Monday, 30 April 2007


On the train today I sat opposite a woman who was probably in her twenties.

She was reading a book and reached into her handbag and pulled out a SpecialK snack bar. She unwrapped it, removed it from the packaging and then reached behind her seat with the wrapper in her hand. She then dropped the wrapper. On the floor. In front of a packed commuter train.

I waited to see if she would realise her mistake - nothing.

So I leant towards her and said "Excuse me. Er, there isn't a rubbish bin there."

"Oh sorry." she said and picked the rubbish up and put it in her handbag. She didn't look at all embarrassed and carried on reading her book.

I felt very smug, but also very disgusted that she'd considered her behaviour was acceptable.

I told Dave about this, this evening. He told me he'd been talking to an American colleague while they were walking outside. The American had reached for a new cigarette packet, torn off the cellophane and casually discarded it." Dave turned and said "I'm sorry. I can't let you do that." The discarded packaging was duly picked up and an uncomfortable silence followed.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Earthquake in Folkestone

My dad phoned today and left a message:

"I'm worried about the Tsunami. Will it affect you if you try to sell? Will you have to declare it?"

I'm not perfect

I was accused of being a good mother today.

I actually think I'm fair to middling.

I'm quite strict but very loving. The thing I fall down on is keeping my cool under pressure.

I am very lucky. I have two very well behaved children, most of the time.

I don't believe that any child is well behaved all the time though and there are times that I'm more sensitive to their naughtiness. I know I should relax and be more tolerant when they are just "being children" but there are times when I snap and become 'mother from hell'.

I've spoken to other mums and I'm not alone. Most of us aren't proud of the times when we're overly strict but we can't help ourselves. I usually blame a combination of hormones and stress but I do envy the mums with a laid back attitude that never seem to lose control of themselves.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

One big adventure

How should I describe our accommodation?

I think the kind thing to say is "you gets what you pay for and we didn't pay a lot." I chose the unkind description in a text to Dave - "skanky."

Perhaps a few choice phrases from my entry in my completed satisfaction questionnaire will help paint a picture:

The main bedroom was damp and mouldy. The twin bedroom and kitchen were infested with ants. There were some leaks from an undefined source in the bathroom...

Having said all of this, for the price, we had perfectly a perfectly adequate roof over our heads, although, should I develop some terrible lurgy caused by mould, I may revise this view.

I was reminded of the sheer bloody cheek of seagulls (Herring gulls to be precise). One of them thought it was appropriate to be pecking on my bedroom window at six in the morning. I thought it was an early morning call from Janet and Louise's children. I think I might put Herring gull's in the same category as pigeons - birds I could do without.

The sun shone and the children loved the pool and the beach. Ethan insisted on removing shorts and nappy and letting it all hang out whereas Hannah opted for the sandy knickers approach.

We didn't go far for this trip away and we didn't do anything we couldn't have done locally, but somehow it was more fun away from home. It was all one big adventure.

Headache tablets

So I'm going away for the weekend. It's four o'clock and I'm stuck on the M25. The road is closed and I have two children in the back of the car that want to be at the seaside.

It's probably my own fault. Janet and Louise tried to persuade me to take Hannah out of school. I couldn't bring myself to do it. There's just something about rules and authority that I find very intimidating. Even their suggestion of a fake doctor's appointment at lunchtime was something I couldn't bing myself to attempt. The fact that it took me all of Friday to pack for two days is neither here nor there.

The above was written on the M25. We've landed now and the delays weren't too bad. The kids were late to bed so I'm hoping for a lie in. Or at least I was hoping for a lie in before I had beer and Pimms and forgot to pack the painkillers....

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Words of wisdom

Ethan put his shoes on today and, as any good mother would (not that I'm in any way claiming to be a good mother), I praised him with "You're such a clever boy. Well done."

Hannah piped up "Ethan's not as clever as me."

I moved into my reprimanding voice "Hannah that's an exceptionally arrogant thing to say. Ethan is as clever as you."

"No he's not."

