Monday, 24 August 2009

An interesting knit

I knit for therapy. Anything finished that arrives at the end is a bonus. Of course, like so many things, I am excellent at the theory.

I have been toying with the idea of knitting a bag out of something durable (possibly carrier bags) for shopping. Then one of the random subscriptions I have threw up this.

It is knitting a bag out of strips of old t-shirt. Now t-shirts get very grotty by the end, so it is a great way of using up something that is rarely fit for the charity shop.

I am not likely to use it as it involves picking up lots of stitches which I loathe, but it is an interesting idea. I may have to adapt.

I love my new washing machine

I absolutely adore my new washing machine. It washes so much better. It dries like it ought to. It takes a decent sized load. It does not sound like it is about to catapult across the kitchen.

It has lovely settings, like baby for baby clothes, and quick wash, and shirts!

My washing pile has considerably diminished!

Grand Old Evil Cat

Evil cat has something of a dilemma. Doors should be opened for her on demand. So she will have a nice nap on the spare bed then trundle downstairs to mew at the door at the bottom of the stairs. According to her it should be opened immediately.

What then happens is that I disentangle myself from my knitting (blanket almost full size now!) and open the door. Little bear will also shriek with delight and go and stand at the foot of the stairs with me. Evil cat will take one look at little bear and trot back upstairs.

Five minutes later - repeat

Then ten minutes after - repeat

Then two minutes after - repeat

Then two minutes after that evil cat is obviously getting an urgent call to the litter tray so she will dither, feint and then go back up stairs. This will be repeated at least twice.

Finally the call of the litter tray will become too insistent for her to ignore so she will madly dash past the ecstatic little bear onto the top of the chair until I open the stair gate that leads to the steps to the kitchen. A tabby blur will then shoot past me and then stop - right in front of the gate. Little bear will shriek again and evil cat will make another dash upstairs...

Then repeat until I nudge her (gently - honest) with my foot and she finally goes downstairs to the kitchen.

So she's finally down.

Then she starts crying at the gate to go up. Little bear sees her and shrieks. She flees. But she will come back to start crying again in about five minutes. And I'll open the gate and she will get as far as the top of the chair...

I need the exercise anyway.

And there was light

Pulled the light cord in the bathroom while trying to shepherd little bear into the bath. It came away and clattered to the floor.


Dear heart will be sorting it out when he has a moment. Until then the light in the bathroom is permanently on.

There goes my drive for saving electric. Actually, it just means I have to work harder in other areas.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Dithering again

I had an unexpected call from my sister in law. She and her family are working very hard, so I don't really expect many calls.

She is having a 50th birthday party next month. We are invited (but it is an evening do, so not little bear) and there is a Hollywood theme.

It is really kind of her to invite us, but you know what I am like. I could immediately see the downside. If I could have more of a 'glass half full' attitude I am sure most of my problems would disappear.

First of all - find a babysitter. No problem, the nice Mrs Next Door will do it. She has six children, several grandchildren and will indulge little bear just enough. The last time I left little bear with a baby sitter after tea time was in March 2007. It was last year, and I think early last year, since I left little bear with anyone but dear heart and nursery.

Secondly - I really don't know if I have the courage to go out to an evening do. The last evening do I went to was in 2005, and the time before that was 2000. Both occasions were when I knew all the people and I was calm about who I would be meeting. The thought of it terrifies me.

Thirdly - what the hell am I supposed to wear? Seriously? Obviously I will have to wear clothes. But a Hollywood theme? I am a larger lady. My figure is ample, built more for comfort than speed.

I was up really late last night looking at ebay (my friend) for inspiration. I saw some nice kaftans. I also saw some things that no 'big boned' lady should ever contemplate even considering wearing, deary me, there is being comfortable in your skin and there is making a holy show of yourself.

Eventually, in the early hours, I decided that I could use some rather nice slinky material trousers that were a relic of when I worked, some killer sandals that I bought on an inexplicable impulse earlier this year and I could look round the charity shops for a glittery top. Also I could get a manicure (near me there is a relatively inexpensive shape and polish) and see if I could get a pair of black button earrings the size of saucers.

Dear heart will also have wear something nice, but I wonder if it would be worth him renting a tux?

Little bear stamps his foot

Little bear has a little step stool, extremely inexpensive from Netto, guaranteed to a ridiculous weight and he stands on it in his room. Usually he stands at the window, but he moves the stool around to suit himself.

Yesterday the approved food came as a wonderful early surprise. Little bear had just woken up and I was talking at the gate, then when I heard the knock on the door. It was the usual delivery driver, and I heard little bear take up his station on the stool at the window. He was jumping up and down and generally enjoying himself.

