Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Tuesday Ponderings

Hello lovelies

Hasn't it been a glorious day today?  I celebrated the sunshine by sitting at the top of the garden with my early morning cuppa; listening to the hennies squeaking their delight at finding the sweetcorn hidden inside their daily mash.  Harvey was racing around like a loon as usual, up and down the garden path at break neck speed and barking a greeting to anyone and their dog who had the audacity to walk past our gate.  I noticed that the aqueligias are just about to flower and the Mother of Millions rose bush is loaded with buds.  I'm hoping that they all bloom and the frost doesn't make a sneaky return.  The birds were singing their little heads off and it was all so idyllic and peaceful that, even more so than usual, I so didn't want to go to work. It's a rare treat for me to have the time to sit for 30 minutes before work and even more of a treat to sit outside.  There was nothing I could do to prevent time marching on however and soon it was time to leave for the Dark & Gloomy Place.

I work in a large air-conditioned office.  Notice "air-conditioned".   So why then, were we advised that keeping the blinds down all day would assist with keeping the heat down?  I wouldn't wonder so much if the sun shone directly through our window, but it doesn't!  It doesn't really get much direct sunlight, but what little we do get has been blocked out all day.  It made me very antsy I can tell you.  It's bad enough having to go there in the first place, but being denied my bit of 'green' through the window has made it a gloomy and very long old day.

I guess I should count my blessings that I have the luxury of windows in my workplace - it just seems such a waste of a rare beautiful day.

During my evening wander up and down the field I was pleased to see the return of the housemartins zipping around in the half light, swooping after the myriad of midges and gnats which were dancing manically along the path.  They've been here every year since I've been living here but it's the first time I've seen them so far this year.   I'm hoping that the bats will be making an appearance soon too. 

I've been watching the coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show.  I've never been and would love to go for a wander around.  It always looks incredibly busy though - I'm not sure if there is a 'quieter' day to visit!  There are, as usual, some stunning gardens and the Gold Medal winners are very well deserving of their awards.

Now if they'd only come and do something with mine!!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Easy like Sunday Mor... well all day really!

Felic...Feliss...fella..(eek no!) Felisi... ah bugger it. I can't spell Feliciwotsits so I shall just have to wave in a manic fashion and say "Hiya!!!"

I've been a right Waynetta Slob today.  I've spent the day in my pj bottoms (I managed to change the pj top but couldn't quite muster up enough energy to go the whole hog.  I'm not usually a lazy sod, I'm really not,  a but today was just one of those days where we weren't expecting to go out or for visitors to come a-knocking  - and if they did then they'd have to take us as we were!  We've all been at home, but doing our own thing really.  I've done dinner whist Charl has been battling with a recalcitrant tv aerial, then whilst he washed up, I managed to whip up a pineapple upside down loaf cake a la the wondrous FROOGS' RECIPE  We're just waiting for it to cool but it's looking very golden and fluffy and smells great!

I made my son's all time fave cake yesterday - James Martin's Cola Cake.  I've had differing levels of success with this cake - remember THIS post from last year?   Well it turned out marginally better this time hence half  having disappeared from the fridge already along with an extra fingerful of icing!  Sigh.

The kids have exchanged bedrooms over the weekend.  We were dreading it as 'Kevin's' room is like a toxic wasteland.  However, all credit to them they haven't required supervision or assistance and have been ruthless in the 'chucking stuff out' stakes.  We just need a flippin' skip now!!  DD has de-boyed her new room remarkably well, giving it a lick of white paint, and has mixed a purple tester pot with the remainder of the paint in the tin, and now has one wall toting a delicate shade of lilac.  I'm very impressed with the pair of them.  DD has always had the bigger room whilst 'Kevin's' room is like a glorified box room in an awkward 'L' shape, but having the redeeming feature of a walk in closet which lies over the top of the stair well.    He is revelling in his (by comparison) open spaces and is on a warning of pain of death that if we find things growing in there not of a plant in a pot variety, he will have to be relegated to the shed!

I remember that I'm supposed to be featuring a "picture each day" during May.  Well as always I've been rubbish - but by way of an attempt at catching up, the title for the 20th of the month is "Something you can't live without"

Well, my family and loved ones aside, it would be these babies!

