Thursday, 27 December 2012

Not a single Picture

A warning about this lurgy that is sneaking in and catching everyone by the throat. There is an aftermath! I had the dread lurgy a week before Christmas and had thought myself lucky to be recovered while the rest of the family seemed to fall under it. On Christmas Eve it was like walking into a solid stone wall. Not a cold or a runny nose or a sore throat but a definite drop in the mood department. I could have cried, and with no reason. There we were, Mr M and I watching TV together. All the shopping and running around done. All the presents packed and messages sent to special people and all I wanted to do was crawl under a blanket and sob.
It continued all day on Christmas Day and then on Boxing day too. This morning I got up had breakfast and then sat on the sofa and slept until 2pm and now I feel a little better. So I am putting it down to the cold I had and this is the backlash, the secondary infection that usually means a bacterial infection has this time got me in the miseries.
I am now going back to my sofa for a few hours perhaps to snooze some more.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

I thought the Onions were lovely.....

We went to the ballet today. none of us have ever been to the ballet before so it was a very exciting adventure for all of us, and especially for Miss Em.
We went to see The Nutcracker, performed by the the Russian State Ballet of Siberia. It was wonderful! the place was full of children and they were mostly well behaved. The little boy who sat behind Miss Em wasn't very nice but his mother moved to different seats before things started so he could kick the back of someone else's seat.
Miss Em was totally entranced by everything. She sat motionless all the way through Act 1 then helped Mummy buy the ice creams and then sat transfixed through Act 2. she stood and clapped with everyone at the end and was bubbling about the dancers and the mouse king and the Chinese dancers all the way back to the train.
When we were on the train she asked if she could look at the programme and Mummy asked "What did you think of the snowflakes?" and pointed to the picture in the programme. "Oh I thought the onions were lovely." she replied and then her brain caught up with what had been said. She looked up from the picture "Snowflakes? I thought those things were little onions. They are round and white and dangley." Anything else she might have said was drowned out by the train revving up and moving out. This was fortunate because then she couldn't hear us laughing into our coats.
I bet you didn't even know there were onions in the Nutcracker did you? Made the day complete.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

It's all in the tone of voice

The Christmas 24 channel is a godsend with a sick seven year-old, when you are fed up to the back teeth with cartoons and that shmaltzy sugar-sweet Disney channel. I like that it is child-safe while some of the cartoons that are on are really violent and somewhat scarey.
It does get a little trying for Mr M though, but he watches it with Miss Em and suffers in relative quiet - most of the time. Sometimes he just can't help himself and will make a comment like "...and he'll open the cupboard and find the thing in there" or perhaps "When she opens the box she'll see it's exactly what she wanted".
When such things come to pass there are questions from Miss Em. "How did you know, Grandpa? How did you know it would be in the box?"
"I wrote the script." he said and she asked no more.

Fast forward to the following week when Miss Em is at her own home and is watching Christmas 24 with her Mummy. "This is my favourite Christmas film EVER!" She said."Oh really?" said Mummy "Why do you like it so much?"
"Grandpa wrote the script" she replied, rendering her mother speechless for a moment.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman...

I was going to save this story for a storytelling Sunday but having remembered it I thought I should just get it recorded before I forget it again.

Way back in the 1970s I was a Guide Leader with the Girl Guides. My friend Viv was the Assistant Guider - as I have said before she was so much more than that - and on many occasions we would all end up in her kitchen after a day of events for the Church or the Guides or the Scouts. Viv had five children and I had three. She and her family lived in a small cottage that was - and I am quoting her now "...nine feet wide and fifty-two feet long". When there were eight children from age 16 down to 7 and three adults in the kitchen it could get a bit noisy.
It was getting close to Christmas and we had just come back from a Christmas Fayre or coffee morning and we were all sitting around the table or leaning on the sink and all the children were bubbling over because of the nearness of Christmas and having been so good while "on duty" and "In public".

A series of silly jokes were told by the older ones and the youngest, not to be outdone, began
"There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman..."
One of the other children jumped in with a one liner that made everyone roar with laughter and when the hubbub died down slightly the little voice began again
"There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman..."
Another joke, provoked by the one liner, over-rode the little voice and again the room rocked with laughter, some of it caused by the expression on the face of little voice. She began again
"There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman..."
Yet another one liner and a couple of the boys are lying on the floor hooting with laughter, as only the under tens can do. Little Voice waits patiently.
"There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman..."
Everyone roars with laughter because no one interrupted. Viv spoke up "Right, everyone, this time we'll let Little Voice tell her joke, OK? she hasn't complained about us so everyone be quiet."
"There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman....." a long silent pause as Little Voice looked at each face around her. "I've forgotten the rest now!"
The laughter threatened to shake the glass out of the windows, so much so that Viv's sister-in-law who lived next door up the lane, came to see if everyone was alright because she had heard "A lot of shouting".

