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Showing posts from March, 2012

Simple Arithmetic

Littlest minus Four-legged-friend equals termination of the "I'm big enough to take him for a walk" attitude. He has other ideas - such as FOOD! and where has that fencing fellow who arrived this morning gone? And have I missed the postman? And did I miss any crumbs under the kitchen table? And might the dishwasher be open? And did I really finish my breakfast - all of it? Littlest plus Four-legged-friend equals all is forgiven

Glass half ... empty or full

Mini-rant warning - don't read if sensitive to the stink of fish: I don't mind admitting that I am a glass half empty sort of a person - "realism" I call it. And I think you can be glass-half-empty without being pessimistic - most of the time. Also, I am conveniently balanced by family members most of whom are glass-half-full types, although thinking about it, this appears to be predominantly a male trait. However, there are times when being glass-half-full is wrong. Like when you slop the cooking juice surrounding a side of salmon into an open drawer and declare "it'll be fine" - yes, fine for a few days, or until you open the drawer and reel back in revulsion at the awful pong assailing your nostrils. Then, it would definitely have been better to be glass-half-empty, to have assumed the worst and to have emptied and washed the contents of the drawer before putrefaction took hold.

Failed again ... and again ... and

My to do list is beginning to look more like a wish list - a flight of fantasy jot-it-down-but-know-I'll-never-get-round-to-doing-it list. Every time I look at it, it has grown. But actually, that's a lie because I can't "look" at it since it isn't written down anywhere, unless you count the list inside my head that stretches to the disappearing horizon of my imagination. If my list were a business, it would have collapsed months ago, weighed down by unmet targets and disastrous time management.You might reasonably ask what I plan to do about it. Here are some ideas eat chocolate  drink wine demand hugs from Littlest tackle ironing pile while watching DVD = guilt free filling of time that could otherwise be devoted to items on list = avoidance technique no. 1 walk Four-legged-friend = avoidance technique no. 2 attack garden = guilt free activity because good for health = avoidance technique no. 3 apply self to housework = good for the soul = avoidanc

Houdini Mouse

Smoked myself and Four-legged-friend today, courtesy of a very fickle wind plus bonfire. Here are Four-legged-friend's thoughts. Maybe. It's time for the annual burning of the rabbit house again. Their tunnels were great this year. Going wide and deep below the pile of sticks, just right for poking my whole head into and sniffing that lovely, rich, rabbity smell. But Mum made the pile of sticks higher and and so rickety that the rabbits probably wouldn't have liked it much anyway and then she set fire to it! She spent ages kicking a big pile of leaves around, before chucking them on the fire, too - they smelt ripe and mouldy and delicious and I ate a few - but Mum didn't find any hedgehogs, or whatever it was she said she was looking for. But she did find a mouse. And shout at it. She disturbed it and yelled as it ran into the fire. Bit pointless, if you ask me, because I've never met a mouse that understands English. Of course, the mouse ignored her an

From out of the mouth of Littlest

Describing one of her friends earlier today, Littlest invented this completely spontaneous simile: "She is really nice sometimes, but when she's mean - eurgh! she's like the summer: lovely most of the time, except for the wasps, which are extremely horrid!" I thought this was utterly brilliant. And gosh - that friend must be mean .

So long to walk so not very far. Or alternatively ... All the way to Fairyland.

Where eight legs are slower than six: Add Littlest. Factor in the cross country run she had to do at school. Allow for the fact that hers are the smallest pair of legs out of the eight going for an early evening stroll. And turn the stroll into an amble. Finally, introduce distractions and you'll understand how it took so long to walk such a short distance: My stick says "This way!" What way? "All the way to Fairyland. Probably." Hmmm ... me thinks probably not. Can't smell any fairies. But if you were to say that Biscuit-land is beyond the stile, that's an entirely different matter. I'll do anything to make you believe in Biscuit-land and Biscuit-land fairies. I'll even bow down at your feet. Watch! Mmmm ... biscuits.

