Sunday, 12 July 2009

Unattributed quotes in times of need

Today I read this:

" Strength doesn't mean being able to stand up to anything, but being able to crawl on your belly a long, long time before you can stand up again."

And it did that thing that happens when you read something with personal resonance, when that chord in your brain starts to quiver.  The Prince of Darkness left for the first time a little under three years ago.  And when he left I crawled for a long long time.  The resonance of that statement for me is that when you are crawling I now realise that just getting through the day takes real strength.  To get the kids to school, to turn up to work and confine the tears to the toilet, to put food on the table, read bedtime stories, to cry, ever so quietly, so that you don't wake the children  and then to get up in the morning and do the same all over again. 

Whats more: I'm ok.  I've lived through this before but it was worse back then.  In a week I feel like I've travelled the same distance I came in six months last time.  I know that there will be ups and downs but its really going to be ok.  This weekend I've laughed with my kids and sat in the sun and played with the puppy.  And I've thought about what I've lost but much more about what I gained.   

This is the quote that had resonance last time he left:

"When one door closes another opens; its just that sometimes its hell waiting in the hallway."

And then the hallway was hell.  But now I realise that the hallway is an alright place to be; just a bit of down time till a new door opens.

P.S. julochka has suggested that the Prince of Darkness should be downgraded and this idea has thoroughly amused me all weekend.  Suggested titles for the new Duke/Earl/Count gratefully received...

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Surfacing

Its been a rather trying couple of weeks. [Editors note: that is the infamous British stiff upper lip speaking] Not to put too fine a point on it I have been immersed in a sea of pain.

Physical..... turns out when the osteopath said serious injury she really meant it. I got into work once and looked so awful I got sent home again which was gratifying as I felt awful too. Plus I had to type kneeling in front of the desk because I couldn't sit down. Haven't been to work since. Have been drugged up to the eyeballs, talking absolute nonsense when awake (my vocabulary has leaked out of my brain) and sleeping for most of the rest of the day. I half heard the girls saying at the weekend "look mummy is asleep .....AGAIN" Have roused myself occasionally to go to get the back seen to and eldest has now become expert at making sandwiches for dinner for all of us. We have used up all the dubious tins of food lurking in the back of the cupboard. In fact I have become a bit of a celebratory at youngest's school. I have strange children pointing at me and saying "there is the lady with with bad back mum" as I hobble pitifully to the school gate looking for all the world as if I was a cross between a woman who had peed her pants and a distant ancestor of the homo sapien who is not entirely able to walk upright.

Emotional.... and just as I start to come off the drugs and walk a little more like a human being the Prince of Darkness delivers his verdict following Ultimatum Friday. Seems he is leaving me for another again. I am sure that he would argue with that statement but essentially that is the case. It has just floored me. For all the heartbreak he put me through, and if I must be fair I put him through, I thought we might just have a future. I've cried those unglamorous loud snotty without control sobs. I've screamed at him. I've thought about telling the girlfriend the truth about him. I've taken off the jewellery he bought me and thrown it around the house [Editors note: there is a ring behind the tv and a watch on the roof terrace]

Now I just wait. For my back and my heart to heal. I know that one day I will be able to pick things up from the floor. And one day he won't be my first thought in the morning and last thought in the evening. I will try to remember its all for the best. I am going to learn some exercises to strengthen my back but which will also apparently make my stomach flater. Really the Prince of Darkness is just a sad middle-aged man who won't confront his problems and has difficulty distinguishing the truth from a lie. He may well be the Prince of Darkness but he is not the Prince of my dreams. I really am better off without him.

I have done all this before. I know some days that I will feel like I am drowning in the pain again. But just for now I am surfacing for a while and that means that one day I will swim with the current again.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Flat on my back with frozen brussel sprouts

Its been quite some weekend. I've driven along the coast, been to three different UK airports, hired a car, driven over the Yorkshire moors, attempted a 26 mile walk (failed) and acquired a puppy. All in 48 hours. The net result of all this activity is that my back has ceased to work. I am flat on my back with a number of prescription painkillers coursing through my veins and a bag of frozen brussel sprouts pressed against my lower spine. Oh and a large glass of pinot grigio by my side - I figure it can only help at this stage. I felt strangely proud when the osteopath told me that I had a "serious injury" as all the sighing/moaning/yelping/whinging I have done over the last two days seems totally justified.

Oh and the daughters have been so totally wound round my little finger (cos I arrived home with a puppy and mother adoration is running at an all time high). They have been happily picking things up from the floor (an area which is currently unreachable), fetching things (including the pinto grigio) and generally looking after me.

As for the puppy; he is just adorable. He is going to fit right in being just as bonkers as the rest of the family. We bought him a big, comfy, expensive bed and he chooses to sleep here:



Yup. That's the bin and the glass recycling that he is crashed out next to. Which I think only goes to prove that his spiritual name and henceforth his blog name is CHAR-DON-NAY. I shall soon be checking the puppy manuals as to how to train him to open the wine.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

What did blog camp ever do for me in the style of Monty Pythons Life of Brian "what did the Romans ever do for us"?

 So what did blog camp ever do for me?  Well knowing how we all love a list here goes:
  • I learnt lots of blogging stuff that a newbie like me is too afraid to ask; like about sitemeter and how to cross out because I had a carefully prepared list that I went through item by item Polly remembered to ask.
  • I remembered what it was like go away sans children, sans partner, sans friends; an experience I will defintely be repeating.
  • I said yes to an opportunity that presented itself and my life became richer for it.
  • I got to laugh till it really really hurt and then just a little bit more.
  • I learnt a whole bunch of random stuff - how to sip tequila under instruction from extranjera; that I always have my mouth open in a photo; and I am rubbish at throwing sticks at other sticks or whatever that Danish game that I suck at is called.
  • I got to feel like this about a whole bunch of people I had never met:
Connected


  • And not just about those I met.  There are real people behind each and every blog to paraphrase Polly.
  • I started to get really excited about taking photos and now need (NEED I TELL YOU) a decent camera.
  • I learnt that sometimes when you are having an amazing time the days can stretch out so that you feel as if you have been away from your real life for a gloriously long time.
So yeah, what did blog camp ever do for me I ask you?

(Clearly not how to write a short and snappy title for a post....)

Monday, 22 June 2009

A blogging journey


Sometimes its weird where life takes you. How seemingly small decisions can take you off in a completely unexpected direction.

On 21st April I started blogging. Exactly two months later I was waking up in Denmark on the final day of blog camp. The bloggers who I had met less than 48 hours before were real. Not only that but they were just like the voices I had read in their blogs; creative, talented, funny, intellecutal, interesting.... and did I mention funny?