Well, I was about to start the usual chit chat about the weather when I heard a thump and a wail. Little bear was a very unhappy bear very suddenly. I think all mums have an instinct, and this was not a 'dropped the toy' sort of wail. This was a 'REALLY not happy' wail. I just said to the delivery man, 'fake my signature' and shot upstairs!

Little bear had bounced on the step stool once too often and it had broken. I think little bear had landed with a thump because he was just sitting next to the wreckage, absolutely devastated. So I picked him up and gave him a cuddle and brought him downstairs and gave him some more cuddles. He wasn't hurt, but he was desperately upset.

The delivery man, bless him, had left the parcel inside the house and shut the door.

Later on, when little bear had been visiting next door and had behaved badly I took him sternly home and told him he could stay in his room until his Dad got in. It was a whole fifteen minutes away and I needed that break. However it was not to be, as he once again saw the wreckage of the stool and was inconsolable.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

New Washer!!!!

I have a new washer!!!

(delivered at 7.30am - would have been earlier but the (actually very nice) men got lost twenty yards from my house - not so !!!!)

Everything in the world is about to be washed.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Shocked at shopping

Ebay is my friend. Little bear is due to go to a birthday party. I thought I would have a little look, though far more inclined to send him in something he has already got (especially after extremely sensible advice on here!).

And especially when I saw one of the outfits on ebay. Now, this is genuinely an outfit for a little boy's sweater and pants, age 2-3. It was £120. I nearly fell off my chair. What!!!

That amount covers most of his clothes so far! And he has lots and lots and lots of clothes.

I don't think I could, even if I won the lottery I don't think I could pay £120 that would be too small within a few months and would probably get juice on anyway. On cashmere - who would make clothes for a little one out of cashmere? The world has gone mad.

Bad Hair Day

Little bear HATES baths. He hates them with passion and in detail, but the absolute worst bit is when his hair gets wet. It takes two of us to bath him, he fights for dear life and is absolutely piteous.

So when I needed to take a bottle of shampoo upstairs I told little bear that it was to wash his hair, thinking that would make it safe, and went out to shift the tubs with the tomato plants for the washer dryer delivery tomorrow. Dear heart has already disconnected the soon to be removed washer dryer before he went out.

Looking back, it was a mistake.

I was checking with Mr Nice Next Door, who knows these things, whether the washer dryer would be alright. Little bear was in the living room, and I could faintly hear the tv in the room he was in. Then little bear appeared at the window and me and Mr Nice Next Door looked. "I wonder what he has got in his hair." I said. "I'd go in now if I were you," he said and I sprinted inside, knowing that little bear is capable of anything.

Yes, he had tipped adult shampoo all over the front of his hair.

Well, I dragged him upstairs and I started to use a flannel to wash and wipe the hair, working backwards to keep the gunk away from his eyes. 'Look at all the bubbles!' I said rather manically, trying to distract him. It wasn't working and he was not a happy little bear.

So I put the shower on. Little bear has strenuously and vehemently objected to baths, but I thought I might have a chance with the shower. I got it to a nice temperature, let him feel the water, got him undressed to his goosebumps...

No, he was not having it, he was not tolerating it, it was not right, mother! He was scrambling desperately out of the bath (shower over bath arrangement) and so I let him out. He picked up the nappy I had just removed (no solids, thank goodness) and pushed it into my hand. "Back!" he said urgently. "Trousers!" Then without any further pause he put on his boops.

I wish I could express the picture of a miserable, slightly soggy, frothy haired (not got all the gunk out) little bear, stumping miserably into his room wearing nothing but a pair of welly boots and an unhappy expression. He went straight to his changing mat with an air of purpose and insisted, "Trousers!"

He is now drifting happily off to sleep after a comforting bottle and a good sing from mum. Tomorrow, when there are two of us, he is going to be bathed and no mercy. I may need reinforcements.

Bad day

Trying very hard to be good today. Little bear has only finally allowed himself to get dressed, has refused to eat nice cereal or nice toast and got talc everywhere as he put his old boops on which I had filled with talc for pong disposal.

He is having a nap now, and I hope to be able to manage a little walk this afternoon. Little bear seems to have a bit more energy.

The only trouble is, I don't have any energy, I am having a really bad day and I am also in a lot of pain from the neuralgia in my legs (that's what the dr called it, I have given up!). I need to try and think of something good for little bear to do, that I can cope with. At the very least a toddle to the newsagent should help.

Then I need to get the enthusiasm up to clear a path through the overgrown honeysuckle for the delivery men tomorrow and clear space in the kitchen. All I want to do is just crawl away into a hole.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Little bear receives an invitation

Little bear has received an invitation to a little girl's birthday party. It is a Pink invitation, with Disney princesses on. It is someone in his nursery class, who I have dim recollections of having seen.

