Sunday, December 31, 2006

travelling shoes

The sales brought Molster the Shoe of Shoes. Well, Shoes of Shoes, as one wouldn’t be much cop, Mol being standard biped.

Shoes Supreme.

Mol adores her Shoes Supreme. When she wears them, and she is standing, or walking, and you are talking, and it’s about the wind or Isobel or chocolate shells or Tracey Beaker or Christmas lights or Michael Morpurgo and not at all about shoes, not a bit, her eyes will light from the outside corners in - just for a second, twinkle and gone - and you’ll know that without looking down she is remembering she has new shoes, Shoes of Shoes, Shoes Supreme.

They are a bit flappy at the back. She doesn’t mind at all. It won’t last a bit. She’ll grow into the slight flap. And out the other side.

I can wish nothing better for you than that you find your Shoes of Shoes. That they take you into 2007, and through it, and out the other side. And that when you are standing or walking, and talking about bills or work or food shopping or the broken washing machine or car repairs or frozen ipods, and not about shoes, not a bit, that your eyes will light from the outside corners in - just for a second, twinkle and gone - and you’ll remember you have Shoes Supreme. Without looking down.


molster's bat mobiles


Saturday, December 30, 2006

housewarming

It doesn’t take long for a house to act unwanted. Three nights, two whole and two bit days.

The key is stiff to turn. December damp makes chill rooms chiller. Too much cat food smelling up the hall, cat resentment on the stairs.

It takes a sparked up boiler, a squirt, a scrub, a lap apiece for two cats, new lights you’d never choose but are glad to be given for a neglected living room window.

Still, I hope I hope next year will bring a new house to warm. This is not an easy country for that to happen. Still, I hope I hope.



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

woodshed

There are tucked away corners to England. Growly corners, glooming with consistent family misunderstanding, tooth-singingly tense with purpose.

Here foreign is fearful. Unless it's Italian food. Here you’ll find no net access, no dial-up compatible phone line, no hope.

East Anglia has the grandest swoops of skies in the UK - imagine the dark force of will necessary to keep everything in such bad, bad light.

Back Saturday.



Tuesday, December 26, 2006

monster

Late last night I was caught by what has caught everyone. Or will catch everyone. I’ve been assimilated, deleted, made like them. Resistance is useless. Futile.

My brain has swollen, pulsing and vague, my head is a foreign place. My limbs are stiff, my voice is altered, I feel squeezed all over.

26122006

I’m seeing double, treble, oodles.

26122006(005)

Gareth feels similar, but with more wind

It's Alive! 3

Monday, December 25, 2006

stuffed

Merry Christmas!

A very merry Christmas! God bless us evr’y one

Merry Christmas!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS.

James Brown! Ow!

James Brown - Ow!

James Brown OW!

JAMES BROWN! Eh?.. Oh … Ow!


Picking aromatics for the cavity this morning, a V formation passed over my head. I called out Gareth, come quick:

Oh look, there’s a gap.

Turkey next year. Or chicken. Or nut stuff en croute.



Sunday, December 24, 2006

sinister santa

From Cameroon to Nigeria in five minutes. That’s not bad, not bad at all. You can tell the fog’s cleared up.

Five minutes is the time it takes for Gareth to supervise Zig arranging a carrot and a mince pie on a small plate, and for Mol to measure marsala into a sherry glass. I considered the level before saying I felt the man in red might appreciate a little more, just a drop, up, up, woah.

Mol made loud comment, as they left for bed with A Nightmare Before Christmas and a long wait til morning, that she’s left the glass left handed because that might make it easier for, um, him.



Saturday, December 23, 2006

seemed like a good idea at the time

Between the bedroom and the bathroom I had an idea of what to write today.

It was Christmas, but wasn’t a spiky holly idea, all prickles and hoopla. It wasn’t a bauble, a small planet of sparkle and potential shatter. It wasn’t a present, a past, a virgin birth, or a polite pagan throat-clearing from under the hedgerow.

