Thursday, 30 December 2010

Panting update

Back In August I wrote my Panting blog. Here I am a few months later and still panting. Still the same Hot Date, still the same wobbly quivering legs, still the same laughter. My heart melts every time I see or speak to him and I love every minute we are together. We've managed just 2 days away recently shacked up in a blustery seaside town in a lovely apartment owned by really good friends. Quivery legs a plenty, even the dodgy one, and lots and lots of talking, falling asleep and fun. Oh yes and the Other stuff too.

So there I am, one weekend, in my wee after glow after Hot Date had departed. In one of my most embarrassing moments to date She-ra sidled up to me wrap her arms around me and said " Next time mum, keep the noise down"

Groundhog Day

I'm sparing a thought for Dog, after all it's her Christmas too. Every morning I am greeted with the same routine from our wee black dog. Or as the letter writing neighbour called her, a fierce and vicious beast. Firstly she has crept upstairs to the landing where she waits with anticipation of hearing you stir. This is followed by what we call helicopter ears as she shakes her head, several times. Who needs an alarm clock? If she is worried about you or she knows that they are ill she will sleep outside that persons door. Its quite touching really. Once she has roused you enough to get up she will pretend she has just come up the stairs and you are greeted with this scenario. ( apologies of blurred but she doesn't keep still)
Mad dog, a toy ( if she can find one as she tends to take them outside and forget to bring them back in again ) and a wagging tail that by rights should have her in flight. If she could combine the helicopter flapping ears and tail wagging we would have lift off. She then charges round as if she is about to go on the longest walk ever only to be let out into the back garden. she will then charge back in as if she is about to go on longest walk ever only to find I have sloped off to the bathroom leaving her looking forlorn at the bottom of the stairs. And she does this every morning without fail. That really is looking on the bright side in action.

I swear to god that dog knows what activity I am doing according to the clothes I wear. Her most recent observation was that on return home without the infamous pot leg she assumed the stance of " and now are we going on the longest dog walk ever? purlease?"

I think her best Christmas present was not the red ball on a string toy but the fact that every morning my Dad gets up and takes to the park. He reckons he hates dog, but you know what, she loves him.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

How Not To Buy a Christmas Tree

If you do not like foul language I suggest you look away now. This is my guide on how NOT to buy a tree.
  1. Firstly do not leave the buying of said tree until late Sunday afternoon when the rest of the world and his wife have spent the entire weekend buying up all the good ones
  2. If you fail to get tree on the Saturday morning first thing then leave till during the week when said vendors have received another delivery unless you like the ugly trees
  3. Ideally take someone with you to carry said tree to your car otherwise much fluttering of eye lashes will have to occur as you try to go solo and get the bastard spiny thing into the car. Some people see the tree buying thing a some lovely family tradition and pity those who go and buy it on their own. I have been buying our tree on my own for years and would gladly hand over that mantle of responsibility to someone else. Any takers? No I thought not.
  4. Ask the nice tree vendor if it comes with a base. THIS IS ABSO_FUCKING_LUTELY essential. In case you don't realise how essential this is I will repeat myself for the stupid ( ie me who do this every frigging year ) "Does it come with a base?" THIS IS ABSO_FUCKING_LUTELY
  5. If, for whatever reason, it does not -walk away now! Go buy a tree where it does come with base and maybe they'll give you a sprig of mistletoe as a kind gesture. So walk away unless you want to do the following.
  6. Hoick tree home with poor visibility out rear view mirror.
  7. Wrestle said tree out of car. It is also not a good idea to do this in the dark and cold. Daylight really can help here.
  8. Get your Christmas tree base that you bought years ago for occasions like these which you swore you would never use again but have, until the next few moments, completely forgotten why you said you would never use it again.
  9. With the aid of one teenager manoeuvre the tree stump it base. Ah, it doesn't fit. Ever so slightly too wide to for the 3" base. No problem we'll shave a bit off it to make it fit. Can't be difficult.
  10. Find an axe, a sharp one preferably. Mine was recently sharpened by Hot Date. He did a good job but alas it was too far gone in the state of bluntness.
  11. If axe fails try a saw. Nope the saw is no good either.
  12. Aha I spy my neighbour maybe he'll take pity and help. And so he did. Much axe wielding and grunting ( what is it about men and axes? ) also nearly a pair of expensive shoes ruined.
  13. Position tree into stand and hurrah it fits! Only... only.. the bastard tree has clearly been drinking my spiced apple cup as it cannae stand up straight. Exit said neighbour at rapid rate.
  14. She-ra, or any teenage helper will do, will then point out that it's not the trees fault but the base. The base is the bad guy here. Let's go buy another base. Hurrah She-ra does it again, she of the common sense I am so clearly lacking. We hurtle to our nearest Homebase. We purchase a new style of base that could not fail ( so the shop assistant said) and hurtle back home.
  15. We manage with much manoeuvring to finally get the base into position. and we leave it to relax, to decorate the next day.
  16. Next evening the damn tree has been at the bleeding spice apple cup again and is propping itself up in the corner of the room. Has it no shame?
  17. Emergency phone call to Pops - him "Oh hello haven't heard from you in a while" me " Can you come and help me sort out my FUCKING tree before I chop it up into little pieces for firewood" I secretly hope that it has heard that last bit and is now standing to attention through sheer fear.
  18. Pops arrives. He too can't master the new bastard stand. He manages a quick and cost free solution. One big bucket. Lots of lumps of firewood to hold it into position. Then he places it onto a table to raise it off the ground because the green grocer clearly doesn't know his feet from his cm. If our tree is 5' then I'm 6'2"
  19. I give you our Christmas tree. I feel better now.

