Friday, 30 December 2011

Wild horses

A lot of people already know this story. In fact it's almost legendary. Or legendarily embarrassing, which is why I'm going to share it with you all.

Any respect you had for me is highly likely to disappear after hearing this.  At best you'll feel sorry for me. At worst you'll unfollow me/delete me.

I'm going to explain where we live at first. It'll probably help you understand the logistics of my woeful tale.

Our house is right at the top of a 'lane' which is essentially a really long cul de sac.  You can only get out of the top of the street on foot, through a gate onto a huge field.  This field is part of a walk called 'the black path'  If you keep walking (as most dog walkers in the area do) along the black path you come to a gypsy camp.  Its a well established camp, and has been there for decades.  It's so well established that it featured on 'big fat gypsy wedding'.  Remember this camp, and the fact it's near to where we walk the dog, its an important feature of this story.

Half way around the black path there's a field with long grass. We inventively call it 'the long grass field'  The dog loves it. She goes wild, bouncing and rolling in the long grass. Anyway for a while there had been 3 or 4 horses grazing in the field.  They were big horses, with those leg warmer, legs (yes I am a horse expert) and my husband had explained they were shire horses, or something similar.  Anyway they were lovely big horses and I'd been taking an interest in them for a while.

Having spoken to other dog walkers (as you do)

  • Lovely Day
  • Looks like rain
  • No sign of rain
  • This is set in (raining)
  • Its just a cloud burst (raining)
  • Its a bit blowy (windy)
  • There's snow in that sky
  • Mind the black ice
.......Yes we truly are an interesting bunch....

Anyway, so having spoken to other dog walkers it would seem the horses on the long grass field were from the gypsy camp.

This is where my story really starts.

I'll set the scene.  It was nice summer evening, around 7 o'clock and we had just about reached the long grass field.  We're strolling at this point, the evening sort of demands strolling (oooh I went all 'waltons mountain then) I might be wrong but I think me and Phil might even have been holding hands.  The dog was running and rolling, Syd was kicking his football (Joe was probably at home on his laptop trying to chat up a 19 year old girl) but it was a lovely summer evening.

As we walked onto the field I noticed the horses were galloping towards a man.  He had with him a couple of buckets and he was throwing food to the horses.  I shouted Syd to come and have a look, and the three of us stood on the bridge over the pond and watched the man feed the horses. 

I was pointing at them when Syd started to chase Mica, so I shouted him back. 'Syd' I shouted, in my delicate voice, 'come and watch the horses'.....he came back but I must have caught the mans attention.

He started to walk towards us (in hindsight he may have just been walking towards the path that lead to the camp).

'Hello' I heard him say


'How are you doing' he said,


No reply. I presumed he hadn't heard me so I decided to shout louder,


'Ok', he said

Encouraged I continued with the shouting,


'I know' he said


The horse man was quite close to us now, so I was about to shout to him again. When Phil grabbed my hand. He was still standing beside me, and without turning to look at me, said something, which to this day still fills me with shame.

'You do realise he's on the phone'

Then, like someone, who wasn't very well 'mentally' he put his arm around my shoulder and lead my away from the field.

No one spoke on the walk home.

Needless to say I've never been back to that field again. The shame would kill me.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Moneys too tight to mention

I'm sure I have already but I'm going to describe my hair to you.  Its just past my shoulders and naturally curly.  I'm quite lucky really because I have good natural curls, almost ringlets, not that frizzy kind of curly hair that has the texture and look of candy floss.  On the whole I'm quite pleased with my hair.  I'm not however overly impressed with the colour of my hair.  Its definitely blonde, or fair if you like,  however it isn't gleaming, film star blonde, in fact it could be described as mucky Labrador blonde (that's a good name for a hair dye, I might email L'oreal)

  • Labrador             (golden blonde)
  • Scampi sunset     (rich gold)
  • Beaver                (dirty brown)
  • Fudgepot             (nutty brown)
  • Crispy pancake    (warm copper)
Anyway back to my story.  I am feeling particularly uninspired by the colour of my hair so I have made the monumental decision to dye it a different colour.  I am not one of these types who's hair is a different colour every week.  I do not 'experiment'. Where my hair is concerned I am not 'wacky'.  I am very cautious so this is a big deal for me.  If I do get highlights I get a similar colour to my own hair.  Which makes me wonder why I find myself in Superdrug buying what is essentially orange hair dye. 

Well it isn't actually orange, its called rich copper gold and its really nice.  So I buy it (two boxes, don't want it to be patchy) and take it home to do.

As I say I'm not an experienced dyer of hair so I make sure I read the instructions properly (I skim read them paying more attention to the pictures than the words) and get on with it.

After mixing the bottles together I shut myself in the bathroom and start squirting the mixture onto my hair.


Its too late to stop now, I have to keep going.  To add insult to injury, I can barely breath something is burning my throat and my eyes, as I open the bathroom window and gulp in lungfuls of air I decide I have a new found respect for hairdressers. So on I go squirting and then rubbing it in.  Its burning my hands a bit and they've gone a funny orange colour, you think they'd provide you with gloves. (Yes. I know now that they do. I saw the little plastic packets but just didn't open them. Having hands that resemble chicken tikka for 3 days has taught me a valuable lesson about reading instructions).

I decide to read the instructions regarding the timing as I've been caught out with an oven ready chicken before.  Right.  I need to give it 30 minutes.  Well that's no bloody help.........

  • From when I started applying the dye
  • From when I finished applying the dye - in which case - because of the burning chicken tikka hand incident - one part of my hair will have been on 40 minutes and the other half 30 minutes.  I will have a two tone head.
  • From when I finished reading the instructions.
I decide to set my alarm for 30 minutes from the point I stopped wondering.  I wrap a towel around my neck and wrap tin foil around my head.  I obviously have an above average sized head as the amount of foil I need to use would do 3 turkeys and line a barbecue.

I sit down and wait for the 30 minutes to pass.  A few minutes before its due to come off I chance a little peak under the foil and am horrified to discover my hair appears to be a weird peach colour.  I'm about to rush into the bathroom and wash it off when i decide that the final 2 minutes might be the time that the colour fully develops, in the manner of a swan.  My hair is currently the 'ugly/peach duckling' and will soon be the 'beautiful/bronze swan'.   The fumes have clearly got to me as while I've been rambling on about swans the dye has been on for nearly 40 minutes.

I head to the bathroom and remove the foil.  The peach foam is still present, it hasn't as I'd anticipated transformed into a rich bronze.  I dig the instructions out of the bin and check what I'm supposed to do at this point. (Note to self:  never, ever be such a bloody halfwit again, and should one decide to dye ones hair again lose the cocky attitude and read the instructions PROPERLY)

So it would seem that I need to rinse off the dye, wash my hair, and then apply the miracle conditioner that will lock in the colour until the next millennium.

I do all of the above, pluck up my courage and then look in the mirror.

It's really quite nice. In fact it's lovely. I decide however the thing to do is dry and style it and then make a decision.

Okay. So here we are. Hair dried and styled and it looks nice.  It really is a warm bronze gold. I'm quite chuffed and inwardly laugh at those idiots who have previously dyed their hair demented colours at home. I'm actually smug (like Davina)

I get up for work the following morning, shower, wash my hair, re-use the magical conditioner and do my hair.....Not only do I have amazing ringlets I now have the loveliest rich copper blonde hair.

I drive to work admiring my hair in the mirror all the way. I inadvertently knock over 2 pensioners, a lollipop lady and a fox (not the animal just a sexy girl) on the way, I should probably go back and assist them but I'm completely mesmerised my by stunning hair, so I don't bother.

I arrive at work, park up and head into the office, flipping my rich ringlets as I go.  I walk towards my team and they look at me. I may be wrong but I think I see a combination of admiration and desire in their eyes.

I toss my head around a bit more.  I am utterly fabulous. Admired by many. In fact my hair is clearly reminding people of Cheryl Cole.

Then I notice my team are all humming/singing under their breath. I'm completely thrilled, my teams morale is clearly through the roof. I sit down and notice the humming/singing is getting louder

Even at this point I haven't clicked as to what they're doing.  I'm still convinced they're just happy at their work, so I wander around them saying good morning.

Me: Hi Dan, how's things, good weekend?
Dan:  Yes, I spent it at the fairground

Me: Morning Dorothy, you OK.
Dorothy: Yes, I was just talking about my new eye cream. I suppose I'm just holding back the years.....


Me: Hiya Tone, how's it going
Tony: Good! We were just talking to Michael, he was telling us he had a new flame.

At this point I'm still cheerfully tossing my newly dyed hair around when it suddenly falls into place.


I rush to the toilet and look in the mirror.

Oh Sweet Jesus I do.

Roll on pay day when I can afford to get it coloured properly.

After all.....


Sunday, 11 December 2011

A nice chianti and some fava beans

Well as you know yesterday I got caught up saluting magpies to give the damaged fence my full attention, so I decided to try again today.

 Its half past ten, I'm in the garden and the fence is probably a bit worse than I originally thought. We basically now share a garden with the people behind us.  I'm planning on walking round to their house to talk to them about it when I notice someone moving in their kitchen, so I  wave at them.

They don't notice so I up my effort and wave both my arms and point at the fence laid on the floor at my feet. I do this for a couple of minutes. I'm feeling completely ridiculous when the person, who is washing up notices me, but strangely she just politely waves back and carries on washing up.I've never seen her before, they must be the new people.  This doesn't stop me from feeling a bit confused by her casual wave, if I was in that situation there are some questions that I would be asking myself.

