Saturday, 30 April 2011

Evil Cat is Doing Well

OH took evil cat to the vet this morning. He saw the young vet. When he started going there, nearly forty years ago, it was a small practice run out of a suburban house. When we started taking malevolent cat in 1990 it was growing and the 'young' vet was approaching middle age. Now it is a very large practice, with it's own cat and a sideline in holistic and alternative healing for animals and the 'young' vet is now a veteran and experienced in the ways of cats.

The 'young' vet takes no prisoners. Evil cat tries no trouble and stays put. She shuts up. I must add that the 'young' vet always manages to cuddle the cat while he examines them, and obviously knows and loves cats, but he won't take any nonsense. He is brilliant.

Evil cat has put on a small amount of weight, which is really good. The emphasis is to keep her eating even if she doesn't get her medicine in. She is getting old, and the accident was probably a symptom of old age and not infirmity. I am very much relieved.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Naughty little bear

Little bear is really not used to me being out of the house when he is there. In fact, I don't think he can remember any time apart from a quick dash to the shops. So he found it a little stressful.

However that does not excuse him. Little bear was playing in the garden with lbf, under the watchful eye of darling father. Lbf, I suspect, encouraged little bear, though I am not saying that out loud, and definitely not near little bear. Little bear ran away - all the way along the street, along the top on the busy main road and down the side again. Darling father chased him, but was unable to catch him. OH did catch him, was suitably shouty and confined him to his room until OH had calmed down.

And after the awful, mucky, dirty day I have had, when I went to change him into his pyjamas I found I had to do a quick clean up - he and lbf had been tipping potting compost down their trousers.

Lbf is an interesting friend for little bear, and I am sure that they will both be a bad influence on each other. I just don't want to try and guess how!

Darling uncle is getting better

Darling uncle is a lot better, I saw him in hospital. However, he is not well. He can't stand without assistance and his legs are a mass of bloody scabs. He looked pale and tired when I saw him, but he was more or less keeping up with the conversations.

So worried for him.

Hard Day

First of all - I thought Duchess Catherine looked lovely and so happy. So did her new husband. That is, when I caught up with the wedding news @ 7pm.

I had a broken night, little bear came downstairs at 2pm, then I was awake every hour putting a blanket back on him. Then darling brother came and picked me up @ 8am and I went to help sort out darling uncle's house.

I just cleaned in the bathroom. It needs further work. The big thing was the bath. It was filled to the brim with clothes, as darling uncle doesn't really have a place to dry clothes if it isn't fine weather, and he has really been too poorly to use his twin tub washing machine (he refuses an automatic). Dirty clothes are stacked in the bath and there is a bit of strata. He has been quite poorly with his eyes for some time, making washing clothes in a twin tub a problem.

Unfortunately he is also losing his hearing and didn't hear that over the cold weather the cold tap in the bath started running. What with one thing and another he didn't notice. So when I came to clear the bath I threw all the clothes away - with darling uncle's permission I hasten to add. They were mouldy. They were horrible. And what was worse, they had a huge crop of Jews Ear Mushrooms on them, some of the mushrooms were really big, four or five inches across. AND SOME OF THEM WERE ON A SWEATER THAT I HAD KNITTED HIM WITH CABLES AND EVERYTHING!

I also disposed of a sewing machine last used by by late grandmother who passed away in 1987. There was a teasmaid of similar vintage that went, and a lot of miscellaneous awfulness, including newspapers from 1997.

One thing that saddened me was getting rid of a towel rail of 1930s vintage, probably oak, a little bit deco. I loved it, but it was in mouldy pieces.

I suppose at least another 20 bin bags were added to a growing heap for when we get a skip.

And I wish I didn't notice things. The chimney not only has smoke coming out of the chimney pot on top, but also at the base of the brick stack where it meets the roof. New liner needed, along with plumbing, rewiring, redecorating, etc, etc, etc. I had the fire on to heat water. It was not effective at heating water, but at least it got the air moving and chased away some of the damp.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I really have no room - or sense!

On Sunday I went to Makro. It is a difficult place for me to walk to, although it is not far, and I rarely get there. However I went with one of my brothers to get cleaning supplies for darling uncle's house.

