Distractions Can Make You Fat…

Hi All

I intended to write a blog yesterday and then I got caught up in other things…designing a cover for the book, making a coffee and walnut cake, and pruning back the shrubbery while the chucks wrecked the garden.

It’s pretty fatal for me to just pop up the garden to have the chucks out for ten minutes, before writing a blog, because it rarely works out that way.

 I like the chucks to come out everyday, unless the weather  is torrential. It isn’t actually necessary, because their hen-house is a 8 x 10 summer house – and those dimensions don’t include the outside run! It’s just that I know how much they enjoy pottering around the garden, scratching through the leaves, picking up tasty grubs and such like.

I always get caught up in watching them. To see them foraging, doing what ‘real’ chickens should do, fills my heart with simple pleasure. Listening to them ‘talking’ to each other makes me chuckle and talk back to them in silly tones.

They used to be very wary of Chea, nervously clucking and moving out of her way, but those days are gone. Flight now runs Chea the length of the garden, with outstretched neck and beating wings. Chea hides until Flight loses interest and turns her back, then she breaks cover and stalks them all over again. I can lose quite a few moments watching these performances. They are endearing and cost nothing.

Then Chea has her rubbing, rolling and freaking session in what’s left of the cat mint. I think it sends her a little high, or just crazy enough to take on a chicken? I’ve tried rubbing a bit on my hand…but to no effect. It must be a cat thing! Chea has ‘puddined.’ Yes, I know, there’s no such word, but there should be, because it describes her perfectly. A tubby little pudding. It’s no wonder, because she never stops troughing. I fear that one of these days Flight will actually catch her because she will be too fat to gather speed.

So, with all these ‘stand and stare’ moments going on, and by the time I’d lengthened the chucks ten minutes to two hours,  pruned back the shrubs, and picked up two trugs of fallen leaves, I had nothing left for blogging…so I made a cake.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the downside to that is we ate half of it last night. I’m going to have to stop the cake because I have a fortnight to reduce my waist! Why, I hear you ask? Well…

I popped to the doctors this morning and the nurse who jabbed in my B12 (and made my arm bleed, by the way) informed me that the NHS are offering free health checks, targeting diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke. She asked me if I would like to partake? She said it involved a blood test and then the nurse would weigh me (bugger) and take my waist measurement (double bugger). I looked damn horrified, to be honest, but I said, ‘Yeah, great, why not, but you’ll need a big tape measure!’

She very sweetly laughed.

I was going to make my usual, stock reply excuse, because it always sounds massively convincing, even to me. It’s the one that goes like this – ‘Well, unfortunately, I’ve put on weight since my three neck discs slipped and I had the inguinal hernia repaired. You see, I was told that I should NOT do half the things that I previously did.’

As I say, I was going to say this, but for some reason a vision of that bloody half-a-metre high coffee and walnut cake flashed in my mind’s eye, and I couldn’t bring myself to say the words. So I kept my mouth shut. A rarity indeed.

The next problem was booking the blood test. Next Tuesday. And again, Sod’s Law presented itself. I have every day free next week…except Tuesday. Next Tuesday we are taking Richard’s mum, Betty, to the hospital to have her hip-joint glued(?). I queried if I could have an afternoon appointment? No. They only do blood tests in the morning. The receptionist was very sweet and continued to stand, pen poised, like I was going to change my mind and next Tuesday was suddenly going to be OK, so I said, ‘I am free every day next week except Tuesday, we have to take my partners mother to the hospital to have her hip glued in. I’m now thinking that my blood test is more important than her hip. God! She’s popped it out three times already. Perhaps I should make the appointment and buy some glue and whack it in her hip-joint myself?’

The outcome was, I had to make the appointment for the following week. So, Betty wins again. Oh well, as my dear mum used to say, ‘You’ll get your rewards in heaven.’

I wonder?

Take care my lovelies xIMAG0194

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Sorry Bing…You’re In The Bin…

Hi All

Another month and it will be Christmas Day. Christmas Day! Well I’m not ready for that and I don’t have the ho ho ho spirit yet, either.

