carrier bag which slips neatly into its own zipped pocket to be used instead of the 5p emotional blackmail tax offered at every shop counter.  I got mine out, my aunt got hers out, my sister got hers out and she then gave my mum one, as she had no Nerdy Bag of her own.  I can't say that she was thrilled...the word 'polite' springs to mind.  Having taken the bag out of its handy pouch, it was most amusing watching her OCD brain try to fold it neatly enough to get the bloody thing back in again.

It was quite an exciting breakfast this morning as we were also celebrating my special friend Mrs W's 23rd birthday (again).  Breakfast tradition demands a Marks and Spencer Colin the Caterpillar Cake.  I have often wondered whether other supermarkets have similar cakes with brand-appropriate names.  Waitrose would probably name theirs Quentin, and Asda would have a Kyle.

So Colin was duly presented at the end of breakfast, ablaze with many, many candles (more than 23, that's for sure). 

'Come on then', says my sister.  'Give Colin a blow...'

Deathly silence round the table, rapidly followed by raucous laughter, which was rapidly followed by disapproving stares from the four spinsters of this parish sitting behind us.  We were going to offer them a bite of Colin's head, but decided that if we wanted to be allowed back next week, it might be better to keep quiet. There are so many eating establishments in Marlow where we can no longer show our faces, that we can't risk losing this one.

After Wednesday night's Chocolate Cake Poisoning Incident, I am trying to 'eat clean' again.  Slices of Colin wafted past me, little white chocolate feet mocking me as they tapped against the plates. 

Nobody ate Colin's head in the end.  I wish they had, as his eyes seemed to be following me round the table, saying, 'You know you want to'.

Well I didn't...and guess what?  I sort of felt quite proud of myself. 

Oh, and just a little pi**ed off...


Saturday, 19 March 2016

I'm a boy...

Words from a Bird.  Day 79

I was greeted by the vision of Reg curled up asleep in one cup of a red 36D bra this morning.  Surely not one of yours, I hear you ask.  No, definitely not one of mine. Trainer bras or a sensible vest are more my forte.  Anything larger than that would give my bust the silhouette of a couple of dented ping pong balls and that's not attractive on a woman.

So this will teach daughter number 2 to leave her dirty washing by his basket overnight.  He'd had a field day, and the utility room looked like the aftermath of a financially lucrative night in the red light district.  A pair of tights was casually slung over the side of his bed, and various pairs of drawers littered the floor.  Unfortunately, there was no money left on the side, but I am used to that.

For one dreadful moment, I had thought that perhaps Reg was going the way of his 'gaynine' brother, but taking a slightly different route and dressing up in women's clothing.  We'll see... 

Daughter number 2 not only brings the inevitable washing ('Can you get it back to me before I go skiing in the morning Mumpty?  I do love you.....) she also handed me a curved darning needle and some brown twine.  'Can you redo my weave while we're waiting for the washing to dry long enough for you to iron it?' 

Oh I was so tempted to sew it back in the style of Cousin Itt off The Addams Family, but apparently she needed to see where she was going.  I did offer the use of a bulldog clip which I have been saving for an occasion such as this, but she wasn't convinced.  I did my best sewing (better after I put my glasses on actually. I nearly pierced her eyebrow twice when I was sewing without them).

Two hours later, my bedroom carpet is littered with bits of brown twine, hair extensions, her blood and my tears.  I have a dead left arm, have developed a squint and am cursing my side of the family where the hair from hell originates from.

Looking at the finished result, I feel that at best a hat will be worn at all times over the coming week...

Friday, 18 March 2016

Up all night...

Words from a Bird.  Day 78

As I stuck my head down the loo for the third time in an hour this morning, it suddenly all made sense.

As you'll remember from yesterday's blog, I was pondering as to how my dad and the husband manage to win at cards every week.  I had blamed the fact that I was usually half asleep, and also wondered whether the husband was checking out the reflection of my cards in the windows.  Well, there is now a third option.

On Wednesday night, my dad carried in a rather large and exciting looking box.  This is usually something he wants to foist on me, which he no longer wants to give house room to.  He says he doesn't like throwing anything away, so he does it by proxy, giving it to me, so that I can throw it away.  Obviously, I don't have as many scruples as he does.

So back to the box...

'What've you got there then?' I asked, expecting several paperbacks.  I have a Kindle, so books are no good to me any more (until the day that the font can be enlarged in a paperback, I'll stick to the 'larger than life itself fonts that the Kindle gives me).

Dad tipped the box out of the bag, realised it was upside down, turned it over, and opened the lid.  The most amazing baked creation sat inside the box, iced and decorated to a very professional level.  Unfortunately, the three chocolate roses which were meant to sit on the cake were stuck to the lid of the box, after their two minute headstand that they had performed.  Dad prised them off, squished them on top, with a 'There you are, good as new'. 

