Friday 21 December 2012

Merry Apocalypse

Dear Angel of Death,

I nervously rolled up the blind this morning expecting to find rivers of steaming lava flowing
steadily passed the postbox. Instead, I was greeted by the sun shining so brightly, the scene before me resembled more the first dawn of existence than a destruction rendered in a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Not a very dramatic start to the end of the world. Disappointed.

I enjoyed a light breakfast of cornflakes with rice milk. I didn't think it a sage idea having a full stomach when the earth quakes begin shattering our much-in-need-of-repair road into unnavigable rubble.

The doorbell rang. I felt hopeful. Could this be the shady Grim Reaper bearing his over sharpened scythe? No. It was the postman with last minute festive parcels. I duly signed for the items and as I stood on the door step, I heard a familiar sound of hooves approaching. The Four Housemen! It's happening! It's happening! But the clipperty clopperting on tarmac turned the corner to reveal the local constabulary on yet another crime busting round.

I even phoned the End Of Days hot line number 666, and not a single response...

So as I sit and wait for the end, it's given pause for thought, time to contemplate the last year of my life. Mmmm. Let's see... Breastfeeding finished. Potty training began. There was the introduction of the thinking cushion. A need for anti-depressants. A couple of blogging conferences. The Pendulati, my gravity challenged breasts, suitably rehoused. Maternity tops thrown out. Stripey jumpers bought in. Readers enjoyed my writing. My Once Upon a Time stories rocked (if I do say so myself). One Week took off. And I finally realised there really is a writer in me - shame the earth is about to melt into cosmic oblivion.

Anyway, I have packed the family bag. I thought it best to travel light, including only those practical items that should come in handy at the pearly gates of heaven - there's going to be a very, very, long queue there tonight! So, I decided upon a flask of camomile tea and freshly baked lemon drizzle cake for myself, Younger Dad's laptop - my understanding there's free wi-fi in the celestial planes - and Little A's blue teddy. Have also included toothbrushes, I don't care where I am, clean teeth are a must.

Right I'm going to dye my hair and hoover the carpets now in preparation for the final curtain call.

And if this doesn't come to pass, then I wish you all, my lovely dear readers, a very merry Christmas indeed!


Thursday 20 December 2012

For Sale

Offered to anyone - ANYONE - is this curiously presented and never before seen first floor, lovingly converted two double bedroom period flat. This property retains many of it's original features like doors, windows and a tiled roof. There are plug sockets and a cooker if you should so feel domestically inclined. This charming property is centrally heated. However it's always a good idea to keep a scarf, mittens and thermal undergarments on hand, as you never know what might happen when those bitter easterly winds gust through the rafters. This rare to the market property is surrounded by transport - cars, taxis, buses, bicycles, prams to name a few, and the local skies provide wonderful opportunities for plane spotting, day and night.

So shall we take a look inside? And if you aren't partial to brown, beige or cream, here's a pair of tinted glasses to help obscure any offensive furnishings. Remember, keep an open mind, it's all about the space inside.

Take off your shoes first please, you wouldn't want their soles sullied by the glue and snot melded on the woollen mix cream carpets now would you? Attach these plastic bags to your feet, and here are some elastic bands to keep them firmly in place. Don't worry, they won't obstruct your blood flow.

So first we have this double bedroom. This is currently where the little nipper sleeps. As you can see, there are four walls and a window. Unfortunately, this property doesn't come with the spotty chest of drawers. If you look closely at the carpet you can just make out the toddler's delightful artwork, she's really created quite a subtle abstract effect with about 20 mls of calpol. See those swirls right there? I think this adds character and real depth to this property.

Next is the bathroom. Now if you don't like the clean look, and would prefer a more organic feel, just rip the whole lot out and house a bucket in the corner. You might want to keep the tiles though, stripes are apparently this season's fashion must.

