Sunday, 31 December 2006


Well quite a bit has happened over the last few days.

I've taken advantage of an old man's generosity.

I, together with my husband, have been completely forgetful and chosen to blame my husband entirely.

And I discovered my brother wants to move house. He's found a house he wants and has put in an offer which has been accepted and all he needs to do is sell the house he owns currently. And that's what is a bit strange for me.

Ian and his family live in the home in which I grew up. I know they've redecorated, extended and improved the place a million percent but it will be strange to say goodbye. Dad sold it to Ian for a bargain price after Dad remarried at the age of 69 (six months after Mum died - long sad story).

I moved into the house in the early seventies and remember things like the veggie plot at the bottom of the garden, long since gone. It wasn't very well tended but nonetheless provided blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, tomatoes and runner beans.

There was badminton and boules on the back lawn, Angus the Skye terrier who lived in the back garden, the rabbits: Cheeky and Rambo and the guinea pig Peanuts (known affectionately as Neaputs), the Puffin dinghy that was hardly used and was suspended from the garage ceiling, the Mirror dinghy that had a home at the side of the house and so on and so on. More memories than I could ever write down but I guess you'd expect that for 12 years.

There's my old bedroom where, if I sat on the windowsill, I could just see the Blackwell's house and I used to imagine that Ian Blackwell might have the room that faced our house.

But all these memories won't be sold with the house. I'll keep them.

And I'd like to provide a decent link so you can view the property details but the estate agent isn't that obliging. The house is in Abbotskerswell and is being sold by Woods in Newton Abbot:
Woods website. 4 bed detached and yours for just £345,000. My Mum and Dad paid £16,000.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

To bra or not to bra

Did I tell you about the dinner thing I went to with the bra incident? It's just that I was having a conversation with someone today about going commando and this came to mind.

Now this wasn't an evening when I was commando, just so that we have context correct right at the start.

But I was wearing nice evening dress and before I went downstairs (dinner was in the hotel we were staying in) I had a dilemma: to bra or not to bra?

Now I don't like the visible bra look. It works for some people, but I don't like it on me. Well under this particular dress, if I was standing up and the dress was sitting properly on me, the bra didn't show so I opted for bra.

During the starter I kept looking down and seeing the bra. I was becoming paranoid about the bra. It was time to do something about it.

I told Dave what I was going to do. I planned to nip back to our room, remove bra and nip back down. If I was quick I could be back in time for the main course. I don't quite know why it was important for me to be super quick but I guess I didn't want to have to explain my absence.

Our room was on the 9th floor. I got out to the lifts and once in the lift on my own, I thought I'd multi task. I thought I could remove the offending item (bra) and travel in lift at the same time. There was a part of me that thought "what if someone wants to get in on the 4th floor?" but I took the risk.

Well every girl knows how to remove a bra without removing any other clothes. So I started to, and then the hooks at the back of the bra got caught on the dress and I couldn't remove the bra. The ninth floor was quickly approaching. I knew the doors would open at the ninth floor and I was wrestling with a bra and a dress.

Just before the doors opened I shoved the bra down inside the dress. I rushed to our room, unhooked bra, made myself presentable again and rushed back to the lift. I thought that I needed to show some change to explain my absence so I thought I'd reapply lipstick in the lift on the way down.

So in lift on way down I'm applying lippy thinking it wouldn't be ideal if the lift doors opened on floor four.

So having gone through this trauma, I appear back at the table (a little less supported maybe) looking unruffled.

I explain to Dave in a whisper about my escapade and his response "You're such a chav."

Monday, 25 December 2006

The true meaning of Christmas

Not only will I survive, I did survive Christmas lunch and even more amazingly Christmas lunch was delivered, to plan, at one o'clock..

I was going to take you through the whole pretentious menu derived from hours of recipe book research but I won't bore you with gory details.

Anyhow we were trying to get the kids to take a post lunch nap, something to which they were very resistant, and it was all I could do to stop myself from collapsing into bed myself. Well actually I did. Ethan and Hannah got out of bed and kept coming back in to see me in Ethan's bed, saying "night night Mummy." I was found out by Dave who wondered why he could still hear children and why I hadn't appeared back downstairs. He went upstairs to investigate and found me in a semi stupor and the kids running riot.

I think that's what Christmas is all about – torpor: the state that one falls into when one is overfed, over-boozed and overindulged in everything.

So never mind the 'true meaning of Christmas'. I think it's a time for the body to have an excuse to shutdown.

