Thursday, 30 June 2011

A dog less gooseberried is ...

... more gooseberries for us



... fewer deposits of semi-stewed, semi-digested gooseberry poos all over the garden (sorry, no photo - considered taking one, but decided to leave this disgustingness to your imagination!)

... the best gooseberry crumble in the world ( I am not normally one to boast, but it really is very good)

Look later for best ever crumble recipe posting 


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A dog less walked is ...

What is it with children and towels?

Mine (children) appear to think that their (towels) reside on the floor and are careless of their particular addresses. Allotted towel residences include flooring of the carpeted, tiled or wooden variety, on landing, stairs, playroom, bedroom, or kitchen. And in the latter abode, the said towel is quickly appropriated by the four legged tenant who pushes, pulls and shoves it into a soft, hair-covered heap, that he then sits on and chews.

Wooden towel racks lurk in dark corners of the house, ignored, forlorn and recklessly unemployed. Sometimes they are joined by the shoe rack, washing basket, cardboard tubes from the inside of loo rolls, and toothpaste caps, all seeking solidarity in their collectively pointless lives. Maybe the sock eating monster takes solace there too, following particularly rigorous forays under beds and in the bottom of wardrobes, and might hang the odd odd sock on the empty rails of the towel rack in an act of healing.

The same magic (mildly marinated), midnight (usually) fairy who makes the children's beds; empties the bath and picks up the soap also picks up the towels.What's her name? Muggins, of course.

And why is this called a dog less walked? Because a dog less walked yesterday is a dog more vigorously animated today. And one who woke at 5am, which is when I scribbled above mini rant on a piece of paper.

... After nearly falling over a towel on the stairs.

Monday, 27 June 2011

It's too hot to ...

In the East of England today it has been the hottest day for many years: far too hot for normal temperate climate mortals to ...


  • think. Worryingly can't get my words out. This results in incoherent mumblings and ridiculous repetition, as I struggle to identify object or person (having mother-in-law at youngest child's swimming gala today was a nightmare, as I was even worse than usual at the social skill of introductions and remembering peoples names) - possible early dementia, or combination of sleep deprivation and HEAT!

  • cook. Reheat yesterdays dinner, perhaps ... but Aga still on in kitchen: no go zone, as hotter than hot.

  • dress. Naturists have a point - in this weather only, I hasten to add. I'm NOT about to strip off ... but it would be cooler...

  • sleep. Poor, exhausted youngest now downstairs in cooler part of house, "watching something" and with electric fan trained on her.

  • drink sensibly - wine quaffed rather too fast this evening - need water now!

  • walk the dog. Poor poor fellow. Think he would collapse if I tried . Water bowls everywhere for him, but found him drinking from watering-can earlier. Youngest commented, "He's panting an awful lot." But that's what dogs do. We just drink too much - then regret it - and need to find water too ... but I might give the watering can a miss!

Hot, hot, hot!

Things to do on a hot day:

Walk the dog ...


Then, water the dog ...



Then, find shady home for the dog ...





Add bone.


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Gentle musing: Are you ever too old to like pop music?

Changed my FB status last night to  "Ironing ... Coldplay at Glastonbury on TV. Happy!"

And later (okay, Coldplay finished at midnight,so it was very late cos I couldn't sleep) I started thinking ... am I too old to like bands like Coldplay and Take That so much that I can sing along to their songs, in the car,  with the windows down, while driving back from the school run and secretly hope that one day I might drag an embarrassed child or two along to a concert? Yes, I also love some classical, musical and choral music (more appropriate for my age perhaps???) but my eclectic mix, if ever (unlikely!) invited onto Desert Island Discs (popular British radio programme), would be tilted heavily toward the sing along, feel good, pop ballad.

Personally, I like what I like, and it doesn't really bother me that my kids might think me a little quaint. What perhaps does make me feel a little uncomfortable is the suspicion that my peers might think I am just trying to impress the kids ...

Sweltering day here (26 degC) and due to be more sweltering tomorrow (29degC!!). Little worried about prospect of  swimming gala - lots of little people and parents sitting in the sun for an hour tomorrow afternoon. Hats and lots of water!

Dog wearing black fur coat is not a happy boy, but has had a good soaking form the hose and is now lying in the shade. Too hot for a walk me thinks.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Ditty/mini rant: On my turn to get up too early

And he said, "We can lie in tomorrow."

A long lie for me
Would be 7:45;
Late enough, just,
To feel more alive.

The lights go out,
We fall asleep.
We dream, we dream,
Then - Beep! Beep! Beep!

My dog's awake;
The bread is done.
He wants his food,
And a morning run.

I roll over and shut my eyes.
Bark! Bark! Bark!
"Long lie tomorrow" -
Lies, lies, lies!


Scribbled this when bread maker woke me and Mungo at 6am this morning - my fault entirely and my dog , so my turn to get up. Note: turn in this instance = happening that is always repeated in exactly the same way.

Only good thing? My turn, too, to have first sleepy hug with youngest child.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Gooseberry thief!!

So that's where the gooseberries have been going ...



"What, me Mum? Noooo ..."

"Yep, you Mr Gooseberry-thief. Caught in the act!"