While I was there I couldn't help but add an item or two on my own account. I bought 10 litres of white vinegar, because it is the only way I can get it cheap enough to use as fabric conditioner, and I like my clothes not smelling of anything. Also, I like good perfume, and I would like to smell of that, not crushed opal or whatever ridiculous pong the fabric conditioner people have come up with.

I also bought five litres of washing up liquid. This is not so good. I have a stash from approved food. However it does not go off, and I am sure I will find a place for it - somewhere.

Seeing stars

I have found a site where you can play simple games online. It's taken me years to find something like that, I think I am a bit slow at this. But I play the simple 'three in a row' games when I am on hold for the hospital ward or trying to get through to the tv licensing or just trying to get my thoughts straight.

It is great at keeping me away from ebay and the supermarkets and all the lovely places I like to shop. However it does mean that every time I shut my eyes I see little blobs shunting around. I am not sure how good that is, but at least it is saving me money by keeping me away from temptation.

Also, I have a refund from ebay siting in my paypal account. What a temptation!


Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Having children affects the words you use

The receptionist at the vets sounded a bit bemused when I told her that the cat had done a poo. But if you are still locked in a battle of wills with a four year old who has Views, that is the word you use.

Evil cat has done a poo on the blanket on the chair. This is the first time since we got her on 30 August 1994 that she has done any soiling whatsoever. With all other things considered, I have booked her in the vet - again. I had heard her crying, and thought she would just be sick - again. She is very good at being sick, there has been cat vomit in all possible locations, but never any soiling. Now I am not sure what to think. Poor old girl.

Ben 10

Little bear loves Ben 10, he makes swishing and swooshing noises and the highlight of Easter was his Ben 10 Easter Egg. His friend at nursery loves Ben 10 and so does little bear.

He hasn't actually seen it.

I need to check it out myself, but my understanding is that little bear is a bit young for Ben 10, which seems to be a lot of fighting. I have enough contention as it is. But now I have the fun of trying to work out when little bear will actually be old enough, as I don't want him to be the only kid in the playground who hasn't actually seen it but on the other hand I don't want him watching things that aren't right. I'm liberal with tv watching, but I do like to keep an eye on exactly what he is indulging in.

The wind may change and there will be another fashionable one coming along, perhaps one with a little less violence. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Darling uncle continues poorly. I am finding it very upsetting, but there is nothing I can do. I am praying.

Mortified again

I didn't go with little bear and OH to my sister in law's house. My joints could not manage the steps they have. So little bear and OH trotted off to get his Easter Egg.

Except it wasn't just an Easter Egg. It was a Thomas breakfast set and Easter Egg, and some sweeties, and a dvd. And then he helped her go through her cupboards and added a few more bags of sweeties and a game which she happily gave him. And then - dear heaven - he asked whether they should just check upstairs!

I wish I could give examples of all his outright defiance for the last few days. I may well think of a few later. But he has been outrageous. Anything I have been saying to him seems to have just bounced off. I have got to find a way of getting him to actually hear me, or he could end up hurt. Yesterday it was the laptop lock cable he was swinging around. The conversation from my end went something like, 'Put that down please. Put that down please. Put that down please. Serves you right.' He wasn't really hurt, like I was terrified that he would be, but it was a nightmare trying to get the cable from him. Then he turned round as I was trying to get him dressed and announced, 'Abracadabra, mummy disappear!' I was unimpressed and said, 'I'm still here, now get your pyjama top off.' but then had to work through the 'I don't want you, mummy' before he was happily giggling away again five minutes later.

Then he announced that all the boys from nursery could come to his house to play (could they, now?) but no girls, except N. Little bear likes N because she gives him hugs.

I have to find a way to get through to him.

Ham Recipes

When I shop online I resist a lot of temptation. The wiles of the supermarket are lessened, although I miss out on the yellow sticker bargains. I also have a better idea of the total cost.

It does have its drawbacks. Take tea yesterday, we had a roast gammon joint. The joint was on offer at £3.99 per kilo instead of £7.99. It was a change, we seemed to have had a lot of beef and chicken recently. So I clicked buy. I didn't actually see the joint in question. If I had I would surely have thought twice. I hope I would have thought twice. The joint in question is @ 3.5kg, or @ 8lb!

So yesterday I roasted it, put the juices in the fridge and put split peas and lentils to soak overnight. Today I will cook pea soup in the slow cooker with the juices, the soup will be frozen until it is soup weather. We had roast ham last night with new potatoes.