Monday, 17 December 2012

Simply a moment - December

Amber at the back, GLC to the left, Koala to the right
It's Sunday. Mr M is playing Angry Birds on his computer, the washing machine is struggling with our waterproof coats and the meat is waiting on the counter top to be seasoned and thrown in the oven. I need something to focus on for a minute or two. What can I write about? what would be good? I lean against the windowsill and rest my forehead against the cool glass. Immediately the chickens look up at me, waiting. If I were to open the window they would rush across the garden and stand beneath the window - one floor down because of the slope of the hill - and make little jumps to try and get closer to me.
Koala can stand the tension no longer and in a flurry of feathers she shoots up four feet into the air and then does a clumsy half circle before colliding with the honeysuckle and landing in an ungainly heap. She leaps to her feet and turns around to prepare another flight. Her determination to one day succeed in flying the 15 feet up to the window can be seen in that beady eye. The other two watch her efforts with the resigned patience that only a chicken can exude. I throw them a handful of corn and immediately Amber responds with that funny Tuk, Tuk, Tuk noise that hens make when calling their chicks to a tasty morsel. Koala and GLC (Goldie Lookin' Chicken) rush to her side to see why her corn is so much better. They glance up at me just to make sure there is nothing better coming and then return to pecking up the corn as quickly as possible.

I turn away from the window, fill the kettle and prepare the cups for the tea and coffee. I still have a smile on my face from watching my "girls". Then I realise that my moment is done. Just one perfect moment when everything made me smile.
Why not take a moment to read some other "moments" over at Alexa's blog Trimming the Sails I am sure you will find something to enjoy.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Visit to Santa

a Princess under the tree
We went to Santa's Grotto yesterday. I know I am a pensioner and perhaps a little old for that sort of thing but..... and it is a good but...... we had Miss Em with us, and her mother so that made it right. In fact I am not sure who was more excited Miss Em or her mother. After a moment's contemplation I would say that Mummy was by far the most excited of all of us.
The Nidus Choir - beautiful voices made me cry

We went to Tredegar House. The former home of the Morgan Family and one of the best things Newport Council has ever done. You see they bought the house off St Joseph's school in the 1960s. The school had bought it when the last Lord Tredegar died and the whole estate was sold off. The school outgrew the building and wanted sleek modern so they built a new school close by and the council bought the house. It needed a lot of work and restoration.

My Dad restored the railings and side gates on the front of the house so I was able to go into the place before it was cleaned and restored.

Mummy you are so embarrassing - on the day bed in the Gilt Room
At the beginning of this year the Council and the National Trust came to an agreement that for the next 50 years Tredegar House would be under the care of the National Trust. In that time they will conserve and restore the property. This means that the house is added to the NT handbook and every NT member gets a copy. They said in March that they wanted to try and get 40,000 visitors through the house by the end of October. The final number was over 41,000.

A few people (members of the friends of Tredegar House) have complained that things are not the same. That the ground floor of the house has been turned into a 'theme park'. I think the atmosphere in the house now is friendly and welcoming and it really does feel as though the residents have just left. It feels alive and warm and welcoming. I could be biased.

Stir the pudding and make a wish
 The Christmas things have always happened even when the council was running things so we were able to see all the beautiful decorations in every room - except Mr Scrooge's room. Oh Mr Scrooge said that there was hope for Miss Em but no hope at all for her Mummy. This was because Em said she would share her prize from the mousehunt with Mr Scrooge, if it was money. Fortunately it was a pencil so she didn't have to go back up the stairs.

She was able to stir the Christmas pudding with Cook and she made a wish. Then we had Mulled wine - well Mummy did and it made her legs wobbly
Cheeky Elves
Grandma and Grandpa had orange squash with Em and we also had Stollen and mince pies. Then on to see The Man in his Grotto, pausing for Mummy to pose as an elf. She just loves pulling faces.

By this time the lurgy that had gripped me last weekend was encroaching on Miss Em and she was beginning to flag a little. She managed to smile when posing in front of the glow-in-the-dark-reindeer, but we could see she was getting more and more tired and weak.

Glow in the dark reindeer
We didn't have to wait long, thank goodness, as we had picked exactly the right time to visit.

Santa was very nice. He told the children that they had to be very honest when they answered his questions. Then he asked if they had all been good and they all said NO!

He talked for a moment and then gave them all a present. I managed to catch him giving Em her squirrel. She just loves cuddly things so a so squishy red squirrel was perfect. Then Mummy had to carry her back to the car because the bug was tightening it's grip.

Santa gave her a Squirrel. It's name is now Lacey
By 8 o'clock her temp was up but Calpol was working so she and her Daddy were on a sofa each while Mummy was forced to sit on a hard chair while she tended to the poor sicky people.