It had solidity and the fruity, slightly boozy bulk of my Christmas cake. I knew it as I know my cake, as something I’ve mixed and baked and fed brandy and painted with apricot jam and smothered in marzipan and beaten the eggs and sifted in the icing sugar to dollop and swirl the royal icing and swoop over a final, edible silver dust. Like my cake, my idea was made through formulae from the inside out over weeks; but it wasn’t round and wasn’t iced, however, it felt white on the outside. It was a bit of a cube, squashed a bit flatter, with the corners rounded. A hard caramel. Sucked a bit.

It referenced something, or reflected something, which was its own shape, a darker shadow it overlapped. A fourth year pencil still life. The year you are given charcoal and learn about drawing the shape around the thing, not the thing itself.

That’s about all I remember about my idea of what to write. I had the idea, liked the shape; liked that it was contained, and moved on to have a shower, clean the loo.



Friday, December 22, 2006

and geese

Geese can also be white.

And raised free-range, slaughtered, gutted, wrapped, frozen, exported, imported, bought, and recently removed from the bottom of my freezer for three days slow thaw in a cold shed.

All those food miles. Would have been simpler to wait for the bird to fly over my house and thwock it with a catapult. Yeah, I know, the odds, but still.

I’ve never cooked a goose before. I’ve never tasted goose. I’ve talked to geese; I’ve fed geese; I’ve been seduced by their soft honks, and a little intimidated by their comeanavagoifyathinkyoureardenough sideways eye.

What do I know about a goose? I know it has a large cavity and a lot - an awful lot - of fat. All the better to float on water, keep warm, and crisp up roast potatoes.

I hope it’ll not be another rabbit. It seemed at the time like a great idea to buy a rabbit. For a stew. Cheap wartime food: plump, plentiful pot fodder my mum would snare. I lopped (arf. oh dear) it into bunny chunks, browned it and chucked it in a pot with gubbins enough for a darkly rich, delicious stew. All went well and lips were smacked until I dug round under a potato and pulled out a delicate, exquisitely sculpted fan shaped bone. The bunny’s shoulder blade. I wasn’t hungry anymore.

I hope the goose will not be another rabbit. I rapped my knuckles tentatively on its frozen breast and held my ear close enough to its bulk to chill my sleepers.

There was no one home.

Three days.



Thursday, December 21, 2006

planes trains and automobiles and popping to asda on the way back for bread, milk, sprouts, and double cream

When they said white why did I think they meant snow? Lots of stuff is or can be white: vests, towels, tiles, tic tacs, shake n vac, Major Tommy Fuckwit, his brother Big Dave, a single disconcerting pubic hair, fog.

Fog has been very white around here. London (down and across a couple of hundred miles) is even whiter, so says the news. So very white that many, many aeroplanes are staying on the ground, resting their wings, the better for their pilots and attendants to wrap up warm and run outside, all excited like, to build a Fogman and have a rowdy fogball fight.

Gareth is usually in Capital City for a block of days every week. This week was a last desperate grab at leave owing, consequently, he just had to go down on Monday, so flew. Easy: now with added peasy. So much easy and peasy, when the inevitable, unmissable meetings coughed politely and tapped him on the shoulder it didn’t seem too much of a pain to ask his leave to hooch up a tad between Wednesday and Friday.

Until Christmas tried so very hard to be white. It does so like to please. Plans changed, and all of a suddenly we remember just how very far a mile is. Plane miles and train miles, the difference is the snuggling on the sofa with too much ginger wine and the Father Ted Christmas Special, and feck arse nuns, a tradition is a tradition.



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

i do enjoy a traditional carol service

You know, the kind where you all squish - just - into the church, and affectionately bitch about the girl who grabbed the semi-solo, until her mum squeezes in beside you and you smile and hallooo and change the subject to Marks and Spencer’s turkey collection allocation slots.

Where you hope that the flu relief capsules kick in before you sneeze into the hair of the boy in front, and drip snot - just a drop - onto your carol sheet.

Where you wink at Joseph as he grand entrances next to your aisle seat, to have the step-dad of Jesus stick out his tongue - just the tip - in et tu response.

Where a shepherd with sheep - just the one - focuses intently on his grand entrance, all the better to miss his mum’s wink.

Where a young girl again fights valiantly - just a bit - with the descant, and her mum sings out loud and low in hope that just one girl - just one - might understand that singing does not have to be high and that leaving the high singing to the skylark might be a good idea if you feel yourself to be a warm-throated I dunno owl or something.