"OK, what makes you think you're more intelligent than Ethan?"

"Well firstly he's not a girl, and secondly he hasn't got red hair."

"And you know that being a girl and having red hair makes you clever?"


Choc chip muffins

I made muffins for school cake sale today.

The ones I made were coffee and date and they were easy to make. For the uninitiated though here's an even simpler recipe, Choc chip muffins:

250g plain flour NOT self raising flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
Pinch of salt
85g granulated sugar (or caster if you have it)
85g choc chips
1 egg
240ml milk
90ml corn oil

Oven on to gas mark 5-6 or 190-200oC (or about 160-180oC for a fan oven).

Muffin paper cases in a muffin baking tin. This recipe makes about 10 muffins.

In a large bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in sugar and choc chips and put to one side.

In a seperate bowl beat egg with a fork, stir in milk and then corn oil.

Pour liquid ingredients into dry mixture. Stir until ingredients just combined (scrape sides of bowl as you stir. Batter should be lumpy with no flour visible.

Fill muffin cases about 3/4 full or a bit more. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are light brown and spring back when pressed gently.

Best served warm.


Wednesday, 25 April 2007


I lost it today.

We had a meeting today that could have been considered to be the culmination of a few weeks work. The last few weeks have been quite intense so it felt good to get this meeting over and done with.

I think the release of tension slightly got to me.

You know those situations where you lose control completely and hysteria sets in. Times when something that isn't that funny sets you off on a giggling fit that is completely uncontrollable.

I had an email exchange with a colleague - Mike.

I'd asked Mike to be flexible on a meeting time and he wasn't able to be. I sent a note to the meeting organiser with two words "Bloody Mike" and I copied Mike on the note because Mike has a sense of humour. You need to understand I'm on the edge of madness at this point.

Mike replied "?!"

I replied back explaining that I'd been joking and indicated that his brief reply had made me worry that I'd sent the note to the wrong Mike.

Mike's response said "Too late. I've contacted HR with a complaint. Not :-). And anyway, when are you going to stop promoting the eco-banditry of World Rally?"

At this point you need to know that my work e-mail sign off includes a celebration of the our company's success in World Rally.

Anyway, the term eco-banditry really amused me.

Later, I was trying to explain this in the office to Tracey and Louise and I was in tears. I couldn't stop the hysteria. I knew it wasn't that funny but I was out of
control. I couldn't talk.

So from now on, I intend to sign my e-mails as Ann, Eco-bandit.

Have you ever lost it?

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

I'm in the market

On Saturday I wanted to take Hannah to the farm shop. We were only going so that Hannah could play on the tractor, slide and swings. It's about a mile away.

The sun was shining and I thought about walking. Hannah's only got little legs though and a walk would have been really tiring for her and would have taken a long time. So we took the car, but what I really wanted to do was take the bike.

On Sunday the weather was fantastic too so we went to the park, which is probably also about a mile away. We took both children and because it's long walk for little legs we used both buggies, but what I really wanted to do was use the bike.

The trouble with the bike is how to take Hannah.

We haven't got a bike seat and she's too big for one anyway. I have seen tagalong bikes which are bikes for children that have an attachment in lieu of a front wheel. The attachment fixes to the adult bike seat post.

So on Sunday afternoon I raised with Dave the idea of getting a tagalong bike.

I hit a brick wall. Dave was not interested at all. He doesn't like the idea of the children on a bike on the road, even if there's an adult in control.

I know the safety issues and I would think carefully about the routes I'd take. Dave's children are mine too and I don't want to put them in danger, but I also don't want to mollycoddle our children and remove all danger from their lives because life isn't like that.

I hate the idea that we might bring our children up to think cycling on the road is too dangerous for them. And what kind of example would Dave be setting in that case given that he went on a 2 1/2 hour road bike ride on Sunday morning?

So following our very obvious disagreement, I did the one thing that I knew would wind him up. I phoned the classified ad for a tagalong bike that I'd seen in the Gazette. When I discovered that had sold I spent an hour or two researching ebay.