I started to blog just for me. I didn't expect anyone to read what I had written. Even when I started to discover other blogs and found moments of perfect clarity I didn't expect julochka to first joke about blog camp and then to make it a real offer. I didn't expect that there would be room for me when I surprised myself by saying that I could go. And then I ended up in Denmark and the rest is history.

So I hear that Blog Camp 1.5 UK is in the offing.... so I will be grabbing
the camera

the converse

and the wine

and I will be turning up. I wonder what is going to happen next.....?

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Blog camp words

I am sitting at home in my blog camp t-shirt, which typically arrived whilst I was away, so that I can preserve the blog camp feeling a little longer.  My brain is a jumble of images and a riot of thoughts and I am much too tired to sort it all out following the tequila several late night intellectual discussions.  All I have at the moments is words and phrases and some photos.

Copenhagen in the sun and rain
Sunset on the lake
Axes were present but not used.
Colour everywhere.
Creativity.
Tequila and tiaras.
Its been a real blast.  Keep checking the blog camp blog over the next few days for more....

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Psst....wanna know a secret...?



These guys are are great. I have laughed a lot, drunk too much, eaten well and slept in the blue room.....Blog camp rocks. Seriously.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

5 (random) favourite things

I was tagged by the mere mortal Molly at ohfortheloveofblog with her 5 random favourite things meme. So here goes:

5 favourite films:
  1. Lost in translation
  2. Husbands and Wives
  3. Now Voyager - I'm a soppy romantic at heart.
  4. La Vie en Rose - I sobbed through the sub-titles.
  5. Little Miss Sunshine - the weird dysfunctional family feels like home.
5 favourite songs:
This is hard. I tend to like whatever I last heard. So these are favourites because of the associations they have for me...
  1. Doorbell - White Stripes (cooking Christmas dinner a few years ago when all the family was together)
  2. Money Money Money - Abba (youngest sings "if I found me a healthy man" which seems like a good plan once you reach 40)
  3. Got to be a hustler if you want to get on - Sue Wilkinson (early on with Prince of Darkness going through his record - yes I do mean record - collection and playing them all)
  4. Common People - Pulp (just because the song is brilliant)
  5. Park Life - Blur (lying on a beach in Greece)
5 favourite crushes
  1. Lance Armstrong - weird but I have a thing about cyclists.
  2. Prince of Darkness - I know I know. Get a life girl.
  3. Daniel Craig - yes I so would.
  4. Almost any man in a uniform - watch out sailors.
  5. George Clooney - boring but true.
5 favourite books
  1. Love in a Cold Climate - Nancy Mitford
  2. Crossing to Safety - Wallace Stegner
  3. Love in the time of Cholera- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  4. Les Liaisons Dangereuses - Choderlos de Laclos
  5. The Night before Christmas - Clement C Moore (only to be read on Christmas eve!)

5 random favourite things

  1. my tattoo
  2. pointless little notebooks - I buy more than I know what to do with.
  3. pinot grigio - you didn't think I would leave it off did you?
  4. fish, chips and mushy peas
  5. my shelf of random stuff - see below. It looks like crap but it all means something to me.



I am tagging a random 5 of my regular favourite reads:

Iasa at Blissfully Unaware Lounge Singer, RxBambi at A Day in the Life of a Would be Bambi, Jules at Just Jules, The Fragrant Muse and Jelica/Ruslan at Budapest Bits




Wednesday, 17 June 2009

My last will and testament

Wednesday is the day that stepson #2 comes over to spend the night. I really look forward to it. He is a very entertaining 15 year old who gets on really well with eldest daughter. Plus they make me laugh by doing crazy stuff like msn-ing each other in the same room.

So today we are talking about blog camp, whilst I am also trying to make some valid points about internet safety:

Me (to stepson): "If I haven't texted your mother by Friday evening you can assume that I have gone to stay with axe murderers. Please instigate a search party immediately."

Stepson: "If you haven't texted won't it be a bit too late?"

Me : " Well .....yes maybe.... but you can at least come and recover my body..."

Eldest daughter: "Mummy..."

Me: "Yeeessss.....?" (sensing the direction this conversation is going)

Eldest daughter: "If you do die can I have the puppy?"

Me: "Well ....ok"

Stepson: (sensing an opportunity here) " Well can I have half your money?"

Me: "Only debts there my boy" (I say rather smugly, thinking I have foiled him)

Stepson: (without hesitation) "All your electrical equipment then?"

Me: (giving up) "Deal."

So thats all sorted then. I can rest easy in my bed tonight knowing that my affairs are in order.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Things to marvel over on a Tuesday

  • White horses carved into the hillside. I'd be hard pressed to draw that on a piece of paper.
  • Impromptu acts of kindness. My new neighbour bringing me a bunch of sage from her garden this evening.
  • The genorisity of those you have never met. Like Jules who is sending graham crackers and julochka who is putting up a host of bloggers for Blog Camp.
  • A burgeoning sense of community. My street has decided to organise a street party this summer. Road closed, bunting, sausages, homemade cakes, kids activities, music - the works.
  • A burgeoning sense of belonging here. In the blogging world that is. Looking forward to reading your comments and hearing what you are all doing, what you are laughing at, what games you are playing, what is making you sad or happy, what creative things you have been up to.
  • Growing stuff. How something that looked so dead I was going to throw it away can now be so green and full of life.



  • And how amazing the raindrops are on the leaves.


Monday, 15 June 2009

Ultimatum Friday

I'm not sure that this is going to be a regular feature like, for example, VEG (who has Eco Monday and Wipeout Wednesday) or the Fragrant Muse who has fragrant Friday.

Ultimatum Friday basically consists of telling the Prince of Darkness, otherwise technically and legally known as ones husband, that enough is enough and really there has to be some sort of conclusion to the attempt at a relationship that has been ongoing for the last couple of years. Or put it another way its the girlfriend or me, baby. Time to place your money/cards on the table to mix a metaphor.

The rules of Ultimatum Friday are that the the Prince is allowed a good couple of weeks to ponder the situation. He must either come up with a decision as to what he wants to do or at least a plan as to how he is going to make a decision. Other than that there really aren't any really any rules. There just has to be a decision at the end of the day.

I can't keep my life on hold for ever. I can't keep waiting for a man who doesn't know whether he wants to be with me. Its a thankless soul destroying job. Many times the easiest thing would have been to walk away. But I haven't because in our history he has waited many months for me to make a decision to be with him when I couldn't find the courage.

