Sunday, 31 October 2010

Don't panic!!!!

New keyboard, old one bit the dust yesterday, half way through putting darling father's lottery account on. I can type, but as soon as I get to odd punctuation I am adrift as the layout is slightly different and the keyboard is curved and not straight. I shall be saying some rude words when I can't find the 'home' key.

50,000 words, starting tomorrow, but I won't start that until I have finished 'The Forgotten Village'.

I am feeling a little challenged.

Goods inward

Darling father came home from the sale with an assortment of goodies, fortunately most of them consumables.

And then we went to OH's sister. Well, little bear was soooooo good! He said please and thank you, he sat nicely, he ate nicely, he chatted, he charmed them... And came back with lots of sweeties, goodies, and little bits and pieces. I got the impression that he could have just asked for anything, as it was he came back with a huge inflatable bat. Just because they thought he may like it. I would like to add that little bear was not scared of anything including a singing frankenstein, a shuffling grim reaper and a 'floating' head that scared the life out of me.

OH's sister had put so much effort into it. There were decorations, lovely food, fuss for little bear - I felt a bit ashamed that I hadn't planned anything like it.

OH may be planning on doing a tip run today, but it is likely to be garden rubbish and the overflow from not having our bins emptied last week. The council have changed bin collection times and I think we got a little lost in the shuffle. I called it in, but didn't really stress about it. With so many rats around (despite Oscar's best efforts) it isn't nice, however, so OH may be able to take some of the less smelly bits.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Clutterbust fail

Darling father has helped sort out the stalls for the Methodist fair tomorrow.

He came back with six large whisky glasses, an electronic human weighing scale and a huge electronic helicopter for little bear.


On the same day as darling uncle decided he would buy a shedload of comics for little bear - all with 'goodies' (aka plastic tat) on the front.


Never mind, upward and onward. I think charting what is coming in and what is going out is a good thing. At least it is a help to focus.

Operation Clutterbust 2

Pre-sorted but now out of the house...

Four swing bin liners full of toys, four carrier bags of books.

Darling father is helping with the Methodist sale tomorrow on the bookstore, and he is now helping set up. I have left them to it, I am not getting entangled as I don't have the energy to help my own house let along anyone else's at the moment.

So, off to do ironing. I will feel a lot better if I can get that lot sorted.

(I have a 25% off voucher for the Works. Dare I use it?)

Not fair

Yesterday I felt I had been hit by a truck. I felt so completely drained, exhausted, flattened, I could barely move out of my chair.

I have done nothing to warrant this. Apparently it would fit with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but I am loathe to ascribe everything to a potential diagnosis. I am so fed up, I could cry. Also the ankle whose ligament I tore in January, that is swollen and painful.

So low. Still, I can scrape up a crumb of comfort. I hadn't properly sorted socks etc for years, and I scraped every bit of underwear together and washed and dried it over Tuesday and Wednesday and yesterday I spent pairing socks. Identifying the different underwear for OH and darling father was a bit of a challenge, but otherwise I was impressed with myself. Little bear 'helped' a bit. So that is something.

More Clutter

OH's sister rang yesterday. We are going trick or treating there on Saturday, the house is decorated with Halloween themes etc.

It is really nice of her to invite little bear. It is great that she wants him to enjoy himself. But I ended up buying a costume for him (£5 from Matalan, it was on sale) and a pumpkin sort of bag thingy which he can have the fruit lollies out at his auntie's house and not before.

I'll need to keep the costume as it will be fine for next year (skeletal pirate) and I think little bear will not part willingly with the pumpkin bag type thingy as he is still passionately attached to the pumpkin bag/helmet of two years ago.

So two items in. Sigh.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Clutterbust foreshadowed

Ian - breadmaker already gone, with a load of other stuff. I seemed to have been building up to Operation Clutterbust for a while. And there is an open invitation to mooch round the charity shops of Headingley any time - though not with little bear.

As little bear has been devouring yogurt by the gallon, I am resurrecting the yogurt maker. And his interest in popcorn is saving the popcorn maker. I am always using my Remoska and Slow Cooker anyway. Some things stay.

I think things that I am using cannot be defined as clutter. I had already got rid of a load of stuff to the charity shop which were potential projects.