I haven't bought yet, but I'm in the market.

I don't like being dictated to.

Monday, 23 April 2007


Someone I know has three young children.

Her husband has just walked out on her.

Apparently he was "fed up with married life."

What did he think it would be like?

What gives him the right to get fed up and walk out?

There are some situations and people I find very difficult to understand.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Word of the day - shonky

The wall at the front of our house is shonky. Whoever designed it should be shot, and so should the brickie who went along with the design. I'm guessing they are one and the same person but I'd still recommend two bullets.

It's a single skin wall two to three foot high with pillars every six foot of length. This sounds fine until I tell you that the single skin wall has been built using a lattice design. This is very clearly a stupid thing to do because try as hard as I could I failed to find a picture on the 'interweb'. Instead I got off my fat backside to take a picture of the shonky lattice wall.

(The blue van is parked on double yellow lines and, yes, it does belong to the neighbours.)

While I'm whinging about the wall I'll complain about the choice of bricks. Our house is made from a soft red brick so why some idiot chose a yellow brick for the wall is a mystery.

The wall is on the boundary of our property and the pavement and our road is the route for the mums and the children for the three schools at the end of our road. As we live on a corner our house is a natural resting or waiting point for people. This means the wall is a very good place to lean or sit. The resulting pressure, combined with the ridiculous construction, means that the wall keeps breaking.

Dave keeps mending the wall, and today he fixed an area he's already fixed twice before. That made Dave very, very grumpy.

We're thinking we need another solution and were discussing the problem with an elderly couple who'd stopped to admire Dave's handiwork.

We all agreed that spikes on the top of the wall might be the next step.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Beyond the pale

Dave's going for a bike ride early tomorrow morning. We try and have a rule that at the weekends we both try to be around as much as possible to spend time with the children. This means that an early bike ride usually means setting an alarm at 6:00am.

He's had a tough week and I think I've had a tough week so we're both fairly tired.

As a result he asked me this evening whether I'd mind if he didn't get up 'stupid early'.

I asked "What do you mean 'stupid early'?"

"Well maybe getting up at six thirty?" he replied.

"Yeah, that's OK," I said, "but only if you don't take forever to get out of the house."

"I'll be out by seven."

"Why does it take you 30 minutes to get up, put clothes on, have breakfast and get on your bike? It shouldn't take more than ten minutes."

"That's just not possible."

"Yes it is. One minute to put your clothes on, actually that could be 30 seconds, then ..."

Dave interrupted. "I could probably get out of the house in 20 minutes if I rushed."

"Why 20? Ten minutes is plenty enough time."

"OK. Six thirty it is then." and he walked off not prepared to discuss it further.

Clearly I was beyond the pale.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Phantom poo stalker

You know the expression "Shit just follows me around."

Well I've told you about the Phantom poo flinger. He's following me around, or at least the poo is.

I read Hannah her bedtime story tonight, kissed her goodnight and stood up to leave the room when I spotted it.

There was something on Hannah's bedroom floor.

On closer inspection the something proved to be a very small deposit of poo. (One of the many times I've been grateful we haven't got carpets.) Oh, and to make sure it was poo and not mud I did the sniff test.

Do I blame a fox, the cat or Ethan?

Hannah assures me it wasn't her. I know it wasn't me. It's dimensions make Dave an unlikely candidate.

I think it might be Ethan.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Can a sticker really save a life?

The answer is it really could!

1. Go to:
2. Order a box of 500 organ donation awareness stickers for free
3. Stick one on every letter you post!

How simple is that?!

Each letter will be seen by the recipient, the postman and many people at the Royal Mail sorting offices. And the beauty of it is, it costs nothing and spreads the message all over the country.


Sorry for the long blog earlier. But you see this is what happens when I'm abandoned by hubby who is either a) really on a business trip or b) secretly conducting a torrid affair.

I need a man

Last night, just as I was about to go to bed, I remembered that there was a laundry basket half full of clean washing outside in the garden. I'd been hanging out the clothes while the children were eating their tea, but had been distracted.
I couldn't be bothered to hang the rest up, especially as it was sometime after 11:00pm, so I brought the basket inside so I could put contents in tumble dryer. (Not very environmentally friendly I know but...)

