Thursday, 29 January 2009

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Underneath It All

It's deceptive how many tears a smile can hide.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Expecting Trouble?

If you're thinking of breaking into my house tonight - think twice.

He's armed and dangerous.

Promotion's Cool - When You're Nine

I just received an e-mail from the Cub leader. Joshua's been made a sixer.

He'll be really chuffed when he turns up tonight and finds out. He was totally stoked at having the opportunity to be acting sixer a few weeks back. Now he gets the job for real.

If only life were that simple.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

25 Random Things

I was tagged recently on my Facebook page from a friend in America. I haven't got round to doing it on there yet, but thought it was a good place to start with a thread on here. So, here goes; 25 random things about me.

1. I'm 5'6" tall. With a Dad who's 6'2½" and a Mum who's only diddy at 5'2" I thought I'd be in the middle and hit 5'8". I've been done out of 2".

2. I love wearing high heels. All my friends know that!

3. I am a prolific reader - when I get the time - I'll read anything. But, I can not stand to be read to. Even as a child I would rather read alone at bedtime than having a story read to me.

4. I'm right handed but eat left handed.

5. I have a birth mark the shape, colour and size of a hen's egg at the middle of my left thigh.

6. I can touch-type.

7. I'm a good cook. A day of relaxation for me is an undisturbed day in the kitchen baking. Don't ask me to make you a cup of tea though as my tea is awful. I drink coffee.

8. The top of my right ear is folded over slightly where I lay on it in my Mum's womb.

9. I love listening to piano music. It's one instrument I'd love to learn to play.

10. There are three things that frighten me. Not girlie frighten, but REALLY frighten me. Dustbin lorries and refuse collectors, clowns and spiders. Dustbin men because as a child a refuse collector jokingly picked me up and pretended to throw me in the cart. My screams brought my Dad out of the garden and the scene was not pretty! I've been scared of them ever since and I shake when I'm near them. I can't walk past them without being scared out of my wits. Clowns are sinister and make me feel uncomfortable. Spiders are spiders - I'm a girl, no other explanation needed. Wierd thing is, I can happily pick up Daddy Long Legs though.

11. Any form of regurgitation makes me heave. I can't watch people on television eating if the camera is close up to their mouth. I can't watch people brushing their teeth and I can't watch nature programmes where birds feed their young. I even run the tap and close my eyes when spitting out toothpaste as it makes me gag. Footballers who spit on the pitch are vile.

12. I always put my lipstick on before brushing my teeth, then reapply it.

13. I wanted to join the CID when I was young, but was too young to join Hendon, so stayed on and did A'levels instead. I'm not sure why I didn't join after doing them. I still regret not working through and getting my degree so I could do it.

14. I have four children. I wanted more than two and couldn't stop at three because three didn't feel right. I am the youngest of three and it didn't work.

15. I believe in God. I can't accept that the world around us was caused by a chemical reaction. I have a friend who is a staunch Darwinist - there have been many a night where me and him have debated the whole issue into the early hours.

16. My favourite novel is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronté. I've never read a story so haunting and captivating. I love it.

17. I'm a neat freak. Everything has to be tidy - even the larder - with four children I daily lose the battle and it drives me nuts. I can't cope with clutter.

18. My favourite colour is purple.

19. I love facial scars and imperfections on men. Lines are good too. Pretty boys need to stay home with Mummy.

20. I have blue fairy lights around my pc screen. I love fairy lights.

21. I enjoy ironing. I find it therapeutic.

22. I'm a tecchno-numpty. Half the gadgets I've got I can't use properly.

23. I started smoking when I was 11. I smoked on and off throughout my teens and gave up when I was 19 after having my fourth bout of bronchitis. With an auntie and grandparent both dying of oesophagus cancer and having a Mum who had pleuracy a lot, it dawned on me that I was probably signing my early death warrant. I have a weak chest anyway and suffer frequent bouts of costal chondritis.

24. My eyes appear different colours at times, sometimes they're blue, other times green, other times grey.

25. I like things that a lot of women would like to admit to liking, but don't, for fear of criticism.

Oh blow it, I've got a lot to say. Here's a few more!

26. I can't breath properly through my nose.

27. I like doing logic problems.

28. My biggest dislike of people is those who have to have an audience to humiliate somebody. In my opinion, that's the lowest you can go.

29. Penguins make me laugh.

30. I have no sense of direction. I can't understand GPS, have no idea how to read a map and don't understand road layouts, - I'm totally useless. I have enough of a job finding somewhere, but having to get back doing it backwards is beyond me - it's a long standing joke with my friends.

Friday, 23 January 2009

When You Think Mum's Not Looking

I don't do mornings. I'm quite happy to stay up through the night into the morning, but not so good at getting up in the mornings. That's why I like to get everything ready the night before; lay out school uniforms, line up school bags and set the table for breakfast before I go to bed.

I have to have it this way or else the children would never get dressed in time or have anything to eat for breakfast. Joshua's in charge during breakfast time as when they're eating I'm usually in the shower. But when they've finished and I'm fresh and ready for the day I kick in to gear and set about clearing up before we leave for school. It's a pet hate of mine to leave dirty dishes by the sink for hours on end and I don't react well to coming home to it a few hours later.

