Saturday, 29 September 2012

No, I'm not mopping the kitchen floor now, and you can't make me.
Today I have mostly been clutching my stomach and moaning gently. So, this week I've had one night sharing my bed with Twin 2 (overactive imagination had produced nightmare inspired by Roald Dahl's Matilda - I blame book week), one night sharing my bed with Dog and Twin 1 (feeling sorry for terminally ill Dog & then Twin 1 had a vampire nightmare - apparently she's in a secret vampire club at's not been all that secret since she bit my neck and told me I could be in the club as well, as long as I promised not to eat butter - don't ask me why, I don't know!). Last night my bed was mercifully empty but I ended up squirming about in abdominal agony - I blame my healthy stir fry last night; the kids all had hot dogs and they were perfectly fine.
Today the kids, apart from being irritatingly chirpy and healthy, have been in fancy dress. Despite my parlous state of health, I managed to produce two Aztecs and a World War Two soldier for dress-up day at school. (Yes, Aztecs did wear old pillowcases with holes cut out for heads and arms and yes they did wear plastic princess crowns with feathers stuck on. Honest, I did my wiki research and everything. Thank goodness I only had to rootle about in the garage to find some old army kit for Son.)
Apart from coping with food poisoning and dying pets and ridiculous fancy dress costumes, I also lurched in to a meeting at university to do with the literacy project I'm co-ordinating and took kids to 'Fun Friday' in the mess (a bit of a misnomer: think cold chips, half-cut parents, and out of control kids swooping around the officers' mess like a flock of starlings on a fizzy-pop high), took Son to karate, took home brew kit back to someone in the middle of Nottigham, took Twins to McDonald's, picked up Son, got bedding out for kids sleepover and tidied up assorted school bags/coats/Aztec clothes
Which is why I still haven't got round to mopping the kitchen floor...
Have a good weekend! xx

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Would it be very wrong to have a little nap? I'm halfway through my working week (oh, I know, two mornings doesn't really count) and I have a cold coming on, and the downstairs toilet is broken, and the dog has terminal cancer, and Hubby is up in the stormy old North Sea and I had to share my bed with a seven-year-old girl last night, and I can't go to the gym because it turns out I'm not insured...there was a pause there whilst I had a phone call from an old friend, who has way more to worry about than me, so I have now decided to stop bleating on and man up. Right, need to give the dog some pills to stop his stomach lining giving way (yes, really) and pick up kids. Take care xxx

Monday, 24 September 2012

Just had the serious chat with the vet about Dog. The vet says Dog will probably not last until the end of the year. Obviously I am distraught, but when I told the kids, they were really excited about the prospect of trading him in for a younger model. They want a boy dog called Richard Hammond. Yes, that's right, a dog called Richard Hammond. It doesn't bear thinking about. The Twins said if they really can't have a boy dog called Richard Hammond, then could they please have a girl one called Jessie J?
I'm sure I wasn't quite so heartless at that age.
I suppose, on the positive side, we're finally getting to recoup all the millions of pounds we've paid into dog insurance over the years.
Nope, I'm not feeling it; there is no positive side.
And I'm not getting a puppy called Richard Hammond, ever.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Hi, I know, I ought to be in bed, but it is a weekend night, not a school night, you know. And that's why it's also okay to have two large glasses of white and two bags of crisps, too. I'm now contemplating a small whisky as a nightcap, but worried that I won't be up in time for karate in the morning (no, I'm not doing karate, Son is). Twins are off at a very exciting sleepover tonight, and didn't even give so much as a backward glance as they raced into Big H and Little G's house round the corner. I spent the night with Son, Dog and rats, watching Apollo 13, with lush Kevin Bacon looking buff and moody, even as he was passing the dark side of the moon with just 20 amps of power on the lunar module...sigh...he's almost exactly like Hubby. (Wonder if Kevin Bacon also gets huffy when people don't close the curtains properly or when he treads on a rogue bit of abandoned Lego?) I should really go to bed now, shouldn't I? Right then. Oh maybe just a very very small whisky, just for the taste....

