Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The writing continues

14,640 words so far.

I hope to put up the first bit in a few days, when I think I have introduced all the main characters. I am not exactly sure how it is going to end however so the bit I am putting up may change in time.

When I have got it out in the open I will post a link.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Also, does anyone have any idea how to stop little bear stomping towards evil cat and roaring. She is baffled and, to be completely honest, so am I. I am considering making a tape saying, 'leave that poor old cat alone' to be triggered as evil cat wanders under a chair or behind a sofa (little bear isn't chasing with speed or malice, just stomps).

According to the doctor (cough triggered by 'big' tonsils, but nothing infected and will pass soon) little bear's tantrums are normal. I am not happy about this as less than five minutes later I was standing next to a dual carriageway with little bear screaming 'no mummy, please' and sinking despairingly to the floor as I tried to coax him in the direction of home. Many cars were treated to the show, and I'm surprised no-one called the police. Fifteen minutes later he was good as gold, fascinated by the worms on the path. Actually, now he is no longer taking calpol, he has the tantrums but they are more spaced out and shorter.

Peg Bracken Rocks!

I have just read my last post.


I can perfectly understand if no-one read to the end. However I did want to say that Peg Bracken is the most amazing cookery writer, for non-cooks. She is really funny and entertaining and I cannot recommend her enough. Getting hold of her books, however, is a bit of a challenge.

I just love her description of the way kitchens work, and the bitter reality of keeping the food coming.

I love cook books

I have just skim read 'The Cookbook that Changed the World'. Hmm.

It is about the division between modern and medieval cookery, and the premise of the book is that the medieval cookery was too closely linked with subversive occult and esoteric theories for the authorities of the emerging Early Modern States, so they sponsored an alternate type of cookery. Hmm.

I am not entirely sure, although it makes a very good argument. It traces the development from medieval cookery with lots of saffron and spices to what it referred to as the Salt/acid taste of modern cookery with sugar relegated to the dessert.

On the other hand, if you come across a copy of 'I hate to cook book' by Peg Bracken at a reasonable price then grab it with both hands, elbowing little old ladies out of the way if necessary. The recipes are not the best bit, but the observations within the recipes. She points out that ideas for left over cake are silly, as left over cake is like left over whiskey and if they didn't like it the first time they are not going to be impressed second time around. She also makes a very vital observation that vitamins need to be covered up by calories, a very sage observation in the sixties when this was written. She has also written 'I hate to housekeep' which is equally witty. I believe 'I hate to cook book' is due to be republished, and I cannot wait!

So that's why...

Little bear has a mound of toys in the living room and his room. Heaps and heaps overflow everywhere. I need to do a serious cull, when able.

Darling uncle rang this morning. It is a regular call whenever he goes to Tescos. He heads to the toy and children's book section, and then rings and asks whether little bear would like this...or this....or this...

Today I managed to head off a lot of his suggestions, but sometimes I give in because darling uncle loves buying 'stuff' for little bear. And the heaps get ever higher.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

I can't keep up lol

Darling father is on his way home. But not before one of the local ladies (elderly) checked out his marital status.

This is where little bear gets it from.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Now showing non-unseasonal photo of evil cat.

My profile pic now shows a pic of a predecessor of evil cat, malevolent cat.

Little bear continues well, though with tantrums. Today made me laugh. We came home from the nursery and little bear told me that his tummy hurt - needs treats from sandwich shop...

It took nearly ten minutes to go less than twenty yards, past lots of people that know both myself and little bear.

Darling father has attempted to repair sagging paper on ceiling. He now is aiming to strip the paper from the ceiling and skim... He is 79 next birthday. Tomorrow is the attack on the garden. I am apprehensive, as little bear is darling father's apprentice.

However due to various circumstances my word count for story stands at 12019 and I just want to introduce two more characters before I put the first part of the rough draft up. So I am feeling tired, but positive.

This morning I cleared a bin bag of rubbish from little bear's room and three swing bin bags of toys he no longer notices. I have done a quarter of his room.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Darling father continues poorly.

Little bear is settling in to a routine of tantrums, which are not being appreciated.

Dear heart needs hugs.

