Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Eleventh Hour


Another learning curve.

In Harrogate we have one of the largest army training colleges in the country, 16 and 17 year olds come to learn "how to be soldiers". For most of them it is the first time they are away from home and the first time they have money in their pockets. In the town we are always aware when they have pass out weekends. The centre is heaving with wiry youths with regulation hair cuts lurking around McDonalds and the night clubs. Some of them look utterly lost, others already have a swagger that is noticed, and admired, by the young ladies of North Yorkshire.

Today was different, they were in town for the Remembrance Ceremony. Not youths but young men, wearing immaculate uniforms, a huge pride in themselves and their futures. An awareness of what their predecessors had given and what they may be asked to give.
Any of the soldiers I saw today could be a casualty of war in the next twelve months. Let's pray not.

Please Hollywood, leave it alone.

I was a "non-sporty" child, slightly nerdy, (which in the days before computers was unusual), solitary and cylindrical , I loved to read.

Many of the books that gave me pleasure then are still on my bookshelves and are regularly re-read. "Little Women", "The Hobbit", all the Narnia series, Jennings, Cynthia Harnett and Rosemary Sutcliffe, but the favourite of all was a battered copy of "The Little White Horse" by Elizabeth Goudge. It was my mothers, when she was young, a present from her Grandmother in 1946. A first edition no less, printed when all books were published under the "authorised economy standards". A book was a luxury in those days and treated with respect.

This copy is now shabby and faded, the pages have that soft powdery feel and it is well foxed, but none of that makes any difference to the story. A little girl, orphaned, is sent to stay with her Uncle in a beautiful but sad house. As she learns the story of her family and determines to solve what she sees as misunderstandings and injustices, we are drawn into the archetypal world of good and evil, joy and sadness. There is no escaping the fact it is a Christian allegory, although as I child I read it in blissful ignorance, it draws you in .


Then Hollywood got hold of it. I should be pleased. A book that is not high profile chosen for adaptation by a studio with thousands, millions, to spend on a production. But my heart sank, I was afraid they would not be able to retain a charm and gentleness the book has. There would be special effects, drama and derring do. There was; we had black leather clad baddies, more hippy crystals than you could shake a stick at (this was obviously the way to dilute the Christian element) a re-enactment of the Guinness advertisement with the Sea-horses and no geraniums. (When I was at the cinema I had the added bonus of a small child trying to remove my kidneys through my seatback with her feet, but I can't blame Hollywood for that.)
It wasn't my story anymore. It wasn't my childhood. They had made an entertaining film that all the children in the cinema, those not headfirst in their popcorn anyway, seemed to enjoy, but it was a lesson for me. If there is a book that you love, really love and the film studios get hold of it, be prepared for your illusions to be dashed.
No one can make better memories for you than you.

(This will not stop me going to see "Where The Wild Things Are", I never learn)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Joy of... Twitter, (no beards, I promise)

I have just had one of the most entertaining days that I can remember, all thanks to Twitter. I will be blogging at a later date, in a more serious way, about what there is to enjoy about the site, but this evening it is more a snap observation.

I travelled to London today to meet @SamAtRedmag for lunch. Previously we have only ever spoken through Twitter and of course I was nervous but it was as if I was meeting with a good friend who I have known for years. Off we went into the highways and byways of life, the universe and everything, children, jobs, partners, shoes, books were some of the things we chatted about. And Twitter, without which this meeting would never have happened. I had a wonderful time and I hope she did too. After lunch I trotted through Central London playing postman with books that are travelling around the country to new homes having been recommended on Twitter. (Something of a relief to unload the extra ballast, I was getting gibbon arms by then)

After that my feet (as I ever I was wearing totally unsuitable shoes) were screaming for mercy so I took a cab (yet more excitement, I'm in a cab, in London, I'm a grown up, I'm in London) to St Pancras where I met 3 more new friends at the St Pancras Champagne bar where we got giggly and irreverent. Thank you @suellewellyn, @mcdulwich and @misspinks for trailing across the city. I have been talking to all three since June this year and met them briefly when I was in London for the Plinth (of which more on another day, I promise) but today was the first time I was lucky enough to have an extended witter (rather than Twitter). It was marvellous fun, chatting to three witty, glamorous women . Such fun in fact that I very nearly missed my train. There was no way I could run in my shoes, so having made a dignified exit from the bar (smiling prettily at the delightful host), as soon as I was round the corner I kicked them off and sprinted, barefoot, to Kings Cross and threw myself back into reality.