In order to address that little problem, I’m listening to the free with the Daily Mail, Bing Crosby Christmas CD, that I made Richard go out and purchase last weekend. Bing is singing White Christmas (my all time favourite Christmas song) as I write this – and I think I may throw the whole system at the wall.

Maybe it’s too early? Or maybe I’m just not trying hard enough?

With the “just not trying hard enough” thought in my mind, and after having been abandoned in the house all last week without a vehicle, I cheerfully announced yesterday morning that we were going to go to Toys ‘R’ Us to start the Christmas shopping. This went down as well as I’d expected (think, lead balloon), but frankly I didn’t care. Richard had messed up the car hire thing by not putting me on the insurance and so he needed to pay the price.

Richard decided we would go to the Derby  Toys ‘R’ Us, because it was further away than the Leicester one. (????) This makes no sense to me at all. I had a little list with the first two items on it that Jake and Grace, (the urchin grandkiddies), would like, and so off we went.

These moments of Richard and I together in the same small area, are never a bad thing, because we always have things to talk about. Usually, I talk about all the stuff that he has done wrong through the week, and he talks about winning the lottery and leaving me. I think that’s a joke?

Yesterday’s conversation was about road kill.

I said, as we passed a smitten pheasant,  ‘You know something? You could actually live on road kill.’

‘That’s right,’ Richard said. ‘You could.’

‘Well, I couldn’t… because I’m a vegetarian and you don’t see much dead cabbage lying on the road, do you?’

‘No,’ he said.

End of conversation.

The next subject was Betty, Richard’s mum. She has to go back into hospital and have some minor op on her hip-joint, the one that has recently been popped back in after popping out for the third time. She says it needs glueing in? This is fine and it shouldn’t be a long stay, however, as I have reported before, a sniff of a hospital and Betty becomes delusional, imagining that the staff are trying to kill her and are plotting against her. This reaction usually prolongs her stay, so we were discussing the logistics of actually managing to get her into a car and get her to us for Christmas Day. Richard suggested that it might be better if he went to see her because no one should have to spend Christmas Day on their own. I agree wholeheartedly, no one should have to spend Christmas Day on their own – unless by choice.

‘I can pop over to see her and then she won’t have to spend all day on her own,’ he said.

‘OK,’ I said. ‘But you won’t be spending all day there, will you?’

‘Er…no…but you know what she’s like once you get there. She expects you to stay for hours and hours.’

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if Richard spends all day with his mother, won’t I be on my own for Christmas Day? I pointed this out and slowly watched the penny drop.

‘Oh…yeah. That’s right. Hmmm?…’

Yes, I know, I could go with him, and I probably will, but I don’t want to be there all day. I want to have time with the chucks in the garden and watch Chea dismantling the Christmas tree. And I want to stoke up the log burner and watch the crappy TV. I suppose I’m being bloody selfish?

Back to Toy’s ‘R’ Us.

The car park was packed – which really annoyed Richard. We couldn’t find either of the items we were looking for – which really annoyed Richard, and when I asked some stupid girl if they stocked, ‘Marble Run,’ she looked at me like I was bonkers. I don’t mind people who know me looking at me like that, but I draw the line at strangers.  She said she would go and ask, and ten minutes later still had returned, and then I spied her talking to a good-looking bloke who wanted to know how to fit stabilisers on a bike. I threw a fit and stormed out, announcing that the place was crap and that I’d get it off eBay! I was also bloody sure that the Leicester branch would have been better – which I pointed out to Richard on the way back to the car – and that also annoyed him.

Grace wants a child’s Dyson vacuum… well we couldn’t find one of those either, so I stropped off into Curry’s and bought one for myself. Not a child’s. The small one that I can manoeuvre around without buggering up my neck joints any further. Actually, I think Richard uses the vacuum more than I do.

I think all this finally pushed him over the limit because on the way back he blanched and said worriedly, ‘God, I think I have the start of something awful. You won’t believe what I have just seriously thought?’

I shrugged. Could be anything, let’s admit it.