On another note. I had bought some cushion covers to stuff with unravelled jumpers (fantastic comfort) and then darling father pointed out that he had a heap of cushions and cushion covers. Hmm. I shall be taking on a load of items from darling father, and I don't want him to feel that he has nothing that is of worth. I need to plan better.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Inadvertant Clutterbust

I had bought, from ebay of course, a rather splendid blue pottery dish with plenty of holes in to use as a fruit bowl. It was almost working, there was a better chance of fruit being eaten if it was in a bowl upstairs rather than in the kitchen.

Operation Clutterbust is closely related to the dirty nature of my house. It will be so much easier to hoover if I could find the floor. As I am pursuing that, I went to wipe an accumulation of dust from the fireplace (normally hidden by fireguard, little bear's chair in front of it and a multitude of rubbish on the top). It is said that from dust we come and to dust we shall return. I don't know if someone was coming or going (as per the old joke) but there was enough to build a rugby player.

Alas, when I moved the fireguard the fruit bowl fell and smashed, pottery fragments everywhere.

Now, do I pursue keeping fruit easily available upstairs? Do I fossick and find a similar bowl to use? Or do I use it as an excuse to take little bear to Headingley? Headingley may have cricket and rugby, but it also has an eclectic collection of charity shops. Some of them aren't chain store clones and you can have an enjoyable rummage. That is extremely tempting.

Do you know, what I think I will do is do nothing. If it proves better to get a fruit bowl then I will look in my cupboards first. If I do have to purchase one, then I will consider one that might be more likely to bounce.


I am about to hang out my third lot of washing today - what is happening with the weather? At the weekend I was ready to put away my clothes line as it was no longer the right time of year to try line drying. Today I am washing like crazy as it is brilliant drying weather, sunny and breezy.

I am hunting round for washing. Of course, the pile of ironing currently taller than little bear will then need attacking. Sigh. Dirty washing is just ironing waiting to happen.

Clutterbusting before the campaign declared

I think the idea of Operation Clutterbust has been simmering for a while. It is not so long that I cleared out the cupboard under the sink, removed all the hazardous chemicals and relocated them, but importantly, I got rid of anything I didn't want or use and I put all of the same thing in the same place so that I wouldn't buy any more of the produce until I actually needed to. Okay there was a bit of a blip when there was an offer on Vanish in Approved Foods but I'm not perfect. I use Vanish for all sorts, including soaking stubborn pans and toilet bowls.

I have started thinking about the stuff that is lingering around. I have looked at things and thought, well, one day I might actually get round to doing something, but that day hasn't happened for several years, so let's just walk away from the idea and get rid/use differently.

Today has been another little bit of a nudge. I moved the heap of dirty clothes and found some material. I had struggled to find curtains for little bear's room. I bought the material (matching the thread perfectly which is impressive as material and thread both came from ebay) and made one curtain. Then I caved and bought some curtains which don't fit and are best left scrunched on the windowsill overnight or they hang over the radiator.

Our cushions are in desperate need of replacing/renovating. It is now economically appropriate to make rather than buy. I had just ordered a stack of cushion covers from ebay (very inexpensive) to fill with unravelled sweaters to be sourced from the next jumble sale or charity shop bargain bit. Machine knitted sweaters are best for this. I also have this stack of material. Should I hang on to the material to make further cushions, as we could do with plenty more? Hmm.

If they are not done before Christmas the material goes. That should focus my mind.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Cost of shopping

I am begrudgingly doing a Tesco shop for our self catering holiday. I really don't like the Tesco layout, and I'm finding it hard to work out what we need.

The thing I am finding hardest, however, is the cost. It was only last May I did a similar shop and it has gone up by around £30. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Mr S doesn't deliver there, but I think I may investigate whether Mr A may visit. It can't be worse that Tesco.

Working on Clutterbusting philosophy

This is a work in progress...

Ian - your suggestion of storage is great, but no matter how fantastic IKEA is (and I am a huge fan) I think what I actually want is less stuff. You know the size of my kitchen, and the walk in cupboard which has racking everywhere the freezer isn't and it is still stuffed. Okay, I can't keep electrical things in the cupboard as it gets a bit damp, but there is still huge space - and it is stuffed.

Mind you, I have never quite got sorted after I lost the two huge four drawer filing cabinets. I really miss them, and I can't use their replacement in the same sort of way - it is a broken bureau. I suppose I could look for other ones, but they cost £2.50 each (two pounds and fifty pence) and I would hate to spend real money to replace them.

The biggest sticking point is that, for storage solutions to work, I need to actually put stuff away in them. This is a challenge.

Ian - keep the suggestions coming, they help me think!

