Showing posts from November, 2011

I'm a celebrity...

Kateonthinice has devised a cunning new meme to expose the essence of her fellow bloggers. She has cast a handpicked dozen onto a desert island and escape is forbidden until we have completed 11 questions. 1. What one thing about being a parent makes you scream 'Get me out of here!'? Evenings, when my Beer Moment tantalisingly approaches and the kids appear to be caterwauling the Ring Cycle while nude-wrestling in the bath. 2. What skills, if any, do you have that would be useful in the jungle? I can lick the end of my nose. This could be handy when my sleeve runs out. I am still pretty accomplished at climbing up trees; just not so reliable at getting down them again. 3. How are you likely to annoy people if you were stuck with them for three weeks? I shall alienate the entire company the minute I'm let loose on the cooking pots. 4. What is the worst thing you have ever eaten? Anything cooked by myself. No, hang on  -  tongue! A huge cow's tongue

Fancy Stress

Time: 8.20am; Setting: the vicarage hallway.  The plot so far: we are stressfully hunting down matching shoes for the walk to school after a sticky, delaying incident with the cat litter tray. Small Son:  [as we head for front door] 'By the way, I've got to bring a firefighter's outfit to school today.' Me:  'Now you tell me!' [Thinks quickly] 'Go and grab your navy trousers and  Bob the Builder helmet.' Small Son:  'I don't think they wore helmets in 1666.' Me:  'You've got to be a 17th-century fireman?' Small Son: [patiently] 'Yes Mum!' Me:  'What did they wear?' Small Son : 'Dunno.' Me:  'Probably tights and tunic. Quick, ask your sister...' Small Son:  'I'm NOT wearing tights!' Me:  'Did they even have firemen in 1666?' Small Son: [disapproving] 'No Mum! They had firefighters.' Me:  'You have precisely 60 seconds to turn yourself into a 17th-ce

Saturday is Caption Day....

at Mammasaurus . Every caption suggestion gives me a thrill... please, make my day!

The Bishop's Eye

The Archdeacon is coming to dinner. This is a problem because the Vicar, who does all the cooking, is out all day and so the catering will be left to me. I cannot cook. The Sunday school teacher, whose cup cakes rise half a foot high, knows this and is worried. She offers to leave a three-course meal for three on the vicarage doorstep because the reputation of the parish is at stake. I do not like this idea because also at stake is my pride, so I tell the Vicar that the Archdeacon can have an all-day breakfast. All-day breakfasts are the only thing I can cook. Now the Vicar is worried. He says it's a helpful thought, but maybe he can stay up late after Parochial Church Council the night before and pile wine and proteins into the slow cooker. Next evening, as the doorbell rings I realise that I do not quite know what an archdeacon is, but I do know that it's venerable because the Vicar has bought the same duck breasts that nourished a passing bishop. Therefore, I rush up to


My daughter has an announcement to make. She assembles us all on the back lawn and allows suspense to thicken. 'I am going,' she declares importantly, 'to become a tomboy.' I am surprised. Her all-pink bedroom is full of all-pink Barbies and her favourite pastime is Claire's Accessories. But the childish spirit must not be quelled and so I congratulate her and tell her that she'll be able help with my manure mulching. She looks aghast and says that she's going in to change. Shortly afterwards her head pokes out of her bedroom window. 'What do tomboys wear?' she yells. Then she reappears in carefully coordinated jeans and shirt and trainers. She tows a bag behind her as she climbs the apple tree and draws from it a pair of sun glasses, an iPod and a hair brush. I offer her a spade to help with the shovelling. 'No thanks,' she shudders. 'I'll get my clothes all muddy.' And she dons the sunglasses and the iPod and reclines on

Music Therapy

Flossingthecat was dancing on mashed bananas when, unbidden into her mind came the image of Me, hunched over a record of Doris Day. And so, intrigued, perhaps that a vicar's wife would listen to anything so raunchy , she's tagged me into sharing music that thrills me. Doris will have to top the list, naturally. But what to choose? That forsenic analysis of the human condition, 'Booglie Wooglie Piggy: Oink Oink' or the optimists' anthem 'Que Sera Sera'? I decide to go radical. Interminable motorway journeys are relieved by the shifting pictures sketched by clouds and so I shall always empathise with Joni Mitchell, as improved upon by the Girl Next Door. There is, beneath my thermal layering, a cool woman waiting to break out. For I have, now and then, ventured beyond the 1950s and sniffed the cultural air. I've tried Dolly Parton and The Monkees. I've even made it into the 80s with the parting shots of Abba. But my coolest moment came wh

Saturday is Caption Day....

at Mammasaurus . Don't waste your witticisms -  share them here:

Fairies Outfoxed

Nine is an enticing age: old enough to nag for body piercings; young enough to believe in fairies. I tell my tweenager of the miniature feasts that I used to leave out for the fairies and of the miniature thank-yous that they would bestow in return and she is agog to feed the little folk herself. I'm not sure if fairyland abutts our part of London and I'm not sure if modern fairies will tolerate junket. Hoummous, she reckons, is a surer bait. She transfers her dolls house dining suite to the patio and fashions a microscopic feast from bread. Her brother transfers his dolls house dining suite to the patio and heaps faux gold plates with Hundreds-and-Thousands. And I wonder long and hard what modern fairies leave for their benefactors. The same, it would seem, as their 1970s predecessors. I know, because I glimpsed it, that tiny silver-foil baskets bearing tiny sugared eggs were left that night on the tables and that the tiny plates were emptied. But the children never kn

Social Intercourse

'Do you like wanking?' my mother asks the bishop. I am startled. I have much to learn about ecclesiastical etiquette, but this does not seem a proper way to address a visiting prelate. The bishop, however, is unperturbed. He tells my mother that he likes wanking very much and they embrace jovially by the chapel door. I am relieved when I discover that he was reared in war-time Bristol. 'Wank', my mother has often explained to me, was a blameless word for a walk in the West Country dialect of her childhood. She only learned that this was a localised definition on her first day as a London career girl, when she told her new colleagues of the lengthy one that she'd enjoyed before work that morning. My mother and the bishop are thrilled to share a lost verbal heritage and wank side by side all the way across the churchyard. And I follow at a safe distance and reflect on the unpredictable social adhesives that can bind strangers.