As I say not a regular feature I think (I hope). But just knowing that something, anything might happen is good. Some news is better than no news. And I am honestly looking forward to it, what ever it is.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

So tired I forgot to give this a title originally

As I write this post my feet are in a bowl of salted water. My brain has officially already gone to bed. I walked all day today. I ate two breakfasts, one lunch, one cake(I mean a whole cake not a slice of cake or a cupcake), one bag of crisps and I drank more than my own body weight in water. I have four blisters. I saw a white horse carved in the hillside, two lighthouses, some partridges (I think) and fields of poppies and daises. I am so tired that I can hardly think but I have all the happy endorphins rushing round so I am a little blissed out.

In this happy catatonic state I give you a short video clip of our very own Rambo hamster practising his maneouvres taken this weekend .

video

More coherent thoughts and words tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

My rainbow


Yesterday there was a rainbow in the evening. Right outside my window. There is something inspiring about those colours, especially if they are set against a slate grey sky. I'm not superstitious but I think they are lucky for me. And hopeful, which was just what I needed yesterday.
Wednesdays are a very long day for me. I work all day in London, leaving home at 7am and getting back at 7pm having collected youngest from her childminder. At home, eldest and step-son are waiting for me. The opening conversational gambit of at least one of them will be "what's for dinner?" shortly followed by "how long will it take?". To be fair I should say that at some point later in the evening, usually after their appetites are sated, they will usually ask how I am and what sort of day I have had. I am not sure they listen to the answer but you can't have everything.
I have become an expert at uber quick Wednesday night recipes. As well frenzied chopping and stirring in the kitchen youngest needs to be bathed, fed a snack (by this time she will already have had two meals after school but she demands this snack as she knows I am cooking for the other two and she doesn't want to be left out), read a story and put to bed.
Added to this yesterday was one and a half hours of walking in London thanks to the tube strike. So I finally when I got to sit down and the rainbow appeared as if on cue right in front of my window I felt as if it were all mine. I also lay claim to the pot of gold at the end of it if anyone comes across it.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Other peoples stories

Today I made my risotto with tears in my eyes. Its not my story to tell. Its not even the story of a close and dear friend. But it is so sad it moves me to my core. My words are inadequate. All I can think to do is cook food for people who have no appetite. So, I cook for them and my children , with love and with tears and with a sense of appreciation of all that I have which is sharpened by another family's loss.

Today I wore my wedding ring on my ring finger. For the first time in over two years. Looking for some sort of comfort. Sentimental and foolish, I know.

Today is one of those days which will be more bearable tomorrow.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Random acts of smiling

I woke up today with a sense of irrational happiness. Looking at the facts today was:

a) a Monday morning
b) that meant that the lovely lovely weekend was over with the lovely lovely friends and the lovely lovely party
c) Monday is a going into work day which means getting on the train and commuting to London
d) And then getting on the tube (for which read fighting your way to overcrowded underground train) to get to the office
e) And at the office a huge (and I mean inches and inches) report awaited to be looked at
f) And its a boring report.

But despite all that I just felt disgustingly, obscenely happy. The sun was shinning (well this morning at least), and although I had to commute on the train it meant I could listen to the ipod, and read the paper and my book. I even thought I might see some deer from the train which always brightens the train journey. Ok I didn't see any deer but the point was I was so optimistic I thought I might.

Even the huge report failed to dampen my spirits. Normally in such circumstances I resort to comfort eating at desk. But today, despite the fact I had taken credit crunch lunch in with me, I exercised self-control and refrained from eating it before 11.30am - something of a record. Lord I felt good.

But I suppose the worst good thing was that I actually started smiling at people on the tube. Ok the first time it was by mistake because I was listening to a particularly funny podcast but it was such fun I just carried on. The range of reactions was so entertaining. From complete "I can't see the mad woman smiling at me and will therefore stare straight through her", to embarrassment, to confused smiles in return. It totally brightened my morning

On days like today I can take on the world. So today I can see myself fighting the local education authority and making sure that youngest has the education she needs; I can see that in his own dysfunctional way the Prince of Darkness does love me; I can see that whatever happens life is full of possibilities and new adventures.

So if tomorrow isn't like today I am going to read this post and remember how strong a little optimism can make me feel.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Thirteen for dinner



Isn't that so wonderfully Agatha Christie? Really this should be the story.


Not long after the party is assembled one of the dinner guests (a rather voluptuous, yet not entirely principled heiress to an international lingerie manufacturing conglomerate, called Miss Scarlet) mysteriously disappears. Brigadier Tartan quickly organises a search - all that can be found of her is a ruby red stiletto on the roof terrace next to her spilt Chanel No. 5 Rouge Noir nail varnish. Just as the hostess, Lady Walsingham, is about the call the local constabulary one of the guests volunteers that the world famous detective, Hercules Pilot, is not only a personal friend but is co-incidentally staying a matter of a few miles away. The well manicured detective arrives promptly and systematically sets about revealing the hidden secrets of all the guests. Cue long shots of anxious aristocracy nursing tumblers of whiskey before slowly confessing how they all had links to Miss Scarlet and a reason to do away with her....


Alas this was not my dinner for thirteen. Mine had no disappearing guests or Belgian detectives. Just lots of lovely food, laughter, a loud chorus of "Happy Birthday" at a rather inappropriate hour of the morning, some crazy plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, a pink watering can and several interesting stories about cling film.


The after shot...

Incidentally ask no further questions about Miss Scarlet and Brigadier Tartan....

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Meet my new man


This one will not go chasing after other women (chiefly because he will be neutered). He will be both handsome and cuddly. He will not expect cordon bleu cooking and will be happy with dinner from a tin. He won't mind sleeping on the floor. Obviously lack of opposable thumbs means he will not be able to open a wine bottle for me but I am sure he can be trained to bring snacks. He will listen sympathetically and not interupt. He will have low Christmas present expectations, indeed low all round present expectations. He will do as he is told!
He is moving in in four weeks. Can't wait.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

I want to marry a lighthouse keeper




Actually no I don't. Because for one, I am still married to the Prince of Darkness so that would be illegal and for two, my legs wouldn't stand it. Imagine how your heart sinks when you are all ready to go out an enjoy the sunshine and you realise that you have left the radio on. At the top of 126 steps.

But don't get me wrong. It was an amazing experience and something I will always remember. Things I loved...


The view from the top. Especially the sunsets.




The lantern room itself. The glass floor. The old lantern with a candle inside. Watching seagulls soaring past at eye level.


All the quirky nautical paraphernalia lying about the place. The ships bell. The captains hat and jacket. The diving helmet. The flying seagull in the kitchen (ok thats not nautical but it is quirky). The carved mermaid in the bathroom.