  • Why has my garden doubled in size.
  • Who is that strange woman in pyjama's and dressing gown standing in my garden waving her arms.
  • Where has the house at the end of my garden come from, I don't remember that being there before
  • Didn't I used to have a fence
I'm getting a bit cross now. Its cold, I feel stupid and damp is getting into my little knitted slippers.  She looks up, so I do what is internationally recognised as the sign for 'come here' and I beckon her towards me using big, windmilling gestures.  I can't make out her facial expression, but I have a hunch she's probably quite scared at this point. 

I hear a door opening and a man with a ponytail pokes his head out of their side door.  Coincidentally he looks scared too.  I suppose it is entirely possible that I look like an escaped mental patient.  I was only really coming out for a look, my hair isn't ready for a meeting with the new neighbours. I reach up and feel it, its completely flat on one side while the other side has escaped from my bobble and seems to have formed itself into a nest like structure (I could house magpies in fact). He's still looking but hasn't moved.  Its like a Mexican stand-off. I will have to speak.

I shout, 'Hello. I'm sorry for appearing in your garden on a Sunday morning'.  He looks confused.  Why doesn't he move.  I'm losing patience.

I shout again, much louder. He jumps. But he moves.  He runs actually. Oh god he's going to rugby tackle me to the floor and sit on me til the woman in marigolds summons the men in white coats.

Obviously he doesn't. In fact he's quite nice. He has a pony tail and and cutting edge red or dead glasses, and he's quite posh.  Perhaps he is the secret millionaire looking for needy people to bestow his millions upon.  I'm actually quite pleased I'm in a dressing gown with mad hair now, he's bound to feel sorry for me. I toy with developing a twitch for the duration of the conversation just to strengthen my case for his money, but I decide against it, it's already odd enough that I'm stood on a collapsed fence in his garden in my night clothes.

Anyway it transpires that he's called Tom. He's just bought the house with 'Sarah' or Marigold as I've decided to call her, and they only moved in yesterday and hadn't noticed  the fence had fallen down. I almost suggest that his lovely red or dead glasses could do with a good clean but I don't.

Marigold comes out and we exchange pleasantries, but I feel distinctly at a disadvantage here, they are both young (mid twenties) and dressed which instantly gives them extra points. I talk about my husband and children but get the feeling that they don't quite believe me and might have idea's of their own.

  • The wind didn't pull their fence down. I did.
  • I have just escaped from the local mental hospital.
  • I don't have a husband or children. I invented them. I have cats. Or I did till the people with tranquilisers took them away from me.
I realise if I can produce said husband and children (well child, Joe is half boy, half mattress til at least 2pm) l might not look like I'm completely barmy, so I shout them.  Syd appears first, and unusually is quite normal. He says hello and busies himself sweeping leaves up. I should Phil again, but nothing.

'He won't be dragged away from his breakfast' I joke. (Yes I truly am the queen of small talk)

We all politely laugh.  We still need to decide what we're doing with the fence.  Marigold is starting to look anxious again so I shout Phil, louder this time.

'Once he's gets started he really won't be dragged away from his breakfast' I persist.  Then I hear Phil coming through the house.

'Here he is, the master of the house' I shrill.

I have never, ever called Phil 'the master of the house', why on earth have I started now.

  • The master of the house
  • Him indoors
  • He who must be obeyed
  • Our lad
  • Schnukums
  • My man
'Hello' says Phil, cheerily sauntering over.'Pleased to meet you' he says smiling.  I look at him and I am completely and utterly horrified.  I quickly look at the new neighbours and realised horrified doesn't even do justice to how they're feeling right now.

At this time every year Phil gets really dry lips. Sometimes they start to crack and sometimes he's picks the skin off them.  This makes them sore so I get him a lip salve every year to keep in his coat pocket. He has misplaced this years lip salve. Bear in mind the new neighbours don't know this!

So, where were we, oh yes, I'm looking at Phil in horror.  Evidently he has picked a bit of that dry skin, because there, smeared around his mouth, is blood, lots of blood, even worse, the blood has completely coated his teeth.  He is smiling at our new neighbours and he looks like Hannibal Lecter, in that charming scene where he bites the other chap's tongue out.

I really don't know what to do.  Marigold has moved behind Tom. The poor woman is genuinely frightened. I mutter to Phil, loudly actually, 'Phil, your mouth, there's blood' and instead of asking what I mean Phil does the worst thing possible.


Oh my God! He might has well have opened a nice bottle of chianti there and then.  They think I am married to Hannibal Sodding Lecter.

Suddenly they remember somewhere they need to be urgently, but not before they tell us that the fence will be repaired within a day or two.

What's the betting it's 12 foot and electrified.

Touching wood

When I was checking the blown down fence in the garden this morning. I saw at least 8 magpies.  I didn't get much done in terms of looking at the fence, I was too busy saluting the magpies, wishing them a good day and enquiring as to the health of their wives and families.  No I'm not insane, well maybe a bit, but I am ridiculously superstitious.

When Stevie Wonder sang that he was very superstitious, I don't think he was singing about love I think he was singing about putting new shoes on a table.

When I was young, my mother was always dragging me away from ladders or touching wood and seeing as how the apple never falls far from the tree, I've not only taken up the superstitious mantle, but added another set of superstitions that I live my life by.

I'm sure you're all EXACTLY the same as me so I'm going to list my superstitions, or as many as I can come up with, just so everyone can go 'oh look at that, I'm perfectly normal too, there is NOTHING odd about how much these bloody, exhausting superstitions have taken over my life'.  Yes, I would imagine that is exactly what you will say.  EXACTLY.

I have always saluted magpies. The routine, the full routine, should go:
  • Spot Magpie (the bird obviously not  Newcastle fans, to go around randomly saluting them would be demented. Saluting a bird is obviously acceptable)
  • Salute said Magpie
  • Say to Magpie 'Good day Mr Magpie, how's your wife and family'  The Magpie does not have to hear this, so there is no need to park your car and run after the Magpie shouting your salutation.  It's the sentiment that counts. (and you are highly like to get arrested/committed to a secure mental health unit) 
  • Go about your business satisfied that you have averted disaster and bad luck for another day.
However the above routine is fine if you encounter 1-2 magpies. I like them to be in view while I pay my tribute to them, but what if you encounter more.  What if you encounter a gaggle of magpies?

1)  Are a group of magpies 'a gaggle'?  Or a bunch?  A 'bunch of magpies?  No that's not right.  OK, hang on I'm googling this.....It's a 'tiding' of magpies!  A tiding!  I'd never have got that in a million years.
2) What constitutes a gaggle (or a tiding).  3? 10? 155?  Strangely google didn't have the answer to that one.

So what if you do encounter a full 'tiding of magpies', and you're driving.  Well guess what reader, I know because its happened to me!

For some reason industrial estates are always full of magpies.  I was driving along merrily when I spotted a magpie and then another (ooh smashing, one for sorrow, two for joy - went all steps there didn't I). So I quickly did two right handed salutes, and two quick 'good morning Mr Magpie's etc....

Then within seconds another six appeared. Now bearing in mind that I was almost past them at this point I had no choice but to start saluting with both hands. This involved me letting go of the steering wheel and frantically saluting with both hands, while shouting 'Good day Mr Magpie etc etc' over and over while getting louder and louder...Mounting the kerb and stopping just short of a fence brought me to my senses.  I'm uncertain whether my actions prevented the accident being much worse than it was (there could have been a stray pensioner on the pavement) or if the entire thing was caused by my insane obsession with saluting magpies.  I'm going with the former.

Growing up we were never allowed to cross on the stairs.  I'm not sure what would have happened had we crossed on the stairs, it never happened.  We politely waited at the top or bottom. Them were the rules and we stuck to them.

I'm the only one in this house who abides by this.  This really upsets me.  I can be half way down the stairs with armfuls of washing and one of the kids starts charging up the stairs towards me. I yell 'HALT, GO BACK' (really I do!) and they completely ignore me.

1) Turn round and return to the top. This would be fine if I wasn't carrying 2.5 tonnes of washing, there are sheets wrapped around my legs, so the only way to get back to the top of the stairs is to walk backwards up the stairs. This is begging for disaster.
2) Untangle one of my legs and kick whichever child is walking towards me back down the stairs.

I've never been comfortable walking backwards.

I was never allowed to come in from a shopping expedition exhausted and plonk my bags down on the dining room table.  Within seconds my mother would be raking through them and should she find a pair of shoes, she'd make the sound a vampire makes on being stabbed through the heart with a stake and throw the shoes on the floor.

She'd then wail.....'NEWWWWWW SHOOOOOOOOOES ON THE TAAAAAABBBBBLE......NOOOOOOOH', then she'd she'd dissolve like the wicked witch in the wizard of Oz.

OK, so I exaggerate (so unlike me) but she would go a bit mad.  So as a result I have a massive problem with not only new shoes on a table, but any shoes on a table like surface. Shoes need to stay on the floor. Should I find a carrier bag with football boots/wellies on the butchers block in the utility room I find the perp and smash their pretty face in with the footwear.

This year on my birthday Phil and me had been married for 7 years.  I never, ever know what to buy Phil but this year I'd done my homework and realised his crocs were on their last legs (I mean shoes, not elderly reptiles).  He wears them for walking the dog when its dry cos he can wash them under the tap in the drive (Yes I know I'm justifying a 48year old wearing crocs). So I managed to get him a size 12 pair of black crocs (no mean feat, believe me).  My mam collected them for me and wrapped them for me, therefore knew what the present I was giving him was.

Sunday lunch was over. It was time to exchange pressies.  As it was my birthday, I got to open my presents first. Then I went to give Phil his present.  Now bear in mind that Phil has been around for ten years so he knows all of the lovable little foibles of me and my mildly eccentric mother.  So I passed him his present. He was finishing his cake so he made the mistake of putting the package down on the table.  As if someone had tazered her, my mother shot out of her chair, and in seemingly slow motion leapt across the table, and grabbed the present while shouting.....''NEWWWWWW SHOOOOOOOOOES ON THE TAAAAAABBBBBLE......NOOOOOOO' Phil was startled and stood up, for a moment I thought he might punch her, but he's a bit scared of my Mam so he just sat back down like the good boy he is. Coming to her senses, she  handed the gift back. Phil calmly accepted it and said 'Shoe's then is it Marie?'

