Friday, 29 April 2011

They Are Now Mr and Mrs

Had the most bizarre dream last night. I'd watched Patsy Palmer on Piers Morgan, and in my dream her having 2 premature babies translated into Kate giving birth the night before the wedding - to a 2-months premature baby, without knowing she was pregnant. And still going ahead with the wedding. Thank god it was back to reality this morning.

An abbey full of hats! Millinery masterpieces. Although SamCam chose not to wear one, and had brooches in her hair instead. Her choice of turquoisey outfit looked excellent against the carpet. Elton John didn't do much full-gusto singing did he; he was more of a mumbler. Maybe he didn't want to upstage... And all those royals. Can't believe there are so many. The royals arriving by minibus - wtf - but at least they were economising. William in full regalia, with white gloves 'n' everything. And at last we found out Kate was wearing Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen and looked fabulous. Not a meringue in sight. Though the poor girl had to haul the weight of that train the full length of the Abbey all by herself...

And when the British dress up, they Really Dress Up....

....ignore that half-painted lounge wall. Still deciding whether to revert to the dark or plough on with the lighter grey.

And we made a pudding for the occasion. Of the wedding, not the decorating. A jelly made the night before.....

And then the 12 year old was impatient to get going with the meringues, cream and trifle sponges
(which are better crispy than soggy so went on top)

Hope you have all had a wonderful royal day!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Guess Where I Went Yesterday!

Can you guess what it is yet?

There was pretty lighting......

 ..... there was a (former?) children's tv presenter.....

...... and a panel of judges..... 

 ..... one of them was Christopher Biggins!!!

 (more about the cutey in the pink vest later)

Yes, it was Dancing On Ice! At the Nottingham Capital FM Arena, where the loos are Not As Good As Westfield's. And the capuccino's a bit rubbish too.

 Look. Famous people!

  ....famous people being waved at, in an out-of-focus way

 ... famous people facing The Wrong Way

 ..... And Vanilla Ice! He'd taught his partner to rap, graffitti and buy cars off eBay.

Unfortunately he decided to jump up on a ramp and do some cringey rapping mid-act. Nevermind...

The bloke off Radio 1. They were doing something involving the Dreaded Line Dancing

The lovely Johnson Beharry. VC.

 And Chloe Madeley. Upside down. Her mum was in, apparently. Well, anyway some woman shouted "Come on Chloe"

 Some bloke off EastEnders. Who's been winning. A lot.

And afterwards, in a disorganised bunfight-in-the-carpark-kind-of-affair...

...... we saw the top of Vanilla Ice's head. Look at the woman in the purple jumper, then look at her cuff. He's there.

Karen was a sweetie - she spoke to my son as he was milling about shyly, ducking behind people.

And Colin man-in-pink-vest, a 25 year old Canadian pro dancer, spent AGES chatting to people. He's a darling. He was alarmingly stage-made-up-fake-tanned. I told him he made us feel a bit pale.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A Good Day Then Electrical Bad Things

An hour after I posted about hibernating, I was out the door on a pre-planned excursion with the 12 year old. There are photos, which I am too zonked to upload, so I will tell all in another post, but he says it's been the third best day of his life so far.

Got home tired and needing to clear up the kitchen and sort dinner. A totally suitable state of mind to find that the laptop charger which arrived this morning from ebay not only no longer worked, it had tripped 3 sockets around the house. Immediate thoughts of  how the £6.20 gizmo was going to cost me ££££ to get the electrician man out, who's probably on his easter holidays, and texts to the boyfriend who professionally Knows A Bit About electrics. Lets add emailing the ebay seller to my list of form-filling type of boring things I am supposed to be doing. Decided while sizzling some pasta in butter with sort-of-charred quorn fillets that I might strike lucky looking at the fuseboard in the morning. Maybe its just a teensy little switch to flick up. Or down, depending on how these things work.

All of which is heartening considering we came back to a pile of scary looking literature on the doormat from the fire brigade, offering or perhaps demanding, an inspection of the potential-to-catch-fire of our house. Turns out the old man over the road had had smoke coming out of his front door while we were out; a fire engine and a paramedic, but he's still at home so luckily it must have been pretty minor. The kids are a little bit convinced that his fire and our electrics malfunction are related. The world would truly be mad if that were true...

ps It is now "tomorrow" - one switch on meter unit thingie now put back in place, tested cheapest of all appliances in case of disaster, which was the kettle, and the sockets now work. How To Teach Your Kids Basic Household Electrics in don't-panic-Captain-Mainwaring style!


