Monday, 27 October 2014

Here we are again!!

I am finding my Facebook musings are getting a little long for the text box provided. Well what did I expect given my incessant verbal diarrhea and endless opinions about life, the universe and everything? So I decided to fire up the old Blog again and update the world on what is going on in the Nobby household. Just in case the world wants to know.

The latest interesting development is the sudden fearlessness of my now thirteen year old Poppet who has been to Thorpe Park Fright Night not once but twice in the last week. I have never braved it even once, but then I am a bit of a wuss; I can't even make it from the bed to the bathroom during the night, a distance of about 3 metres, without a full spotlight to guide the way and protect me from the nasties I am convinced lurk the shadows after dark.

I wonder if I had that teenage bravado back in the day, the one which had her strutting through the scary Horror Mazes, packed full of aspiring actors in full zombie make-up and a standing order not to break character under any circumstances or forfeit their minimum wage payment and bonus bucket of pick 'n' mix. Apparently while grown adults cowered along the walls then went flying out of these freaky labyrinths screaming hard enough to bring up a lung, having been separated from their friends and frightened out of their wits in settings such as the Blair Witch Project and Saw, my girl was trying to high-five the zombies and cop a go with the homicidal maniac's chainsaws.

These actors probably thought they were most at risk of being punched by some adrenalin-filled over-protective young blokes during their scaring stints, little did they bank on the cocky teen walking past their best beastly acting and flipping 'yeah, nice rags mate, you should get yourself to New Look.'

Meanwhile the boy has become something of a computer nerd and lost himself to cyberspace. We don't see much of him at the moment unless we are taking plates of food to his curtained off 'office' under his high-sleeper bed or retrieving his empties though we do hear his presence with the intermittent 'watch out! there's a creeper behind you!' or similar while he's battling in Minecraft with his mates, or 'Shut The Door!' if we've been remiss exiting his room after a food delivery.

In fact, he spends so long each day on the computer, especially at weekends when he rarely gets out of his PJs, that when we managed to drag him away for a trip into London yesterday we couldn't find any casual day clothes that actually fit him. We don't need to measure his screen time in hours any more, we can actually do it in centimetres of growth!  Whilst I am very impressed with the amazing Minecraft worlds he is building with his international team of 'devs' who he chats to constantly on Skype, I am now slightly worried that one day I will call him down to dinner and his chair will have to come with him because he can't physically prise his bottom out of it.

Anyway, half term is upon us and this time I am dumping the pair of them with my Mum and Dad while Nobby and me take off for a dirty long weekend in Seville to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. So it may go quiet for a few days here but I do plan to be back.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Balls in the air

There are many balls in the air. Thinking of venting here again....

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

What Not To Wear

Poppet and I were having a lovely shopping trip after school.  I thought she deserved a little treat in the middle of her Year 6 SAT test week so we did the usual places - Claire's, Clintons, charity shops - and she hinted, wheedled and downright bribed her way to quite a few treats.  I am such a sucker.

Though I'm feeling a bit down myself this week as Pickle is away from home on a school residential trip for the first time ever.  He had a teensy wobble about it the morning I schlepped his case into school for him, until he saw all his mates and the double decker coach and started planning all their shinnanigans.  I barely got a goodbye in the end, sniff.  Still, retail therapy is a powerful tool...

So, there we were, girlie shopping,  however Poppet did deign to accompany me into the Post Office, which was surprisingly kind of her.  Until she asked very loudly in the middle of a very long queue:

'Why are you wearing the same thing as yesterday?'

I gave her a loaded look, indicating she should kindly zip it, lock it, put it in her pocket.  But she went on to comment, at a similar volume and now accompanied by a huge grin,

'You'll really start to smell if you wear it again tomorrow.'

Yup.  Cheers shweetie.  Just my luck to go in at 4pm when there are only two windows open and I have to keep up the eye-contact-avoidance for a full ten minutes before being served.

Anyway, I suppose I should take the hint and rotate outfits a bit.  After all, I secured a new job this week (Hurrah!) and the 3 to 6 year olds I will be working with will no doubt be just as free with their opinions if 'Miss' keeps turning up in class wearing the same thing.

I went to the school for some practice last week, just a small reception class of 26... Oh boy, what a lively lot!  And very low chairs, I am going to have buns of steel after a term in that classroom.