Its unlikely I will ever give shoes as a gift near that woman again!

There's only two points to make here, both I stick to religiously and both come from my mother

1) Wherever possible avoid walking under a ladder
2) If you have no option but to walk under the ladder then you must spit as doing so.

I have developed this, because unlikely as it may seem I'm a bit on the superstitious side. 

  • Ladders (see above)
  • Scaffolding (sometimes there is no choice, its that or falling down the massive hole that's dug up beside the scaffold)
  • Signs (the ones that your child insists on running under, normally say 'Newcastle 32miles' In another vein I can't allow any of my family to walk either side of a tree, we all have to walk on the same side, a complete bloody nightmare when walking in the forrest'
  • Car park entrances/exits (have to open the window to spit)
  • Subways/Underpasses (generally the smell of pee is enough to make you spit at least) 
The irony of this one is my mother would murder me if she knew I was wandering around town randomly spitting. That woman's got a lot to answer for. (Much respect here for my Dad who just tolerates it!)


Basically crossing knives means tears.  Be careful when piling up the washing up, knives should be completely separated on the plate, touching is OK, but if they touch there's a danger they'll cross.  And unless you want to fall out with all your family and friends you'll take a moment to consider your knife management.

Oh, and should they happen to cross, you need to pick up said knives and throw them on the floor. This breaks the spell (yes SPELL, this is serious business).  However when tossing the knives on the floor, ensure that your feet are clear. If necessary throw them wide of you, just make sure there isn't a bare footed child isn't in the vicinity.  Social Services seem to think that chucking knives about is somehow dangerous and irresponsible. If anything explaining the 'crossed knife theory' seems to upset them more.

Take Heed.

That's only scratching the surface on my superstitions.  We've got a lot more to touch on.....Here's a taster.

  • Touching wood (always keep a pencil about your person)
  • Touch your collar, never swallow when you hear an ambulance.  I have added holding my breath into this for good measure. I almost died during a pile up on the A1 once.  I wasn't involved but I held my breath for far longer than was good for me.
  • Never stay in the room with a boiling kettle (this ones mine and mine alone)
More soon.

Night Muckers.....

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Things that have irritated me today

So I wanted to tell you about the things that have irritated me today, so here we go.

Its not often I get the chance to really relax in the bath. I had it all planned today. I would run myself a deep bath with my new ginger bubble bath. N.B It is 'bubble bath', not bath creme, bath soak, cream bath, bath foam or anything else poncey that you fancy calling it. It's similar to calling deodorant 'armpit freshner' or washing up liquid 'delightful dish de-greasener'.

So I run my bath, get my Nigella's Christmas cook book from the utility room and settle down for a good read. As we all do, I like to top the bath up from the hot tap, using my big toe. I also block the overflow thingy with my heel to ensure the bath is rim height. 

So here I am fully relaxed, planning when to make my chili jam and I feel that the bath is cooling.  As far as I'm concerned you should be able to cook a lobster in your bath water, any cooler and the whole thing is pointless.

So I turn on the tap (with my toe) and wait for the heat to hit me. No heat! If anything the bath is cooling down.  I experimentally swish my toe under the tap. I'm dicing with death here, our water is normally hotter than the surface of the sun.  Nothing.  I go back in. Still nothing.  I'm being bold here but I hold my toe under the stream of water and am met with luke warm, at best, water. I turn the tap off and seethe with anger. If I was in a cartoon my boiling anger would heat up the water and steam would pour from my ears.  As this isn't a cartoon I find myself sitting in what is now a tepid bath.  Dear reader.  I'm livid


1)  I never ever have the time for a long soak. I have long, curly hair and my plan was to soak for a while then wash my hair and rinse it with the shower.  There is no hot water because Phil and Joe have both had showers. Phil has a number one all over his ridiculous head and Joe has really short hair. Their showers should have at most taken 3 minutes each tops.  Phil was in the shower for 15 minutes, Joe was in there for 20. That coupled with the fact we have a power shower, they've basically used enough water between them to run 'Wet and Wild' on a busy Sunday!

2) I'm now sat in a tepid bath with unwashed hair. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I either spend the day with unwashed hair but a clean body, or I bite the bullet and wash my hair in icy water. Being that its minus 15 outside (my estimate) I decide to go with greasy hair. I hope it smells like sheep, Phil and Joe deserve it.

I know I'm getting new Ugg's for Christmas but for now I'm wearing last Christmases.  Because it's cold and I have to walk the dog I put on my Uggs.  Imagine my surprise when I notice that instead of being all warm and snug, they are huge and drafty.  Worse still I get halfway to the field when one of them falls off my foot.  I put it back on and within two steps the other one falls off.  To combat this I end up shuffling to the field.  To an innocent bystander I no doubt look like a woman who has/or is about to soil herself. I'm muttering under my breath, cursing my stupid boots. I'm watching my feet and everytime I lift my foot off the ground my boot starts to slip off. I have no choice but to go back to the demented shuffle. It takes me ages to get anywhere so I discover that sliding my feet along is quicker. Although it's quicker, I now look like a lunatic who is pretending to ice skate. That coupled with my unwashed hair and the furious muttering I notice people crossing over the road to avoid me.

When I return home I find Joe in a frenzy. He's bare foot and is clearly looking for something. No sooner have my Uggs fallen off my feet (size 7) he's snatched them up, popped them on his size 11's and gone upstairs.  I follow him and learn that for the last 3 weeks he has been wearing my Uggs as slippers.  Apparently they were 'snug' at first but they seem to have stretched a bit.

I quietly leave the room, find one of my wellies and beat him to a pulp with it.

The boys play a lot of COD. Apparently they're good at it. They can hit a zombie from half a mile away. They're also competitive, neither of them miss the bin when they throw things at it. When they pour themselves drinks they don't spill a drop. So this begs the question.....


Earlier, when I got out of my lukewarm bath I happened to look at the bathroom floor. I cleaned said floor on Wednesday, and properly mind you.  If you see my earlier blog you'll know it was bleached to within an inch of it life. So there I am, looking down and I'm horrified to see yellow stickiness on the floor around the toilet. I'm not one of life's optimists so I instantly rule out the chance that someone has been watching Aggie and Kim and realised that lemon juice is a smashing substitute for bleach.

I'm very well aware that what I'm looking at is urine. I'd call it something else but my parents read this blog so I really don't want to take the piss.  But there you have it, that's what it was. I get the mop and bucket and add lots of bleach and wash the floor then I have a moment of worry.


1) How will either of them be able to lead fully functioning lives if they're incapable of something as basic as hitting the toilet
2) What if their problems with accurately weeing is only the tip of the iceberg.  What if they start pooing on peoples floors. Should I make sure they carry dog poo bags everywhere with them.
3) Will I need to order some male pantie pads so that weeing can be done 'in house' and they won't need to bother with toilets at all

I'll probably just buy more bleach.

No wonder I drink!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

So its apparently the most wonderful time of the year.  Who said that?  Wait! I'm going to google it.......Right I'm not really any further forward, it would seem every tom, dick and harry with a microphone and a combover has had a bash at it, at some point or other, but Andy Williams seems to be most famous for it.  I've checked, and he's still alive, so I've invited said Andy Williams, King of so called Swing to swing by my house to experience our version of 'the most wonderful time of the year'.

OK, so I'm been off today, and because the schools, councils etc are striking both of the boys are off too. I wake full of some kind of pre-December Christmas joy and while I'm changing out of my sleeping jama's and into my cleaning jamas I decide that not only am I going to clean today, I'm going to put the Christmas decorations up.

  • Sleeping jamas - Seasonal. Summer - vest top, cotton trousers.  Winter - tshirt, fleecy bottoms (both interchangeable)
  • Feeling poorly downstairs jama's - may need to accept visitors in these so generally a matching set, preferably from next/M&S. Matching dressing gown desirable but not essential.
  • Christmas jamas - lovely/twee/cosy generally contain either cute picture (reindeer) or vaguely suggestive message 'i've been a naughty girl santa'.  Note if the latter, and unwell at Christmas change into the former, in the name of good taste
  • Entertaining/Sexy jamas - the kind of thing you wore before you threw up/gave birth in front of your other half. Basically don't bother, he's a dead cert.
  • Cleaning jamas - relegated from downstairs jamas, quite tatty and generally covered in bleach or gloss paint.
 I will admit that I wouldn't normally condone even considering putting up the Dec's until December (today is November 30th) however I took a magic sleeping pill last night, so I'm all well rested and possibly still slightly under the effect of the sedative. I must be to even consider the dreaded decoration horror day.

I clean upstairs, as I need to wait for Phil to come home for lunch to get everything out of the attic. Joe is still in bed, allegedly revising, which is highly unlikely unless he's somehow managed to work out how to do it while sound asleep and shouting about corned beef (As far as I'm aware he isn't taking a GCSE in corned beef however they do things very different these days).  I use one and a half bottles of bleach cleaning the bathroom.  Its impossible to enter the room without developing a burning feeling behind your eyes and a streaming nose. I take this as a sign that it's really clean.

Joe gets up at this point attempts to enter the bathroom but is repelled by the fumes. Then Phil comes home and instead of moaning about getting the Dec's out of the attic he positively skips up the ladders. I realise that he is delighted to be missing car crash decoration day.  He even brings all the boxes and bags downstairs. I am in the middle of telling him my plans for this years colour scheme/theme when I hear the front door slam and the car wheel spin out of the drive. Quite rude I think.