Darling Father is a clutterbuster

He has scraped the surface dirt from large parts of the living room. I am not counting the bin bag full of rubbish that he dug out in the total, but I am counting the extra bin bag when I joined in and sorted through a load of little bear's ex comics, ex sticker books (the cheapie ones, not the good ones and not the ones with stickers still intact) and tat. I suspect there are many more bin bags where that came from.

So, I am thinking about clutterbusting (I am good at the thinking part). I think what I need is a place for everything, which isn't the case and hasn't been for several years, the house got turned upside down when we had double glazing when I was seven months pregnant and I never really managed to catch up.

And things where I can't find a home for have to go out, and if I can't bear to part with them then I have to rearrange things so I have a home for them but something else goes out.


Little bear attended the dentist today. I was so grateful, OH gave us a lift as it was a really early appointment and it is an awkward place to get to. Little bear was so good - he didn't need any work (despite his best efforts with juice and sugary things) and he was so well behaved that he got an extra balloon, which he lost on the bus.

Then we went into town. Little bear was absolutely bereft - the merry go round wasn't working. However he came home with a yoyo, a flashing car and a new watch so it wasn't a dead loss. The old watch had broken last night and he was very unhappy as he likes to wear a watch. He can't tell the time, but that's not the point. This was an uber inexpensive one with a plastic strap and a picture of a train. The old one was a Tatty Teddy one that darling father purchased. Not only was the strap looking extremely second hand but the watch glass was opaque through severe working. The pin that held the strap on the watch went, and I took the opportunity to say, let's replace. He got the yoyo as out of nowhere he suddenly declared his heart's desire was for a yoyo and he couldn't live without one. He is managing to almost yoyo it, better than I can manage, though darling father has helped. The car was demonstrated at the market stall where we got the yoyo. It flashes and if you shake it the thing runs by itself.

A bit of a clutterbust fail really. The old watch is going out but we are still up a yoyo and a flashing car. Sigh.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Clutterbust sabotage

Yesterday morning little bear was awake and playing happily. In fact, I could have probably left him for a half hour more before getting him. He was playing with a beanie panda and a clockwork mouse and the panda was definitely the superhero and the mouse lived in an abacus, and it was all quite detailed.

What was remarkable, for me, is that he must have fossicked for these toys, which I haven't seen for months, before playing with them as his favourite toys EVER. He loves these toys, he really loves them and even though he hasn't played with the panda at least for over a year, I can't possibly get rid of it because he LOVES it.

Last night I tiptoed into his room, removed the book from his chest (I think he fell asleep mid 'read') and pulled the duvet over him. As he stirred I handed him Ratatouille and he just smiled so happily and hugged it, eyes shut, with so much love, I just melted. Ratatouille is a very safe toy.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Coloured bin bags

As you might expect, there are a multitude of different waste bags in our house. There are the recycled black bin bags that were on offer - now almost finished. There are black bin bags very kindly donated by dear brother's friend. There is a depleted stock of Sainsbury basics swing bin and pedal bin bags which had been on sale - they are great for small jobs. There are one or two rolls of Mr S basics sandwich bags which I find much more effective for nappy bags than those sold for the purpose. I have also just invested in a huge stock of freezer bags from approved food - I get through enough and I expect to get through more.

The most useful so far, however, are the coloured swing bin and pedal bin bags I bought in vast quantities from approved food. They are scented and not the strongest, but they have some really good uses. They are used, without fail, for 'things that do not belong here/need to be moved in bulk/have nowhere to live/need to go to the clothes bank/need to go to the charity shop or sale or whatever'. In short, they are used to put things in that are not rubbish and are easily distinguised from the black bin sacks that go into the wheelie bin. At some point I will have all the rolls in one place, so I will know if I need some more. I have plenty at the moment, but if I see them in Approved Food again I think I would indulge, they are so useful.

Though hopefully, at the end of Operation Clutterbust, I will have a lot less need for them. Operation Clutterbust does, however, apply. I still have a stash of really good swing bin liners bought from Costco about four or five years ago. I use a black bin sack in my now bigger kitchen bin and don't bother or use carrier bags in my other bins. I am sure that they will find a use at some point, however.

Why teabags

Everyone has their little ways. I like to keep teabags sealed up. Once the packet is opened I like to keep them either in a tin or, in a rarely tasted version (eg lemon and ginger) I will tie them in a plastic bag.