I have my new camera! Somehow, yesterday I forgot to use it to take actual photos, instead using it to show my mum the photos of the South Bank beach huts. So, no pics being posted today. Although when I tested it I got a cracking photo of a cheese grater.

There was no critique of the non-DIY, but she did keep going on about me selling the Wrong Sideboard. We had 3, but one is having to go due to the new kitchen layout. She thought I should keep sideboard no.2, a neat little mid-century number, but I am keeping no.3, a carved, ornate dark brown monstrosity gem. Because everything fits in it, so it would be silly to get rid of it. Its a bit like having to choose between favourite pets - its been a hard decision.

   Exhibit A: Sideboard no.2

We've put the heating back on. This is dismal. My get up and go has disappeared - all the  clearing out, selling, freecycling etc of last week has been replaced by a desire to hibernate with a duvet, cake and tv... With the now-not-too-distant sparkliness of the royal wedding looming I watched a little documentary about W & K's school days and university time, mainly to compare her waif-like figure to probably what her natural body shape should be.  She was a little more rounded as a teenager, then seemed to get thinner in her early 20s. So am glad to conclude, that although she probably should eat more, she does not appear to be trying to suddenly starve herself into a silly size zero.

Have a mountain of forms to get filled in - everyone's favourite thing. Bits for the 13 year old's new school, and stuff like that. Oh joy... Almost as bad as ironing.

Monday, 25 April 2011

I'm Going To Walk In The Sun, And.....

..... Buy Me A New Camera! Yes, today. I know it would be wise to do some interweb-ordering, and I may yet find a crafty way to combine online-nicer-price-ness with the gratification that comes with getting my mitts on that camera straightaway....

The faff that comes with borrowing the 13 year old's camera, then waving a magic wand to splutter some life into my camera while I download the photos is too boringly luddite, even for me. Yesterday my I-don't-lurve-it-anymore gadget refused to recognise its own memory card, and proudly downloaded instead some manky photos of a clematis I'd taken 3 years ago from the built-in memory thingie. Enough.... I wanted to post glorious orange poppies that abound in the garden, the selection of old postcards that I had a merry evening rediscovering in all corners of the house for the stairway-to-the-loft moodboard project. And I would be able to do those very things, in instant(ish) pictorial form If I Only Had That Camera.

So off t'shops we shall go. Then the blog can have some colour, and we shall have us some sunbeams and vitamin D, and of course buy something snackalicious for tomorrow's visit from Trashsparkle's mum. It will be her first sight of the new kitchen, and I haven't exactly busted a gut sanding and painting those walls yet. So there will be conversations starting with "you need to..." which I shall wave away with the usual lack of concern I have for the finer details of holes in the wall and bad evidence of previous wall colours*. Then in about 3 days time the bug will kick in and I'll get on with it.

* I shall, instead, redirect her attention to the wonderful way in which I have recently colour-ordered the 12 year old's extensive t-shirt collection. Damn those £1.50 Primark bargains.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Travels In Time

And another Saturday in a Much More Well-Appointed Retail Place than the one we live in. One in which crossing the city centre is a breeze of bodies sliding effortlessly past each other in the way it happens at Grand Central Station. In our town people are programmed on leylines and walk slap-bang into each other from the most random of angles. And usually don't even realise.

So, this city we went to doesn't even disappoint if you come home empty-handed. The marvellous architecture, the people-watching, and even the fact that we are getting better at not getting lost is a good day out in itself. And its training the kids brilliantly in how to get out and about when they're old enough to go there solo.

The train-journey-entertainment was the discovery that if you hold a 7-Up bottle just so you can project a little green dalek onto the table. There would have been a photo, and indeed there was, but my camera does not like the memory card from the 13 year old's camera and I have no idea where his connect-it-to-the-computer gubbins is.

In fact, I'm waiting for them to wake up. I've turned into someone who practically sleeps farmers' hours and no longer stay up til 1am - I'm going to bed these days about 11pm and getting up about 8. Yeah, in farmers' hours that's probably elevenses, but still. I am craving chocolate and there are unopened Easter eggs waiting for the choc fest to kick off. Just need some kids first...

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Kent, London, The Festival of Britain Anniversary... and an Obnoxious Man

At last I've got some blossom on the blog! This is round the corner from my Dad's house. We stopped and ooo'd and aaah'd at the wondrous, pom-pom-like quality of this luscious stuff. Then we went cross-country a bit to see the lambs...