In films, or at least the kind I favour, the boys should be desperately excited to decorate the house ready for Santa's impending visit, however in this house there is no one to be seen. I consider the fact that it's because I haven't created a festive enough atmosphere, so I turn the computer on and pop on 'the best Christmas album in the world ever'.  With the haunting (whiny???) voice of Mariah Carey singing about all she wants for Christmas drifting around the house I set off in search of the boys. 

I check everywhere and am left with Joe's room. I go to push open the door but can't, it seems to be stuck.  I try again but nothing. I shout them, 'Joe, Syd, hurry up, its time to put the Dec's up'......nothing.  Again, but louder 'JOE, SYD, WE'RE PUTTING THE DECORATIONS UP.......' Still nothing....I'm getting a bit annoyed now, which isn't part of my plan for today. Today I am a Doris Day style super mummy, I will not lose my temper, throw anything or swear.

I consider shouting again until,

'Mam'. Its Joe, seemingly from right behind the door, 'Go away, we're not coming out'  Then Syd 'Yeah Mam, go away'......They're actually sat behind the door blocking my entry.

I'm quite irritated now. 'This is silly, now come out and help'.....Oh look! It's the organ-grinder Joe again, 'You just do it Mam, then we'll come down and say its nice'.....and here come's the monkey (aka Syd) 'yeah mam, we'll say it's nice'.

I'm annoyed but I still have my trump card, and I'm not above playing it.....'okay', I say, walking a few steps back, 'but I wouldn't want to think Santa found out you refused to put the decorations up'

'Nooooooooooooh' (that was Joe. He knows I've won)

Next comes Syd 'Let me out Joe, let me out, I need to help....JOE'

'She's tricking you' (Joe)
'Let me out' (Syd)
'Santa will still come' (Joe)
'LET ME OUT' (Syd)

The door opens, and much as in a hostage situation, Syd is shoved into the hall, before the door slams again.  As a resourceful mother I'm not above dirty tricks, so I pull out my super duper trump card. I lean into the door and say in a mock whisper.

'Thanks Syd, I thought while we put the tree up, we'd open that tin of celebrations.......' I then grab Syd and roll to safety, as Joe's door almost comes off the hinges....

'What needs doing mam'

So we start by sorting out the baubles. Within 10 seconds of the opening the box the boys are in a full blown bauble fight.  I shout for a bit and realise I'm getting nowhere, in fact I seem to whipping them into a full blown frenzy.  There are baubles bouncing off my head so I do the most responsible thing possible I SCREAM, COVER MY EYE AND FALL ON THE FLOOR.

So here am I, rolling about on the floor. There is still a volley of baubles flying above me, and I realise that they are completely ignoring me.  What I do next is still completely inexplicable to me. I shout:


Stupidly I expect that this will stop them from throwing baubles and rush to my aid, but oh no, they just speed up the volley of baubles so I do the only sensible thing open to me.

  • Stand up, take control and demand that they behave themselves
  • Calmly get up and walk out of the room, leaving them to it
  • Threaten to take away pocket money/xbox time/biscuits
  • Do something completely and frighteningly bizarre
This is me, so I immediately discount the first three and go for number four.  So what I do, is crawl under the ongoing bauble fight into the kitchen. I locate a bottle of red food colouring/cochineal and drip it into my eye.  It stings a bit but I persevere. Checking in the mirror it actually looks like my eyeball is bleeding. Excellent. I consider walking back into the room but believe that crawling may add to the effect, so dropping to my knees, I crawl back towards them.


This has gone too far. I could, should I choose to, return to the kitchen and wash my eye, it is actually stinging quite a lot now too. I probably should do the adult thing and just go in there and kick off a bit and get them to stop chucking baubles about. 

Despite my inner monologue/note to self I decide they deserve a shock so I decide to carry out my plan.  I crawl into the living room and plan to quietly wait for them to notice them. 

They don't. So instead I shout 'HELP, I CAN'T SEE OUT OF MY EYE!!!!!!' (What on earth is wrong with me!).  They both turn to look at me and all hell breaks out.  Syd screams the house down, Joe rushes over, Syd hot on his heels, and grabs my face.

Suddenly my stroppy, sulky 16 year old is Charlie Fairhead from Casualty.  He tells me to keep calm, he sends Syd for kitchen roll, which he wads up and presses to my eye. He then takes his phone out....APPARENTLY TO PHONE AN AMBULANCE.

Oh sweet jesus, I'm in too deep now. I was just playing a little joke on them, for being naughty earlier, now I'm pretending to be blind and apparently bleeding profusely from my blind eye. How do I get out of this.

  • Tell the truth
  • Lie
I decide to do neither, what I do instead is ask Joe to press down on the wadded kitchen roll over my eye, I moan a bit, then say he needs to remove it. Which he does. The kitchen roll is soaked with my blood (I know, I know,  I'm just really getting into this) and I blink like a newborn foal and proclaim that I can see again.....The boys hug me, high five etc.

I then give them a fiver to go to the shop for treats and put the decorations up myself.

Yes, truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, 28 October 2011

The adventures of Clem and Aspers - The train

Sometimes through work you meet someone who is right up your street.  Meeting Jo was exactly like that, we clicked straight away, and have been friends now for over a year.

Jo has recently moved to Newcastle to do her M.A so we haven't seen each other for a couple of months.  We talk on the phone most nights however it's not the same, so we planned a day trip to Edinburgh. Its especially special because the date for said trip is 3 days before my birthday.

So today is the day, logistically we've planned this with military precision and gone over the plans with a fine toothed comb.

  • Jools to make a selection of 'luxury sandwiches' containing 'luxurious fillings' and made with 'high class' bread/buns.
  • Jo to provide other 'buffet items' namely 2 scotch eggs (full size, party/fun/mini scotch eggs will not be tolerated). Other 'buffet items' are at the discretion of Jo.
  • Jools to join the 10.00am train to Edinburgh at Darlington Station
  • Jo to join same train only at 10.35am at Newcastle station
  • Neither party to miss said train
  • Both Jools and Jo to provide a selection of bottled real ale, for journey/day out.
  • Jools to provide a small discreet bottle opener
  • All items should be well packed for easy transportation around Edinburgh
  • Jools and Jo to refer to each other as a)Jools and Jo b)Ju Ju and Jo Jo and c) Aspers and Clem throughout the day.
As you'll no doubt agree there is nothing in the above plans that would cause anyone too many problems......

So at 9.57am Phil pushes me out of a moving car in front of the station and knowing I only have 3 minutes to get to the platform I attempt a weird run/skip through the station weighed down by my handbag, the picnic bag (luxury bread is very heavy) and trailing my mac along the filthy floor. Amazingly I make it thru the complicated barrier onto the platform just as the train is pulling in.

I know I have to be in carriage C so instead of getting on at the right carriage I panic and get on at coach H.  This is particularly stupid for two reasons:
  1. It is clearly much easier to walk down a train platform that to walk through 9 carriages of a busy train.
  2. Walking through 9 carriages with a satchel, a huge bag, full of enough sandwiches to feed coaches H-C, and a mac which inexplicably keeps wrapping itself round the arms of the seats and dragging me back is not only painful to me but to the 71 unsuspecting passengers who I essentially hit over the head with a bag full of cooked meat and bread.
I make it to coach E (sorry, my apologies, dreadfully sorry, oh your poor head, duck! etc.....) only to be met with a sealed metal door.  The train is now moving and I have no idea how to get through to make it to coach C.

I stay very calm and speak to the man who is stocking up his refreshment trolley, 'Good morning my dear fellow, I can see that you are pre-occupied stocking up your trolley with value for money snacks and beverages, please can you advise how one gets through the sealed metal door to allow one to reach Carriage C, oh and please can I purchase one of your four finger kitkats for the bargain price of £2.25'

I'm lying. I basically scream at the poor man.  'I'm in coach E. I need to be in coach C. It's through that sealed door.  Is this a train or the sodding Crystal Maze.  Get that door open now, I'm meeting my arsing friend at Newcastle on coach C'

He says 'You can't go through there, you'll have to 'dismount' (when did anyone last use that word) at Newcastle and enter the other half of the train. 

I take a heavy multigrain bap, (filled with finest yorkshire ham and pease pudding) out of my bag and club him repeatedly over the head until he is dead. I then steal all his kitcats and cans of beer and take a seat in the nearest carriage.

Not really. I just sit down and text Jo:

'Am on train however I have an issue. The seats are in coach C, tried to walk thru from coach H and I can't! Coach C is on a totally different train, attached to this one but still different....I have been advised to get off at N'castle and remount same, yet different, train'

Jo replies:

'HAHAHA REMOUNT THE TRAIN!!!. Look for me then, I have a suitcase sized bag with a photo of carrots on the front. I am also wearing tartan'

I assume Jo is winding me up. UNTIL I SEE HER ON NEWCASTLE STATION.  I know its Jo, why wouldn't I, however to the unknowing general public she looks like a hungry, scottish terrorist. She is indeed carrying an enormous bag of food, with a photo of carrots on the front and she's wearing a tartan scarf pulled up around her face.  Between her knitted beret and the scarf, only her eyes are visible.  On a busy platform she is sat alone in the middle of bench. Quite frankly I'm not surprised.

Instead of me getting off she gets on and we spend a couple of minutes cuddling and looking inside of each others bags.  We must look confused as a man with a fleece and a badge approaches us. 

We explain that we can't get to the other train and laughingly say 'can't we just sit in first class'  HE DOESN'T SAY NO!  What he does say, pointing down the train is 'Ask her, she's in charge'

At this point a woman with a neat haircut and even neater moustache appears.  'Can we sit in first class' we stutter under scrutiny from her monocled eye, 'We haven't time to move to the other part of the train'.  For a mad moment we both think she's going to agree.....then she pulls herself up to her full 4ft9 and barks,

'You've got 3 minutes, now MOVE.......'