‘I just thought, I’ll have to get Meg out as soon as I get back.’

We exchanged glances.

‘Really? Honestly?’

‘Yes,’ he said.

Meg was our border collie. She’s been dead for two years.083

Joking apart, Richard has been very illogical lately and not his usually self, so I think I need to keep a close eye on him. These horrid things have to begin somewhere.

And on that sober note, and because Bing is about to be binned, I’ll close. I’m sure the Christmas spirit will find me…but not just yet.

Take care my lovelies x

PS I HAVE bought two Christmas puddings!!

Little Things Annoy A Lot…

Hi All

I have to admit that as weeks go this one hasn’t been brilliant. Nothing earth-shattering or mind-blowing, rather a kind of in-limbo week where everything has been dictated by others.

The car, with its pin-pricked bumper, has gone in for its major respray and Richard informed me yesterday that it won’t be coming back until next Wednesday. For Pete’s sake! I could respray the whole house by then and still have time to spare. He (Richard) after a very heated conversation, gave in and agreed to have a courtesy car, because according to him we ‘could manage without one.’ I don’t see how because Betsy The Land Rover is useless! All she does is sit in front of the lounge window, dripping oil and blocking-out the daylight!

Obviously I couldn’t be trusted to drive the hire car so he didn’t put me on the insurance and I’m grounded until next Wednesday. He has offered to ‘drive me to where ever I want to go,’ and I intend to make him jolly sorry  he said that. I see a trip  to Ikea looming over the weekend and perhaps a visit to M&S for a slow (very slow) walk round.

Something that has almost caused me to implode this week is the amount of dreadful images of cruelty being posted on Facebook. I can’t scroll without coming across something slaughtered, euthanised or being skinned alive. I fear the world has gone mad. I used to think, once upon a time, that it was just me living in la-la land but now I’m not so sure.

The Sleeping Field had a slight technical glitch whilst waiting for its final read-through by a friend (her printer ink ran out) and that had me treading water for a bit, but no worries, its back on track now.

And the other thing that has sent me half crazy is this bloody laptop – or rather the internet connection to this bloody laptop. Richards tablet is fine. And my older laptop is fine. But this super-duper, faster than pooh-off-a-shovel laptop is anything but fine and the internet connection dips and dives and then disappears. I have lapped my techno brain waves over the problem and come up with nothing. For two days it has continued to wind me up, until finally I gave in and consulted my brother, who rushed immediately from twenty miles away and belted up the motorway to come and sort out the problem.

We all know that Sod’s Law is a law unto itself and as Sod’s Law would have it by the time my brother was here the bloody thing was working perfectly and at full strength. We spent most of our time creating him an Avatar and eating my recently baked, not even cool, cherry cake. When Richard appeared from his slumber (night-shift this week) he was most put out to see the cherry cake half gone. I say it serves him right for not putting me on the hire car insurance and thereby grounding me like a naughty child.

So, actually I’ll be glad when this week is over because it has been irritating, upsetting and annoying. However, I am still grateful to the dear Lord for continuing to grant me this time and no matter how annoying this week has been I’m still deliriously happy to have been a part of it.

I’m keeping this short today because frankly I really don’t have much to say. I know. Amazing isn’t it? See what happens when I can’t get out of my front door to converse with the shoppers in Morrison’s?

Take care my lovelies x

Useless Betsy!
Useless Betsy!

A Different Kind Of Whip-Lashing…

Hi All

It’s been over a week since I last posted a blog so I’m thinking that you are thinking that I must have lots of news? I haven’t – and the reason I haven’t is because my time has been spent editing The Sleeping Field and ripping out my hair because I’ve been attempting to do this with Richard trotting around the place, being a pain in the butt, and being as disruptive as possible. If we were married, I’d divorce the bugger. I have actually considered telling him to keep the house and that I’d have the car and drive off into the sunset like Thelma and Louise. Obviously I’d need another person to do that…

Had I seriously (no I wasn’t serious. You know I love the man?) been considering it, the plan would have had a massive glitch, because yesterday, Richard the pillock, allowed a British Gas van and an Audi to plough into the back of him. Yep! I took no notice as he rushed into the kitchen with his Barbour coat-tails flying and pinched the notepad out of the drawer and my pen from beneath my gaze, after all, it gave me a few minutes of peace in which to concentrate on the final chapter.