Now don't you just love this master bedroom? Ah, I see you are wearing the tinted glasses. Yes, there is a lot of brown in here, but I think this gives a cosy, nay, almost muddy waterhole feel of bathing with hippos. Don't you think this really transports you to another world? Ah, a poker face I see - but I bet there's lots going on underneath? To your right, the dark caramel walls are offset by this very commonly used feature wall. Some advice - don't stare at it when you're inebriated.  And see that fireplace? An excellent spot for housing deodorant or hairspray or your alarm clock even.  

Now this is the property's W.O.W factor - this very spacious lounge. Still wearing those tinted glasses? Good for you - a sense of humour I see! Now there is so much potential here. What you could do is go completely open plan by knocking through every wall, apart from the exterior of course, erect some vertical supports - a few strategically placed columns of heavily bound cook books should suffice, we don't want the roof falling in - and create one big happy eating, bathing, sleeping, toileting space for all those wonderful memories you are sure to manufacture in this welcoming home.

And if you turn around you'll see a stair case. That's your exercise sorted. No thrombosis. No heart attacks. This flat has it all! Now would you like to accompany me upstairs?

I hope this snow flurry isn't putting you off. It's only seasonal. Remember what I said about keeping a spare set of thermals on you? Just wait till you see what this kitchen does in the summer! Now as I've already said, there's plenty of great potential in this property. If you climb out of the kitchen window you could transform an unpretentious area about three foot long and thirty inches wide into a neighbourly look-out that will accommodate one person standing, binoculars, a cup of tea and a medium sized house plant. This could indeed add further value to this property.

(There's also a fully boarded loft area, home to a hungry and constantly flatulent Gruffalo.)

As an added bonus, the sellers have agreed to leave all their take-away menus, a few freezer bag clips, the BT phone book, and a hand written address list of local cake shops in what could become your personal messy drawer.  

So how does this property grab you? Still a poker face I see. Well I need to let you know that I will be expecting a number of competitive offers come Monday morning, so you might want to have a good, hard think over the weekend.

And before you leave, please could you return the tinted glasses, plastic bags and elastic bands - I have another viewing in ten minutes.

Friday 7 December 2012

Tasting Better

I have to say, that I like being forty two. It tastes better than forty one. Maybe I prefer even numbers or maybe forteee twooo just sounds better, rolling off my tongue with an air of grace and sophistication and cleverness, or so I like to think. I barely uttered forty one to anyone but with forty two, I generously hand out the number like it's my Twitter handle (or my blog page). I simply like being forty two; it's how a good curry should taste the following day or a perfectly brewed cup of tea or a moist, crumbly slice of cake. It wears well on my skin, a realistic fit upon the comfy rolls of flesh. Perhaps I'm accepting middle age? Perhaps I've stopped resisting the linearity of time? Or perhaps I'm completely deluded? 

Twenty years ago, I'd just stepped into my twenty third year. It seems offensively young now. With stars and hope and intensity in my eyes - amplified by precocious swagger - I thought I had life sussed. Dream on younger self. If I could wind back time, I might impart the following wisdom to the more arrogant, impulsive version of me...

On the other hand, what's the point? I could share such philosophical insights as to the paradoxical nature of existence - how life is as random and meaningless as it's connected and laden with synchronicity - but I know younger me won't pay the slightest morsel of attention. Just know this twenty two year old fledgling, it generally all works out in the end, and stop blowing all your money on records, you need clothes too!

Anyway, returning to the present, my birthday falls exactly a month before Christmas, and is usually a rain soaked affair. This year I awoke to filmy blue skies and a pale yellow sun at half mast, a sure sign it was going to be a fine day. And I wasn't disappointed, my birthday haul included a stack of novels and a brand new camera no less! Who's a lucky hen then?

Younger Dad, Little A and I went for a stroll in our local park followed by a succulent roast beef lunch with all the trimmings at a local gastro pub. It was a very relaxed celebration, and as Younger Dad had taken a week off work, it turned out to be a very eventful week indeed with some surprising and not so surprising realisations...

(You'd better be paying some attention to this twenty two year old me.) 

