Tuesday, December 21, 2004

the king is dead

It’s a marvelous day for a solstice.

(Now get out of my brain, Van Morrison. And stay out. You lie, you lie: unlike your fellows -Tesco (boo hiss), Sainsbury and selected Waitrose and Asda - you don’t offer home delivery, transport or not.)

Anyway. In the photo, at the bottom behind the snowman, see that cat? That’s Ten Lives. Until June, Ten Lives lived at the very, very bottom of a floor-level display cabinet. He was very, very dusty, half-hidden and ignored.

Not in itself reason for the granting of an extra life, although Dave The Git cat would counter that being half-hidden and ignored would, in this house where my toe tends to catch his bottom when he’s being his name, would up the cat lives ante considerably.

However, that floor-level display cabinet wherein Ten Lives was at the very, very bottom and very, very dusty, half-hidden and ignored happened to be in a small, low-lying shop, beside a fast-running river.

In Boscastle.

This shop, as it happens.

Monday, December 20, 2004


Twig trembler. Circle of a bird,
Spoked with beak and tail. Improbable satellite
of the brown under-hedge, hidden home of a lost Super Bouncer.
Size of the ball. Twig bouncer.

Softly open front door,
Slipper-pit path snow to the hedge.
Hang a netted suet ball from obliging bendy twigs.

She watched; I watch her from the window.
Melting snow damp chilling my back.
Twig trembler, twig bouncer to the net.


Saturday, December 18, 2004

stocking fillers

Ziggy has just announced what he would like for Christmas:

One billion and nine rhinocerous beetles.

Just when I thought we'd about finished shopping. I'll stick them on the list, after satsumas.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Just tried out the Molster on my remembered version of Goldfish (each has their own, like fruitcake recipes and body odour).

She pouted and frowned, then gave a grudging smile when the penny dropped.

A B C D Goldfish.

M N O Goldfish.

O S A R. C D B D I's.

O R, Goldfish.

I thought we’d agreed not to mention canada


Grumpy, grumpy, grumpgrump.

Hooked sleep off the string last night, after several Black Books and a couple of glasses of something Chilean and oaky cab savvy.

It came quietly enough, then leapt off the bed sharpish at 3:30. Don’t know where it’s got to, however I heard the cat flap bang, so reckon it’s off on its prowls. There was lots of yawning and eye-rubbing going on in the cars I passed this morning. Thought I’d warned it to stay away from the roads; will it listen?

Digging at the back of the wardrobe shelf for a long-sleeved top, groaned to see a bag I know too well. Kris – am very sorry, but have forgotten once again to post you the top. (Found a top yonks - no, make that Yonks, it was that long – ago, that made me bounce on the balls of my feet for the glee of sending it to Kris.

Then I forgot. A lot. )

I will, will, will send it when the Christmas post glut is over. Am putting it at the tippy top of my inevitably teetering and tottering to oblivion New Year’s list of doo goods.

Yes. You can only keep a good Canadian merry on a promise for so long.

Wearing the perfect pair of purple cords for the first time, and having to use the strike tags on the first pee word.

Being a bit of a short arse, with plumptious buttocks yet a waist, finding trousers to go on and stay on is not simple. Found the perfect jeans were Levis, 29'w', 30l hipsters. Therefore, when my Manchester rootlings dug out the only remaining pair of 29'w', 30l Hennes purple sale cords, I was a happy puppy.

Putting them on this morning for the first time, I had an uneasy prescience they would end up halfmast halfway along the walk to school. I know - they are hipsters. I know, I know. For added glee, not only do they fall, the bottom's backs, which I’d tucked up at the back because of puddles, unrolled and caught up under my trainers, making the school walk a bounce along on soggy sponges.

Hipsters are never a great idea for me anyway, simply because as they’ve lowered the waist of available trousers, they’ve raised the bottom hem of available tops. Okay if you’re smooth and sixteen, not so good if you’ve got the mad surgeon slashings of both appendectomy and caesarean and, being by far one of the more fluffy members of your sex, tend towards the Hasselhoffian below your blue sparkly belly ring if you’re not 100% alert.

It being the last day of term, all the kiddies walked in with their favourite toy. Ziggy’s favourite toy of right now is a talking Captain Black action figure, with three merry phrases.