Tonight we are having it cold with potatoes cooked in the Remoska and baked beans. We won't have even eaten half of it! So I think the day after it is in a crumble, with condensed chicken soup and plenty of onions and sweetcorn. The rest I think I will stash in the freezer for when we are not sick of it. I just hope I remember to use it out of the freezer.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Little bear is mischievous

Finally fought through the bedtime routine, then came downstairs. I wanted to turn tv on, but the remote was missing. Little bear was the last one to have it.

After turning the room upside down I asked him (he was complaining about this bedtime business, so I went up and asked). He sighed and patiently explained that he didn't want anyone to turn the tv over from the children's channel he was watching so he hid (his word!) the remote in one of his drawers.

I don't have a chance, do I?
Also want to say thank you for the kind messages - they have been very much appreciated.


IKEA is a dangerous place. They work very hard to make it easy for you to spend money. And the things there are good value and well designed.

Anyone considering going to IKEA should only take cash they can afford to spend. Also a little bit extra. They do throws in sky blue fleece for £1.01 at time of typing, 130 cm x 150 cm. Cushions are only a pound or two. They have really nice lamps for very small amounts of money. The kiddy furniture is great and I noticed some lovely fleece blankets - that I didn't need! But they had a sort of blue toile pattern, and I am a sucker for that, though they aren't on the website.

The stores have more than the internet shows. However, it is really worth looking at some of the stuff for the kitchen as it is really good. gives you a taster, but there are loads more in store. I saw some ideal containers for cereal - briefly.

You see, little bear was tired before we got to the store. He wasn't too bad as we ate, though obviously ready for mischief. Then as we tried to sort out darling father with a wardrobe he would not stay with us, he wanted to run round like a lunatic and hide in wardrobes. Meanwhile I was getting an update on darling uncle's condition so I had two conversations, one concerned with darling brother and one hissed and furious and little bear. We then marched him through IKEA in a desperate attempt to get him home before he completely collapsed. I glanced briefly and wistfully at the textiles and kitchen stuff as I strode through the store with a complaining little bear and then had the same hissed fury/concerned conversation as I tried to update my other darling brother while little bear had fun on the playground.

I will also like to point out that the meatballs in IKEA are very savoury and tasty and the highlight of OH's visit. We had some when we visited but it was a reduced menu and on paper plates as there was a problem with the dishwasher. They sell dishwashers.

Also, IKEA philosophy is shown v clearly in their restaurant. The meatballs are gorgeous, you can buy them in a frozen packet in the food shop at the end of the shop, in fact you can buy most of the speciality food in the shop at the end of the store, like the lingon berry jam etc, and all the Swedish speciality foods that are showcased in the restaurant. There are lots of different tables and chairs in the restaurant, all of which you can purchase. You can purchase cutlery as used in the restaurant, plus the plates, mugs, glasses etc. The highchairs for the little ones are not only well designed, but if you like using them while you eat you can, of course, purchase them at the store.

I didn't spend anything.

Darling Uncle

Darling uncle is in hospital. He has one kidney now not working. I don't think he realises that he is actually quite poorly, nor do I think he has a realistic idea about the sort of things the hospital are likely to want in place before he is discharged.

I am not currently going to try and visit him. I am trying to ring him now and again, as he can sometimes get reception on the ward.

I am coping less than I would like, as it is not only the massive upset that my darling uncle, who really is a darling (stubborn, awkward, opinionated darling) is poorly but there are a lot of consequences to any change in the status quo.

His bungalow, which looks like a 'before' and is heaped with loads and loads of things, needs to be cleared and cleaned. I will not be in a position to help with that, it will all fall to my brothers. I hate that. All mixed up with rubbish and half filled seed packets and empty fruit trays are some beautiful (and dirty and dusty) antiques. So many of our family travelled, and brought back stuff, including a beautiful geisha doll under a glass dome, brought back from Japan nearly fifty years ago. It needs to be all sorted and cleared and rearranged before he will be considered safe there by any Social Services representative.