It is the first invitation of that sort we have received, and I looked at it as if it would bite. I can't really refuse, as it so good for little bear, and he is invited to attend a nearby soft play place, with date and time, RSVP.

Well, of course I will RSVP saying thank you very much of course little bear will come. Then I will obtain an inexpensive present, wrap it in pink paper with a pink bow, include a pink, and probably expensively Disney, card and then work out what little bear is to wear.

Most of little bear's clothes have come from ebay. This to me has been a perfect solution until today. He plays in his clothes, they wash, I don't fret about stains or the clothes being worn to rags. Until now I have not been overly concerned about his lack of party wear. He no longer fits the cute little jeans and shirt and tie combo he wore for his Christening 18 months ago. As it is soft play I may sort through and dig out his nicest items.

Of course, I may pop in to BHS and see what they have on sale in the Scruffy Joe range which is extremely desirable for little bears. I don't think I could bring myself to pay full price for something that is really just for a party, but I could be talked into buying something on sale.

And what on earth do I buy for a three year old girl? Who has probably got everything and it is all pink. I am sure inspiration will strike in due course.

Shock stopped shopping

The Lakeland cleaning catalogue came today. I should arrive with a health warning, opening this could be bad for your wealth.

Actually, I didn't want anything from it. This has left me somewhat in a state of shock.

Of course, that didn't stop some other random purchases, but that's another story!

Less Spam

Last night I had 135 items in my junk mail box. Without any intervention from me it has dropped to 28. My spam automatically deletes after so many days.

I shall watch the numbers with interest.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

He said 'Yes'!

Little bear said, 'Yes'! Well, what I got was, 'yesyesyesyesyesyesyes...'

Regrettably we hadn't asked a question at this point. But he was emphatically sitting in his chair, at his little table, clearly expecting to eat something, but what? All I got was 'yesyesyesyesyesyes...' So then it was twenty questions. 'Do you want banana? Milk? Juice? Apple? Toast? Jam Sandwich (rather reluctantly)? All were met with a frustrated shake of the head and then, 'yesyesyesyesyesyesyes...'

In the end little bear had a second packet of raisins. However I was truly reminded that you need to be careful what you wish for!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Stopping the shopping

Before the washer dryer went west I was toying with the idea of the Tefal Jam maker. It is a lot of money, but a lot safer when it comes to boiling sugar. Little bear has just discovered the joys of a jam sandwich (thanks to nursery!), so jam is actually being consumed in this house. And it is a gadget. However, I decided to do some sums.

I would have to buy fruit and sugar, though of course I would re-use jars already in my possession and would make the discs by cutting out circles from greaseproof paper.

According to the Lakeland site, 1kg of fruit and 1kg of sugar makes around three and one half pounds of jam.

1 kg of basics strawberries at Mr S is £4 and 1kg of sugar (at the cheapest price) is 84p. Ignoring the electricity and lemon juice that is £4.84 for three and one half pounds of strawberry jam. But I can purchase very acceptable strawberry jam at 99p per pound from Mr S, or roughly £3.47 for three and one half pounds.

If I got access to a glut of cheap fruit, and if little bear became completely addicted to jam sandwiches, then perhaps I would revisit the idea of the jam maker.

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that I am getting a new washer dryer. The bad news is that dear heart broke the door.

The washer machine was not very good to start with, and to be perfectly frank I am glad to see the back of the dratted thing. However, I didn't want to pay out for one just at this minute.

I am well aware that I am in an extremely fortunate position. Having been in the position of having to wash king sized duvet covers in the bath, I am not dismissive of the luxury of getting a new washer dryer almost immediately. But I didn't want to get it now. Darn. And really I am sure with wire and superglue and bits of string I could have eked the dratted machine out a little longer. And I could have, theoretically, got just a washer except I usually lose the fight to get a king sized duvet on the rotary washing line. I only tumble socks and bedding. But a bottom of the line Hotpoint washer dryer is arriving Wednesday.

Poor dear heart. If you had seen the trepidation with which he approached me with the bad news, your heart would have bled for him. What could I say - stuff happens. But please send virtual hugs for him, I think he needs them.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Why do children do this?

Today there has been an exasperating breakthrough, one of many. I suppose I can expect more.

The first time I really noticed these exasperating breakthroughs was the 'point to the nose' issue. Since he was tiny and I was playing with him on the changing mat I have pointed to various bits of him and named them - nose, eyes, hair, knee... I used to point to his nose and say 'nose', then point to my nose and say 'nose' etc. As he grew a little older I would ask him to point to various bits - including his nose. I got The Look that said very clearly that he knew where his nose was, I knew he knew where his nose was and that he was not going to be bothered going through that rigmarole, thank you so much.