"Aw, sorreee. Just one more ... pleeeease."


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Muse on the frustrations linked to work

Bunty, Bobby and Beatrice (Emerald Frog blog) will have to wait until tomorrow ... sorry ... got it all planned out in my head but forgot that B B & B are red squirrels and that the baddies must therefore be grey, so planned names wouldn't fit - will have to sleep on it and see if more inspiration drifts my way. If this makes no sense to you at all, then apologies and for explanation read chapters 1 - 3 of B B & B in Emerald Frog.

Somewhat miserable day today - work; kids music exams & driving test; and work.

Reasons why work was distressing today:

  • wasn't at home
  • got stuck behind tractor; then lorry; then another tractor on way there
  • computer system had changed - made me run late; made me look/feel stupid; meant I missed my coffee break
  • couldn't be there to give my son a hug when he failed his driving test
  • dog = maniac when got home, after a morning shut in his pen listening to builders singing
  • work!!! need I say anything more
  • and ... got to go back tomorrow
  • and ... slightly jealous of son who will be at Wimbledon tomorrow

Tip to all you undecided youngsters out there (if anyone is actually reading this) aim to do a job or enter a profession that you actually enjoy - that way work won't feel like work and you'll be happy. Maybe.

Eldest has just told me to go to bed ... because I "have to go to work tomorrow!!!!!"


Monday, 20 June 2011

Back to work

Back to work tomorrow after almost a month off - spent the day varnishing oak skirting boards (think they look rather good; does that make them smirking boards??); failing to WTD (see below) and procrastinating as usual, when not sulking about going back to work and eating a whole bar of chocolate to make myself feel better. It didn't!

Think need to write more fiction: what goes whistle, scrape ... bang!? See my other blog Emerald Frog. Will attempt next chapter of Bunty, Bobby and Beatrice, tomorrow.

Night, night or good morning for now, depending on where you are and what time you read this. I'm off to top up my wine glass

WTD ... when the dog refuses to walk

WTD this morning was a waste of time really: dog refused to walk.

Several scenarios have resulted in ambulatory refusal in the past

  • needing to go when human holder of the lead is unaware that a toilet stop is necessary. Dog can't talk so resorts to stopping until message understood. Or squats mid stride in the middle of the road ...
  • being ill with tummy ache after eating a beanie baby that appeared naturally after a few anxious days and many visits to the vet
  • scary hay bales newly appeared alongside usual footpath
  • getting to a particular junction in the road which rather gives the game away that we are nearly home 
  • noticing that human friend still has some carrot in her pocket and sitting down looking pretty in the hope that she might be persuaded to part with some 
  • or ... todays reason: (warning - what follows is gross!)
Made the mistake of taking a footpath across a field recently vacated by a herd of cows and their calves. Dog  clearly been reading Lord of the Rings and assumed it was time for second breakfast.

Twenty minutes later I caught him. And abandoned the walk.

Friday, 17 June 2011

A Dog in the Hand ...




is worth


two 


in the bush!





Very difficult to get the dog in the hand pic as M would not keep still. Wish my middle finger was a bit better positioned. Might try again another time.

More happy procrastinating - told you I was good at it!

Perfectionists and procrastinators; a gentle muse to fill the time.


Pictures of clematis (or is it clematises, or even clematii?) Taken in my garden. Enjoyable, but guilty pursuit, as should really be doing something else - such as tackling the long list of jobs that just goes on growing, and growing. Problem is I procrastinate - all the time nowadays. That this hasn't always been the case set me off thinking ...

Do all perfectionists evolve into procrastinators?

And if so how common an affliction is this?

At school, I was accused by my headmaster of being a perfectionist.Insult or compliment - I didn't know then and don't really know now. If his motive was to promote my inner leaning toward perfectionism and thereby ensure that as a perfectionist I would double my swotty learnings, then it was a shrewdly expressed observation. Being a shy, clever and, because of the first two, unpopular teenager, I had nothing to lose in burying myself further in my books and all to gain in winning a place at a prestigious university.

Unfortunately, the rot set in shortly after I started at said university and discovered I was surrounded by perfectionists who were all more perfect than me.

And so the transformation to procrastinator began: I suspect there is a similar, identifiable turning point for everyone who makes this journey.

So how does my affliction manifest itself : I won't windsurf ... because I'm no good at it; I won't speak French to anyone, ever ... because I tried and was laughed at; I am a fairly competent cook but one who avoids making fruit jellies ... because I'm afraid that after too many past disasters they won't set (I have enough jars of pourable"sauces" stacked in the kitchen cupboard and can't give any of them away); years of getting directions wrong, mean that I avoid map reading at all costs (although when alone in the car, I seldom get lost!); in other words, I by definition put off doing anything I fear I might fail ... for days, or weeks, even years. Fear of rejection, of course, keeps my book unsubmitted and unpublished.

So, assuming there are other procrastinators out there and that many of us might at some time have been perfectionists, how do we get our perfectionism back? I think it has something to do with hope and optimism and inner belief. How to achieve those is the question. I don't have the answer, but suspect that liberal quantities of laughter, good music, cuddles with my children, time in the garden, and long walks with the dog might help - or are they all ways of putting more pressing things off. Procrastinating again.