Well, I wouldn't have said that as it had a quarter missing.  'I ate that over the weekend', explained Dad.  'But as I am trying to lose a bit of weight I thought I'd bring it over to you'.  Wasn't too sure how to take that, but to avoid a breakdown in family relations, I assumed that it was meant for the males in the house who don't possess a thing called a 'weight problem'.

It transpired that the cake was a gift from dad's Polish cleaning lady.  She had got married, and brought it back from Poland as a thank you for my dad's gift to her and her husband.

If a cake was punishable this one would be sitting on the naughty step having been grounded for a week.  Here's how the layers went...chocolate, cream, cherries, chocolate, chocolate mousse, cherries, cream...all dowsed in a liberal  serving of Cherry Schnapps or Kirsch.  Well having worked my way through a slice (it wasn't easy I can tell you, I could feel my teeth dissolving with sugar erosion), I asked the $64,000 question. 

'When did she get married?'

'Just after Christmas....but don't worry about the cake, I kept it in the fridge'.

The lengths some people will go to...

Thursday, 17 March 2016

I should be so lucky...

Words from a Bird.  Day 77

In my house, we have been following the same Wednesday night tradition for over 15 years now.  Let me run it past you...

My dad and his partner turn up for dinner, at around 7.00.  They are never late, except for one occasion when my dad fell asleep in his chair after a particularly arduous game of golf.  By the time he woke up, the dinner I had cooked was long gone. 

They normally turn up with two cans of sugar free, caffeine free coke and two bottles of beer.  It's only been recently that the cokes have actually been in date.  These were left over after a big party in 2012, and it was with a great relief that I opened one a few months ago and it wasn't devoid of bubbles.  The two beers are for the husband (who is still not drinking, so we are stockpiling these in the fridge - hopefully, they'll still be in date by the time he starts drinking again). 

We have a grown up dinner, and then the cards come out for the weekly games of crib.  We have a running total, and at the moment, the girls are three games down.  I have a theory as to why we are doing so badly.  By the time I have finished preparing the meal, and ploughed my way through it, I would normally be seeking out my sofa, not worrying about my 15 2's (this will make no sense whatsoever if you're not a card shark like me). 

So it with a rather dull brain that I approach the deck of cards.  We normally win the first game, but it's all downhill after that as my eyes and cards sit at half mast.  I also think that the husband can see my cards in the reflection in the conservatory windows.  It's the only explanation I can find as to why the men keep winning, week after week.

There is a saying....'Lucky in cards, unlucky in love'.  So this works really well for me as I lose game after game.  At least I am lucky in love.

I am concerned about the husband though... 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Bag boy...

Words from a Bird.  Day 76

So the Brawl on the Lawn seems to be subsiding just a little.  The odd growl here and there, and the occasional 'Bite my balls one more time and you're cat food' glance from Percy seem to be doing the trick.  Reg decided to scare the life out of me today while playing in the (heavily weeded) border in the back garden.  Having spent 10 minutes limping around the garden in the style of Robert 'Long John Silver' Newton, my wonderful friend, Mrs P, suggested a visit to the vet to make sure that he was ok.

In the words of daughter number 2 and son number 2, when baking cakes with the husband one time, 'How hard could it be?'

Very hard, it would appear.  I have no dog carrier for Reg, so was left with a couple of options.  Either I carry him on my lap in the car all the way there and back or I stick him in a hessian shopper with 'I Love Wine' emblazoned across both sides. (This was so obviously borrowed from my mother). As safety is my middle name (the offspring will vouch for this) I opted for the shopper.  I padded it out with a couple of blankets, dropped Reg in, and put him in the foot well of the passenger seat. 

It was all going rather well for about three minutes.  His little whiskered face peeping out through the reinforced handles was a sight to behold.

However, a rather sudden emergency stop put pay to all that cuteness.  The shopper tipped over, spilling Reg into the foot well.  He then had the normal reaction to a nasty shock and peed prolifically .....and puddle paddled all the way there, making sure that he left paw prints all over my car's lovely leather. 

So picture the scene if you will on my arrival at the vets.  Not only did Reg smell of wee, but as I had to carry him into the surgery in my arms, I also had a whiff of old lady about me. Reg was also sporting a Mohican hairdo, where I had tried to dry him off in the car. This and the aroma gave him the appearance of a rather nasty toilet brush.  The vet was not over impressed, but after a full body check (with gloves on) he diagnosed a bee sting on Reg's back leg.

Clever Reg knowing that you have to wee on a bee sting.

He gets it from me, you know...

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Never ever...

Words from a Bird.   Day 75

So the visitors keep lot turned up with the most amazing cakes today.  I forgave them the fact that they hadn't really come to see me at all, especially once I had polished off a Raspberry Mousse Sponge, a Rum Latte Ganache and half a Lemon Cheesecake, all made by my friend's son. 