Where you don’t Hands Together And Eyes Closed, with a zigzag - just a frissant - of imprinted primary school rebellion, because this is Solstice and this is Saturnalia and who apart from Monty Python says the Son of Man, Son of God’s sun’s in Capricorn anyway, dammit.

Where two adults and two kids in different parts of the church wiggle their hips - just an inch , one two three, left right left - at the very end of Oh Come All Ye Faithful cos a chap in a large papier mache head once sung it as a cha cha cha.

Chrihiiist The Lord, cha cha cha.



Tuesday, December 19, 2006

face the music

Eee, but the shops were full of shite today. They inserted the IV into my Egg card somewhere at the bottom of Market Street, and Their big fat finger hovered over a big threatening button labelled Suck.

So I moved quick and fast and fleet of foot, and found economy shower gel, and enjoyed a rare non-economy of time with Gareth. Over an economy lunch.

I’ve bought all my pressies before today. I have all my pressies. My pressies are in the building.

But still, the lure, the glister, the twinkle.

I was sucked - sucked, I tell you - from the German market on St Peter’s Square, up and into the Town Hall. Case after case of jewellery. 'Designer' jewellery.

Impractical, ill-conceived tat, and all wholly overpriced.

But still, the lure, the glister, the twinkle.

Is the lure of the worm on the hook its glister and twinkle? I did not fall flopping and flubbering from the net to the deck. I was not bashed on the head and stuffed in ice. I was not sold and gutted and battered and fried. I have no earrings.

Tucked politely into a window space behind regimented trawlers of the luring the glistering the twinkling the ill-conceived the wholly overpriced, I met Barbirolli in tryptych, and was redeemed.

That'll be three of your finest Father Christmas hats, please, shopkeep.


barbirolli

barbirolli

barbirolli

barbirolli

barbirolli


Monday, December 18, 2006

my joy to the world

This will be my eleventh Christmas with the good lady Molster. Twelfth, if you count the year I turned down mincepies in favour of thick marmite on a coconut macaroon.

She was my first Happy in Christmas.

She flash floods generosity.
She organises her Christmas cards in piles to be strung.
She gives of the Christmas tin of Roses, with the faith she’ll receive a caramel barrel in turn.
She asks for paper, scissors, sellotape, and ten minutes of secret space.
She nods one deliberate nod, lips pursed, when I tell her and Zig their grandad will pick them up after school, as her dad and I will be on important business helping a beardy bloke in red.
She keeps her disbelief to herself in front of her little brother.
She delegates and supervises decorating the kids’ two foot purple tree; the one with the feather fluffy fairy lights: squeezing on baubles enough for a ten foot tree through act of will and an askance glance of pity at elegant sufficiency.
She fights with the descant in Ding Dong Merrily, and grimaces for the camera.

Christmas is safe with our Mol.



Sunday, December 17, 2006

christmas prescience

This snowman was bubble wrapped at the bottom of deccie box two. It came back from school with Zig two years ago. It would be another two months before he saw Doctor Who.

christmas prescience


Genetic memory. Timelord as archetype.



Saturday, December 16, 2006

io

I’d be buggered in the Southern hemisphere. Winter needs a celebration. Hang on, how cold is Italy this time of year? I somehow doubt the chariot DUIs and turkey pizza dinners of Saturnalia would have had snow on snow, snohoho on snow. But isn’t that the joy of glass upon glass (glahahass upon glass) of Christmas cava? All your seasonal icons get in a muddle and it’s pulling them out of your brain through your mouth in a soggy, glorious tumble of ubertinsel that you realise. Damn. The bleak midwinter is made to party.

Or to drink glahahass upon glass of cava while putting up the deccies and voting for Leona and pretending you have a life and are invited to the sort of parties that bleak midwinters pimp.


Friday, December 15, 2006

stick it to the man

And the teachers have ideas. And then all the teachers talk to Mr C about their ideas. And they all mix up their ideas. And that’s a. What’s that called? A democracy.

Top one, Zig. And have you done who decides which ideas are done how, when, and to or for whom?

The word for tomorrow is autocracy.



