Monday, 29 December 2008

In our house we have 2 types of magazine, neither of which I understand but both of which I read, in an attempt to more fully understand my husband and his hobbies. I think I have mentioned before the struggles I have with vocabulary, and thought you might find it fun to imagine me wading through the following:

Beware: Shimano clones will often have 7/32 in balls on the freehub side and 1/4 in on the left rear. New Campag hubs use plastic bearing retainers with 5/32 in balls front and rear, with sealed cartridges in a freehub that usually lasts a while.

All sounds painful and if I see a Shimano clone walking along the street I will understand why he is limping.

In Force 3-4 you need to start depowering the main sail and dumping mainsheet to get through gusts upwind, while in Force 4 the BM is likely to become hard work on a beat, needing grunt combined with good technique to prevent the flat bow from slamming into inevitable wind blown chop.

What??? Did I say that R subscribes to 'bottom burpers gazette'? What the heck in an inevitable wind blown chop? A bad day in Autumn for the butcher? And why do you need to grunt? I am supposedly taking up sailing in May (waiting for good weather) and I am going to need to perfect a lot of wind techniques before then if I have any hope. I have learnt what a gaff is, proud to say.

Today I went swimming wearing my new goggles and new swwim hat ( not just that, btw!) and someone motioned to let me overtake them at the end. Ha! Appearances are so deceiving. I could barely breathe, as I have been taking the opportunity of goggles to try out front crawl, which I last did in about 1984. Its fun, but so tiring, I am alternating with back stroke and breast stroke but hope to increase to consecutive crawl. Maybe I should buy 'Swimmers monthly' and provide R with lots of vocabulary to trawl through for love. Damn it, he used to go to swimming club when a teenager so would know it all. He is so knowledgeable about sport, and taking up new ones does not erase his knowledge or skill at old ones. Since I have known him he has done tennis, squash, cricket, sailing, golf, cycling, swimming and running half marathons. I have once beaten him at pool. And 2 nights ago I won at scrabble, a resounding victory with at least 20 points lead! I got quay, right near the end, on a triple word score, with a points value of 50. Also proud of flask and shrieked. Now, a Scrabble magazine would really push up the vocabulary...

Friday, 26 December 2008

While most of you were googling your Christmas shopping, we were goggling. R bought me a pair of goggles after I borrowed his and exclaimed: 'I can see!' I had to take them back and swap them for some which fitted over my big nose and round my big hair. Took the opportunity to invest in a swimming hat while in the shop. Again, chose a big hair option.

Meanwhile, I had asked my mum and dad to buy the girls swimming goggles, Speedo ones as the Zoggs ones break very easily. Mum bought Zoggs first by mistake, then Speedos - are you keeping count? Thats 5 pairs of goggles. Its like the 12 days of Christmas isn't it. And finally, Santa looked in his crystal ball while feng shui ing his grotto and strectching out with a little Tai Chi and bought the girls skiing goggles from Austria. How spooky is that? 7 pairs of goggles! Well! 7 is a lucky number!

I am being drawn to the church of england again, while on a walk on Christmas morning (to avoid whingeing children and stressed pre Beef wellington husband) I walked past Hedge End church as the bells were ringing, so popped in, and stayed for first half of the service. Was a bit long, as they were doing communion with all those long prayers so I left rather than face burnt croute. It was disappointingly unfull, considering that Hedge End is a big village or small town, but it does have another Anglican church, plus the church of 1000 men just by the golf centre. Bet they never have any coffee! Who would make it? I havea joke for you:

What do you call a woman priest in the Church of England?
Non stipendary. Get it? OK, not much of a joke, more a sad and dismal reflection of the role of women in the church. But anyway, she ( Sian, Hedge End's free vicar) did the kind of sermon that touches on current affairs and offends no one, although she tried damn hard with all her racist and sexist jokes. ONLY JOKING ROWAN!

We spent the rest of the day drowning in a mixture of wrapping paper and chocolate, as I imagine most of you did, dear readers. Managed to wade to the door for a walk, but all our 3 children (thats plus the sweetie pie Angus) opted for the short walk to the park with Uncle Andy, and so we strode off to Telegraph woods at adults pace, and managed a rendevous with the housegroup party who were slower in gait as shorter in average leg length. Thats despite them having Paul on their team, who has very long legs and wears shorts a lot because they are actually trousers for normal people. Once he wore normal shorts - ask Duncan about the results!

Anyway. Today, I walked to the gym in the beautiful sunshine and then after joining a frenetic team of obsessives on the CV equipment ( I did 2000m row in 10.00.8) I did lots of weights and then met family B for a goggle trial swim. We had the pool to ourselves for most of the time. Which was great, as we were pinging googles all over the show and someone could have lost an eye.