Farty friend

Cows - you have competition. It's probably not often that a blog starts with an address to a cow, or even to cows generally, but this is the exception. Aside from providing mankind with milk, beef, leather, and other commodities essential to the non-vegetarian among us, cows have that other claim to (in-)fame(y) of causing global warming. But there is another creature whose bowels are determined that he too should contribute to climate change. Cow, meet Four-legged-friend. Maybe Four-legged-friend's gut is reacting adversely to the lack of good, long walks in recent weeks, due in part to human flu-like illnesses and humans being overworked-because-of-financial-crisis, and also recent ingestion of worming tablets (by dog, not human). However, whatever the cause, today's walk was entertaining. And thankfully outside. With every bouncing, jiggling, swing of Four-legged-friend's hips, there was a delicate, ladylike, burbling escape of gas. It serenaded our progress al


Littlest's teenage sister wants another dog. Specifically, a golden retriever, called Wallace. While I like golden retrievers, if .... very, VERY big if .... we were to get another dog, I would favour one smaller than Four-legged-friend. Maybe a spaniel. Easier to lift in and out of the car; smaller cage required (or could they share?); smaller volume of food consumed; generally easier to accommodate. Not that Four-legged-friend is difficult - he manages to accommodate himself very well, except when leaping into a car boot. Also, I have a problem with the name Wallace. We often holiday near Stirling, which has the Wallace monument, so it ticks the box for meaningful names. But can you imagine standing in the middle of a wet field shouting his name? You'd feel like a right *****! And, if we could fit another puppy into our lives, what would Four-legged-friend think? As long as Wallace hated carrots - particularly the long, drool-inducing, crunchy ones that fly out


When is a felonious kleptosquatter not a felonious kleptosquatter? Answer: when it's a fiddlee-diddlee-aye. Aye as in pie, as in Scots for yes. Let me explain: Our home, like all others has certain quirks - the socks that go missing, one at a time; the kitchen scissors that never reside in the kitchen; the sellotape dispensers that never have a roll of sellotape in them; and the loo roll tubes that leap out of the waste paper bin and roll all over the floor - see yesterday's blog. Now all of these quirks, I blame on our resident felonious kleptosquatter. Which is fine and convenient and makes a good story. However, certain other quirks have come to light: the dressing table that is never quite as you left it; the bookmark that has crept forward to a new and alien chapter in the book next to your bed; the mobile phone that has somehow changed all its settings, apparently and entirely of its own volition; the newly iced cake with little finger marks imprinted all round its

Four-legged-friend in the Spring

Love this time of year! And to make up for the rant yesterday, here are some pics of a Springy theme and Four-legged-friend: "These match my new collar. But they don't taste very good. And I didn't like the look on Mum's face when I gave them a chew." "Pleeeease, give me a treat. I'm being good now. I haven't nibbled a plant for at least two minutes." Early evening walks - back in fashion.  "Follow me!" Today's sunset was a delicate, muted, but still beautiful one  ... But not a patch on this, taken a couple of weeks ago: Four-legged-friend is back home, curled up on his bean bag, and happily asleep.  Sweet dreams.

Loo roll fairy - you're fired!

I have fired the loo-roll fairy (aka Littlest). Because she is hopeless. That is, she was  hopeless at her job, which was to replenish the loo-roll supplies and thus avoid the disgruntled yell of sitters, who had gone before noticing the lack of paper. The loo-roll fairy was also expected to gather up the cardboard tubes discarded all over the bathroom floor. I suppose other homes have the same athletic tubes - the ones that jump back out of the bin provided. For that, of course, can be the only explanation of how they scatter themselves to far flung corners of the smallest rooms. The loo-roll fairy thought she would be good at this job. But she never remembered to do it. And the big house-cleaning fairy found herself picking up the loo-roll fairy's slack. When told that she had been fired - in a friendly, teasing, non-Sugar sort of way - she replied that she didn't know what that meant. And immediately went to the linen cupboard to fetch replacements. Is it too much t

Rant warning: belittling women

British society. British life. British medicine. All victims of insult, ridicule and damning comment - from time to time. With regard to the latter, and specifically the NHS, currently time to time is all the time. However, there are some things that we take for granted in the UK and in the light of what follows, perhaps we should be standing on the roof-tops and declaring what a fantastic country this is. Women here - since the sexual revolution of the 1960s - have the right to choose if and when they get pregnant. The contraceptive pill is to thank for a reduction in numbers of women dying as a result of botched, back-street abortions. Yes - I mean dying! Bleeding to death, or dying from an overwhelming pelvic infection, are both horrible ways to go. And preventable. The contraceptive pill is not 100% safe, no medication is, but the newer ones, taken correctly, are over 99% effective in the prevention of pregnancy. We take for granted our right to choose. And so far the British

A future blue stocking?