Who is still in a toy box somewhere to my left, because, of course, the Take A Toy message didn’t get to me. Arse.

Then, Captain Blackless and cords akimbo, I had to hand a bottle of promisingly fine Chablis I would really have liked to keep for ME ME ME over to Ziggy’s SSA, as she’s had a tough term and it’s Christmas, by bloodybuggerbollocks.

This is the voice of the Mysterons.

We will take our revenge.

Everyone will die.


Thursday, December 16, 2004

counting chickens

Old and good friend has given us chickens for Christmas. So the card says. Ten of ‘em.

Would be a bit of a worry: the ergonomics of coop placement; logistics of egg retrieval; timetabling snacktime for the fox so it doesn’t interfere with small-animal-blitz time of the young, enthusiastic and calamitously untrained Staffie up the road, or the hard-wondering-stare-with-occasional-leap-to-grapple-with-chicken-wire time of Tommy Stupid and Dave The Git.

None of that worry is ours, however, as the chickens have been given to someone who could use them more. If you’re struggling for a pressie idea, there are still three days to order chickens in time for Christmas. Or a goat. Or a boat. No turkeys, though.

I like our not-our chickens so much I’m going to give not-give old and good friend ten right back.


Was up most of last night looking for sleep. Buggered if I could find it. Wouldn’t you know; just caught sight of it out of the corner of my eye. And I have nowhere at all to put it until this evening. Today is a day for planning and preparing, for inviting the chortling unexpected of 2005. For being very much awake.

I will hang the found sleep over the string, between Christmas cards, and remember it later.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

to me

(written around 3:30, while blogger's pulishing was down.)

Perhaps the meanest thing my git of a husband has ever done was pull Molster to one side, confidentially, during Children’s telly, and persuade her that her mum fancied the littlest Chuckle Brother.

That was a few years ago. I have cleared up most of the mess, and silenced the playground conversation, yet niggly little bits of upset remain, disquieting glass-shards-on-the-kitchen-floor-that-get-stuck-in-your-feet-after-you’ve-broken-a-tumbler-and-oh-so-carefully-swept-and-hoovered-and hand-cleaned-the-lino of maternal / child trust and respect.

The git.

Today we were in Manchester, tying up Yule-type shoppy bits and bobs in Chinatown. Walking back to the beeb, there he was, I saw him, newspaper in hand, he passed us. Modest of height, large of conk, flat on top. Appearing in panto, I believe.

Gruff caught hold of my hand, ever so slightly:

calm yourself.

As I’m typing this, he’s bounced off to pick the kids up, and I’ve just realised the reason for his alacrity.

The git.

Does he not know there is some childhood trauma from which it’s nigh on impossible to fully recover?

Mind you, these days Molster understands a little more about the chemistry of attraction. The mathematics of comparable probability. Hopefully she’ll remember that her mum rather fancies Mighty of Dong (large of hand and earthily competent) and that Captain Hook. Hopefully she can finally lay that demon possibility that her mum could possibly fancy the littlest Chuckle.

And I will never, ever mention that, in fact, the biggest Chuckle uncannily resembles the dad of her mum’s dead, bastard ex.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


I smell of soup.

Good soup, but still soup.

Was about to add, like an old lady. Stopped. What part of me is it that thinks there was an old lady out there who smelled of soup?

Am almost certain it's not part of my inner processes; no dark and scary yet somehow reassuring psyche old lady who darkly scared yet reassured me with her very own personal soup smell. Nanna made soup. Good soup. Pale soup of floury potatoes and chunks of carrot, onion cooked to a pulp to soothe the allium-wary child. She'd serve it up during illness and power cuts. The smell filled the house, but never stuck to her.

Which makes it an outside thing. Somewhere, somehow, at some time, I've been told or have read of an old lady who smelled of soup. Told it, or read it. Anybody?


Me. Am not yet old. Next year I become officially mid-thirties - which I've just been nudged into realising by a journal I'd love to link to but is sadly locked at present because of psycho ex-boyfriends in sales activities - can be almost worth pulling a face about. Mid-thirties is different from early thirties. A couple of years, a few hundred episodes of Coronation Street and two Summer Schools different. Ne'ermind. Just a hop skip over that particular hillock and I'm in Jupiter return country.

