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Showing posts from October, 2011

Out of the mouth of Littlest

Little people are blessed with many gifts, but one of the best of these is the ability, without guilt or embarrassment, to tell it like it is. Our diminished family of girls visited a castle yesterday. The man at the entrance asked, "One adult, three children?" Then looking a bit closer at Eldest, corrected his tally to two adults, two children. Later, we debated whether Eldest was flattered or annoyed to be considered a child. And I said, "If he had called me a child, that would have been extremely flattering!" Littlest looked me up and down, with a puzzled frown that clearly said what planet are you on mother, before stating, "But he wouldn't, would he?"

The pile of hands game

Boys banished to the far ends of the earth - New Zealand, India ... and kennels. Girls left to do things together: Bliss? But we do miss the chaps. Honest!

Shadow picture - Girls on Bangor pier

Me and my girls (and a blue post)

Shadow picture - Littlest

Littlest scootering

Wonderful words

Just returned from North Wales with an idea for a new blog topic (new for me; suspect it has probably been done before): wonderful words, words that are remarkable in their noteworthy onomatopoeic strangeness. While I am sure there are examples in most languages where modern life necessitates the invention of new words, in Wales this happened with the microwave. What do you do with a microwave oven? - pop the food in and wait for the ping. So, guess what it's called? I actually have no idea how it is spelt - probably as it is Welsh, with a bucket load of consonants - but phonetically the word is pop-tee-ping . Brilliant! I wonder what the machine-that-goes-ping in hospitals is called - cheattee-death-ping, resus-me-ping, heartee-ping ... ?

King for a week: part 5

Damn it! I knew I'd heard someone say something about kennels. I should have guessed! Littlest spent all morning packing, which meant moving her collection of furry, but pretend, rabbits, from one room to another,until she found a bag big enough to hold them all (what's the point of a pretend rabbit? - I wish I could tell her, 'If it can't hop, it can't be chased, so it ain't worth it. And a mouthful of rabbity fur is no fun if it can't wriggle - don't tell Littlest, but I've tried). Then, Mum came home all in a flap with "far too much to do." The signs were all there, but no-one had the courtesy to tell me. It's like telling someone they are going to the Dentist, only when you arrive at the dentist's front door: not fair, not fair at all. Luckily for Mum, I didn't have to pack anything. Sadly, at the end of my week's reign, I was just beginning to get everyone - all my girls -  into a routine. Food, lazing around, sleep

The midnight meanderings of a procrastinating procrastinator

I am completely useless - at going to bed early; at filling bean bags with polystyrene beads (snow of tiny balls all over the kitchen floor); at windsurfing - can't do it, therefore won't do it; at remembering people's names; at remembering where I put the amazing recipe I want to cook now or tomorrow or next week; at recalling the names of plants; at catching up with paperwork - it's boring, so frustrating, so put it off, so more frustrating, so tidy it away into a different room, so face accusations of hiding it, so frustration levels reach a climax, so do it, so wonder in frustration why didn't do it earlier, so resolve to do so the next time, and don't, so frustration recycles ... perpetually. And when full of the cold even simple decisions become pretty impossible Apple, lemon or orange? Sacrilegious toddy part 2. And you're no help Or are you hinting that I'll end up on the floor if I have a toddy? Two nights in a row (toddy, not floor!) ...

Hot toddy sacrilege?

A Scot who doesn't like whiskey, who has a stinking cold, who wants to sleep, who has a very sweet tooth, who has failed so far to find/invent a cure to to common cold, who despairs of her failure to walk Four-legged-friend yet again, who is working far too much this half term, who can't wait for the weekend  ... who needs to go to bed and fancies a wee something - a night cap - but can't face the usual whiskey (eurgh), honey (noooo) and lemon (=indigestion) has a new recipe to share. Try this. It's naughty, smells medicinal (in a good way) and is really scrummy. Take a big mug (porcelain, not husband). Boil the kettle. Find some hot chocolate powder - the better the chocolate powder the better the drink. Pour a generous finger of Cointreau into your mug. Add the chocolate powder, then top up with boiling water and hot milk. Take to bed, sip, slide down the pillows, dream (and worry about your teeth in the morning). Sacrilegious? I think not. Good night

King for a week: part 4

A day of kingly demandingness? (see King for a week: part 3) First, I demanded a walk, but Mum was either out somewhere - twice! - (I think she called it work, but I don't know why she has to go out to do that, because I could find plenty of work for her to do here), or she was still all sneezy, so I sulked a bit and went outside, where I put my helpful hat on Mum (home for her lunch break) put the leaves in the bucket - I nuzzled in between her and the brush and her legs, and ate some (leaves, not legs), and pulled a twig out of the bucket which sprinkled (only a few) leaves all over the ground, and caught a beetle. She hinted that I was unhelping, but I was checking on her mental health. This was most definitely necessary after she said she had to sweep up some helicopters: I know she has been feverish, but when she said the helicopters were really baby-trees-in-disguise, it was me that had the headache. Bones were a safer option In conclusion, as a day of regal demands,