So a lovely afternoon in a fabulous house.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ten on the 10th - a bit late

I couldn't find this yesterday so I am a bit late. This is a list of reasons not to do housework

1. I don't do windows - I love birds and don't want one to fly into a clean window and get hurt.

2. I don't wax floors - I am terrified a guest will slip and get hurt (plus they might sue)

3. I don't mind dust bunnies - they are good company, I have named most of them and they agree with everything I say.

4. I don't disturb cobwebs - I want every creature to have its own home.

5. I don't spring clean - I love all the seasons and don't want the others to get jealous.

6. I don't pull weeds in the garden - I don't want to get in G*d's way. He is an excellent designer.

7. I don't put things away - my husband would never find them again.

8. I don't do gourmet meals when I entertain - I don't want my guests to stress out over what to make when they invite me back.

9. I don't iron - I choose to believe it when they say "Permanent Press"

10. I truly believe that a clean house is a sign of a broken computer.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar...

isn't this fabulous? We love Costco cake
At the recent family reunion we - well some of those who got there early - were treated to a rending rendition of that well known nursery song Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar. What? you've not heard that one? Well, here's the words, you know the tune

Twinkle, twinkle chocolate bar
My Dad drives a Vauxhall car.
Brmm the engine, pull the choke
Drive away in a cloud of smoke.
Twinkle, twinkle chocolate bar
My Dad drives a Vauxhall car.

Singing for Grandma
Miss Em hasn't heard it before so she was waiting her turn to sing. The boys sang it all by themselves and little J did very well even though he is only two. Master M is three and a half so he was teaching us.

It's such a good feeling having cousins!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Postal charges!

I posted the calendars to my relatives and friends in various parts of the world. I also posted Christmas cards to relatives and friends in other parts of the world. The total bill for six calendars and seven cards came to
more than £46. each of the cards cost more than £2.50 to post - except one which cost something like £1.78.

I do wonder how long Royal Mail hopes to continue. The charges will go up again in April next year, as they have done every year. Part of me says that these are realistic charges for an expansive service. The rest of me says ..........WHAAAAAAAAT THEEEEE F...............!!!!!!

Rant over!
Feel better now. I shall go and tell my chickens all about it.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Reviewing the Situation...

This story comes to you through the inspiration of Sian over at From High in the Sky If you have come here from there - Welcome and enjoy the read. If you are one of my faithful readers - bless you for your stamina and why not click on the link and read some of the other stories that have been told especially for today.
Sian suggested a theme of coming home and I did have a sort of story BUT this happened last week and I am still remembering and beginning to laugh.

Every year I am called to our doctor's surgery for a diabetic review. My blood pressure is checked and blood taken and I am weighed, measured and found wanting.... that's how it feels anyway, but the practice needs those QOF points. Because points mean pounds. I digress.

The procedure has changed a little these days as the goal posts are moved and standards are changed and now we have to go see the phlebotomist and she takes the blood samples and sends them off and a few days later we go to the practice nurse who does the rest.

One of the things required is a urine sample, and to ensure we don't give them half a pint of wee in an old jam jar they supply a neat plastic vial and a small pot for us to pee into. I can now say that I actually have a pot to pee in!!! Sorry, I'll behave myself now.

The other thing you have to do is fast the night before the appointment, so.... I fasted and knowing that I would need to pee in a hurry when I woke up I took the little pot - which is about 3 inches diameter and about 2 inches deep - into the bathroom upstairs and put it where I could grab it quickly. I then went to bed.

When I woke I needed to "go" quickly so I hurried to the bathroom, pulled down the pyjama trousers, grabbed the teeny, tiny pot and struggled to position it where it would .... do most good.

Now let me just say that I am not the right shape for trying to get my head between my legs. No, those days are long gone. I have an expanded waistline that doesn't allow such acrobatics, so it wasn't easy to get that minuscule pot into position but I managed it.

I stopped peeing when it was full - thank goodness for pelvic floor exercises - and pulled my hand out from the depths. That's when everything went to hell in a hand-basket. The pot, even though it seemed so small, now assumed the proportions of a mixing bowl and caught on the elastic of my pyjama trousers - this being around my knees. The pot slipped out of my... damp fingers and flipped upside down into said pyjama trousers, making my legs, the trousers and the bathroom floor very wet.

A lot of cussing followed, to the extent that Mr M tapped on the door and asked if everything was OK.
"Everything's fine!" I said, stepping out of the soggy trousers and scooping them into the bath. Making sure they didn't splash. "That was irony, right?" he said and the sound of his footsteps faded as he went down stairs.  As I wiped the floor then washed my legs I realised that I still needed a urine sample and do you know what? Thanks to those horrible boring exercises the midwife made me do after my children were born, there was still enough left in the tank to fill that pot again and ensure that this time it really was a "mid stream specimen"

As for the review, well, my weight is exactly the same as last year, cholesterol fine, retinopathy results fine, my tummy measures the same as the last two years and the blood sugar is still within guidelines.