Except I wasn't allowed this afternoon, but I bet I sleep well tonight.

Merry Christmas everyone. Ho ho ho.

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Domestic goddess

There is something satisfying about properly cooked food.

I often make stuff from scratch but it's usually throwing things together. For Christmas I've been trying a little harder and I've been using recipes:

­ - Cranberry sauce – how easy is that!
­ - Bread sauce – ditto
­ - Austrian red cabbage – bit of a strange concept but very festive, very easy and yummy.
­ - Mega uber chocolate torte thing – joint effort between hubby and me but again, easy peasy.
­ - Lamb shank thing currently getting yummier by the minute in the fridge ready for tomorrow, very easy so far.

I could almost become a domestic goddess without the keeping the place clean and tidy bit and without the goddess bit. I could definitely quit work but would still need some kiddie free time (just for sanity).

Friday, 22 December 2006

Barking Bonkers

Well I've done it. I've been thinking about it for a while. Last time I did it was when we were living in the States. Money wasn't a problem then. Money isn't really a problem now. I think having one of those damn offset mortgages just makes you think twice before splashing out.

So I've splashed a wad on annual gym membership and persuaded Mel to do the same. It pays for itself if we go about one and a half times a week unless you consider the time value of money in which case we'd have to go a bit more frequently. I failed accountancy courses so I won't be considering the time value of money.

So we're signed up to Grottsville gym. It is very skanky but it's cheap – although not as good value as some other gyms (Nick – yours is better value).

And we've only signed up for the gym. All other stuff - pool, squash (as if – I looked like a beetroot after my one and only squash game when I was 17), tennis, football, trampolining, etc – is extra.

And they had the nerve to tell me I got a free gift, a rucksack nonetheless. I am thinking of involving Trading Standards. Since when does a gym bag or gym sack (terminology acquired from Argos website) constitute a rucksack? This insult they've given me has no substance and is not a rucksack.

Rucksack : noun a bag with two shoulder straps which allow it to be carried on the back, used by hikers

This thing has string not straps and would not be used by quality hikers. It's the kind of bag into which a small child would put plimsolls (do small children still have plimsolls?)

Do you think I have a case or am I, to quote my son, "barking bonkers?"

Thursday, 21 December 2006

Dear Santa

I'm a bit late with my letter to Santa, but thought you'd like to see a copy.

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mum all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the utility room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child away from the chocolate, crisps and cake aisles of Sainsburys.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment where I can hide to talk or text on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mummy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Don't hit your sister," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the cat.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being reheated in the microwave eight times.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season.

Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely.

It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the tumble dryer has finished and my son saw my feet under the utility room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to mince pies and beer on the table but don't eat or drink too much or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,


P.S. The next time you want a kiss under the mistletoe, please make sure the kids can't see us.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Last day

Last day at work before Christmas.

Kevin's last day in the department.

Last day for Hannah and Ethan at Nursery before Christmas.

Last day ever for Hannah at Nursery. I did cry and I don't think it was because I'd just had my appraisal at work before doing the school run although that may have been a contributing factor.

Hannah has gone to the Phoenix Day Nursery from the age of 6 months. Mondays to Wednesdays and a brief spell of Thursdays as well. That's 4 years of her little life.

Now if I leave a job after a couple of years I get all emotional about leaving people. For me, it's always about leaving the people, never about leaving the job. Naturally being a hard nosed business woman (as if!) I don't show these emotions because that would be viewed as weakness. Actually it's just I'm just not prone to tears very often.

Today Hannah knew it was her last day but it didn't phase her one bit. She was happy and carefree and not in the slightest bit upset.

I just remembered all of the things she's done, all of the wonderful staff she's been lucky to have and all the love they've given her. They have loved her so much and it seems to me so sad that in 15 years time she probably will have vague memories about this time, and won't really recollect whether they were good or bad times.

It also dawned on me that I won't have my little girl at home with me on Thursdays and Fridays anymore. My little girl will be at school and I want to wind the clock back and make better use of the time we had. I want to take back all the times I was in a hurry and raising my voice (OK yelling) to make people get ready more quickly. I want to take back all the times when I was too busy to play. I just don't want my little girl to grow up.

I know she has to move on and develop but there will be a day when she doesn't need me and that just upsets me. Other parts of her life will become more important, and mummy will become less important.

Of course, there is a solution - have another baby. But that would lead to insanity (me, not kids) and who'd look after the children then?

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Non work related stress

I'm losing what little organisational skills I had.