Not yet old, yet smell of soup.

Good soup, but still soup.

I could really do with toning up my handheld blender arm.

Monday, December 13, 2004

there and back again

Suffolk is simple. There is land and there is sky. Sometimes there are trees to ruffle the middle. Usually, though, trees and sky.

To a simple soul this is reassuring. Since leaving Suffolk in 89, the places I’ve lived have all had disconcerting humpy bits hooching up chunks of sky. The sun takes longer to rise not just because I’m now on the West side of the island. Dawn is not just tardy; when she finally arrives there’s some hulking great chunk of land blocking her out, leaving her nothing more than a polite herhumm behind the Pennines.

Whenever I go back to Suffolk I exhale. Land. Sky. Thank you.

Thing is, there is so much land and so much sky, where do you take a picture? What the ratio of solid stuff to airy stuff? At the bottom of mum’s garden it worked out 50/50:

[editor's note: really, that's more 40/60, innit. short photographers, tsk.]

I can understand how some find this land / sky thing unsettling. Some - gasp - even a tad dull. Me? It’s the third bowl of porridge. I come over all Akenfield.

With a scarcity of streetlights, when that blue stuff darkens, every of the many stars pointillist prick out their old stories. You can arc-sweep your eyes and read them in. This is when the sky rises.

A December day gives pale light history. A ploughed field all’s well. And let’s not ignore the delight of jumping up and down, yelling SOD SOD SOD SOD SOD SOD SOD.

Just me then?

Sheer plod makes plough down sillion

Years and years and some more years ago, sixth form Eng Lit, we ‘did’ Hopkins. Hopkins was done. Slippery sod himself, his paper was my lowest mark. We were taught all the techno terms for the way he flilliped around an image, intricate origami creatures to transport his soul’s delight. I just didn’t learn them.

I could read his lines, grumble with the rest about having to read the tangles of some Jesuit priest, but secretly know his heart and give a double thumbs up. This I could do. I could not, would not stake them out with literary terms. (A hint even then that praps English teacher wasn’t a perfect fit for me future? Just cos being, I feel, a perfectly valid answer to many English exam questions. Fortunately I learnt to fill the gaps with over-evident waffle, but waffle is all it ever was and will be.

Just cos.)

The weekend also had croup for Zig, who is home with me in the loose cough and loadsa bogies stage; the finding, repotting and decorating of a tiny Christmas tree into a fabulous and accomplishedIthankyou bird-feeding tree for Nanna and Grandad’s grave; and people, some of whom walked past a copse I once peed in and stung my bum.

See how the trees lean.

I have a mum who sticks her arms in the air. Just cos.
A biggest sis who points back at me. Just cos.
A middle sis who stares. Just cos.
A husband who will never quite be Jean Reno. Sigh. Just cos.
And a daughter who hides in the ditch with her Unky Monkey. Just cos.

And a house full of washing that needs carrying and lifting and folding and drying and washing and putting away as is and ever will be world without end.

Just cos.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Thursday – Sunday:

  • pack

  • wrap champagne pressie for wedding we're missing

  • stop craving afternoon champagne

  • kids

  • carols

  • pour approx 300 glasses of parental wine

  • home in straight line

  • repack

  • rice krispie cakes and sausages on sticks

  • drag Gruff to garden centre

  • find something just right for the grave. Without crying.

  • pack packings into Jeffrey

  • remember children

  • reverse

  • pack presents

  • reverse

  • wine

  • reverse

  • feed cats, pig and fish

  • drive to Suffolk

  • see mum and s-dad

  • ahh at the sky

  • see southend sister

  • rescue Zig from dogs

  • see wtf sister

  • hide from wtf sister

  • rescue Zig from dogs

  • put world to rights

  • show Zig how nice dogs are when they’re not bowling him off his wibbly legs

  • rescue Zig from dogs

  • visit grave

  • tissues

  • swap known pressies for unknown

  • drive back to Rammy

  • ballcock

    I'm holding up my ballcock with an elastic band.

    And it still won't stop dripping.

    Yes. Think on.

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    north of manchester

    You’d think they were talking about shifting to Bolivia.


    Sat here in my Ramsbottom living room, a tad short of thirty miles from Manchester, a good half of the voices reaching me over the past day have been Media.