The peace ended twenty minutes later when he came back, tossed the notepad with insurance details on the table and announced, ‘I’ve just had the car run into by two cars while I was waiting to get onto the drive!’

Obviously the final chapter was going to have to wait – again!

‘Have you smashed-up the car?’ I snapped.

‘I’ve got whiplash!’

‘Have you smashed-up the car?’

‘I’ve got whiplash. I was waiting to pull onto the drive and a bloke in a British Gas van had stopped behind me, and the Audi, behind the British Gas van, ran into the British Gas van and the British Gas van rammed into me.’

How many times could he say British Gas van?

‘So, you were at a standstill?’

‘Yes.’

‘So how have you got whiplash if the car behind you was at a standstill?’

‘Well I have.’

‘Well that’s great,’ I said. (Don’t tell me I can’t turn a negative into a positive.) Get yourself off to the doctor and get it on record and then we can claim for it and we won’t need to win the lottery to leave here to get that garage and room for a pony that you are always wittering on about.’

‘Are you taking this seriously?’ he said.

‘Is there ANY chance that I can EVER finish this book!’ I yelled. ‘Bugger off and get your neck examined…and you still haven’t told me if you’ve smashed-up the car!’

‘There’s a scratch on the bumper.’

I put my head back into the computer and Richard cleared off to the doctors. The guy in the British Gas van looked a bit worse for wear, poor soul, and sat looking dazed for some time. I did say to Richard that he should offer the poor guy a cup of tea but Richard said that the buggers had just put up the gas by ten percent and so he could do one. It seemed a bit harsh to me. I think the decision to raise gas prices came from a little higher up than the guy driving the van.

We popped to the bank this morning and it was my first chance (well not exactly my first chance because it was hardly important was it?) to examine the damage. Frankly it looked like a pin had pricked the bumper. Richard wasn’t very impressed with my comment.

‘Yeah, well. I always let everyone shit on me. I’m always the nice guy. Well not any more. It’s a new car. It’s got a hairline crack on the bumper – so it can be repaired!’

Bless him. He hasn’t mentioned the whiplash injury this morning. Shame because I was going to check-out all those ads that come on in the afternoons claiming to make you rich beyond words if you broke a toe nail whilst tripping on an uneven pavement.

As I said, he did run me to the bank. There was a massive queue and Richard waited in the car, on double yellows. The little guy before me in the queue started up a conversation, about the weather, what else, and we chatted away…until I mentioned having to put on the heater for the chickens if it got much colder. He became incommunicado after that. He did look at me, before conversation was cut off, and with a twitching eye, mumbled, ‘Chickens?’ I quickly realised that I’d gone too far so I didn’t push it.

Then we came home and had a cup of tea and a piece of stollen and Richard trotted off to work. If you remember, Richard fell off his moped on the first day back to work after our break in Spain? I said he should take great care because these things always happen in threes. He said he was having a flu jab at work, so the nurse would probably pierce an artery and he’d bleed to death. Well he didn’t…so I reckon accident number three is still imminent? I guess I’ll just have to keep him away from sharp implements…including my tongue? MB900049751

On that note I will bid you adieu and pop off to sort out a cover for The Sleeping Field.

Take care my lovelies x

If It’s In With The Beef It Isn’t Vegetarian!…

Hi All

You will never believe what I am going to tell you…but I’ll tell you anyway. The long-lost fridge freezer is being delivered tomorrow morning!! Whoop bloody woo! Kiss my posterior! I’m thinking you don’t believe me? I’m not sure that I believe me!