King for a week: part 3

How do I lodge a complaint? - I'm the only male in the house; in charge for a whole week, with three girls to feed, pamper and walk me ... and that's the point: what happened to the walks? Mum looks decidedly peaky; her nose is dripping and she keeps doing loud spluttering explosions - in other words, she not only fails to take me for walks, but also - right now! - prevents me from sleeping. Imagine that - preventing someone from sleeping; I'd never do anything so selfish! (see King for a week: part 2) Maybe, I'll take myself for a walk tomorrow? Hmmm - haven't figured out the gates yet, so could find myself trapped in the garden. Plan B? - don't have one of those, but surely a king can demand a plan B from his loyal subjects. So tomorrow, watch out girls, I'll be more demanding than usual. P.S. What's a hot toddy? Smells weirdly soporific, or is it a cure for sneezing?

King for a week: part 2

You know all this 'being the only man in the house' stuff - the big strong brave one who protects the rest of the family? Well, I thought I'd get off to a good start last night; let any potential burglars know I'm here. So I yelped, whined ... and barked! ... from the time that mum went to bed until 5.30am. I thought I was doing a really good job. Strangely, though, mum didn't.

King for a week

Dad and long-legged-boy have packed bags and flown away. "Flown!" - how did they do that? Close examination of long-legged-boy before he left did not reveal any erupting wings. But flying is what he said he was going to do, so who am I to argue?Although, if I had been about to attempt air travel, I would have taken a lighter bag; no point helping gravity to make it more difficult. So, for eight days, I am the only chap in the house. Do you think I might get away with doing this all week? Mum's pretty tolerant; I reckon I might be lucky.  But did someone mention kennels?


Mum and I got lost this morning. Yes! Completely stuck without a compass and walking in the wrong direction. And we were only ten minutes from home. Bit of a silly idea to go for a walk if you ask me, but then, I wasn't asked. When we stepped out of the back door and found a blanket of white resting on the ground - Mum said it was called fog - that should have been her queue to return me to my warm spot next to the Aga. But no, on we went, into the familiarish unknown - I mean it smelt the same, but this time it wasn't only the footpaths that had disappeared, but the trees, the sky, the sun and the rabbits (I could hear them, but not see them - which was really frustrating; at least if I can see them, I can choose to ignore them, when I can only hear them, their rustling startles me and then it looks really uncool if I don't act like a dog and chase them, except I can't see them, so it's difficult knowing where to chase). So we were lost: Which way's home,

Me and my Shadow

 "Biscuit Mum?"

Mystery of the disappearing footpaths

Yesterday, Mum and I went for a walk. One of our usual walks. One where we normally amble along, smelling things, chasing bits of bread or carrot, upsetting the odd pheasant, and seldom meet anyone else.  We follow the path in a wide circuit until we get home, have some food, curl up and go to sleep. (Mum doesn't curl up and go to sleep, that bit's all me!) So it's an activity that doesn't require much thought. Until yesterday ... Here's the sign for the footpath. But where's it gone? I'm sure it was here last time. Maybe I can sniff it out. Got to get Mum home somehow. My tummy's starting to rumble. Think I'm onto something here Yep, definitely found it. But just when I was getting confident that the food was only minutes away ... this happened Pssst ... Mum, there's no path! You don't seriously expect me to follow you. I'm a law abiding dog and besides, the farmer's bigger than me. If his big tractor-thingy ripped up th

Brown and wrinkled

Something very strange is happening to me. Something similar is happening to the trees : my hair is falling out; as for the trees - well they don't have hair obviously, but they're dropping leaves all over the ground. It's littering on a grand scale. I can't help losing my hair so maybe it's the same with trees and leaves. The hair I'm losing is brownish and sort of grey, which is odd because my coat is black. But it's not as odd as the leaves - they are green and soft and bendy on the trees (I know because I've eaten some) and on the ground it's hard to believe they are leaves; I hope bits don't start falling off me and turning all brown and wrinkled and touch-me-and-I'll-crack-into lots-of-dry-pieces. The dropping activities of tree and dog have the same effect on mum however- it involves a long-handled bristly thing and lots of sweeping. And the occasional bit of spluttering and muttering under her breath. Particularly, when I try to

Heaven vanished

Littlest is now having formal RS (Religious Studies) lessons at school and this has led to the sort of tricky philosophical questions that innocent seven year olds do best. We have a 25minute car journey to and from school each day, which is usually a time to practice times tables, recite poems, sing, discuss who has been nice/nasty that day, what it takes to be a good teacher (you have to smile a lot), how very extreeeeemly sore it is to have a graze on your elbow, what fillings are best in baked potatoes, or if  tired, to gaze vacantly out of the window. The driver, particularly at the end of the day, often feels like gazing vacantly out of the window too ... but now the brain is kept awake trying to help Littlest sort out weightier issues - Should she believe in God? What is God anyway and where is he? And what about other peoples Gods - some of them are easier to believe in apparently because you can actually see them, like the half man half animal gods of Hindus? Why can't w


