Archive | December 2007

Something luxurious, something humorous and something useful

He out-did me!

These are the christmas presents I got from hubby.

1. Something useful/for a quid or less – a pair of bedsox from Poundland.

2. Something humorous/for about a tenner – a do-it-yourself voodoo kit.

3. Something home-made from stuff lying around the house/luxurious:

This is where I couldn’t hope to compete! A promise of a concrete birdbath made from sand/cement left over from our extension. PLUS: A cute little birdie house to hang in the pear tree.

My presents to him.

1. Something useful/for a tenner (OK OK – I cheated – so what!) A trolley jack – it was fifty quid. (His old one expired last week under the strain of a poorly land-rover and I couldn’t think of anything else at four-thirty on Christmas eve)

2. Something humorous/home-made from stuff lying around the house: A chocolate cake with a stuck-in-the-chocolate-icing-pretend-mud range-rover on top (see No. 3 below)

3. Something luxurious/for a quid or less: a new top of the range Range Rover Sport in black (OK OK I cheated again! It was £1.99 from Woolies).

From this you can see why I had to cheat with No. 1: it was imperative that I kept to my land-rover theme and anything else just wouldn’t do!

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Christmas Presents

Every year hubby and I don’t know what to buy each other. As we both have time on our hands this year – I don’t go back to work until after Christmas and he is semi-retired – we decided to inject a bit of fun into our pressies this year.

We’ve decided to give each other:
1 present for approx. a tenner
1 present for no more than a pound
1 hand-made present that costs nowt (ie made of stuff lying around the house)

1 of the presents should be funny
1 of the presents should be useful
1 of the presents should be luxurious

He’s in the garage now: I have strict instructions not to interrupt. Now this is not fair! He has access to all sorts of boys toys in there.

This is worse than finding inspiration for writing! I have absolutely GOT to out-do him!

Any suggestions?

Christmas Greetings

Bah humbug!

Christmas cards! There I’ve said it. What is it about Christmas cards that brings out the worst in one-upmanship. Why is it that some people delight in buying the most expensive cards just to write “Fred and Jean” inside or worse still, have them printed so that they don’t need to write in them? Are they just showing off? Is it these same people who have strings upon strings upon strings of colourful cards in their living rooms shouting out to visitors that they have so many friends they receive hundreds of cards? Or is it more likely that they save last year’s to put up too! Ha ha ha. Caught them out!

I remember when my kids were young I used to rifle through their school bags this time of year to find valuable cards to hang on the wall. One year I was really angry with middle son because he left all his cards in his drawer at school at the end of term. How dare he! That was at least twenty cards that wouldn’t end up on my wall! I made him cry because I told him Santa wouldn’t come because he had left his cards at school. He was six years old. Oh dear – wasn’t I a dreadful mother.

Today my daughter is helping my grandson to make rice crispie cakes with Smarties on top for his playgroup mates instead of buying Christmas cards. Well – three year olds can’t write them themselves can they? I think it’s a lovely idea. I wish I’d thought of it twenty-odd years ago.

I wonder, though, how it will go down with the other mums on Monday morning when he gives out his crispie cakes instead of Christmas cards? Will Emily give in by the end of the week and buy 20 cards and write in them herself?

Another Christmas card moan. Last year I found my mum’s Christmas card list and sent a card to everyone whose name/address I didn’t recognise, with a little handwritten note to tell them mum had passed away.

This year I’m getting cards from people I don’t know (Fred and Jean above is an example). I can only think they are mum’s acquaintances. Thing is I don’t think I kept mum’s old list so I can’t send one back. Why did I wake up in the night last night worrying about this?

Anyway, fellow bloggers here is a seasonal thought from me. Let’s all make the most of those Christmas cards and see who can write the most original greeting instead of just “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, from blah blah and blah.”

How about this for starters. “I hope this Christmas will be better than the last one when you ended up in casualty after dropping the hot turkey on your foot.”

or

“Best wishes for a Happy Christmas from Beryl and the miserable old git who lives with her.”

I just wish I dare!

Seasons greetings and happy writing to you all. May your books get published and your Christmas cards recycled for hanging on the wall next year!

Goats, Strange Women and Nativities

We took our grandson to a children’s farm today. (Damned expensive – total of over £30 spent for just half a day.

Now – I have had three stroppy 2-year olds of my own. So you would think I’d be experienced and would be an expert in hungry goats, tantrums, sulks, nativity plays and tractor rides in barrels, wouldn’t you?

Not so.