The 14th Meeting of the Annual Wreath Making Society

Looking at the title of this blog it reminds me of book titles that have become the fashion of late.

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society springs to mind. Maybe I could use the 14 years to mark out landmark occasions in our lives. Actually maybe not.

So here we were all were but the numbers were down this year. One was packing for her Christmas family jolly to Barbados. I know Barbados! Another was on a train. Another was felled by a sickness bug about which she felt compelled to share the details. And the other had a sick child who despite being 16 still wants their mum. So we four gathered round the spiced apple cup.

1x 2 litre bottle of cider
200g dark brown sugar
2 mulled tea bag things I found in my cupboard
1 tsp of cinnamon powder I should have mixed with the sugar but didn't so it floated like scum on the top of the pan
handful of crushed all spice berries - remember not to let the pestle or is it mortar roll on to the floor and smash into smithereens like I did
a splash or two of brandy
heat up and serve.

You know what, it was bloody delicious. We also had mince pies at the ready and oven warmed but we became so engrossed in our craft that we forgot about said mince pies.

To execute the best wreath making evening you really should have your Spotify music play list at the ready as I did. So we had ol' Dean martin blasting out Let it snow let it snow let it snow with a bit of Nut cracker for good measure and a sprinkling of the Pogues and dash of Mariah. You should also supply lots of wires, wire cutters and pliers of various sizes. the laughs come thick and fast, the wreaths are made and the gossip running through like river. Who's doing what for Christmas etc. I now give you wreath makers and their offering. If you look very closely at one you can see that the minute said friend left the room we covered her effort with fabric, sprouts and even a toy soldier.
I am very disappointed in mine this year. I think the tree wrestling stole my creative chutzpah and the red chilli pepper and sprout confection I had envisaged in my head failed to materialise and will be confided to the front door that no one uses. Fortunately I have my old monkey nut wreath to fall back on which will be given a new lease of life with a fresh ribbon to hang in pride of place. I rue the day I didn't take a photo of my silver chocolate coin wreath as it was my piece de resistance and I have never managed to better it yet. Ah well for your eyes only I give you wreaths.

Sparkly pants

The Gallery challenge is Sparkle. I don't feel particularly sparkly at the moment having spent the last two days wrestling with a reluctant Christmas tree. The title is also misleading as there are no sparkly pants in this photo although there is some tinsel sulking in the background
( I don't like tinsel.) However maybe you be amazed at the sparkle we show when it comes to inventing games.( I know I know it's a very tenuous link ) This one was simple. Each guest had to bring several pieces of clothing which was thrown into a bin liner. We then played a board game. Every time you got something wrong you had to put on an item of clothing. eh voilĂ . I think we actually all wet ourselves laughing. Please do not report the man in the middle, he really is normal. (left to right Laura, Pops, me)

What's your favourite foodie bit of the Christmas dinner?