So, here I am on the train, on the way back up North, having had a wonderful day and looking forward to meeting up again as soon as possible. National Express can look forward to an increase in their profit margins.





Afterword. Sunday, 1st November. Reading the above, I can tell just how much I enjoyed the champagne bar. The style is even more effusive than usual, but actually, I don't care. It was a day that was entertaining from start to finish. I had managed to leave my phone and make up at home having done a handbag swap, but I had my lap top so I could email and Twitter, don't panic, nothing is insurmountable. The beflustered, pink and piggy eyed woman was rescued with a complete makeover by the lovely Shanelle at Bobby Brown in Selfridges and I met some fascinating people. Not least the young lady on the train South who inspired me to go back to singing and the delightful gentleman on the evening train, a retired Professor of Economics with whom I had a conversation about Jesuit Art.


Life is for living, seize the day, step forward not back. All cheesy, all cliches, but Wednesday proved to me how true they are.

Oh, and the beard reference ? I am a child of my times, every time I see "Joy of..." I think "sex" and the hippy, freelurve illustrations in the first editions. Never play word association with me unless you can afford therapy.


Saturday, 22 August 2009

Great Works of Art revisited. An occasional series














Hard to spot the difference isn't it ?

With apologies to George Stubbs and the Tate Gallery


The guilt, the guilt



I read a lot of wonderful blogs, many of which are written by women with young children detailing their lives and learning curves. Oh, the memories, the joy in their children. The rueful smiles and blissful hugs. They do instil in me a measure of guilt though. I have realised my parenting skills leave much to be desired and listed below are a few of my "less nurturing" moments from the last 20 years.

I plunge into sleep before they are home and if I do wake when they get back, I complain about being woken.

Any chocolate left in the kitchen is fair game.

I put their clothes in the washing machine when I want to, which is not necessarily when they need them.

When they were young it was not unknown for me to eat treats I had purchased for them 2 or 3 times before the children actually got them. Cadburys buttons a speciality.

I refused to write a essay for a module in GC's Graphics A level.

If they are home at suppertime I will feed them, if they aren't, I don't.

I always have used a "riper" vocabulary than perhaps I should in front of them, resulting in the family story of my small boy from back of car asking "so, which car are the dozy tossers in Mummy ?"

The tooth fairy forgot to visit on a regular basis.

I still have my school reports, not convinced I could put my hand to theirs.

I talk to their friends (big sin, big,big sin)

I did not take the day off work to accompany either child to get A' level or GCSE results.

I cheat at Jenga.

I have been known to sing (and horror of horrors dance) in public

When they were young I used to sleep with my fingers in my ears - allegedly. (I am sure the picture above was photo shopped)


And do you know ? Despite this benign neglect, (not once did I congratulate them for breathing, walking or even using a knife and fork) they have turned into jolly nice people.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Long walk and little things.








There really was a feel of Autumn in the air today, leaves are beginning to turn, berries are showing colour and the fungi are more plentiful. Most of all there is that damp musty scent in the air, how are we heading into Autumn without a Summer ?

Digger for M

video

I suspect Mr Spielberg is unlikely to loose sleep over this, I am not a natural cineaste however it does give an idea of the lollop in action. Not at full lick as he could not bring himself to leave "Master".

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

My wounded soldier. A cautionary tale

As those of you on Twitter may remember we recently had an "eventful" evening in our household. Ever generous, Boy Child decided to provide me with yet more blog fodder by wrestling with the dog at 1am and ending up being scalped. The joys of A&E at 1.30am are many and varied I am sure, I am just too surly to appreciate them. For a beautiful piece on this you need to go to http://misswhistle.blogspot.com/2009/07/emergency-room.html


BC had come down from his room on a fridge raid, but stopped off to romp with the lunatic hound, one thing led to another and at 1am BC stumbled back upstairs,

"I'm bleeding". I have to admit my head went under the pillow for a moment, maybe I hadn't heard.