H was given a 'make up your own business' kit, so she has invented 'the Baking sisters' - A got a recipe book of cup cakes and muffins. So, if you get a order form through the post, please order a dozen of something. She might have an on line facility, knowing her she could write a website in less time than it takes me to find one.

Did I tell you about my day at the De Vere for my spa day that I was given as a gift for leaving the church job? No? Well, it was lovely, thanks for asking, and I am planning to go back soon, am going to take R for a cup of tea ( £2.95!) - not bad price for a cuppa! I travelled by bus, as I haven't for a while and thought I should check it out, and typically, on the same bus was another member of the Bus user group. Nothing eventful happened anyway. And two of us there to witness nothing happening.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Well! Am not going to compare with last year's entry after the cultural highlight of my year, but Dick Whittington the perfect outing for Keith Harris, Orville and Cuddles and a fabulous supporting cast. The only bad thing to ruin a good afternoon of cheap entertainment  (oh, subsidised by YOU taxpayer, courtesy of TPY funding  - so thank you!) was finding out for sure that after 5 years (we have been to last 4) Keith is not coming back to Fareham next Christmas. Gutted. 

H and I were in Sainsburys shopping by 7.30am, when the crowds were minimal, but by the time we left at 9.15, it was packed and I couldn't breathe - but we still found a checkout with no queue. I had a voucher for £2 off my shopping which made a very small dent in a trolley load which included fillet steak. It wasn't a trolley full of fillet steak. That would have been a costly shop!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Some cheer sent in by news quiz listeners - one of my fave Radio 4 offerings.

A selection of funny newspaper cuttings sent in by listeners.Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami in her knickers. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing her Italian boyfriend. (Reuters via The Manchester Evenings News) Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because they cannot issue a description. It's a special branch vehicle, and they don't want the public to know what it looks like. (The Guardian)After being charged £20 for a £10 overdraft, 30 year old Michael Howard of Leeds changed his name by deed poll to Yorkshire Bank PLC Are Fascist Bastards. The bank has now asked him to close his account, and Mr. Bastards has asked them to repay the 69p balance, by cheque, made out in his new name. (The Guardian) Would the congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the church labelled 'for the sick' is for monetary donations only. (Churchtown Parish Magazine) 6.10pm: Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bennett's estranged cousin, Mr.Collins, writes to announce his imminent visit to Longbourne - the house he will inherit on Mr.Bennett's death. Mrs. Bennett rallies the residents to stop him setting up a minicab service. (Hampstead and Highgate Express)There must, for instance, be something very strange in a man who , if left a lone in a room with a tea cosy, doesn't try it on. (Glasgow Evening News) A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coastguard spokesman commented, "this sort of thing is all too common". (The Times) At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard on the spot and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied that he was sorry, but he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff. (Aberdeen Evening Express) Mrs Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue, Boscombe, delighted the audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled. "He'd always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out Heil Hitler". (Bournemouth Evening Echo) Commenting on a complaint from a Mr.Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West gas said "We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It's possible Mr.Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that blew his house to pieces." (Bangkok Post)
Every December we have a anti consumerism festival at house group where we 'Wrap the crap'. That's any tat you have lying around the house that you want to get shot of. Well, we gave away the necklace and ear rings I had won in various raffles, and the gardening books I had got last year and a guide to Purbeck. In return, we got a fabulous paperweight (never had one, so pleased with that, although maybe never needed one?) and a classy pen and pencil with Meridian written on them, and a playstation 1. Now, this is where my story begins! We need a PS1 like a hole in the head, so I put it on freecycle, not expecting anyone to want it, but so I could legitimately landfill it. But no! the people of Southampton want old crap!! So, here's a rundown on why I chose the recipient I did - and why I didn't choose the ones I didn't.

Person 1 - I want it for my 3 year old. No you can't have it. Stupid.
Person 2 - I want it for my 11 year old who lives in a secure unit and has Turretts. I am not joking. No, lady, he doesn't need a Playstation, really, it would not help him one teeny bit. He needs a hug.
Person 3 - spelling dismal and absent punctuation so no.
Person 4 - I gave you 2 something already.
Person 5 - Don't know where you live and you may be driving from Millbrook to pick it up, thus negating the environmental benefits of freecycle.
Person 6 - hurrah, you live locally, can spell and don't tell me what you are going to do with it. It might be for your toddler or your still in womb child but you don't tell me so I don't know.

Phew. Lets hope number 6 turns up and I don't have to draw straws between the others...