Eyeliner and mascara!  With them I can take on the world, without them I am but dust.  No really!  Think of Samson without his hair.  That's me without me liner and mazzy that is!

It's taken me AGES to type up this post.

Here's why.

Ah Mum's on the laptop - she'll need Tigey.

Here you go Mum.  I'm helpful aren't I?
Mum!!! LOOK!!! It's TIGEY!!

He's nice ain't he?! Have a closer look!

You're not much fun!  I'm having him back!

I've got him now and you're not having him!!  So ungrateful!

I'll just be having this then if you're not going to play ...

I've got some mascara - I'm ready for me close up now!

Blimey!!  I've just noticed that the above archived post was from 19th May!! A year to the day I made another cola cake!  How flippin weird is that?!  Serendipity indeed.

Love Love :)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Walk on by...

My dear brother doesn't half get into some scrapes.  Madness and mayhem seem to be attracted to him and hardly a day goes by without him recounting some situation he's gotten into; mainly by default, often as a consequence of his job and otherwise by sheer, erm.... well ... luck is probably a tad too strong a word.

His most recent escapade was a typical example.  He recounted this story to me with his usual nonplussed expression and an air of slight disbelief that these scenarios seem to happen to him with alarming regularity.  His self effacing demeanour makes me howl with laughter but when you sit back and reflect what actually happened here, there is one very lucky chappie walking around this evening with an angel sat on his shoulder.   I've had my brother's permission to share this story with you.

So, he's driving along an extremely busy main road out of Birmingham centre, accompanied by two young members of his team when one of them exclaims and asks my brother if he noticed the man lying at the side of the road.  Looking back in his rear view, he sees that indeed, a man is slumped on the kerbside.  Quickly parking his van, he runs back to where the poor guy has collapsed and notices that his head is dangerously close to the gutter. Close enough to be hanging over the kerb stones.  It being obvious that he is in an incredibly precarious position with articulated lorries and double decker buses thundering past,  he pokes and prods and shouts to him and tries to glean a response.  Unfortunately the man is completely unresponsive and still; so much so that my brother initially thinks he may be dead, however further checks prove that he is in fact still breathing steadily.  People have been walking past during this time, their heads turned away in embarrassment.  Knowing that he has to move him away from the kerbside, he guides one of his lads to assist him in lifting the man.  It becomes apparent that the man is incredibly intoxicated.  The pavement is too narrow to simply lie him down.  They remove him from the roadside and lift him into the back of the van cab.  He is at this time still uncommunicative with his eyes tightly closed, but otherwise appears to be unhurt.

My brother quickly drives him a short distance to one of the local police stations.  He goes to the front desk and explains what has happened to the jobsworth  policeman behind the desk.  The response is unbelievable.

My brother:  "Mate - can you give me a hand, I've just picked someone up from the side of the road, he's badly intoxicated and incapable and is a danger to himself and others"

Policeman:  "Has he committed an offence?"

My brother:  "er... I couldn't tell you.  He's spark out in the back of my van"

Policeman: "Well you'll have to take him to hospital then".

My brother:  "Thanks for your help mate"

He drives another short distance to a local rehabilitation centre where two nurses come rushing out once they hear what has happened and help to bring the man (we'll call him 'Bob') around to at least communicate with them.  After he is violently sick, he seems to sober up.   He is alcohol dependent and had spent the previous night in the local hospital.  My brother recounts to him what has just happened.  Bob starts to cry and becomes extremely humble, hugging my brother tightly and thanking him over and over, through waves of alcohol fumes and spittle and sloppy kisses.

Then he notices the nurses.  He turns to one of them and says "You're beautiful"

Then he turns to the other and says "You're not bad - but she's BEAUTIFUL"

The pretty nurse blushes.  My brother grins and says - "He's not lying, you're beautiful!"

The pretty nurse turns crimson.

An ambulance turns up together with two policemen, who couldn't believe their colleague's reaction at the station.

Bob turns to my brother and thanks him again.  "Let me take you for a pint" he slurs.

"I think you need to sober up first mate" my brother replies, before getting back into his van and driving off towards his next job.

"Thank goodness for people like you", I say to him after he finishes regaling me with his tale.

"Ah it was a good life experience for the lads" he replies.