    And oh so many of them have been broadcasting out from London, talking in veiled, shuddering terms of the proposed shift of BBC departments from London, to gasp, Manchester …

    … that’s … the North, isn’t it ..?

    Hello. Mr Ms Media Person … we can hear you, you know.

    And we can understand, in spite of the accent.

    Husbandthing is employed by the BBC and is based in Manchester. He [mostly] leaves in the morning and returns [mostly] in the evening. Hang on, this morning he left for London … he was going to catch one of those new-fangled flying machines from the place where they keep so many, just outside Manchester. It reaches the bright lights of capital city in less than an hour. Tomorrow he’ll catch another one back in the late afternoon, returning home, the other side of Manchester, in time for his daughter’s early evening carol concert.

    That’s right, ye veiled shuddering broadcasters, the new fangled flying machines travel in both directions.

    However, should you choose to travel up by automobile, take care. Don’t be like the BBC person who sent an urgent package for BBC Newcastle to Husbandthing in Manchester, assuming he could just pop it across (I kid you not).

    Listen carefully – drive up the country, and when you reach the M62, turn left.

    All right, I know, there are serious considerations to uprooting, but for heavens sake, the moves aren’t going to happen for five years. If you’re not happy, that’s 60 months to find a different job beneath another of capital city’s bright lights.

    I am not talking with smug complacency here. Husbandthing’s job is not entirely safe in the cutbacks, however, he is the veteran of several redundancies and the package that goes along with these ones would go a long way to help boost the deposit we are saving for the move to a home with sufficient bedrooms for both flavours of children.

    And in honesty, were he made redundant, he’d pick up another job (yes, we have more than one fine job here in the North) and then move back to the beeb and up into a space opened by someone who decided that a move to the North would explode their brain with the altitude (something, strangely, that has yet to happen on any of their many winter skiing holidays).

    Yes, please, if you have any feelings that a move to the North would be insufferable then please don’t do it. You would be insufferable. Stay in London, where I can avoid you.

    And if you do decide to slum it terribly, if you pack your ridiculously huge 4 wheel drive and your nasty, double-parking-outside-schools-because-your-children-are-the-most-important North London attitude, don’t come to Lancashire, don’t come to Ramsbottom.

    There is a place for you. It’s called Cheshire.

    Oh don’t worry, you might see me. I’ll pop down a couple of times a year to glean from your charity shops and buy your Alderly Edge bakery out of Florentines and those giant stuck together chocolate bomb things.

    You’ll notice me, if you listen carefully. I too have a Southern accent, but I don’t talk through my nose.

    Or my London.

    Postcard of 'The River' by Hetty Chapman and Karen Allerton, that’s tacked above my computer chair. Click to see better

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004


    Our holly is loaded with scarlet berries. A sign of a hard winter, they say, the berries and the flocks of waxwings burring across from Russia, into Scotland and East Anglia.

    Our holly is full of berries, I answered Molster’s coo at the tremble of white lights tacked across nextdoor’s house.

    We stepped into the sharp, dragon breath dark and her voice rose:

    Now the holly bears a berry as white as the milk,
    And Mary bore Jesus, who was wrapped up in silk:
    And Mary bore Jesus Christ our Saviour for to be,
    And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly

    Now the holly bears a berry as green as the grass,
    And Mary bore Jesus, who died on the cross:
    And Mary bore Jesus Christ our Saviour for to be,
    And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly

    Now the holly bears a berry as black as the coal,
    And Mary bore Jesus, who died for us all:
    And Mary bore Jesus Christ our Saviour for to be,
    And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly

    Now the holly bears a berry as blood it is red,
    Then trust we our Saviour, who rose from the dead:
    And Mary bore Jesus Christ our Saviour for to be,
    And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the holly.

    She sang it through as we walked along the path to Brownies. I was silent. I had no idea she knew it.

    We heard the song last December, in the grand hall of a medieval castle. A Yule concert we’d been invited to by a friend from long, long ago. There were fires in the hearths, and just the right instruments and people that, if you scrunched up your eyes and forgot the mulled wine was non-alcoholic and in plastic cups, the borders between hither and yon could shimmer like heat haze.