Then he watched 'In The Night Garden' and when the Tombliboos (sp?) touched their noses, so did little bear. I was so pleased that he confirmed that he knew where his nose was, but why then!

Numbers are another case in point. I have sung counting songs to him, counted stairs and steps since he was born, counted toes, counted buttons - tried to be a stimulating mum. He could count before he watched the Numberjacks, but once he saw them that was when he really got going. Everything was counted (probably - on, doo, ee, door, pav, seeeees, pah, aaat, noine, DEN! I have no idea what has happened to seven).

And today little bear was sort of singing along with the Cubeez, or at least vaguely tuneful syllables were coming out when the Cubeez were singing. I have sung to him since he was born, and I have been singing along to CDs and tv to try and encourage him to join in, to no avail. When other children were singing together he just watched. However now that he has watched the Cubeez...

He has a lovely voice.

Please say yes

Little bear does not say yes. He says a lot of words now, including a very chirpy dismissive 'bye' but he does not say yes. If you ask him if he wants chocolate, he may try and grab, but he won't say yes.

He will say no, and give a shake of his head. Sometimes the no is doubtful, sometimes emphatic and often with a gorgeous smile.

At the moment I am also trying to get him to choose between two things. Usually it is something like juice or milk, or cereal or toast. I just get The Look and he gets what I think is the best guess.

What is particularly irritating is that I am sure he understands what I say, I am confident that if he really wanted to say something he would. He just finds mother amusing.

Young Ones

After I dropped little bear off at nursery yesterday, I went into town. This is the first time I have left him at nursery and been more than five hundred yards away. I was feeling a little low, but was immensely cheered up by a group of youngsters in their mid to late teens busking. They had amps and guitars and a drum kit and were playing, of all things, Move It. Many years ago I was quite sweet on Cliff Richard so I know that the song that they were playing was released in 1958. Probably when their grandparents were youngsters. It made me smile for that as well as the tune. Of course, it is now out of copyright, so that is quite good as well.

Then a bit later on I saw a bar welcoming soldiers back and offering 20% off on production of the Forces ID card. Years ago that would never have been seen. I was really touched. I think our Armed Forces do desperately difficult jobs in dreadful circumstances. I may not agree with war, but I will never fail to support those sent.

I am not sure if I have correctly quoted Kipling, but I think this quote is more or less right, and very insightful. "It's 'Tommy this' and 'Tommy that' and 'chuck him out, the brute', but it's 'hero of his country' when the guns begin to shoot."

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Thinking about shopping

I love getting my shopping delivered. I don't get the grief dragging little bear around the supermarket or trying to lug lots of stuff home from the supermarket. £6.50, the maximum Mr Sainsbury charges, is less than it would cost for two shopping trips. to any of the major supermarkets near here. Because I have been silly about getting out it has also released so much anxiety.

Now that I am getting better and little bear is going to nursery twice a week, I am re-evaluating. When I drop him off at nursery once a week I could pop to the butchers a little further up (inexpensive, friendly and lovely stuff!). I already buy bread and a lot of sandwich meat locally. I could also pop to Makro a lot more, picking up such goodies as white vinegar.

I think I will keep getting the delivery, for the fresh fruit and veggies and the squash/pop/flavoured water. However I think I really need to look again at how and what I am cooking.


I have just had a delivery from Mr Sainsbury. It was one of the nice drivers, and we could have a chat. He joked that he was looking round for the rest of my order.

I had a think. Normally there are gallons of squash/pop/flavoured water/juice. But we had either a stockpile or I had decided to cut out a particular drink. So there were no bottles. I order a pack of 54 nappies two weeks out of three, and this week wasn't one of them. We don't get cat food from Sainsbury any more as evil cat gets special diet stuff. Darling father isn't visiting until next month so no alcohol. The freezer is bursting, I could barely fit in the pack of grills and the oven chips (looking to cut those down). We do not need any tins - I have sorted through the tin cupboard and good grief! We don't need any goodies, we have not got through the approved food we ordered nearly a month ago. Last week I ordered 10 packs of basics baby wipes (half price) so I am unlikely to need any more this side of All Saints Day.

So, two bags of fruit and veg, some butter and yoghurts and some dolphin friendly tuna in water for evil cat, together with a pack of baked beans. If there hadn't been an offer on parazone wipes (noted in my new price book) then I don't think I would have made the cutoff for reduced delivery.