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The kids decided that they weren't that keen on Chocophilly (on special offer this week, so I bought two), so I had to eat it all myself before it passed the sell-by date (which was, erm, November sometime). I know, it's wrong, wrong, wrong. I felt dirty afterwards....and then I wiped my face with a wet wipe. I suppose I can excuse it as comfort eating, after all, Hubby is away, skippering a big boat up there in the electric storms on the North Sea. Apart from stuffing my face with cheese-based chocolate products, I've had a very productive day writing the novel, and when I did a word count I'd got to a whopping forty-two thousand words, almost half way, by golly (and it would have been more, but my big sister phoned, just as the two women were discovering their best friend in the outhouse next to the body of a man - gave me quite a shock when the phone rang as I was totally immersed in the story). Then this evening I planned and packed up my kit for my teaching tomorrow. The kit includes wooden Brio models and a purple bear, hope they enjoy it. Right bedtime now. Night night xx

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Ah, there you are. So, how are things? At the moment I'm watching Dr Who with my exceedingly tired kids (they were up at five to wave goodbye to their dad, and unlike me, didn't sensibly go straight back to sleep again afterwards). I'm husbandless again. He's off sailing in the North Sea (lucky old him, I'm sure it won't be chilly at all up there). Then when he comes back he's almost immediately off on exercise somewhere, so we're all just having to get used to life without Major Fearnly-Bumsaw. The good news is that with him away it's back to school dinners and hot dogs in front of the telly for supper (cue cheers all round). How absolutely lovely it is not to have to be making tuna mayonnaise at ten o'clock at night for sandwiches that I can almost guarantee will end up in the dog's bowl eventually. Oh, and talking of Dog, he's just cost us about a million quid this week with his unspecified ailments. I do love the hairy old mutt, but I could have had a long weekend in Italy with the amount we've just spent on a canine version of ibruprofen (do they not make generic copies of drugs for dogs?). In a futile attempt to make up for all the cash we're chucking at the family pet, I've decided to make chutney from the windfall apples in the garden. I've never made chutney before, but it was dead easy and made me feel (for one brief, sweet, moment) like a slightly less sultry and voluptuous version of Nigella Lawson. Except that when she has hot windfall chutney running down her chin she probably looks pouty and alluring, whereas I just look like a dribbling old skinflint. Cheerio x

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Hello, I tell you what, this work thing isn't as great as it's made out to be. I'm pooped. I just did my first class today, with a group of highly educated middle eastern parents. Most, if not all, have spouses doing postgrad/research work at the university. In once sense this is great, because they're all bright and motivated. In another sense, this is scary, because they are all so keen that they don't even want a tea break and want me to do an hour and three quarters lesson without so much as a cuppa and  a bourbon biscuit to give myself a breather. Phew. I think I shall be relying quite heavily on listening comprehension exercises on the CD, just to give myself a sit down. The lessons take place in a Sure Start centre. I don't know if you know anything about Sure Start? I think the idea behind them is to give support to parents of young children in deprived areas, which is great. However....there is a whiff of nanny state about it all. For example: I am not supposed to allow the mums and dads in my group to give unhealthy snacks to their children. I was told that if they bring out a packet of crisps, for instance, I'm to ask them not to let their children eat them until they are out of the building (!). This morning I happened to mention something about biscuits and there was a collective gasp from the admin staff. As it happened, I'd forgotten to bring them, so I didn't have to sneak digestives to the students under the table (and even if I had they wouldn't have been able to dunk them into their tea because - guess what - no hot drinks allowed anywhere except the kitchen). I know we should all be encouraging healthy eating, but pul-ease (also when I went into the staff room I noticed a packet of hula hoops and a packet of quavers on the table there, so someone is smuggling in contraband). Right then, I'm off to mop the kitchen floor and then hurl myself into bed and dream about prepositions of place and illegal choc chip cookies. Night x