    Every now and then, when the false barriers between then and now are lifted, when a toll is not demanded, when the dark allows, we can feel how it was when the stories of Jesus first touched Britain. When there was no We Are Right And You Are Wrong, when the hope in a man who wanted good could build a church which the Green Man would guard. When the potent totems of Mary and her son were evergreen.

    I like to believe.


    First, a commercial break.

    You want free, invisible, real-time stats? These are your chaps.

    They have pretty pie-charts and everything, and whenever you click on a magnifying glass icon you get up close to the details of whomever has linked. For someone unused to the bright lights and glamour of full-on stats, their detail is headturning.

    Which is how I’ve come to have a little mystery on my hands. Not as tricky a mystery as Blue Chamber, which I’m buggered if I can do. I’d reckon it’s on an easy-peasy par with ‘A bloke is hanging, dead, in a locked room. The room is completely empty apart from the man and a pool of water below him – how did he die?’ sort of thing.

    Here we go:

    A woman sends a link to her journal to a person working in a big company, to their company address. There is nobody apart from the person in his office at the time the link arrives; he sends the link to nobody.

    The woman’s stats show that the person clicked the link twice; the host name given is the servers of the company.

    Shortly after the first click, and around the time of the second, the same company’s host name shows up next to search engine entries for the specific name of her journal, which was contained in the link sent to the person.

    The person to whom the link was sent only clicked on it, they did not use search engines, they did not have to.

    Could I just say, that if the search engine user feels they might be passing my house earlier than the person to whom the link was sent, on an evening when I send them a shopping list through their company email, feel free to pick it up and pop it over.

    You’d be helping.

    I know the Greater Manchester / Lancashire border might seem a tad far for you today, but it could look different soon.

    ...or big brother?

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    b.i.t.s, bits.

    Can you spell like 13 (I think) year old Gayathri?

    I loathe, loathe, loathe Eamon Holmes and in avoiding his fatuous fat-cheeked smug-arsed self avoided the programme; however, in my relatively stress free living room I got one wrong (no, I’m not saying, but I thought there was an em where there is an en).

    Well done Gayathri – and a bigger well done for not wanting to use your free holiday of choice to go to bloody disneyland (that’s three times now the spellcheck has capitalised that place of horror, fear, dread where I will never, ever tread nor never, EVER capitalise). Nope, our hero wants to go to either China or South America, as she’s fascinated by the history of both. Wonder if she wants a chaperone … or a spare mum …

    In other news, had a dose of the ghost of Christmas post this afternoon. (There’s definitely a poem there.) Can you guess which of the eighteen people in front of me in the snaking (tired image but true as the queue was as slow as a snake in winter) Post Office queue smelt of dirty bits?
    Was it the woman with the cough and the dandruff?
    It was not.
    Was it the man with the seventeen parcels?
    It was not.
    Was it the couple who needed charts, diagrams and a full-blown Powerpoint presentation to understand that although you buy the stamp and receive your Airmail sticker at the counter, you stick them on and pop the card to Canada in the box yourself?
    It was not.
    Rosemary the telephone operator?

    It was the man behind me. Who crowded me, sliding nearer, his hand reaching past me to grip the rail across my hip. The man who brushed against my shoulder and - despite my desperate attempts at Big Old Circle Of White Light manifestation – breathed in my ear.

    All the way through the countdown from eighteen to zero.

    Yep, that was the chap who smelt of dirty bits.

    Shower and Echinacea, then.

    And another shower.

    "mummy, thinking"

    Sunday, December 05, 2004

    mix and stir

    For the best part of a month the best part of a big bottle of marsala has slowly been slurped up by a bloated and increasingly syrupy pot of raisins, sultanas, currants, dates, prunes and figs.

    This afternoon the mixture variously met butter, sugar, cherries, hazelnuts, ground almonds, flour, baking powder, my secret ingredient, pith and juice of an orange and a lemon, the best part of half a dozen eggs (complete with chips of shell – Molster’s secret ingredient for healthy bones) and five-and-one-for-luck tablespoons of brandy.

    My largest bowl nearly overfloweth. As did my largest baking tin.

    We all stirred and wished (I don’t cook puds so the cake gets the wishing) a shh-for-secret wish, lifted, eased and poured.