It's Hannah's last ever day at Nursery tomorrow. I have known about this for a while, probably six months. And for four years I've known there will be a last day.

So given it's a known you'd think I'd plan for it and I sort of have. There's a card and something for all the staff to share. There's a gift for her 'teacher' and there are the obligatory treats for the kiddiwinks in her class.

So far so good.

But it's also her last day at school before Christmas and I have noticed the other mums with gift bags at the school gate. Now I have thought about this, and I did have ideas – I just didn't get around to sorting anything out.

Well we have sorted Christmas cards and we've struggled to get Hannah writing about 35 cards for her friends and teachers – she's only four years old and we didn't bribe her with sweets, unlike some other mums I could mention.

But the gift thing never happened. So I'm now thinking, what have we got in the house that will do. And the only thing I can think of is booze. She has two teachers and a teaching assistant – a bottle of wine each? And I don't have any gift bags, is wrapping paper OK?

And then there's the lollipop lady. Now she deserves something because it's a shitty job. She has to be there in all weathers and on Friday I heard some obnoxious teenagers giving her abuse. It took me a while to realise what was happening and I didn't have time to do anything. If I see that happening again I'm going to give the kids a piece of my mind, and my kids will tell you that when mummy is mad, steer clear! So bottle of wine for her too? Where is she going to store it while she's in the middle of the road? And if she leaves it on the pavement will the nasty kids steal it?

And then, there's the after school club which, to be fair, I hadn't even considered. And there are so many members of staff and I don't know all of their names, I don't know what to do.

And I need to sort this out tonight, before I go to bed.

Monday, 18 December 2006


Today my blog was accused of being boring. Sorry, but if it's so damn boring, why are you here?

OK the criticism was actually "You say lots and bare your soul about everyday stuff but not sure you give away much else" (Thanks Denis) which I took as condemnation.

So here's your opportunity to tell me what you want to hear about. If I hear nothing I shall continue along the 'merry ramblings of a slightly unhinged mother, wife, friend, employee' line. If you give me constructive feedback that I can act on, I will (you can tell it's appraisal season at work can't you.)

Oh, one last thing. This blog is for my benefit too. It's cheaper than therapy. So all proposals will be reviewed with this in mind.

Sunday, 17 December 2006


I've just entered into a new relationship.

It was love at first sight but the love didn't last. Frustration turned the love sour.

Patience was the answer and, with time and understanding, the romance is back on track.

So after the initial hiccough or two the relationship is in its first flush, the time when everything is rosy and the focus of my attention can do no wrong.

It's taking me a while to become used to foibles and idiosyncrasies but I love my new phone.

It took a while to become accustomed to its menus but we're an item now.

We're still learning about one another, discovering unexplored depths (the two cameras), encountering the inevitable character flaws (too few menu shortcuts), but I think we're headed for success.

It's only been a few days now but at the moment 'it's all good'.

Saturday, 16 December 2006


Hannah told me that there's more than one Santa.

I asked her what made her think that. "Well they've got different voices." she said.

She's seen a few already this year. There's the one at the party we had with friends (Kirsty's dad), there's the one at the school party (I'd really like to think this was Father Bob because he's got a white beard and the last thing I imagine he'd be comfortable doing is pretending to be Santa), and there's the one at the Nursery party (someone's uncle).

I tried to suggest that they might be Santa's helpers but the fact that they all had beards was her logical argument against this. I tried to suggest that having a beard might be a pre-requisite for the job of helper but she remains unconvinced. Her explanation is that there's more than one Santa, and that's that.

I'm not quite sure what to do. The myth must be easier to prolong if the belief is that there's only one. Maybe remaining vague about it is the best policy.

Strange that I'm more enthusiastic about retaining faith in Santa than in God, or maybe not that strange.

Friday, 15 December 2006

Messy hair

I might have been a little bit drunk last night.

Drinking started at 12:00, although Kevin, Dirk and Vish got a head start by starting at 10:00.

Drinking finished about 10 hours later.

I enjoyed the company. I'm grateful for the lift home. I need lots more sleep, paracetamol and water (not necessarily in that order).

Oh, and I think I was accused as person behind five secret Santa gifts.

Head's been a bit furry and fuzzy all day.

Oh, and apparently my hair looks good messy.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Away in a Manger

I went to see Hannah's Nativity play yesterday. And it was sweet, and endearing, and I almost had a tear or two.

But it's not like it is on the telly.

Is that a cruel thing to say?

