Sunday, 26 December 2010

So This Is Boxing Day, And What Have You Done?...

Yeah, I know, I should be padding around the kitchen, with 19 drunk relatives sprawled across sofas, and patting my mince-pie-induced spare tyre, but...Christmas this year has been, well, kind of odd:
  • The boyfriend is at his own place for the first christmas in several years, as he has his kids up here, so their first christmas with dad. Our kids do not get on, so we are not "conjoining" our christmasses
  • I/we are not at my mum's - also for the first time in several years - as she has A BOYFRIEND now, gasp - and this is their first christmas "as a couple"
  • Very stupidly I do not drive, so am stuck here
  • The 13 year old wanted to spend christmas at home, and declared in advance he would only eat pizza on christmas day
  • Raging pmt manifested itself on the 24th - always a great time to be afflicted
  • I had sort of forgotten to buy any booze - in view of the above, a bottle or three of red would have been timely

During the week I had felt compelled, by pmt energy it transpired, to race around the house, changing beds, doing unfeasible amounts of laundry, taking unwanted magazines down to the doctors surgery, hell, even painting plant pots... and of course left wrapping up the kids' things til Friday night.

The 13 year old had just had another episode of staying up on Runescape for 36 hours, and so woke up and came out of his room at 5 minutes past midnight Christmas Eve. Great. The last wrapping had to be done stealthily and quietly under the duvet, but was eventually done. 2 stockings stuffed with chocolate and sweets (what was I thinking of???) were sneaked into their rooms, and I went to sleep....

Christmas morning was largely all fine and dandy, apart from the 11 year saying he felt sick first thing and would therefore not be wanting any of his chocolate, the presents went down well, a mad game of charades erupted somehow, phonecalls were made and received between us and other family members, the 13 year old accidentally hit the sous-chef in the eye with a metal bottle opener out of a cracker...

Then me and the 11 year old cracked on with cooking lunch, to a loose deadline of 1.30. The bottle-opener injury did not deter him from mixing up the stuffing, grating sprouts in butter, but hands were stabbed in the making of the apple sauce... As this was the first time I'd cooked at home at Christmas, it became evident that the oven was not going to accommodate a full-on roast AND a pizza... things came out of the oven, grew cold, went back in again... made a mental note to get a microwave.

By late afternoon I was blankly watching The Gruffalo and wishing I'd bought a magazine to retreat into. Ronnie Corbett was on, yet again, which was kind of nice, because who didn't love Saturday nights and The Two Ronnies. Although I'd intended to watch Dr Who, I felt a break for solitude and a therapeutic bout of dipping saucepans in boiling hot water was what I most needed. I came back in for the last 15 minutes of Amy Pond saving the world and got to grips with the backwards and forwardsness of the ghosts of christmas past, present and future without much difficulty.

And then it was time for the Christmas Strictly! The BBC did not pull the show, as Vince Cable had not lost his job this week, and his elegance on the dancefloor points to it being perhaps a good idea that he ditch politics and change career. There were quite a bit of Baker Backflips. There was a lot of John Barrowman's American Teeth. And he won. Which can only be a bad thing for his over-inflated ego.
Although the overriding impression of the whole show was Gavin, in a beard and white jumpsuit, looking like a lost member of the Bee Gees.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Wednesday Snowday

We've been hit full in the face by the big frenzy of snow that everyone in the south had over the weekend. Its lovely! Really fluffy and dreamy. And the sky was becoming pink as we went out - gorgeous. Did I remember to take the camera? No...

Went out to see the frozen canal, had a snowball fight with the 11 year old, tried out the new caff up the road.... muffins, mocha, yum, and then went to do a bit of food shopping, with only 6 things on the list. Came out with 6 bags, which was significantly more than one item per bag. That's the second time I've done that since the humungous online food shop last week. Oh well, at least we're not bothering Dominos Pizza anymore.

Some energetic house-rearranging on the go at the moment - gotta do something to burn off those mince pies - so finally a redundant filing cabinet has gone up into the storage-starved bedroom, and is now housing t-shirts and handbags. The makeover of the big filing cupboard is one stage nearer... its a Utility piece I've had for absolutely yonks. Was loosely thinking of silver and white wrapping paper for the interior, as the dining room is heading in a very white, black and grey direction, but think I'll do the inside of the doors with blackboard paint. Before and after pics will be on here soon.

A cheap reconfiguration of the kitchen is also being planned, with minimal purchases (a corner wall unit, worktop, tap, plus the fees of Messrs Plumber & Gas Fitter Ltd) and reuse of what is already there (carcasses, sink, cooker, appliances, vintage sideboards)... not the ideal week to be doing it, so will hold back with the sledgehammer just for now. Although Keef is definitely going to still be on the wall above the cooker...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Mild Christmas Panic And Trout Pout

My wonderful plan to pick up presents as and when the "right" thing smacked me between the eyes is starting to fail....

All presents have now been bought, and stashed away, and miraculously, some have even been wrapped, plus excelling myself entirely last week.... some have even been posted too!