Little bear was putting his knife into his mouth. I told him twice that he should not put the knife in his mouth, explained why and that I would take it off him if he persisted. Finally I said, 'Take the knife out of your mouth or lose it.' 'Lose it.' replied little bear defiantly sticking the knife further in his mouth.

Then he created an unholy fuss when I took the knife from him. However he seems inclined to call what he perceives as a bluff, and he is getting very used to treats, as he had so many when we were trying to get him to take medicine that he now demands them as a right. 'Present' he demanded for twenty minutes tonight, with screams, tears and even a bite (for which he apologised, thank goodness).

I feel a bit tired.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Little bear improving

We had been giving little bear calpol, or generic calpol, in large quantities. However remembering that he had not reacted well in the past to a dose of calpol we switched to baby nurofen.

Little bear is a pleasure to be with once again.

It is quite alarming, the difference between his behaviour on calpol and the rest of the time. One big signal that dear heart noticed - little bear is once again quite chatty and happy to interact.

This does not mean that he is universally well behaved. Darn it, no! I was nearly in tears yesterday trying to get him to stay away from a hot iron while I tried to get him ready for nursery. But it is a totally different type of mischief.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Evil cat has a tiff

Evil cat was being particularly evil. She wanted to go OUT and I wasn't letting her, so she was giving me more grief than I could handle when I was trying to cut up cheese. So I shut her out in the garden until I finished.

Actually I wasn't finished when Nice Mr Next Door knocked to say that evil cat was trying to square up to Oscar, a huge black tom from next door. Apparently Oscar just walked into view and evil cat hissed like a pan boiling over and tried (unsuccessfully) to wallop him through the wrought iron gate.

Oscar walked away. Sensible chap - it is never worth boys fighting with girls because if girls fight fair you look like a bully and if they don't fight fair you are going to end up in considerable pain.

So the hope that I could get a middle aged cat to deter mice and keep evil cat company shrivels up.

'Five Minutes'

Darling father 'nipped out for five minutes, to pick up some pies' at 11.30am yesterday. Rolled in 5pm absolutely plastered, so plastered that he didn't have anything to drink while watching football! Apparently they do cheap mid day pints in the pub next to the shop that sells pies.

I am impressed that the pies made it home.

During his absence I had to take little bear to nursery, leaving darling father locked out, bring him back from nursery, leaving darling father locked out, and forgo a long awaited soak.

I need to get him his own keys.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

More than I can Chew?

I have a three kilo bacon Joint in the fridge.

I tend to be parsimonious with meat compared to veggies.

We are only feeding three adults and one child.


I realised how big the joint was when presented with it this evening. It shall be probably roasted whole. Then hot, cold, in a savoury crumble (v pleasant), stir fry, layer with apple & potato plus lunch time sandwiches. Any left over will be frozen in suitable chunks to bring out later for savoury crumble, stir fry, layer with apple and potato, stir up with cooked chicken etc...

I hope to get at least four main meals for four and another two for three in total out of a joint that cost me £11.13. And without going dippy on the extra ingredients.

Mr S delivers

Mr S's delivery was a later one than normal, due to getting appts with speech therapists through the post. I eventually cancelled it as little bear was too poorly, but it was too late to go back to my normal afternoon slot.

Perhaps that set the tone. First of all my payment didn't go through. That was my fault. I had enough to cover it in my a/c, but just to be safe I transferred some money in to cover the charge. Except in a moment of heightened dippyness I transferred the amount out instead. The person who rang me to try and sort it out was very patient with me.

Then they were late. We got a frantic call through from the driver about ten minutes before the end of his slot. He hadn't realised no-one had called us to let us know he was running late. Of course I wasn't too fussed. I allow a margin for error anyway, because stuff happens. It was good of them to call, I got a £10 voucher and they were a whole twenty minutes late. The driver looked so stressed, but was as happy as ever to help out. I had another dippy moment as I thought that there was more being delivered, but there wasn't. We had missed out on the bargain whiskey for darling father as well. Darn.

And then it turned out that they had charged the full price on an item that was on offer at half price. It was a HUGE joint of bacon, that should have been over £20, but at half price I considered a worthwhile investment. However while it was still good value at full price, I would certainly not have bought it. So I rang Mr S (on the Freephone number) and got an e-voucher for the difference within minutes. After speaking to a pleasant, competent man who joked about St Patrick's day.