For now, however, I have to admit I am pretty good at procrastination. Me, the perfect procrastinator!

And tomorrow, I'll do my paperwork. Really, I will ...

'Clematis' collective noun.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Happy feet. Or an exercise in putting more important things off until tomorrow.


Silly distraction - pictures of feet:

Driving practice


Piano practice


Sleep: no practice required
Don't know why I took these pics really. 

Procrastination practice, perhaps. See tomorrow's blog - "Perfectionists and procrastinators"- when tomorrow comes ...

Dreams, dilemmas and dog walks

Why is it that one's dreams so seldom match the practicalities and needs of one's life? What I want and what I need seem to be drifting further apart. And I can't see how to turn my life around and chase after those elusive dreams.

So I took my dilemma and the dog for a walk. He bounded into the wheat and lost himself and me, reminding me of seals bobbing through waves as he leapt up and down, up and down. He briefly strayed into the top of the cattle field and lapped up the fresh heaps of brown 'custard' - definitely back to being dog and not seal! Then he came home and licked the plumbers!

Did I make any life changing decisions - of course not! But there's always another day, another walk.

And I hope the plumbers washed their hands before lunch ...

Monday, 13 June 2011

Aaaaargh! Computers.

Computers: love them most of the time. Hate them when they go wrong.

Decided that today was the day when I would finally stop procrastinating and do some of the things I have been promising myself I would do for the past couple of days (or weeks, or probably several months if I am honest). Got off to a good start - sat at computer, made coffee, walked the dog, sat at computer again, made lunch, put on a washing, sat at computer and imagined glue holding me to seat, typed letter & managed to add attachments to email (without resorting to consultation with children, which with most things computerly is quite an achievement for me. I probably still did it vastly more slowly than they would have done. Ho hum ...) and pressed send. Yippee job done.

Then, the email bounced back - notification of failure to deliver. What?!!! Was the web postie on his tea break? Turns out my server has probably been blacklisted by the recipient (whatever that means). Resorted to normal behaviour of my generation and sent it again and then again - a bit like shouting louder at the foreign waiter in the deluded belief that he will then understand - it bounced back again and then again, somewhat inevitably perhaps.

Luckily, I have two email addresses and apparently the second is not blacklisted yet, so posted email to myself and then forwarded it on to desired destination. Felt very clever about that. Especially when it didn't bounce back. Little bit worried now that it might have got lost somewhere in the flickering ether of the web; not very confident about the web postie's ability to find the right address really. Guess I won't know for sure until I get a reply ...

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Unhelping ... or maybe not?

This is what I mean by unhelping:


Although, if he actually eats the weeds then maybe that is not strictly unhelping. Except that he is terribly in the way.

One solution:


Give a dog a bone = happy dog = gardening can continue!

P.S. No longer raining ...

Friday, 10 June 2011

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday dear boy: 2 years old and time has flown.
About a year ago.

Best fun!

Where I like to be when no one is looking.
Actually one day late, but Mungo's not counting and, as my sister would testify, one day late is astonishingly good for me.

Raining drought and dogs

"It's official, parts of East Anglia are experiencing a drought." Radio 4 news, lunchtime today.

Drought conditions
You cannot be serious - I'm not going out in that!
Could it be that the rain is my fault ... for posting about the drought conditions below? Or is that just a bit too paranoid? Like the sun going in as soon as I put my sunglasses on, or baste the children in suncream?

Drought in Essex

It's official - East Anglia and other parts of the UK are suffering from drought conditions.

WTD has missed usual swim in stream as stream has been dry for weeks. And big fissured cracks have appeared on the footpaths. This is a pic of Mungo wondering where his bit of carrot has just gone - disappeared into depths of the parched earth.

Isn't he a handsome fellow
Many thanks to daughter for helping post photos to blog - sadly so fast that I'll need her help again the next time and probably the time after that and after that ....

Just started to rain!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Too little sleep.

Epic journey (see below); good friend's sensational 50th birthday party; kids back to school after half term and needing help with homework, piano practice etc. i.e. all things designed to eat into the evening; and late, late nights, add up to me being extremely tired.

Witness to just how tired I was last night, was poor confused dog, who watched as I took the usual biscuits to drop into his cage (doggy midnight feast/bribery to get him into bed) and very, very nearly threw them into the tumble drier!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Epic journey

5 trains; 1 stop in Edinburgh Waverley Station for coffee with cousin I haven't seen for 15years (20 minute catching-up, like speed dating only without the 'will we won't we keep in touch' - of course we will! and hopefully before we both hit 60); 3 car journeys; 1 ferry crossing - spent applying make-up using the car sun visor mirrors (ha ha!); 4 old friends in on our conspiracy, and 2 parents celebrating 50 years of marriage, who hadn't a clue that 2 of their daughters were about to turn up and take them out for dinner.

Ely station, first of many...

Dunoon Pier



Made our mother cry.


Dog of course at home with kids and kids friends and builders and plumbers and much later, tired husband. Away for only one night but nice to be told how much I was needed and missed. Should perhaps do this more often ...