End of term. We have had two Saturday morning ski lessons for the girls and at 9am they don't play to my strengths. H is doing well, managing a turn today, but A sinks to her knees a lot and lies on her back. She did go down pretty well when she actally could be bothered to do it. This upcoming ski week is beginning to look like a headache rather than a joyful family time, with me dragging A by her hair up and down slopes. French children make it look so easy. Everyone else at the ski school goes to France every year, so us going as beginners to Switzerland is not looking so clever. Might need to hire a nanny for the week or whatever the ski set do.

I read in the paper about a banker who had been forced to sell his plane because of the credit crunch. Maybe he would be free to nanny for us? I don't understand these things but you need a barrow of pound coins to buy a euro at the moment, so going on holiday in Europe, or in fact anywhere, is a BAD IDEA. Zimbabwe is a particularly bad place for Brits to holiday, just take the travel tips from me, I know it all.

Yesterday, we went to a party at a lovely person's flat in Townhill Park. She used to live in Thornhill and I have kept in touch, and with good cause as she bought most of Iceland (the shop, not the banking disaster) for our tea. There were about 4 other mums with assorted young children, and after cracker pulling we walked down to Broadwater road which is infamous for its lights at Christmas, and a chap who erects a Santa's grotto and gives out sweets and balloons from 6.30 til 8.00 every night til Christmas. It is completely free, sweets donated by other residents and local businesses, and such a great atmosphere. You don't even have to give to charity. Its very kitsch and beautiful in a way that only the residents of Townhill Park could achieve. Get down there.

Hoovered the car out in honour of the longest day of the year tomorrow. I like to use the solstice as a time to travel in cleanliness, so twice a year we don't have crumbs or mud in the car. We put our tree up yesterday, it looks all tinselled out, ie you can't see the tree for the tinsel. But I like it like that. I don't get people who do it themselves and don't let their kids get involved or who have a colour scheme. Just slap on everything you've got! Its great to remember where you were when you bought this or that, and we are now building up a memory bank of things the girls have made. We inherited a load of wooly Santas last year, and some ancient angels, and still have one of the little crackers we bought in Debenhams in Sheffield with my discount on our first Christmas being married (1994). So, if you have made an effort to do yours all in pink and white or something, sorry, I hope you like it. I don't. But hey, I don't have to look at it all the time, so that's cool!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Just got home from girls' Christmas play. They did really well, H was great and loud, A was an angel in the chorus and looked tired. But what REALLY annoyed me was the people behind me who talked througout and slagged off the play, the children, the school - R had to restrain me from killing them with my bare hands and making the nativity play one with a twist (of the neck). We don't need morons like you sending your kids to our school - go somewhere else where you can slag off everything to your heart's content. They moaned that we were selling raffle tickets, that was me selling (voluntarily giving up my time for the sake of their children) and the money is TO BUY THE KIDS PRESENTS FOR THE LAST DAY OF TERM PARTIES. Needless to say they didn't buy and needless to say, I will personally make sure their little toads don't get a present from Santa! Ha! 'Sorry, your mummy was too mean to buy a raffle ticket so you don't get a present'. Ha! They wouldn't learn though would they?

Anyway, what their thick skulls probably couldn't take in was the letter we recevied from Ofsted on Monday saying that once again Kanes Hill is an OUTSTANDING school, with 1s for everything except attainment against national averages (you wouldn't expect a 1 for that when you are competing with schools in posh villages). But across the board for everything else the score was 1. That is the top of the scale, not the bottom, hence the tag OUTSTANDING. So, moron women, read the letters and understand that your children go to one of the best primary schools in Southampton. I assume, dear reader, that said women don't read my blog, but if they do - ha - send your children to another school if you want to have reason to slag your kids' school off! Bah!

Phew. Sorry. Bad day. Just heard that Woolworths is shutting. And I can only assume that includes our new and awesome store in Bitterne. What a waste! When a Woolworths lover like myself hears bad news on that scale something has to give. Ate 4 squares of chocolate and a piece of H's chocolate fridge cake too. I mean, offer me the heavens - a Woolies in Bitterne, then cruelly rip it away. It's like a scene from a film.

