Never Stop Topping-Up The Memory Jar…

Hi All

I guess when you get to a certain age your ‘memory’ jar is pretty full, but surprisingly that jar can always accommodate more, and that’s what I’ve been doing over the last ten days – topping up the memory jar.

We attended a wedding in Cornwall ten days ago and the greatest memory retained from this was the memory of laughter. It never stopped. Put the right people together and it’s a done deal. The down-side to this is just how much my ribs ached afterwards, and still do.

I have always had a strong bond with my cousin, Dawn, and when the two of us are together we find the whole world hilarious. And when we can’t laugh at the world we laugh at ourselves. One incident will remain at the top of my memory jar for a long time. If you don’t like toilet humour then read no further.

Yep, thought so, you’re still reading!

During the reception I needed to leave the hotel and go back to the car to find some flatter shoes. Everyone else seemed to manage on heels (that doesn’t include Richard, obviously) but I couldn’t, and each time I stepped on the grass my heels sunk in and my feet left my shoes behind, which for some reason I found hilarious, but then I’ll laugh at pretty much anything. As we left the hotel, Dawn turned to me and discreetly mumbled, ‘I need a trump.’

I was bloody surprised because I’ve known her for a while and to date she has never shared this sensitive kind of info’ with me. I was looking understandably astounded as we pushed through the door, leading out onto the beautifully landscaped gardens, when Dawn turned to me and announced, ‘I’ve trumped!’

I turned to her, requiring clarification, and said, ‘You’ve trumped?’

Suddenly she wasn’t there. Her legs buckled and she collapsed in a heap on the gravel. One of her shoes winged away into the bushes and she was prostrate on the ground. I (we) laughed so hard that I did exactly the same thing…but without the falling over bit. Her tights were torn and her knee was bleeding – which made us howl – and she couldn’t get up – which made it even funnier.10579222_10204828446254830_587700490_n

Eventually I managed to get her on her feet and we cackled our way to the car, doubled over and hysterical. I’ll tell you something – I have no idea how she managed to pass wind so privately and yet it still managed to blow her off her feet.

Richard came looking for us at one point but he never found us. He said he could hear us hysterically guffawing in the bushes but he couldn’t find the right bush. I don’t think there’s an answer to that?

I must add that at this point neither of us had been on the falling down water. Seemed Dawn didn’t need it.

Another memory was founded at the weekend when Jake and Grace (grand kiddies) came over for the day.  We trotted off down the road and into the fields at the back of the house, where there are dozens of blackberry brambles with ripe, ready-to-pick fruit. They each had a bowl and Grace (3) picked the lower berries and Jake (7) picked the higher. I picked fruit at the next level up and we sent Richard into the brambles to get those that none of us could reach. The sun was shining and all was well with the world. At one point I stood back and watched them, chatting away excitedly about picking as many as they could so that we could make jam. Jake instructing Grace, ‘You need MORE than that, doesn’t she Grandma?’ They were totally absorbed and there wasn’t a PC game or the equivalent in sight. Everything was free – and fun. I shall hold the memory of little blackberry-stained fingers and mouths for many years – possibly always.2014-08-25 12.04.41

Some memories remain when you wish that they wouldn’t. Last night I was tapping away on the old laptop talking to my friend Deb McEwan, (If you fancy reading something poles apart from what I write take a look at Deb’s books… when there was an almighty thud behind me. It sounded like Richard had thrown the sofa across the room.

‘What the eff was that?’ I yelled. (Ladylike as ever, hey?)



More silence.


‘Me,’ he whimpered.

Amazing how such a big bloke can have such a tiny whimper when he’s in the wrong.

‘I tripped…I’ve spilt my wine.’

‘Well you hadn’t better have spilt it on my rug?’ I warned, still tapping away on the PC.

‘I’ve spilt it everywhere,’ he announced, sounding rather too brave and proud of the fact for my liking.

‘What?’ I bellowed, getting up from the computer to discover that the wine he had been carrying was now all up my recently purchased curtains, the wall, the rug, the floorboards and the French doors – and it was his homemade red wine at that!

‘Why are you so bloody stupid?’ I bawled, pointlessly, because I know why he’s so bloody stupid. He practises being stupid on an hourly basis.

‘I got my foot stuck in my trouser hem and tripped,’ he said.

‘Why are you walking around with a glass of wine in your hand anyway?’ I was still shouting, which wasn’t doing my recently acquired sore throat much good. In fact, I truly believe that the sore throat is a leftover from all that laughing at Dawn, a week ago.

‘I was coming to wash the pots,’ he said’


Needless to say, it was me who had to swab the bloody curtains. I’ve told him if they stain he can go and buy some more.

So, another memory.

Well, it takes all kinds, hey?

Take care my lovelies x




If They Could See Me Now That Little Gang Of Mine…

Hi All

There have been many occasions, and times during my life, when I have been reminded of those lyrics from Sweet Charity…if they could see me now that little gang of mine, and as I write this I am once again reminded of them. Because if you could see me now you would probably crack-up.

No, I’m not wearing a wet tea towel around my mush while I avoid the migraine-triggering, vinegar smell boiling-up from the chutney, as in the last blog, I am wearing my hair differently and I resemble a curly-whirly. There is a reason and I will tell you, well, you always knew I was going to, didn’t you? Otherwise why would I mention it?

I am going to a wedding. Not my own, because I am too weird for Richard to want to marry me now. He used to want too, and asked me at least three times a week. My answer was always the same…no! I am going to my nephews wedding, in Cornwall. Because I am a troglodyte-type person – happier in compost than Chanel – I spend on average, three minutes a day on my hair. A hand pushed through each side in turn and an applied bobble, pony-tailing it, is as good as it gets. However…

I decided that it was time I tried something a bit different and make a bit of an effort. Why? Lord knows. It seemed like a good idea when the thought leapt into my brain, and so I made an appointment with my lovely hairstylist, Emma.