In defence of my gluttony, these measured approximately 3" square, so were more the size of those miniature puddings which get handed round on a large platter at Christmas parties.  I think it's perfectly acceptable to cram at least twenty of these in at one sitting (or standing I suppose, more accurately).

Daughters number 1 and 2 are both in residence tonight.  The older one is cooking dinner for us.  It is on occasions like this that I tend to vacate the kitchen.  Not because I have any doubts as to her cooking prowess (she's much better than me) but I struggle with the sight of every knife, chopping board and saucepan I possess being used.  The husband has promised her that I will be clearing up and loading the dishwasher after dinner. 

The soon to be ex-husband is a brave man....

Daughter number 2 has an important interview all day tomorrow, so is home to prepare a presentation and practise interview questions.  I did offer my assistance on preparing the presentation. As a woman of the world, I always feel I have something to impart to my offspring.

'What's the presentation about?'  I asked.

When she told me, I had to rescind my offer of help.  I am ashamed to confess that Inventory Management has not played a big part in my various jobs to date.  I did wonder whether these were posh words for making sure you have enough milk in the fridge.  Well apparently, yes. 

After three days of skirting around each other like Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, (not so much the Rumble in the Jungle, more the Brawl on the Lawn) Percy and Reg continue to chip away at each other's resentment.  A small skirmish by the oil tank is all to report today, and as I write, they are both curled up at my feet, looking like a mismatched pair of novelty schnauzer slippers.

A truce has been called.  Both between the dogs, and the husband and I.

Of course, there are always conditions where a truce is concerned.  For the dogs, it's an agreement not to pinch each other's toys or food. 

For the husband, there is only one never to offer my services for anything, to anyone, at any time.


Monday, 14 March 2016

The leader of the pack...

Words from a Bird.  Day 74

Well I am back, having wrestled the keyboard off Percy, who was in the process of typing a 'Room to Let' poster.  To be honest, there are a few other people whose rooms will be let before, I'll let you work out for yourself which one of you would go first.

So the day has been filled with visitors, none of them have come to see the husband and me of course.  Our guests push past us, their eyes levelled at about 7 inches off the floor.  Everyone wants a cuddle of the mini fuzzball, who is quite happy to oblige, giving it his best puppy dog eyes. 

Percy is being very patient with the new addition.  A couple of left hooks have persuaded Reg that hanging off Percy's crown jewels is not the best way to make friends.  Of course, Percy has this technique down to a fine art, and has found it quite successful on a couple of occasions when making new male friends of dubious character. 

All of the children, bar one, have been here today,  They all come here for different reasons. 

Daughter number 1 came for a roast dinner (and the puppy). 

Son number 1 came for washing, ironing, jumper mending and a roast dinner (and the puppy). 

Son number 2 who, although residing at this address, spends half his time at his BFF's house, tipped up for a roast dinner (and the puppy).  He also brought the BFF over for a roast dinner (and the puppy). 

Daughter number 2 turns up tomorrow.  She's not daft.  As the only one here tomorrow afternoon, she'll have Reg all to herself, so no cuddle sharing necessary.  She'll also have to do the clearing up after dinner on her own so it's not all good...

Things are definitely starting to calm down though.  The husband has even started talking about getting another puppy or two.

I am not sure whether he is being serious, but I have squirrelled away Percy's 'Room to Let' poster. 

You never know....

Sunday, 13 March 2016

My brother...

Blog from a Dog.  Day 73

Percy here.  I have taken over the laptop today as my mum seems slightly distracted .

Well today started much the same as every other one.  A cuddle with my mum and dad in their bed, a walk and then breakfast.  See, nothing unusual about that.  What was  a bit odd was when they disappeared in the car with my old bed.  When I saw them getting in the car, I thought that we might have been going on holiday again.  Possibly to the beach again, my personal destination of choice.  But no, they were heading off alone.

Some hours later, they returned.  Mum came in the front door, and I gave her a was weird, but she smelt of ANOTHER DOG.  How could she, the fickle woman. 

This, it would transpire, was the least of my problems.  Heading out to the back garden, there was a pesky kid waiting for me.  It looked like a smaller version of me.  As someone who has been an only child for four years, this wasn't looking good, I can tell you. 

Well, I introduced myself in the normal canine manner, and it turned out to be a boy.  Now those of you which read my mum's blog, will know that I have on the odd occasion shown tendencies towards other boys.  These have been genuine mistakes on my part, and to be honest, having tried out a couple of fellas, I think that I am now leaning towards the female of my breed.  I am extremely fond of the blonde next door (the four legged one, not her owner) so I was quite disappointed that my mum and dad had not noticed my transition from the only gay in the village to the local stud muffin.  Perhaps a sister might have been more fun...

So this kid, who is called Reg, has pestered me all day.  He has nicked my toys, drunk my water, peed in my garden, kitchen and lounge, and tried to monopolise my mum.  Had him there though.  One look from my soulful eyes was enough to keep her onside.

