Tuesday, 31 March 2009


I just opened up a can of worms. Literally. Although technically it was a Tupperware storage box - one of my favourites actually - but it was still full of worms. I found it next to the dog kennel, full of water... and worms. How and why it got there will remain one of lifes little mysteries but I suspect the Small People had something to do with it, now that they have been spending some of their after-school time in the garden rather than curled up on the sofa.

Worms. Whatever next?

Actually, I have the answer to that too. Dogs.

Pickle and Poppet cooked this one up in the car on the way to school. Pickle started it, once he'd stopped moaning about how he didn't want to read his book to me and how booooring reading is and how he doesn't care if he never gets onto stage 7. Clearly he was looking for something to stop the nagging and this is what he came up with.

Pickle: Aren't we lucky having such a lovely dog? (Tiggy was tagging along on the school run) I know! (Mummy grips the steering wheel a bit tighter) we should have a contest for all the dogs! I'll invite all my class who have dogs and we can have prizes for the most obedient and the prettiest!

Poppet: I can invite my class too! I'll make the invitations and the prizes!

Mummy: Who wants to play I Spy?

Pickle: we can have it on Sunday, but I'll make the invitations for my class, you just do your own. And I want to make prizes too.

Mummy: Ooh, look at that cute little cat sitting on the fence over there!

Poppet: But if I do the prizes than I can give them out while you do the judging.

Pickle: Oh, great idea! thanks!

Mummy: I thought we were going swimming on Sunday?

Poppet: (entering the school and seeing a few class mates) Hey! We're having a dog show at our house on Sunday! You can bring your dog and we'll have prizes for the best ones!

Well, it worked; I definitely stopped nagging him about the reading. You've got to hand it to them, they are real pros. They would not be distracted from their scheming and I was torn between not wanting to rain on their little parade and really, really needing to point out the logistics of holding a dog show in our back garden at 5 days notice. In fact any notice. When's the last time they scooped a poop?

You know, normally I escort the children up to their classrooms but today I thrust their bags in their hands and fled. I've decided I'll deal with that can of worms later.

Monday, 30 March 2009

This past week has made me realise that my children truly have a better social life than me. All I need now is an orange light on the roof of my kid-mobile, a bri-nylon shirt and some cute cockney patter and I will have become Mummy-cab. I wonder if I can get a meter fitted…? If I started to charge proper fees for the amount of taxiing I am doing I would soon be rich. Hmm, slight flaw is that I am also the pocket money provider… maybe I just need to withhold it all until they learn to drive, then charge them rental?

We had to put a veto on play-dates on Sunday just to spend a few hours with our offspring ourselves and make sure we don’t miss out on anything. Poppet spent a day in the countryside with her best friend and her family on Saturday and came back having learned how to ride a bike. Pickle was at one friend’s house for lunch then we picked him up and dropped him at another one for dinner where he made it to the next level of Indianna Jones on the Play station (ok, I didn’t mind missing that one so much).

So Nobby and me got to sample our exciting future adults-only weekend lifestyle, all the lunching and sight-seeing and movie-going that we promised ourselves would once more be ours like it was in the old days B.C. (before children) as soon as they were old enough to palm off on other people for the weekend… and we ended up in a garden centre. Oh crap. We’ve skipped middle age and gone straight for our bus-passes, hanging out by the winter pansies wondering which realistic woodland creature fashioned from an old log to buy next for the patio display. Actually, I exaggerate; we were looking at furniture - nice rattan stuff for the conservatory, we didn’t go anywhere near the cane chairs with the loud chunky cushions so maybe there’s hope for us yet. But I did find the gnomes highly tempting…

And anyway, Nobby needed bringing back down to earth after a weekend in Portugal with ‘da ladz’ for a 40th birthday golf session. They spent 3 nights at a 5-star hotel with all the golf they could handle and no curfew on getting home for the babysitter, so I needed to make it clear that this is not going to be a frequent occurrence, however many Super-Wife points it earns me to let him go. I myself actually made it out to a party while he was gone. The kids came too of course, so it wasn’t exactly the beer-stoked rave-up I imagine the boys were having, nor did we manage to stay out past 9pm but still. I felt slightly better when Nobby told me that the ‘great value golf package’ his mate had found on the internet because the hotel had just been refurbished and wanted to attract new business meant that certain features were still not ready – like the pools and the sauna… was it rude of me to laugh? Oh, and they had to fly slEasy-Jet, who ran out of bacon butties on the early morning flight. But the suntan he was sporting when he walked back in the door on Monday night made me slightly green, although the ‘Hello’ magazine and pot of Clarins helped.