Friday, 7 September 2012

I've been in my running kit all morning and still not made it out of the door...oh well, I'll just write a quickie and then I'll be off. It's been a busy old week because I've been handing in my dissertation and out getting work. I've found two brilliant jobs, both of which are just perfect for me. Sadly one of them is unpaid and one doesn't pay very much. I shall have to change the words of that well-known Dolly Parton song (all together now):
Working ten 'til twelve, once a week for just a pittance, 
Working nine 'til three, once a week for no remittance,
Working the rest of the time, cleaning floors and washing pants,
It's enough to make you crazy if you let it!
(sorry about the dreadful scanning - but my masters is in fiction, not poetry...)
Anyway, I really ought to go for that run now, so I don't have time to tell you about all the other exciting things that have been going on, like Hubby's new job and Twin 1 getting a sweet stuck up her nose. I'll just have to leave you on tenterhooks. Cheerio x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

I have finally stopped tottering along like Mrs Overall...I did a class called Metafit on Saturday morning  which consisted mainly of lots of 'burpees' and 'sumo jumps' and ever since my bum has been in agony and I've been walking around like an arthritic old lady. It seems like I won't be able to make the class this week as Hubby & Son are going to a regatta at the sailing club, so I won't be able to get to the gym. Shame, I shall have to stay home and eat cake instead.
Today I have been terribly productive. I have applied for jobseekers allowance (doubt I'll be entitled to anything, but worth a try), and made two speculative enquiries about TESOL jobs and done mounds of washing. (Yes, I know, I still have to clean the bathroom...maybe that's why I've been so productive, anything to get me out of setting to work with the toilet brush and glass cleaner...). We've also had a thrilling trip to the thrift shop, which was busier than Tesco's on a Saturday morning, and exchanged our profits for yet more tat. Twin 2 has yet another tiara (Hubby mentioned that at some point she'll have to abandon her delusions of royalty, but I have Prince Harry in mind for her - he'll have calmed down in ten years or so, and be ripe for a tiara-obsessed bride with an unhealthy passion for bubblegum pink), Twin 1 has two spangly-covered books, Son has a logic puzzle and I have a throw to cover the decrepit old futon. Ah the joys of budget retail therapy!

Monday, 3 September 2012

So I find myself at a loose end (not really all that loose, I mean obviously there's the washing up, the washing and cleaning the bathroom that I could be getting on with if I really wanted to, but hey), just me and a silent walkie talkie and my newly-dyed hair (light copper bronze, this time, thanks for asking).   I have dispatched the kids off to pick blackberries, which is exactly what my dad used to do to me and my sisters when I we were children (the difference is that he wouldn't let us come home until we'd picked a pound each, whereas I said they just needed to be out of the house for twenty minutes until I'd finished dyeing my hair). They have a walkie talkie with them, so they'll be perfectly safe in the woods near the abandoned world war two bunker beyond the big sign that says "Out of Bounds to non-military personnel" won't they?
Anyway, it's nearly the end of the hols and Hubby is back at work. Today I took the kids out out to buy PE trainers (at Evil Tesco Extra - not sure how I resisted the urge to buy seven tubs of ice cream, a new TV and some leather boots for only forty nine ninety nine, but somehow my willpower held up) and tomorrow there'll be hair cutting and pencil case finding and then that'll be it. I'll just have to hand in the dissertation and I'll no longer be a student, I'll be a writer and job seeker. Which isn't scary at all, given that it's seven and a half years since I last worked for's not a threat, it's an opportunity (I'll just keep telling myself that).
When we first lived here (in a little house at the bottom of the hill on camp - now we live in a big house at the top of camp, such is army hierarchy), just me Hubby and Dog, I was also an unemployed ex-student struggling writer. I had just finished my journalism course and was making steps into becoming a freelancer, but in the meantime working part time in an organic supermarket and typing up pensions letters. Fifteen years on and I've just finished my masters course and I'm making steps into becoming a novelist and I'm looking for part-time work to keep me going until someone recognises my obvious literary genius and propels me to well-deserved publishing gold (alright, but making things up is what we writers do!). Plus ca change and all that...
Kids are on their way home now so I'd better go.
Take care xxx