So move we do.  Clearly the alternative is to face a firing squad.  When we finally arrive at Coach C, we find that something horrific has happened!  We're in the quiet coach!

  1. We'll have to talk in our inside voices. Based on the fact that neither of us actually have inside voices, this is likely to end in tears (loud, noisy, wracking tears)
  2. We have with us the worlds largest picnic which is wrapped in tin foil, which is going to be noisy to open
  3. When I laugh I do a sort of 'onk onk onk' kind of sound. Jo does more of a grunting noise. If we're laughing at the same time we going to sound like some kind of horific goose/pig hybrid
  4. It seems 'quiet coach' ettiquette to look round and fall into a revered silent when anyone enters as sits down.  As I am not a sodding owl I find it hard to do the polite head spin.
So we start to lay out the picnic on the pull down trays, its not ideal, it fact its disasterous. Should this train crash we're more likely to be suffocated by falling food than the actual crash.

  • Sensations 'firey chipotle' middle class crisps
  • Edmame beans/peas with separate compartment of rock salt (useful in a heavy frost)
  • Pepperdew peppers stuffed with goats cheese and steeped in oil (gets everywhere, could swim the channel after eating one)
  • Full sized scotch eggs (eat cold or deep fry for 10 minutes, 10 bloody minutes,  you could deep fry an entire human in that time)
  • Houmous
  • Couchillo mini 'borrower' sized olives, marinaded in garlic and crack
  • Sushi with too much wasabi and not enough soy (oddly enough I had a single chopstick in my bag, so wasabi/soy mixing was possible)
  • Cured meats (chorizo, salami, serrano ham) N.B entertaining when Jo spent 5 mins chewing a piece of serrano ham which turned out to be a piece of plastic laid in the bottom of the tray.
  • Tasteless Mango (tasteless for the simple reason it was actually melon)
  • Grapes
I can almost hear you wondering what you would wash such a decadent feast down with. I'll be honest I'm starting to wonder the same until Jo reachs into her bag and brings out the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.....A BOTTLE OF PORT.  Now granted its only a small bottle of port but its nonetheless a glorious sight.

So there we are, speeding up the northumberland coastline, eating our buffet and sipping on a quality port from paper cups.  This, dear reader, is well and truly, the life.

At some point on the journey something strange happens to Jo, she regresses into a child and starts asking none stop questions. I am on this day out to get away from my children with their endless questions. Why is she doing this to me?

  • Why are those olives so small, were they picked really early?
  • Where are we?
  • What does 'chipotle' mean?
  • Whats that mini mountain thing in the sea
  • Why does the port bottle make that sound when you open it.
While I am considering the answers she starts on a new vein.  She starts inexplicably treating me like a secretary.  Should anything be of interest, she demands  'text that to me'.  I do that for so long, then I take the back off my phone, sharpen the edge and slit her throat with it.

The rest of the journey is fairly quiet..............

NEXT:  Edinburgh: the sights, the sounds and a pigeon eating a crisp.........

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Our day out without the children Part 1 - the journey

Saturday mornings in our house are wonderful. I pop on my apron and whip up a full english breakfast, Phil pulls on his hand knitted jumper and walks the dog into the village to collect the papers and the boys sit down (after refusing TV or xbox time) with a glass of milk and play a board game or do a jigsaw. Once Phil's back with the papers, and we've eaten our breakfast we sit down and plan a full day of wholesome family fun.

Then I wake up.

(Incidentally I wake up because a can of deodorant has just bounced off my forehead, apparently thrown by Joe because Syd has woken him up by stealing his duvet and hitting him over the head with a football boot and has chosen to hide next to my side of the bed).

Phil leaps out of bed and grabs them both forcing them back into their respective bedrooms. I find him in the garage five minutes later with a pile of wood, that he apparently plans to use to barricade the boys into their bedrooms for the following week to teach them a lesson. I'm concerned about the manic glint in his eye so I give him the dog and tell him to go for a walk and calm down.

After I've hidden all the power tools/hammers/nails/wood/gaffer tape I go back indoors and find that peace seems to have been restored. The boys have made their own traditional breakfasts. Most parents would be concerned about their choices. Not me, I don't bat an eyelid.


Pot noodle
Chicago town pepperoni pizza
Fish fingers
Tomato sauce sandwiches
Cup a soup
Cheese on toast
Nan bread
Tinned spaghetti
Super noodles
Ice pops

By the time Phil returns from his walk, Joe has left to go to the Newcastle match so things are fairly peaceful and Phil suggests that we have an afternoon out. We decide that in the name of economy we will go somewhere on the train (Phil has worked for the railway since pre-privatisation so we get free train travel) and debate whether or not Newcastle is a good idea.  We remember that Newcastle are playing at home so we decide to go to York.

Breaking the news to Syd doesn't go well. He cries, he screams, he begs, he pleads. Apparently going to York on the train would signal the end of his life as we know it. (thankfully he doesn't go blind however who knows if its around the corner)

 We try coaxing him (you can have an ice cream), we try threatening (goodness knows what Santa would think), we try the divide and rule tactic (I'd expect this behaviour from Joe, but not you, you're the clever one), and we're about to go for the direct approach (Shut up whining you're coming) when the phone rings.

Its my Dad. I attempt a conversation however Syd has reached a level of begging that wouldn't seem out of place in a Dickensian work house, so I briefly explain that I can't speak right now, why I can't speak right now and say I'll call back.

Within minutes my Dad calls back. At this point you're going to quickly realise how amazing my parents are.  They offer to have Syd for the day, drive us to the station, tell us to have some lunch and drinks and give us some money for cocktails and all because we work hard and we deserve time alone together.


On a daily basis they: Give Syd his breakfast, take him to school, pop to the supermarket for anything we need, pick Syd up from school, bring him to our house, do any ironing that's in the ironing basket(my mam), do any jobs that need doing around the house/in the garden (my dad), hang out our washing, hoover, make the boys snacks......

The list is endless. I know that they read my blog and they're going to be embarrassed reading this about themselves, but they really deserve that praise. They are wonderful.

So half an hour later, we're at the station waiting to get on the train to York. Its strange at first, we look at each other and wonder what to say.  We're both used to shouting at children and we have no children to shout at. Should we shout at each other, just so we're back in our comfort zone. Phil stands up and walks towards the platform.  I run after him, smack his bottom and threaten to remove his TV privileges for a week (Its dangerous Philip, this is no place to run around!)

Anyway the train comes and we get on. The train is packed however we find seats immediately, which seems strange.  After the train has set off we realise why those seats are empty. They are directly opposite the toilet.  Apparently it seems this train is full of people who, the previous night, have eaten a lot of curry and drank a lot of cheap lager. I'd imagine the toilets in a prisoner of war camp were more hygienic. Aggie and Kim would have a sodding field day.

There is a continual queue for the toilet, and its starting to smell like an incontinent buffalo has been let loose in there.  To add insult to injury, no one closes the door. Meaning Phil has to keep reaching over and slamming it shut.  This causes all the pensioners in the carriage to jump and look around if a gun shot has just gone off. Phil spends the entire journey slamming the door and apologising to people.  I spend the entire journey with my face inside my top breathing in my perfume and wondering how acceptable it would be to vomit onto the floor between my feet (It couldn't possibly make the carriage smell any worse)

I beg to move however Phil refuses. 'We're almost in York' he keeps insisting. He's been insisting this since we pulled out of Darlington Station.

Finally we pull into York station. The combined weight of the train has dropped by 16 stone as in 40 minutes, approximately 139 passengers have had a poo in the toilet right next to us. We stand up and make our way to the doors. I forget that I have no children with me and loudly say 'Which side are we going to get out on....lets all guess'.  Actually quite a lot of people get excited by this and start to guess. So I organise them to stand by the side they chose.  Once it pulls in, the winners all cheer and the losers all boo.  Phil is pretending he doesn't know me and I'm considering a career as a Sunday School teacher.

We've just been let loose in York, with no kids and beer money................

Oh Lord.

Monday, 17 October 2011

A dignified return to work

I think I've already mentioned on a previous blog that I have been off work, unwell for 12 days. Today is the day I am due to go back to work. I'm not starting til 9.30am so I have time to take my time and get ready slowly.

So I arrive at work at 9.25am ready for a 9.30 start. I've made a real effort to look smart.  I've even done understated/glamorous make up.

The car park is packed so I park (illegally) at the end of a row, snugly tucking in beside a mini cooper. I have just enough room to get out of the car, and open the back door.  On my back seat I have my laptop in my backpack and my handbag. Unknown to me, my handbag is leaning against the back door so as I open the back door my handbag falls out and dumps the entire contents on the floor, mainly under my car.

I pick up my bag and say 'oh dash the contents of ones bag seem to have fallen under ones vehicle' or words to that effect.

I consider moving the car so I can bend down and pick them up however the contents are scattered under both wheels so I'm going to drive over my stuff.

  • My phone
  • My precious bottle of pepsi max
  • My toothbrush
  • My mirror
  • My 'pucka pad'
  • My marvellous 'false lash' mascara
  • My dirty slut lipstick
  • My vaseline
  • My sandwiches
  • Both my 'red or dead' glasses and my 'jasper conran glasses' (worn dependant on mood)
The only option open to me is to get down on my hands and knees and retrieve my belongings. I attempt to lower myself between the cars however there is no 'wiggle' room so I do what I have to.

I stand adjacent to both boots, drop to my hands and knees and crawl between the cars. The only way I can get the things out from under the car is to lie flat on my front and make 'trawling' motions under my car.

It's surely now past 9.30am and here I am laid on my front in the car park.