So yesterday I went to make a pot of tea for darling father, and the tin I usually use is empty. So I got to the pack of Welsh tea (don't get me started, but it was a gift from darling uncle and I actually like the taste of it). The foil pack was open and it looked like just one bag had been taken out. The same for another two packs. I also disposed of some pg tips that had been open for a few years and some tetley that had come back with us from holiday in May (Operation Clutterbust).

So, how had the packs opened? OH wouldn't, he knows where the tin is. Darling father always has his tea made - so what had happened? Well the net result was more room in the tea and coffee cupboard, which is due for a clear out anyway. It is, however, a little bit of a mystery.


Fingers crossed for okay weather. Darling Father has taken charge of the garden, and it looks fantastic. However he ordered a quantity of bedding plants from the local florist at the end of the street (lovely people who enjoy a good natter).

So there are now over 100 bedding plants that need to be found homes - wallflowers, carnations, pansies and cyclamen.

I'm leaving him to it, but I hope he doesn't get too worn down. He needs the outlet for his energy, but I worry.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Clutter Fail

I found a huge bag of pencils and pens for little bear that I had hidden in darling father's room to be and he immediately claimed them. And someone kindly gave him a box of stickle bricks, which he is enjoying so much it would almost be a sin not to get him some more - almost!

And darling father has brought in the Hawkins Bazaar catalogue and it is absolutely stuffed with lovely things for little bear.

must - stay - strong.

Operation Clutterbust 2

On my counter, between the sink, the boiler and the first sort of pillar dividing up the counters, are 57 bottles. All are two litre, except for the whisky, the vodka and the home made rosemary vinegar. The rest are cola, lemonade, sparkling water and flavoured water.

Lemonade - darling father prefers 7up, he first had it in Egypt in the 1950s. Currently it is on offer at £1 per bottle, so I have been stocking up.

Cola - a severe weakness of mine. This leads directly to the sparkly water which I hoped to switch to, but gives me odd headaches.

Flavoured water - OH does not drink enough, but he will drink this. I keep buying it in the hope he will drink/take it in to work and drink. I haven't bought any for several weeks, but there is a huge stock as I factored a normal person taking in to work/drinking and bought half a dozen bottles a few weeks on the run. Currently he is drinking fruit teas with honey.

I don't care what is on offer now, minimum is being bought. However with the drinking habits of the household this is never going to be totally run down, I am just going to have to manage the backlog.

Anyway, two more binbags out of darling father's room to be, and a non working heater.

I also found a stack of towels. All my towels in use are microfibre, but I found these old cotton ones. I am relatively competent with washing, so they are in reasonable nick albeit nearly 20 years old. I bought good ones. They are going to be lodged in the boot of OH's car. I do not think second hand towels would sell in a charity shop, and while they are in reasonable nick they are far from perfect. On the other hand, in muddy, wet, icy or snowy weather they could be useful and I am sure that they will be of help now and again on a day out.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Little bear and OH are both at home, poorly. OH really enjoyed the home made soup (diminishing mound of veggies) but little bear was having none of it. He insisted on cold tinned tomato soup, with particular reference to the cold.

I had poured half a tin into a bowl, and was putting cling film over a bowl with the other half in, when my hands slipped.

Tomato soup has a blast radius. It went everywhere, under the table, over the cupboards, everywhere. And that includes me, and I was wearing a top that doesn't wash well at hot temperatures.

I was so unimpressed.

Not clutterbust

I checked over my online grocery order. Do we really need this? Am I absolutely certain I would use that? Then I went to add some dried parsley and Schwarz jars are three for the price of two on herbs.

There are two issues. One is that there are few herbs sold online at Sainsbury, one of the few downsides. Three for the price of two brings the Schwarz jars almost to the range of reasonable as well. Instincts are telling me to top up. I have the remains of fresh herbs in the garden as well as a flourishing rosemary bush. However I like the dried herbs particularly for casseroles and when I am roasting veg. Morrisons do a very reasonable own brand range, but I am not getting out much at the moment. Instincts are telling me to top up.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Operation Clutterbust 1

I have just emptied the drawers where I sitting. It is a work in progress, but I now have hopes of ever being able to find sellotape. Together with the wastepaper basket, not over large, I have filled my first bin sack.