So, a certain little boy thought he'd save on the washing up this morning as he knew I'd put the dishes away. Obviously still feeling a little peckish he thought he'd help himself to a second helping. This was after he'd sneaked off into the larder, grabbed his supplies and hid round the corner.

Then he offered his sister some and there they stood, with Sam telling Eleanor to eat what was left in the packet, while he'd be happy with what was in the box.

Then he noticed I'd been watching him. One look at that little face and I didn't have the heart to tell him off. Little punk.

Thursday, 22 January 2009


I'm off out tonight with two of my girlfriends to the Noodle Bar and then on to see Defiance.

One of them has mentioned that after noodles and Daniel Craig, what more could a girl want?

Err, might I suggest Daniel Craig covered in noodles, with a little bit of sauce on top and a pair of handy chopsticks....?

Joshua's Crush Continues

It's hard when you're nine and in love.

It's even harder when you have to pluck up the courage to ask your Mum when Valentine's Day is and can you have a certain person's postal address because she's moved schools.

You blush when you're nine and in love and your Mum knows about it.

He's always liked Elise.

Fancy a Pint?

I felt quite good today because I was finally allowed to give blood. I've been prevented up until now due to body piercings and pregnancies.

I felt even better when I found that one of the staff was an old friend I hadn't seen for twenty years and he's just the same lovely guy I knew then. And he's still just as crazy because he's still climbing without ropes even after falling off a mountain years ago and breaking both his legs.

Then I felt good coming back to work, because if more people gave blood, more people would survive nasty accidents like my friend who came off his motorbike years ago, skidded fifty feet on his head, landed head first in railings and tore our souls apart by staying in a coma. Then I felt good about giving blood because the people who gave him their blood saved his life and instead of being in the vegetative state the doctors warned us he'd be in the for the rest of his life, he survived the brain operation and walked out of the hospital thanking the nurses as he went. I feel good because I still see him and it's great to hug a person who makes you laugh who you thought you'd never see again.

And now I still feel good because one of my closest friends has gone a clear year since having the cancer removed from her liver after collapsing on her son's birthday. I feel good because the night I received the phone call to say she was likely to die, the people who gave all the blood to her because her own liver was bleeding so profusely saved her life too. She was sad a while ago because she's 42 next month. I reminded her she nearly didn't make it to her 40th and that I was glad she was 42 because it meant I still had my friend.

It's only just under a pint and it doesn't take long. Why don't more people do it?

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Out Of The Mouths ....

My conversation with Sam in the car this morning.

Sam: Ooh Mummy, there's a lady on a horse over there.
Me: So there is, we'll have to drive slowly past them, so we don't frighten the horse.
Sam: OK Mummy. Errr, Mummy, where do horses come from?

Oh no - THAT conversation.

Me: They come from their Mummy horses tummy Sam.
Sam: Oh. I KNOW THAT!! But how do they get in there?

Ooooh NOOO!!!!.

Me: Well, they just grow. Like you grew in my tummy.
Sam: So where did the Mummy horse come from?


Me: Errrr, from their Mummy too.
Sam: Oh Mummy, you just don't know where they come from do you? I'll tell you. Horses come from the factory and cows come from the cow shop.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

They're Mine and I Love Them

There are days when the children are happy and want pictures of themselves with their pet hamster to stick in the time capsules they're creating with their friends to stick in various back gardens.

There are times when they are sad because they're poorly and have to take a day off school.

And there are other times when they just love to goof around together.

Josh, Maddie, Eleanor & Sam

Diversity Amongst Colleagues

I work for an unusual organisation. An organisation that takes great pride in its remit. An organisation that commands great respect around the world and excels itself on its commitment to excellency, both in its standards and its applications.

I've been with them for 18 years. I've covered various roles, from pushing forward identification of previously unknown servicemens remains to seeing an honoured commemoration, being a PA to the senior directors, working in the Desk Top Publishing department producing advertising literature and information leaflets through to what I'm doing today - working in the sector that deals primarily with our furthest countries.

We take care of our staff and through day to day contact with our British managers overseas and locally engaged managers we effectively pull off a comraderie and supportive network that is so sorely lacking in today's multi-national organisations.

It's like a big family. I witnessed this first hand last year when I had the opportunity to travel on business to Egypt for a horticultural training conference. With an office in Heliopolis, it seemed more prudent to send the British staff over there to facilitate a training programme primarily for the Arab staff. With a group of men from Ghana, Gambia, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Sudan the mixture of personalities and local dialects was extensive. The young men from Gambia had never even set foot out of their village and there they were being thrust on a plane, flying business class and being set up in a five star hotel in the outskirts of Cairo. I witnessed their complete wonder and amazement at this and saw them struggle to use a knife and fork. At one point one of them was completely overwhelmed with the lift and it took a few attempts to show him how to use it only for me to simplify it by telling him that level 5 meant sleep, level G meant food and going out - he did not need to press any other buttons - those were the floors he needed and one of us would always be there waiting for him so he didn't get lost.