"Mu-um, there's quite a lot of blood" .........................and then the clincher.

"It's dripping on the floor"

By this time Silent One had woken up and gone to investigate. when he found a length of BC's scalp with hair attached (I kid you not) on the floor things became a little more urgent. The dog was beside himself with guilt and was prostrate on the floor, BC was being stoic and Silent One proved his worth by disposing of the evidence.

A&E was not too busy, but the nurse decided his scalp needed to be checked by plastics, so we were sent home with enough bandaging to do a remake of The Mummy and an invitation to return the next morning.

When seen by plastics the decision was made to do clever, gruesome embroidery which I shall tell you nothing about because it makes me feel quite poorly. Not normally squeamish in the slightest, but this was my baby . Then there followed multiple check ups to make sure no brains were escaping (how would they tell ?) and the healing was going well.

After two sets of antibiotics, sutures, clips and glue BC is mended although he will have a Heidleburg quality scar on his brow for the rest of his life. Here's hoping he can think of a story that involves beautiful maidens, swarthy villains and derring do. Being BC it will be a functional recitation of events.......................... if you want embellishment rely on his mother.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The joys of dog ownership


So far today the dog has

Woken me at 5am to let me know someone walked past the house

Chewed a corner off the rug

Pushed me off the sofa

Eaten my breakfast when I turned away for half a moment

Stood between me and the television at a crucial moment of "Project Runway"

and

given me a huge halitosis "kiss"

He did however, apparently, return when called, when Silent One took him on a walk this morning and that alone redeems all the sins listed above.


The Hound of the Baskervilles runs wild and free


Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Now I am worried


OK, so I stopped blogging for a bit when I suffered a loss of confidence, but today something happened that made me realise I had to stop worrying about how people interpret what you say and what you do, I stepped back and took a deep breath.

Six weeks ago I applied to go on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, the interactive work initiated by artist Antony Gormley that he has called a "a living monument to humanity". Most people will know him for "The Angel of the North" or "Another Place" on Crosby beach. He is a master of accessible modern art.

I never expected to be selected, but the idea of "performing " has always been dear to me, my first dream job, at 5, was a bunny girl, by 16 I was already planning on being an opera singer, but life, parental input and sheer terror made me step back from the fantasy. It has lurked, deep inside though for years. To be on stage, judged only for what you perform, not who you are, to step forward into the dazzle of the proscenium arch and take a bow to a packed auditorium (saved from stage fright by the fact you are blind as a bat and can see no one) has been something I have often dreamt of.

It is now, officially, a nightmare. My name has come up. I am on the plinth. If I can do that, I can write a blog, no more excuses. After all, they say it's not over until the fat lady sings.


I'm off to practice my scales.

PS. So far reactions have been hugely positive from friends real and virtual, the Twitter band have been generous with encouragement.
Less affirmative from other quarters. The children "God, Mum, you are sooooo embarrassing" which was expected. My Mother "Oh, well you always were a bit of a show off"

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Blog Fail

I know I should write, I know I want to, but I have been smitten with a combination of laziness and fear. There are ideas ready to go onto the page, but everytime I start to write the "delete" button begins its siren call, I don't know where this has come from, or why, is this writers block ? How do you get writers block if you aren't a writer ? A complete lack of faith in myself has reappeared.

Bear with me, like Arnie, I will be back.



And for your information my keyboard is not mightier than his gun.

Monday, 6 July 2009

A certain irony

My profile picture is "Marianna" a painting by J E Millais illustrating one of Tennyson's poems. All very romantic and thought provoking, the poor, abandoned woman, deserted by her fickle lover, look at all that lovely iconography waiting to be teased out

I always thought of it as "the woman with the bad back."

The picture on my title banner is a pair of shoes I bought some years ago from a dangerously addictive website http://www.italianheels.com/index_en.shtml . Not all of them are hooker shoes, but I would imagine a good few of them could be blamed for appointments with a chiropractor.

I like the connection, albeit subliminal.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Apres moi le deluge


After a wonderful sunny week when I have sat in the garden tweeting and trying to turn my legs from milk white to Jersey cream, suddenly even the sunshade has had to multi-task. Monsoon conditions meant Harrogate was twinned with Hyderabad.
It is Wimbledon, what did I expect ?