    Into the oven with a bye bye cake and a pink piggy timer for the temperature change.

    Then set to with the licking. Molster, who has dabbled her fingers into my single malt since she was in nappies, is showing a steady hand with her greaseproof paper tracings.

    Ziggy, a novice, charged around making jungle noises, bouncing off the furniture (this is usual, remember the cerebral palsy) and licking his sister’s back.

    Now he’s flopped, prone onto the rug to watch Fungus The Bogeyman, with a third kifter glaze to his eyes.

    Saturday, December 04, 2004

    and I don't know why

    I drank beer.

    It tasted nice.

    Which helped the trauma.

    Read, listen, you’ll understand.

    Last night I found out that the uncle of the dad of Zig’s best mate - keep up - was, in the 1970s, a tailor for Slade and Wizzard.

    He had, in his flat, wardrobe after wardrobe stuffed with these clothes.

    When he died


    There are some losses from which you never fully recover.

    On the other hand, although the father of Zig’s best mate wasn’t able to completely validate the kipper tie story*, as he says, You want to believe it, don’t you

    You’ve got to believe it.

    *The Kipper Tie Story.
    In the 70s, Noddy Holder was in a boutique trying on clobber. When asked Would you like a kipper tie he replied, yes please, two sugars.

    Friday, December 03, 2004


    Now with added pussy.

    cinders, you shall go to the school christmas disco

    Whether it’s down to the early Slade saturation during Panto Idol, or the two-voice carolled howlings since late October as the kids rehearsed their school’s seasonal CD over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over an…

    … sorry…

    …this year I’ve caught a dose of Christmas. And caught it early.

    Even though the box of deccies has been blocking my wardrobe door for three weeks, since dragging it out of the loft in search of tinsel sacrifice for the dress rehearsal; even though, yes, it’s still commercial and no, I’m not a Christian; even though eBay sales of my secondhand gleanings dribbled to drippings and have been abandoned til late January; even though, even though, even though, d’ya know

    I’m enjoying getting quietly Christmassy.

    Being a bit smug helps. Knowing that the huge box on top of the wardrobe rustles and squeaks with all the bags and boxes that surely should be in Lapland right now, or at least on a chartered Amazon jet to Lapland. That helps. The 50 49 bottles of wine, yes you read that right, damn wine clubs and all their freebies, credit notes and ‘Festive Offers’. They help. And will keep on helping. Daresay. Searching for naval jewellery for my youngest niece and finding myself staring into the eye of a doubly-pierced willy doesn’t exactly help, but it breaks the monotony.

    Bringing out The Shirt also helps.

    It’s the school Christmas Disco tonight. Not what you’d consider the highlight of a busy and popular, beautiful and competent 30-something’s (what do you mean, ’who’?) festive calendar.

    But they have a bar. And jacket potatoes, oh yes; a hefty portion of which are raw and unwrapped on my kitchen table – note to self for later, BAKE THEM. And a load of the parents who are going are lovely.

    And I get to bring out The Shirt. The one I found in Afflecks one summer for a couple of quid, and being The Clut Hoarding High Priestess Of It-Might-Come-In-Handy having foresight, I bought it and shoved it in the wardrobe, where it quietly hums Jingle bells to itself for 50 weeks of the year, completely pissing off the grumpy sequined Whistles vest top that’s ne’er seen the light of day.

    Hang on, my camera has got one of those swivel screen things that lets you see what you’re taking a pik of, I’ll stick the shirt on … let’s see …

    [much time passes]

    Oooookaayyyyy… not as easy as I thought it would be. I haven’t a clue how that camera took half of those angles, even though I was staring at the screen This one’ll do:

    Shirt! Bet you want one. Oh yes, I am the queen of exquisite taste, and refinement nonpareil. My santas go upside-down, rightside-up and side-to-side.

    What the pik doesn’t show are the rather splendid, wing-like fold-back cuffs.

    My recent habit of swapping a butterless banana butty breakfast for brownies and bikkies means I can’t comfortably button the shirt over The Ladies this year without Unseemly Gape. So swapped Gape for Gap (sorry rocketeer, but needs must when the devil wears pink pyjamas) and am wearing it half-buttoned over one of their ever-so-handy stretchy tops.