Many years ago we went into his shed. It was a large shed, full of 'stuff'. There were jars and jars of screws, rusty tools, unidentified containers probably containing oil, bike parts, lawnmower bits and just junk. The shed had been flooded several times and it was all in heaps. It took a major feat of persuasion for me to get him to throw out one rusty pruning saw. In the end the shed was picked up by a digger and squashed into an outsize skip when they put flood defences in his garden. Darling uncle will put up a stern resistance to things being thrown out. Or changed. Or anyone suggesting that he needs to do anything different. I don't know how things will pan out.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Darling uncle has been taken ill and is now in a hospital a hundred miles away. No-one is exactly sure what it is. A lot of his sins are finding him out, he has been in a bad place in many ways for the last few years and many people could make a case for him being vulnerable or need support living on his own. Mind you, he is lovely but extremely stubborn. If he had been in Canute's place commanding the waves to go back it would have been the ocean giving up first.

I am falling to bits about it all. But we still went to IKEA and got the wardrobe, and little bear was the child from hell. I got a few updates while there. Little bear is now asleep on the sofa - so I don't know how much sleep I will get tonight.

Over the next few days there may be jokey posts and there may be stressed ones or there may be a lull. I just wish I knew what was happening. I also am not able to help much, and darling uncle was marvellous to me when I was growing up.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Money and shopping

Cereal containers - I haven't got the dratted receipt and unfortunately it was one of the few people at Matalan that don't know me who sold me them. I shall find a purpose for them, and they are currently efficient, upside down. They are Matalan's purple version of Lock n Lock, and I think that eventually, in the fullness of time, when the moment is right and the stars are in their courses I will get some proper Lock n Lock cereal boxes. I have a couple already, and the weetabix one is brilliant. Also it is taller than the Matalan cereal boxes, slim but far more stable and lovely and sturdy. The Matalan boxes are also not big enough to take a full box of sugar puffs, which seems a bit off.

Mind you, I go to IKEA tomorrow. And I am sure that they have a version of cereal containers there. And IKEA are often reliable. Their furniture has worn well here.

And I think I will go for the monetise option, to allow adverts. Not particularly because I expect to make money, and nobody needs to click on anything they don't want to. I always felt a bit uncomfortable about adding adverts, though I have never had a problem with others having them. But after typing the above section, with all the stuff about different brands and stores, I can't wait to see what adverts get put where. I mean, Lakeland would be an obvious one and gets plenty of praise from me (and I wish I got a retainer), and my friend ebay, but can you imagine a grumbling one about Matalan, framed by adverts for the place?

Monday, 18 April 2011

Another bitter buy

It isn't quite the same league as the Dyson, but yesterday I popped into Matalan and bought two containers for cereal, as darling father likes sugar puffs, I like to occasionally have the curiously cinnamon cereal and little bear likes both of those, or cheerios, or weetabix, or whatever else occurs to him. I bought two containers and they cost £6 each (another item that has soared in price). They appear remarkably air tight.

However what stroke of genius designed a cereal container, tall, slim and smaller at the bottom than the top? I couldn't keep the dratted things upright. They are currently stored upside down as that is the only way I can stop them toppling at the hint of a draft.

I am going to have a think about this. I need to get some decent containers as a sanity saving measure. However I may look for eg spaghetti jars or similar.

Operation Clutterbust - a bitter step

A Dyson has gone to the tip. It is a sore point with me.

First of all, I didn't want a heavy upright. It has always been too heavy for me, but OH insisted that we got this particular model because he was going to do the vacuuming and a small one would hurt his back. He has never vacuumed since. I have always struggled with it, and it has become a real niggle - if I had got the one I wanted... etc.

A few weeks ago I considered how often we used it especially now that we have a light weight one that I got for a quarter of the price of the Dyson. The Lakeland one is not as efficient as the Dyson, but I can actually use it. So I wanted rid of it. I checked with OH. He agreed, but the sooner we were rid the better.

We have been tripping over it on the landing for some time now.

Darling father asked at the Methodists if they could use it. They sat on their hands for a fortnight. I can never work out how to use freecycle and I am nervous about people coming to the house. Most charities can't take electrical goods. I didn't know anyone who needed it, so as OH lost patience a perfectly good Dyson went to the tip.

So something that is very good but I didn't want, but ended up spending a lot of money on, and then couldn't use regularly, although in perfectly good working order, went to the tip. It is all so, so wrong.