Speaking of buns, I must add my new skills to my CV before I forget.  My lovely doggy had to have an operation on her knee this month.  She didn't get the full bionic replacement but there were pins and grafts and other unmentionables involved.  Plus some very extensive shaving.  I reckon the guy with the clippers was a frustrated sheep shearer in disguise because her entire leg was nude.  Naturally she had to wear the cone-collar for a fortnight to prevent her from pulling out the stitches but sadly it also meant she couldn't scratch the re-growth round her butt area.

But I could.

Mummy to the rescue.  Now there's something for the Post Office queue.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Dirty faces, dirty places

So my 11 year old just wandered casually into my bathroom and caught me applying an Enriched Mud Facial Mask to my poor, wrinkly old face.

 'Yuck! what on earth is that stuff?' she asked.

 'It's a special face mask which is supposed to draw out all the impurities,' I told her, loftily.

 'What are 'impurities'?' she said.

 'It's sort of the muck and dirt on your face, trapped in the pores,' I replied. 'This mud is supposed to suck it all out then you wash it off and your face is all glowing.'

 'Oh, I see,' she said, knowingly. 'So you clean the dirt off your face by putting on more dirt. Right.'

 Ah, the wisdom of youth, innit tho.

 Speaking of dirt, since I last blogged we had a wee schlepp over to Brussels to mooch about some wonderful city sights and show the children where we spent our first wedding anniversary. Poppet was in the oven cooking that time so I was looking forward to sampling some beer this trip and not having to waddle around the cobbles looking like a Teletubby. In fact, we went for a drink in the very bar where we finally decided on the baby names. It was everso nostalgic, sitting there with a Belgian beer each, and Pickle belching the alphabet for everyone's entertainment.
So proud.

 The break was very good, though majorly marred by the dirty apartment we rented. We used a web site called AirBNB which helps people rent out their places to fellow travellers for a sizeable fee. The place looked nice on the website but the offerings are not visited or vetted by AirBNB, pretty much anyone can plug their places and let the buyer beware, while the web operators sit nice and cosy in the USA not giving a flying toss what state they are in.

 The 'Class and Cosy' flat we paid for turned out to be filthy.

Now I don't mind making up my own bed when I go to stay somewhere, after all, the first thing my mother had to do every time she visited us in France or Hungary was wrestle with a duvet cover. But I DO object to having to remove someone else's soiled bedding first... Yes, seriously. We booked weeks in advance, the guy knew we were coming, but he didn't even vacuum the carpet.

When we complained AirBNB sent us some unnecessarily wordy explanations as to how this was regrettable but a bit of dirt didn't amount to a 'violation' or misrepresentation of the apartment since the furniture did actually look like what was on the photos. I took my own photos of the same furniture in close-up, especially the bathroom fittings and their covering of mould and pubes. I'll let you have the link it you like, but prepare a hanky first.

 After much emailing these guys would not back down and the owner went curiously quiet so I have had to content myself with a cutting review of the property which now sits on the guy's website, perhaps you'd like a read. Let this be a lesson to anyone I ever come to stay with!

Bugger, I'm never gonna be invited anywhere ever again am I?

'What a treat for your hard-earned trip to Brussels!! This apartment offers you the bona fide 'living like a student' experience from the moment you walk in the door! All the authentic touches of the classic adolescent males living away from Mum have been provided in nauseating detail! Bed linen that hasn't been changed in weeks! And in a nice dark colour to show up every stain! Dust so thick you can write your name in it! Dust bunnies so advanced they deliver Easter eggs! And that's just the bedroom! 

 But this apartment has fun in *every* room! You want to check out the local food? Take a look in the kitchen sink, its all there in the plughole for your examination! Traces of previous culinary endeavours can also be found on the work surfaces, floor and cutlery! No effort required to peruse the cooking utensils: several cupboard doors are missing so you can just lean right in! 

 Worried that the showers won't work? All the evidence you need that regular bathing has taken place is right there in the bathroom! Accumulated dirt and body hair from every ablution has been generously preserved both in and around the bath-tub and especially underneath the clever wooden floorboards! These, and the humidity from the stoic rejection of any form of ventilation, have given rise to an amazing display of mould and mildew in every corner, of a quality rarely seen outside of the average festering public toilet! Oh, and the toilet itself is no disappointment - evidence of its sustained heavy usage has been conserved on every surface! 