The kids were normal. And the costumes were home grown in a sort of very home-grown way. And the grown-ups were crammed into a classroom, most insisting on standing rather than sit on the seats because if they sat down they wouldn't be able to see their little darlings. And the room was full of the clicks, whirs and beeps of digital cameras and video cameras. And the singing wasn't in tune. And the kids didn't always remember their words or actions. And the coffee afterwards was instant coffee. And the mince pies were tiny. And I ended up talking to Father Matthew. And the room was so hot I nearly fainted (slight exaggeration – I have never fainted.) And the damn teacher is too pretty and too young. Actually she is perhaps the only thing that could have lived in Tellyland. And Father Bob was complaining he has to sit through 17 of these plays and by the end he's sick to death of Away in a Manger.

[Talking to Father Matthew got a bit sticky when discussing the church car park lack of capacity on a Sunday morning as it's not something I know a lot about, oops. But actually, as vicars go (am I'm not saying I know whether this one does go or doesn't), he was OK company.]

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

I never knew that

There are lots of things I don't know. I used to know everything when I was a teenager, but I digress.

I went to the gym today a lot earlier than I normally do and the choice on the tellies in front of the treadmills/crosstrainers was a bit different.

Instead of the diet of soap I was treated to children's TV.

Now, people of a certain age will remember Tony Hart and Vision On. Well there was a programme on tonight called Smart but it should have been called Vision On. The show was all about art and they had a gallery, and when they turned to the gallery they played the Vision On music and the icing on the cake was a Morph short.

I never knew that.

There's something satisfying about the knowledge that the TV that was good enough for you as a child, is still good enough for today's kids.

Monday, 11 December 2006

Shopping, then more shopping, then more...

Had a day off today. So after a morning in the office....

After the school run at lunchtime is when my day off really kicked in.

And something weird has happened. It used to be that weekends in the run up to Christmas were murder and Christmas eve a disaster.

I remember a Christmas eve in Devon which was a nightmare. I'd taken my dad's bright orange Mark II Escort into Newton Abbot for some last minute present buying and the traffic was horrendous. The car didn't fare too well and the rad decided to pop a leak in the car park. I don't know quite how I had the presence of mind to deal with this given the panicked state I was in, but I do remember going to Halfords and buying something called Radweld or similar, and a bottle of water or two, which gummed things up for the traffic jam and journey home.
Anyway nowadays it's the evenings that are to be avoided.

I went to Lakeside this afternoon and planned to get home to help Dave with the kid's bathtime. Shopping wasn't overly productive but I did make a dent in the Christmas list and I spent a lot of time checking out the merchandise for future trips out. As I left, traffic was at a standstill in every direction. I tried to fight my way out but then Mel phoned and persuaded me to return to the shopping fray.

So whilst waiting for her to join me I dipped into Ikea. Bought a load of things I didn't need but that will brighten the house over Christmas. Grabbed a hotdog, and I later confided in Mel that there's something very satisfying about junk food. Then it was over to Costco.

We shared a trolley and joked with some staff on the way in that we call it the £100 shop because even if you need nothing you spend £100. They replied that it was now the £200 shop. How we laughed, until at the checkout we realised "many a true word..."

So lots of cash later....we left. I mainly bought booze. Mel mainly bought booze. Mel was buying it for other people. I wasn't.

Sunday, 10 December 2006

100% cotton

This is how I spent my morning. Photo courtesy of husband.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

And then there's Ethan

Did I mention Ethan has 'teachers' at Nursery too?

Joys of...

This is taken directly from the e-mail of a friend because I know exactly how she feels:

"So, this was my morning - went into town, which is just a huge hassle in itself as I have to get 2 kids dressed in millions of clothes. Got into town, Isabel was unhappy in her pushchair so stopped off in Cafe Nero to feed her, this was all fine - but then Isabel was tired so she cried everytime I stopped, to get milk, cards, etc, etc - lots of 'friendly' old ladies going 'oh, someone isn't happy' - FUCK OFF, she's just tired!!

Went to Sainsburys, bought shopping, left Sainsburys and oh joy, it started raining, didn't have rain cover so got soaked walking up HUGE hill, during walk James dropped his snacks on the floor so was whnining all the way home.

Got home, Isabel woke up so started crying, got pushchair in door, got James out and he fell over - so, Isabel crying, James on floor crying and I needed a wee, so left them both to pee!!

Unpacked shopping and found out............... I hadn't paid for my pasta sauce! I'd put in it the top of the pushchair and not taken it out! So, am now a thief. Fantastic!"

Motherhood is wonderful. Don't let us put you off.