He's alright though.  Once he's calmed down, he'll be a good kid brother.  I'm looking forward to teaching him all my tricks and eventually sharing my toys (and my mum) with him.  The best thing about him so far is that he doesn't seem to be ready to eat all his food yet.  Never fear, Percy's here to hoover up the leftovers.  Who knew baby food could taste so good....

So tomorrow is another day....tonight Reg has to sleep in the utility room.  I may tiptoe downstairs and just make sure he's ok if he starts to cry.

Well, he's family, and that's what we do....

Saturday, 12 March 2016


Words from a Bird.  Day 72

So another week draws to a close, and it's time to reflect on the things I have learned over the last seven days...

1.  When you are waiting for the arrival of a new puppy, you will ask yourself whether you are doing the right thing at least four times every day.  Your answer will be the same every time....(sorry, it's completely unprintable).

2.  I am able to reduce the husband to a blubbering wreck by simply cupping one ear with my right hand, looking up at the ceiling, and whispering, 'Sssh, did you hear that?'

3. The husband is thrilled to be able to come out of the Northern closet on occasions.  Twenty four hours on, and I am quite accustomed to the foreign lingo and strange habits. He will however, be bundled back in come Sunday evening...with force, if necessary.

4. When son number 2 tells you that he has broken his toe, there is a good chance he just might be telling the truth.  (In fact, it was a lot worse than that, which increased my guilty conscience somewhat).

5. Rubbing oil and salt into the skins of your jacket potatoes before cooking is a good thing.  I must confess that it felt rather lovely doing this....actually on second thoughts, I shouldn't confess that whatsoever.  I sound like someone with a King Edward fetish.

6.  The threat of a new puppy is enough motivation to get the lawn mowed by the husband.  Reg will be available for hire solely for this purpose if you're interested.

7. And if your leggings have a hole in the seam at the back, wearing a pair of black drawers will solve the problem.

As you can see, you are never too old to learn something new.

Just a shame that most of it is pointless.....a bit like the husband asking if he can have a sandwich for his 'dinner'. 

It's LUNCH for goodness sake.......don't get me started on that again...

Friday, 11 March 2016

Southern nights...

Words from a Bird.  Day 71

The northern contingency of the family has arrived at my house this afternoon.  The husband's sister and lovely other half are crashing at ours for a few days, as a half way house between Cheshire and Dorset.  Between you and me, I think that their maths is a bit skew, but I am not going to question their figures, as I am just thrilled to see them both.

The husband, who has not lived 'up north' for three quarters of his life, and who would be labelled as a Southern Softy by anyone further north than Watford, sees this as a great opportunity to reconnect with his northern roots.  Within three minutes of being with his sister, his accent kicks in again, and I find myself frantically pointing the remote control at him, looking for the subtitles button.  Give it another five minutes, and every person we chat about is re-christened with a new first name... 'Our'... although this is pronounced 'Are', just to confuse me even more. 

So I expect that by the end of Saturday, the husband will have morphed completely back into 'Northern Man', with a flat cap and braces.  He may even have swapped  Reg for a whippet, which is more in keeping with his Northern roots.   Dominoes will appear after dinner, and white bread and butter will be served at every meal time, usually filled with chips. He will want to drink pale ale, rather than the usual freshly squeezed fruit juice (Southern Softy credentials confirmed) and will adopt the pale skin of someone who doesn't see much of the sun.  But you know, it won't take long to get him back into the Southern way of life after Sunday.  A smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast should swing it, along with a freshly squeezed juice.

It's lovely to have more proper adults in the house to talk to.  Ones which talk about 'stuff'.  We covered many topics over dinner (or 'tea' as the husband has started calling it for some reason).  The EU, rescuing dogs, the Terracotta Army, pickled onions and Germany were covered in some depth.

We also talked about the state of the education system in our country.  Daughter number 1 turned up in girl clothes tonight (she is usually in her PE Teacher gear of tracksuit and trainers).  This is down to her heroic promotion at work.  Now she's playing with the big guys, a Nike hoody just won't cut it anymore....

Going back to my harnessed northerner of a husband, he often tells me that 'there's no 'r' in pass....'. 

In response to that, I would say this...

There's no 'r' in ass, but we all know what I really want to say....

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The only way is up...

Words from a Bird.  Day 70

So the countdown has started till Reg arrives.  We have two days left of relative sanity. 

There are signs of the approaching mayhem. A new dog bed has appeared in the kitchen, and the tiniest red collar in the world is waiting on the kitchen worktop.  There is puppy food and treats, and squeaky toys and balls. All the things a new puppy would want.