I consider the service from Sainsbury's excellent. All the stuff that happened was just life, they kept me informed, they were pleasant. I am certainly planning on sticking with them.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Friday little bear was still peaky but bouncing off the walls, so we went to the local museum, where there is a stuffed panda. Little bear was well behaved on the bus, and okay in the cafe (two jellies!) but started getting giddy when we saw the mummy and was extremely giddy when we found the children's play area.

I took him into the shop to get a treat, looking really for something for dear heart. He decided he wanted a pen, but then refused to pay for it. I have never been so mortified in my life, I was hobbling up and down the stairs, which are lovely and sweeping as the museum is a former theatre. It took me nearly half an hour to get little bear to pay for the dratted pen, he was just being defiant. I can take some consolation that he only behaves so appallingly when he is poorly, and he is still looking v peaky.

Yesterday as I took a bin out to the bin little bear zipped pasteme and shot down the street. When I finally caught up with him and firmly insisted that he came home the tried to bite a chunk out of my hand! Mr Nice Next Door was shocked as he has never seen little bear behave like this. I just hope little bear feels better soon!

If you add to the extreme giddiness on Sunday when he ended up in his room for outright defiance, I think he has a long way to go before his next reward from the chart.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Little bear woke at 6.30am, I think he was having a nightmare about 'medsin' as he woke up crying and saying, 'not tasty'.

I am desperate for him to be better.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Darling father comes tomorrow - I hope. Posting may be erratic.


The battles with little bear continue. I was too tired to sleep last night, so I am exhausted.

He is at the lovely, active, short attention span, instant tantrum stage of a poorly child. Today he opened the door to the postman (eek! keys now out of reach at least temporarily), then he went out to play when evil cat was out and decided he wanted to go and search for Scarface Claw, a character from the Hairy Maclary books who is the toughest tom in town. He was carrying a torch and if he could have found a coil of rope I am sure it would have been slung over his shoulders. I needed a lot of kiddology to get him inside.

The battles for medsin have continued.

He insisted on cupcakes. I am so beaten down that I found myself going around the local shops at 8.30am looking for a shop that sold cupcakes. Why cupcakes? We also made some fairy cakes. He ate the top third of three and then got bored.

He is currently in his room as I sit hear, praying for a nap for him. He desperately needs it, but whether it will happen is another matter entirely.

Coca Cola Cake

I have tried making this from the Nigella book.

The new scales I had to get when little bear broke the old ones have the increments between grams smaller than the indicator, so the measurement is around about and more or less, not accurate. I hate that.

The temperature on the oven is always a bit hit and miss - I would probably find it easy to get used to a coal fired one after dealing with the whims of mine, so it is probably more or less at the right temperature.

And I didn't have the cake case she specified so I've put it in bun cases, more or less equivalent.

If it turns out okay it will be a miracle.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Little bear has taken some medsin

Calpol - no problem.

Penicillin - about an hour, tears, chases, bribery, yoghurt splashes, the whole kit and caboodle.

I feel like I have been in the washing machine on extra spin.

Too tired to go to bed - I need to iron a shirt for dear heart before I sleep, and I am soooooooooooo tiiiiiiiiired. And slightly ashamed to be complaining.

Running total

Well, so far...

Little bear is actually 15kg, which I think is good for his height and age. He does not seem plump to me.

The coca cola and vinegar did not work in the loo, I don't think that I let it sit long enough.

The half can of tomato soup is still in the fridge.

I can hear chocolate calling.


I don't have very good joints at the best of time, but I have worked out why my hips are so agonising.

On Monday I spent around an hour sitting cross legged on the floor at nursery waiting for dear heart with a little bear at 65kg sitting across my lap. Then in the hospital I had him on my lap for ages as the poor mite was not able to sit or stand. So the joints that aren't that good at the best of times were put under extra strain.

Now I know where it is from, the rest of it is just the tonsillitis that little bear has so I shall take some paracetamol and be fine. As long as I have a name for things I am happy.