Having loaded the dryer and turned it on, there was a little voice in my head reminding me of how many domestic fires are started by tumble dryers.

Now I wouldn't have worried except that the kitchen lacked a smoke detector. Well actually it didn't really lack one, the one it had was just inoperable.

Our kitchen smoke detector was a pain. It would sound the alarm every morning when we made toast. It frequently found itself in a drawer. And that was the problem.

One day, when opening the drawer containing the smoke alarm, with a view to reinstalling it, I heard a clunk, thud, bash. The smoke alarm had fallen out of the back of the drawer and down the back of the kitchen units into the most inaccessible of inaccessible places.

So last night, when I wanted a smoke alarm to allow me some worry free sleep, I had a problem. My smoke alarm was out of bounds.

In the recesses of my mind though I remembered that we had a spare smoke alarm. (Who the hell has spare smoke alarms?)

I delved into the under stairs cupboard and retrieved a smoke alarm designed for halls. I figured for one night that it would suffice.

I opened it up and checked the batteries it needed. It looked like it needed AA batteries so I unearthed some that we semi used. Remember - I was looking for a one night solution.

Fitting the batteries was a struggle. I couldn't make them fit. I thought maybe I needed AAA batteries but they seemed too small. I read the instructions. What kind of appliance describes the brand and model of batteries without using the normal industry description? The batteries I needed were Duracell MN1604 or Ever Ready something else (I might be making these numbers up).

The batteries I had been using were some third brand so I went back to the battery drawer and found some Duracells. I could only find MN1602 but at least they were AA size. The AAA size had a completely different code so I figured I was on the right track.

I couldn't make them fit either. Even brute force wasn't working. I gave up and was in a big huff.

I went to turn the tumble dryer off, but something stopped me. I don't give up that easily.
The smoke alarm that was at the back of the cupboards wasn't lost forever, it must be retrievable, I thought.

I moved the fridge and delved under the cupboard. I found:
  • 1 smoke alarm - a little bashed
  • 1 teaspoon
  • 1 ten pence piece
  • 1 ball from a game called Stay Alive
  • 1 toy screw from Ethan's racing car
  • 1 AA battery

I started to fix the smoke alarm. It needed 'popping' back together and somehow it had lost two of it's batteries, assuming the one I found belonged to it.

I took the batteries from my first attempt and tried to install them. The alarm emitted a quiet but really annoying squeal.

I tried to stop the squeal by pressing the test button, by holding it horizontally, holding it vertically, shaking it, and eventually removing the batteries.

I tried putting the batteries back in again and had the same result.

Finally I tried the fresh Duracell batteries and the squealing stopped and I could put the alarm back on the fixing on the wall, where it belonged.

Great, I thought, I can finally go to bed.

It was at this point the tumble dryer cycle finished.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


Hannah and Ethan are running around naked while the bath is running. Hannah points to Ethan's manhood and says "Don't you point that thing at me."

I think her parents are to blame.

Hannah asks me about one of the rubber ducks in the bath.

"Mummy, is this a tufted duck?"

I think her ornithologist Grandma has had an influence.

When I confirm it is a tufted duck she says "But it's yellow."

"It's a pretend duck Hannah, not a real one."

Undeterred she asks "Is it a female?"

I'm sure I didn't know the word female until I was at least eight years old.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Meetings, meetings, meetings

I had my second full day of meetings today. When I say second full day of meetings, I mean two days, one meeting.

Now there were other people in this meeting, about nine of them.

The intention of the meeting was to look at a list of customer requirements and to decide what we could and would work on, and what we should be working on but deliver later.

Many of the items on the list had been seen by everyone before but it was the first time everyone had sat around together to discuss it.

My role in all of this was as the client. So effectively I'm the one paying for the work. Well it's my budget.

That meant that I had to pay attention. I had to know what our customers wanted so I could decide where to spend the cash.