Thursday, December 14, 2006

feat

Gareth took a fisheye lomo shot of my feet. These feet have had quite a few Flickr views, a couple of comments - from foot fans, I assume - and a goodly Autumn run in a Paris department store. For black socks. Which I wasn’t wearing. Right now I’m wearing dark blue socks with bright blue toe and heel. Just so you know. Oh, how I dream of one day owning black socks. They used my feet to pimp their product and didn't send me a sample. I'm glad to say the same of the people who left the Flickr comments.

Gareth and I are having a teeny domestic rumble about who took the shot of Oscar Pistorius:

Fastest man in the world on no legs.


which has about fifty Flickr views less than the feet. Rock paper scissors.


You know what they say about big feet?


Searching for my feet found Zig’s foot:


smallest foot


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

prima materia

Take an Open Day in a High School with cardboard corridors and pupils who slam doors and startle with a grin.

Shake over the promise of a large budget for a refurb rebuild. Add a generous pinch of extra budget for an autism department.

Stir thoroughly with a physiotherapist who only seems to want to talk to your son’s LSA, not to the mum.

Fold in a prospectus, unfold at the SENCO’s name.

Break the ice with a phonecall. Dig out a pair of trousers that aren’t denim.

Shatter the nerves with a first day.

Take a seat next to a sealed alembic.

Agitate.

Gently.



Tuesday, December 12, 2006

virgo midheaven

Will I ever feel useful? Will I ever feel of use?

Probably not, yet there’s this queasy compulsion to keep trying.

One day. Yes! We could do with you. You are the very person. We have the very thing.

A little thing. That I do. That I can do. Well.

Monday, December 11, 2006

could try harder

We don’t send holiday letters. People we know or know of, who by association or accusation are etched into my in-head Christmas card list, can assess our progress through this year’s children’s drawings.

Because what’s the use of keeping children if they don’t scribble something mewlingly festive in felt tip, which the parent can grab by the scruff, shake, and scan? Before stuffing in a sack and drowning in the waterbutt.

Here, goes the printer: Here, have many, many mewling festive scribblings. Splurge goes the pritstick. Hah. Instant xmas art no one dare criticise because. It. Has. Been. Done. By. Children.

Genius. And then, because I loathe everyone on my Christmas card list who cares for the state of their carpets, I bring out the PVA and add glitter.


zigxmas004

molxmas008


Sunday, December 10, 2006

stocking

Nanna would make my stocking and Grandad would watch and pass comment and humbugs. Sweets, puzzles, plastic toys, marbles, bubbles, balls, and comics, wrapped and partially peeking from the skinniest of paper. The satsuma would’ve been in the toe, only the stocking always became a carrier bag through necessity.

Nanna died three years ago, Grandad soon after. I stumbled. Today we’ve collected sweets, puzzles, plastic toys, bubbles, balls, party poppers. We’ve wrapped them, partially peeking through the skinniest of paper. We’ve loaded them into a Rudolph stocking, the toe lumpy stuffed with chocolate coins.

Tomorrow I’ll post it down the country until it nearly hits the bottom. To Aunty Maz - Nanna and Grandad’s daughter. When I stumbled she fell splat on her face. A satsuma would go squidgy and smell.



Saturday, December 09, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

piss cat

I have a cat I would love. I have a cat I would love if once every six weeks or so he didn’t forget the catflap, raise his tail and quiver any interior piece of house he happened against. He truly is a cat of cats. He is curled into my legs every morning and loathes my laptop because he is my laptop. He is fluffy, white, a scrap of scrawn with one cat coloured eye and one blue. He makes me jump. I would love him.



Thursday, December 07, 2006

mouthful of chips

This evening Mol told me she had to dress scruffy as they were having a Tramp Supper at Guides. She didn’t have to bother with a dirty face or anything, she said, just scruffy clothes.

I was utterly, utterly thrown.

I nudged Mol to Guideswise when her Brownie trousers started to skim her ankles and she ran out of badge space on her gilet. I thought it would help encourage independenceyetfunctioningaspartofateam, social responsibility, and an excuse to dawdle over a late supper and watch Catherine Tate when she got home.

Now it seems I can add hypothermia, malnourishment, mental illness, addiction, and prostitution to the Big Guides List of pre-11 Life Experiences. Oh, and a knack for rooting McD remains from bins, snarfing chips off the pavement, and acquisition and care of a dog on a rope.

