There Had To Be An Ulterior Motive?

Hi All

Can’t profess to having done much these last few days. One reason, of course, is that the man of the house is not at work and is doing his normal trick of suggesting places to ‘pop.’ Today’s little outing was to Matlock in Derbyshire to wander the antique shops – and on his behalf, not mine.

I didn’t object too much because the poor soul has little interest in much other than Land Rovers, motor bikes, and scouring eBay for all kinds of things that he honestly doesn’t need.

I can barely sit at the PC for more than an hour at a time without UPS, the Royal Mail or that other one, you know, the one in Castaway, banging on my front door. So, when he suggested ‘popping’ to Matlock, I went with the flow. I do occasionally.

You see, he has a new interest. Yep, and he came up with it all on his own. He has decided to collect cans! Not tuna or mixed veg cans. Not that kind. No, these are the sort that used to hold petrol, in ‘the olden days.’ 1930’s petrol cans.

Two have arrived recently. Rusty old things that he’s dumped in acid to remove the old paint before repainting them.

He wasn’t successful in sourcing another today but he did ask me if I wanted to go into a lovely stationers we passed. I knew there was more to it than that because usually he’d rather stick pins in his nether regions than stand waiting for me to caressingly finger every pen, pencil, piece of card and paper in Smiths.

I was right, of course. There was an ulterior motive. He wanted to look for a pen to write the inscriptions on the petrol cans.

He did his normal thing of asking my opinion – as if I had one. What do I know about 1930’s petrol cans? I suggested he ask the man behind the counter. After said man had advised him, he purchased two pens – well, actually, I purchased them – but then again, the money did come from the side in my bag where I keep the housekeeping so I guess Richard did purchase them. He purchases all kinds of things without realising it. I’m a strong believer in ignorance being bliss.

I took the opportunity of asking the lovely man’s advice on the purchase of a pen for book signing. Then we got talking about publishing etc. and he offered me the name of a bookstore owner that might be happy to take a couple of my books. Richard, meanwhile, stood in the background grinning and shaking his head. I didn’t see him doing it – I just knew he was – because he always does.

I thumped him when we got outside and he burst out laughing. I strolled off with him trotting behind me, imitating my voice. ‘Yes, I’m a self-published author . . . Famous? Me?  Goodness, no! My name? Oh, for your bookshop friend? Oh, OK . . .  No! Not Orwell. Orbell – and Jennie with an E.’

Richard does this all the time – insists that I put on a posh voice with some people – and he has great fun imitating me.  What he doesn’t realise is . . .  that is my normal voice, the one I use on normal people. My everyday voice is the one I use on him because I don’t want him to feel like a lesser mortal. Hahahah I’m joking. Sort of.

So, back to the collecting of the petrol cans. Seems a weird thing to be doing if you ask me – but each to his own, and if it keeps him happy? I’ve just popped out to take him a creamy coffee – even though he did take the pee out of me earlier – and he’s sitting, carefully painting-in the inscriptions. I glanced over his shoulder, just as he had painted the first four letters of PRATT. I placed the coffee before him and said, ‘If you want my advice I’d leave it at that!’ It took half a second for the penny to drop and then he laughed and smudged the letter.

I think that is probably one of the things that gels our relationship – we never take each other too seriously and we can laugh with, and at, each other. Though, I still don’t know why he wants to collect 1930s petrol cans?

I’m quite surprised that I’ve written about Richard’s little collection because, frankly, I had every intention of ranting and raving about how some people on Facebook are extremely selfish individuals . . . but that’ll wait for another day – because bet your bottom dollar they will still be there and they will still be selfish!

Take care my lovelies x20151028_142949


Scuttling Little Things, Loo Rolls, And A Rocking Horse!

Hi All

I’ve got a cold! A sneezy, snotty thing. I can’t believe it. I never get colds, and yet here I am running the second infection in a month.

I blame it on Richard. He always has some bug circulating. Something that one of his co-workers has happily shared.

Or, it could be the delightful grandchildren. They had a sleepover last weekend and little Jake was sneezing all over the place. We tried to convince ourselves it was a touch of hay fever, but I’m beginning to wonder.

Richard suggests I picked it up from the handle of a shopping trolley. What he knows about shopping trolleys he’ll soon forget. He prefers to take a hand basket. Plenty of room in one of those for two packets of Doritos, three bars of chocolate, and a pork pie.

