Sunday 30 October 2011

Setting Light to Tenners

I love a good bonfire but urban life prevents it ( neighbours washing on the line etc ) . Therefore I succumbed to the temptations of a chiminea at the local garden centre. It's the kind of thing I'd have looked at a few years ago and thought " Who the hell would ever buy one of those ? "

So fast forward to Autumn 2011 and here we are , new proud owners of this bulbous terracotta monster ... and I have to tell you its the best fun of a chill evening. We lit our new friend last night and burned a decade's worth of bank paperwork, which felt good ... very good indeed. Quite cleansing , almost like expunging ourselves of former financial burden ... if only . So as we sat and watched the pound-signs singe and flicker into fiery life, I felt compelled to write this poem.

I'm not given to arty farty poetry writing , but I'd been to see and hear Roger McGough earlier in the week , one of my all time most favourite poets ever and so thought  -  better late than never to have a go. This is an ode to all the monies we've ever spent , as hard working tax-paying workers and I've called it .... Setting Light to Tenners.


... with apologies to Roger McGough who would probably laugh out loud ( but not in a good way ) at my feeble attempts at poetry, but he isn't that way inclined and so he may politely smile and encourage me to write some more because he's a very nice, kind man.

We bought a chiminea
and half filled it with sand.
It weighed a flipping ton
So eldest gave a hand.

We shoved it on the patio
and waited until dark,
matches at the ready
this should be quite a lark.

Husband fetched some paper
scrunched and tore and shred.
Lit the match and poked it in
Just like instructions said.

A satisfying flame
took hold, the paper burned.
Bills, receipts and statements
All our money ever earned.

School fees, mortgage , council tax,
it all went up in smoke
If only life were like that
for us ordinary tax-paying folk.

Monday 24 October 2011

Fright Night

It's that time of year agin, love it or loathe it ( and I fall in the former camp) , Halloween is upon us.

I'm thinking that maybe the days of the novelty latex mask and the bag full of hideous sweets are numbered and therefore I'm making the most of it this year. Youngest is inviting some friends over for a 'Fright Night' evening of calorific overload. We cycled home from Sainsburys today laden with litre bottles of blood coloured pop and a plastic cauldron to serve it in ...a tin of peeled lychees will suffice for lookalike eyeballs that should float nicely.

The walls of the playroom will be transformed into a dungeon and kitten Jack may even oblige us with a toad or two , captured from next door's pond. Cobwebs will hang from the ceiling and neon skeletons will dangle from above.

Meanwhile DH and I will hide upstairs until it's all over - teenage boys , takeaway pizza and a bucketful of fizzy drink will be too much to handle at our age.

Had great fun making the invites - the splattered blood is courtesy of a bottle of Cosmic Shimmer and the Cricut has been working overtime.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Bruises and breakages

I'm dyspraxic , so are my boys. At least I know where and who they got it from.

I didn't realise until they were diagnosed although it was staring me in the face. I hadn't put 2 and 2 together when I thought back to my schooldays' nickname of Clumsy Clobbers.

Many broken plates, bottles and minor mishaps later , it dawned on me that there was a name for it. It now has me in stitches , literally ( we're regulars at A&E ).

So today , whilst shopping in John Lewis , I was reminded yet again of what its like to be so clumsy. I'd treated myself to a quick sneak peek of the Christmas goodies ( yes I know , still 2 months to go and all that but what the hell)  and had just picked up a delightful gift box to have a closer look. What then unfolded was a piece of pure slapstick. Somehow, I managed to lose my grip and in a desperate attempt to regain my hold, managed to bat the thing , ping pong style,  across the shopping aisle, but not before a sort of slow motion juggle first. If this wasn't bad enough, once I'd retrieved it and replaced it on its shelf , I then managed to do the whole thing all over again with a thankfully slightly smaller box. It was farce. There was a fellow shopper within a yard of me who watched with disbelief. You honestly couldn't make it up . A few years ago I might have blushed and moved swiftly on but these days I usually have to laugh out loud.

At about the same time as this comedy was taking place there was an almighty crash followed by the sound of breaking glass. It sounded expensive. I looked up to see an elderly gent standing alongside a pricey lamp that was now missing its glass shade. The price ticket was clearly visible to all - £199. He had my sympathy vote already . The poor man then had to go through the pretense of pretending to be interested in the cabinet it had been standing on, going as far as to enquire whether it was in stock. I felt his pain and shame. That could have been me.

The price tag for my shopping breakages to date has been relatively slight all thing considered. I knew my youngest took after me when we managed to shatter a glass topped coffee table in M&S some time ago , although I suspect it was cracked already. It was enough to put him off furniture shopping with Mum for life although I suspect this was just a rouse to get out of ever having to go to Ikea ( must take after his Dad on second thoughts). I'm a constant embarrassment to the boys although I do consider this to be part of my job description as Mum.

There are a few rules I now have to follow:

  • Never try to get car keys out of my handbag whilst standing over a drain in the road ( that's how my youngest first learnt the F*** word.

  • Avoid carrying cans of paint whilst lids are slightly ajar

  • Do not attempt to place tray containing hot drinks onto table whilst handbag strap is sliding off shoulder with a jolt

  • Greasy hands and glasses don't mix

  • Avoid old fashioned milk bottles with foil tops, screw caps are the only safe option.

I could go on but then I'd be here for some time. Mealtimes are hysterical in our house to which the kitchen table bears testament. Glassfulls of water are usually horizontal within seconds and bottles of sauce with indelible ink staining properties have re-coloured our kitchen floor over the years. If you want to know what dye they put in something called Ass Kicking Hot sauce , check out our floorboards ... and its not one you'd find in the Farrow and Ball palette.
I was considering replacing our table a while ago but decided to preserve the memories of a lifetime of food serving disasters for a while longer. Besides, the table I'd set my heart on was made of glass. Enough said.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

A Place for Everything ...

... and everything in its place. Forgotten who said this originally but I'm getting close to achieving it. A brand spanking new Expedit arrived yesterday along with a new desk and a couple of whizzy chairs for my scraproom which I'd recently raided to kit out my tutor room.

In record time they were all assembled and so my scrap room has now been resurrected courtesy of Ikea. Loving the new storage and now I can start filling those shelves. It's still a little messy around the messages but I'll soon find a place for everything.

The best part is that I can now have my Cricut and sewing machine out permanently and ready to use at the drop of a hat. Off to Ikea again next Monday to buy some more storage boxes and accessories to kit it out properly. Watch this space.