Bless-my-doggy-soul * the newspaper delivery lady thinks I want to eat her too! Beep! Beep! Beep! she went this morning. How am I to get the message across that I don't eat human, never have, and really don't want to? Or could the beeping possibly be saying something else? I'm beginning to suspect that it might. 'Stop!'  is a definite possibility. * I'm not sure if I have a soul. What is a soul anyway? There's a place far, far away called Hollywood, where they'll pay fifty cents for your soul, but for some reason a kiss is worth a thousand dollars ... although, I'm not sure that anyone would pay me a thousand dollars for a sloppy, bacteria-laden, doggy kiss. Apologies to Marilyn Monroe for the misquote, but if her soul was only worth fifty cents, then that would suggest that the soul of a mere dog is worth considerably less. And if worthless, then need I argue for its existence at all. Should I be bothered? Probably not ... And anyway, when

Whether the weather don't eat human meat

Four-legged-friend posting today: mum's a bit busy - in-laws staying - so in order not to stress her too much (or to help her de-stress) I thought it best to take her for a nice long walk. Problem - long: yes; walk: well obviously; nice: well, if you call going out in light drizzle; then getting pelted by hard white nuggetty things falling out of the sky; being so soaked that my coat needed a jolly good shaking and mum stripped in the utility room when we got home, nice, then maybe it was, but in my opinion ... I've had better chases through long, nettle strewn grass, on an ice cold blustery day. This is me - those white lumps on my coat aren't the worst case of doggy dandruff ever seen, but the nuggetty things that were falling out of the sky One thing that bothers me, every time we are go out for a stroll, are the holes in the hedges - These ones are just frustrating - there's a small one and two big ones in my garden and I haven't figured out how to open an

The darker side of walking the dog

Guess what this title refers to - Four-legged-friend is a black labrador, equally dark on all sides, so it doesn't refer to him Gloomy thoughts while WTD? - no, thoughts today were all about brambles - which are I have to admit dark, but don't have a dark side - and how I am to remember to take a bag with me tomorrow for the collection of many, plumptious, previously undiscovered brambles in the ditches along our walk Distress at having to work this morning - this makes me uniformly dark, so not that either Still unseasonally warm, sun bright and shadows cast - definite dark side therefore when out walking, but no it isn't this either No - the darker side in question refers to dark matter ... what is it with me and matters physical at the moment? I did disasterously badly in Physics at school (always reckoned someone in the admissions department  made a mistake when I was accepted to university with an E grade in a science!) but I find it fascinating in a I'm-

Time shift

Nearly drove off the road this morning: maybe it's my age or something, but there are so many things on the radio, in the newspaper, on TV, online, that trigger a McEnroe moment and make me want to shout "WHAT????? YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!!!' Last week, it was neutrinos, that if they weren't moving faster than the speed of light to get to their destination possibly before they left, were maybe coming from a different dimension . This week, it's the news on @BBCr4today that good old Greenwich Mean Time has not been the gold standard for time measurement since the early 1970s and, more preposterously, that there is currently a proposal to move GMT to Paris. PARIS!!! Clearly, no-one has thought through the consequences of this - that would put us all in 'PMT' plus or minus a few hours. PMT is defined as a time of irrational, irritable, often depressed behaviour, occurring once a month, to a greater or lesser extent, in a woman's hormone cycle. If mo

No elbows on the table - what about wheels?

This Indian summer-that-isn't-an Indian-summer continues and another hot day followed yesterday's record breaker. Littlest wriggled into our bed at silly-o'clock and wriggled and wriggled until I gave up and we both got up. In what century did I last have a long lie? I'm not really complaining, because with eldest away at University, I am only too aware of how brief the years will seem when Littlest is still happy to climb in for a cuddle in the mornings and wriggle restlessly, full of energy, waiting to bounce, joyously, into the day. I suspect I left my early morning get-up-and-go in the last century, with my lie-ins. On a hot, early autumn (the leaves are falling off the trees) day in England - particularly, a hot, early autumn Sunday , it is a fact - no, almost a law of human nature - that the menfolk will rise late, and peer outside, before declaring, in a statesmanlike, bossy, terribly important puffed-out-chest sort of way, 'get me my oven glove, manly a

Not an Indian summer then

Not an Indian summer apparently, because a) it is still September, so too early, and b) we haven't had a frost yet. So that clears that up, but what to do when it is unseasonally hot? You could do a bit of motherly multitasking - the usual round of washing, ironing, putting clothes away; cooking; washing up; lamentable lack of dog walking (pact with Four-legged-friend - who strangely enough  is better now that there are no apples left on the tree - to walk him tomorrow; and curtain hanging (the pair of the one nibbled by mice - see Bl**dy mice! blog); grass cutting; sorting packing boxes; tidying absent son's room; and attending village harvest supper. Alternatively, you could read a book in the sun; pick brambles and make jam; remember Littlest's piano practice; stop procrastinating and submit, submit, submit!; make ice cream; give Four-legged-friend a bath; and even walk the dog. I didn't do any of those things; might I do some of them tomorrow? Probably not. But