  • First mistake. I forgot to tuck his jeans into his wellies (it was very muddy and wet). You’ll see why later in the blog.
  • We bought a paper bag full of animal feed. T held the bag. A hungry goat mugged him. Result? One crying child and Grandad had a tantrum because he had to fetch – and buy – another bagful. Grandad then sulked because T wouldn’t let him hold the bag.
  • It was getting cold, looking round all the animals, so we went into the play hut. There was a woman in there feeding a child of at least 2 1/2 probably 3 . T said really loudly “Granny – that lady’s got her boobies out and that little boy’s sucking them.” At which point Grandad misbehaved in a way only grandads can and said much too loudly. “Granny’d better not get hers out – they’ll think she’s a cow and come and milk her!” Lady was not impressed because Granny laughed her socks off and giggled with grandson and grandad. She said I was a disgrace to my gender. Hmmm!
  • Strange lady’s son then went off to play with T. Granny and Grandad just let them get on with it, enjoying chatting, giggling and sharing big bag of wiggly worms, fried eggs, snakes, strawberry laces and sherbet thingies. Strange lady obviously thought T’s granny was very, very bad granny for not watching T like a hawk. Strange lady took her shoes off and joined in, climbing plastic castles, crawling through plastic tunnels meant for three year olds and pretending to be a monkey. She was being a very, very good mummy. Granny is obviously very, very bad granny for offering Strange Lady’s child a wiggly worm made of arsenic-like substance. “My children are not allowed sweets,” she said looking down her nose. “Come away, Toby.”
  • Barrel ride next. Granny’s fat bum is too big to sit in a barrel much to Grandad’s glee. Granny gets stuck in barrel and unfortunately has to be helped out by extremely handsome man young enough to be her son. T said “I’m big enough to go on my own Granny. You go and look after Grandad.”
  • T didn’t want to come off, so had another go. He still didn’t want to come off. Tantrum. Remember those muddy wellies? Kicking feet, muddy wellies and jeans wet at the bottom and caked in mud don’t go down too well with very, very good mummies who always remember to tuck Toby’s jeans in. Well, how was bad, bad Granny to know that wet sloppy mud was flying everywhere!
  • Nativity next with real live animals. Wow! T was Joseph. “Are you going to ask if there’s room at the inn?” says nice playleader lady. “No,” says T shaking his head. “No, you have to say – is there any room at the inn,” she repeats.
    “No,” says T down the microphone shaking his head again. “Don’t want to.” Meanwhile, the cow is eating someone’s pushchair, much to Grandad’s amusement. Grandad is very naughty, tittering at Strange Lady with the Boobs trying to drag empty pushchair from cow’s mouth.
  • All the mummies and daddies and grannies and grandads have to sing “While Shepherds Watched.” Grandad sings wrong words and teaches them to T.

All in all an absolutely wonderful day. Grandad whined all the way home in the car wanting to know when we can go again!

The Forgotten Chapter

From previous blogs you will see that I have finished editing my book. I was printing off two more copies of the m/s this morning when there it was – just three little words that have brought me crashing down to earth. What were they?

“Fill in later”

There they were in all their glory at the very end of Chapter 12 and before Chapter 14. A whole bloody chapter! What the hell was I going to put in there!

Now – do I just press the “delete” button and pretend they weren’t there at all. Or do I try and fill in the six year gap between Chapter 12 and Chapter 14 that represents the period 1939-1943. Can I just pretend that four years of the war didn’t exist in my fictitious town?

Chapter 14 is all about 1944 so I have covered some of the war.

Do you know – it’s a bit like going shopping and getting home and realising you have forgotten the thing you went out for.

Good job I’m not at work. Eh.

Bad Poetry

But hey – the only people who read my blog are nice wannabes! Again it scores 0% on the scale of technical perfection. I pinned this on the tree at the Crematorium where we scattered mum’s and dad’s ashes.

SIX YEARS OF DECEMBER

My mother died a year ago today
We scattered her ashes just here.
Where five years earlier almost to the exact day
We scattered Dad’s earthly remains.

2002 – the first December we sat on the seat
Just over there – my mother and I.
“He’s not here,” she said. “I don’t feel him here.”
But we heard my dad, that year, as we sat in silent memory, one year on.
We heard him in the gentle rustle of the trees.
In the wind that sent autumn’s leaves scurrying across the path,
And the birdsong that filled the late autumn air with melody.

2003 – the second December we sat on the seat
Just over there – my mother and I.
“He’s not here,” she said. “I don’t feel him here.”
But we could smell him in the fragrance of the freesias
We set gently under the tree
And the earth we turned as we planted snowdrops, in his memory,
And the sweet smell of grass mingled with the faint aroma of pine trees.

2004 – the third December we sat on the seat
Just over there – my mother and I.
“He’s not here,” she said. “I don’t feel him here.”
But we could touch him so easily with our minds
If we closed our eyes, reached out and stroked his cheek,
Hugged him tightly and felt the warmth and sensation of his skin
On our skin. The comforting gentle caress of his hands on ours.

2005 – the fourth December we sat on the seat
Just over there – my mother and I.
“He’s not here, she said. “I don’t feel him here.”
But we could taste him in a sweet cup of tea (which he loved).
Digestive biscuits; chicken soup; fresh warm bread and best butter;
And roast beef and Yorkshire pudding – his favourite;
And apricots; and bacon and eggs on a Sunday morning
Cooked with mum’s apron tied around his waist.

2006 – the fifth December I sat on the seat
Just over there – alone.
“They’re not here, I thought. “I don’t feel them here.”
Scattered ashes, barely visible after a few days.
Earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to ashes. Empty. Lonely. Lost.
Senses frozen in silent, cold, grief.

2007 – the sixth December I sit on the seat
Just here – alone.
“They’re not here, I think. “I don’t feel them here.”
But I close my eyes and imagine. I can SEE them!
They come with me this year, my mum and my dad, to this place of peace. Reunited, holding hands as they sit with me on the bench
I can hear them, smell them, touch them, taste them, see them
whenever I like for they are with me always
In all my senses.