I think that this is a Good Sign.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Stopping the Shopping

I have decided to set yet more yarn as my target to stay off ebay.

I am really humbled by Hester's situation, we are in a better position, but I cannot keep frittering away money. I have seen some yarn with silk, relatively inexepensive, and that is what I will treat myself with if I can stay away from ebay until we get back from holiday (sort of nearly almost a month).

I may end up with a pile of yarn spilling out of the house and down the street, but at least it has proved effective in the past.

Monday, 10 August 2009


Little bear has a favourite teddy. Well, a panda, called (so originally) Pandy. When I was pregnant I had a lot of trouble walking, and the only mobile I could get delivered was one with a panda face on, and it has all sort of escalated from there.

Pandy is from IKEA and is brilliant - it washes, it washes again and just keeps on going. It has eyes and nose sewn on, and is very durable and cuddly. I would recommend IKEA soft toys to anyone, and they are remarkably inexpensive.

When we realised that Pandy was a big success we returned to IKEA to get a substitute so that Pandy could be washed, while still being on duty. They had stopped doing them! This was not good! So I went on ebay (my friend) and we managed to obtain a total of four pandas, one of which has been run over, several have had very, very close encounters with juice or chocolate and only one, after over two years of sterling service, is on the way out.

Due to a combination of circumstances, little bear has been wandering around with two IKEA pandas and a small TY panda (it has all got a bit out of hand). Pandys are regularly taken downstairs 'to wash their face' and rotated on duty.

Now, when little bear goes to nursery a certain rule is followed. We put on coats and reins and shoes. Mum gets the bag that has his change of clothing in and then little bear chooses one, and only one, toy that he can take with him. It is always a pandy, and there have been some very heated debates where I have insisted (and to my surprise, won!) that he only takes one pandy with him. The nursery are happy for him to take the toy, I leave him with it, when I pick him up pandy is always in the bag with his spare clothes, and he always glows with joy when I take it out of the bag and give it to him to carry home, Christopher Robin style.

Except today. Darling uncle spent a lot of money and bought him Ratatouille - the cuddly rat from the film. It is gorgeous, and little bear has decided to become very fond of it. Today Ratatouille (Tootoo according to little bear) went to nursery with him - he has been promoted to a pandy.

Black toadstools

I walked past the funeral parlour today and they had mowed the lawn and the toadstools had gone. I was quite disappointed, I had been looking forward to seeing them, but perhaps it is for the best. It is a bit macabre.

I shall be keeping an eye out and post if more appear - it is just so curious.

Another afternoon without little bear

Little bear has been going to nursery for about six weeks now, and he is enjoying it. I don't mention the 'n' word until after he has eaten something as otherwise I have no chance. Also, I am so proud, he is actually parting with his boops and wearing the expensive Clarks shoes to nursery.

Today Nice Mrs Next Door came with me, as the nursery will not allow anyone to pick up little bear who they have not been introduced to, which I am very keen on. After the problems trying to deal with swine flu, dear heart and little bear at nursery I knew I needed a fall back.

I don't often get to chat to Nice Mrs Next Door as she is usually inside and her husband is usually outside fixing a car and I chat to him, with little bear. I really must call round more often - she is a lovely lady and so kind.


The latest rumours on the street are that the local council are planning to adopt it and make is less suitable for lunar surface training. I believe the astronauts trained in Iceland, but the surface of our street is extremely challenging and I am sure an excellent preparation.

Nice Mr Next Door knows someone at the council (he is the sort of useful person who knows lots and lots of people in very useful places) and apparently they are going to strip down the road, put in kerbs and drains and generally make it look respectable. It is certainly going to be a lot less challenging for the local children on bikes.

It is also going to seriously impact Nice Mr Next Door and his ability to earn by fixing cars when none can be parked in the street. I also am a little concerned about where dear heart will park our car. It is not very new and not particularly 'flash' but compared to local conditions it is quite new and quite flash and I much prefer it parked outside our house, thank you.

There is no confirmation in writing and I think we ought to be at least have letters giving us a chance to object. I will certainly be objecting if we are charged for this!

All this because Her Three Doors Down kicked up a fuss about a parking space and then decided that she was going to 'prove' she was right. She is going to be complaining bitterly when she can't park her own car. Mind you, I am not sure who she will be complaining to as no-one in the street is talking to her!


I have bought some more books. I shouldn't have, but I did. I am almost tempted not to confess to dear heart but to hide them, and when he sees them on the shelf say, 'oh, that old thing!' as if I had been illicitly buying clothes. Clothes are not my downfall.