 To full immerse yourself in the realistic scruffy student experience, simply unpack your clothes into the generous storage spaces and watch your possessions become coated in weeks of carefully accumulated dust and dirt! Relax on the leather sofas and take in the ambiance of the bustling Turkish district outside, which never fails to entertain with regular commotion, day and night! (Which is fortunate because in true student digs style, the TV rarely has a signal, though the DVD player works fine.) 

 So book now and try for yourself the delights of living, eating, washing and sleeping in other people's dirt and grime! It's definitely THE way to take a break and reward yourself and your family for months of hard work!'

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Pups and paint

I've had the painters in for almost three weeks now. By the way, I mean it in a good way, these are actual painters applying gloss to my lovely new built-in shelves and cupboards. I don't think I'd be cheefully blogging if it was the other painters. Well, i might but I think the keys would have been rammed through to the desk by now :-)

Now, *someone* had to have an incident with some paint didn't they. I assumed it would be Pickle McWhirlwind who will fail to see the 'wet paint' sign and touch the luxurious, glossy surface with his grubby palm *before* asking 'Is this paint wet?' But no, it was the dog. Paw-plant straight in the roller tray, footprints all across the oak floor.

Thankfully the sharp-eyed painter caught her and cleaned her up. But later that evening she appeared in the lounge sporting two white patches down her back, clearly having taken the corner too fast and brushed up against a wet bit. Maybe she wanted go-faster stripes to prove the arthritis isn't slowing her down.

She certainly moved like lightning the other day when I was transferring the guinea pigs from their indoor cage to their outdoor cage. I thought little Eddie's number was up as she lunged towards him while I was coaxing Bobby to shift his butt (he gets very comfy does Bob and won't move till he's good and ready.) Luckily my Ninja training kicked in and blocked the wee fluffy snack from her slavering jaws. I'm not sure these animals are ever going to get on.

Tiggy seems to be showing a rebellious side at the moment. Maybe she's just following the general trend exhibited by my lovely offspring, the eldest of whom had a right cob on this morning, bless her. She said 'Mum, I don't know why I'm in a bad mood, I just am.' *Alarm bells* could this be hormones? Already?! Yikes-amundo she's only just out of nappies, in my Mumsy eyes.

So maybe the dog is picking up on the fact that they both do what they want despite me telling them otherwise and that is why she helps herself to my sofa every night when I've gone to bed. I wouldn't mind but I just took delivery of a new three piece suite and now the dog has languished on it longer than I have. The nerve.

Anyway, the painter is about to return so I've armed myself with dust sheets in case for an encore my four-legged teenager decides to step in the paint and then sample some sofa... ooh, I get cramps just joking about that one. Tiggy... outside!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Peeing into the wind

Eating beetroot makes your pee pink.

I didn't know this before, having always been a confirmed beet-hater, however my new weekly organic veg delivery box included 4 beetroots last week and I felt duty bound to discover something to do with them. We ended up with a gratin of sorts with lots of cream and garlic but it wasn't until bedtime I found out the full physiological effects.

It was the laugh I needed though to get over the crazy day I'd had. I'm not really sure who threw a gremlin at me as I got up but someone had it in for me.

First my brand new Next designer butter dish spontaneously broke in my hand, cutting my finger. I managed to glue it back together - the dish that is, the cut had to make do with a plaster which I managed not to glue onto it as well, which has happened in the past, but it will never be quite the same.

Shortly afterwards as I was leaving the Great Park with a tired and muddy dog in the boot of the car I found the exit completely blocked by a jewson Jewson lorry unloading sacks of sand with its crane. (No, that's not a typo, I vote 'jewson' becomes the next swear word. I'll have the kids spread it about a bit, it'll soon catch on. Pickle told me this morning my idea of pizza for tea was 'sick' which apparently is a term of approval, so I reckon anything goes these days.)

Mr Crane man was having a right laugh holding up all the dog walkers and joggers trying to drive into the car park. I suppose if he was contemplating how we all congregate there for exercise though don't feel the need to do that little bit more and actually walk there then his chuckling was probably justified. If he was just thinking up rude repostes if anyone dared ask him why the jewson he couldn't have parked his jewson lorry at the side instead of the middle of the road then I think we had grounds to set the dogs on him.

Another revelation: my dog can make my whole car rock from side to side just by panting hard lying in the boot.