So moving on to the hints and tips for the would be lighthouse keeper:


  • Remember to buy upstairs and downstairs wine for the upstairs and downstairs fridges. That way however tired you are life will always seem bearable.


  • Keep a pen on each floor. Nothing more irritating than climbing 100 steps to find a pen.


  • Keep some energy drink and sugar snacks half way up the stairs for when the glucose levels dip.


  • Cancel gym membership immediately as all exercise will be taken in your own home and for free.


  • Learn to abseil so that you can paint the outside of your own house. Lets face it the local painters and decorators are not going to do it.


  • How ever tired always climb the stairs last thing at night to check out the view and remember how lucky you are.

  • Only look down from the balcony at the top if you are very very brave.


And if you can't be a lighthouse keeper, or indeed marry one, then the next best option is to have a holiday in one. I whole heartedly recommend it.



Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A little post

I am a little post. Post-holiday. Post-birthday. Post-30's. Post-sandy beach feet. Post-caravan. Post-lighthouse. Post-climbing 126 steps to get from top to bottom of the house (actually there is a little yay there). Come to think of it I am also post-unreliable wifi connections, post-no hot water in the kitchen and post-being entertained by the giant fox and chicken. To top it all I am also feeling post-healthy having today developed post-holiday head cold.


The holiday was very lovely despite dodgy/complete lack of wifi connection which rather hampered up to the minute reportage. Highlights of the first five days were:


Crab fishing off Brixham harbour. We bought a couple of lines, crab bait (some bacon from the butchers) and a bucket. Then we sat on the edge of the harbour for two hours and had the best entertainment possible for four quid (five if you include the coffee I bought). We caught four crabs. All of which were named and promptly returned to the bottom of the harbour. As we sat and talked youngest was inspired by the view and said that Brixham looked like Balamory (which probably means nothing if you are not the parent of an under 5 in the UK) but is certainly the most eloquent thing a small child can say to describe the view...




We watched auks diving under water . That's auks not orks (which would be a whole weird Lord of the Rings meets Waterworld type experience).


Incredible. Mesmerising. I could have watched for hours were I not dragged off by the children.

And the one day old penguin being fed by mother. I would post the picture but it does rather look as if the mother is attempting to swallow her baby whole which even I find vaguely distressing and I know what I am looking at.

The food. Fish and chips. And mushy peas (I may have lived in the south of England for 20 years but I remain a midlands girl at heart). The fresh crab (not the ones we caught obviously). The devon ice-cream. The cornish pasties (ok we weren't in Cornwall but they do a pretty good job in the county next door). The locally caught fish.

Collecting smooth sea washed wafer thin pieces of slate from the beach. I have no idea what I will do with them but they make the most delicious noise when you run them through your fingers.

The giant chicken entertainment in the evening...




Note: no crabs were harmed in the making of this post.

Tomorrow: hints and tips for the would-be lighthouse keeper.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tomorrow...

We are going crab fishing off the harbour in Brixham.
We are going to eat fish and chips with seagulls whirling all around us goading us into throwing a few chips into the air.
We will have a paddle in the icy cold sea.
There will be sand castles.
We will drive over Dartmoor and I will point out the huge granite tors to a pair of uninterested children.
We will arrive at the lighthouse.
There will be a wifi connection that is reliable (yay!).
There will be photo's posted on the blog.
We will have pasta puttanesca cooked by eldest daughter.
There will be gin and tonic at the top of the lightouse for everyone over 18 (i.e. me).
There will be contemplation of impending 40th birthday ....but not in bad way.

Holiday happiness.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Reasons to love a caravan holiday

  1. The shop on the site does not sell any fresh vegetables but it does sell the biggest jars of hair gel known to man.
  2. You need never wonder what it is like to have a shower inside a coffin again.
  3. The fridge is tiny and you may panic that there is nowhere to stick your wine box but due to lack of fresh veg (see above) you can use the veg drawer for your wine.
  4. When there is a particularly strong gust of wind the whole caravan shakes which is an added trill.
  5. The ornaments in the caravan. There would be a picture here but the wifi in the "Oceana" club refuses to upload it. Imagine glorious blue dolphins.
  6. This is the only place where your children can meet a man dressed in a fox costume and feel very excited about it.
  7. Its been sunny all day here and it has rained back home.
  8. The kids feel like they are having an adventure.
  9. Hey, you feel like you are having and adventure. People are drinking blue drinks here...

Monday, 25 May 2009

Four hours in a car with kids

We are here. Phase one of the holiday. A caravan in Brixham on the south coast of England. Home for the next five days looks like this...



My two lessons of the day are as follows:

  1. When putting a post code into your newly acquired satnav check it is the right postcode. So if you actually want to travel to the headquarters of the holiday company that you are staying with go ahead and use the postcode at the top of the receipt. Otherwise you might want to look a little further down the receipt and find the postcode of the site you actually staying at.
  2. When deciding to give a child complete responsibility for a bottle of water in the back of the car (especially a small child, especially a child with co-ordination difficulties) you might want to check that the lid is on before they wave it over their head. Otherwise small child will end up suddenly covered in water. Which will be quite a shock to them. And you.

More tomorrow from the caravan park....


Sunday, 24 May 2009

This weekend...

...I have been mainly sitting in traffic jams in a boiling hot car with two boiling hot children. Not one traffic jam but three separate ones on three separate days. Needless to say the car has no air conditioning and we chose one of the hottest weekends this year to visit my mother in Smallgrimtown-upon-Slagheap. The only saving grace of travelling at 3 miles an hour on the motorway was that we could wind the windows down in an attempt to cool down in some car fume infested breeze.

...I also discovered that zero key on my laptop has stopped working. This had two consequences. First I could not get online at the cut price hotel we were staying at because to do that I would have to pay £5 per hour and to do that I would have to put my card number in which of course contains a zero. Bah and double bah. Second my parentheses now have no end. I can start like so (but I cannot finish . So henceforth I am designating this - ^ to be my close brackets. For example: I thought £5 per hour for internet access was eminently reasonable (who am I kidding - what a bloody rip off!!^

...I was relieved that mother lived up to reputation of supplying at least one good line per trip. Last time she informed me that she had been to the cinema to see "Alcoholic Shopping". I thought it sounded like a brilliant idea for a film, or possibly a way of life, until I realised that she meant "Confessions of a Shopaholic". This time she told me that I didn't look like I was going to be 37. Which was a lovely compliment , especially since I will be forty next week. One might think that of all people you could rely on your mother to remember your age but apparently not so.