Dear heart's auntie has a serious clothes habit. Her husband wanted to put a shirt away, but the wardrobes in their room were full of auntie's clothes. As were the wardrobes of the sons (away at uni) and the wardrobe on the landing. I believe there was a Talk.

Here the sin is books, and we have shelf after shelf of them. I don't often get a chance to read them either. However I have purchased Food in Medieval Britain, Medieval Scandinavia and The Good Wife's Guide, the latter is a guide written by an elderly husband for his young wife in Paris, around the fourteenth century. I am not sure I will be following the recipes, though I may post some, as the one I opened at random included a recipe for a chicken coulis that included grinding the bones of the chicken and adding them back to the chicken! Not entirely sure about that.

I feel at such a loose end, I don't quite know what to do with myself, apart from worrying about dear heart who is struggling after this dratted swine flu. I think there is a possibility that I may read a book.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Evil cat's narrow escape

The title is, of course, misleading. Evil cat tried to escape by slipping through a gap in the gate. She glided through easily, barely ruffling her fur, but it was quite sad. The gap is, by my measurement, three inches wide. This is after putting weight back on. I am so often fooled by the tiger attitude I so often forget that she is barely big enough for the pair of gloves I keep threatening to turn her into.

On the bright side, her eyes are doing so much better and her attitude is still strikingly malevolent, so it could be worse.

Of course, evil cat had only gone a few inches outside the gate to try and out stare a parked car, so I am not really worried about her straying.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Theme gardens

I regularly walk past an undertakers on my way to a newsagents. Regrettably this does not engender thoughts of mortality and serious contemplation on the brevity of existence. I am usually thinking about the gossip, or little bear, or whether that car is going to slow down before it hits the traffic lights - normal stuff, but less likely to have a moral uplift.

A few days ago, however, after I had marvelled at the number of hips on their wild roses, I noticed some toadstools on their lawn.

I am not very good at toadstools. I buy mushrooms from the supermarket. I just about recognise the red toadstools with white dots. However, these toadstools were quite small but definitely black. They are real toadstools - I have watched them grow and wither, but I can't help feel that having black toadstools on the lawn of a funeral parlour is good practice. I think it perhaps doesn't set the dignified and compassionate tone that I am sure that the funeral parlour would like to set.

I am also confident that quite a few Goths would love to have black toadstools on their lawn and would happily transplant any available.

Well, I don't feel up to suggesting to the funeral parlour that they should sell them on ebay. Perhaps I ought to do a late night swoop - black toadstools, from a lawn of a funeral parlour, gathered at midnight in clandestine conditions. I wouldn't really do that, but I can imagine that there would be a (very odd and specialised) market out there.

Almost Stopping the Shopping

I popped in to our local pharmacy to get a prescription. On their counter was a huge temptation. Dettox hand wash, antibacterial, reduced from £1.99 to 50p. Apparently it was past the sell by date. There were half a dozen bottles on the counter.

How can soap go past a sell by date?

I bought one. This is not entirely brilliant because as soon as the current hand wash had run out I had planned to use basics shower gel instead (in an inexpensive but elegant pump dispenser, which I already possess) It would still be cheaper than the Dettox at 50p per bottle.

But it is good, because the Dettox looks really nice and (the bit I am most proud of) I only bought one! I seem to always be washing my hands - after changes, calls of nature, before food preparation, after mop ups etc, but the hand wash keeps going on and on. If I had bought the instinctive half dozen bottles I would have still been using it, no doubt, until after the Olympics.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Just hold this please

Our stairs between the living room and the first floor are very steep, quite narrow and have no handrail (waiting to be put up). The stairs down from the living room to the kitchen are even steeper and also have no handrail. The stairs from the first floor to the top rooms are very steep and have nasty cut outs and twists.

Little bear has now reached the stage where he walks down the stairs between his room and the living room by himself. Of course it is the rule that mum or dad go first, but then he stumps down the stairs in his boots. Going up he is frequently faster than me and I only catch up half way through the Benny Hill chase around the spare room.

Now little bear is developing more of an imagination and more interaction with his toys, he wants particular toys around more of the time. So now when we are getting geared to go upstairs I am finding him collecting a toy rat or two, a teddy or three, a book and a truck. Then he happily hands them to me with a 'just hold this please' look and waits expectantly for me to lug the dratted stuff all the way downstairs. Or upstairs.

It is very hard for me to stand there, my arms full of what little bear seems to think is necessary and say, 'No, I am not taking weirdy pandy downstairs'. (panda from Japan donated by darling uncle). Or, 'If you want the rat downstairs you will have to carry it yourself'. Or, 'That book (electronic, noisy, Bob the Builder book) is a downstairs toy, you cannot have it upstairs'. I have been woken up at very silly hours because little bear has rolled onto an interactive book which has started playing theme tunes. I did not appreciate it and neither did little bear.