    So that’s today’s glamorous, fairytale future. For now it’s shirt off, jumper on, and let’s get scrubbing that loo, then finish off a piece about John Cleese’s lunar nodes.

    Which are not as painful as they sound.

    Thursday, December 02, 2004


    The eyes are poisonous, you know.


    It's a clear, brittle glorious December day and this fills me with glee.

    So much so, this stinky semi-pagan dragged the vicar's email address up from the depths of google and sent him a big thumbs up.

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004



    It was a triumph. The Brownies were top and I am very, very proud of them indeed. Indeed. What a wonderful group of kids, and how heartening to know they are will-be grownups. Even Dame 4, who was scared to terrified tears and quite unable to go on, was smothered in cuddles, they covered the muddles (hey, a poem) with trouping professionalism, much backstage stage-whispering and an inside-out six-legged cow suit that showed to all just how the two udders were stapled to the Ikea bedspread.

    Much money was raised for hospice and children’s prosthetic limb charity thingy. Many balloons were stomped, and Zig was so knackered his head stabbed as we left the school hall and he was asleep by the time his chair reached our doorstep.

    Brownies aside, our Molster is getting her first dose of unpleasant girl dynamics, by which I mean unpleasant dynamics with a girl, not dynamics with an unpleasant girl. A new girl started in her class in September. She seemed rather reserved, so Mol (as was almost every girl in her class, you can bet) was given the Make Friends With The New Girl talk over potato waffles and beans. She looked up at me with a Well, duh expression – friendly is our Mol.

    A couple of weeks ago she told me that new girl and an old, good friend of Mol’s are Best Friends [capitals essential]. Mol grinned, happy that her old, good friend now had a special friend the way Mol has had for a couple of years in her Best Friend.

    Keep up.

    Yesterday, Molster was in tears at the end of the day. It seems New Girl wants ALL of old, good friend, pulls her away from Molster, and has even instructed her not to talk to Molster at Brownies (where New Girl has no influence as she doesn’t go). Old, good friend has a strong, forthright head on her shoulders, and doesn’t want this, but still New Girl plugs away, shooting Molster the nastiest of slidey looks

    – hint for all insecure, would-be 8-year-old old, good friend-snatchers: best to leave the nasty slidey looks until Mum’s not around. Kay?

    Poor Molster; until now she’s had a big group of friends who play together, talk together and get along. They are in parts Friends, Good Friends, Special Friends and Best Friends, but they are always, always, Friends. An open invitation to New Girl was offered - in girl-tongue (some language I never quite grasped, even when 8) to dive right in. It’s still open and offered, and I just hope she sees that to have a Friend at this school doesn’t mean they have to be taken away from other friends.

    We talked a lot about it last night. I bit my tongue, and smothered my rild, kick-her-arse side under a big pile of dirty school uniform in the bathroom hamper.

    We’ve decided, Mol and I, to try and ignore New Girl’s attempts at old, good friend snatching, and go along as normal. We think that should New Girl tell Molster again that she doesn’t like her, a good response might be Well, I like you.

    Leave the channels open, and see how it goes.

    In the meantime, here’s a random found toy shot.

    Don’t tell him, but he needs all the rest he can get before Doc Oc arrives later this month.

    Talking of the big day, thanks to Bev for reminding her notify list that today is indeed December. Do you know that sense of completion and calm you get that warns you you’ve forgotten something? I was relaxing into that this morning, a la spidey into lilac slippers, as I sipped a cuppa and caught up on email before getting the kids up.

    Leapt up (lots of ‘up’ action here, isn’t there; well, you’ve got to to get down, apparently) with an underbreath word most filters would purse their lips at, ran upstairs as quiet as pos, turned out the bedroom cupboard until I found the old Frosty advent calendar somewhere at the bottom back [note to self: cupboard contents still scattered across bed] grabbed a couple of chocolate coins hidden behind the clean sheets in the same cupboard, back downstairs – luckily the old Frosty calendar hook is still twisted into the unit – hung up Frosty, straightened Frosty, stuffed the coins in number 1, re-straightened Frosty, then back up the stairs two at a time, into the kids room with a hearty It’s the first of December – guess who’s been!.

    Four eyes open, two FROSTY!s.

    Seems last year I was wrong. You’ve still got to hide those strings.