...I am currently praying to the god of traffic jams that we have done our time and that we can go on holiday tomorrow without being stuck in any more queues. While I am at it I have also asked the packing fairy to pop by and sort out our bags.

...I am wondering whether it is possible that someone has broken into my house and stolen only the suitcases.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Survivor

Thats me. Survivor of the epidemic that appears to have spread like wildfire through our house. Nothing serious. Well actually depending upon your view point it might be the most serious thing that ever could happen to you. Lurve - thats what I'm talking about. Cupids arrow. The mysteries of the heart. The communion of two souls. All that stuff.

Youngest was first to show symptoms. She announced yesterday evening that she was in love with Oliver. Not only that but she would be marrying him in the summer under the tree in the playing field at school. I was invited but I would need to wear a pretty dress which would need to be bought specially for the occassion - clearly my current wardrobe is not deemed to be up to scratch. Even more importantly Oliver WAS NOT aware of this plan and nor was he aware of the fact that that THERE WOULD BE KISSING. Under no circumstances was I allowed to reveal this information to Oliver - not a hard promise to keep since I am by no means certain exactly which small boy he is in the class of seven year olds which youngest is in.

Disconcertingly eldest is also showing signs of having been infected. When she snuggled next to me on the sofa last night her mobile phone came too. Whilst that may not be unusual for a lot of twelve year olds it is distinctly odd for eldest. She has an almost unnatural reluctance to switch her phone on which I can't really explain other than some desire to preserve the limited life force of the phone. I swear that I have explained that batteries can be recharged and everything but she really doesn't seem to want to believe me. Anyway phone came to sofa too. And low and behold .....messages were received and sent. More than that, potential messages were checked for even when they weren't there. All became clear when I saw the new screen saver. Picture of friends had been banished and replaced with "I heart Harry". This is where it all starts I thought.

I remember the intoxicating adrenaline rush of my first love. We didn't have text in those days. We were both 11. He was called Stephen and sent me a valentine card. I gave him piggy backs in the playground. It was a summer love. Short, intense, built on a shared appreciation of a certain type of bacon flavour crisp which you can't buy anymore. It didn't last of course. But it was so innocent and sweet and intense.

I almost felt envy but not quite. My heart has been through enough. I'm not sure I would have the strength to start again from the beginning again.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

We have the technology, we can rebuild it



It is walk to school week this week. Which is fortunate as the car is currently in the garage having major surgery. Such major surgery that in fact I did wonder whether to let it just pass away quietly and send it to the great scrap heap in the sky. But we need a car for our holiday next week and the thought of buying a new car in a week just filled me with horror. So its being mended as we speak.

Whats more it does feel a bit like one of the family. Its the first car I bought all by myself for a massive £450. I like the way it has got actual bits of bare metal on the top. I like the way it brings down the tone of the road I live on. I like the way that white is my least favourite colour in a car but driving it makes me feel like a cop in a terrible '80's drama. I like the way the sunroof doesn't shut properly when opened. I like the way I forget that at the beginning of every summer and wonder to myself why I don't open the sun roof more (yep, did it again this year, had to rope in brother-in-law to help me close it). I like the way it took me and the girls all the way down to the south of France a couple of years ago. I like the way how, on the trip down, eldest could pay the tolls from the passenger seat side because, you guessed it, the drivers window doesn't work either. I particularly like the fact that the satnav will be worth more than the car. I like the fact that I have forgotten to lock it like a hundred times but it is so knackered that no-one has ever tried to nick it. I like the fact that early one morning I once found a well dressed young man asleep on the backseat who presumably was unable to make it home after a night out. I particularly like the fact that after I kicked him out and he had rather sheepishly apologised he had the gall to ask which way I was driving so I might take him home.

And in case you are wondering why I am sad enough to take a picture of my car, I'm not. Eldest daughter did. I can only assume that she feels the same way about it as I do.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Things I have bought myself for my 40th birthday....so far

I have discovered that one of the chief pleasures of not having a significant other (detest that phrase, husband, boyfriend, bedwarmer, snuggle bunny, wine bottle opener what ever you prefer) is that there is absolutely no guilt in buying yourself birthday presents. I never thought to buy myself presents when the husbands were around. Not to say that either of the husbands was bad at presents. Its just when you buy your own you get exactly what you want.

Anyway, moving on to the list:
  1. Two holidays, one after the other. Cheesy tacky caravan (the chief pleasure of which is the "clubhouse" where all food comes in a basket and the entertainment consists of a man in a giant chicken costume - best enjoyed with several large glasses of pinot grigio and a healthy dose of irony) followed by slightly more refined lighthouse weekend (will post some pictures for Polly)

  2. Satnav in order to get to these places without having to rely on map reading by 12 year old.

  3. Dog -theoretically for children but all the pester power in the world would not stand a chance if I wasn't secretly fulfilling my lifetime ambition to own a dog.

  4. Ticket to Copenhagen to partake in the madness/creative frenzy that is Blogcamp. Could be the only chance I have in my life to learn belly dancing and knitting in one weekend whilst eating/slurping a gin and tonic sorbet.

  5. Tattoo. Dragonfly on hip. I am very pleased with it especially since it meant I got to wrap myself in clingfilm - something I have always wanted to do although not necessarily whilst youngest daughter watched me with a look of mild surprise on her face.

It's still a couple of weeks away so doubt there will be more excuses for presents to me....me....me


Sunday, 17 May 2009

Almost perfect morning

Youngest and I had a fabulous lie in this morning. Well she lay in and I lay there praying for it to go on a little longer. Eventually she ambled downstairs and climbed into my bed. For once she didn't wriggle and squirm and kick me all over like some miniature black belt assassin sent to pummel me black and blue before I get out of bed. She lay very quietly in my arms and we listening to the rain and thunder outside. She smells of honey. I don't know why. Its just her smell and I spend a perfect minute lying there inhaling her and the rain and the quiet. Then she wriggles out of my arms and I know its time to get up.

Feeling thoroughly at peace with the world we went to the kitchen to make breakfast. Fried egg on toast for her and bacon and tomato sarnies for me. Coffee, juice, radio in the background, lovely smells from the cooking breakfast and coffee. The kitchen has a huge bay window which almost goes down to the floor and looks out over all the back gardens. We like to watch the comings and goings of the animals while we sit at the table. Mainly birds but sometimes squirrels or the fox that lives in the garden downstairs. We have been following a pair of wood pigeons who have a nest in the tree at the bottom of the garden. I see one on the fence and point it out. Youngest points out that there are two pigeons. I stick my face up against the glass and peer again. There certainly are two pigeons. And by the time they are finished what they are up to there might be a number of baby pigeons on the way.