Seventh Week, The Sub-Continent

The recent weather with its combination of high temperature, bright sun and then torrential rain has made me think of India, or rather how I believe India to be. My impressions were formed over the years by books, films and the abiding love Britain has for the sub-continent, even if it had made the country its victim.

The integration of Indian culture in Britain has been going on since the 1840's. Jane Austen writing of the thrill of a Kashmir shawl or new muslins, curries in all their permutations, kedgeree, mulligatawny soup. IPA, gin and tonic. Yoga, the Beatles and the Maharishi, the vibrancy of Belgrave Road in Leicester or shopping at "The Bombay Stores" in Bradford. We are lucky to have a connection with this beautiful country.

What surprised me was what a range of books I had, from the teenage romance (Who didn't love "Far Pavilions" ?) through to the wistful art of Rohinton Mistry. The wild and definitely non pc romps of "Flashman" and the clear observation of William Dalrymple. This huge and diverse country has inspired so many authors, and each creates a different view.

Others who fell under the spell include E M Forster, Colin Thurbron, Greg Roberts and Rudyard Kipling, while their own culture gave us the Mahabarata, the Kama Sutra, Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Aravind Adiga and Tagore the Nobel prize winning poet. It is a rich and exciting heritage. Do not ignore it.

Mark Twain sums it up far better than I ever could

The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of traditions, the one sole country under the sun that is endowed with an imperishable interest for alien prince and alien peasant, for lettered and ignorant, wise and fool, rich and poor, bond and free, the one land that all men desire to see.


Full Volume


We live in a three storey Victorian house with the humans using the first two floors and the young colonising the top, so for ease of communication we bought one of those phone systems that can also be used for internal calls. Five handsets, all over the place, but two clearly defined for BC and GC.

BC has lost his handset, we know it has to be in there somewhere. Under the heaps of "War Hammer", clothing, bedding, books and uni notes there is a phone. Trouble is, it is no longer charged ("not sure where the stand is") so we can't take the easy way out, hard work is going to be involved. Then, last night, to add insult to injury BC wandered through and in the most casual of tones enquired if we had seen his mobile which, in moments of duress, has been used as a substitute.

Now I do appreciate, in the scheme of things, this isn't really a problem. We have stairs and voices, communication is not impossible, but, inevitably voices will be raised to do this, shoutiness will be employed. Messages will be ignored, accusations will trickle back and forth.


Situation normal

Monday, 22 June 2009

Over-medicated


I love Monday mornings.


Radical concept I know and one that is bound to upset St Bob, but it's true. No work until 12.30, time to come to my senses gently, drink coffee, catch up on blogs I read, quick glance at Twitter. Then, maybe, have a coffee. A bit of light housework, you know, where you straighten a couple of heaps, pack the dishwasher and hang up coats. Have a coffee.

Enjoy a shower, fiddle about with hair, have a coffee, check Twitter (where are you all ?) Oh, hang on, better iron a shirt. Nip to the butchers to get the poor dog a bone. Have a coffee.


By midday I have decided I hate work, I can't cope, I'm too stressed and I feel slightly sick. Despite saying I was giving up I light a cigarette to have with my last cup of coffee.

I'm shaking.

It's like first day back at school I'm so twitchy.

Is work really that bad ?


Nope, work is fine.

Suspect the caffeine hit may be to blame though.

Friday, 19 June 2009

The Inbetweeners


The Inbetweeners is a truly vulgar, yet wonderful comedy on Channel 4 that follows the lives of four young men in their final year at school. It has all the stereotypes, a geeky one, who carries the burden of being posh, a sweet one, a dim sporty one and the little horny one. There is a Mum everyone fancies (except her son, thank God, Channel 4 not 5), a bullying teacher and "the first car". The various mishaps they encounter are exactly those that we remember ourselves and are reliving with our own pet teenagers.

I feel quite "young and hangin with the kids" because I found the programme all by myself, probably during a late night Twitter and rapidly decided it was worth watching every week. I told the young about it, I recommended it to my friends, (in the context of a Natural History programme,) and every time we met up we would talk about which of us remembered doing what, whilst worrying if our children were doing it now.