Big Note To Self - buy the right thing in the first place.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Rewards Programme

Lesley - you are brilliant. Your comment has stimulated a train of thought. Actually it has stimulated a Clapham Junction of thought.

Just typing out loud to try and get some ideas into shape.

1. Need to save money. I finally have permission to get the flooring in the living room and study updated, both large rooms. It will need to be done professionally and will cost a lot of money. Also I would LOVE LOVE LOVE a stove. That would also be expensive.

2. Need to declutter. The house is far too full of things.

3. Need to get routines and processes in order. The dr has muttered about ME and while I have not been confirmed with a diagnosis (and I am not chasing it), I can fit most of my reactions to most of the ME stuff. This means that I have to get things set up in such a manner as to make things easy for me to do no matter how bad and achy I feel.

4. Need to clean house as little bear now wants to invite people in and I would be mortified.

So, these are all big things, and the decluttering, cleaning and routines are strongly interlinked.

Thoughts on rewards

1. I don't want to spend a lot of money

2. I don't want to bring a lot of extra stuff into the house

3. A reward can be something other than physical

4. Rewards should feel good and be unnecessary, otherwise they are not rewards but necessities and I would need them anyway.

The titanium scissors are a great example of a good reward. They are unnecessary, they are small and will not take up much room, they are earmarked for a specific purpose (my craft) and they are inexpensive.

Other good rewards I think should be a long bubble bath, reading a book amid the chaos and not feeling guilty, taking an afternoon out of the house when little bear is at nursery, listening to music (rarely manage that).

I shall have a long think about this. The other thing I need to do is break things down into small steps, so that it seems achievable, and that can be nice rewards, like starting a scarf before finishing another one.

Lesley, thank you.

Setting targets again

I am not doing very well at the moment. I am spending too much, the house is in a dreadful state and I feel exhausted.

So, no spends on ebay for thirty days and I get a pair of unnecessary titanium multicoloured craft scissors. They look pretty and I can stress again and again to little bear that they are MINE

It may take some doing.

That is stage one.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Lakeland delivered


But I did order a portable fly door and two sprays of rug cleaner. I can't remember the exact day, but I was in and out a lot and now I have a house full of flies. This is very distressing. One morning during the warmer weather I opened the door and literally immediately two flies flew in. And the 'fits any door' type things usually don't, but I have hopes of this.

Darling father pointed something out. Lakeland usually have a strip of brown paper sort of scrunched as padding and up until now I have put it in the recycling. Never again! If moderately flattened you get some reasonable brown paper that is perforated and can be easily split into separate squares. The stuff from this delivery is going to the Methodists with darling father on Saturday - he is making banners and neither he nor I know what that entails. However further deliveries are being saved for little bear. I think all his presents to others this Christmas will be wrapped in suitably decorated, slightly flattened Lakeland padding paper.

I need help

I've just bought some MORE yarn from my friend on ebay. I don't care how good a bargain it was - I HAVE NO ROOM!!!!!!!

Banging continues

The window at the back that had been taken out and half bricked up last time I posted, well it has been replaced with a half sized window.

A north facing house with all windows facing directly north and a steep bank the other side of the road so that you don't actually get any sun is not, in my frail opinion, one where you take a big window out and put a smaller window in, especially not in a kitchen.

Absolutely no idea what is going on. However I know That Landlord had some spare bricks, and I know that he is in cahoots with someone who fits double glazing, so if the window did need replacing this was probably the cheapest option. Or something.

Banging continues

Mortified again

Where do I start..

Little bear got up at 6am, came downstairs, curled up on the armchair and slept for another hour. Then he and I were lolling around in our jammies when there was a knock on the door. It was the man to change over the gas meter!

I must have looked a fright - a larger lady, in her nightie, peeking cautiously round the snuggle rug I was holding up as protection (expecting the postie who is used to me) and I hadn't even put a brush through my hair. So I was mortified that I had forgotten the day and been caught out.

So I asked him to wait in his van while I got dressed (the shame!) and then I had to move the stuff in front of the gas meter cupboard. You know all the towels and bedding and stuff that I need to sort out? Mixed with a ton of ironing, an airer and a stash of cookbooks, that is now in a tumbled heap at the far side of the 'dining' room, all jumbled from when I frantically burrowed to get to the cupboard, while he once again waited in his van (the shame again!)