Friday, 8 December 2006

The "do me" button

Do you ever surf for one thing and get sidetracked? Well I'm sure you do, that's why the internet is so addictive.

Well the other night I was looking for NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming. Why was I looking for it? Well someone mentioned it earlier in the day and I'd heard about it before but still didn't know enough to talk knowledgably. Well I still don't because I got sidetracked.

My Google use is aberrant. I often click to 59th page of results or another random page. It's a mild user led revolt against the way that Google serves up results. I saw a presentation by Google and they said 98% of people don't click beyond the first 3 pages of results. They thought my usage pattern was most strange, as did everyone else in the room.

So whilst clicking onto page 73 of results I happened across the weirdest weirdo site ever. Someone who claimed to be an ugly, misshapen man, or similar, was flogging an NLP technique that guaranteed men success with women.

From memory, the site was just one page, but it was a very long page. I never made it to the bottom of the page.

The stuff I did read was bizarre. This guy reckoned he'd developed this technique that enabled the ugliest, unluckiest men to sleep with the most attractive and gorgeous women. He used NLP to unlock a woman's "do me" button.

I'm not kidding. This guy reckoned he'd unlocked a woman's "do me" button in just 16 minutes and that he had consistent and regular sex with women that he acquired via this technique. The worrying aspect (well OK the whole site was worrying) of the site was that the author claimed to use hypnosis before he found this technique.

At this point there's a part of me that's thinking "OK, I don't want to know about NLP – it's something for freaks" but another part of me is thinking "I'm curious. This sounds like a technique that could be put to a host of uses…"

The first part of me won which is why I still know nothing. And if you don't believe me, this site exists: .

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Who needs Trinny and the other one?

I was caught unawares today. I went out with kiddiwinks dressed in winter garb: coats but not waterproofs. On the way back home the heavens opened and we faced driving rain mixed with sleet and a vicious, cold, biting, wind.

We got soaked. Kids at least had hoods on their coats but I was less protected.

So I was a drowned rat, as were children. It was clothes off and central heating on when we got in followed by nice hot lunch.

I didn't have time, or the inclination, to fix my hair, which had become unfixed by the weather. I looked like a bedraggled and unkempt mess. Still I was only doing the school run and catching up with good friends.

I'm not a competitive school run mum. I don't make sure my make up is immaculate and my clothing just perfect. I wear what I wear and make up is merely a factor of whether I could be bothered. Manicures and pedicures are nice to haves but frankly I don't have the time. Facials would be great but I think my skin is beyond saving.

And good friends accept you as you are. They don't judge you because of your appearance.

So it was a surprise when Lou and Janet said "I like your hair" and they weren't joking. They liked the waves rather than the straightened hair they normally see.

To my mind my hair just looks messy today. But if it's an improvement then maybe I should just go with it. I'm just not sure how to recreate the look. I'm not going to find a hailstorm every morning.

So if you see me with messy hair – you'll know why. It's a new look I'm trying out.

Wednesday, 6 December 2006

How very dare they?

I was the first to reject the concept of the "Fast track" checkout. You know the ones. You scan all of your shopping as you put it in the trolley with some kind of gun thing. You take everything to the checkout and pay for your goods once they've downloaded the information about what's in your trolley.

I thought it was an outrageous attempt to reduce staff numbers so, since the introduction of Fast track, I have refused to sign up.

I've ignored the fact that the fast trackers have zero queues and I've stuck with plain, relatively old fashioned, checkouts.

Well this evening I came across the next level. I read about this in someone else's blog but I didn't quite believe it.

Customers take their items to a checkout. The shopper has to scan them and pack them and all the while there's an annoying computer generated voice giving you inane instructions.

And then the customer has to pay, a machine, either inserting card or cash. And the machine spits out the card, or change, and a receipt.

How dare they get rid of people? It's not like these people were working in a soulless manufacturing environment in isolation, they were in a social job, helping people.

Anyway – I won't be shopping there anymore.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

I'm a nutter, what are you?

I had a really nice day today .. and I was at work too.I know I've been whinging about workload and stress and I do have too many bloody things that need doing before year end and no days in the office in which to do them. I think a lot of the guys in the team suffer the same stresses and I think boss man realises that so he sorted a time out day.

We went away from the office, discussed the good things we'd achieved in 2006 and discussed some of the challenges facing us for 2007. When we discuss things as a team it isn't one way, it's a free for all and it's a nice relaxed environment where everyone feels they can contribute.