The flaw in the Plan To Buy Early is that I've lost one!!!! In the depths of my miniscule house, there lurks a 22cm by 22cm metal sign saying "Hand over the chocolate". Not easy to mislay, at that size, but mislaid, nay, even LOST, it is. My 13 year old just looked at me, and in perfect seeing-the-world-through-his-eyes style, asked if I had actually bought it. Must admit, I did then check the ebay account, just to make sure. So, my mum's partner has a measly tin of scottish biscuits and a 24 hour window for me to either turn the house upside down to find it, or come up with plan B....

Am nearly in a spiral of panic as it is.... we then have to navigate a central portion of England by rail tomorrow. I am not entirely optimistic that all will go smoothly... several extra layers, charged-up ipods and Sensible Sandwiches seem a Good Plan. As is watching 10 year old pantomimes on itv2, marvelling that Patsy Kensit, in her former Mrs Liam Gallagher incarnation, has now finally seen sense and has stopped having collagen lip injections... Can you tell that I minded a teensy bit that she married Jim Kerr?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Finding Things To Do On A Monday Morning

Its so still. Very post-nuclear. From here indoors, it seems very remote that people can possibly be busily doing what they must be busily doing. Am having a not-doing-anything-much morning as I'm meeting everyone from the World of Work for some nosh at lunchtime... until then I'm just noodling about, trying not to eat mince pies.

Have just watched a documentary on the Beatles - black and white, very apt for the landscape we have now. Got to say there's something just so much better about the late 60s than the early 60s - messier, pre-punk...

And during the ad breaks, I stuck the camera into some fested-up corners of Trashsparkle Mansions...

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Leopardskin Handbags - Tick!

Ha, yes! The two little knitted handbags destined for the 6 year-old cousins are finished.

Oooh, the sense of achievement. Dulled only by the reality that they weren't ready in time to post yesterday, when I queued in a whiffy post office to send off some other pressies, and could have sent these off too, if I'd been less distracted by painting various bits of the house, and making mantelpieces. So now its the post office experience twice in one week....

 Anyhows, these are the bags...


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Trashsparkle's Televisual Treats Take Two, Apples, And Other Sparkly Stuff

So, we are finally all defrosted and everywhere (aside from places I have yet to see on the news, such as Scotland) has Totally Thawed. What an adjustment getting used to all these dark colours after the sparkly white stuff. The leaves are looking knackered, as if some toxic poisoned blanket has been to visit these past weeks, and the contents of an orchard has been revealed on the trampoline. Leading to a minor Saturday morning outfit dilemma - put on yukky old clobber and get set to with a broom to clear the trampoline, or ignore all that and go with the new grey leopardskin-print frock sneakily purchased on the basis of it being Non-Leopardskin Colour And Therefore OK?

Yes, I am totally over Real-Colour Leopardskin - Too Everywhere. Even EastEnders were sending it up - spotted Pat Butcher, as ever faux fur coat-clad, sitting in front of a ginormous painting of a tabby cat. A bit like the BBC's version of the patterned carpet, patterned wallpaper combo...

Which we saw gallons of when Boy George went back to the 70's on Thursday night. Ace decor-recreation. A total brown'n'orange fest. His old family house, and then another one, giving us double-decor whammy. And I lost count of the hats, but loved that his first one matched the yellow front door.

We have also had Kirstie doing her lovely mate Phil a favour, and organising some Channel 4 work for him, in the form of K&P's Perfect Christmas. Alas, there was just not enough time in Trashsparkle's day for a mammoth 4-episode roll-out of this nature, and from what I caught of it they kidnapped a good, clean-cut mormon boy and made him fix them some devil-juice in the shape of get-the-rellies-pissed cocktails. Oh, and there was the very heartwarming bit where Phil was doing Something Interesting in the kitchen. Apples, cider, sugar..... Sadly, this was then presented as a sauce, which can only be described as looking like vomit. Hope Phil did better in the rest of the shows, otherwise Kirstie's going to remain solo on Channel 4 in future.

And who could not watch Corrie? I haven't seen it since the 80's - just not the same without Elsie Tanner, Hilda Ogden and Albert Tatlock, but it became sort of cult-viewing with the 11 year old's peers and turned into Cultural Highlight Of The Week. One of his teachers was even in the audience at the tacked-on-afterwards quiz. For me, it was the usual wooden acting, yes Ken Barlow I do mean you, and its best line was the just-rescued Rita murmuring "what is it with me and trams?"

And aside from working new frocks and/or chucking apples around the garden, I shall be watching how picky Mr Revel-Horwood gets over whose feet are deemed to have left the floor, and who out of Scotttttt, Matt and Gavin gets desperate enough for votes to forget to keep their top on. At least we know that Ann Widdecombe ain't gonna get that glitterball.

Friday, 10 December 2010

The Mantelpiece Is Finished!

...the one that featured a few posts ago as a lump of wood covered in 19 layers of paint.