I’ve been around the house and repainted all the white windowsills that were looking a bit grubby. Not sure if this is in preparation for the arrival of the appliance or just because I’m weird, but either way they are painted. And I’ve re-varnished the bits on the lounge floor that looked a bit scratched by the log basket…and I’ve placed a notice on the lounge door warning Richard that I will slice off his bits and put them in said freezer if he goes into the lounge when he comes home from work and steps on my wet varnish.

Oh and I repainted a bookcase while I had the paintbrush in my hand. Obviously I’ve dripped white eggshell on my new leggings.

Another little accomplishment…I’ve finished the edits of The Sleeping Field! I also spent an hour trying to write a blurb and failed miserably so I’ll have to have another bash at that later – or tomorrow – if I’m not tarting up the fridge freezer with my special veggie bits.

Taking of which…

When we were in Spain my dear cousin, Dawn, suggested making spaghetti Bolognese. No problem. How kind. Being a vegetarian I said I’d simply have pasta and some of the vegetarian sauce, from the jar, tipped over it.  When I walked into the kitchen I noticed a small pan with a portion of tomato sauce in it. Perfect. Then I noticed that she was picking out olives, one at a time, from the large pan of bubbling Bolognese and dropping them into my portion of sauce. Frankly I’ve never had Bolognese sauce with olives but this was Spain. ‘What are you doing?’ I said, in what I now realise was a very accusing voice.

‘Giving you these olives because you only have tomato sauce.’

I studied her for a few more seconds, waiting for her to read my face with its raised eyebrows and slightly curling lip and then said. ‘I can’t eat that, I’m a vegetarian.’

‘Yes,’ she said, ‘olives are vegetarian.’

‘Er…yeah, but you are removing them from a pan of beef!’

‘Does that matter?’

‘Well yeah.’

Watching the light dawn on Dawn’s face was something I shall never forget. She looked devastated. All that remained was pasta. Being such a magnanimous human being I said that it was no problem and that I’d just have pasta… and maybe a sliced tomato and a bit of black pepper.

Her little voice piped up. ‘Er…I made the sandwiches at lunch time with the rest of the tomatoes.’

‘In that case I’ll just have pasta…with pepper…if we have any left.’

Blimey, it wasn’t like I was going to fade away. I could live off my hips for a fortnight and still have an hourglass figure. We all divulged into fits of giggles about it later and opened the cashews, crisps, yum-yums and sangria. Richard drank too much of the later and danced around the room with a stupid sombrero on his head.

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Lordy look at the time! Off to wash the paint brushes and pooh-pick the chucks before Richard gets home.

Take care my lovelies x

With A Frisky Little Hand Down The Back Of Her Jeans…

Hi All

It seems like an age since I was last here and I can’t really blame it on ‘the holiday.’ Sure, that took up time, but I’ve been back for almost five days and I simply haven’t been able to get back into my groove …whatever that means? I have a proofed novel waiting for my attention and the best I can do is clean the house and replace the lounge curtains and curtain poles. I’m sure that must mean something but just what I have no idea.

The holiday was perfect and I have to say that although Spain is nice, and my brother’s house is beautiful, it was the company that made the holiday. We never stopped laughing and my ribs still hurt now! I guess it is a simple rule of life…put the right combination together and it works.

I was terrified of flying and Richard wasn’t much better. My fear came from the fact that the plane might explode in mid-air, Richards fear was of throwing up. Naturally, being the caring souls that we are we supplied him with plastic bags and advised him against eating carrots the night previously. Another mystery of life. Why does vomit always contain carrots even though you can’t remember eating any? Don’t answer that. I really don’t need to know the answer at this time of the morning.

Richard passed through every shade of green, white and grey on the plane and couldn’t speak, except to grimace and mumble, ‘Sit still you’re rocking the plane!’ Obviously we divulge into childish laughter, nothing else to do in the circumstances.

I must say I was a bit concerned when we arrived at the airport and I happened to glance out of the window and clock a plane waiting on the tarmac. I said to my cousin, jokingly, (I thought)  ‘Bloody hell, I hope that isn’t our plane, it’s tiny, and they haven’t washed it and the wings bend up at the ends.’ I don’t need to tell you that it WAS our plane.