But that’s okay! We’re not talking about homelessness here, chaps, we’re talking about Tramps: happy fellas with a beard and a bottle, a ruddy glow and a hearty high ho silver.

Either that or I was expected to send her in a red latex mini and a pair of high heels, and expect her home complete with a scarlet rimmed dogend and a broken heart of cynicism.

I hope to fuck they have a subtext here.


In other news, Zig’s class had a dentist in to talk teeth today. He solemnly explained that he should not rinse after brushing as it removes the floorboard.

Fluoride?

No, mum: floorboard.





eta, she came home:

Sooo, what did you learn about homelessness?

Lots.

Like what?

That there are err three hundred and eighty thousand people homeless … in our country



Oh yeah! we ate chips.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

puddin

Nigella is batting at the camera and doing Christmas. She swoon voiced Women’s Hour last week, with how It Was Filmed in July But That Was Okay As Her Grandmother Always Had A Second Christmas In The Summer Because She Liked The Whole Christmas Thing So Much, so that’s all right.

That steeped, liqueured, glut stuffed, whipped, creamed, cinched, gravadlax dulcet dominatrix act she pulls is so seductively compulsive I can almost forgive her for only ever having given me one recipe that works.

The One Nigella Recipe That Works (For Me)
(and it’s Christmassy. Brucey Bonus).
Iced Rum Sauce
300ml double cream, 2 large egg yolks, 2 tablespoons golden syrup, 2 or so tablespoons dark rum, small sack of crack*.
Beat the cream until stiff and the yolks until frothy. Yeah, baby. Keep beating those frothy eggs and splunge in the syrup and the rum. Fold into the stiff cream, plurup and dollollop into an airtight container. Stuff into the freezer. Pull out about half an hour before money shot onto hot pud. Or do as I do and tease it from the freezer spoon by hard spoon.

*Optional, but advisable for the Nigella wide-eyed, Oh Big Boy Oh Oh OH glaze.



Pickles! Must buy pickles.



Tuesday, December 05, 2006

pamper

The Wash of the Wash, Cut and Blow includes a deep down deep circle-finger scalp massage.

Every time I forget until I’m there, leant back in the chair, washed warm and sudsy. Then press, massage, soothe, relax.

Around and around. Press. Massage. Soothe. Relax.

Neck tightens. Jaws clench. Nails dint white crescents into the palms. Insides clench and screech

Get off. Get off. Get off.



I tip.



Monday, December 04, 2006

once upon a time in the m.e.n arena

Glowsticks come in blue, yellow, orange, green and red. I found this out this evening. Oh, and purple. They also come in purple.

I also found out that pissing against the wind is giving out six thousand assorted glowsticks to six thousand assorted children aged seven to eleven - who are the act not the audience, by the way - and asking them not to snap and wave them until the Morricone world premiere - the penultimate sing song of a two hour concert.

Not that I snapped my glowstick (red) as soon as the lights went down and waved it like the buggery, or anything.



Sunday, December 03, 2006

long-leggety beasties

Mum, is it the bit where Charlotte tells Wilbur, In a day or two I'll be dead?

No Mol, it’s not that bit.

Right.



Mum, is it, No one was with her when she died?

Yes Mol, that’s the bit.

Does it still make you feel dead upset when you read it?

Yes Mol. Dead Upset.

Oh. Ohhh.

Right.



Saturday, December 02, 2006

jumper

Does European cinema have all the bad jumpers? Manchester tried for a few today. Batwings of solid, striplit colour. Half-arsed, half-hearted doodle of a golfing pattern turned retro chic £29.99 desirable (six quid in Primark). But they are half-arsed half-hearted. The full throated unabashed bellow of bad jumper belongs to European cinema. As is and ever was. Time without end.



Friday, December 01, 2006

thing that go bump

At nine at night on a Friday we sit in a row on the sofa. At nine at night on a Friday I realise I have two arms because I have two kids; I have two kids because I have two arms. Whichever, whatever, strike and reverse. Each kid gets an arm and we all get Most Haunted. Green night vision faces with wide, bright pupils, and never a free arm with a free hand for my wine glass.