It's not that I'm a prude but circle of life questions before my first cup of coffee of the day are a little taxing. Moral of the story: put contact lenses in before pointing out potentially copulating animals to small children first thing in the morning.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Who's that girl?

As part of my on going attempt to be a real girl I am going to the hairdressers to get my hair cut and coloured today. That may not sound like a big deal to those of you that do this on a regular basis but let me assure you that it is. First off I have been growing my hair since last autumn (as part of my ongoing midlife crisis). I can't bear it anymore so its all being chopped off and I am reverting to my normal boyish crop. Second and more significantly (also as a continuing part of my midlife crisis) I have somehow agreed to have my hair coloured. I can count the times I have had my hair coloured on one hand. Nay, one finger. Disaster.
This runs on par with my other attempts at being a girl. I fall off high heels. I bite my nails. I can't really do make up. If I do do it I always forget to take it off. I rarely have matching underwear on (something I am given to understand that real girls do). I can't bear the time and effort it takes to blow dry my hair (another reason for the crop decision). I only own one handbag. My favourite gadget is my cordless drill as opposed to say my "Ladeeze Whirlpool Foot Spa" (which I hasten to add is not something I actually own). I am unable sustain any kind of conversation about beauty products, hair removal strategys, make-up or anti-ageing creams.
I have really been trying to discover my inner girl. There's no real sign of her as yet but maybe she will surface after the hair colour. Not holding my breath for it though.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Feeling naughty...

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I've got the devil in me today. I'm really enjoying myself. I am currently at the house of the Prince of Darkness (two dinner invites in one week - is the girlfriend away or on the wane?). I have a nice glass of chilled cabernet sauvignon by my side. The smell of dinner is making my mouth water.


And the reason I have the devil in me is that the Prince of Darkness is currently radiating curiosity from every pore in his body. Honestly, I can almost smell it. It's all most amusing. But to really enjoy it you have to realise the irony of this situation. He left me (for the crazy woman) (bitter moi?) after striking up an online (ahem) friendship. Too many brackets in one sentence?


I'm just waiting to see if he can invent an excuse to get behind me whilst I write this. "Scuse me love, just need to do my 9pm cleaning behind the sofa on a Friday night."


Hang on here we go....hold on....




There that's scared him off. He's slunk off into the kitchen looking very disturbed.."she's writing a blog about cheese...?" He can't stand cheese. It's his garlic and crucifix if you will.



So my evil work here is done. The devil can rest easy for the next few days.



Muhahahaha.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Introspection

I've been thinking about blogging a lot and about why I enjoy it so much. One of the reasons is that it makes me focus on each and everyday. It's so easy to get caught in a frantic routine that gets you through the days but leaves no time for appreciating the moment. For me at least blogging has helped to alter my perspective. I begin to watch myself and the world around me more closely. My internal record button has been switched to on. What before might have been a fleeting thought or sight is stored for future use.

So today when I woke up tired and the sky was slate grey and overcast I also noticed all the small stuff that contributes to cheering me up. Among my passing thoughts for the day so far have been the following:
  1. (Upon staggering out of bed) thank god I'm not a kid - at least I can crawl to the kitchen and make coffee. How on earth did I ever get out of bed without the promise of black coffee to entice me?
  2. (Upon finding out that stepson has an exam today) again thank god I am not a kid. I'm not sure I could do exams any more.
  3. (Upon finishing off youngest's breakfast) I'm so pleased that she only ever eats half a boiled egg. Somehow eating half boiled egg makes me feel much better than eating a whole one.
  4. (Upon reading 50 page court judgment which I have to summarise by tomorrow) phew - not only do I understand it but most of it is irrelevant (in my humble opinion).
  5. (Upon putting the washing away) ALL SOCKS HAVE PAIRS!
  6. (Upon making more coffee) oh look there's a bagel left for me for lunch.
  7. (Upon noticing roof terrace through my bedroom window) bloody hell - I have managed to keep those plants alive for a whole year. Not only that but it looks lovely out there...



Of course there is a lot more than just monitoring my own internal monologue. There is the chance to reach out and to be reached to. There's other countries and experiences and lives to wonder at. Anyway before this turns into an ode to blogging (which I feel deeply unqualified to write given the short time I have been doing this) I am going to go and eat that bagel.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Know a good therapist?

After due consideration (all of about two seconds) I accept the invite to dinner from the Prince of Darkness. He cooked a delicious curry (although I swear I thought I saw him put Branston Pickle in it) and we talked and we laughed and we generally had a great time. Like I've said before I am not really sure where this is going. We have both been through periods where one of us has wanted to make a go of things and the other has knocked them back. Right now I am willing to try but he is the uncertain one.

My critical (rational?) voice in my head says "what the feck are you doing? Just end it. Move on. You don't need him. You have made a life without him. He left you. He could do it again. Get thee to a therapist....you have issues." But my heart answers with "what if I just hang on for a little longer and for the first time in two and a half years we both decide that we want the same thing at the same time?" What I do know is that right now when we see each other it feels like there is a chance for us. So I am going to see how this tangled mess that we have made unravels, for a little longer at least. What never ceases to amaze me is the capacity for two intelligent people, who profess to love each other, to invent new ways to stall, test and generally mess up their relationship.

In the meantime I think I might still need therapy. I may have some mothering issues as well as relationship issues. I took the eldest to the orthodontist today. She has, sadly for her, inherited her mother's rather random freestyle tooth arrangement. They had to take some pictures of her teeth. The final one involved her baring all her teeth and pulling her lips back. The dental nurse then stuck in what can only be described as "lip horns" (like a shoe horn but clear plastic and curved right over at the end). These were put on either side on of her mouth to pull the lips and face back even further. The results were astonishing. She was suddenly transformed from my beautiful girl to candidate for the lead roll in Resident Evil - Dawn of the Undead. My reaction was a violent fit of the giggles which despite/because of my best efforts to suppress ended up with me snorting and weeping in the corner of the room.

Is this a normal maternal reaction?

Monday, 11 May 2009

New arrivals


Project puppy proceeds apace. It looks like we really are going to get one. The puppies were born last week and we are going to pick out our boy at the beginning of June. The girls are so so excited. Actually, between these four cyber walls, I am so so excited.
Of course the girls have started to think of names. Their taste definitely runs into the sickly sweet and twee. I am absolutely going to have to put my foot down as I know that I will end up being the one in the park shouting for "fluffywuffysnookybuns" to come back. I am all for cool, off the wall names, none of which find favour with the girls. They are not so keen on introducing Razorblade to their friends. So all name suggestions gratefully received.