Coming home was a bit of a blast. My hand luggage got beeped and the jolly little Spanish person (yes I’m joking…Lord, talk about losing a pound and finding a penny) grated something which I didn’t hear but Richard did and he snapped, ‘Fluids!’

‘Huh?’ I said, watching with childish amusement as my cousin was shepherded off towards a Spanish female official to be frisked.

‘FLUIDS!’ Richard yelled, panicking and grabbing my bag. ‘You’ve got fluids!’

‘Have I? No I haven’t. What are you talking about?’

‘Unzip your bag!’ Richard said, quieter this time, not wanting to draw attention. Meanwhile my cousin was having exploratory hands run up the inside of her legs…

I unzipped my bag and there, lying on the top of my delicately packed crap, was a bottle of spring water. Richard plucked it out and the lovely happy Spanish person (!) winged it into a bin where it landed with a thud.

‘Hey, that’s my water,’ I said with great indignation.’He’s binned my bloody water.’

Richard hissed, ‘shush,’ through his teeth…YES hissed, and grabbed me by the collar…YES grabbed me by the collar, and shoved me ahead of him still hissing, ‘You DON’T argue with customs, get going!’

Charming. What am I going to do with a bottle of spring water? Personally I can’t think of anything except drink it or add it to pancake/Yorkshire pudding batter to make it extra light and crispy.

My cousin was having a hand slipped down the back of her jeans as Richard pushed me past her, refusing to let me stop. But it wasn’t over yet…

As we were preparing to board, another lovely little Spanish person kindly caught my attention (pointed at me and jerked her finger, indicating that I should move out of the line) and made me ram my hand luggage in the stupid template thing that dictates the size. I don’t need to tell you that it wouldn’t fit in. My party had gone on ahead and I was all alone in a foreign country, with foreign people, speaking a foreign language – and they had stolen my spring water.

Suddenly my brother appeared…and made to come back through the system. The ratty official told him not to come any further and my brother had that look on his face that clearly said, ‘Piss off.’ My heart swelled. My brother had come back like a spawning salmon battling up-stream and here he was, leaping the hypothetical barrier, fighting off the lovely Spanish person and demanding I chuck out half of my bag contents and saying that he would put them in his bag.

Looking at it, if it hadn’t been for the bottle of absinthe that Richard bought and shoved in my bag, because his was full, and the Spanish chocolates (last time I support the Spanish economy) my bag would have passed the template tester thing.

But my brother was my hero. He’s been having Spanish lessons for some time now so I guess it does help having an inkling of what these lovely people are saying??!! Mind you, what he said didn’t sound too jolly. We obviously looked very suspicious? Can’t imagine why, although, my brother and Richard passed through without incident.

My cousin and I had a jolly, rip-roaring, snorting laugh on the plane about her having been frisked. She said it was a bit weird and it wouldn’t have been quite so weird had it been a man doing the frisking. I think she was joking.

We came back to chilly weather and Richard had to go to work the next day. When we settled down for the evening he told me he had fallen off his moped that morning, (see how he has to wait until he has my full attention?) on the way to work. He said, when he’d gone around the mini roundabout, the back wheel went from under him, the front wheel hit the kerb three times and then he ended up on the grass verge. He said, ‘As I lay there I thought, eff me, yesterday I was lying on Wayne’s roof top verandah, sipping Sangria in the sun, and today I’m lying on a wet muddy verge, being rained on, and with a moped on top of me…effing brilliant!’

I think he came off (not literally) slightly better than the bike. The bike has a smashed mud guard, a buckled wheel and grass implants. Richard has a badly bruised back and upper arm. I have put my foot down and banned him from riding the stupid thing through the autumn/winter months. The roads are wet and greasy and I fear for the little soul. I mean, what’s wrong with using Betsy Land Rover? Or the car? Mini moped can go and over-winter with BMW motorbike in the garage.

So… that’s the first blog sorted, now all I have to do is find the enthusiasm to third draft The Sleeping Field. WP_20131030_001

Take care my lovelies x