I wonder where 'Bob' is tonight and whether he's thanking the 'angel on his shoulder' or whether he's forgotten his experience already?   I wonder how many people had crossed the road to avoid dealing with him, either from embarrassment or indifference?

What would you do?

In the words of a popular children's hymn from my dim and distant primary school days when they were teaching us the merits of 'The Good Samaritan' - It's probably the only  remotely religious teaching I can remember.  "Would you walk by on the other side, when someone called for aid, and would you walk by on the other side and would you be afraid?"

I'm sure there will be more tales of derring do at some point in the future.

Be safe!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

People are strange ....

Look here - I've been awol again so you've been free of my rambling blog posts.  I will warn you this one is verrrry long!!

Oh it's been a mad couple of weeks y'know.   It's been Very Trying (with a very capital Vee and Tee!!) to say the very least.  Let's start with  Dad being discharged from hospital, going on holiday to recuperate then coming back having almost o.d'd on a cocktail of painkillers for the journey back (mistakenly thinking that this would make him more comfortable) and with a monstrous water infection, the combination of the two having made him hallucinate.

My daughter has broken her little toe and is now walking painfully with crutches and a big slipper boot on her poor foot.  Of course nothing can be done apart from taping her toes and protecting it from further damage.  Poor love.

My son, for whom music plays a massive part in his life, had his beloved I-pod stolen from the school gym whilst he was doing his p.e. lesson.  He was devastated.  He says he feels naked without it and the thought of uploading in excess of a thousand tunes again makes him feel ill.  His blazer had been emptied and the contents of the same strewn over the floor.  The school, of course, have taken the stance that they're no responsible for such items.  Maybe so but they surely have a responsibility to look into a blatant theft on their property?  They're checking cctv at present and we shall know the outcome shortly.

A little light relief in the midst of all this madness was that lovely man and I had 'won' tickets to a mock-wedding reception with the added bonus of potentially competing for a prize of a £7,000 wedding package promoted as The Great British Wedding.  Well who were we to turn a freebie night out down?

A local hotel/gymnasium complex ran the competition and couples were drawn at random after completing an online questionnaire.  The invite suggested party frocks and suits so it was an excuse to get poshed up for an evening.  Sadly we didn't think the Sex Pistols teeshirt would have gone down too well!  Charl borrowed a suit and treated me to a new long black (what else?!) maxi dress.


We really didn't know what to expect so we rocked up to the venue and were greeted by....... Basil and Sybil Fawlty and Manuel - actors who hosted and who remained in character for the whole evening.  We were met with beautifully presented canapes and Pimms (dahhling), before being ushered into the dining room which was laid out in classic 'reception' style.

Table settings were simple granny smith apples (I just bliddy well hope they were English but I somehow doubt it) tied with little name tags and tall floral arrangements in over sized cocktail glasses.  The people on our table were friendly (but OMG!!! moan?!! You've never heard anything like it!! more of that as we go on!) and having been seated we settled down to enjoy whatever came our way, accompanied by LOTS of avid people watching!!
The sanest couple in the room.  Yes really.

Accompanied with a nice large glass of red, the starter was served.   This was chargrilled asparagus in a hollandaise sauce, topped with a breadcrumb encrusted softly boiled egg and accompanied by warm rolls and butter. Seriously simple but nicely presented and very tasty.  We scoffed ours but loud, moany woman to our left proclaimed it to "taste funny" and (please adopt loud, broadest Black Country accent) "IT WORE COOKED PROPER". Apart from an end of an asparagus tip her meal remained largely untouched.   Her partner reassured her that it was indeed cooked but "ISS BIN STEAMED AY IT?"  (this was to become a common theme and no it wasn't steamed you philistine!).

Ahem. We had pseudo-speeches from the pretend best man which was obviously a big 'up' for the venue and an encouragement to book our own weddings there.

Iss no rat - iss 'amster
Another large glass of red came my way (him indoors doesn't drink wine!)  and the main course was served.  Again this was simple fayre but for a typically mass produced meal it was faultless.  Chicken, a tower of mashed potato, parsnip and really gorgeous perfectly roasted root vegetables with the ubiquitous 'jus'!   Surreptitiously looking around the table, I had to shake my head as I watched people salt their food without tasting it first.  Moany woman proclaimed that her veggies were "ROCK BLOODY 'ARD - I COR GET ME FORK IN UM"  

Her partner once again proclaimed "ISS COS THEY'M STEAMED AY THEY?".  In fact, if he said it once, he said about 10 times in response to her moaning and I was very close to stabbling him in the eye with me fork.  And no, they weren't bliddy steamed!!!  She did, however, demolish her mash and several rolls and declared them delicious!