So given my comparatively dull existence at the moment I have very little to report, unless you want me to detail all the road-works in the area, on which I am now a total expert. Now that the weather is getting warmer there is way more bum cleavage on display at the side of the road than usual, it’s really not a pretty sight. At least some of them still turn and notice the nice blonde in her shades trundling past with the tinted windows hiding the mess of battling brats in the back – perhaps I’m not ready for that blue rinse just yet.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Be careful what you say…

There is a new by-word in the Nobby household for cheekiness, sarcasm and general f*ckwit commentary – the Bloggable Offence. Nobby invented it when I relayed the story of Pickle and the ‘nice to see you up and dressed’ quip. He was still smarting from the ‘would you like me to drive?’ backlash in a previous post and warned our offspring ‘you’d better watch out, that’ll be straight on her blog.’ And he was right.

Well they have both done it again in the last half an hour, bless them, and it just wouldn’t be right to let them get away with it.

Pickle was off to play with Boy-Next-Door on his computer and he popped in to tell me he was going. I was touched that he hadn’t just buggered off without a word so I told him how much I would miss him.

Pickle: well, if you miss me you could go and get Boo Boo [teddy]… and while you’re in my room I’ll let you clean it up as well.

I’m not sure what his last slave died of (don’t tell me – disobedience) or where he gets the impression that I live for housework but I don’t think I like it.

However, I do acknowledge there is a need to tidy up, especially because when Nobby just phoned on the home number – he’s the only one that does – I couldn’t find the handset anywhere. It shouldn’t be a problem since we have an answering machine, only the stupid thing kicks in after just 3 rings and Nobby won’t talk to it. So when I eventually located the phone under a pile of laundry, cursing myself for not switching off the ruddy machine, he’d already hung up. B*stard. I shot him a text, dripping with sarcasm, to which he replied ‘oops!’ but he hasn’t phoned back. He probably knows I’m already broadcasting his latest faux pas across the airwaves and just decided to read about it later.

Very sensible. You may have spotted that after two days with only the kids for company my vocabulary is starting to slip and I reckon I could slice heads off with my tongue right about now. I think I even swore in front of my parents on Skype last night, oops indeed.

Anyway, given that its Saturday, Poppet is at a friend’s house, Pickle is ensconced next door and Nobby is in Portugal on a golfing mini-break ‘wiv da ladz’ I am going to stick 2 fingers up to the housework and settle myself on the sofa while there’s no-one to wrestle with for the remote control. All I can say is Tiggy had better behave.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Small Talk 2009

Pickle, on his return from football practice at 10.30 this morning (Nobby takes him, Poppet and Tiggy, I have a lie-in): 'Hi Mum, good to see you up and dressed and doing your jobs.'

Nice. At the time I was cleaning up a pile of dog-poo the size of Gibraltar that Tiggy saw fit to leave in the laundry room last night.

Poppet, on watching me clean hair and assorted gunk out of the bathroom plughole: 'Being a Mummy is disgusting.'

Yup, based in the dog-poo incident I would have to agree with that.

Pickle, in the car, listening to Jazzy Radio: 'Can we change the radio station? this stuff all sounds the same.'

I was ready to change it myself actually, there's only so many versions of 'The Girl From Ipanema' you can stomach, especially since Nobby and I agreed a long time ago that we reckon it was originally written as the soundtrack for a German porn movie. It was the 'easy-listening jazz version' of 'Like a Virgin' that finished Pickle off. So we tried Danubius (dubious) radio instead as it has a reputation for being funky. Guess what it was playing? The Girl From Ipanema. Time to put some CDs back in the car.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Snow, snow, go away!

There is a small black cat sitting in the middle of our lawn. He has his paws all tucked in nice and tidy and he is surveying his domain like a little prince. He is blissfully unaware of the mortal peril he will be in once Tiggy cottons on to the fact that the dark object on the grass not 10 metres away is not another molehill but a potential meal. Actually, from the mud all over her nose and the holes all over the lawn it seems she already considers moles a potential meal, although despite her frantic scrabbling she has never caught one. However she is currently otherwise occupied and rather unlikely to notice the fair game right under her nose as she’s seen me get the vacuum cleaner out. She might act all macho barking at the garden gate when anyone dares to wander past, but one peep from a Dyson and you’d think someone stuck a rocket up her bum.

