Sunday, July 23, 2006

If you have a boy of ten, you'll have been here before:-

11.35 pm. Ironing finished and [partially] put away, so you head for the bathroom. No peace on the throne tonight, however.

"Mum, I need the bathroom."

"Okay, just a minute. You're still awake very late, aren't you?"

"I - er - "

"You wouldn't have been reading, would you?"

"NO, Mum!"

"So I can go and feel your bedside lamp?"

"Uh - I dropped something, so I had to put the light on. My spare Nintendo DS stylus fell off the desk..."

"So the lamp won't be very hot, then? Just to pick something up, I mean. How did it fall?"

"The window is open. The stylus blew off the desk."

"Right, I see. I didn't realise it was so windy."


"Look, this lamp is still really quite hot. Are you sure you weren't .... " There was the book. "I see. You hadn't read this much when you went to bed, had you?"

"Mum, it's a library book."

"And they let you borrow it for 3 whole weeks ..."

[Boy giggles nervously ...]

"Night, son!"

"G'night, Mum!"
Smoothies for kids

I was a Good Mum this afternoon. We all went BACK to Asda, and bought strawberries, melon, apple juice and straws, so we could make a smoothie according to the Kenwood recipe book. We chopped and whizzed and poured, and finally we all tasted the results. Two of us liked it. Another liked it - well, so-so - and did eventually polish it off. Viola-kid didn't like the melon in it! After all that!

You know what I'm going to try next? A can of pineapple, perhaps with some orange-juice added. It might not be so vibrantly full of goodness as a fresh fruit smoothie, but it'll be cheap, tasty and still count as a portion of fruit. Watch this space ...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I'm melting!

If your keyboard feels hot and sticky, it proves you're telepathic. Whew, what a busy day we've had. Cello-boy needed a haircut, and all three boys had a learning experience at a bureau de change. (They may as well learn that if you need Euros, you have to go somewhere and organise it - it doesn't happen magically behind the scenes.) We also bought comics all round - not to be read until we actually go on holiday.

Back home, via the supermarket. That took longer than I expected - there was a massive Scalextrix set up outside the store, so the boys stood and watched the layout being assembled while I shopped. Then we all waited so they could have a go.

This afternoon went haywire thanks to my printer. It needed more ink, so I replaced the cartridge. This would have been okay, if it wasn't for the fact that I replaced the colour cartridge then realised it was actually the black one that needed changing. We had to drive to PC World. Back home to cool down, then out to the branch library - where we put in a request for a book that Viola-boy wanted. And then on to the park, and finally home.

Welcome to the new gadget - it came uninvited

Three cheers for - I ordered a lady's razor, and it turned out to be unavailable. They sent me a free Kenwood Concert smoothie maker as a consolation. Very nice, too. Cello-boy and I enjoyed my plum and peach smoothie, though the two youngest boys weren't convinced. Maybe I'll try strawberries next time.

Meanwhile, of course, I still don't have a lady's razor and have to struggle on with the plastic Bic flesh-nicker! So I had a look at and will within a couple of weeks be a smoothie myself again...

SuperSpouse has just called from Budapest, where he's melting even more than we are. Spare a moment of silent sympathy for a crowd of tram enthusiasts quietly melting in a mid-European heatwave, whilst I beaver away washing and folding and contemplating ironing in anticipation of our family holiday later on...

Image from

Friday, July 21, 2006

How do these gadgets know?!

Last summer, the cooker exploded while SuperSpouse was away. On 29th December, the washing-machine packed up, knowing a public holiday would throw a spanner in the works. On Fair Friday, the washing-machine packs up again, knowing that SuperSpouse is about to go away, AND a public holiday will throw another spanner in the works. You could see the look of triumph in its eyes.

Aha! The engineer arrived at 8.45 am on Tuesday, I got to work by 10.15 am, and I needn't even have gone to work (totally alone in the department) on Holiday Monday. I think that equals a draw, as far as the washing-machine is concerned!

SuperSpouse went away yesterday. Last night, the cord that draws the bay-window curtains, jammed in the closed position. This morning I was up there with a step-ladder. Now, our ceilings are high, our windows are high, the ladders are tall - but as SuperSpouse delights in reminding me, I am a wee short-arse. I can't fix the cord. How did it know that he was going away?

If things go in threes, I suppose I ought to be watching all other appliances closely. But, that's just being superstitious. Isn't it?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

If going to church makes you feel virtuous, try doing a whole load of handwashing first!

That stupid, idiotic machine, which completed a whole cycle without spinning or emptying itself, then stopped just short of the Stop symbol ...

SuperSpouse came home last night, twirled the dial a few times, and the machine grumblingly span, and emptied. He took the washing OFF the line a bit at a time, spun it and hung it outside again.

I wasn't taking any chances this morning. What would I do if the machine stopped, FULL of water rather than half-full? Hence the early-morning laundry session. My soul is whiter than white. So are our shirts.

image from

By the way - to the person who posted a stupid comment saying that a website about clothes-lines looked right up my street - please go hang yourself with your clothes-line, because it has nothing to do with my blog!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Confounded machine!!!