After all of the business stuff we went through a process of trying to put ourselves in boxes. Not literally you understand, although that could probably be found on some team building management course somewhere. And actually depending on how many people and how big the box it could be fun, but I digress. We all did a personality test. The thinking was it would help to understand the working personality styles of our colleagues.

I don't think any of us were particularly surprised by our results. We're all fairly mature if not in age, then in outlook. For some of us we're mature in age but not in outlook, for others it's the other way around. The test we did was Belbin. I couldn't find the test accessible online because the originators want to make money from their idea but it's just like most other tests. You complete a whole bunch of questions and, with a bit of magic jiggery pokery, you are presented with results that tell you what you already know.

So I know what I am, here are the categories: Take a guess. What do you think I am?

So after we'd had an interesting time naval gazing, we headed for the pub. Now, quite often I agree with Karen, pubs are stinky places with nowhere to sit and where, when crowded, you can't hear a thing. Well we didn't pick the best pub, but we had seats and it wasn't too noisy. And actually I can usually put up with the environment if the company is right. And it was right. Good conversation and a great mood. Shame my evil husband made me leave before I wanted to.

Monday, 4 December 2006

Pants on fire!

When was the last time you told a lie?

I don't consider myself a compulsive liar but I do lie quite a lot. I don't lie about big things, so there's no fraud involved or criminal activity. It's the small things that lead me astray.


"Nice coat Ann." Would provoke "Oh, this old thing, I've had it ages" or "Oh, this….yes, it was a bargain in the sales." When in fact it cost a fortune and I bought it last week. Actually that's a bad example because I have had my coat ages and it was a bargain in the sales but you don't expect me to own up to the real lies do you. What would be the point in the initial deception?

Another, although this may be closer to the truth:

"Dave, I'm off to Bluewater to do some Christmas shopping." When in fact I am doing some Christmas shopping but I'm indulging in other activity too. I mean if you're in Bluewater walking past all of these lovely shops it's really tough to keep to just Christmas shopping. I'm telling you this because I think Dave secretly knows the truth.

Having started this with the intention of providing a whole host of examples, I now find myself reticent, unwillingly to bare my dishonesty.

I want to tell you the classic "Your hair really suits you like that" which is said to the insecure person asking for a second opinion. Now if someone is insecure I believe they need a confidence boost, so of course I'll tell them it looks great. (Karen – your hair does look great and you're not lacking in self confidence.) You see this can all get a bit tricky, because a lie used for one person isn't always appropriate for another.

So any liars out there or is it just me?

Sunday, 3 December 2006

Things happen for a reason

We are cursed. Weekends away sans enfants are clearly not meant to be.

We missed our train. How dumb and unlucky is that?

The trip to station should only have taken an hour so we allowed a buffer of an additional half hour plus the buffer of check-in time, another 30mins.

We were delayed by exactly an hour, meaning we arrived just as the train was departing. Only a four hour wait for the next one….great! (Well it sort of was great really – more later.)

Finally we're on the Eurostar and it's delayed. When we make it to Brussels station we find it's a bit of a mess but we just made it to the next train to Bruges, despite the fact that there were no signs indicating what trains were leaving from which platform.

On the return journey everything seems to be going well. We've decided we have the time so we'll have a pleasant walk to the station rather than catch a cab. That way we get to see parts of the city we didn't see during our stay.

This strategy was fine until we were hit by the gusts of wind and driving rain which seemed to have come from nowhere.

So, a little bit soggy, we get to Brussels station and we catch the Eurostar train in good time. The rain earlier wasn't enough though. When we arrive in Lille there's an announcement "We apologise but the train is broken and we need to mend it."

A little later came "We apologise but the train is broken and we are trying to find a different one."

And then there was "Could you please get off the train and wait, and when we find a replacement train, please get on it and sit in the same seats."

So after an hour of hanging around we swapped trains with the people on the next platform. I didn't quite understand what made our train OK for them but not for us. Someone had heard that our train was OK, it just couldn't go through tunnels. What, it was scared? It's headlamps didn't work? It had a claustrophobia?

Anyway, although I'm not sure I believe in fate, it could be that things happened for a reason. It could be someone telling us not to go away without the children or it could be that other opportunities present themselves.

You see in the four hours we had to kill while waiting for our train out, we went shopping. It was the first time I'd been to the Ashford designer outlet shopping centre. And I found, and had to buy, some gorgeous leather boots and they were such a bargain.

I think Dave was less impressed at starting our romantic break with shopping for boots (although they are very sexy boots…)