Then off we will go, me laden with all the necessary, soon to be ignored toys and little bear stumping up or down the stairs with a grin.

Sleep that knits up (or not)

Little bear is having an afternoon nap. It is desperately needed. He woke up in the sort of mood where I say, right - upstairs to nap! When I finally dragged him upstairs he needed no coaxing and didn't even do the Benny Hill chase round the spare bedroom. He played rather listlessly with a rubber duck while I brushed his teeth and then happily wandered into his room without the second Benny Hill chase around the spare bedroom.

Of course he didn't go to sleep. He may have looked so exhausted I thought he was going to pass out on the stairs but that did not stop him playing for around an hour. It sounded like demolition work, with lots of chunks of concrete being thrown around.

Now he is asleep. I would love to nap as well, but I just can't dratted sleep in the dratted day!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Not a horror movie

As far as I can tell, there is no intruder in our house, not even a mouse.

I'm quite relieved. I am confident that evil cat would have squared up to any human intruder until bribed with tuna, but I don't think she has even seen a mouse.


Little bear is at nursery, dear heart is at work for the first time this week, evil cat is downstairs. I am alone in the room - and I heard a noise over the monitor upstairs.

I really don't have the nerve to go and look. I know I am being silly. Finding kids playing up or a burglar is one thing - but what if it is a mouse?

I shall send evil cat up there first. She may be useless against mice but I am confident she could sort out any burglars.

Little bear in clink

I feel v poorly today. Dear heart has gone back to work for a half day, so I am sitting on my own feeling desperately poorly. Obviously not too poorly to type.

Poor little bear has had some time drawing and colouring and now I have put him up in his room. Poor lad, in a warm, safe room (no witch hazel!) with plenty of toys and books. And what sounds like a vivid imagination and a cast of thousands. He is shrieking and laughing and I am wondering if he has a feather in his nappy.

Poor little mite is shut up there because that is what I can cope with. Soon I shall go and make sandwiches for lunch and then go and change him, dress him and stagger down the road to nursery. Dear heart can pick him up.

I feel really bad that little bear is confined to quarters, but as he is having a marvellous time from the sound of it and it is all that I can cope with, I am letting it be.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Sad Dream

Last night I dreamt we were looking for houses and while we were being shown one that was a bit fancy we noticed that another one was for sale. It was £70k, and in an ideal location. Now, I am pretty sure it needed rewiring and central heating. I am confident it needed new windows. It definitely needed new carpets to replace the elderly dark mustard and new wallpaper to replace the flower sprigs on the walls. It was an odd shape, with a down stairs bathroom, ideal for darling father, on its own in a garden with a mowed lawn and a jungle like shrubbery. None of the floors were on any level, they were stepping up or down. All the rooms were odd shapes and there were corridors zig zagging through the house to all the funny nooks and corners. Stairs were steep and turned corners. It was stone built and had open fires. The kitchen had a brown 70s feel that really needed to be replaced.

I wanted it so much, I could have cried when I woke up. It was exactly the sort of place I could love, make snug, make calm. It even had a balcony, but without a guard rail and in my dream me and dear heart just looked at each other and agreed that on no account must little bear be allowed near it. I even remember the name of the house.

I feel so low. I loathe the place I am in, and I am likely to die here. I cannot see any way to get free. I felt almost as if I had a sight of paradise. It has haunted me all day.

Lucky black cat

I frequently have my path crossed by a black cat. The cat in question is pure black and is evil cat's gentleman caller, Oscar. Oscar likes to pop in on the street, look around, check out how things are going. Also I suspect the mouse count is better. However he crosses a hugely busy dual carriageway from the home of the daughter of the Nice Next Door neighbours to here. He obviously thinks it is worth it.

I was really struck yesterday what a handsome devil he was. Now, Oscar obviously is well aware of it as he struts along the street, but he really does look wickedly good. He turned to me to give me the full benefit of his golden stare and I was impressed. He is a 'done' tom and not unduly large but his face is that of a panther. It was so striking, the beautiful eyes, the square muzzle and the aristocratic bearing. Having seen the size a tom can get to, I sometimes wonder if the sightings of big cats are due to the close kinship of the feline tribe. If Oscar had just been a little larger I would have had doubts about him being a domestic cat.

Evil cat was upstairs asleep and so missed her gentleman caller. She is actually a very small tabby, but her attitude is certainly up there with the Beast of Bodmin.

Little bear is feeling better

Little bear is two and one half and still in nappies. I am sure that to many that makes me a Bad Mother, but I am waiting until he can clearly tell me when he needs a poo, and at the moment his speech is still a bit erratic. In fact, waiting another six months seems fine to me so that he can have a clearer understanding of what is going on.