And I can't find the fancy new shower curtain that I might as well put up once I've got the shower curtain rail fixed.

This should be a massive incentive to clutterbust, but I have to go as little bear is definitely not a happy bunny and I have spent the rest of the mortified day cuddling him. It feels like I am cuddling amidst wreckage.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Mac n Janet - if they are taxing windows, pass me the bricks! lol.

The window they are bricking up (not sure if they will do it fully, will keep the gossip coming) is the room that was the kitchen.

When we bought the house in 1994 there was an older couple there, who we never really heard. The lady used to stop hoovering at 7am, but otherwise we hardly saw or heard them. They moved out and That Landlord bought it, for pennies. Apparently, listening to gossip and getting talking to various people, the upstairs rooms aren't fully wired, and the kitchen was described as downright dangerous with only two power outlets.

Having said that, the last family didn't really appreciate That Landlord's approach to repairs and maintenance, and after installing a new kitchen they took it with them when they left. As far as I can tell, hearsay etc, they gutted the house.

That must be two years ago now because the house had been empty some time before last January when some scallies broke in and tried to steal the copper piping. However when the water in that property is turned off, our water is shut off, so the miscreants were caught quite quickly after half the street noticed that something was up and went to complain to That Landlord. And credit to That Landlord, he did get the water back on within 24 hrs.

So the house has been a bit battered. If it was a car the insurance would have probably written it off. It is completely north facing as well, so it must be a dark and cold house, and it faces onto a very busy road. So I have no idea what is going on there, but as long as any neigbours are quiet I am not going to grumble.

Building works

I am not exactly sure what is going on, but the banging was in the house behind us and they pulled out what looked like, from the outside, a perfectly good window. When I dropped little bear off at nursery they were bricking up the window, it was half full.

I suppose if they start growing drugs we get the benefit of the warmth through the walls.

Evil cat craves souls

Actually, I think the poor old girl needs company. While I had my bath (amidst the wreckage I had caused in the bathroom) she sat outside the down and yowled. She is always around us at the moment, I think she doesn't like being alone.

Poor old cat


Sorry if guys are reading this and feel a bit worried. It is relatively male friendly.

Normally I get clumsy with PMT, as well as exhausted, although fortunately not moody. However, I can confidently assert that my PMT has just finished. That is all the info on that you need.

However I have just managed to pull the shower curtain rail off the wall, knocked over loads of stuff on the bath multiple times and I swear I managed to get stuck in my dressing gown - it wouldn't go on and I couldn't get the thing off, you could have filmed it for a comedy sketch. I thought I would be stuck there until OH came home before I sort of turned it all inside out and managed to wiggle free.

I have not managed to keep two brain cells lined up for the last few weeks and I can't seem to move without happening to something. I am unimpressed. Also my hands feel swollen. They got very swollen when I was pregnant, but trust me, at the moment I am definitely, confidently absolutely not expecting.

I didn't get PMT at all until my late thirties, and I am not impressed with PMT overtime.


It sounds like someone has just tried to break the door down in the house behind us. This is not impossible, apparently a bad lad gave that address and had a load of police surrounding the place even though it has been empty for well over a year.

However someone in hard hats just came past the front of the house, so it may be the house behind our Nice Neighbours. When darling father is up and able to keep an eye on little bear I shall wander past the front and see what is going on.

I just hope they don't turn the water off.

Also, I have seen what appeared to be a tiny bit of movement out of the corner of my eye a few times in the last week or so. I am always catching sight of shadows moving just at the periphery of my sight. It is an irritation but I pick up movement really easily. However it could be once again the dreaded mice, as work is being done once again on the house behind us. And evil cat just can't be having with that at the moment.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Sticky situation

I was washing up downstairs. Darling father was lying down upstairs. And little bear, well he was getting glue all over the computer desk.

I had more or less got the thing cleaned up when he distributed a glass of juice with a free hand all over his table and the carpet underneath.

It's a good thing I love him.

Never try your own supply

I was browsing the Metaphysical section on ebay (my friend) in pursuit of some background ideas for the next installment of the Forgotten Village. Unrelated to that, I saw an advert for Datura, which I thought was very dangerous. So I clicked on the posting.