Actually, no - we are NOT pushy parents: Littlest was just interested in the pictures of polar bears and penguins on the inside back page of the university alumni magazine. No chains binding her to the bench; the only tiger in the house being the soft fluffy one upstairs in her bed; the only love being kind, not tough. Honest. I, not Littlest, contrary to what the picture might suggest, read some of the magazine. There is an article about pushy parenting and its consequence, which too often is a loss of youth. I can't comprehend the near-abusive, bullying approach to parenting that tiger mothers, or helicopter parents, adopt. Their stand is blinkered to everything but their child's success. Children, their imagination quashed, lose the ability to entertain themselves - my children love the holidays and hours of quiet downtime, but I know far too many, otherwise rational parents, who dread them and race to fill every waking moment out of school pursuing some worthy

Washing the dog

As predicted yesterday, much wetness was shared by all. "Shampoo without cruelty. Deodorising. Tested on humans first." All well and good, Mum, but pleeeeeeeeease don't get it in my eyes: Ok, so I'm wet all over now. And I'm being very good. But there's still a dog barking somewhere over there.  Watch out! I can definitely feel a shake coming on! Towels? - Who needs towels? These long spikey things, sticking out of the grass, do a much better job. Mum says they're daffodils. She got a bit upset when I flattened rather a lot of them. Actually, she was quite angry, so I thought it best to give her my collar and let her play with the water gun all on her own. I made my damp self scarce for a while. Four-legged-friend knows what's good for him! And I can always get my own back - Mum hasn't found the fox poo!

Epileptic, smelly friend

Four-legged-friend needs a bath. Desperately. What is it with dogs and despicable smells; smells so awful that he has to be bannished from the room, particularly when you are attempting to consume something, without gagging? The honk today is of spectacular proportions. Ours is not a particularly large house, but you can detect the whiff when he is approaching and still a whole room away. So, is it to be the hose and soap and chewed fingers and soaked clothes tomorrow, or alternatively, a walk via the stream ... and soaked clothes? He is distinctly post ictal in a dreamy, gentle, slightly discombobulated fashion, having had another fit yesterday, so we didn't have the heart to over-excite him by washing today, but ablutions - or home removals to the kennel outside - will have to happen tomorrow. And I'll have to search the garden for fox poo. Ground into the grass, heavily rolled-in fox poo. Lovely!

Littlest and the elephant song

Lovely friends to dinner yesterday - I made pudding (slightly odd orange and apple meringue pie on a gluten-free shortbread base - odd as in strange texture - "Different ... but not in a bad way! Maybe try a pastry base next time. Better with rhubarb? What happened to lemon meringue pie?" - so, varied comments, none rude but fitted the puzzling-to-the-mouth experience of eating it. Or was it Littlest's I'm-going-to-be-helpful-no-matter-what-you-say adding of just a little cinnamon to the meringue mixture, which had the colour of sand, and if cinnamon were hot and spicy would have blown our heads off?). Lovely friends brought everything else. Fish kettle, new potatoes, carrots, beans, wine ... oh, and two beautiful trout, impressively caught by one of them. Yes, very lovely friends indeed! Lovely friends are also musical friends and Littlest who is reluctant to perform solo was persuaded to play her latest piano piece - one that has, through repeated overheard pra

Elegant. But not in a nightie.

The annual pageant of young beauties is over for another angst-ridden year. School girls and their parents met together for a formal dinner last night; speeches were said; songs were sung; accolades were bestowed where deserved and a pleasant evening was had by all: it's calmness contrasting sharply with the heartache in the days - actually, not days - weeks! - leading up to it. These weeks were angst-ridden in terms of the tears, frustrations, fretful social networked negotiations and parental begging that precede this event every year. Dozens of dresses discussed. Endlessly. Too long, wrong colour, wrong fabric, too clinging, too Essex, too expensive (parents coffers breath a sigh of relief. Briefly.) but never too short.Strange, I'd have thought that short and Essex perhaps were the same thing, but my knowledge of what's in and what's out is obviously limited. Even when the dress is ordered, and miraculously arrives on time, the worry-fest is not over. "Will

Of truth and lies

When is it good, or acceptable to tell a lie? Seldom , is the answer we teach our children. Note, it isn't never - a child quickly learns through observation that adults sometimes lie, or fail to tell the whole truth - "we were late because we got stuck behind a tractor on the single track road on our way to school" is a convenient and often true excuse for tardiness in our family, but hides the unspoken "we spent five minutes extra in bed, because we are lazy, and then couldn't find both school shoes," which was the fuller version of the facts. That children also eventually learn that their parents have lied for years about Father Christmas, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and monsters that will creep out from under their beds and eat them if the won't go to sleep, perhaps underlines the erosion of respect between young teen and parent - "he's spent years lying to me, so why should I tell him the truth about where I'm going?" Anyw