Couple this with my slight (ha!) OCD, and now let's look at what is really going on in the house.  Well for a start, anything chewable has been removed from the lower shelves, carefully hidden away from little teeth. This doesn't sit too well with me as you can imagine.  I mean, who wants to see a giant red cherry on the same shelf as a miniature turquoise stem vase.  It's like a bloody Bring and Buy sale in my kitchen as it has lots of higher storage, so things are just stacked anywhere with no aesthetic consideration.

The stair gate has been reinstated in the kitchen.  I can guarantee that the husband will fall through this at least three times over the coming weeks.  I will mainly swear at it, as I'll be trying to open the damn thing while carrying either a basket of dirty washing, or ironing (depending on my direction of travel at the time).

I do remember losing two rugs to Percy's gnashers in the early days, so the lounge will remain out of bounds until I forget to close that stair gate for the first time.

The lawn has been mowed.  Reg is so short that we could easily have lost him in the back garden.  I'm not saying the grass is long, but I am sure I saw a couple of gazelles grazing by the bird bath last week...  While we were scything the grass, (the husband bears a striking resemblance to Poldark whilst scything as you can imagine) we also picked up anything that Reg might find interesting.  As this is the first time in the garden since the heady days of summer, these items have included several beer bottle tops, a bottle of sun cream (ever the optimist) one flip flop and three slightly damp chair cushions which didn't quite make it into the storage box.

Percy knows something is going on.  I see his eyes narrow every time something interesting comes into the house.  Something which invariably he can't have as 'it's not for him'. 

I just hope that we don't come down on Sunday morning to find Percy sitting at the front door with his suitcase...

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E.

Words from a Bird.  Day 69

We have a mouse in the loft.  When I'm in bed, quietly reading, I can hear its scratchy little claws doing a quickstep across the ceiling.  In my mind, this little critter is over two feet long, and would eat me alive if it got the chance.  I've read James Herbert's The Rats...however irrational my thoughts are, that bloody book will stay with me forever.

Unlike me, the husband is actually scared of mice, which probably explains why we have never got round to putting a loft ladder in - I think he's worried that Little Mickey upstairs might get the hang of the loft hatch and start invading our living accommodation, planting a miniature flag on top of the fruit bowl.  It was with some trepidation then that I told him about the nocturnal scuttlings upstairs, and I watched the blood drain from his face. 

He remembers very clearly when he was woken up abruptly in the middle of the night by something plucking a hair off the top of his big toe, as his foot dangled out of the bed. He had launched the tiny plucker (sorry, couldn't resist that..) across the bedroom floor, and having switched the lights on, I was surprised to see the cutest little field mouse, sitting in the middle of the carpet having crash-landed by my dressing table.

As we moved, so did he, running under a chair in the corner of our room.  A chair which up till that night had been the perfect place to hide old handbags behind, what with it having a lovely frilly valance and all that.  I took the full length mirror off the wall and propped it against the chair, so mousey couldn't escape, and told the husband to go and find me something which I could catch him with.

Two minutes later he was back, carrying a wicker waste basket and a snooker cue.  To appreciate the full picture here, you need to understand that it was three in the morning, so clothing was not a priority. 'What are you planning to do with that?' I asked.  'Challenge him to a frame?'  (I was referring to the cue in case you're wondering).

I probably did that 'raising my eyes to the ceiling' thing that I do on these occasions, and I slowly lifted the chair over the top of the mirror, leaving a muddle of handbags in a pile on the floor.  The husband, armed with his wicker basket, used the cue to lift one of the bags off the pile.  He gave it a vigorous shake on the end of the cue, launched the mouse-free bag onto the bed, and thrust the cue at me. 

'Your turn', he said.

'We're not playing bloody Buckaroo', I said, give it to me'.

One by one, I lifted the bags away.  As each one was dumped onto the bed, the husband inched further and further away towards the bedroom door.    Finally, with no bags left, the little mouse had nowhere to hide.  Into the wicker basket he went, and for the second time in an hour he flew, this time across the front garden.

Of course, he came back.  I didn't know at the time that a drive of about 10 miles would have guaranteed his non-return, but there was no way I was going to send the husband out in the car with just a wicker basket to preserve his modesty.

What would the neighbours have said...

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Too much, too young...

Words from a Bird.  Day 68.

When you have access to as many kids as I do, the question often arises as to which one is the 'favourite'.  This is daughter number 1's most frequent statement when we're all together, and to be honest, over the last 14 years, she has said it so many times that the rest of the kids have been brainwashed into believing that it actually might be true.

Of course, as a parent, you never have favourites.  There might be the odd occasion when one might nip in front of the others for a nano-second (such as when son number 2 bought me the lovely bracelet for Mother's Day) and there are also times when one of them might fall slightly behind (such as when son number 2 left his room looking like 1945 Dresden this morning) but for the whole there are no favourites, and I love them all the same.

However, here is the crux of the matter...over breakfast this morning, the husband and son number 2 were discussing where they came in the family pecking order, and both of them agreed that whichever rung of the ladder of love they were currently standing on, one thing was for sure, Percy would be above them both.