Everybody else in the meeting had the option of disappearing for periods to do other work. They just got up, walked out and came back when it suited them. There were always some people in the meeting room but the only consistent person throughout both days, was me.

That means (I think) that my head hurts more than the other guys.

And even though it wasn't part of the plan, I have to go back for a third day.

I don't think it's fair.

Monday, 16 April 2007


So I knew I had a couple of days travelling on train and tube this week so I made sure the MP3 player was stuffed full of podcasts to keep me company.

Now my MP3 player isn't an iPod and it's more functional than it is a a design icon. I lost the headphones or misplaced them so am using a cheap set from some other device.

The fact that I don't have the latest and greatest MP3 player or headphones doesn't bother me. I can hear the stuff I want to and I have no idea whether the sound quality is good or bad - it just does the job.

Reiner was in our meeting today. He flew over from Germany this morning and was upset that he'd forgotten to pack his headphones. He had bought a cheap pair at the airport but it was clearly below the standard that Reiner expected.

I watched as a group of men gathered round to help Reiner with how and where to buy headphones that would cost £50-£80.

I couldn't imagine spending more than £10.

Is it really possible that I would get a far superior experience by splashing a bit of cash? I honestly don't think I'd notice the difference.

Am I a techie Luddite?

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Self portrait

Do you think Hannah might be aware she has red hair?

Singing in the rain

He's singing in the rain. And he's not afraid to show his feminine side.


I've been playing with my Bluetooth dongle. Don't worry. It's not painful.

Fire station proof

Car in front of me when the firemen kindly washed my motor.

Our magnolia before the frost got it

The frog and the lawnmower

Ben, Dave's brother, cut the lawn a couple of weeks ago. His lawn, not ours.

They do have frogs in their garden so it can be a delicate affair, but the frogs generally confine themselves to a small patch of the grass so only a small amount of consideration is required.

Ben did the usual; trying to scare any frogs that might be around and checking to see if any were dumb enough to hang around after they'd been given due warning.

No frogs found, mowing began.

Half way through the exercise it was clear all was not well. You see when something foreign gets mown, one sort of feels it.

On closer inspection, a frogs was found, minus front legs. He didn't look happy (although he did look 'armless).

It was clear that froggy would not, and could not, survive without his two front limbs.

Ben knew he had to end it. Euthanasia was required to put the little amphibian out of its misery.

Ben happens to be a bit squeamish with the emphasis on 'squeamish' and not on 'bit'.

How to dispose of Mr Froggy, always more difficult when one starts to allow it a personality.

In these circumstances Ben would normally rely on his fiancee Molly. She was unavailable and it wouldn't have been fair to Mr Frog to wait until she could assist.

The next option for consideration was the space. A hard whack should have been sufficient. Ben held the spade, looked into the eyes of his little slimy friend and couldn't do it. Killing things isn't easy.

Behind him Ben found some bricks. Now I'm sure many of you will know of the brick sandwich which is often used to dispatch a sick or ailing small animal. Well Mr Froggy was on soft ground. If hit with a brick he might just be further wounded and planted in the earth.

The solution, thought Ben, was to smack him as hard as possible with the brick.
Ben lifted the brick high and took a look at his target, who at this point was probably screaming in frogspeak "Just end it. I can't take it anymore!" He couldn't do it. Killing things really is a bit tricky.

Ben was getting desperate now for the ideal murder weapon. His eyes fell upon a paving slab. It was big, so no chance of missing the victim. It was heavy, so less chance of injury in lieu of a kill.

Ben lifted the slab, took one last pitying look at Mr Frog, and slammed the paving slab down as hard as he could, and then ran into the house.

Ben has been having waking nightmares about meeting a bipedal frog ghost with blood gushing from the stumps where severed front limbs once were.

A couple of days later Molly checked under the slab. Mr Frog was dead. Ben made sure he was buried with dignity (in a deep grave from which he couldn't rise again).

Friday, 13 April 2007


Marsh Farm is like a city farm, except it's in the country, if that makes sense.