Actually, I’m being rather nice to him lately and I’m . . . oh ‘eck, I don’t know how to say this . . . I’m making him sandwiches every day to take to work, and I’m packing them neatly in a lovely little Tupperware box with an apple, five small home-grown tomatoes and a penguin bar. This is just another indication and proof, if proof were needed, that I’ve lost the plot. And . . . I have a meal waiting for him every day, at three o’clock when he comes home.

I’ve really blown it now. There goes my image. What can I say?

Back to the grandchildren. When we arranged the sleepover my son asked me something that chilled me to the bone. He said the words and I froze, mobile clasped to my ear, eyes wide, brain frantic. He said, ‘Er . . . Mum . . .’

This wasn’t good – but it wasn’t the frozen, mobile clasped to my ear, eyes wide, and brain frantic bit. No, that followed.

‘Er . . . Mum . . . I was wondering if, when we are away for a few days, you could look after the gerbils.’

See? How frigging scary is that?

Eventually I came out of my stupor and stammered, ‘Look after the gerbils? Look after the gerbils? ARE YOU MAD? Chea will EAT them!’

I lost the argument and Sunday saw the changeover. The two grandchildren left and the two gerbils arrived. At least, the cage arrived, the gerbils had dug a tunnel down into the depths of the shavings and at this point were nowhere to be spied.

Grace went into near hysteria, crying, and sobbing that she was really going to miss them and I had to pretend that they were going to have a lovely time with ‘granny’ looking after them. That was if ‘granny’ could figure out how to work the doors on the maze of a cage, but I didn’t tell her that bit. We couldn’t console her and she left sobbing. I knew how she felt.

See, I have this thing that gerbils are a bit like mice – rats – and scuttling little things like that. I prefer animals that you can see and that don’t scuttle!

Richard left the whole thing to me, obviously, so come Monday morning I risked putting my hand in the cage to give them fresh water and food. I’d had my instructions . . . throw away the leftover food every day and give them fresh food along with fresh water. As if I didn’t know! And give them an empty toilet roll inner to munch. Er . . . OK.

The food and water are no problem but poor Richard can’t poo fast enough to use up the loo roll and provide the gerbils with the empty inner.

Anyway, long story short. They are safely imprisoned in the front bedroom, safe from Chea, and are having a lovely time scattering shavings and little black poo fragments all over the bookcase and my paperbacks.

I pop in frequently and have a chat with them and I have become extremely attached to the sweet little things. I said to Richard how impressed I am with them and that it might be nice to have some of my own. Richard simply looked at me.

I’m going to slip a bit of Ex-Lax chocolate into his sandwiches tomorrow because the little darlings have just munched through the last toilet roll thingy.

And now . . . the other news. I have just released the children’s book – no, it isn’t titled ‘How to Make Your Granddaughter Cry by Nicking Her Gerbils’ – it’s titled ‘Prince Regal and the Forgotten Friends.’ To ‘celebrate’ its release I am holding a competition. It doesn’t close until 5th January 2016 so plenty of time to pop the book in a Christmas stocking, read it and enter. See what I did there?  Not going to drivel on about it but I will add the link  and then, if you like, you can click it and pop and have a look . . . no pressure!

OK, I’m off to play with the gerbils . . . Take care my lovelies x

Instrument Of Torture

Hi All

So, I toddled off to get the instrument of torture fitted (24 hr blood pressure monitor) and, as my luck would have it, waiting for me in the consulting room was a boy-child, resplendent in a crisp, white coat, all smiles and adjusting his nappy. The nappy bit is not true, but why do I get these child or Adonis types when my flesh has to be exposed. Remember the Greek god who kindly repaired my groin hernia to the background track of Mama Mia? The one who delighted in patting-up my shaved pubic hair with a sticky-backed glove, and then delighted in showing it to me amid comments like, ‘Look, these sticky things are very effective. They pick up everyhair.’ This was said with a slight Greek accent – not that I would know a slight Greek accent if it slapped me in the face, but it wasn’t what I term as my native tongue. I digress.

The thing triggered every twenty minutes until 10.00 p.m. and then it kindly reduced its arm crippling tactics to every thirty minutes. By the time I got to sleep it was time to get up.