(I need to point out that this isn't one of those beautifully paved car parks. This car park is dirty and oily and basically the last place you want to be laid on a monday morning)

I do a quick inventory and realise I only have half of the things I dropped. I'm still missing my phone which is obviously the most important thing. I have a little think and realise the only way I'm going to get the phone back is to back myself in, feet under the mini, then lay down full stretch and edge myself forward. So that's what I do...

At this point I'm under the mini up to my knees, and under my car up to my neck. It would just be my luck if the mini owner returned and reversed over my legs or if a car thief with a fancy for a car that looked similar to a skip pinched my car and reversed over my head.

I'm so entertained by this thought that I lay on the ground face down and laugh. Bear in mind:
a) This is my first day back
b) Ten minutes ago I was beautifully turned out
c) I'm now essentially laid in a car park trapped under two stationary cars

Then it happens! I manage to grab my sandwiches and my phone, with the same hand..The notepad is also within reach of my other hand. Now any normal person would realise that driving over a notepad wouldn't do it too much damage. 


What I do, is point my toes and edge myself forwards further under my car (on the upside should someone choose to steal my car now they will only crush my spine and not my head).

I reach the pad and drag it towards me. I now have most of the treasured possessions so I can go into work. Which sadly isn't that easy. Standing up isn't an option. I'm really not in a position to do so!  What I need to do is somehow turn myself round so I'm laid between the two cars.  I try it and its fairly successful.  I try to ignore the gravel burns on my face and continue turning. 

Banging my head on the wheel puts me off. I'm panicking now and consider calling 999, however I'm not sure if I need the police, an ambulance, the fire brigade or all three.  I lay under the cars for a bit longer and have a rethink. I try wriggling again and low and behold I manage to end up between both cars.

Triumphant I stand up. (Whacking my head of the mini's wing mirror as I do so - a minor problem at this stage). I pick up my belongings, put them back in my bag, pick up my laptop bag and head into the office.

For some unknown reason I seem to have wiped from my mind the 25 minutes I have spent laid on my front in a car park under a car and I confidently saunter into the office. I'm looking forward to seeing my colleagues and I expect they'll be pleased to see me.

As soon as my boss  sees me she grabs me (lovingly) and takes me to the ladies. She sympathetically asks me how I am. I tell her I am smashing. Then she asks me the killer question.

'Since you've been poorly have you lost the motivation to take care of your personal hygeine'

At that point I spot myself in the mirror. I'm smeared with oil,gravel, and mud, all that is visible are the whites of my eyes.

I'm delighted I went for a dignified return...................

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Reasons why two children are more than enough for anyone

Today Syd is bored and driving us mad. He doesn't want to bake (he normally does), he doesn't want to play cards, and we can't even tempt him into having a little nap, In fact it looks like he's going to be a complete nightmare all day.

At 12 noon I come up with a genius idea. I'll text Syd's best friends mother and ask if he's free on the afternoon. This way he can come to the south park with us and Syd might not whinge all day. So I text:

Me: Is Nathan free this afternoon. Its very likely I will kill Syd if I can't find something to keep him occupied
Ellen: YES (can almost taste her desperation), how soon can you pick him up.

So 45 minutes later we turn up to pick Nathan up. I'm almost expecting him to be sat on the kerb waiting for us (his mother seems as demented as us) however she brings him out, throws him in the car, runs back in the house and barricades herself in.

Phil pulls away and we're instantly intrigued by their conversation.  I'll try to re-enact it for you.

Nathan: I know that Theo isn't lying. He is going to Rhys's house on Wednesday. That's the bit I believe
Syd: Oh, before you start, you don't need to tell my mam and dad about the 'incident' with Luke, I've already told them.


Luke apparently pushed Izzie over, then he pushed her over again. She fell on the floor and got back up and it annoyed Luke. That was at playtime. When they went back into class Luke grabbed Izzie and said to her 'I'LL SEE YOU IN HELL' The teacher overheard Luke and as a result Luke is now in detention for a week. (I can tell Syd and Nathan are a little bit impressed by Luke's Maverick behaviour)

So back to the conversation (where Nathan believes that Theo is going to Rhys's)

Syd: I believe that too.
Nathan: What i don't believe is what Rhys has told Theo
Syd: And what is that?
Nathan: Rhys has told Theo that he has got to a new level on Grand Theft Auto.
Syd: *whispering* I'm not meant to play that but I sometimes play Grand Theft Auto 'I V'.
Nathan: Rhys said he is at the level where they get to have 'S.E.X'
Syd: S.E.X?
Nathan: Yes with nudity
Syd: Oh, that means no all

At that point we stop the conversation and try to get them interested in looking for blue cars. By the time we arrive at the park the boys are quiet and I've counted 27 blue cars.

We get out of the car and get into the park The dog goes mental, the boys go mental, me and Phil wonder if we might be mental, yet still we persevere...

Phil starts to play football with the boys! At this point I have two concerns

1) Phil is nearly 49.  Is running around a field like a maniac not asking for trouble?  I am only 36!Am I really ready for life with a Stannah stairlift (who am I kidding I've wanted one for years) and a husband who is the subject of an 'appeal' (Help send Phil to Texas to have his spine replaced with a titanium rod)

2) Phil is in goal. The two seven year olds are trying to score past him. Suddenly Phil turns into a Paul Robinson/David Seaman hybrid seeing off any ball they try to put past him. The boys are almost in tears. I pull him to one side and tell him to let a few through! Fixing me with a steely glare he tells me 'lifes not like that' and continues to destroy their confidence!

Once I've dragged Phil off the field (I am Spartacus) and repaired the boys confidence (he's just an old man with a point to prove) we head off towards the lake to feed the ducks.


As we approach the lake it becomes apparent that Phil is hanging back and panicking slightly. Perhaps his recent athletics have caused his joints to crumble so he can no longer walk properly however I notice he seems to be frisking himself. I ask him for the bread and he confesses that its still on the kitchen table.

By this point Syd and Nathan are at the lake and surrounded by what seems like hundreds of avid duck feeders. When I look around I'm actually grateful that Phil has forgotten my mouldy white sliced.  You can tell we're in the posh end of town from what people are feeding the ducks.

  • Olive flatbread
  • Sundried tomato ciabatta
  • mozzarella and pesto foccacia
  • vanilla brioche
  • petite pain de chocolate
Tempted as I am to jump in and rescue the posh bread I distract the boys by pointing out the swans.

'Look at the swans' I exclaim 'who do you think owns them, she's very important and we do exactly what she says'

'You', says Syd sarcastically....I pick up a goose by the leg and knock him out with it.

OK, I lied about the goose.....

I try again.

'Who rules our country'

Answers range from:
  • Barack Obama
  • Lord Sugar
  • A german shepherd
  • Grandma
  • That Swan
I give up at this point and we go back to the car.

Back at home, Syd and Nathan harass the dog, play on the xbox and eat their tea. It's almost time for Nathan to go home so I suggest that before he does we light the fire lantern I've had for a while. Both boys are completely delighted with this idea....

What happens next is far from delightful. We all stand in the garden. The boys are past themselves with excitement. Phil holds the top of the lantern while I light the tiny flammable square.  We all taken our places round the lantern expecting it to fill with air, as all the other lanterns we've had have done. We wait, and nothing happens. The boys hold on, waiting for it to take off, until Nathan points out the part of the fire lantern in front of him is actually on fire!

  • Send Syd and Nathan to the back of the garden
  • Worry about how flammable the husbands clothes are
  • Realise they are quite flammable when his sleeve catches alight
  • Worry when husband lets go of punctured fire lantern and it sets the fence alight
  • Be grateful that Syd and Nathan have learned about the great fire of London and know how to set up a line, to keep bowls of water moving along
  • Put out Phil/fence/fire lantern
  • Beg Nathan not to tell his mother how close to becoming a human fireball he actually came
  • Vow to check to Nylon content of everything we wear from now on
  • Realise that things from the pound shop cost a pound for a reason
  • Be grateful we stopped at two kids having almost burnt Syd's best friend alive
  We responsibly take Nathan home (throw him from a moving car in front of his house) and go home to relax.

We've a foster carers application that needs filling in....

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Be careful where you put your fingers

Tonight I've had a conversation with Phil about ways I've embarrassed him in the past. He mentioned one that I'd totally forgotten so I'm going to tell you about it. I expect that you'll feel for Phil after reading this. I do too.

So imagine a Sunday afternoon at a retail park. We've come for 3 things. A coat for Syd - easy peasy, sorted within 5 minutes of getting there. A replacement of 'The Stone Roses' by the Stone Roses (This is our 3rd copy, we've worn the first 2 out) and a pair of keeper trousers for our goalkeeper son, who was 13 at the time.

This one wasn't as easy as the first two. We visited 3 sports shops and they didn't do keepers trousers. The fourth shop we went into had the trousers we required.  We picked out the trousers and Phil took them to the counter, with Joe and Syd in tow. I hung back and started playing with the footballs in one of those big metal baskets that hold them.

NOTE: For the purpose of this story I need you to understand exactly what these baskets look like. You've all seen them, they're circular and made of criss crossed metal, they come up to about waist height and contained within are footballs/basketballs/rugbyballs. The only place you'll ever find them is in a sports shop.

So, Phil's in the queue with Joe and Syd waiting to pay for the trousers, and I'm playing with the balls in the big basket. Now any normal person would leave it at that.  If you've read anymore of my blog you'll realise we've already established that I'm far from normal.

I get bored of playing with the balls and look for Phil and the kids, they're still about six from the front of the queue so I start playing with the basket the balls are in. 

At this point I should let you know that since I was young I've always wondered what I can fit my fingers/hands into.

 I look up and they've only moved one place in the queue, so i start messing around with my middle finger and one of the gaps in the basket.  I get it in to the bottom of my nail, which is impressive to me. I pull it back out and check their position in the queue.  They're fourth now, I'm happy with that.