Regrettably little bear was there when I found a tin full of stamps - the ones that you use to make pictures. I am surprised that the pads last so long. Also, with little bear's assistance, there is glitter all over the carpet. But you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

Feeling full

I have just had a Mr S delivery. My kitchen is full. It is so full that I wince when I see it. Every cupboard is full. Every surface is full. There are packs of savoury rice, naan bread, tins, jars, boxes, all stacked. An Approved Food order is on its way, and the walk in cupboard, which acts as a kitchen overflow, is full. The fridge is full, the freezer is full and there is a mound of veggies on one counter, spilling over from a trug that I use for onions etc.

I am feeling stressed and tired, which leads to yarn shopping, with a kilo more on the way to me. There is a mound of yarn and half finished projects behind my chair. Thinking as clearly as I can remember, stashed in the junk room, which is supposed to be turning into my room, is enough yarn to fill three four drawer full sized filing cabinets - at least. I may be underestimating. Plus there is the 'how to crochet' magazine which I have collected religiously and only opened the first one. Plus a stack of yarn in darling father's room, which is full and needs emptying for his stuff.

Then there is little bear's room. Little bear will be four a few days after Christmas. He will not part with any toys, and he is not particularly rough on his toys so few get broken to throw away. He has mounds of toys, heaps of them. He has at least two hefty storage boxes filled (or should be filled - permanent work in progress) with toy cars. There are sticker books, there are cuddly toys - all indispensable. There is a heap of plastic tat from magazines. Downstairs, for safety, is an assortment of poster paints, brushes, paper and pens/pencils/crayons. In fact, there is a box twelve inches by six inches by four inches deep full almost to the brim with colouring implements.

The desk I am sitting at is filled with 'stuff'. There is stuff piled in corners, stuff under beds, a heap of old clothes from little bear, bedding, towels in the dining room.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I declare Operation Clutterbust

Novel in November

I have signed up to write 50,000 words in November. Definitely doable.

However (with me there is always a 'however') we are going on holiday for seven days in the middle of November.

I feel quite spendthrift, this is our second holiday this year. OH really needs it, work is so busy and he needs the break before Christmas. And it is a cut price, self catering, UK holiday (in a place with an open fire!). I am so looking forward to it.

But after working out the chances for me to write, I am going to have to aim for around five thousand words per day minimum. That is a bit more of a challenge. Even with touch typing at a respectable speed, it is a hefty chunk. I am determined to do this though and I am not going to wimp out.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

And I only took my eyes off him for a moment

I was trying to get a weekly shop that included 2 litres of whisky (darling father should be back at the weekend) down to a reasonable level of cost.

That was when little bear found the black shoe polish that darling father had explained was important to keep shoes nice, taken it (quietly) upstairs and applied it to his blue plastic wellington boots and his white sheets.

Sometimes I wonder how he keeps so safe. Sometimes I wonder that I am still functional despite regular loss of sanity. Often I wonder at the things darling father sees fit to demonstrate to little bear.


Little bear has his little ways. Last night was an ample demonstration. He has taken to having a pencil behind his ear, like one of his favourite characters on Disney - Handy Manny. It has to be a particular pencil, however, half length hb, red with a gilt coloured end and a rubber. Last night he remembered his necessity and trotted downstairs to find it. He brought it up, then he lost his pencil in his room.

Little bear's room is a significant size, about four metres square and CRAMMED with toys. Not only are there hundreds of books, there are tubs full of cars (he loves his toy cars), all the soft toys that he has ever owned that I have been unable to prune and all the tat that comes free with children's magazines that he can't bear to part with, not even the broken bits. He is even refusing to allow me to throw away slippers that are too small for him - though I manage some discreet thinning now and again. A pencil less than four inches long in that mess makes a needle in the haystack look really obvious, especially as he had been playing and there was an ample distribution of all his 'things'.

There was a complete meltdown. Little bear had to find his pencil. OH and I abandoned the attempt after a while as it was just not getting us anywhere and little bear was shattered. I wish you could have seen him physically trying to stop me and OH leaving, as 'I can't find my pencil on myself'.

So this morning I went up to his room (after a lot of urging from little bear) with bin sacks (forlorn hope) and wipes and the first thing I did was pick up a hand knitted blanket to fold it. The pencil fell out.

I managed to pull out the bed, hoover under it, clear out a lot of stuff and actually discreetly get rid of some stuff from under the bed. Then I abandoned the attempt. There is just so much stuff, and he is instantly, passionately attached to things that he hasn't touched in years because he is worried it may go. Rightly worried, to be honest. I shall have another go when he is not here.

It does raise ethical issues. Little bear is nearly four, he should have some say in his life, but on the other hand he is clinging on to broken bits and stuff he hardly knows is there. I don't want to get rid of stuff that he does enjoy, I want him to be happy, but I think I need to be ruthless on this.