Then, oh then, the rumour started. GirlChild came home from work on Tuesday. "The guys from "The Inbetweeners" are coming to Revolution on Thursday, don't even think about going"

I pretended I hadn't heard and rang bestest friend to tell her. We talked about what we might wear, mutton, lamb, mutton, lamb ? Could we go very Mumsy as a "humorous" yet ironic take on our age ?

It was all in vain, respective daughters got first dibs, our night out was vetoed, we were the new inbetweeners.

They think we are old, we know we aren't

Friday, 12 June 2009

Call me Fagin

More evidence of bad motheritis and although I suspect many of us are guilty of this sin, not many of us (possibly just me) are foolish enough to announce it in a public forum.

Cast your mind back to times spent with young male students, (go on, you know you can if you try, the therapy won't be too bad.) and remember the laundry basket.

There seem to be two types of YMS, the "I looked at it so it needs washing again" or the "I have peeled it off and it's standing in the corner over there" variety, both generate vast, daunting heaps of washing. Boy child is a member of the former group.

The following is a direct reporting of a conversation that took place over three days on his return from uni.

"Have I got your washing yet ?"

"Oh, er, right, er, what ?"

"Washing"

"Washing ?"

"That stuff on your floor covering the carpet"

"Oh, yeah"

"Well can I have it please ? I want to get it going"

"Ooh, washing, ok, er what wants washing ?"

Things are becoming a little terse by now

"Bedding, clothes, more clothes possibly. I'm not actually certain BC as it is your washing, oh and don't forget to check your pockets"

"Pockets, why ?"

"Because the best way to ruin a memory stick is for it to go through the machine, and if I find any money it is mine" (I find it best to try and speak his language)

"Oh, K"

Time passes, dynasties fall, Big Brother is cancelled.

"Have I got your washing BC ?"

"Now ?"

"FFS BC, yes now, and check your pockets !"

Like a slow moving torrent the clothes made their way downstairs

"Thanks BC, so, everything here ?"

"Er, yeah, well I don't know, guess so"

"Have you checked your pockets"

"Oh God Mum you do go on......"

"So, you have checked ?"


And that is how I came to be in possession of £15.


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Flaming June....I think not.


So, if I can't go and sit in the garden, the garden will have to come to me.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Mother: Job description: Psychic Powers an Advantage


I have been ticked off. Girlchild is currently working fairly random hours, if Sainsburys require some overtime she will step up and I admire her for this, although I have noticed that immediate financial gain seems to be a far higher motivation than the fact exam revision will enhance results

All this overtime makes her attendance at mealtimes variable, so I have been doing food for us and allowing her to snackerel when she gets home. Theoretically not a problem, although I question the nutritional value of anything she makes herself. Sainsburys value pack flavoured noodles and 2 rolo puddings would not receive the approval of the food Tsar.
Anyway, this evening she got in at about 10.30pm.
"What can I have for supper Mum ?"
"Didn't you get anything at work ?"
"No, I couldn't see anything I fancied"
(This is a fairly large Sainsburys, my heart sank)
"Eeermm what would you like ?"
"I don't know"
"Well, there's some chicken, or I could do scrambled egg, an omelette ?"
"No, you know I don't like eggs"
"There are some fishcakes in the freezer"
"No, don't feel like that"
I'm becoming slightly tetchy by now
"Toast, cereal, bacon sandwich, cheesy toast, pasta with smoked salmon ?"
"No"
"Well, what would you like ?"
"I don't know..........why don't you ever buy something I want ?"
"I don't know GC, I am perplexed that I cannot find things you would enjoy, when you don't know what they are yourself........................"
There was a tut and a flounce and she was gone.
I am a bad mother, I have allowed my psychic powers to fall by the wayside. I blame Twitter.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

I have never owned a baseball cap, but I have read Jenny Joseph


Recently on Twitter there has been much talk of hats and whether they are life enhancing or a sheer embarrassment. I tend to the former school of thought, being of an extravagant nature and decided to post on hats I have known.
The first hat I remember was a dark green beret with a white silky tassel on top, I loved the tassel with a passion (the inner burlesque already making itself known) as it made playing horses much easier, providing a tail for frisking.
Then at boarding school we wore a boater, which we knew as a "board". Worn at a clearly prescribed angle there would be prefects outside church knocking it to the horizontal, in case any of us were either playing angels with it tipped back like a halo or with it tiptilted rakishly over one eye. At the end of our seven years servitude I laid mine down on the High Street and waited for a vehicle to crush it to oblivion. It was a long wait, this was rural Staffordshire.
When I got into the senior school I became a member of the school choir so also got to wear this, not actually a hat, but certainly a head covering. The smell of ironed linen can still make me want to burst into song.