I have another play about with the balls but I get bored fairly quickly. The metal basket is much more interesting. I start again with my little finger....easy as pie, it pops in and out with no effort. I move to my next finger,and once again its fairly painless. They're still 3 away from the checkout so I decide to give my middle finger a 'good go'. 

I test it out at first, I can get it in past my first finger joint, so I push a bit further, it's starting to hurt a bit now but I feel like I've committed myself to this so I give one enormous push and lo and behold I'm in knuckle deep.

I wont' lie to you, I'm over the moon with this, and to top off my joy I realise Phil and the boys are getting served. Ready to leave, I go to pull my finger out of the basket and realise its stuck fast.. I try to wriggle my finger free and realise that it's going nowhere. If this was a one off I could tell Phil that this was a complete accident and he'd understand. I daren't tell Phil because this is not a one off.


1) We'd only been going out for a couple of weeks and we went into town for some bits and pieces. We were in Boots and Phil bought some blades for his razor and some shave gel and went to pay while I browsed around.

I picked up a toothbrush holder and had a look at it. It was really nice, porcelain and pretty. I took the lid off it and wondered if I could get my hand in it. Why wonder when you can try, which is what I did.

So what I did is formed my hand into the smallest fist I could manage and forced it into the toothbrush holder. I was impressed that I'd got my hand in so I went to take my hand out and realised it was completely wedged in.  Just then Phil reappeared. Please remember that we had only just met, I could hardly wave my hand at him and shout,

'Look what I did'

I really liked him and this could spell the end of our relationship. Who, two weeks in, wants to find their new girlfriend with her hand wedged into a toothbrush holder.

So I did the only sensible thing. I concealed my hand inside my jacket and left the store with him. Thankfully no alarms went off. However the situation wasn't resolved. Yes I was out of Boots, however a)I had effectively just stolen a toothbrush holder and b) It was still wedged on my hand.

We wandered round town with Phil trying to hold my hand, I couldn't let him as I'm sure he'd be alarmed to find my hand firmly wedged inside what was effectively a mug. We dropped into Yates for a quick drink and I managed to smash the toothbrush holder against the toilet wall, finally freeing my hand.

I dropped the broken bits into the sanitary bin and didn't tell Phil the truth for about 4 years

2) We'd taken Joe to the pictures. He was about 6 at the time and I was pregnant with Syd. The cinema had big comfy recliner seats and drinks holders with a hole in the bottom, perfect if you had a cone of popcorn or pick and mix.

 As usual I got bored, so while the trailers were on I started messing about with the  drinks holder. Before I realised what I'd done I'd forced my hand through the hole in the bottom of the drinks holder. Once agian I tried to stay calm until I realised my hand was completely stuck in the hole. I tried to free it but it was completely stuck fast. At that point I realised I had to tell Phil.

Anyway to cut a long story short, Phil spent 20 mins sat at my feet spitting on my hand, trying to free it while Joe hung round my neck convinced his mammy would have to stay in the cinema forever. NB Phil freed my hand 20 minutes in and didn't speak to me for 3 days.

So to return to the sports shop here I am with my middle finger wedged in the basket. No amount of pulling is helping to free my finger and to my horror Phil and the boys are walking towards me.

'All done' says Phil, jovially, and they all walk off.

I contemplate dragging the basket with me, so I try to pull it, bugger, its fixed to the floor.

I have no choice, I need to confess.

'Phillllllll', I hiss,

No response

'Phil' I say,

They're moving away from me

'PHIL' I shout.....

I'm that panic stricken not only is my finger swelling up now, my head feels like it's inflated to three size its normal time.

Thank the lord they've heard me. They come back and Phil grabs my hand and tries to pull me along and I see the look on his face when he realises I'm attached to the basket.

He says something along the lines of 'oh you delightfully eccentric girl, yet another humourous incident where you have trapped something in a hilarious place, you really are a delight' (what he really said is 'Not again, you ridiculous tart, how many more times, you mad cow)

So here we are, my finger is trapped, Joe is laughing hysterically, Syd is crying hysterically, I'm hysterical because Phil is threatening to tell the staff to call the fire service, and Phil is clearly very p'd off. He must be annoyed because all of a sudden he just grabs my finger and drags it free.

No one speaks on the way home.

I still bear the scars

I daren't tell Phil I got my finger stuck in an vinegar bottle last week.

Friday, 14 October 2011

A day out on the bus.

I haven't mentioned it, but I've been off work poorly for a week and a half now and the sight of the four walls are starting to drive me demented. In fact I've got into the habit of having a daily hoover challenge. Basically I empty the drum before I start, then I hoover the house from top to bottom, some days I do curtains, one day, interestingly I hoovered the walls!. Once I'm finished I spread news paper out in the utility room and empty the drum again.  Then I decide whether its more or less than the day before.  Then I realise how pointless this is and repeatedly hit myself in the face with the hoover pipe until I lose consciousness.

My mam has obviously noticed that I'm at a bit of a loose end so she phones me to tell me that her and my dad are taking me to town 'on the bus'

I should explain that since they gave my parents free bus passes they're never off the bus. I dread to think what they're costing the council in petrol. Every time I ring them they have to ring me back because they are 'just getting off the bus' or 'just getting on the bus'. I don't know where they go, I've stopped asking. Maybe they go nowhere, maybe they just sit on the bus and travel the region.

What I do know is that 90% of things my mother tells me start.....

'We saw (insert name of your choosing) on the bus and he/she was saying........'

Maybe the bus is just like some giant mobile social club for the over 60's. They never go anywhere, they just get on and off buses, passing on random bits of gossip about gout and bladder surgery and divorce.

Anyway I am being taken to town on 'the bus', so I drive to theirs (yes I know) and park behind their car (I know, I know). I knock on the door which opens immediately (this leads me to believe that they've been waiting behind the door).  Apparently my dad is cross because I'm late so we've missed the 10.08 and will have to get the 10.18. I'm not sure what happens on the 10.08 that doesn't happen on the 10.18, perhaps they have a buffet service or on-board bingo or David Dickinson drives the bus but my Dad doesn't look happy about missing it so I keep quiet.

My Dad gives me my bus fare before the bus comes and I realise he's given me £1.50, so I try to give him some back and am utterly horrified to learn that he's given me the right money.  They only live 3/4 mile from the town. I could have parked my car for that!!!

Anyway on the bus my mam makes us look ridiculous by making us sit on the 3 little pull down seats as you get on the bus, so I'm sandwiched between them. I feel about 7, I'm not sure if I should be holding their hands. I go to ring the bell when we're nearly at our stop and my mam stops me,

'Your Dad always rings the bell'

Jesus. I'm 36 and I'm not allowed to ring the bell. I feel like ringing it out of spite but I'm scared my mam will slap my legs, or I won't be allowed an ice cream in town!

So off the bus we get and we head to a hotel where my parents go to for coffee. I get wrong immediately off my mam for calling it 'gods waiting room' under my breath, but in we go.  We find a seat and its lovely. The waitress delivers teas and coffee's to tables on a little trolley dressed up with doilies. There are white linen table cloths and when our tea comes, in comes in lovely little teapots, with an extra pot of boiling water and some lovely oatey, crumbly biscuits.

There are workmen milling about at the other side of the tearoom as the hotel its attached to is currently being renovated following a fire a few years back. I hear the waitress talking to another customer explaining that later on there's going to be a planned power outage while they do some testing, however I'm not really listening, as my mother is telling me something scandalous that she'd heard on the bus the day before.

We must literally have been in there for 5 minutes, I haven't even started my oatey biscuit when the entire place is plunged into pitch darkness.  Now this bears testament to how British we really are.  No body bats an eyelid (or if they do it's too dark to see), people just continue their conversations.

So here I am in a quaint tearoom with my parents drinking tea and chatting IN THE DARK!!!. This is not really how I saw my morning panning out.  Why are they not alarmed, are they used to this? Is it just like the war?  The waitress comes past, shouting merrily 'don't worry you can all see your cups'. Which is true I suppose. I half expect her to lead us into a rousing chorus of 'roll out the barrel'

A man gets up and feels his way to the toilet. I presume the toilet is also in pitch blackness as there is a loud crash and he comes back out muttering, I'm only pleased that its too dark to see the front of his trousers. Being drenched in urine is never attractive.

We finish our drinks and feel our way towards the exit where we pay the waitress by torch light. Just as we we are leaving an old gentleman starts singing a song about someone called Paddy, sitting in a dark corner with his tail hanging out.  At this point my dad ushers us out into broad daylight and back to the bus stop.

I really need to get home anyway, I need to hoover our mattresses.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Parent related madness

Hello, I'm back. Blogging about something that is likely to see me in the mad house. My parents!

I should explain a little bit about the situation. I'm 36 years old and the only child of Marie and John. They're a smashing couple, loved by all, good friends, good neighbours, generally a pair of good eggs.

Unless you're their only child!

Before I explain why they're driving me mad I'll give you a couple of example conversations from them both.


Mother: Do you remember Gloria, used to live down the street from us
Me: No
Mother: Oh you do, her daughter was the dancer, fell off her bike and broke her leg
Me: Not really
Mother:Her son went to prison for stealing chickens from the back of the dairy
Me: Can't say it rings any bells
Mother: You used to play in the park with her neice Joanne, lovely red anorak
Me: Yes I remember her
Mother: Then you must remember Gloria she dyed her hair red for Charles and Diana's wedding
Me: Oh yes. I know who you mean. Why?
Mother: She's dead.


Father: Did you mean to hit the curb
Me: I didn't hit the curb
Father: You parked closer than you meant to though
Me: I didn't
Father: No wonder you need your tyres replacing every year
Me: I parked that perfectly
Father: If you say so dear

So, the reason I'm utterly demented is not only because of the the above conversations, but because they have an apparent inability to retain information.