Hey, but at least you can see the lawn today, even if I use the term very loosely given how badly its been ravaged by Penfold and his moley friends, with added input from my dog. There are still some large piles of white stuff around to rival their efforts but I think we are finally getting rid of the snow. And good bloody riddance too. I never thought I would say it but I have now officially had my fill of snow. In the past I have always been a big fan but now I am so over it. If it dares to snow here again I think I may have to take to my bed until it melts. It doesn’t help that my sister is sending me emails from a beach-bar in Ko Samui where I doubt there’s any ice outside of her rum cocktail. (Her husband was complaining that they couldn’t find anywhere showing the rugby on TV, oh such hardship. Pooey!) To think, she was all jealous that we were heading to the slopes last week but sadly Austria did not deliver the clear blue skies and glorious mountain-top sunshine I had been looking forward to and a week with my goggles on unable to see my own skis through the white-out has finally done me in. I do not even have the tell-tale panda-eyes of the recently ski-ed and for once I am really miffed.

I have found myself dreaming of those beautiful days skiing down the gorgeous sunny slopes of Whistler with a bunch of friends, before we all decided to play at being grown-ups and started having babies. I’d love to go back but I know I couldn’t stomach the flight with 2 children in tow, not after 7 hours there and 7 hours back in the car last week, Nintendo and Disney all the way. And of course it snowed for the entire journey too, making the drive just a little bit more stressful than usual. Only a little though because Nobby and me always have issues when we get in the car together and especially when there is navigating involved. Add a layer of melt-water and a driving blizzard and we’re straight up each others noses. You see, I don’t like Nobby’s driving, because I think he goes too fast and reckless, especially on a wringing wet autobahn where the locals regard the speed-limit as a bare-faced challenge. But my clinging onto the door handle with a look of terror on my face and squeaking whenever he gets within half a mile of the car in front doesn’t seem to put him off any. In turn, Nobby dislikes my driving because he thinks I am too cautious and panicky. When we took a wrong turn up a mountain pass and needed to turn round he got very frustrated that I refused to chuck a u-turn on a narrow road with six foot snow drifts on either side, preferring to drive a couple of miles to a junction instead... you getting the picture? But rather than gripping the armrests or making faces at me he landed me with a Forbidden Phrase, just to put the boot in:

‘Would you like me to drive?’

Frankly that’s only one step away from ‘what have you been doing all day?’ so I made him stay in the passenger seat the whole rest of the way. Nyer.

But at least the hotel came up trumps once we’d slid into a parking spot and unloaded. A huge apartment, an indoor pool, a five-course meal every evening *and* they took the kids away during mealtimes and fed them for us. Hurrah! As far as I know they ate chips and nuggets all week long but what I don’t know can’t hurt me I reckon. Nobby and I, on the other hand, were treated to an extravaganza of culinary artistry – actually, if I’m honest, apart from the arrival and departure ‘Gala Dinners’ we think the chef was having a bit of a laugh. I could just picture him doubled up in the corner of the kitchen in his stripy apron as the servers brought out Monday’s starter: ‘Vegetables in Aspic.’ Picture it with me if you will: a few peas, some diced carrots and a bit of onion… in a cube of clear jelly. We promptly turned into a very long episode of the Catherine Tate Show, ‘…and do you know what it were? Jellied veg. Veg… in jelly. The dirty, rotten, bastards.’ The Hochfilzer Famous Cappuccino pudding, served with a lot of promise in a coffee cup with a swirl of whipped cream and a coffee bean on top, turned out to be chocolate jelly. The next day everything was coloured - Carrot and Ginger Soup with a Crimson Hood: it had pink whipped cream on top – and the next day we were back to jelly, this time in the gravy, please help yourselves to a slice.

Anyway, mustn’t grumble, I didn’t have to shop, or cook or wash up for a week so I don’t know why I’m moaning. I did complain about the ski-school though. I may have occasionally slagged off the French during my blogging but one thing they do know how to do is organise a ski-school. The Austrians we met? Notsomuch. The poor children had 5 instructors over 6 days, only ever skiing on two nursery slopes and by day three quite frankly I think they would rather have tidied their own rooms and done their homework than go back into lessons. Nobby and I took them out with us a couple of times but we’re not all that suited to ski-coaching or how to handle a wailing child who has just taken out a couple of snow-boarders and landed face first in a snow drift and is declaring they never want to put their skis back on. I felt slightly better when the ski-school agreed to refund us half our money but the kids’ll need to make their own certificates this year. Thank goodness for the hotel swimming pool and spa. We all agreed that was the best part of the day, relaxing in a hot Jacuzzi or getting a pummelling from the massage chair. Nobby especially liked the steam room. Pickle liked it too because of all the hilarious squelchy noises he could make on the wet seats. He and Daddy played a game of ‘Name That Tune’ with the funny sounds, until Pickle chucked in a couple of ripper farts for comparison and the lady they hadn’t previously spotted across the steam-filled room got up and left…
Them’s my boyz