Having left school I went to art college and afterwards on to uni, where I went through a range of eccentric home made numbers usually involving feathers, ribbons, veiling and massive embarrassment for the then boyfriend. Although none of these have survived the march of time they are remembered with great affection. They tended to look very similar to this. They were worn in public. I suspect I was laughed at but I was an art student, we have a tradition to maintain
From Uni to work, there had to be a radical rethink, I wanted to be a grown up, so not only did I get a camel coat but sensible hats, fedora, panama and a rather neat little number with a cockade of cocks feathers. What I hadn't taken in to account was that no one wore hats, so even sensible ones stood out. I was working on a huge engineering site in a predominantly male environment and I became known as "Hats" by the guys on the shop floor, who would make me alternative headgear with bubble wrap and card. Yes, I did wear them, it would have been bad manners not to and I had my reputation for "quirkiness" to live up to. (I was even wearing one when I met my husband, which should have warned him).

Through the 80's with both weddings and the New Romantics there were splendid opportunities to go for the mushroom look. I know stylists say that if you are short you should not wear big hats, but I decided I knew better. Looking back I realise I didn't.

Strangely, when I got married I lost my nerve and rather than go for a veiled Victorian top hat (probably with sequins) which was my original fantasy I had a tiny little circlet of flowers from John Lewis, go figure. (I have just removed the wedding photograph from its frame to scan on, so the strange ectoplasmic effect is actually where it has faded, rather than a visit from Miss Haversham. )


As time passed I acquired a veiled tricorn that I wore in Venice, with some aplomb, at the Carnevale and with less success in Harrogate, the strange take on a medieval Turkish helmet made in velvet that I bought in Salzburg - look it has a tassel..... the Venetian Gondolieri hat my father bought me, a huge fur thing that was meant to make me feel like Anna Karenina but actually just looked as if an absent minded cat had gone to sleep on my head, a stetson from Texas - yeehaw, an Aussie drovers hat, and now, the hat to end all hats.
The Russian Officers hat which I will wear as I plan world domination.




Once I have succeeded in my evil plans I think I will go for this.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Week Six. Friends with Keats, Mae West and Robbie Williams*


And in the manner of the late lamented Robert Robinson, "Can you see a link ? Thats right, well done family Fotherington-Thomas, it is angels"

Not the soppy, wandering around after you doing good stuff, angels that the internet and crystal huggers seem to be rather fond of these days but spirits, metaphorical or actual. Vengeful, guiding or just plain "I might have drink too much because I thought I saw...." angels.

The relationship between humanity and spiritual beings has been a continuing theme since time began. Such a useful way to explain the inexplicable and gives the author the opportunity either to write fantastical stories or to explore the inner workings of the human mind.

Two of my favourite books are in this weeks heap. "The Vintners Luck" by Elizabeth Knox and "Knowledge of Angels" by Jill Paton Walsh, read them, please, they are wonderful.

And before anyone asks, yes I do own "Angels and Demons" and it is not from shame that it does not appear above, just that the house is so untidy I can't find it.


*I'm no angel, but I've spread my wings a bit. ~Mae West
Philosophy will clip an angel's wings. ~John Keats
I'm loving angels instead ~ Robbie Williams

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Joys of Self-awareness


Yesterday I went to Sainsburys to hand over a large chunk of money buying food to nurture my family. (A fair amount of which will no doubt be spurned, because, "there isn't an A in the month, you know I don't like that anymore, I don't eat anything yellow" etc, etc)
Just as I left the building to wrestle the bags into the boot I got a text from Girlchild requesting I purchase lots of Frijj Chocolate Brownie flavour milk as it was on special offer (GC works in Sainsburys and was going to be there herself about 4 hours later ) I decided not to bother even though she had, very kindly, explained how it would protect her from osteoporosis.
On my return home I was greeted by Girlchild and another Victoria Sponge. It looked heavenly, she has recently discovered a real talent for baking, and I began to fantasise about a slice of cake and cup of coffee.