The competition amounted to each lady in the room (that's me that is!) receiving a cupcake from the cupcake tower.  These were distributed by the waiting staff who, oddly enough,  seem to take quite a while selecting their cakes and appeared to be weighing them before placing them on to the serving trays.  We all had to stand up and on the count of three, bite into the cake.  Those who found a solid chocolate egg were entered into the 'Mr and Mrs Competition' .   Three lucky couples around the room struck lucky and they were taken into a side room to prepare them for their questions.

(Moany woman declared the cake to be "BLOODY GORGEOUS".  Which was nice!).  They were very tasty - from what I could glean from the few crumbs Charl left for me to try!  They were carrot cake cupcakes and beautifully moist.  Whilst dessert was served - meringue, cream and summer fruits -  (and a third glass of wine that Charl had appropriated from a passing waiter as he could see my knuckles getting whiter and whiter), the first leg of the Mr and Mrs Competition was underway with varying degrees of knowledge about respective partners being demonstrated.
It's a Post Box dear!!! - just in case you were wondering!

People are odd.  They really are.  One question was:  "Name one thing about your partner that  you would send to Room 101".   One guy answered "Snakes".    Er.  O-kayy.  It was worth the taxi fare up there to see the look on his partner's face!! Pahahaha!!

Anyway... the cheese course was served (delicious British cheeses they were too, Worcester Gold cheddar, some Somerset Brie and some blue cheese served with walnut bread and balsamic onion marmalade), and, rather randomly, (as if the evening could GET any more random) "Simon Cowell" arrived to announce the winners of the competition.  To be fair, as disappointed as I was at not being a contender, the prizes were fantastic.  The runner up prize was table covers, balloons, wedding favours etc at your Reception.  Second prize was a £1,000 wedding dress.  The bride to be who won this was absolutely disenchanted.  "BURR I'VE ALREADY GOT ME DRESS").   Not a thank you.  Not an ounce of excitement showed on her face!

The couple who won just smiled.  They had just won £7000 worth of a wedding package including vintage Bentley wedding cars and they merely smiled.  No tears, no excitement, no "OH MYYYYY GODDDDDDDDD I'VE WON THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUUUUUUCH" and leaping up and down in childlike wonder.  Nothing.     Is it me?  Don't people get excited any more?

What is wrong with people?

We escaped shortly afterwards, narrowly avoiding the drunken oik in the (carpeted) corridor who was vomiting copiously on to his shoes.

The couple we shared a taxi home with were of the same opinion as us.  Why no excitement?  Why the weighing of the cupcakes before dealing them out?  All a bit suspish really - but a lovely (and free!) evening all the same.

I bet that bloody woman is still bemoaning her under cooked veg.


Ah well, we looked fabulous anyway.


And I wore BEEYOOTIFUL shoes dahhling!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Oops - A sorry to my blog followers!

I'm just doing a quick post to remove the rather unpleasant 'middle finger salute' picture from your blog feeds! 

I apologise most sincerely - I hadn't thought that the delightful photograph I'd posted in a fit of pique would appear quite so prominently and I've only just noticed that it does!

Have this instead!!!  Yes - that's BLUE sky - B L U E.  Sigh.  I remember it well!

Be back later!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Karma - An Open Letter

Dear Fuckwit

My beliefs do not allow me to wish misfortune upon you. So, for hurting my friend, for rocking her life to the core of her being, for all the months of self doubt you caused her, for making her feel like shit about herself, for  the two year web of subterfuge, lies and bullshit you wove, for your arrogance and for being a complete screw-up of epic proportions, I simply wish you Karma.

The same Karma which caused the telephone bill for your secret mobile telephone to become soaked through by heavy rain, and for the hundreds of text message entries to various women over the past months to reveal themselves to the lady who loved you as you will never be loved again.    Shame that.  

Ain't Lady Karma a bitch eh?!  And I'm sure you'll find that she's a bitch with a very looooong memory.