Yesterday, the washing-machine didn't sound quite so pebbly. I toyed with the idea of calling off the engineer's visit. Well, what a good thing I didn't cancel - this afternoon, it got to the end of the cycle but didn't click to off. Neither did it pump, nor did it spin.

The results are dripping on my washing-line on a hot sunny evening for all to see. Perhaps it won't be dripping by the time I bring it in at dusk. (It has been a scorching day, and it won't be dusk until 10 pm.)

Bring back the mangle!

The image is from, and is about a series called The Secret Life of Machines. What kind of secret life our washing-machine has, is anyone's guess.

Have you seen the BBC programme, Honey we're killing the kids?

Oh, my! If you haven't seen the programme, let me explain. An expert reduces you to tears as they analyse all the data about your family lifestyle and nutrition, then show you what your kids will look like at forty. Then, by changing your lifestyle and nutrition, they show you another forward projection. And I have to say, it's impressive. The little boy on the most recent programme was a spoiled brat, and would apparently have turned into a thickset thug. After the transformation, his picture changed to a very handsome, youthful-looking 40 year old. His mother was kind and well-meaning - it wasn't that she was an uncaring mum at all!

I wouldn't have the courage to stand there on prime-time national TV being shown how badly I was bringing up my kids!

But I've just looked at the website, where it was a bit horrifying to realise that my kids fell into the unhealthy category of those who never ate green leafy vegetables, seldom went near citrus fruit, never ate raw tomatoes and (with the exception of the little one) didn't eat eggs either. And I'm overweight. And so is SuperSpouse. It's grim.

I'm officially a bad mum, then. As I said, Oh my!

You know, I'm more concerned about being shouted at, contradicted, whinged and moaned at. Mind you, all is calm at the moment. Right now, they think I'm a Good Mum because I baked them biscuits. BISCUITS!!! The devil's own food, if that programme is anything to go by. Have another biscuit, boys - it's broccoli tomorrow.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I hate buses, and I'm not too keen on washing machines.

I've just done a Google search to establish that the washing-machine engineer came to fix our machine on 28 December last year. Last night, the machine was up to its tricks again. This time, it still functions but it sounds as though it's full of pebbles. It isn't!

Because it's the Glasgow Fair Weekend, Monday is a public holiday, so I have to take Tuesday off to be at home for the engineer. And I'll go to work on Monday to make up the time. Just think how much work I'll achieve in a virtually empty building!

Next week is really shaping up well. First, working on a holiday. Then waiting at home for the engineer. A medical appointment on Wednesday, and a church commitment later on in the week, time to be confirmed. My boss will wonder if I am actually still a full-time employee. Meanwhile, SuperSpouse goes to Budapest on Wednesday and I have to get organised for the proper family holiday. For this, I need a washing-machine!

Come to think of it, when SuperSpouse went on his society outing last year, the cooker exploded. This time, the washing-machine couldn't even wait for his departure! Is this some kind of conspiracy on the part of of domestic appliances? I shall have to keep a close eye on the kettle, the iron, the fridge ...

There's an episode of an American sitcom called "A thing about machines" - could the scriptwriters have known about me?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I hate buses.

SuperSpouse might be an ardent enthusiast of all things to do with public transport, but it doesn't change my own opinion of buses.

I went to get the underground (sorry, subway) home this evening to be told that both circles were out of action - due to a computer fault. A very serious computer fault that could take hours, days or a week to fix. Great!

A man in a uniform advised me to get a certain bus which would take me to within one stop of where I wanted to be. Being a naive and trusting soul, I got on the bus then phoned SuperSpouse, who had a better suggestion. If I got OFF the bus at Harry Ramsden's and ONTO one of two different buses, I'd be taken right to where I wanted to go. Sounded reasonable.

All went well until I got off at Harry Ramsden's. Almost immediately, the 23 drove straight past the stop. So did the 24, which was too full to stop. Every passing taxi had a fare. And a rather dissolute looking young chap started talking to me. He was trying to get to the same place as me, which made me afraid that if I did get a taxi, he might try to jump in with me. He was smoking something, and his mouth was dirty. I had no wish to continue the acquaintance.

I crossed the road, and started walking to the next stop. Other passengers were already trying and failing to hail a cab. Phoned SuperSpouse, who piled the boys into the car, and did his Knight in Shining Armour impression to ferry me back to where I'd left my own car.

Sadly, the rice which was nice when the boys had their sweet & sour pork, was mush after the rush to pick me up.

I'm safely home, and I've had my tea, but my opinion of buses is unchanged - I hate them!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No-one has noticed yet, but I think one of our goldfish is on the way out.

It's lurking at the bottom of the tank, and when it comes to the surface it's a bit wobbly on its fins. I changed the water in the tank this evening, in the hope it might perk the fish up. I also cleaned out the hamster cage. (The image is from - to me it looks like a goldfish going up to heaven, but maybe I have a warped sense of humour!)