I tell them things and they seem to forget them immediately. Yes I know they're pensioners, but don't let that fool you, they've been doing this to me for at least 15 years.

Everytime I visit them my dad asks 'do you want a coffee?' My dad is a complete coffee fiend and thanks to the machine we bought him a few christmas's ago, he makes damn fine coffee. In my lifetime my dad must have made me at least 500 cups of coffee. He knows I drink my coffee black and with no sugar, however everytime he offers to make me one he asks the following questions...
a) Do you want milk in it
b) Do you want sugar

How many bloody cups of coffee does this man have to make me before it sinks in. I'm beginning to think he's doing this just to send me over the edge.

This is where his partner in crime steps in. My mother laughs at my dad with his coffee disrememberance, however in reality she's just as bad.

This week I have made an appointment with the doctor which I mentioned to my mother on Monday. She seemed to be listening, however who knows what was going through ther head (she watches far too much loose women).

On Tuesday she phoned me...

Mother: Julie when are you at the doctors
Me: Same as when I last told you, Friday at 9.20
Mother: Oh that's right

On Wednesday I pop round for coffee (Do you take milk/sugar..ARRRGGGGHHHH), (When's your Doctors appointment ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH)

Thursday I try to avoid them, I do well until the phone rings and I forget I'm screening calls and answer it.

'Whens your doctors appointment'
I hang up immediately, find the sharpest knife I have and slice the words 'FRIDAY AT 9,20 AM' into my face.

Actually I do neither, I politely reply, Friday at 9.20am. I also send a text to them both

'Friday at 9.20. Black, no milk, no sugar, why didn't you give me up for adoption'

I immediately recieve a reply.

'We tried.....'

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Voice of the beehive

Today was odd from the outset. Phil and Syd had already left for the day when there was quite a lot of commotion coming from the bathroom, we were either being burgled by someone in boxing gloves, the dog was attempting to master the art of using the toilet or something had upset Joe (my money was on the latter) 

Minutes later Joe bursts into our room fully dressed, head down and charges towards the mirror. He is muttering under his breath and doesn't so much as look in my direction. After looking in the mirror his muttering intensifies to full blown ranting, peppered with a bit of mild cursing.  He is facing away from me however I can see the focus of his agitation seems to be his hair, he is pulling it and tugging at it brushing it this way and that. He'd had his hair cut the previous evening so I can't understand what is upsetting him so much. (It looked alright the previous evening)

 I say his name a couple of times but he acts as if he hasn't heard me. I obviously need to get to the bottom of this.

So he's muttering and swearing and I have literally no idea what on earth is going on with him.  I say his name and he ignores me, so I shout his name.....


He slowly raises his head and turns round, and I finally see the reason why he was so distressed.


All of a sudden the swearing and the distress seem completely understandable. There on top of his head, is what can really only be described as a beehive.  The front is swept fashionably to one side however the crown is a good 4 inches high giving him the look of a giant human torpedo. I turn away to compose myself (laugh hysterically) and then I turn back towards him and tell him I'll sort it out.

What follows is 20 minutes of swearing (me), screaming in pain (him) and more hairspray than is good for anyone.  Nothing makes a difference. If anything I have teased the beehive to a good 6inches now, he wouldn't be out of place as an extra in heartbeat.

I suggest that he wears a hat for school which doesn't go down at all well.

I text Phil for advise:

Me: Disaster! Woman at hairdressers hasn't cut Joe's hair right, hair has now formed into giant beehive. Dunno what to do

Phil:  Take a photo?

Bloody useless!  The only solution is to call the school and tell them he'll be in late and take him back to the barbers and demand they cut it properly. So that's what I do!

School: Hello Pupil support

Me: Hello this is Joe's mother, Joe will be late this morning because its highly unlikely that his enormous bouffant hair will fit through any door in your school

School: Oh dear. Have you considered offering him as an extra in Heartbeat?

Me: Yes I have. I'm taking him for an emergency beehive-ectomy. I will bring him to school once his hair has returned to a normal height.

School:  Thank you and if you wouldn't mind could you take a photo...

(I told them he had a headache and would be in once it had gone. To be fair by this point we both did, so we had a cheeky glug from a bottle of calpol 6+, just to cheer us up)

So I return him to the barbers. As we enter (Joe needs to duck to allow his 'hive' through the door) the shop grinds to a halt. There is a stunned silence til someone starts to hum something by Dusty Springfield.

Anyway it transpires the woman who cut Joe's hair is currently on trial (she should be), and it would seem that although perfect at the front and back she has overlooked the crown. We accept their complimentary haircut and goodwill chubba chup lolly and I return Joe to school.

All this by 9.30am.  I only have one regret.

I didn't take a photo.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

There's something about Phil

In the spirit of a blog I'm using this blank computer to screen not only to tell you about recent events but also to make room for some more clutter in my head by clearing out some of the old resentments.

Anyone who lives with someone knows that spending all that time together leads to a couple of niggles about the other person. I'm sure my obsession with candles is quite annoying. (previous comments include: 'Good grief, are we trying to contact the other side' and, casually in front of guests 'who are we sacrificing tonight?)  It's really not that bad, it lends atmosphere, and you don't need to put your heating on.

So I'm going to list the main things that really annoy me about Phil. Don't worry, I'm not going focus on the trivial. These will be real issues that, were I a weaker woman, could result in the downfalll of our marriage.


I understand that some people have louder sneezes than others.  My cousin for example just squeaks, a tiny little mouses squeak, where as I'm a fairly standard, Achoo, Achoo kind of girl.

When Phil sneezes he can be heard in the next street!  Now you think that's an exaggeration, but it's actually a true story.  A few years back, in Morrison's we were talking to a woman who lived in the next street, the one that backs onto us.  Before you thinking I'm cheating and her garden backs onto ours. It doesn't.  We're talking about a good 10-12 houses away. Anyway, this woman, (who we had previously socialised with, no doubt in summer, when Phil's hay fever was playing him up causing him to sneeze).  Who we're talking to asks if Phil has had cold. When we looked puzzled she explained. She'd been hanging washing out and had heard Phil sneezing.  She'd heard him sneezing!  THE WOMAN WAS PRACTICALLY HALF A MILE AWAY. 

Not only that he doesn't always cover his mouth, he claims that sneezing creeps up on him so rapidly he is unable to move his hand the great distance to his mouth.  That coupled with the overly flamboyant WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHOOOOO is enough to make me want to smother him with a mansize kleenex.
Oh, and just for information he can sneeze quietly. When Syd was a baby and we'd just got him to sleep he'd sneezed quietly. I've also seen him control his ridiculous sneeze at a funeral. Which proves to be that he is only sneezing the way he is to get attention.


I have a lot of hair. An awful lot of hair. When it gets wet in the rain it holds the water, similar to a sheep, however there is only so much water my hair can hold (I'd guess at 2 litres)  After 5 minutes in heavy rain, my hair collapses under the pressure which has the same effect as dumping a large bucket of water over my head. I'm literally drenched, water dripping off my nose, make up like Alice Cooper, basically disastrous.

Phil however has a number 1 all over his head, (I mean he has a number 1 haircut, not wee in his hair) which means very little hair. He also doesn't wear make up (a blessing really). And when we go anywhere he normally wears a waterproof jacket. I'm normally in a cardigan (which also holds the water, similar to the hair).

So based on the above information, you'd think, should it rain, it would be obvious who gets to use the umbrella. NOT SO!. Given that Joe plays football every Sunday from Aug to May, and we live in the North East we encounter a lot of rain, and heavy rain at that.  At the first sign of rain, Phil's waterproof is fastened up, and his heavy duty golf umbrella is up. He also sneakily moves away from people. This is because he doesn't want to share his umbrella.  I can literally be stood soaked from head to toe in a pool of water and Phil is panicking that his glasses might get wet.  Sometimes his jeans get wet from the knee down, which quite frankly a worry. What if he gets cold, it might bring about a bout of sneezing.......


If we meet someone for example a personal banker who introduces herself as Lindsey, an estate agent called Steven or a shop assistant called Nigel within minutes of meeting them Phil slips into 'best mate syndrome', treating the person like he's been best friends with them since infant school.  'Good idea Linz',  'Lovely house Ste',  'Cheers Nige mate'. He thinks he's being friendly, however in reality, these people are frightened! This is a man they've literally met seconds earlier and he's carrying on like they're downing sabucca's on a stag do.
Example conversation with shop assistant in Comet.
Asst:  Can I help
Phil: (clocking name badge): I wonder if you can Beverley. We need a new hoover
Asst: Well, have you considered a dyson......etc etc
Phil:  Ok Beverly I'll just check with my wife.  Jools what Bev was saying......
Me:  *Cringes and hopes we can just leave*
Phil: So Bev what would you recommend.

At this point 'Bev' is looking at me, and looking like she's considering calling security. She no longer knows if we really want a hoover or if we're swingers and we're trying to pick her up. We leave before Phil starts calling her 'B' or 'Bev-laaaa' or 'the Bevster'.



OK, so this one is common sense
1)  Get cold
2)  Get blocked up nose
3) Realise you can't breathe properly through your nose.
4) Get a hanky and blow your nose.

However imagine if Step four looked like this.

4) Decide that blowing your nose doesn't 'sit right with you', you haven't done it since something (god knows what!) put you off as a child. Instead you decide to form torpedo's out of tissue and shove them up your nose.  Then you will breathe through your mouth, not caring that you sound like a walrus in a state of sexual excitement.  No matter how thick with snot your nostrils become you will not blow your nose. 

(No doubt Phil has got this cold from allowing his socks to dampen in a recent torrential downpour.  Hopefully  once the sneezing starts he'll clear some of the backlog.)

There are some more however thats all I can handle for now.......