Friday, September 22, 2006

note to self

If, when writing the Brownie Christmas play, you find you've written this Fairy made me come so quickly, I left my sack behind, rephrase.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

twins

Which one was that, Zig?

Dan.

How can you tell?

Dan’s the one with that face. Joe’s the one with the other face.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

trouser snake

Today was Zig's a bit belated seventh birthday party. I met the Queenie. She stretches from here to here or there to there, and weighs five stone.

Her tail liked my pocket:



But her head preferred the birthday party boy:



Psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssst.

Over here, little boy ... You and your strange extra hand ...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

like the first bird.

Is it darkest before dawn? Is it always darkest before dawn?

What happens if you don’t get that far? Don’t even get to the night proper? Don’t even get to the stage where you shower, clean your teeth, have the last wee of the evening (and wash your hands, ladies and gentlemen), set the alarm for a couple of hours after the dawn it gets darkest before, fumble into bed and fall asleep over the same page of the same book you’ve been falling asleep over for five days now?

What if the nearest you get to the night that gets darkest before the dawn is the dusk? Some perpetual twighlight: after the blackbirds, before the stars. Some still, grey brown suspension you breathe through gills.

Scientists have recorded the noise of Jupiter. They call it the dawn chorus.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

nicey nicey zoo zoo

We went to the zoo.

I took this photograph.

It makes me happy.

Friday, April 28, 2006

a life less apostrophised

Casually suggested to Gruff as we pulled out of Somerfield car park:

We could do with renting the robots of death.

Said to Zig just now, as he struggled to pull away from the Fairly OddParents:

Just concentrate and write the Rosetta Stone.


I reckon it’s useful to have a Bank Holiday to do list

Gruff went in and came out safely. Thanks to the drama of developing a dramatically dramatic allergy to any antibiotic beginning with Ciprox, he was in for nearly a week, has more than one reason to be a bit lighter, and has only just stopped walking a bit deliberately. But now he’s back and - well - Balanced, if you get my meaning, with a scar to make grown men faint and curious wives poke and prod. Just the one, though, eh.

Mind you, if any curious wife out there is that curious, make me an offer and perhaps you can come and poke and prod too. We need to build up a bigger pot for the big brave grown-up house move we’ve been intending for a few years now; this could be our answer. Telling you that he’s all scrabbly from dissolving stitches and hair re-growth just makes it better, oh yes.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

baubles part der

I wonder if Gruff is the only person to have gone down* to surgery with ‘Xmas Trees’ written under allergies on his wristband**? Because you never know when your surgeon will be strung with tinsel and gripping his scalpel between Blue Spruce fingers.

Or - as Gruff added, to derail the twiggy hands idea, as he had Raggety nightmares as a child, and doesn’t really want to wonder about vengeful childhood horrors looming over that bit of him when he’s out for the count - if the anaesthetic will be pine fresh.

Still, he said, after all was done and altered but not Altered, the metal snap stickers along his torso made him Neo.

Or a babygrow, I didn’t add, because the poor chap had just had rather nasty surgery on his man bits, and if being Neo makes him feel better then good for him. And a few apr├Ęs surgery metal snap chest stickers are available on the National Health. Floor length leather coats are not.

It went well, but things were trickier than expected, so he will be in until at least Monday. He’ll be fine; he has Cartoon Network.


*I was about to write why ‘down’ when surgery wasn’t ‘down’ at all, but over, across a bit, a bit more, and along? Then I remembered that Gruff had been moved to the second floor and surgery was on the ground floor, therefore he did indeed go down to surgery. Smartarse or keen observationalist I’m not.

**The wristband they make you wear so you don’t get lost. Or someone doesn’t pick you up while you are dozing and take you home in mistake for their baby. Which, when you’re a bit plump, a bit bald with temporarily bald nads, could happen. Even if you’re so much 36 you're very nearly 37, and always very much 6’ 1 ½”.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

ooch

Will somebody please tap me on the shoulder when it's International Think Before You Speak Day. I'll be just here, with this cushion over my head.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

what’s the name of that book again?

These days I’m holding my breath. My eyes must be bugging, my cheeks puffed, numb and tingling, my lips turning blue from the outside in.