It's a working farm where visitors can see cows being milked, sometimes sheep sheared, horses groomed, sows with tiny piglets and they have plans for goat milking too.

Anyway, that's the educational stuff. In addition to this there is a massive outdoor play area, indoor play barn, indoor soft play, a small track with electric cars, a tractor and trailer ride, a giant sandpit, bouncy castle, pony rides and donkey rides.

Go on, guess. Which bit of Marsh Farm do the children enjoy the most: education or play?

No contest, although Hannah said she liked the pigs best. There were some piglets with their mum who had been born today. Let's hear a chorus of "ahhh", or my favourite - "ahhh bacon".

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Call the cops

Quite often there's a whirring buzzing noise over our house.

To my mind the police helicopter spends too much time in our neighbourhood.

It is a good memory jogger though and does prompt me to get off my backside and lock the back door.

The Good Life

Just call me Barbara Good.

I planted carrots today and the tomatoes in the propagator are looking very healthy.

Can't stand the heat

It's April in the UK, and yesterday and today I have managed to develop a heat rash on my upper arms and decolletage.

How on earth am I going to cope with the heat of Turkey in August?

Advertising to children

My children are wise to advertising.

This means advertisers have to resort to underhand methods to sell their products.

For example: "Oi! You two. There's some disgusting foul dinner for you on the table. Don't worry, Mummy knows you'll hate it."

And that's it, they're hooked. They can't get enough of cottage pie and broccoli.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

We're going to the zoo

The friend who'd told me she couldn't do the zoo yesterday said she planned to go today.

So today, at 8:00 while we were having breakfast, I texted to say we planned to get to the zoo at 10:00.

At 10:00, as we arrived (having missed the exit on the A12 - I swear they've removed the zoo sign - and driven almost all the way to Ipswich and back), I texted to ask that she text me when she arrived.

At 12:00 I got a text: "Oh no! We decided to stay at home. ... Have a good time. Love S."

Hannah and I were well into our stride at this point. We'd seen the sea lion show and were en route to the falconry display. We'd also seen Orangutans,

chimpanzees (including a baby), L’hoest’s monkeys (which have bright blue testicles), reptiles, penguins, fossa, two toed sloth, sand cat, squirrel monkeys and medellin monkeys (so cute).

After the falconry we headed over to the Africa section, past the white tiger and lions to see the elephants, giraffes, rhinos,

zebras, ostriches, colobus monkeys and cheetahs.

During a brief play area break, Hannah and I phoned my friend and we agreed we could pop in on the way home. That way Hannah got to see her friend, I got to see mine and I didn't wear Hannah out by forcing her to traipse around too much more of the zoo.

But on the way out we found time for tigers (the non white variety), wolves and trip round the gift shop to buy Ethan a small shark (he likes sharks - sleeps with an inflatable one most nights) and Hannah a piece of toot (small globe housing water and two plastic dolphins - yuk).

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Following some advice from a friend, thank you Nick, we, or rather Hannah, decided we should go to Sarfend (Southend) today.

The plan was to go along the pier on the train and take a look at the Lifeboat museum at theend of the pier.

We took the train to Sarfend and walked down to the pier. It was at this point that Hannah decided she was scared of the pier and didn't want to go on the pier train. I think mentioning it burning down wasn't the best idea.

I was a bit unsure of the state of the pier. It's the longest pleasure pier in the world but I do remember it suffering rather badly from a fire, a couple of years ago.

Anyway, I don't know how fixed it is now because I don't know what it looked like before the fire, but there were artist impressions of plans for a new 'end of the pier' which would indicate work hasn't finished.

Sarfend was full of tattoos, smoking, unsightly body bits bursting from tight clothing, piercings everywhere and extreme chavs.

We ended up in Adventure Island which was a mixture of a mini Alton Towers and fairground all in one place. Just like an amusement park it was possible to buy an all in one ticket, which, for Hannah, was a tenner. The great thing about this was that she was allowed one adult to accompany her on rides. When I say great, it was great from Hannah's perspective. Even the kiddie rides make me feel queasy.