The text contained six BIG errors in grammar and spelling in two short sentences. I was tempted to copy and paste, but I would hate to be cruel or embarrass anyone by posting it up. But it was awful. The listing did describe Datura as toxic, which is good. However the listing looked like someone had put it together under the influence of something. I don't know whether it would be datura and to be quite honest I don't want to find out.

The trouble with me is that, although I would hate to hurt anyone's feelings, and I know that there are a lot of sincere Pagans and Wiccans out there (some of whom read this blog, and I will happily wish them happy Beltane in a few weeks), but there is some real comedy in the listings, if you rummage, and my mind starts working overtime, and I just imagine too, too much. Not a lot of it is complimentary and quite a lot of it is to do with my cynical view of human nature.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Things I should have learned at school

I never understood maths. I got an O level Grade C (showing my age) but I have no idea how I got there and I suspect my teachers don't either.

So, an email came from Ocado. I can have 15% off if I quote this code - minimum spend £60, maximum discount £12.

I can't work out the maximum spend.

Actually, typing this a window opened in my memory and a few chinks of light drifted in. I never really 'got' percentages (or anything much beyond adding and subtracting) but I think I need to divide 12 by 15 then multiply by 100, which means that the maximum spend to benefit from the 15% would be £80 - I think. It sounds more or less right. I don't mind taking Occado on trust, though it is a risk.

Possibly worth while getting some shopping there, not really sure, will think about it.

This lack of numeracy could seriously get in the way of my black belt in shopping.

Things that go bump in the night

I have lived with cats since 1990. Actually I have been owned by cats since 1990 = let's not beat about the bush. So if something goes 'bump' my first thought is cat. Or if it comes from the direction of the baby monitor 'little bear'. In fact, I have woken up as I was going up the stairs due to a 'bump' from the baby monitor.

A few days ago I was sharing a cup of gossip and I heard that lbf's mum had been burgled, she had left the door open for her partner coming in and someone had just walked in, picked up her handbag and walked out. So when I heard the sound of what sounded like a cupboard door shutting my first thought wasn't 'has little bear sneaked past me' or 'has evil cat tunneled into the tuna cupboard. My instinct was - have I locked the kitchen door?

I just froze. I was half asleep, so any logic was suspended. I listened intently. Not a sound. I switched the table light on with as much noise as I could muster. Still no sound. Finally a grumpy looking evil cat strolled upstairs and into the living room. So I went back to sleep.

Doors are double checked at the moment.

Little bear had a good night

Little bear had a quiet, uneventful night, and seemed unaffected by the egg incident.

Still not sure it was the right thing - hopefully though it will protect him.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

I shouldn't have done this

OH forgot to lock the window on the top floor. He was dismantling a wardrobe and rather than traipse down two steep and narrow flights of stairs plus the steps outside he threw the bits out of the window.

Poor OH, he forgot to lock the window, didn't realise that little bear would go up to his room without him and that little bear would look out of a wide open window that is thirty or forty feet above solid concrete.

It took both of us to drag him safely away from the window, find the key, lock the window, drag little bear downstairs. Then I got an egg. OH drew a face on it. Then I went upstairs and dropped the egg out of the window to show little bear just how dangerous it was.

Little bear was beside himself. Yes, within fifteen minutes he was fine and he is now having fun with his computer upstairs. But I am not sure I should have shown him something so graphic. On the other hand I am just desperately hoping it will convince him to stay away from open high windows. I think I shall find out from any nightmares tonight if he has recovered. I hate upsetting him.

What time is it?

I am typing this at 8am. For the past two hours, since 6am, little bear has been asking whether he can go round to play at lbf's house. Since 6am I have been saying 'no'.

Little bear announced at 7am, at the top of his voice, just outside Grandad's room, that he was going to dress himself. In the ended I got him dressed (normally I can only get him out of his pyjamas with dynamite) but I 'shushed' so much I sounded like a steam engine.

I strongly suspect that though little bear may want to play in lbf's bedroom, lbf will want to play in the street or little bear's bedroom. Lbf's mum and I had a good giggle as we had lbf in our garden and little bear in lbf's bedroom. I am leaving it to them to sort it out.

I am shattered. I have had a tummy upset over night so I am off to try and doze through the 'is lbf awake?' and Disney channel.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Not bees again

Bees are in the chimney. It is probably the same bees that have overwintered, being able to due to the heat from the chimney carrying the fumes from the gas fire.