Sunday, 10 May 2009

Wild garlic and ducks


Black dog mood has completely dissipated. Walked it off. Swapped stories and laughter and gossip as we walked through the Sussex countryside. Tested our legs on some really steep climbs. Took in the views from the top which went far out to sea. Attempted to name the wildflowers and made up names for those we didn't. Got lost. Climbed through barbed wire. Laughed some more. Ate sweets. Ate bagels. Ate pasta. Ate crisps. Disturbed a flock of ducks in the long grass. Put on suncream. Put on jumpers. Put on sunglasses. Ate more sweets.

Found a wood filled with wild garlic. The white flowers climb the banks and carpet the floor. The deep smell of garlic hangs in the air sharpening our senses. Making us crave the taste.












Saturday, 9 May 2009

Crash and burn

I woke up with an oppressive sense of melancholy. Whereas most days I enjoy the fluidity and challenges of my life today it just seems depressing. Lots of negative stuff swimming round in my head.

How is my lovely little girl going to survive as she moves through the school system? She is my bright and shining star but because of her disabilities maths, reading and writing is just a mystery to her. How do I keep her self esteem intact as she falls father and father behind at school? Do I give my beautiful eldest girl enough of my time when I so busy helping youngest with everything from school work to learning how to dress so that she can fit in with the normal kids? What is normal anyway? Why can't I just have a regular relationship with the man who is still technically my husband? Why does he see his girlfriend for lunch and then invite me round for dinner? What are we playing at? Why can't we let go? How am I going to get a promotion at work and fit it in with the hours that I need to work to be here with the family? Am I doing enough to help my mother? Probably not as far as she is concerned. Who is going to clean out the goldfish?

Think I'll start by tackling the goldfish.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Note to self


I read a letter that Stephen Fry had written to his 16 year old self in the Guardian this week. I thought about the advice I would give myself knowing how things would unfold. Even with hindsight I am not sure I would change much.

"Dear me,

Boy are you in for a surprise. Let's just say that things don't turn out as planned but before you panic there is not that much you need to do differently.

I know that right now you are a lanky, slightly swotty, very uncool girl with hideous blue glasses longing for something else out of life but not sure what. Ditch the glasses asap - it's a cliche but it will make all the difference. Stick with the books though kid - you will soon escape "Smallgrimtown-upon-Slagheap" (as you now affectionately think of it) to the place that you will know immediately is your spiritual home.

Don't worry if the first wedding doesn't go as planned. You get a chance to put the mistakes right at wedding no. 2. The two marriages thing might come as a bit of a surprise but you will understand when you get here. And listen up - it all works out with Husband No 1 after you split up. You will both become the best of friends and he will agree that you did the best thing by leaving. So don't carry the guilt of leaving around with you for so long.

It's tempting to say avoid Husband No. 2 (he whom you will come to know as the Prince of Darkness) like the plague but actually you will have some of the best times of your life with him and you won't want to miss out on them.

And the following are very, very important:
  1. Don't have that perm in your first year at university. It will look dreadful and do something very odd to your scalp.

  2. Spend more time with your father - he isn't going to be around for ever.

  3. All that stuff about high factor suncream is right - use it so that you don't end up with sun damaged skin.

  4. When your parents give you a car after you pass your driving test try not to crash it the second time you take it out. Its going to knock your confidence behind the wheel for years otherwise.

If all of this sounds a bit scary you need to remember that even if you change nothing you will be ok and you are in for a hell of a ride.

With love,


Your Older Self"





Thursday, 7 May 2009

Feeling delicate

I might have had the teensiest bit too much of the cooking sherry last night. But I was in a celebratory mood. I'm off to Blog Camp, as fabulous logo to the right will testify. Clearly as unaccustomed to alcohol as I am (I can almost hear the snorts of derision from my friends as I type that) it has left me in a slightly fragile state this morning. And as a result of that the spots had to go from this blog. What was wrong with me? Did I never notice them before? Anyway today they did my head in and and so they have been banished.

I entertained eldest daughter and ex-stepson (I'm not sure if you can ex a step child so I shall continue to refer to him as stepson) by singing "I am off to blog camp" (to the tune of "lets all do the conga"). I hasten to add that this was before the celebratory sherry. They thought it was very weird that (a) I was singing and (b) I was travelling to a foreign country to meet people I hadn't met in real life.

Whilst I went off to have a little sing to myself in the kitchen and cook dinner they commandeered both the laptops and set themselves up at the dinning table. They were both engrossed and I asked them what they were up to.

"We are both on MSN" came the reply.

"Who are you talking to?" I asked.

"Each other"

And they think I'm weird. I rest my case.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Walking worries

I received a very disturbing e-mail today.

But before I launch into that I need to set the scene. I am a member of a walking group. Actually that sounds a bit formal. Me and three good friends go walking once a month and once a year we like to set ourselves a walking challenge. We kind of peaked the first year when we did trailwalker. The aim being to get your team of four 100km over the South Downs in under thirty hours. That's 63 miles with no sleeping. We did it in just over 29 hours. At this point I could wax lyrical about the highs (the camaraderie, the sunrise over the mist in the valley, the enormous sense of achievement) and the lows (the state of the toilets, the cramps, the blisters, the silent sobbing at 4am, what extreme endurance events do to your stomach hence the state of the toilets) but I shall refrain and simply say - great to have done it but NEVER EVER AGAIN.

Last year we attempted the Yorkshire Three Peaks and for the first time in the history of our walking challenges we didn't complete it. The weather was appalling and half way up the second peak I was blown over. Literally. At that point we decided to call it off after having visions of being trapped up there with only a dry stone wall for shelter and our rations dwindling to a bit of squashed Kendal Mint Cake which was sure to be lurking at the bottom of someones rucksack. We limped off the mountain in the driving rain (it almost goes without saying that we were at the furthest point away from the car)and began a very long, very wet, very depressing trudge back.

Safely back at the hotel, warm, dry and armed with a large tooth mug of wine each we vowed to return. So we are going back this year. The aim is to do the three mountains (23 miles) in under 12 hours. And this is the point where we get back to the e-mail. It transpires that my friends have been doing extra training. I am almost tempted to say extra secret training although to be fair they have all mentioned it before. Its just that its only just dawned on me that I have done nothing extra. Unless you can count my clothes shopping trip with eldest girl at the weekend as some sort of cross-training on the basis it involved walking round the shops and holding shopping bags?

We have a fifteen mile training walk on Sunday. Fingers crossed that I can keep up.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Pretty in pink

Youngest daughter believes that no occasion is too small to dress up for. Grandpa coming to visit....hang on I'll just pop on a tutu. Going out for a plate of pasta at the italian place down the road....not without my tiara. The inevitable response to "what do you want to wear today?" is "a pretty dress" which actually means "a pretty pink dress".