Somebody get a pin. Or tickle me. Or something.

Friday, March 24, 2006

onward and upward

Or: Why I will never be a theatre critic. Or have tea with the queen.

Since about this time yesterday afternoon, Mol has been 10. Double figures. One of my kids is in double figures.

The shock called for high culture, and high culture was got.

I might be thirty-five; I might bristle to the touch, be a bit tough to chew and a little wizened around the edges, but when the banging and knocking had finished and the cloth was lifted, my sensibilities roared and my gut donkey kicked


OH MY GOD! IT’S CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG!


FUCK ME! SHE’S FLYING!



Chaps, I had a tissue up my sleeve, secret-like. I am crap.

But, fuck me. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Thursday, January 19, 2006

he he he

Am downloading some Glenn Miller for Molster, who is learning to play In The Mood in keyboard lessons.

I get a little jolt every time I see Glenn Miller's face on an album cover, and it's not James Stewart.

Friday, January 06, 2006

you have 357 days to comply

Zig claims to have forgotten his new year’s resolutions. Year 2 stormed the stairs (for stormed where Zig is concerned, please read rode the Robocop-worthy, cooler than Stannah any day matey stair chair) to the computer suite, to tap their resolutions into a hard drive.

Sarah’s mum says Sarah said (repeat quickly fifty times and score ten points) she resolved to keep her bed tidy. Not the bedroom, for she’s a practical six-year-old with a feel for what’s reasonable.

While hoiking him into his chair, I asked Zig what he’d resolved. He screwed up his eyes, puffed out his cheeks, and turned up the corners of his mouth. Hold for ten. Release.

I can’t remember

Apparently he didn’t resolve to do all the washing-up for the year. I checked. Whatever they were, quick as made, his resolutions blew away to make friends with the ether. And probably do all its dishes for the year.

Either:
1) He remembers his resolutions perfectly well, but is concerned that I might hold him to feedingthecatswashinghishandspickingup litternotpickinghisbogeysresolvingworldconflicts every day for a year
2) He remembers perfectly well but is afraid of the cloud of failure should becoming the Archbishop of Ramsbottom not be feasible before December
3) He remembers perfectly well but thinks it none of my bloody business
4) He’s forgotten

Any are possible; I empathise with all. I’ve deliberately side-stepped resolutions this year. I’ve also, until now, side-stepped the side-step, with a breezy whistle. Letting a resolution slide is just too cloudy, and if I don’t let them slide, I might, you know, succeed.

The very idea.

Thing is, in the computer suite on the second floor of a school not too far away, there’s a hard drive. In this hard drive there are Zig’s resolutions, which for reasons 1-4 or 5) Other, he has chosen to keep quiet.

My innards being sneaky, I reckon I’ve got a hard drive too. I’d take the stairs but I forgot to plug in the Robocop-worthy, cooler than Stannah any day matey stair chair to charge.

I'd best just stay here on my arse. Pass the chocs.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

up up up up up up up

Molster was given three juggling rings. I’ve nicked them, and practice in the kitchen. Am spending a bit of time unhooking juggling rings from wine racks, swiping them down from the top of the fridge freezer, and hoopla-ing shallots.

It takes a whole different hand position than juggling with balls. A sideways flick is trickier than an open palm toss. As every good girl knows.

I was taught to juggle by a new friend, before he became a good friend. Which he was before I learned to keep three bright balls up in the air.

He’d turned up on my doorstep, with a soft, cheery knock and a backpack full of passata and gnocchi. Knock, gnocchi, passata and company were all welcome. I’d just returned to an empty dump of a student house in a rough part of Manchester, to discover I’d been robbed.

Not being heartless, they’d left me my kettle and a muddy footprint in the center of my bed sheet. With kettle, knock, gnocchi, new friend, footprint and passata, I could conquer the world.

Instead, we went to the park, where I learned how to keep all my balls up in the air.

Haven’t the foggiest where my new friend, good friend is now. Or his backpack.

I’ll keep on tossing the rings.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

stonkingly large, stonkingly expensive, cat-hunting robotic dinosaur sez no

I’m the bad cop parent. The one who puts her foot down with a firm hand. The one who says no.