... like this cheeky pair. And these. The rest of 'em were busy not being keen on being snapped.

And look! On the way back we saw Hayley Cropper's car*!!!

Today we headed back via London. Lots of time to see lots of places. We started with the South Bank for a mooch and an ice cream. They are getting ready for the imminent 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, so lots of painting and general doings were going on, with the smell of sawdust mixed with the smell of deep-fried doughnuts.

There's a seaside theme; lots of words on yellow banners all along the railings, which we forgot to snap, and these: 

It made us feel like taking a cool dip, so we did the next best thing and jumped on a riverboat for an hour, down to Tower Bridge and back up to the Houses of Parliament. Best fact from the tour guide? That the founder of Harvard was a butcher's son from Southwark.

We then thought about going to Camden, with a nice cooling whizz around the circle line. Got off instead at Baker Street and went to Regents Park. This took us past a big line of people going to the Sherlock Holmes museum and tacky shops selling £20 t-shirts.

The heat and the 12 year old having blisters made us think There Was No Place Like Home, so mid-afternoon off to the station we went and headed norf.  Having to change trains one stop from home, everything was a bit all over the place with a power failure. We got on the train that eventually came and headed up the corridor towards first class as the train was packed.

A small man with 2 hefty briefcases got on too and decided we were all in the way of him getting to his first class seat. Before anyone had a chance to try to move he put his head down and charged through the lot of us with his elbows. One girl got her boobs totally flattened and a few choice comments were hurled in the bloke's direction. By me. Because Brits Don't Make A Fuss and no one else did a thing.

Me and the boys went and sat behind Rude First Class Man's seat and as we got ready to get off I told the boys to take their rucksacks off so we could "get past the people more politely than some people on this train". At this he stood up too (up to my shoulder, as he was vertically challenged, and not unlike Paul Daniels. Only with the aggressive traits of small man syndrome) and decided to apologise. I told him not to bother and that he had been obnoxious and had a lot of people to apologise to. Again no back-up, but I made sure he apologised to the traumatised boob-flattened woman once we were on the platform.

*Coronation Street

Monday, 18 April 2011

Busy Week

At last some lovely holiday time! Its practically Summer Holidays Part 1, with this gorgeous weather (plus once term starts again its only 48 early school-mornings til the Real Summer Holidays start)

Of course the beautiful hot sunshine has seen me become a laundry bore - averaging 2 loads out on the line each day, with the 2nd lot usually left out overnight to get Proper Baked all morning until the next lot is ready to go out. Yawn.... fascinating, eh.

But don't worry, I'm not fixated enough to do any of this:

The Unnerving Experience of Friday is slowly receding. Nastiness personified in the form of NHS well-meaning... I've been busying myself all weekend - de-junking the loft and have even made myself sort All The Photos That Have Ever Been Loaded Onto The Computer into folders. How organised is that!

We're going to Kent and London later this week; this is something the teenage recluse is ok with doing so I'm leaving the London itinerary up to the kids. Although I'll try to fit in a detour to where they lived as babies, the buzzing gorgeousness of Columbia Road. 2 cameras should ensure some photos get onto the blog. Albeit one with a temperamental battery, and a lost charger for the other one, so I should manage a fuzzy shot of some sheep and an oast-house or two, and someone's feet.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Its Getting A Bit Iron Curtain

Mildly, well actually incredibly traumatic rest-of-day, after the Alan Titchmarsh incident. The psychiatrists came round at midday. They spoke to me, but not the teenage recluse who declined to be involved. Not content with the fact he's so far perfectly happy to start a new school in 4-and-a-half-months, they want to put some very serious wheels in motion. Compulsory hospitalisation (or sectioning, I believe, to you and me) was mentioned, as was having him put into care, or even put into the care of his father. At this stage things got beyond ridiculous, as they clearly have not taken on board that he hasn't seen them for 14 months so why would that be a better option? What a system I seem to have caught myself, and him, up in. One body of people tell me that he is very bright and they can see no reason for his non-attendance at school (erm, that would be the social difficulties, duh). Maybe they do their training by watching back-to-back episodes of Grange Hill? Then this lot today confirm, as much as they can by observing him through a solid wood bedroom door, that they would say he is on the spectrum and needs urgent cognitive behavioural therapy in order to learn to get by without mirror cells, receptors, whatever.

I'm doing other internet stuff, not involving diy catastrophes or celebrities in spandex, so will be making sure things don't escalate into the realms of totalitarianism. Further waffling on here about those 2 subjects and other distractions will have to be humoured. Failing that, we'll be leaving the country.