Monday, 18 October 2010


Little bear loves honey. He really loves honey - he wants honey with everything.

Approved Food have 3kg of honey for £4.99. It may not be there when I look again, as you know, what they have is what they have and when it's gone it's gone.

Little bear LOVES honey and I have been using plenty in the lemsips and hot drinks that OH has been needing.

3kg is a lot of honey. Also, it works out at around half the price of the Sainsbury's basics. Actually possibly it is two thirds of the price - Mr S Basics is 81p for 340g.

We have gone through so much honey in the last few weeks. But will this craze last?

Sigh. You need advanced arithmetics and probability skills to work out what to do with the shopping sometimes.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Sayings that cause problems.

Little bear is not particularly scared of spiders. He was inspecting one the other night as it sat on his wall. He didn't show any desire to touch it, but he was more curious than anything.

Then as we kissed him goodnight OH said, 'night night, sleep tight and mind the bugs don't bite.' I could see little bear tense.
'I don't want spider in my room.' he said nervously.
'Oh, he's not in his bedroom.' I said breezily. 'I've just seen him in the bathroom washing his feet.'

Little bear did sleep well that night, and I definitely am careful about the sayings I use to him now.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Noticing things

Sometimes I wonder how much other people notice. They don't seem to comment and OH isn't really focused on the same things. I wonder how many people have noticed the deadly nightshade growing next to the shop formally known as chemist? Probably not many or someone round here would probably have tried to smoke it. We picked up pretty quickly that the bees flying around our garden had taken residence in the chimney in May which is pretty early (if I understand correctly) for a swarm. Her three doors down didn't realise until September that she had four wasps nests in her cavity wall.

Well, what I have noticed is that the branches of the hawthorns, elderberries and rowans are being pulled down by the weight of their berries. A cold winter no doubt this year. And someone else has noticed these as all the apples from the apple tree near the bus stop and the crab apples from near the school that were within picking reach have gone.

But what really sparked this off was when we came back from the part yesterday was seeing a house with a tiny front garden, around two or three feet deep - definitely no more - with a self seeded sycamore and rowan in. The branches were up against the window. It can't be rocket science to think that this is not a good thing, surely. And no matter what, surely they could have at least managed to pour boiling water on the seedlings. Even I have managed that in the past. Or at least get a carer or relative or friend or someone to look at getting trees that are growing into your foundations removed.


Oscar, aka Scarface Claw, may have left his bits at the vets, he may be living in a house with a variable number of adults, another cat, two puppies and visited by young children and his back end may now be almost bald due to depression plucking, but his life has consolations.

Yesterday I saw him swagger across the road with something limp, grey and ratlike in his mouth, en route to drop at a human's feet for a really good reaction. Sometimes a cat's life can be really good.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Tonight OH raved about a home made, thickened vegetable soup. I softened onion, carrot and celery, added a handful of red lentils, stirred in a tbs of flour and let it cook before adding vegetable stock and some Worcestershire sauce. I enjoyed it a great deal as well.

Little bear refused to even touch it. Instead he had cold, tinned tomato soup. It was either that or he went to bed hungry.

And yes, it was him who insisted on the soup being cold.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Things you know you will regret.

I have just told little bear that he can play with the 'underwater car' in the bathroom sink.

I shall go up with a mop later.


I have a pattern that will make a brilliant knitted gift for a friend. The yarn arrived today and looks better than the picture. I really want to start, it is calling to me.

I only have one half finished sweater and two half finished scarfs next to my chair, plus a multitude of half finished projects upstairs (including two nearly finished blankets.

I don't think I'll manage to stay strong on this one.

I hate sweets

I am not sure about keeping the gate across little bear's door now he is getting older, but it had its benefits this morning.

At 7am I heard little bear pad across to the gate. I am only half awake. 'Muuuuuummy. I love sweets.'
'Well, when Daddy goes to work then we can go downstairs, have breakfast and then you can have your sweets.'

We always have the same routine - I go to the bathroom, get dressed, get little bear changed, then downstairs, always after OH goes to work so that OH gets a clear run at a hard time of the morning.