Emma has known me for some time now and is well aware of my little idiosyncrasies. My fringe must never fall out with my eyebrows. My ears must not be lower than my hair, and one or two other little quirky things that I’d really rather not mention. It was a practice run. We were going to curl my locks and try a few styles. As Emma neatly and professionally curled each segment of hair I sat watching. When every hair was corkscrewed she asked, ‘What do you think of it so far?’

What did I think of it so far? I cracked up, snorting and giggling. All I could see before me was one of those Judge-type dudes, sitting behind a mahogany desk, with the curly wig. After thirty seconds I spluttered, ‘I feel like I should be placing a black cap on my head and giving out the death sentence!’ I couldn’t remove the image and was relieved when Emma ran her hand through my hair and I lost my Judge-locks.

Several styles were applied and Emma took pics’ of them, because my dear cousin, Dawn, is going to have to copy the one of choice (she doesn’t know that yet)…and NO I am not putting a pic’ on here. I may be stupid but I’m not mad.

Anyway, when Richard walked in from work I was dishing up the salmon, courgettes (God more courgettes) the new potatoes and runner beans (God even more runner beans) and I remarked, ‘I’ve had my hair curled.’ You might think this strange…that a grown man needs  telling that my hair has changed from a pony tail to something out of Dynasty, but without me mentioning it he wouldn’t have noticed. And for two reasons.

One, when food is in the trough, Richard has tunnel vision and I wouldn’t even be in sight, and two – he never notices anything – unless it involves the car, motorbike or Land Rover.

‘I like it,’ he said.

I swear he is trying to kill me with surprise.

‘But the wedding is seven days away, won’t it be straight by Monday?’

As I live and breathe.

So, here I sit, typing away with my curly-whirly locks bouncing away like Medusa’s spitting snakes, and if Richard knows what’s good for him he will curb the comments or he could be turned to stone.

I fear that whilst I’m away my garden will resort back to a wilderness. The runner beans are already attempting to grab onto the lower birch tree branches, and the huge courgettes are lying around like alien space pods.

I did manage to make the jam that I said I wanted to make. All that remains now to make is the tomato chutney. They are starting to turn, so hopefully they will be ready for picking when I get back and then it’ll be back to the wet towel and my Dick Turpin impression….although, to be honest, I can’t keep Adam Ant from my mind’s eye singing, Stand and deliver …your money or your life!

Take care my lovelies x2014-08-09 18.08.40

Just A Quickie.

Hi All

Just a quickie to stay in touch.

The garden is still taking up masses of my time – but then I figure that’s OK.

Life isn’t always about batting along at a rate of knots, is it? Sometimes – often in my case, it’s about standing and watching the bees on the lavender, and the butterflies on the buddleia. It’s about smelling the roses – literally. It’s about collecting the hordes of snails that chomp their way through the sunflower leaves and seemingly anything else that’s slightly green. I often wonder how long it takes them to make it back to my garden after they have been winged over the hedge and into the neighbour’s garden. (I’m pretty sure someone wrote a book about that? The time it takes for snails to return to a garden? But I may have dreamt it!)… It’s about watching Chea trying to get herself stung by irritating the bees, patting and pawing at them until they buzz off, laden with pollen. She hooked out a little yellow frog the other day and left it lying on the ground with its skinny legs akimbo, looking like something out of The Kama Sutra (not that I know anything about that). I was so pissed off with her, and her continual attempts to kill everything that moves, that, after a very harsh scolding, I shut her in the house. Unfortunately the postman caught the gist of it. We tend not to get much mail these days.

The courgettes are manic. I think they grow just to spite me. Four-inch long babies suddenly grow into teenagers overnight and in the morning they are lying there, all grown up and waiting to be picked. This has caused a glut so last week I made nine jars of courgette chutney. As I mentioned, in the previous post, the boiling vinegar gives me a migraine so to combat this I have to dip a tea towel in water and then tie the tea towel around my face so that the acidic stench cannot get to me.  This works out quite well – in private, but it’s kinda scary for anyone who might venture to the door during the cooking process. The fact that all my tea towels are black probably doesn’t help. 2014-07-24 10.51.32

I’m now waiting for the tomatoes to ripen and then I’ll make a batch of tomato chutney – red with the ripe ones and then green with the ones that don’t make it through the ripening process before autumn shuts everything down. And I decided today to make some apple and ginger and apple and blackberry jam. The apple trees are full of fruit this year, so many that as they grow and expand they push against each other, lose their grip and hurtle to earth. It’s quite dangerous, actually, because an apple could hit you on the bonce at any time.2014-07-24 18.55.10

The other hugely time-consuming thing is the new book. It’s coming along quite well – although some days I do lose control of my characters and the following day I have to delete half the dialogue. It’s currently around 46,000 words so I’m reasonably happy with that.

And, of course, there is Richard. He is the least time-consuming, but nonetheless he does require some of my time so I’ll pop and see if I can find something from the bottom of the freezer for his tea. Freshly concocted delights are a rarity at the moment.  I’m pretty sure that the last time I was head-down in the freezer I saw a lasagna from the Beatle’s era. That’ll do.

So, dudes, happy gardening, preserve making, writing, snail throwing…and whatever else takes your fancy. Oh, by the way, I sprayed the little yellow frog with my plant spray and thirty minutes later it crept back into the beetroot patch. Result!

Take care my lovelies x