And then the fun really began when I attempted to upload files to Createspace. This isn’t right.  That isn’t right. Are you a robot? Do you actually know what you are doing? Are you are total moron?  The monitor went into meltdown, beep, beep, beeping, telling me that the reading hadn’t registered. I stopped typing and did as instructed . . . relax the arm and unclench the fingers. More beep, beep, beeping. Why they had to put the thing on my right arm when I said I was right-handed is beyond me. Well, actually it isn’t, apparently my blood pressure is higher in my right arm than my left. Perhaps my pulse is stronger in my right big toe than my left big toe? Who knows? Another mystery of life?

Then I uploaded to Amazon Kindle. Better. Just one little problem . . . I entered the wrong title. I think my brain should undergo the twenty-four hour monitoring.

But you all know me, I always find the positive in every negative, and the positive from this? Well, it has tested my blood pressure under extreme stress and manic yelling at Createspace, and later my own good self. What dickhead can’t remember the title of her own book? Don’t answer that. I know the answer.

Then, of course, I had the ‘normal’ daily stresses to contend with. Whoever said cats are stress reducing hasn’t met Chea. She can’t stay out, or in, for more than thirty minutes maximum, and pleading to her better nature is a waste of time.

‘Chea, wait a minute, I’m trying to upload this file,’ falls on deaf ears as she stands at the door wanting to go out, and I sit at the laptop with my hair turning greyer by the hour. This first instruction brings a mardy meow that I ignore. Next comes a louder mardy meow that I can’t ignore. ‘Wait a MINUTE!’ I say. She throws her heart and soul into caterwauling. ‘For shit’s sake, WAIT A MINUTE!’

Now she’s springing up the door, bouncing on her back legs, scattering cat litter. Obviously I stop what I’m doing and get up and let her out, with the instrument of torture beeping and tightening . . .  and tightening.

Within five minutes she’s back, banging on the glass with her wet paws and giving me evil stares. The look clearly says that if I don’t let her in she’s calling the RSPCA. I get up and let her in. This goes on for most of the day, or until she’s decided she’s had enough of playing silly buggers and settles at the side of the laptop, occasional stretching out in her sleep and sneakily operating screen lock!

Another word that you may as well save your breath over is, ‘quick!’ or ‘hurry!’ Both instructions have the same effect as I stand with the door open, waiting for her to saunter down the path and come in. Prior to me opening the door I can see her trotting down the path and heading for home with great enthusiasm, because let’s face it, another full dish of food might have miraculously appeared since she last came in to check, thirty minutes ago.

Now she stops to watch a starling on the garage roof. I shout the instruction again. ‘Hurry up, Chea, I’m trying to upload something!’ No response. She’s wondering what her chances are of catching the starling. ‘Chea, come on, move it!’ I hiss. It has some effect – for two strides – then she drops to her hairy bum and starts cleaning her whiskers. She’s been in the greenhouse and has spiders’ webs festooning her face.

By evening the uploading is done. Chea has settled at the side of the laptop, purring and galloping back into my affections (surprise, surprise) and the blood pressure monitor is ticking away nicely.

All in all I’d say uploading files and pandering to Chea’s every whim was a jolly good test of my stress levels.

Oh, I forgot to say that during the first two hours of having it fitted, and while I was stirring the soup, Richard shouted me from the lounge. I ignored him at first – well you do, don’t you? When he sounded like he was about to burst into tears I sauntered in just as the monitor beeped. There was Richard, hanging on to the TV that he’d just broken. The whole thing had been snapped off its central leg and it was see-sawing in his hands.

Apparently, it had been ‘dicky’ for a while. Bloody news to me. I can turn the screen to my ideal viewing position without breaking it. I won’t bore you with further details, other than to say that the soup had to be turned off, Richard had to find the ladder from his tip of a garage, and then crawl up into the loft where, fortunately, we had a spare stand.

Be interesting to know who, or what, was the biggest ‘trigger’ to cause the old blood pressure to peak? Createspace, Chea, or Richard?


Take care my lovelies x

P.S Apologies if email notifications arrived twice . . . I posted the original on the wrong page. See, I’m a complete div!

Chicken Pooh On Legs ?

Hi All

Do you ever think you are too nice? I mean, I’m sure you are nice anyway, but I know, for a fact, that it’s possible to be too nice. Too friendly. And today I paid the price.

Picture this – I park the car and make my way to the bank. No problem. The bank has a queue right back to the door. Still no problem, because it’s 10.05 and I have an appointment, across the road at the hairdressers, for 10.30. It’s also raining, I forgot to mention that.