'Muuuuuuummy. I getting hungrier.' 'Well, we can have breakfast after Daddy goes to work.' 'I don't like breakfast. I getting hungrier.' 'Well, what do you want?' 'I love sweets.' 'You can have sweets after breakfast. Would you like cereal?' 'I don't like cereal - not at all!' Pause. 'Muuuuummy. I getting hungrier.' 'Well, we can have breakfast after Daddy goes to work.' 'I don't like breakfast. I getting hungrier.' 'Well, what do you want?' 'I love sweets.' 'You can have sweets after breakfast. Would you like porridge?' 'I don't like porridge - not at all!' Pause. 'Muuuuuummy. I getting hungrier.' And repeat.

OH went to work at 8am. The usual time. That little bear knows.

The sweets in question are a small bag with a 10p mix which he would have had if he hadn't run into the road last night. So we managed to compromise on flapjack (I was pretty desperate) then the sweets.

Yesterday I received an Approved Food Order with bags of white chocolate animals in. They are still ready to go downstairs. Little bear looked at me like a Victorian match seller and pointed to the bag. 'I want them.'

I just looked at him for a long minute. There were so many things wrong with this I didn't know where to start. In the end I decided to just stick to 'If you can be good for an hour you can have ONE.'

This hour was reset when he refused to let evil cat upstairs even after I mentioned that good boys let cats upstairs. He then started to nudge evil cat with his foot. I was so cross. Little bear has been told time and time again that he has to be gentle with animals. Yes, it was evil cat who savaged my hand yesterday (you could almost see the scratch), and he was nudging pretty gently, but that was not the point!

Please can this phase pass soon!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Little bear continues

Little bear was an Olympic standard whiner this morning but apparently was good at nursery so I went with him to the newsagents and got two 10p mixes - one for tonight, one for tomorrow, to try and convey the idea of not just scarfing everything at once.

However, he was on his scooter. To get home we had to cross a very busy road - it is known to be ridiculously busy and with weird traffic lights at one end that make it difficult to cross there, a very steep curve at the other end and not much distance between the two. So we stopped at the edge of the road, about half way along to give us the best chance of seeing oncoming traffic.

Little bear did not want me to carry his scooter across the road. I was firm on this, as he dawdles, gets distracted and is slower and less deft with the scooter than if I carry it. The road is incredibly busy and some of the cars really do belt round the corners, and they are on you before you know it. I couldn't take the risk. He was not happy with this idea, I allow him to go over certain roads with the scooter, why not this?

So I am standing there, missing lots of gaps in the traffic (tea time rush hour) trying to explain to little bear that it is just because of safety. Then he can scoot his scooter. To my absolute horror he just strides out into the road - I grab him just before a car whizzes past! So no sweets tonight.

Woe, woe and thrice woe, it wasn't fair, he was being good now. In fact he repeatedly told me that he wanted to be good. I told him I was pleased to hear it but he still wasn't getting sweets tonight.

He managed a few stray pieces of chip before wailing that he had eaten his tea, he wanted his sweets. OH and I stayed firm.

Then the bedtime battle began. We managed to get him into pyjamas, teeth brushed, stories read. Then he told us that he needed ear drops and medsin. 'You don't need medicine.' I said. 'You're hardly coughing at all.' Little bear looked at me soulfully and managed quite a convincing cough. As as far as I can tell there are no actual active ingredients in the cough medicine, just a soothing syrup, I decided to go with it.

So I went to fetch the ear drops and the mandatory honey, telling OH what I was doing. Little bear asked what mandatreat meant. I said that in this case it was honey. 'I no like honey,' little bear said, completely ignoring the last few honey-addicted weeks. 'I love sweets.'

No sweets, OH and I remained firm. There was a wailing, a gnashing of teeth and a splendid stampy tantrum before he conceded that he would tolerate some honey.

He also managed one of the most screaming and shouting tantrums he has managed so far (with subsequent coughing - medsin not working he told us) because he got upset he couldn't reach the light to switch it off by himself. OH and I stood firm, but he had a huge cuddle after and a few extra songs. He was silent within ten minutes of us going downstairs.

I feel like I have battle fatigue.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Little bear is pushing his luck

I have no idea about the attraction of the sofa to sleep on, but little bear wanted to sleep there tonight because his ears were hurting - that magically healed when the prospect of ear drops (previously enjoyed) was brought out.

Please let this phase go soon!

Little bear has been dreaming

Little bear woke me at 2.30 this morning. He wanted to sleep on the sofa as his bed was too exciting.

I can't wait for this phase to pass.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Own up!