"Where's the Frijj Mum ?"
"Oh, sorry, couldn't face going back in, can you get them when you're at work ?"
"No, no you know I can't, you know there's nowhere to put it, the shop will be shut when I finish........... white noise.......... high pitched squeaking............. right then, you can't have cake !"
"Errr OK, er sorry"

The cake continued to make it's siren call, but I ignored it, knowing the retribution would be long, loud and likely to result in "things being said....."

This morning Girlchild wandered in to see me and passed comment on the fact I had not eaten cake,

"No, you told me I couldn't"
"Oh, no it would have been fine........."
"Well, I just didn't want to make you cross"
"Cross ?"
"You can be a bit horrid sometimes ?"

"Of course I'm horrid - I'm an 18 year old girl"

Self-awareness on that scale I think guarantees a life that will be fully within her control.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Gwinnie style snifflings

I was thrilled to be given this award recently by Cassandra Castle, writer of the blog "Jacob Wrestling". Not because it features shoes and sweariness, both of which figure regularly in my life, but because it was given by Cassandra, a writer and a woman I hold in high regard.


The award exists to be passed on (as they all should) so below are the rules:

1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.

2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.

3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.

Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then “add image” it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the “picture” widget. Also, don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.

Right, obsessions.......






Shoes, in almost all shapes, colours and heights. Prices, well that's another story. I am tempted to sin so often but fortunately the memories of my bank manager stop me sometimes. Why do I like shoes ? For a lot of my working life I have had to present a corporate image, which often is not really who I am, hence "quirky" "extravagant" "eccentric" shoes. They are there to remind me of the true TR. (Also, even if I put on weight, my shoes still fit !)


Weekend Newspapers There is no better way to fritter away a weekend than lolling on the sofa with a selection of newsprint. I know you can read it all online, but it is just not the same as real hard copy. The papers are filleted for easy reference, Business, gone. Motoring, gone. Sport, gone. Money, don't make me laugh. Then the other sections are mulled over, making notes and tearing out little bits of information that "might be useful - one day". Finally on to the magazines for the pretty pictures and fantasy of other peoples lives. Heaven.

Food and cooking for friends. I love to cook, I love to eat, if there was ever proof of the axiom you can't have a thin chef I am that proof. Food, like sex, can be so many things, comforting, exciting, on occasions dull but always a perfect way to show somebody you care about them.

Art Galleries The peace and quiet of an art gallery, the opportunity to revisit old friends, to challenge yourself with new work, the wonderful shops where I have spent far too much money over the years. The excitement of a new catalogue at a well curated exhibition.

OK ,trailing around the Louvre being slowly pummeled to death by surly school trips can take the edge off a bit, but to get a bench in front of a wonderful Botticelli or a favourite Turner makes it all worthwhile. I can also confirm that art galleries are a wonderful place for a little light flirting, eyes meeting as you stand in front of a picture, the chance to make a few intelligent bon mots, the meeting of like minds. Who needs a bar when you've got the Bargello ?

My children To be brutally honest a few years ago they may not have figured in this list, which is, of course, far more a reflection of me than them. Now though, they are a real passion. Hopefully not on the way of a helicopter parent but because I find them funny, challenging, entertaining and it is such a joy to see them beginning to live their lives as individuals. What a shame I didn't find out until now.






and now I pass on this award to 5 of my favourite bloggers, and my apologies to anyone who has already received this particular accolade, but remember, you can never have too much of a good thing.

http://justme-randomramblings.blogspot.com/ because Twitter just isn't enough

http://katyboo1.wordpress.com/ I suspect she has, deservedly, received every award in the blogosphere, but I know there will be deep and simmering obsessions that should be exposed

http://mmeguillotine.blogspot.com/ Because she needs distracting at the moment, writes beautifully and will forgive me my first addiction

http://razorkitty.blogspot.com/ to see if "The Apprentice" counts as an obsession

http://itsmostlyaboutme.blogspot.com/ because she needs to have fun writing, now her exams are over