So, this suits me just fine. I figure that by the time I get to the front of the queue it will be approaching 10.30. I’ll quickly pay in the cheque and then pop across the road, nice and dry, and promptly on time. Good plan? Of course it was.

Then . . .  the elderly guy behind me, in the queue, makes a comment that I don’t quite catch, because he kinda mumbled. Either that or Richard has finally sent me deaf with his booming voice. This is the point at which I made the mistake of smiling and nodding. This has always been my stand-by reaction when I don’t quite catch what someone has said. Either that, or scowl and shake my head. I’ve perfected it over the years. I just catch the drift, the tone if you like, and adapt the face. Nice tone . . . smile and nod. Sad tone . . . scowl and shake my head. This works very well and I don’t have to listen to people!

The bank person thingy (yes I really do type ‘thingy’ when I can’t be bothered to think of the right word) toddled up and asked if she could help with anything – pay stuff into the hole in the wall. I said no thanks, I’ve an appointment over the road that I’m early for so it suits me to wait. Off she scooted.

Now the guy behind me informs me, in clear words that I do catch, that he will be fine when he gets his half a million at the end of the month.

My little ears pricked up at that and I, never being one to miss an attempt at being witty, guffawed, ‘Half a million! Blimey, are you married?’

And that was that. A harmless little quip and away he went. Married twice. Served in the army. 5 canines. Never leaves the house without leaving one dog behind. Grandson . . . blah, blah, blah . . . shoe size, known allergies, more blah, blah, blah. Then, he discussed how dogs ‘picked up’ on menstruating women. He faltered slightly at this and quickly concluded with, ‘Well, you’re a lady so you know what I mean.’ He then coughed a bit and changed the subject to the price of Morrison’s doughnuts, closely followed by uneven pavements and a hundred uses for fine graded sandpaper.

Dear God. All I did was attempt to show what a witty, friendly, little person I am, and I had twenty-five minutes of face-to-face, in-my-face, sodding dialogue from some guy who was almost halfway to being a millionaire. I will never again go to the bank on a Monday morning at 10.05.

To be honest, I did bloody well. I didn’t let the smile drop for a second and nodded and frowned in all the right places for a full twenty-five minutes. I guess I made an old man very happy . . . or not. Whatever. . . .

Needless to say, my hair has been cut wobbly and strange because I sat in the chair ranting and raving for ten minutes, with my hair stylist laughing and trying to catch my swinging hair.

Actually, I’m lying. My hair is fine. She didn’t cut it wobbly. (She may read this blog so . . .) Just joking sweet Emma.

Then I came home and had the chucks out. I was quite concerned because when I pooh-picked there was a huge pooh in the sleeping area. Far too big for a chuck to pass. I leant down to pick it up and it leapt up at me. Yep. My worst nightmare – a leaping frog. After I’d run screaming from the chuck cage, and calmed down a bit, I returned with the fishing net and caught said frog. I released it at the side of the pond and it hopped off, covered in wood shavings and grey feathers – the chucks are moulting, remember?

I’d put money on it being the same frog that has found its way in there five times now. Just how it escaped being ripped to shreds by the chucks is a bit of a mystery. Maybe, with it covered in feathers, like that, they thought it was a very bouncy chick!

So, that was the start to my day. Tomorrow I may avoid people, and try to regroup my good nature. In fact, I may avoid people until Thursday when I have to toddle off to have this 24 hour blood pressure monitor fitted. That’ll be fun without laughing to be sure. The last time they tied me into one of those things I didn’t sleep a wink. Every hour the tourniquet armband expanded with a loud rumble, and the duvet rose up into the air.

Now I am going to remove Chea from the laptop and go and ‘pot up’ some winter heathers into hanging baskets. Not keen on heather. Don’t know why I bought it to be honest. I guess it will give a bit of colour over the coming grey days? Weirdly, one seems to have disappeared overnight. I bought nine and now there are only eight – which totally throws out my planting scheme. This, along with how the frog got into the chuck cage, is another mystery.

Re Chea and the laptop . . . since becoming the ‘star’ of the Two Chucks and a Tabby Cat book, she is even more persistent at hogging the laptop. She cuddles next to it each night as I type some rubbish of one kind or another, as if keeping an eye on what might come next. I get the distinct impression that she thought the book should be titled, A Tabby Cat and Two Chucks?

20151004_225021Take care my lovelies x