My argument for this was that Percy is more dependent on me.  He's useless at opening doors, and can't use a can opener, so he relies on me far more than any of the kids and husband do.  'Aah', said son number 2, 'But you do so much more for him than he actually needs you too.  Most dogs only need one walk a day, and can be left on their own for hours.  You need to keep him entertained all day, which I don't think is really necessary'. 

It was at this point that I looked at son number 2 and thought about all the times I have sat and built Lego with him, the Horrid Henry stories I have read him time and time again, and the Warhammer games I have played and pretended to understand.  I thought about the special meals I have made him, and the History prep which I have contributed to (got a House Point once..)

And it was then that I realised that I had been doing this whole parenting thing wrong all this time.  Apparently, there is a very good chance that he would have been quite happy sitting on his own in the middle of the kitchen floor, content with an hour's play once a day, and eating the same meal day in, day out.  Wish he'd let me know this at the time.  The things I could have done...

Having said that, they do have a couple of things in common.  Percy and son number 2 have both suffered the indignity of regular flea checks and worming tablets over the years. 

So not very different after all...


Monday, 7 March 2016

Mamma mia...

Words from a Bird.  Day 67

Mother's Day is one of those wonderful days, when (assuming you are a mum) you are going to get spoilt rotten.  I woke up this morning full of eager anticipation, waiting for someone younger than the husband and I to bring me a cup of tea, followed by breakfast in bed, cards, flowers and gifts.  Between us, we have four kids, so the chances were looking good.

Now let's see where my children were on this very special day.  Daughter number 1 was still recovering after coaching the winning team at a major netball tournament.  I had already received a lovely text from her wishing me a Happy Mother's Day. Daughter number 2 was holed up in Kent after a house party.  (I was at a house party last night also.....but at the house next door.  No need for a Railcard).  Son number 2 had decided to sleep over at his best friend's house, having cooked her mum a special dinner on Saturday night.  (Can you sense my rage growing?) So everything rested on son number 1. 

I waited until 8.17am before my desperation for a cup of tea could wait no more.  I took that back to bed, where the husband and dog were entrenched in a snoring contest.  I have different techniques to stop this snoring.  One of them gets a belly rub, while the other gets a kick on the shins.  I'll let you work out for yourself as to who gets what...

The husband had to head off to work for a short time this morning, so after he'd gone, I strained my ears to listen for any sign of life from son number 1's bedroom..  Still nothing.  As my stomach was asking my back if my throat had been cut, I got myself up and had breakfast.   While munching on a Hot Cross Bun (little bit early for Easter, I know, but I like to live life on the edge) I posted a rather caustic comment on facebook as to the non-appearance of the other three.

Well, surprise, surprise.  Obviously, I embarrassed them all into coming out of the woodwork, and the phone started ringing and the children appearing.  Son number 1 gave me flowers, as did son number 2's friend (her of the 'mum who had dinner cooked for her' fame).

Son number 2 had bought me a fabulous bracelet, and daughter number 2 had arranged delivery of a pair of red toaster tongs (no more sticking the fork in the toaster to get those Hot Cross Buns out).

So all in all, my children did me proud (as they always do, in everything).

A fantastic family lunch was the highlight of this special day - cooked by my sister.  Of course, it was the first Mother's Day spent without our Nanny Joyce, but we all made sure that she was there in spirit as tales were told and stories remembered.

Mother, mum or mummy (or Mumpty, as I am known) we're all special.  So lap it up ladies, it's another 364 days before anyone brings you breakfast in bed again.  In my case, I had already waited 364 days since last year, so here's to another year of self catering.

Kids, be warned.....this may be the end of your full board arrangements...

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Second hand Rose....

Words from a Bird.  Day 66

I got it in the ear at the family breakfast get together this morning.  My aunt was most miffed by the fact that I had failed to mention that she single-handedly had won Quiz Night on one occasion.  As I said to her, 'Well, if you will insist on hiding your light under a bushel, what can you expect?'  Still, I may have to find some really good things to say about her over the next few days if I want to continue receiving Christmas presents...

So a big day in our house today.  The husband and I set out for an exciting hour at our local pet shop this afternoon.  Our aim was to get all the things we would need when Reg gets here next Saturday.  You would think that we would have everything from when Percy tipped up,  but we haven't.  The reason is that never in a million years could I see us getting another dog, so as Percy outgrew/chewed up/destroyed his collar/lead/toys I simply threw the remains away.  Just as well that I did, as the husband had insisted that as no child of his has ever had hand-me-downs, there was no reason to start now.

It's a bit like hitting Mothercare when you're 7 months' pregnant.  All that lovely gleaming stuff just begging to be bought.  Of course, first time round, you buy everything, convinced that it's all completely vital.  You even get talked into a baby-shaped sponge (the outline looks like something out of CSI) to lay in the bath so the baby can enjoy bath time, leaving you two free hands (one for the glass, and one for the bottle if I remember). 