Edited to add - little bear cannot possibly be 65kg. That was the figure I had in my head that dear heart told me. 6.5kg is more realistic, but I would just say he was heavy (and I didn't mind a bit)


Little bear is not hungry. This is apparently to be expected, but he is eating a yoghurt in installments.

I asked him about soup for lunch. He emphatically did not want soup for lunch, even if mum was having it. So I had the luxury of a whole tin of soup in my bowl.

Of course he wanted some soup - but not any of mum's out of mum's bowl. Instead I trudged downstairs to the kitchen to open a new tin of soup, half the tin in the fridge, mike the rest and trudged upstairs. Little bear ate quite a lot, and quite a bit of bread has gone in as well.

Now all I need to do is work out how to use the soup in tonight's meal. I am actually feeling quite virtuous as I have just put cola and vinegar down the loo in an attempt to clean it (terrified of little bear getting hold of chemical loo cleaner). Now I am planning to use up half a can of soup - somehow!


Little bear is much improved. After some truly dreadful episodes, dear heart cracked it. Little bear is taking his 'medsin' from an eggcup. More or less. With a lemonade chaser.

I, however, am struck by a vicious attack of hypochondria. I have lumps in my throat, which is sore. I am aching all over. It is painful to go up and down stairs or walk around. I am exhausted and coughing. The worst part is the acute attack of self pity.

There are so many people out there worse off than me, but I do confess to feeling guiltily wretched. Too many bits of me hurt.

The worst bit of all is that I struggle to play with little bear, who is now starting to regain his energy. Sigh.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

I have just spent a traumatic twenty minutes trying to give little bear antibiotics followed by a HUGE tantrum because I wouldn't give him the milky bar that was bribery for taking the medicine. However I checked and I realise I have no idea about the dose for the antibiotic and so until I can speak to someone that lets that off the hook.

This only leaves the calpol. To which little bear objects with venom.

I feel absolutely flattened and the day has barely begun. I also feel like a complete failure. I believe this is normal for mothers. It doesn't make it easier.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Little bear 'much better now'

Little bear was not looking unduly out of sorts, but perhaps a little tired when I dropped him off at nursery. Then at 4pm I got a phone call, he was running an extremely high temperature.

I dashed out, forgetting to do all sorts except lock the door, and raced to the nursery. Little bear was listless, pink cheeked and not happy. He felt poorly, and he wasn't happy. The nursery had taken his t shirt off and he was red hot.

A few weeks ago the nice dr had said that he had come close to admitting little bear due to the high temperature, and he was looking so poorly, so I called dear heart (who has been an absolute rock throughout all this) and we went to A&E.

A&E was extremely busy, but the wait was far worse as a very limp and tearful little bear sat on my lap as I sang through my repertoire very quietly. He was upset by the buzzers and he was flushed and uncomfortable. As soon as we were admitted we were told to get little bear down to his nappy. As a concession to his dignity we let him keep his socks on.

A very lovely doctor examined him. His heartbeat was a bit fast and he was very warm, although the temperature that the nursery had said had come out of nowhere was starting to slowly drop. He also found that little bear's tonsils were extremely sore and there was even evidence of pus. He wanted little bear to have some calpol and to give a urine sample. The doctor was surprised little bear was not potty trained. He was less surprised after hearing little bear's views on things.

So, there we were with a large beaker of blackcurrant, a small pot and little bear in just his socks. We tried running water in the basin. We coaxed half a pint of blackcurrant into little bear. We distracted and begged but to no avail. No matter how long I held the little cup under his dispenser, nothing came out - not a drop.

Little bear was feeling his position. 'Doesn't seem to be working' is a direct quote, as is 'use water instead' which made dear heart and myself giggle. Little bear also was keen on either dear heart or myself providing the sample. Eventually the attempt was abandoned, though we are fairly sure that he knows how to use a potty, in theory. He just refuses to put this into practice.

Little bear has now to have antibiotics four times a day for forty days. That is forty doses to be coaxed, bribed and even bullied into little bear. I am not sure that I can do this. Little bear has almost certainly been hiding his symptoms, with a regular mantra of 'much better now, no medsin, just vitamins in mouth.' He really does not want this medicine. But he has to have this - the dr thinks that this is an unusual case of bacterial tonsillitis and he needs to sort out the infection.