To see Egyptians and Israelies laughing and joking together was heartening. To hear them joking about the owernship of the Sinai desert and the modern problems going on made me realise that although the problems are globally transmitted via the media, the average man on the street just wants it all to end. We're constantly brainwashed into thinking that all muslim men are out to blow us up, but my experience of them was that they were extremely decent. At times when they spoke Arabic in my presence they apologised for their rudeness and spoke English. At various parts of our trips in the less desirable areas, they guided me to the safer parts. In the Khan el Khalili market one of them even dressed down the trader who tried to pull one over on me for taking advantage of the fact I was a Western woman clearly out of her depth being haggled by four at a time!

But today, the whole ethos of who I work for was laid down with staggering compassion. We have a cemetery in Gaza and various cemeteries in Israel. The Israeli staff have every right to have issues with the Gaza staff because that's where their politics lead them. But this week our site in Gaza was bombed. The Head Gardener lost his house and our staff are left without food because the stocks they had have now run out. Somehow a journalist has managed to get into the site and take photos of the devastation and this afternoon we received a call from the DA in Israel to say that the Israeli staff had asked whether we could authorise payment through our accounts to provide their colleagues in Gaza with food and supplies and sweets for the children. Our guy in Jerusalem is going shopping today for the goods to be taken over the border on Thursday.

It's days like this I'm proud to work with men like that. Men who see beyond the politics and see the humanity and suffering of their colleagues and do everything they can to help.

Note To Self

Before hitting the sack at night, take your eye make-up off.

That way, in the morning when you're still half asleep you won't mistake the nail polish remover for eye cleanser.

Man, that stung!

Monday, 19 January 2009


Joshua kills me, he really does. Today when I got home from work he presented a note to me that he wanted permission to hand to Eleanor. It was effectively a long winded IOU with a bill for replacement for the toys of his she'd destroyed, lost or misplaced. I'll try to scan it, as it's hilarious.

But as ever, with my children, if they want to challenge each other over things, they have to realise that everything has a consequence as well as a result. So, to counter the monetary demand for vandalising his toys I pointed out to him that on numerous occasions I had found his PS2 games carelessly strewn around his bedroom out of their cases. Replacement for such items retailing at about £30 each, but I'd relent and only charge him £20 replacement as they were bound to be damaged. To date with the four I picked up yesterday this has put him in £80 deficit. He only charged Eleanor £35.

He's gone off to think about it.

Reminds me of the day he challenged me to go a week without Facebook. So I challenged him to go a week eating his vegetables without moaning.

Game, set and match to me.

The Gym

I dragged my sorry butt down there today for the assessment I've been meaning to do for the past two months. But why, oh why, did I book it for the busiest time on the busiest day of the week so that I could look a completely gormless novice gonk in front of everybody?

I really don't know how I'm going to get through the next 12 weeks. My doubts being further exacerbated by the trainer's insistence that I'd get quicker results if I visit 3-4 times per week. Hello dude, it took two months to get this visit in - are you having a laugh? I've promised I'll do 2-3. After all, if I want the results, I've got to put the effort in.

Then there's the ball. I don't think he quite appreciated my apprehension at using that, considering the last time I used one I was giving birth. Big giant bouncy balls = intense pain. But then, maybe that's the point. Then I'm asked if I can lift my body weight. UH HELLO!!!! I struggled to do 15 reps with a 4kg weight in each hand - do I look like Hercules?!!

And please. What's with the blokes in front of the mirrors? They claim it's to check their posture, but do they really need four other blokes round them admiring their finely honed physiques? I've come to the conclusion that girls visit the toilets in pairs, men go down the gym in pairs. Maybe the boostering testosterone levels call for the pack effect.

Also, apparently I have high calf muscles - caused by wearing high heels. His advice; wear lower ones. I don't think so. I like my heels. Come up with another solution Buster cos it ain't gonna happen. So he did. Sadist. Rolling my calf musles over a stiff foam pad to stretch out the knots was just plain cruel. Then I had to do the other leg!

But the one thing I did go for - I'm not allowed to do at the moment. Abs. Anything abdominal causes intense pain in my lower back, so the muscles have to be strengthened. The solution being that somehow using the ball again, pushed with feet flat against the wall I adopt an Eddie the Eagle pose and somehow push up to work the muscle. That hurt!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The Study Has To Wait

Because, woop de woop, my lounge is finally getting done!!!

After waiting years, and I do mean years the ceiling has been assessed and the insurance company have agreed to have it replaced. The stipple's going and I'm having it replaced with a flat finish. They've also agreed to replace the carpet due to the water damage from the bathroom leak, so today I visited some stores and had costed an oak laminate floor - they're coming to measure next weekend. The builder has already been round to see the ceiling and I'm just waiting on the quote.

I've also paid for and ordered in the 12 rolls of wallpaper for the walls. I'm done with flat finish painted walls - I like detail. All I need to do now is to find some light fittings in a gold finished crystal chandelier effect and large slatted wooden blinds for the front window. I'll be putting floating oak shelves around the walls and finishing off the room with a large rug to soften the harshness of the wood.

Should look nice when it's done.