Who has been boasting about little bear's sleep? He does sleep really, really well - unless someone mentions how good he is at sleeping... Last night was another broken sleep. It was heartbreaking because his cough woke him up but didn't wake him all the way up so he was sort of whimpering in his sleep. It took me half an hour to get him in a state to take some cough medicine (which more or less seemed to help) and the obligatory honey. Then he didn't want me to leave, but he was completely exhausted and wasn't sleeping when I was there, so I was playing patience on my mobile to keep myself awake while I listened for him.

And I woke up with little bear standing next to me with his hands over his face - he was hiding!

He is much better this morning, but doing ghost impressions. Fingers crossed he has a good sleep tonight.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Little bear is coughing

I am getting v wit's endish about little bear. He has a tickly cough in the back of his throat and I am dithering about the doctors. It doesn't seem to be anywhere near his chest, he has just finished a course of antibiotics and I suspect strongly that it is just the last flag waving of the tonsillitis. I don't want to get a reputation for being too fussy, it can be hard to get a dr to take me seriously anyway without always attending.

On the other hand, the cough is driving him nuts (and me) and it woke him up at 1.30am. I suspect he wouldn't have woken up if he had had his duvet over him, but that's another story. We have just come back from the park and he is coughing and coughing and coughing. But apart from being a bit tired he seems fine in himself.

I am a professional-standard ditherer.

And he fell off his scooter on the way back so I was carrying it for most of the way. Still, at least his appetite seems to be holding up, especially if there is honey involved.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Soap Opera Street

Morgan - I would love a woodburner. There are loads of old pallets and bits of wood around, and less than 200 yards away is a place that sells logs. Darling father always has at least one newspaper per day which can be squelched and scrunched to logs and what with all the packing and cardboard that comes in this house it would be extremely inexpensive to run, I think. It would really heat the bones of the house, the chimney goes through two bedrooms and little bear and evil cat would adore it. I just don't think we can afford it this year. Sigh.

Yesterday I went out for darling father's paper. As I was wandering along in a little world of my own on the way back the lady from next door but one flew out. 'Do you see this black eye he's given me? Do you see it?' She demanded. Apparently there had been some unacceptable comings and goings and when she objected he had hit her.

I just stood there doing a goldfish imitation as she let the man know in forthright terms what she thought of him. Before I could gather my wits enough to say, 'do you want me to call anyone?' she had stormed inside. By the time I had got in she had come out again and was being very animated on the phone in the street. I told darling father that the police would be here in twenty minutes, but was only fifteen before they turned up.

Today she had someone official looking in a van calling. I have no idea, and actually I am not sure I want to know.

I hope she is going to be okay.

Monday, 4 October 2010

It is that time again

It is that time of year again. In the style of a magazine article, you can tell it is autumn when...

The kitchen and bathroom windows are definitely shut at night, no question.
The inner porch door is locked at tea time.
I don't need to water the garden.
I can wear the rattiest tshirts because they are covered in sweaters.
I start thinking of casseroles.
I am starting to act on my Christmas List.
I wake up entirely under the duvet.
On bus rides I enjoy the leaves instead of the flowers that we pass.
Spiders proliferate
Evil cat is intimate with the heaters.

I love this time of year, I think of it as a snuggle time, before winter really sets in, not too cold but cold enough to wrap up warm.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Mighty Hunter

Evil cat is extremely frustrated. She keeps going back to where she last saw the spider. The spider of course is long gone.

That does not daunt her, she is keeping the hunt going. It gives her an interest and the spider is probably sniggering safely from the next room. However this was of the ilk of the one that didn't go down the plughole and is larger than the mice we had at the beginning of the year. I am quite glad she didn't catch it as she may have come second.

Lurgies still present

Little bear turns into demon child from hell when he has calpol. Last night he did a very good impression of a demon child from hell even though he hadn't had calpol, but had had the dratted penicillin. I wonder if there are common ingredients? As it is, I was just about at the end of my tether for most of the day, and actually shouted at little bear. Normally I don't shout because it doesn't work, and it didn't work this time either, but I was trying to convey to him that mother was at the end of her rope and that he needed to calm down. Eventually I got through to him, but he was being wilful which he isn't usually.

I now have upgraded my lurgy from worse than a cold to not quite as bad as flu, so I am suffering acute self pity and sniffles. Little bear is, thankfully, much better, though becoming harder to dose with said penicillin. He has more energy to resist and I have less energy to force the issue.

And I've just bid on some unnecessary yarn on ebay (which is absolutely gorgeous, a real bargain but I HAVE NO ROOM!)