We went on:
American Whip
Lighthouse Slip
Big Wheel
Jungle Express
Jumping Jolly Rogers
Viking Boats
Flying Jumbos

Hannah had a really fun day, and I did too, apart from the queasy bits.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Best laid plans

I had a plan.

Plan was to go to the zoo tomorrow with a friend and her children.

Plan scuppered.

Need new plan.

Not easy after beer and too much chocolate.

Colchester maybe. It would be an adventure. I think we could take the train and then maybe a bus.

It's got a castle, museums and lots of nice shops apparently.

Alternatively I could go to the zoo anyway.

Or I could delegate planning/decision to Hannah. Now that's what I call a plan. :)

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Don't sweat the small stuff

Hannah and I were sitting across from one another while she was eating her tea.

Before I continue, remember she's only four.

She sneezed. I reminded her that she ought to cover her mouth when she sneezes.

She waited a while and then said "Mummy. I think when I sneezed just then....I did a poo in my knickers."

I tried really hard not to laugh.

Location, location

The property market near us has become vicious.

Only today I saw two grown males fighting over a hot property.

I'd been watching the goings on at this particular des res and had thought there might be trouble.

A couple came to have a look last weekend. They seemed interested. They may have had further viewings but, as I was out and about for most of last week, I can't say for sure.

Well today they were definitely back. And then it got confusing. I thought they had brought a set of in-laws to help to provide an objective view on the property. Well I thought that until the two males started having a scrap.

So there was one woman inside, two men fighting outside and another woman outside acting as onlooker.

It was at this point I imagined I might be seeing a version of Location Location with Kirsty and Phil in which the customer proved to be so difficult to please that 'Phil' decided to take a swipe using a left hook.

After a while things seemed to settle down. The aggressive couple that were new to the property this week, disappeared and I think the couple that were interested originally have moved in.

They haven't had to use a removal lorry. It's only a studio apartment so furnishing it doesn't require too much effort - a few twigs, some moss, a bit of fluff and Mr and Mrs Blue Tit seem to have settled in nicely.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Tut or toot

I use a word meaning rubbish. I wanted to use it the other day but wasn't sure about spelling. Is it tut or toot, or something different.

Having spent seven hours googling it, I have discovered I must be the only person who uses this word.

Any ideas anyone? And do you have a weblink that has the answer?

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Giggling is good for you

I have recently reacquainted myself with the Geoff show podcast. They make me laugh, lots, and I like things that make me laugh.

I only stopped listening to the podcasts because I had too many to listen to and not enough time to catch up. Well they're shorter now and I'm able to listen in the car.

I now listen to Geoff in the car, on the train, on the tube and in the gym.

I honestly think you would like the show. The podcast has the advantage of skipping the music bits. Now if I had the time then I'd like to listen to the show with the music but the best stuff is the stuff between the music, and that's what you get in the podcast.


Either that or at 8pm on you can listen live Mon-Thurs.
Just try it. If you think it's rubbish, that's fine. But if you don't try it you won't know what you're missing. If you like it, then you'll thank me. You'll also be getting a good laugh on a regular basis, and laughing is not just good for the soul, it's good for your health.

Laughing increases your life expectancy. Giggling is good for you.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Advice for the business traveller

When preparing for a trip overseas put your passport in the bag you intend to take.

Putting it in a bag that is full of old junk is just likely to delay, rather than speed up, your departure.

This morning, at 5:45, I was in a flat panic searching my handbag and laptop bag for my passport.

On finding it in neither location I proceeded to turn the house upside-down.

When this failed to produce results I panicked and woke Dave.

Just as he stumbled, bleary eyed, downstairs to help in the search I found my passport in the wrong bag.

Moral: don't sort out things for a business trip at 11:30 at night.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007


OK, so I went to the Eucharist at the school. Well when I say I went, I mean I turned up for a bit of it.