I put it up last Friday - it was to be home to the silly big red reindeer, but as the baubly wreath looked better on the wall the reindeer is still in limbo.

You'll have to trust me when I say the star lights are "boiled sweet" scarlet. Despite what they say, my goddamn camera lies all the time instead of showing what is REALLY there!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Gilbert Ate My Grape

Yay - it is another Official Day Off. And I have not been summonsed to the World of Work to cover for snow-bound colleagues. So woohoo - lots of metime today. And how exactly will Trashsparkle be spending today? By ignoring the nagging logic that says she must knuckle down and fill in the SENA form that arrived yesterday for the 13 year old, and instead eat McCoys cheese'n'onion crisps and drink black tea whilst clicking around in blogland-catchup-time. (don't worry, the form will be done later - I am a nightowl and can only do such things at stupid o'clock).

Reluctantly caught the Morgana Show last night and had to google "Gilbert" to find out where she'd rolled out that character before. Knew it was something where the character had been made to do pervy stuff to female guests, possibly involving a semi-circular seating plan arrangement. But despite that wonderfully precise description, the boyfriend couldn't put a finger on it either, so I hit google. The TNT show! Totally forgettable, so no wonder it didn't leap out at us. But in the "Gilbert" trawl activity, I found the highly delightful Fancy doing spoof Amazon reviews! Genius. Maybe I'll stop ignoring the emails that request my participation when I've bought complex origami flatpacks, or heaven forbid, may start buying bizarre stuff for the very purpose of joining in with this spoof review malarkey. Is there a lot of it about? Is it a modern thing that thousands of bored people are doing? Will online shopping ever be the same?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Trashsparkle's Become Obsessed By The Weather

Yes, it is worrying how much time it is possible to spend thinking and talking about everywhere being frozen and slippy. So what's good and what's bad?

The pace is slowed down - how olde worlde to see cars travelling at a sedate 5mph
People have slowed down - you can't go anywhere fast
You have to walk like constipated penguin otherwise you fall over
The pavements are complete ice rinks
The roads - ditto - so not great

You wonder how much the NHS is having to spend treating broken bones and other injuries, compared to how much is being spent by councils on gritting (or being saved by councils not doing so). I am having to hold myself back from bothering the local mp about it...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

On The Sunny Side Of The Quality Street

A glittering Sunday of sun on the snow, and diamante droplets on garden twigs.... the only downside of this lovely welcome sunshine is that Trashsparkle's house looks, erm, a tad on the filthy side. Never mind, as yet another tongue-in-cheek announcement hanging on my kitchen wall declares, "how can a woman be expected to do all the cooking and housework when she's been shopping all day"..... A bit of a time management review needed around here perhaps?

Indeed, tardy kitchen activity last night - lying on the sofa reading the papers til led to me missing a few chunks of Strictly; I didn't really mind missing Ann's rehearsal footage to retrieve the Tesco's Indian from the oven, and when I caught her performance it was as if a discarded Quality Street wrapper had attached itself to Anton.

Alas, through further kitchen mistiming issues, I managed to miss vital seconds at the start of Austin Baker's shenanigans.... so had to wait for iPlayer to see the magnificently fabulous backflip. Did he have elastic on those specs - still there when he landed... Why didn't they get 40???

Though I loved that Pammy got the 40 for her Viennese Birthday Waltz... In fact, I think Kara and Artem's tango should have got 40 too, especially if bonus points could have been given out for Fabulous Frocks.

Incidendentally, an accidental encounter with the cover of Heat/Closer/Look while purchasing chocolate yesterday afternoon leads me to believe that Charlotte is now keen for Gavin to come home. Could that be anything to do with his newly-acquired competence in the hip action department?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Snowly Come Dancing

Here I am, up late for the umpth night in a row, with my fingers crossed that the World of Work will be closed tomorrow. Seeing as it'll be Friday, its not really worth dragging us all in, and the students are very sensibly starting to decide to avoid the ice rink that is the outside world.... so, Snow Day? Please? The snow is lovely - if you get to walk on the bits other people haven't. The lovely, deep, crunchy stuff. If you have to stick to the pavements, and try to get somewhere for a certain time, then it ain't...

I love how the week passes so quickly when you have It Takes Two to break it up - Mondays are a respectful look back, at what went wrong enough to see the latest couple to get voted out. Craig pops along, off-duty from his Mr Po-Face look, and acts all giddy. Tuesdays and Wednesdays start getting into the dance steps, and Claudia manages everytime not to fall off her heels while Len tries to teach her to dance, and we start to see how everyone's doing in rehearsals. And then Thursdays! So near to Saturday night! We see the frocks. We get Hilary Alexander, glasses perched on the end of  her nose and being ever so jolly, and coming out with bizarre fashion phrases such as Pamela's "canyon of cleavage". Tonight we saw Kara and Artem skillfully negotiating some tango practice. And then we got Ann - in a bright red jumper, with a Scottie dog on the front. Heavens knows what their effort will be like, but I somehow doubt it will be either American or Smooth.