Second time round is completely different....what you haven't got, you borrow, and what you can't borrow you do without.  This is mainly because with one baby already, you are completely incapable of putting clothes on and going to the shops, so the lack of stuff is not because of a financial limitation, but more down to your desire to remain in your pyjamas for the rest of your days.

While I was packing the new stuff away, I thought about the things we had bought Percy, some of which did the long walk to the local dump, often in the original packaging.  These included large pads to put on the floor for the inevitable accidents (never happened), a dog safety belt for the car (too short) a stair gate (removed when the husband fell through it), a bed (he discovered daughter number 2's bed at a very early age) and a collapsible carrier for the car.  We kept this for vet visits (still never used) and will use this to bring Reg home in next week.

Bet you a fiver he travels home from Bath on my lap........

Saturday, 5 March 2016

How can I be sure....

Words from a Bird.  Day 65

Last night I headed off to Bourne End, collecting my mother en route.  We were off to meet my sister and my aunt at The Bourne End Community Centre for our monthly attempt at utilizing the fluff between our ears.  Now this is no ordinary pub quiz.  There are people there who probably turned down Mensa as they were looking for more of a challenge.  Their knowledge is so extensive, that I wonder how they fit normal life in around all the reading and swotting they do.  Oh, but of course, they don't...Life is just one big series of Pointless with a couple of episodes of QI thrown in to give them a more human touch.

Historically, my aunt had done spectacularly badly before the rest of us started tagging along.  She had a personal best of 6th overall, which although sounding impressive, counts for diddly when I tell you that there were only 6 teams on that particular night.   Her PB wasn't so much a Personal Best, more a Pathetic Bottom. 

Anyway, since the four of us started competing together, we have crept up the score board, slowly and surely, managing to grab three podium spots over the last year.  Surprisingly, one of these was a 1st place.  We chose the right month to win as it was Easter and as well as a cash prize (loose change only, nothing foldable) there was also chocolate.

In all the times we had been going up till then, one team seemed to regularly take all the silverware (20p/10p/5p...) and it was with much smugness and pride that we trounced them.  Not sure that they have ever forgiven us though, as they never turned up again after that one glorious night.

Over the months, there have been occasions when my sister and I have glanced at each other across the table with absolute despair at the two older members of the team.  Last night was no exception.  In the 'Spot the Dog' picture round, we had to name 32 different dogs from film and TV fame.  With one left unnamed (impressive eh?) I was battling with my aunt's magnifying glass trying to get some kind of light bulb moment.  It's funny how your mind works.  This dog had a boater and a bow tie, so for some reason I had him down as a tap dancing, Yankee southerner of a dog.  Then the aunt poked the picture of the dog a couple of times with her finger.  'Is it Baloo?' she asked.  So my first comment was that this DOG was blue, whereas I clearly remember Baloo being grey.  The second was that Baloo was a bloody BEAR not a dog.  This seemed not to matter one jot to her - either she wasn't taking it too seriously, or we needed a larger, stronger magnifying glass. 

There have been several times when pictures of long haired male pop stars have confused my mum (never difficult).  I remember one fantastic evening when she was convinced that Morten Harket of Aha fame was Kim Wilde ('that's definitely her.....I loved her dad.  What was that song of his we liked?') and that Steve Tyler (the chap that has an ear to ear Joker smile) was 'that dark haired woman out of Bananarama'.  It's an education, I can tell you...

Well, we finished 4th last night, a respectable position considering there were eight teams. Plenty of scope to climb higher next month.

Oh, and in case you're wondering who the elusive blue dog was....

It was Huckleberry Hound......I expect you'll sleep sounder tonight knowing that.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Doctor, doctor...

Words from a Bird.  Day 64.