Hannah starts school at 8:45 and the Euchathingy starts at 9:15. That means lots of parents and some small children and babies standing outside the school in the cold drizzle for about 25 minutes. I wasn't feeling very spiritual after that.

We then squished into the main hall where there were seats for about half of the parents. The remainder were left standing at the back of the room. So although I could have felt smug at having a seat, I actually felt guilty because I had a pretty good idea I wasn't going to stay the course. Having said that I wasn't giving up my seat. I did give up Ethan's though and he sat on my lap.

Father Bob was actually funny for about 15 seconds. He had been explaining about Palm Sunday and Jesus on a donkey and waving palms and how we recreate that waving palm leaves and palm crosses for a short procession.

He explained that this year a donkey wouldn't be present. Apparently in a previous year there had been a donkey involved which had been unfortunate. Unfortunate because the donkey was stubborn and also suffered from flatulence. This was embarrassing particularly as the Bishop was concerned that the crowds may think that he was the flatulent one.

That was the end of the humour and before long we were hearing about a slow agonising death in too much detail for small children, in my opinion.

Anyway, as things got gory Ethan filled his nappy. I think this was just an unhappy coincidence rather than a brown trouser moment. Anyway, the resulting offensive smell, my lack of nappies to hand and the fact we were going to be late for Ethan's swimming lesson gave me my exit strategy.

This gave me the opportunity to leave before blood and body bit. Thanks to Denis I now understand this a bit more about Eucharists. I still, however, think that the idea of consuming Christ's body and blood is just a bit weird.

So Hannah was happy because she saw me turn up. The school was happy because Hannah and I had baked some yummy muffins. Ethan was happy because we made it to swimming on time.

Catching up

Extract from an e-mail I received from a male friend:

I got a phone call from a gorgeous ex-girlfriend of mine today...

We lost track of time, chatting about the wild, romantic nights we used to enjoy together.

I couldn't believe it when she asked if I'd be interested in meeting up and rekindling a little of that "magic".

"Wow!", I exclaimed, "I don't know if I could keep pace with you now! I'm a bit older and a bit bigger than when you last saw me!"

She just giggled and said she was sure I'd rise to the challenge!!!

"Yeah", I said, "just so long as you don't mind a man with a waistline that's a few inches wider these days!"

She laughed and told me to stop being so silly.

She teased me saying that tubby men were cute. "Anyway, I've put on a few pounds myself!" she giggled.

So I told her to get lost!!

Monday, 2 April 2007

First time for everything

I was walking through Shenfield today and as I passed the library I noticed a young man walking away from the window of a car.

The scene looked like this: car driver beckoned over young man, asked for directions and the young man was unable to help leaving the driver still in need of assistance.

As I was about to pass the car the driver beckoned me over, and this is where it gets weird.

She asked if I could go into the library and tell her friend that she was there because she couldn't leave her car. Her friend was called Rebecca and she was called Carmen.

And here is the weird bit. Because I'd been beckoned it was as though I was offering to help if I could. I could physically help. I was on my way somewhere but there was nothing physically preventing me.

What I didn't do was say, "why can't you leave your car? There are loads of parking spaces: here, there, over here and over there."

What I did do was give her a bewildered look and walk up to the library and enter the various rooms announcing in a loud voice (or as some people term it, yell) "Is there a Rebecca here?" And when I determined the room that housed Rebecca I let her know, across the room, in the same loud voice, that her friend, Carmen, had asked me to let her know she was outside because she was too lazy to park her car and do this herself.

I walked out and indicated to Carmen that Rebecca had been given the message.
I then continued on my way and considered the gall of Carmen. She had just accosted a stranger and asked a favour because she was lazy. And I'd complied. The young man I'd seen walking away from the car had, I realised with hindsight, just turned around and said "You can't be serious."

So as I walked on, feeling used, I was accosted again, by a different stranger. A young man sticking his head out of a moving car passenger window yelled "You've got a lovely bum."

Well that was all I needed to shake me out of the annoyed state in which I found myself. It put a smile on my face to erase the frown.

There's a first time for everything and today was a first time for a few things.