Bear with me, I am genuinely interested in what you love about the Christmas spread. I've event left an "other"category and am really interested in what you are going to say there.

Go to and getting voting

This is not a sponsored post but the inner geek in me just popping out to say hello. Please say hello back.

Coming this week: Sparkly - I really must do an entry for Tara's Gallery, The 14th Annual Christmas Wreath Making Society, How not buy a Christmas Tree

Friday, 10 December 2010

The letter I should have written

On a recent trip to the library I picked up a booklet about letters I should have written. Oh my god they were so moving. And it got me to wondering who would Iwrite to. At first I thought of the obvious like my mum to tell her about her grandchildren that she never saw, or my ex husband just so he might know what a total bastard he is. Or what about the job offer I turned down for the one I am now in. Or to the barking mad grandmother who died earlier this year estranged from her family for nearly a decade. Or to the friends who helped me so much over the past couple of years and to whom I will never ever be able to repay all their kindnesses. I thought I'd write this one instead..

Me, aged 18 ventured off to France to be an au pair. I hated every minute of it as I'd been placed with the family from hell and wished I had had the courage to leave and follow my heart. Instead I stayed put for 6 miserable months and on return met Mr ex within a week. Whilst I was away my mum had become ill and was being fobbed off by her GP. She later turned out to have agressive throat cancer and died a year later. She was in the process of buying a village shop.

Dear Mum

First can you let Dad read this when he comes round as I can't afford the postage and have run out of paper.
Second you've probably guessed from our phonecalls that I'm really unhappy here. The details were so misleading. The child I'm looking after is not 18m old but 3.5 and still in nappies! Nor is she an only child but has a 17 year old sister who is at boarding school during the week. She is very SPOILT too ! The mother is nice enough but starts drinking each day earlier than the next, at the moment we are at about 1030am. If I get chased round the table by one of their randy male friends again I think I will scream. So I have decided to move on and leave. The whole point was for me to learn French and have decided I need to be in a city rather than the sticks. I'm not allowed out even on my day off and am stuck in the middle of nowhere. I contacted the agency who placed me here and they have found me a new position in Nice further up the coast. I start next week so will be leaving here soon. I'll ring you with the address when I leave here. In the meantime please go back to the doctors about the lump in your mouth, that doesn't sound like a cold sore to me. Give my sister a big hug and I'll be helping you in the new shop before you know it.
Au revoir

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

As pure as the driven snow, my arse

For Tara's gallery this week with its theme of white there could be only 1 of 2 pics.

Either me and my mates dressed the BeeGees complete with glow in the dark teeth, but I couldn't find the pic. Or my snow woman. Well built circa 1990's. No further description necessary

Monday, 6 December 2010

Simple pleasures

This weekend has been of simple pleasures

Friday night - I stayed home whilst Hot Date went out on a works do. All very domesticated. Slippers and hot water bottle for me that night * cough.
Saturday - I was escorted round supermarkets, a little bit of christmas shopping by my carer/hot date as I staggered behind walking like a demented penguin. Going bowling was probably not a good idea in the evening but it was enjoyable none the less and She-ra perked up and got a few strikes in.
Sunday - I waved good bye to Hot date in the morning and pottered at my own slow pace, made a hot water bottle cover out of an old jumper marvelled at my blanket stitch and gusset before making even more felted christmas pud tree decorations after swearing never again. I'm not sure what happened to the rest of the weekend. It blurred in to a lovely joint of ham cooked more for the left overs of ham egg and chips than the main meal, a glass of wine and being absolutely exhausted come 8pm

Not exciting but simple and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Mr Angry

I arrived home this week to find a hand delivered letter shoved through the door with what I can only desscribe as old peoples wobbly writing on it. Oh no I thought what's going on here? I immediately thought of He-mans drum and bass music throbbing at full pelt when I'm out has finally made someone snap. Well it did with She-ra.

I read said letter. The beast of a dog had been barking in our back garden and it had enraged our behind neighbour so much that despite being very ill they felt compelled to come round to my house and confront the viscious dog themselves.

I would go round to their house but my wobbly pot encased leg and very bad weather wont let me. I think I might do what Grandad suggested and send She-ra round in her greens ( cadet uniform to th uninformed ) with a sauecpan.
Barking dog my arse! Barking mad neighbour more like.