There was a very long wait after the dr abandoned the attempt to get a sample from little bear, and we had to wait for the water to mix up the antibiotics. Little bear, when he heard this, stated emphatically that 'Don't need water'.

When we tucked him into bed (10pm) his nappy was absolutely full of wee.

Sandwich stop

Monday mornings are starting to take shape again with the weather.

We get ready a bit earlier than we would for nursery (today was nearly a record at taking 1 hour to get little bear dressed, he was in a spraggly, giggly mood).

Then we go and choose a magazine from the local shop. Little bear likes to take his time over that.

Then we go and get a snack as the local Methodist have a coffee shop on a Monday morning. We had, between us, one bacon sandwich (mummy had it) and one scone (little bear licked the jam and butter off and ate some of it) and I had a mug of tea and he had some juice.

We sat next to the community policeman. Little bear was not so sure at first, but he was reconciled as he worked his way through the jam.

Then we came home. I am optimistic that little bear will have some sort of nutrition before we leave for nursery.

evil cat went to see the vet

Evil cat went back to the vet. Dear heart had to confess that we were outwitted when it came to the urine sample, so they had to get a sample with a needle.

Evil cat is much better. We have to watch for dehydration, and also that she is losing weight, as then her eyes sink, the eyelids turn in and she gets an irritation. We caught it early enough and there is no damage to the eyes.

Her kidneys are not the kidneys of a young cat, but are excellent for her age. Which is elderly.

She is currently fully attached to a cushion positioned under the radiator.

Junk mail folder

I am trying to thing of what I have put my email address on lately. My junk mail folder had been slowly dwindling but now it is up to 82.

One of the most prolific entries is from Jessie who many times sends me her pics. I dread to think.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Evil cat has an adventure

I thought Friday night was peaceful. No sign of evil cat all night, and freedom to knit.

9am Saturday morning and there was a polite knock on the door. Nice Mr Next Door was bringing round evil cat. She had been out all night - I think from when I took the bin out around 9pm, and she had found him as soon as he came out of his house.

I did not think that she would have survived a night outside, but I suspect she found a place to snuggle - he was only mildly damp and very annoyed. However I shall be double checking at night now, just in case.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Broken guttering, with a lovely big puddle right next to the wall.


Friday, 5 March 2010

I need to speed up

Little bear was faster than me getting down the stairs to the kitchen.

I caught him licking the butter out of the tub. We need a fridge lock.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Why oh why

There is some deep, desperate compulsion to always double up a recipe. I can't help it - even if I am doing it for the first time.

Today I had my first (and probably last) attempt at Nigella's damp chocolate loaf cake. I doubled it up - one for us and one for dear heart at work.

I do not recommend trying to cream together 750g of dark muscavado sugar with 450g of butter, no matter how softened. I am insane to try.

I have decided that I will not do this again without proper equipment. This includes a dishwasher.
The doctor has prescribed Timodine, which I believe is a type of steroid to be rubbed on thrice daily.

Little bear has been looking pale - he is tired. He is also in his room, hysterical, because I wouldn't let him take a choking hazard upstairs with him. I really hope he naps soon.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Worried about little bear

Poor child - the state of his bottom will be kept for posterity. (or as long as these blogs stay up).

Little bear is very bad. He is so sore and he is screaming when I change him. The drs appointment is tomorrow morning. The nursery staff have been very concerned and mentioned it to me very emphatically.

Today I think illustrates the problem. The molar is still coming through. He is obviously suffering from that. Thus I want to give him some baby nurofen to try and at least calm the temperature. This is bound to take the sting out of the nappy rash as well. I managed to coax him to take one quarter of a dose of baby nurofen, he was retching as I gave it to him. My brother was doing his best to help, but little bear was not convinced. Later nursery managed to give him another half dose. They emphasised how much he had cried when he was changed. I was devastated.

I am hoping that the doctor will help. When little bear was born they were quite strict that I should NOT take him in to a doctor for nappy rash, but I am doing everything I can think of and getting nowhere. The nursery are also stuck. It is a doctor I haven't seen before. I hope that they are sympathetic to little bear and that they can suggest what on earth I can do to get little bear to take medicine.