An Inappropriate Piece Of Television

My morning has been scarred! Its all my own fault. Last night I was watching Escape To The Country. Purely for geographical research purposes*, as my distant rellies come from Ceredigion. Learning to say and spell that is very celtic indeed. OK, thats enough ooh la la; the ancestors were, allegedly, from Aberystwyth. I say allegedly as the trail goes cold in South London, with a David Jones. Haystack, needle anyone? For all I know I could share dna with Tom, Gethin and Steve. What a deeply disturbing thought...

So, back to this morning... the 12 year old kicked me off blog-perusal as his computer was doing some Important Technical Stuff, and feeling a bit screen-deprived I swanned off into the front room and switched the tv on. Totally forgetting about which channel I'd left it on last night. I got a short, sharp burst of Groundforce. With it being cable it was before the infamous hissy fit from Alan Titchmarsh which preceded his departure from the series. Which meant it was back in the days before a stylist made him and dopey-but-loveable Tommy have Big Boy Haircuts, with gel and everything; they were still sporting their pre-fame Village Idiot haircuts.

Anyhows, better pick myself up from that untasty encounter and brave the women who will pinpoint my slovenly ways as being at the root of the teenage recluse's chaotic lifestyle

* though that Jules Hudson, with his clean little face and pink cheeks, is a bit of a fitty. Not my usual type at all.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Crazy Horses

Ho hum. Got the people Who Really Do Have The Friday Appointment here tomorrow. Ran the idea of them being very insistent on doing the visit past a friend at The World Of Work, who reckoned its now gone to some sort of statutory status. And what impression will these folks get of Mother of Teenage Recluse? That I am a kleptomaniac on the waiting list for DIY SOS probably, seeing as the dining room is full of bits of wood from last week's taking down of shelves and the walls are practically dust.

Swanned around TKMaxx for a while on my way home, hoping to find something to signal The Right Look to kickstart me putting the kitchen back together. Maybe a white piece of ovenware? I honed in on a gigantic lime green swirly vase, some fabric covered birdhouses (???), a navy and silver painted union jack canvas that was way bigger than any wall in the house, a set of scarily expensive red saucepans, a lovely shiny red metal horse... then pulled myself together and left empty-handed. I have a love-hate relationship with that place, it brings out the schizo-kleptomaniac aspect. With each thing you see you mentally dissect every room in your house trying to judge whether something would "go", and end up with half a dozen parts of your brain competing for attention. I'm banning myself - for my own good. Though that red metal horse was awesome.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A 1956 Film And An Appointment. But Not With Jesus

Saw this today. Well, not entirely. I caught about the last half hour, a habit which has allowed me to build up a very hazy and incomplete knowledge of  films-on-tv. Very impressed that Dana Wynter was able to run all that way without losing a shoe, though the poor thing did get dropped in a puddle near the end. Amazed how we jumped, in a matter of decades, from being Victorians to being scared witless about aliens.

Other than that, I answered the door mid-morning half-expecting the 2 smartly dressed women on my doorstep to be a mix-up with dates with Friday's child and adolescent mental health team appointment.

The one in the red coat, looking not dissimilar to Glenda Jackson, pro-offered a flimsy pamphlet with "Jesus" written in pale blue script and declared that she wanted to speak to me about something that was evidently nothing to do with the Friday appointment.

I am always very good at being articulate in these situations, and see no reason for being polite:
"I really don't agree with people bringing religion to people's doors. If they wanted it they'd know where to go"

She was still speaking when I shut the door. Firmly.
I may put up some voodoo relics on the outside of the house. But not until after Friday.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

More Excuses Why Dinner Is Late

After the Colin-Firth-In-That-Catsuit moment I think the time is nigh to revisit the triumph of Russell Kane as Beyonce that was a few weeks ago. Now he doesn't actually look that hot (to me, anyway) as himself , but in drag he's quite hypnotic, ne c'est pas? Maybe my youth was misspent. Should have hung around Madame JoJo's...