I'm now a veteran at handling episodes of vomiting. Little A began throwing up on the night of my birthday. It began in earnest at 3.00 am - I will wake up and throw up and wake up again, and then, I will throw up and vomit and throw up again - with the last hurl around 8.00 am. Apart from the initial burst of undigested scramble egg, no other changed sheets were necessary. How so? Well I cocooned myself in a warm duvet next to her cot, and as soon as I heard a sniff of a stir, a croaky "mummy", I grabbed her in a torpedo hold, raced her to the bathroom - making it by the skin of my teeth - so that she could take aim over the side of the bath. By 9.00 am Little A had returned to life, raring to go on a bowl of Cheerios...    

As mothers, WE DESERVE the finer things in life. I don't feel I need to add much more to this other than I spent quality time rehousing my sullen wardrobe and treating myself to skin care luxury. I felt very worth it indeed.  

Little A is very, very loud... 


These were just some of  Little A's urgent cries during her very first trip to the theatre. In case you hadn't guessed, we took her to see a very charming live performance of Julia Donaldson's Stick Man. It was a joy to witness my daughter's sheer exuberance as she whooped and cheered and added her commentary throughout the unfolding story. And so wonderful to view the show through her captivated eyes.

I CAN roll with the punches. Change usually bothers me, especially if it's big change, and I will procrastinate until the final hour. But by the end of last week, our flat was on the market, and by the end of tomorrow we will have offered on another property. Not in a million years would I have predicted this as the outcome of my birthday week. And I have really surprised myself at how, so far, I've taken this turn of events in my stride. It feels very good. The timing is right. It's full steam ahead as we've boxed, cleared stuff out, booked decorators and carpet cleaners, made our flat spacious and presentable. So it's been a very busy time in our household, and the main reason I've been so quiet on the blogging front of late... 

Do you like your age?
What things did you learn last week?

Wednesday 5 December 2012


When October showed her frostier side, it was time to brave Garmentia, Goddess of the flat pack wardrobe.

"Where have you been? When was the last time you had a clear out? Why am I still expected to house your old maternity tops, and you still think you can wear shorts?"

Garmentia had a weighty point to make. And she went on...

"Throw it all out NOW," she demanded, "I have never ever felt so humiliated, so debased! I'm from IKEA you know, I deserve better." (this wardrobe definitely has ideas above its station)

So I opened the doors and rummaged through the items on my shelf. Well it wasn't so much of a rummage, more of a cursory glance - it isn't exactly piled high with clothes. I was shocked by the lack of knitted seasonal warmers.Winter is coming and I only have two workable jumpers, and other than these sorry limp looking maternity tops, I have no long sleeve vests, or blouses, or sweat shirts, nothing.

Don't ask me why but until last week, I was still braving the damp air, icy droplets, plummeting temperatures in summer t-shirts and a thin cardigan shielded by a nearly warm jacket.

As I said, until last week, when I set out on a focused shopping expedition with just one item on my list; jumpers. Equipped with my debit card and a handbag sized bottle of water, the Westfield Centre welcomed me with open arms, and I went to work on mission woollen-chenille-cashmere mix. Now usually I have a miserable time shopping for clothes; my legs are too short or The Pendulati, my cumbersome breasts, make everything look plain wrong. Not on this occasion. Garmentia must have had favourable words with the other shopping Gods, Nextonia, Gapeodite, Markus-Spencus. There was an abundance of items and colour to choose from, and ... and I frivolously blew my savings, birthday money, Younger Dad's hard earned cash on not one but seven jumpers.

Now I tend to clothe myself in muted tones but this time I ventured into unknown territory; splashes of pink, orange and red highlighted the usual blues, greens, purples and greys. It felt good to have dipped my toes in new, brighter shades. And as you can see, I bought stripes, lots of cheery, cheeky stripes.    

Spot the odd one out

When I returned home I folded each jumper neatly upon the alter of Garmentia. She sighed approvingly...

"I feel like a wardrobe again. Thank you my dear!"

And I felt sweet relief that this winter I will neither feel drab nor dreary nor cold.

Linking up with The Gallery - this week's theme is colour.  

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