I'm not really sure where she gets it from. I am certainly not a pink person. I'm not really a dress person although I do own them. When I choose clothes I am not really aiming for "pretty". I like to think I am aiming for chic but goodness only knows if thats were I end up.

Today we decide to go to the movies and, of course, this is an ideal occasion for youngest to throw on a pink confection. As I stand in front of my (largely black) wardrobe inspiration strikes and I decide to be guided by the fashion principles of a 7 year old. So yes, the dress is black but look - yellow sandals! (I believe that these are the first ever yellow shoes I have owned and I am feeling inordinately proud of them.)





Let's just have one more picture of the sandals...


Anyway, as my mind wandered during the movie I realised that youngest's approach to fashion is really all about the "nowness" of being a kid. Living in the moment. After all, if you don't put your Snow White outfit on to go the supermarket who knows when you might next have an opportunity to wear it? It's not a bad fashion principle to live by. In fact its not a bad principle to live by. Full stop. Although I am still working up to wearing the tiara into the office.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Sunday to myself

I have an unheard of Sunday to myself. Both of the girls are with their fathers. I really should do at least one of those jobs that have been on my mental list of things to do since at least last summer - clean out my wardrobe (I have a scary woman coming to visit me in June to go through my wardrobe and tell me what my colours are) or sort out the paper work to minimise the chances of death by paper avalanche everytime I open the bureau. I am not joking. See?


But I have decided to do exactly what I want to do. Read my book, maybe watch a film and eat prawns doused in lemon juice and covered in black pepper. I may even stretch out on the sofa and drift off to sleep warmed by the sun coming through the window. Or take the beanbag out onto the roof terrace and lie in the sun listening to the sounds of other peoples sunday afternoons drifting up from the gardens below.
And the very best bit of this day of indulgence will be when youngest returns tonight and she cuddles up on the sofa next to me just before bedtime and we make plans as to what we will do tomorrow when I won't I have any time to myself and I will love every last minute of it.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Sure can pick 'em


The husbands are both lovely. Of course not both are current - that would be WRONG! Number one (defintely ex, father of eldest) rang me up at work yesterday. He had finished reading the book I bought him for his birthday whilst standing in a queue at a coffee shop at the park. He told me he had tears in his eyes. I told him to shut up or I would start crying at work. (The Gargole by Andrew Davidson, a wildly imaginative story of redemptive love, one of my favourite books so far this year).

Number two (technically current, father of youngest and also known as the Prince of Darkness) tells me that he has a present for me when I drop youngest off at his house for the weekend. It involves a short drive and me not asking questions. We arrive at a playing field and then after a short walk to the most beautiful wood, hidden from view, filled with a sea of bluebells pierced by shafts of late evening sunlight. What a gift. I did start crying.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Project Puppy


Project Puppy is a military campaign of subtle suggestion, immaculate timing and a perfectly executed pincer movement undertaken by the daughters to convince me to get them a dog. It has been a long time in the coming having been started by the eldest as a solo mission many years ago. I always had the perfect answer to suggestions, sighs and pleadings on the dog front. "I'm sorry darling but mummy is allergic to dogs so we can't have one because they make her sneeze". Whatever fiendish plans eldest came up with she really couldn't argue that one.
The turning point came about six months ago. Youngest allied herself with eldest because she had fallen in love with the Prince of Darkness' girlfriends dog. I can only congratulate her on the understated psychological impact of this on me as I am obviously determined not to be outdone by daddy's new girlfriend. In a spectacular u-turn I therefore set about defeating my own argument and purchased a book called "Sneeze Free Dogs". I sat on the fence for a few months but got to see how brilliantly the girls got on with girlfriends dog when we looked after it one weekend (long story for another time). I did a lot of sneezing, it not being a sneeze free breed, but seeing the joy the girls got out of the dog kind of swung me. In particular youngest has specific learning difficulties which set her apart from her peers at school and just seeing her relating to the dog and loving it was brilliant.
So at the weekend we visited an owner for the big "Will Mummy Sneeze at the Dog" test...and hey presto...I was fine. Suffice to say that I am now utterly convinced and as besotted as the girls. High level talks are going on between the new Commander in Chief of Project Puppy (me) and the breeder. More news at the weekend as to whether the last puppy she has left will be ours......

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A Short History Lesson


Once upon a time a long long time ago I met a lovely kind man. We bought a castle (well a small terraced house), got married and had a beautiful daughter. A couple of years after the birth of our daughter I met someone or should I say Someone. Love at first sight. Eyes across a crowded room. You name the cliche - it probably applies. I left the lovely man to make a new life with Someone. Lots of pain and heartache ensued because of our decision to be together but also intense joy and happiness. We got married and had our own daughter and lived happily ever after.

That last bits not true of course. In a fitting mirror of the story I started Someone left me for someone else. Quite out of the blue. Quite unexpected. Quite a knife through the heart. By which process he transformed himself from Someone into the Prince of Darkness.

That was two and a half years ago and we have gone through the usual gamut of break up emotions since then. And yet "the thing" between us is still there. We can't quite give up on what we had and we can't quite risk a future together. An intolerable limbo.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Introductions - a family party

The Prince of Darkness came for tea on Sunday. So did the rest of his family. To clarify the Prince and I share a daughter and it was said daughters family get together for her birthday. I like his family. This might be because I am quite short of my own family; only one parent left and no brothers and sisters. His family are quite odd like most families are. Grandma is so obstinate and opinionated that it is not worth arguing with her when she insists that the electricity has been turned down because of the credit crunch whilst Grandpa is seemingly mild mannered and gentle but has been known to agree with extreme views expressed by radical muslim clerics. There was an assortment of aunts and uncles and cousins , half and step children and sisters of brothers in law which make up the modern family. Well at least they do in my world.

And of course Wife Number 1 of the Prince of Darkness. As it happens Wife Number 1 and I are firm friends, an arrangment which the Prince probably found convenient when I was Wife Number 2 but is certainly less so now that he no longer resides in the bosom of either family. Sometimes I almost feel a twinge of pity for him.

The party went well although my attempt at a cake was a touch soggy in the middle. The birthday girl was suitably impressed by the addition of another Barbie to her collection and a complete set of High School Musical DVD's. After the teapot was drained and the last sausage roll was squished into the carpet the guests drifted off.

The Prince of Darkness was the last to leave. He kissed me on the cheek and thanked me for a lovely party. I do, of course, still love him. Damn inconvenient.