Must stop or I'll be digging out less delicious versions of Men In Make-Up. Like this:


ps No further kitchen photos so far, as showing a new cutlery drawer or different location of kettle would be overstretching your patience with this blog. Needless to say, domestically I am still adrift and I have not yet got anything in the right place. Sort of going for the organic approach of getting the feel for what should go where as I use it. Until then, if I had a pedometer I'd be off the richter scale of mileage in terms of looking for the salt, colanders, plates... and it takes even longer to make dinner.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Kitchen And A Catsuit

  • Found unfilled hole in wall after men had gone, where dishwasher pipe had been taken out. Big enough for assorted minibeasts, and possibly a blackbird or two, to enter the house, so out with a bucket of mix-it-yerself external filler.
  • Hoovered a bit.
  • To make the walls look less like Al Capone* had been round, filled all holes left by removal of cupboards and shelves so from a distance they look better.
  • Cooked pizzas - but blaming relocation of oven, rather than not keeping an eye on the time, for the fact they got ever-so-slightly burnt.
  • *Do we like the Al Capone-esque bullet points?

  • Felt that it was impossible to go to work as I was aching all over, from pre-refurb moving of EVERYTHING and from the generally unrelaxing hovering I had been doing during Thursday. Note, that is all-day HOVERING, not hoovering... my plan to retreat to the front room to watch sneaky and copious amounts of 60 Minute Makeover et al was scuppered by The Men putting 3 massive toolboxes in there, preventing access to sofas as the room Is That Small and from the constant leaving open of the front door. And it was too cold to sit outside in the garden away from it all. Instead I alternated between hovering with the laptop in a corner of the dining room, and blitzing the 12 year old's room.
  • Pulled myself together and went to work, as I was being a bit of a wimp and really had no excuse for trying to slack off.
  • Loitered around the market on the way home, resisting anything I'd have to find house-room for in my newly-discovered Less Is More mode, and bought necklaces instead.
  • And bought a new drainer rack for the sink - the boyfriend says the sink is a caravan one. T'is not, so there. It's just spacially economical.
  • Set to cleaning underneath of the 2 existing wall cupboards with white vinegar. Easy.
  • Put all the mugs into a cupboard. A whole cupboard. This is worrying.
  • Moved the kettle. To nearer the sink. This is an improvement on previous foot mileage.
  • Put the clock back up.
  • Went off by train to a large swanky shopping centre - ok, it was Westfield, as the teenage recluse was up for going out, following the Amazing Success of the mid-week new school visit and voluntary haircut experience.
  • Had calming expectations of snapping up some nice ovenware, to progress the new kitchen.
  • Impressed by the poshness and design of the toilets. Better than yer average encounter.
  • Swooned in Schuh, luvverly shop with fabulous, gorgeous, ridiculous erm... shoes. And excellent sales staff. Window shopping for me, as we were buying converse for the teenager.
  • Sales staff experience reversed altogether in New Look. Very Couldn't Be Bothered ethos. Not good. Hoodie and t-shirt purchased, for 12 and 13 year old respectively.
  • Which meant bags. Argument about who was carrying them. Not me.
  • Shopping fatigue kicking in, further arguments about where to have lunch.
  • Re-discovering the stereo effect that is walking in between 2 children and both of them talking to me at once.
  • Lunch then ice creams. Neither of them would hold my ice cream, so no popping into charity shops. In truth, I was scared to, in the Less Is More frame of mind, as Where Would I Put anything I might have found?
  • Finally, I bought something - a mini-tube of handcream. £1.10. I am cheap to take out.
  • Wasted by the time we got back so flopped down with the papers, then cooked dinner whilst re-siting the cutlery drawer. So many useless, forgotten things in there - many, many beer bottle-openers and random vegetable peelers. Will have a cull. Another day.
  • And then watched Mama Mia. Which was worth seeing, if only for Colin Firth in a tight blue spangly catsuit at the end. Why had I never known about that?

update:- following The Great Blogger Outtage of May 2011, I noticed the colin-in-a-catsuit photo I could have sworn I'd originally posted had gone. I had to search high and low to get this pic; I am starting to suspect that Mr Firth's People may have issued some sort of retrospective super-injunction to suppress said images of Their Man. Were Mr Firth's People and the blogger outtage mysteriously linked while the former scoured blogs for any incriminating evidence???

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Hello New Kitchen!

Here's the new snazzy kitchen! Yep, so far it feels like I've created a cool, contemporary batchelorette-kitchen-in-a-loft arrangement, what with my shiny surfaces and brick wall. Sleek, modern, shiny, minimalist.....Styling aided and abetted by the 12 year old; see the dalek mug? (But what's that wire hanging down for???*)

How the camera doth deceive.... because this is the rest of the room:

Next step is getting the walls sorted. And the floor! My temporary extension lead* for the dishwasher is marvellous something to get sorted pronto.

And, finally, the grim, in-between shots:

A delightful display of plumbing accessories, and a puddle.