However, he is still in nappies and we have a former biscuit box that contains wipes, nappy cream, bags and witch hazel. I have recently started wiping his legs with witch hazel, because you will not believe (unless you have also had an adventurous toddler boy) how bruised his shins are getting.

Today dear heart and I sent little bear to his room. He was sitting there looking exhausted, and dear heart and I were exhausted. Little bear was coaxed, cuddled and marched upstairs. We relaxed. Until we heard a dreadful wail...

Well, we shot upstairs and little bear was beside himself, but at first we could not tell why. Then I noticed that the nappy box was still in his room and the witch hazel no longer had a top on it! I shot over and frantically started reading the back of the bottle for warnings while dear heart sniffed little bear's mouth to see if he had drank any.

Little bear is fine. As far as we can reconstruct his actions he carefully took the lid of the witch hazel, took the bottle across the room, put a splash on his chest of drawers, took the bottle back to the nappy box and then became distressed because he couldn't find the top. This all fits with no smell of witch hazel around his mouth, only a small amount of liquid missing from the bottle and this amount could be accounted for on the top of the chest of drawers. I have absolutely no idea why he decided to do this, but I am desperately reassured that he is feeling better.

I have not been able to google anything about witch hazel being poisonous, and it is not in my 'Wordsworths Guide to Poisons and Antidotes' but I think I shall have to restructure when and how I treat little bear's bruises.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Poorly Little Bear

Little bear is not well. The green nose has dried up (thank goodness) but he is not his normal cheerful self. In fact, he is very low. He is spending lots of time just sitting around, mainly on me, and not really wanting to do anything. He has been a bit warm to the touch (actually it has been like a lovely hot water bottle on my lap!) and he is not really interested in food. Well, if it has chocolate he could force it down. There have also been some isolated pimple type things on his arms and legs, which I have provisionally called heat bumps.

Today I was concerned enough to call the doctor. Little bear had dropped a pencil, and instead of looking at me expectantly and starting the usual ten minute battle of who would pick it up, he burst into tears. Little bear hardly ever cries. I never know what to do. This time I gave an intensive cuddle and called the dr.

There was not a space for him to squidge in, the drs were rushed off their feet. So one of the nice drs, Dr G who is lovely, called me after surgery and took the details. Probably a virus, nothing to worry about, was his verdict.

I have spent a lot of the day cuddling him and trying to stop him bursting into tears, plus plenty of the baby nurofen, but I was heartened by something this evening. Little bear chased evil cat all round the room. Normally I give her an escape route, but she was moving at a trot rather than a maddened dash and when she crouched under a chair little bear was shrieking with delight and very gently and tentatively touching her. Then she would trot off to somewhere else and he would run happily shrieking after her.

Tomorrow evil cat gets tuna.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Stop the Shop!

I am slipping seriously with the shopping. I have just bought some dvds for little bear. Now, I can justify spending less than £12 on three dvds (inclusive) for him. I found a dvd that darling uncle bought him randomly when he was six months old and I played it for him. It is the Cubeez, which are animated cubes designed to appeal to one to four year olds. They play games and illustrate shapes and colours. They tell 'jokes' - what is yellow and goes click? A ball point banana.

Little bear loves these Cubeez. His latest word is 'again' and he is very clear - he will watch the dvd again, mother, if you do not mind, thank you so much. Classic FM, Ceebeebies, Numberjacks - they all pale into insignificance when confronted with the awesome splendour that is four coloured cubes jumping up and down and asking what is green and goes camping? (a boy sprout).

It could be worse. Dear heart's neice had a 'thing' for Timmy Mallett and I am not sure that I would have survived that.

Fortunately I was outbid on a bundle of clothes. Little bear does not need clothes. He has tumbled heaps of clothes, drawers full of them, ironing baskets full of them - he will be clothed until he reaches the next size. Probably at the end of September at the earliest! He is not deficient in clothes, or toys, or dvds or anything. I need to stop the shopping.

I am desperately searching for something to set as my goal to have for staying off ebay, but nothing has done that so far. I need to have a long think.


Someone, I think in the USA, has the same initial and surname as I have.

I base this supposition on my junk mail box. Normally the content is around 15-20 entries, but today it stands at 123. Most of which include a name beginning with the same letter as mine - eg Sonia. Hello, Sonia, would you like information on weight loss? Many have a transatlantic flavour such as 'Canadian meds'.

I assume that someone, somewhere, has entered my account name in a random or accidental way into a box that is sold to spammers. I shall watch the post count with interest.