I need to get some energy

I have been neglecting little bear - obviously.

So far today he has found another container of baby powder and a tube of handcream (expensive, but a present) and has been creative with both. He has also managed to trample two satsumas into the dust mat (I have put a dust sheet under his little table, it looks like it should be composted). And he has had some cream out of some cream biscuits and the remains are generously scattered.

He has nursery this afternoon and I hope to repair the damage then.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Apologies for the poetry

I was inspired to write this by a pub sign of the Old Lion which looked very like evil cat.

I have lost a lot of the poetry I have written over the years and I thought this may be a safe place to keep this.

My Lion

My little lovely tabby is looking rather sweet
The elegant and tabby tail is curled around her feet
Expressionless she looks at me with bland and secret eyes
Assured the plate of sausages was dinner in disguise

I want to read the paper but my lap is occupied
A tabby cat is dozing so I've put my read aside
And though it's really painful as the claws are sinking in
The sound of cat contentment keeps me tickling her chin

It's as if a dozen devils are fighting on the floor
And a screwed up piece of paper is tossed from paw to paw
It's thrown, bit and fought and then chased across the stairs
Then the tabby runs in panic from a fright that isn't there

My cat lies soft in sunlight and her fur is golden bright
Her eyes are slits of slumber as she turns into the light
She stretches like a lion sprawled who drowses in the heat
And dreams of Serengeti mice are twitching at her feet

My tabby's meditating and her limbs are all tucked in
Her head is nodding forward as she draws herself within
And who knows if she meditates to the fire's gentle hum
Her focus will reward her and a lion she'll become.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Little bear Knows

First of all, little bear is teething AGAIN. He must have more teeth than a shark! But I spotted a back molar coming through this afternoon. Predictably it is accompanied by the horrific nappy rash. I suggested some 'medsin' ie baby nurofen to help. 'No medsin!' Little bear insisted.
'It's medicine for your mouth, not eye drops.' I tried to explain.
Little bear was adamant. 'No medsin.'

The bed time routine became a little surreal. First of all I had to calm a hysterical little bear with a promise that he would not have medicine. Then, as we were treated to little bear 'reading' Hairy McLary from Donaldson's Dairy we were treated to phrases like, 'Bottomley Potts covered spots. No medsin.'

Then we read the 'Rumpus at the Vet' as a collective effort. Little bear was naming the creatures in a crowded picture. 'Sheep,' he said.
'Where's the sheep?' dear heart asked.
Little bear pointed at a black poodle. 'Baa baa black sheep.' he explained.
Dear heart tried not to laugh. 'It's a poodle.' he said.

In a very short time some poor soul is going to have to try and teach little bear. They have my heartfelt sympathy.

Evil cat has been to the vet

Her eyes are being very gunky again, I am digging out huge chunks several times a day. She is also a bit quiet, a bit clingy. Having her and little bear cuddling together on my lap was unheard of, but wonderful.

She has eye drops now, to little bear's horror, and some isotonic chicken flavoured juice to rehydrate her and put on her food. She is not impressed by this isotonic food, but some is going in.

I confess to being a little worried.

She also has to give a urine sample. I am confident that after seven days she will have her paws completely crossed. She only extracts urine, she does not donate it. Last time she was held at the vets for nearly 48 hours and refused to co-operate. She had to be sedated. Dear heart has placed the clean litter tray with the obligatory white beads in, but I am on the look out for damp patches.

If I don't find them then I will be even more worried.

Little bear is very clear

Little bear does NOT like medicine. He does not approve. It took two of us to give him eye drops a few weeks ago, poor mite, and he has not forgotten the experience.

'Much better now,' he says regularly. 'No medicine, just vitamins in mouth'. Please note that the vitamins are defined by being put in the mouth - definitely NOT eye drops. The vitamins are Sainsburys crunchy ones, which he enjoys greatly and would probably eat by the handful if allowed.

Of evil cat's medicine he was very clear - 'Cat's medicine in drawer, just for Cat.' Little bear likes to be extremely specific - this medicine is not for him, it is for the cat and it is not allowed anywhere near him.