Don't worry about your ex-partner. She has a myriad of soft places to fall.  She's staying in the light, she's still beautiful and she is stronger than anyone I know.

I wish you and your laptop and your mobile phone and your big state of the art flat screen tv many happy years together.   After all, what more does a man like you need?

Yours, cathartically

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Beltane - Evening additional!

Hello again.

One of my friends on Facebook posted this photographic challenge for May.  As I often struggle for blogspiration then I shall be nickin' this idea as suggestions for my bloggy posts this month.

Earlier this evening I went for an extremely squelchy walk over the field.  Gawd it was so cold!! , It was the type of raw, damp cold more akin to November, when it seeps into your bones. The whole landscape looked grey this evening.  A low lying mist lay heavily over the tips of the young wheat leaves.  The path was, as you can imagine, claggy and claylike underfoot.  I didn't venture far really, just five minutes up the path and five minutes down; enough for the Hooligan to run off some of the excess energy he'd been storing up all afternoon.

I looked delightful of course....in wellies and my work clothes.  Such fabulous field attire!  In spite of weather, the mud and the cold, as usual all of the workyday stresses dissipated within seconds of me being there.  So there you go -  Day One "Peace",

My field = Peace.

Probably an unassuming and insignificant wheat field to some - to me it's quiet, solitude and grounding when I need it most.  No telephones, no blaring tv, no-one saying 'MuUUUuuuuUUUm',  no-one faffing around saying "KiiIIIiiiim... Can you just do this urgent tape...." .... there's just me.  And possibly a blur of red and white fur in the distance!

In other news.....

What do you think of this eh?  I reckon it's a secret den for junkie squirrels freebasing on peanuts.

Alternatively it could be some well meaning soul putting nuts out for the wild birds  - but then allowing the empty bliddy nets to drop onto the floor outside their back gate rather than binning them.  Seems a bit of a contradiction in terms, does it not, to feed the birds with one hand then endanger the local wildlife with the packaging!  There must have been about 20 nets on the floor. I couldn't get to them to pick them up this evening as the huge bed of young very bite-y stingy things barred my access despite my wellies!  I shall attempt to retrieve them as soon as possible.

The elder is setting flower - this year I WILL make elderflower champagne - I have absolutely no excuse!

I love the acid green of the young ivy shoots against the darkness of the older leaves

Blogging off again now - bye bye!


Beltane Blessings fellow bloggers.  May the light of your fire always burn brightly.  ;)

I'm sorry I haven't posted for a couple of days.  With disgusterous weather coupled with hospital visits and work - there's not been an awful lot to blog about really. 

A very warm welcome to my new followers **waves manically** (ok - quickly forget about the manically bit - I don't want you running away again in fright!!)

Many thanks for your good wishes for my Dad, they were very much appreciated and passed on to him.  I'm very pleased to report that following the few hours of awfulness immediately after his operation, once the pain medication was sorted out he has made an amazing recovery and has mobilised really well.  So well, in fact, that he is being discharged today.  He was showing off yesterday, walking up and down the ward on his crutches.   Most of the time Sometimes Dad is a cantakerous old bugger very forthright and extremely strong willed.  Most of the time Sometimes he won't listen to reason and prefers to go his own way, whether that's right or wrong.  In spite of all that, I really do think that his strong will and determination has got him through this horrible episode and out the other side.  Bless him.  Good news indeed!

And now for a song.... well a poem anyways, in honour of Blessed Beltane and the 1st of May - as soggy as it may be.

"Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill."
-   Robert Frost, A Prayer for Spring

"The leaves are budding across the land
on the ash and oak and hawthorn trees.
Magic rises around us in the forest
and the hedges are filled with laughter and love.
Dear lady, we offer you a gift,
a gathering of flowers picked by our hands,
woven into the circle of endless life.
The bright colors of nature herself
blend together to honor you,
Queen of spring,
as we give you honor this day.
Spring is here and the land is fertile,
ready to offer up gifts in your name.
we pay you tribute, our lady,
daughter of the Fae,
and ask your blessing this Beltane."
Beltane Prayers 

Bright Blessings all.


Working from home

I've taken a precious day of annual leave today.  I've really struggled this week with feeling so yuk and I needed the restorative ...