Every so often, however, I’ll take a breather, and – if I don’t exactly say yes to something – allow the impression of a yes to slide past.

When a boy has saved his money until he has enough for a stonkingly large, stonkingly expensive, cat-hunting robotic dinosaur, who am I to say no? Specially when, on the quiet, I really want to have a go.

The impression of a yes (so cunning an impression I’m the one who places the order online) slides past, and a couple of days later there’s a stonkingly large, stonkingly expensive, cat-hunting robotic dinosaur on the living-room floor.

In its box.

Because, no matter that I let the impression of a yes slip past, I’m not the only one able to say no, it would seem.

Being only able to find five of the necessary six high-powered rechargeable batteries needed to power the thing, although there are eight of them in the house, that’s a no. So I make an impression of a yes and charge up the six make-do lower-powered batteries.

To then spend a good half an hour untwisting twisty plastic-covered wire tags to release the beast, to discover that I can’t unscrew the buggering thing's feet from its base. I just can’t get the damn things loose. If I struggle any longer, I’ll wreck the threads, and that will be that.

The stonkingly large, stonkingly expensive, cat-hunting robotic dinosaur has had its foot put down with a firmer hand than mine.




You’ve got ‘til Friday, cats.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

run, bellamy

Watership Down is a very, very sad film, Zig decided, lots of squirrels get killed.

This wasn’t the only moment I wondered whether the kids had been watching the same film as us parents, squished up together on the sofa though we were*.

Much is said about the increasing violence and aggression that children absorb through screens today. Yet what is the film that made Molster stark awake until 1am, when she came and snuggled in our bed with Freddy dog, and was sat on and purred to sleep by Major Tommy? What is the film that made the bad dream that brought Zig through before dawn, to squeeze the last half inch out of the kingsize and throw his mother off the edge?

A U-rated film about bunnies, made in 1978.

Art Garfunkle is that scary.



*Until near the end, that is. After a few childhood late 70s, early 80s years of owning the bookofthefilm, before seeing the film, and seeing more spoofs than my childhood cats had rabbit paws on string to pat and gnaw**, I know enough to hop [geddit] from the sofa and out of the room before Hazel felt that he wouldn’t be needing his body any more, so he left it lying at the edge of a field, and stopped for a while to watch his rabbits because even now, all grown up, even typing - and probably misquoting dreadfully – the line, makes my nose and eyes strangely runny. Shut up.

**I’ve never owned or read the actual, you know, book, even though there has to be a copy in every charity shop before a charity shop can be called a charity shop. That and Jaws. It’s the law.

Monday, January 02, 2006

use or ornament

We park the Dyson between the merchant chest and the hinges of the living-room door. It’s not exactly hidden, not exactly on display. When I twirl round in this computer chair, I stare at its strata: sandy stuff, dirty stuff, paper stuff, fluffy stuff, hairy stuff.

I know you’re supposed the categorise the Dyson as use, not ornament, however, I must spend more time looking vacantly at those layers than at any other bit of useless tut on the units or walls of this room.

Today was the day we took down and repacked each and every shiny thing we unpacked and put up a couple of weeks ago, plus a few that snuck in, seasonally quiet-like. Then we hoovered, because Dysoned is not yet a verb and vacuumed sounds too … empty.

Twirling just now, I noticed the strata are: glitter stuff, dirty stuff, wrapping paper stuff, tinsel stuff, hairy stuff, sweet papers.

My quandary is, although it’s use, not ornament, does my looking at those layers, however vacantly, more often than at any other bit of tut in this room automatically classify the … what do you call the see-through plastic middle bit of a Dyson?.. does it automatically classify that bit as ornament?

Do I have to empty the Dyson before Twelfth Night, or do I keep it as is and enjoy dirty Christmas right into February?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

feathers fly

My first sliver of 2006 daylight sliced a single wince-opened eye. I groaned for water, then grumbled for tea.

I then lay in bed until gone midday, and read a tatty paperback about a man who, finding the minds of his people muffled by torpor, the lands of his people fallow through skills forgotten, the hearts of his people numb and limp, sets off on a quest across land, across sea, past the world known into the world uncharted or unchartered, to find, challenge and vanquish whatever big tog, superking duvet was doing the smothering.

Is doing the smothering.