I won't ask why it's always me that gets these chores: it doesn't occur to anyone else that they need doing. Likewise, I have to ask the boys to put their clean clothes away - and eventually they do it - but they wouldn't notice either that their chests of drawers were getting empty, or that the baskets full of clean clothes were almost overflowing...

Have I done any writing of my research chapter yet? I did a couple of pages earlier this week, but haven't done any this evening. I bought a new loose-leaf file and some file-dividers at lunch-time, in the hope that being more organised will help me in my task. I must be tired - the spirit is willing but the flesh is decidedly weak.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I loved my birthday card from the boys last Sunday! When you open it, a child's voice sings:-

"My Mum is the greatest Mum, that the world's ever seen -
I'm really lucky that I've got my Mum
And she's got me!"

It took a week for its full potential to be realised. This morning, one of the boys was caught singing about his brother:-

"His bum is the greatest bum, that the world's ever seen -
He's really lucky that he's got his bum,
And mine's got me!"

"Hey, I copyrighted that!", yelled the subject of the poem. "You stole it off me!"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I didn't want to do it - I really, truly didn't want to do it ...

but I was the one that arranged to go and give Godmother Helen her birthday present this evening, ... and SuperSpouse decided I could start driving his car.

Let's put it in context. I haven't driven his car in 18 years, and that's a conservative estimate. I've never driven anyone else's car, and I've never hired a car. I have wee short legs, and small feet, and I'm terrified of getting into a car and finding I'm either too short to see where I'm going, or my legs are too short to reach the pedals, or my feet are too short to rest my heels on the ground when I'm driving. (You'll concede that it would be kind of difficult to drive if I couldn't rest my heels on the ground. You try ... )

Okay, I've had a car of my own all this time. I had a wooden board on the floor of every Lada I owned (three in a row), but I've managed okay with the Citroen BX and the Xantia. But who was to say the C5 wouldn't be too big? It feels bigger.

When we go on holiday this summer, I'll have to share the driving. This is vital - SuperSpouse goes to Budapest the week before our family holiday and gets back from Newcastle Airport the night before. Precisely. I have to learn to drive his car. Then drive it 200 miles to the airport in only a few weeks' time.

Well, on a quiet Saturday evening, I couldn't really get out of it. I drove all the way to Helen's house, and thought I was off the hook. Imagine my horror when he reversed the car out of Helen's drive then got out and told me to drive home, too.

Okay, at least I now know that if I have the seat r-i-g-h-t forward and as high as it will go, then I can drive the car. The gear ratios are different, and the braking is different, but I can manage. Reluctantly!

(What does that make me? An Other-People's-Car-Phobic, I suppose!)

Cue for a joke. A friend's mother had a double hip-replacement operation a while ago. She asked the surgeon, "And will I be able to drive afterwards?"

"Why yes, of course - leave it about six weeks before you do it, though."

"Well, doctor, that's amazing. 'Cos I've never been able to drive before!"

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Remember the biblical story about the tower of Babel, where everyone was talking all at once? Welcome to our house! This evening I was being asked where the Cif was, at the same time as Ocarina-Kid was yelling that he'd lost the TV remote, whilst Super-Spouse demanded a cup of tea, and someone else's kid wanted Cello-Boy and Viola-Boy to go outside to play. Cello-Boy didn't know where Viola-Boy was in any case, so he was shouting all round the house for him.

When I got round to making the cup of tea and taking it upstairs, behold there was No Super-Spouse in the House. He was outside talking to the neighbour, as were our two oldest sons and the kid who wanted to play with them. And they were all making a fuss of our neighbour's labradoodle puppy. Super-Spouse got his tea out on the pavement, and I went to look for the missing remote.

As you might guess, I ended up making a fresh cuppa for myself.

Cello-Boy is home from his camping weekend, and the washing-machine feels loved and needed once more. I ought to be doing some more research reading now everyone's in bed, so excuse me if I dash off ...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I'm 21 today. Well, let's say 39 if you find that a bit implausible.

Are you calling me a liar? Correct! But that's my age.

I flew down to see my parents yesterday lunchtime, and returned early this afternoon. Mum is not exaggerating - my father has become a very frail old man. He was ageing fast last year when we were down, but the deterioration is now very noticeable. It's sad. He has had many serious illnesses, but each time we've been able to say, "he'll be better once he's had the operation / got new medication / seen the specialist". And he has. But you don't get better from old age and infirmity.

I also saw the new-build that they'll hopefully both be in by September. And said goodbye to the family house in which I grew up. We moved there when I was ten - just before Dad fell ill for the first time. Strange to think that - when they eventually succeed in selling it - it will belong to someone else.

And I met my six-week old nephew for the first time. He's gorgeous!

So you could say I've had a busy weekend. I'm weary, now. Shame I have to go back to work tomorrow - the weekend feels at one and the same time to have been very long, and far too short!