So I thought I'd pop into the not-too-busy-looking Total garage and fill up on my way to an appointment, which naturally I was running late for. Popped 20 litres in, holstered the nozzle, scurried into the shop to be greeted by a queue three people deep and the one at the front couldn't pay. Poor cow I did feel for her, it wasn't her fault her credit card was having a 'computer says no' day but I did really wish I'd driven the extra mile to BP where they have more than one person serving.

And yet I doubt that would have made a difference yesterday. Ironically the self same thing happened later in in Tesco when I had my pick of a dozen different cashiers: the little old lady in front of me had her card refused. Luckily this one had something very strange in her bag, small squares of paper called 'cash' which apparently lets you buy things too. Very strange, must find out where to get me some of that.

All day long I think the gremlin was perched on my nose - you know that feeling you get when either you've bashed yourself and forgotten all about it and shortly that particular place will come out with a bright green and yellow bruise, or you're about to have Mount Vesuvius erupt through your skin and make you the scorn of every spotty teenager you meet.

Well, no spot emerged and I haven't turned purple yet, just the pink wee wees for now, but this morning my eye was swollen and glued shut with something nasty. Perhaps my hand slipped with that superglue after all?? Anyway, I think it's not worth getting up tomorrow if life continues in this vein.

It always seems to happen when Nobby buggers off on business as well. This evening not only did I have to play bouncer at the school disco which was so loud my ears are still ringing 2 hours later, but I then had to bring two sugared-up monkeys home and try to crowbar them into bed single handed so they're not cranky for school in the morning. It's somewhat like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. I wonder if I can make them faint to sleep if I show em my beetroot pee??

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Body parts going cheap, slight wear and tear

My dog just tried to catch a Lurcher. You have to admire her optimism seeing as she's a medium mongrel with a gammy leg who couldn't catch a hamster if it decided to run.

The result was fairly predictable: Tiggy was Wile E. Coyote to the lurcher's Road Runner. She's now sitting, defeated, in her basket now, perusing the latest Acme catalogue.

Poor dog hasn't had many walks this week with Pickle being sick off school. He is also sick *of* school but by the end of day two when he was jumping all over his sister instead of climbing into bed I was sick of him.
'I thought you were supposed to be really ill?' I demanded as he squealed at the top of his voice.
'I am ill, ' he insisted, putting on a none-too-convincing croak and doing those Puss In Boots eyes.

He went back to school the next day.

As he left, in moved the contractors and I was on full tea and coffee alert for the day. One chap was painting the front door in lovely black gloss: 'Now, that should dry in about 5 or 6 hours,' he told me as he washed his brushes at 5pm, 'so leave the door open for as long as possible or it'll stick'. 'Yeah, cool,' I replied. And it bloody was. Our evening's TV viewing consisted of 'Cold Feet' and 'A Touch of Frost' from under a large blanket.

Another guy was fitting shelving units in the hall and lounge, monstrously huge things they are too, which will pay back the painter nicely as they all need glossing, ha. However he's putting beading on using a nail gun so the dog and I look like we've both got tourettes, jumping and twitching helplessly each time he fires it.

A couple of blokes who have clearly each had a sense-of-smell bypass came to unblock the drains. We knew they were blocked because the downstairs loo decided to fill-and-stir rather than empty-and-flush last week, just before we had visitors for the weekend. Nice timing. I was treated to an intimate tour of my drains and sewers by the power of cctv and a suspiciously brown long cable and so saw for myself how next door's ivy is not only trying to knock down my fence but is also trying to crawl up my u-bends. The solution was fairly straightforward and the smell of the chemicals nicely masked the smell of the doodies and as a clever feature it also drained my bank account of all remaining new-house decorating-budget to pay for it!

Finally two landscaping experts rocked up to assess the muddy bog which is my back lawn thanks to some dodgy lawn-levelling by a former occupant. Somehow they managed to re-slope the sloping garden backwards so that with a bit more excavation we'd have a nice natural swimming pool to laze beside. Alternatively we could sell our kidneys to fund the five tonnes of top soil these chaps reckon we need to level it properly. Pass me the JCB someone.

So it was a bit like Picadilly Circus here, all to the strains of Radio 2 from the painter's little transistor and the occasional woof from the drain guy's Boxer dog. Today I am putting all my worldly goods on eBay to try to re-fill the coffers and I'm also going to attempt to claim the drain repair money back on the house insurance. I am not optimistic, given my recent luck I've more chance of catching a Lurcher.