Versatile Blogging

Oldermum has kindly awarded me a green square labelled The Versatile Blogger. Presumably that's because I've demonstrated versatility by managing to display, in the course of two Saturdays, photos ranging from an elderly gentleman standing in a doorway in a funny hat to a scarecrow standing in a garden in a funny hat. In order propertly to merit this award, I must: 1: Thank the person who tagged me. 2: Share seven facts about myself. 3: Pass the award on to 15 deserving bloggers. I must also master the technology to import said green square onto this website. My versatility may well not extend to this, so you might have to imagine it - it's green with flecks on and has four straight sides. So - 1: Thanks again Oldermum. 2: The Secret Seven: I have kept a journal every day for 28 years. Narcissism presumably drives me, plus an idea that, if I were one day to re-read them all chronologically, some kind of order might emerge out of life's randomness. Tra

Saturday is Caption Day....

Image Mammasaurus ' blog. A spot of after-school hob-nobbing helps children's social training, for you never know who you might bump into.  All caption suggestions gratefully received. 

Where I Do It

Sahdandproud  has displayed his biscuit-eating head-quarters (where he also does a bit of writing) on his blog and is now keen to know where I do it. The truth is, up in the guest room, as far as possible from the biscuit tin, so that I burn off maximum calories in the regular commute to and from it. I'm glad of the interruption, for this is where I battle writer's block and where my kittens battle my mouse. To the right is the sheaf of deadlines that I'm supposed to be meeting this morning and on the screen is Mr SandP's website and Twitter tag over which I'm idling instead. The calendar and the trees remind me which season we're really in, for the guest room is so frigid I'm in thermals all year round. I would like to nose into the secrets of Katetakes5 , Himupnorth  and Mills&Boonwannabe . With thanks to Bibsey  for the original brainwave.

Issues with Tissues

There is something magical about washing machines. You stow in Y-fronts and a knot of school uniforms and you draw forth conkers and fancy rubbers. I found a gentleman's watch last week, the same day, by coincidence, that my seven-year-old lost his. My boss found a mobile phone that had whizzed round with her woollens. Sometimes my whites emerge rainbowed with liquefied wine gums. On lucky days there'll be a clutch of coppers stiffening a gusset; on really lucky days it's a quid. But  -  I have an issue with tissues. Like that malicious, lurking tea spoon when you've just drained the sink, there is always a tissue in the trousers. My floors are snow-flaked from my progress to the top-floor drying rack, and a confetti of white shreds floats down on the stairs when I hang up the smalls. I am resigned to the inevitable, but I shall tweak the inevitable to my advantage. I have ditched the own-brand tissue boxes and the pretty pastel shades. I stalk Personal Hygiene in W

Middle-aged Spread

I have bought myself a new top from Zara. This is partly because it was £3.99 and partly because I can fit my thermal vest under it without the edges showing. I think it's rather an elegant new top and, although it is cream and therefore not compatible with rotted manure, I wear it while teaching the school gardening club to mulch beans. 'Do you have a baby in your tummy?' asks seven-year-old Sonja, thrilled. I laugh shrilly and make a joke about doughnuts. Later, I tell one of the new school fathers about the remark and pause pleadingly for reassurance. 'So, are you pregnant?' he asks, peering. I go home and survey myself in the guest room mirror. There is a definite billow where my belt buckle is protruding beneath my new top. Only I'm not wearing a belt; the bulge is a spare handful of me. I suck in my breath and tell my daughter about Sonja and the new school gate father. She studies my midriff appraisingly. 'It's obvious you're not preg

Saturday is Caption Day

It's Picture Caption Day over at Mammasaurus  and a chance to air the family album. If you are tiring of fireworks, put your mind to a suitable witticism for when I next go to visit my father. All suggestions considered!

The Facts of Life: Part II

My daughter is staging a show in the sitting room. Usually she swirls one of my winceyette nighties to the Hits of the Monkees. Today, though, she is wearing a black mini skirt (bought by her grandmother), a black crop top (bought by her grandmother), strappy black high heels (ditto) and a black leather, metal- studded waist clincher (ditto ditto). 'I am a hard girl,' she sings, 'and I need a man who likes it rough.' On the sitting room stereo, Lady Gaga decides that she can't sleep with a man who dims her shine. My nine-year old sings gustily along with her. I am in a dilemma. She hasn't a clue what she's singing about. If I snap it off she'll suspect adult mystery. She'll interrogate me for enlightenment or, worse, interrogate her street-savvy class-mates. And so I sit tight and watch her gyrate and I reflect on the snares of motherhood. She'd spent her savings on the CD with my reluctant sanction. 'Explicit lyrics' warned the lab

T is for Tussling

I've just happened upon the weekly photo gallery at Sticky Fingers  where the letter T is the current theme. I thought of Tea bags because they cushion me through life's worst miseries, but  they do not photograph excitingly. Then I decided that I like Tussling more. The excuse for infantile behaviour in public is one of the glories of child-rearing and, when it is combined with my other great love, autumn leaves, Tussles are a matchless Tonic.