Just finished reading 'The Shack'. I can't wait for the film to come out. Its a good read, great to hear someone with a very positive take on God, with no vested interest in upholding any institution. I recommend it to all sceptics and agnostics and septics as well. And anyone with a pulse, really, who can get past the shocking Americanisms and twee style. It's worth getting past those things for the ideas are incredible.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Today. Just a typical day. Here's my schedule ( I did have the car, which helped):

Get up.
Make breakfast, feed cat, get dressed, drink tea, all those things you do too!
Take girls to school.
Offered to help with cooking at school so hung around till told cooking not happening! Yipee!
Home to hoover throughout, change 2 beds, do 3 loads of washing and empty some bins.
Make phone calls to sort out booking girls into a club and buying wax cartridges and maybe having a French teacher to stay.
To Post Office to post overseas christmas cards. To Ang's to drop in a note.
To Romsey to have my last aromatherapy treatment at Jane Scarth House. If you know anyone who has had even the sniff of cancer, tell them to get in touch. 6 free aromatherapy sessions is a bargain in my book!
bought a flask for girls in hardware store.
To Aldi in Romsey - weekly shop and Christmas bits for £25!!!! I am using up the freezer so didn't buy much.
To Southampton Airport station to buy a ticket.
To the Lone Barn to give in menu details for R's Xmas school dinner. Lady very surly and I am sure she would spit in the gravy if she didn't like the look of you.
Home. Shuffled washing. Baked some oat crunchie biscuits.
Entertained Hattie and Amanda Rippon ( long time no see!) to tea and aforementioned biscuits.
To school office to pick up tickets for Christmas play.
Home, phone call from Louisa to say she has a new flat near thornhill. In Sholing, that no mans land between us and Woolston.
to school to get girls.
Home, lit Diva lamp. Blew out Diva lamp.
To Weston to pick up Louisa and take her to do a few bits of shopping for her flat.
To Pete's pizza in Woolston for A's long awaited birthday treat. he really is called Pete.
Home, 2 girls god gang girls on doorstep, plus 2 robs.
Did girls god gang including smelling things with blindfolds on, the flour and sweet game and telling the nativity story. ( what's a shepherd?)
Sorted out hair styling kit for Amanda who is using our facilities to freshen up!
R H and A are out swimming. Later tonight I am going to La Margerita for a 'do' with some school mums, via the YMCA to drop Amanda home.

you can see why the car was handy today! Imagine me doing all of that on my bike. Especially taking Amanda home.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Not often you get current affairs here, but I am driven to write about the sad plight of Shannon Matthews, her whole sad family and the 'dimwit' (police term, not mine) accomplice in the crime. Now clearly they are all 'dimwits' for thinking they could outwit the police. I watched the Channel 4 documentary which followed her 'mum' and her 'boyfriend' through the 'hunt' and was shocked at her squallid and impoverished existence. I mean, I know things are bad up north, but her house was poky and horrid, she was clearly a troubled woman with a broken past and had herself been subject to abuse as a child. She had no relationship with her mother, and troubled relationships with other family members. She was bitter and had endless children with a series of no hoper blokes (my words, not police term that). AND she admitted to watching the Jeremy Kyle show. See! I knew that show had an audience, and now we know who it was.

And she looks a lot older than me, doesn't she? Which is a good advert for only having one husband and two children, and for all the Avon beauty products I buy from my now only one Avon lady. Phew. It was awful when I had two of them. I had pots of cream stacked up all over the bedroom. Now can say 'Nothing from this book thankyou' without feeling bad.

Writing the Christmas cards tonight. Not doing as many as usual, so sorry if you dropped off the list this year. I would blame the economy, but frankly I can't be bothered. I have 40 lovely cards that the girls had published through school, plus 10 I bought from a lady selling them for children in Burma. So, once I get to 50, including milkman and window cleaner, thats it. So if your name begins with a letter past P, you are probably not getting one this year. In fact, I normally make mince pies for people, but the only people getting any are the lovely Jones's who have invited us to spend a week in Lapland with them over Christmas. That's the real Lapland, not the pretend one in the New Forest that looked crap and was! I am gutted on behalf of my friends and others who had bought tickets, but it looked like a lot of money for a cheap fairground to me.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Hi. Below is a verbatim extract from freecycle. I enjoy seeing what crap other people are throwing away and indeed have thrown a lot of my own junk freecycle's way. Often the standard of written English falls short of my own, but this won (sic) is unbelievable.

here i have a standed babys cot that was given to me from a friendnot two sore if this cot is conplete this cot comes with a matterose ihave not idear haw to put this cot up at all simperly getting rid ofthis has it wont salleney one can have it if thay wont to see if thay can get it up or eneyuse to eney one

Hello! Have you heard of a FULL STOP? Where do I begin to mark that? If a child in my class of 7 YEAR OLDS wrote like that I would throw in the towel. Which school did this person attend, if any? And can I personally arrest the head? Maybe (dear God I am praying this is true) this person grew up speaking another language, so learnt English verbally, as a second language, but surely they could find a friend to run it past before posting to 11 000 people?

I have been using the powerplate at the gym, which makes you vibrate all over. I don't know if it makes any difference to your muscles but I walk out shaking! It is to be avoided if you have tumours, as it can increase the speed of them spreading. Blimey.