Yesterday, another trip to the doctors was on the cards.  I'm not saying that I've been down there too many times this year, but yesterday, the lovely Receptionist (with whom I am now on first name terms and who will probably send me a Christmas card this year)  handed me a loyalty card and escorted me to my own chair.  I felt very special....
My doctor wasn't available (this is no surprise, as I haven't seen my own doctor since last appointment with him was for a pregnancy test which turned out to be a positive for son number 2) so I was booked in to see a relatively new doctor. 
'New' doesn't really describe what met me at the consultant room door, as he was wearing short trousers and carrying a satchel.  'Oh, is it 'Bring your Son to Work Day' today?' I asked.  The look he gave me said it all.  Duly humbled, I shuffled into the surgery, and sat down.  He also sat down, adjusting his booster cushion to allow for maximum looking down the nose satisfaction.  'And what seems to be the problem?'  So I gave him a brief outline of my symptoms, and waited for his diagnosis...and waited...
'Well what do you think it is?' he asked.... Well, excuse me, but I know I am three times your age, and have attained much life wisdom over these many  years, but I am pretty sure that your seven years at university followed up by many years of continued training at various hospitals would stand you in good stead with regard to telling me WHY MY BLOODY KIDNEY HURTS....
This is what I wanted to say.  What came out however, was a rather pathetic 'I don't I going to die?'
He then asked me to pop down to the loo to produce a sample.  'Can you do that for me?'  I'm a 52 year old woman for goodness sake, I always need the loo so off I went with my tiny, tiny pot.  Five minutes later, sample in pot, lid screwed on very tightly (I'll have him) I then astonished myself by running the pot under the cold tap, to cool the contents down.  Why was I doing this I hear you ask?  Well, firstly, I wanted the bottle to be clean and tidy when I handed it to him, and secondly I couldn't bear the idea of handing him a warm pot.  I was imagining him taking it off me, and chucking it rapidly from hand to hand, shouting 'Hot potato, hot potato!'
Just imagine what would have happened if I hadn't screwed the lid on tightly... A lovely Scottish friend of mine might have describe it as 'A wee disaster'....
So I left there none the wiser.  More tablets of course, to complement the smorgasbord which currently sits on my microwave.   
If George Darwin was correct in his theory, evolution may eventually sort me out with a screw top head if this goes on much longer...

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Sisters are doin' it for themselves...

Words from a Bird.  Day 63

There are some days when one blog would not be enough to cover the events of the last 24 hours, but I'll have a go...

My morning started with a new dress for work, navy blue, good length, trendy (came from New Look, so must be).  I felt great....On coming into the kitchen, the husband did a double take, and said, 'Ooh, hello Matron.  I always did like a nurse's uniform'.  The fact that I had a red cardigan draped over my shoulders obviously hadn't helped the whole 'nurse' situation, and I was starting to get rather concerned at the way he was looking at me.  A bit like how a lion would look at an overweight antelope with three legs who just couldn't run any further.  'Just you be careful', I warned him, 'this came with a stethoscope and a pair of latex gloves'.  As I headed upstairs to swap the red cardigan for something less hospital related, I heard him shout, 'Nurse!  The screens!'  Very funny.  He won't be laughing when he hears the twang of latex in the middle of night...

So the morning only got better...8.30 saw the arrival of a BT engineer in my drive.  I knew that mine wasn't expected till Thursday, but I also knew that my neighbour was expecting an engineer at 8.30.  Much as I wanted to haul him through the front door for my broadband problem, my good nature kicked in (stop laughing..) and I explained that he was at the wrong house.  Here's how it went on my drive...

Me: You should be next door
BT Engineer: This is number 35, isn't it?
Me: Yes, it is
BT Engineer: Then I am at the right house
Me: No you're not.  Next door is expecting you.  She told me so.
BT Engineer: Is your telephone number XXXXXX
Me: Yes
BT Engineer: Then I am definitely in the right place
Me: No you're not.
BT Engineer: Is your name Mr XXXXXXX
Me: Ahem ahem.....what do you think?
BT Engineer: OK.  Have you got Fibre?
Me: No (assuming he wasn't talking about disgusting though healthy breakfast options)
BT Engineer: Right.  So basically I am in the right place, but I have been given the wrong job...

So at this point, I did haul him through the door, as I could see an opportunity to get my bloody internet fixed.  I did get my lovely neighbour in on the act, and between the three of us we worked out where BT had gone wrong.  By lunchtime, we both had our internet up and running again, so normal service is resumed in both of our houses once again.

I must add one note to yesterday's blog.  As you remember, out of sheer desperation, I had driven to Waitrose's car park to utilise the town's 4G.  There was a bit of a dig this morning about how short the blog was.  In my defence, I only had 40p which was enough for just an hour's parking, and I type for accuracy rather than speed, hence the brevity.

Miss R.....I trust you feel you have had your money's worth this morning?

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Where do you go to, my lovely?

Words from a Bird.  Day 62

So here is where you find me....sitting in Waitrose carpark, desperately trying to find enough 2/3/4G to fire up the internet on my mobile.

I have spent the last two hours holding my mobile at various heights and angles around the house with no joy.  I have balanced it on chairs, window sills and the tops of doors, looking for those elusive wavy lines to appear...nothing, absolutely nothing.  So I have grabbed Percy (like he was going to let me go for a drive without riding shotgun) and headed out to Wallingford.

So here I am, pondering life without the web.  I do feel a bit disconnected from you all, and I know that some of you really hate the evening post as opposed to the morning tea read.  However, the thought of sitting in Waitrose car parkwith my pyjamas on at 6.00am is not really working for me!  As it is, I have had four people I know tap on the window and ask me what I'm doing.  Three if these are blog readers, and two of them asked if they could be you know, I never give out names in order to protect the innocent.

I saw what was in your trolley Mrs should be ashamed of yourself...