It adds to my frustration over the stove, as I don't want the bees to suffer. They do such an important job and were no trouble at all last year.

Mind you, as OH has finally agreed that we can replace the two downstairs rooms floor coverings - though with carpet and not laminate - and the carpet in the living room could be used as compost, I think that will need to be dealt with first. So I need to try and find the several hundred pounds for that. The rooms are both a good size, they flow from one another and as such it makes sense to carpet them in the same stuff. The carpets have been down since before we moved in, 1994. I don't think that they were that new then. But by the time you add up cheap carpet, decent underlay and professional fitting, you reach a significant amount.

Maybe I can get the stove next year.

Another milestone

Little bear went to play in lbf's house today. It felt such a big step. I have always been responsible for little bear unless he was at nursery. It is a big part of growing up, and I was worried in equal measure that little bear would be safe and recognise hazards in someone else's home and that he would behave himself.

So I let him go off and play. I think the lady of the house does a great job in the circumstances, and the gentleman of the house is actually pretty good and I often see him playing with the kids. Later on they all piled into little bear's room. That was interesting to hear on the baby monitor! And the lbf, little bear and the grandson from next door were fine. They had a great time.

Actually I think he is fine there, and I really don't have any reservations. Except of letting everyone into my messy house! And I guess this is the shape of things until around October.

And as a footnote, in order for poor OH to have a chance to do his work, I chased them out around 1.30pm. Little bear had a hissy fit, then slept for three hours. I think he has something like a cold.

Little bear and evil cat

Little bear is a bit wary of evil cat, reasonably so. Evil cat is, after all, quite well named. Evil cat is still feeling a bit grumpy, but she is coming in for little bear's bed time routine every night at the moment.

Last night she was curled up in a particularly comfortable part of the duvet when little bear tried to stroke her, and I think he was a bit too light so he was only flicking her fur. Evil cat reacted with her usual moderation, she tried to bite him.

Little bear was devastated. He said, and I quote directly, 'Mummy, call the cat catcher and tell them to take my cat away.'

Cat Catcher?

Friday, 8 April 2011

They have IKEA tealights on ebay....

Thursday, 7 April 2011

I want one of these,8599,2056346,00.html?hpt=C2

Actually, I don't want one immediately. It is a woollen coffin, and I want to be buried in one. Eventually.

Apparently it is ecologically and economically a Good Idea. I'm happy with the idea.

I was looking around for something to cheer me up. I feel a bit battered. Evil cat is not, as I had sort of assumed, immortal and little bear is still being labeled and I just don't know what to think about the idea of the ASD.

I think I may pop on to my friend ebay and see if there is anything there to cheer me up. When in doubt, shop. And I didn't get anything in IKEA.

I am going to IKEA next week. I bet I come out with a trolley load.

Evil cat and a phone call

The vet called today and gave me the results for the urine sample. She doesn't have proteins in her urine, which means as yet no tablets.

I declined blood tests. The vet was quite understanding as she had to take evil cat into a separate room with two trained vetinary nurses to get the urine sample. I don't know exactly what she was like but she was pretty much Die Hard with a Tabby just at the stethoscope. The vet thought she would need to be sedated just to get the blood sample. Evil cat doesn't do grace under malignant fortune. She does swearing and violence.

I said clearly that I was not giving her tablets. Those who have seen her being treated would understand. She will be seventeen soon, probably in July. We got her as a tiny, tiny bundle of fluff in August 1994 so she is a good age. Why should we put her through lots of treatment, lots of stress when really it will impact hugely on her quality of life.

Then the vet, when asked, said she is likely to be with us not more than a year. Suddenly I was willing to do tablets - or anything. However, really, given the stress it would give evil cat, I am still not whose benefit the tablets are for.

I hate these sort of choices. I am going to be sitting here trying to work out what is best for evil cat. I can make all sorts of clever posts about her, but how do you work out what is best for a little bundle of malevolent fur. Currently she is okay. I will take comfort in that.

Little bear is doing okay

Little bear went to the pediatrician today. They were concerned that he was slow in development, that he was - how do I put this? I don't want to be dismissive or horrible. The powers that be thought that little bear had a below average IQ. Ian has met little bear and will assure anyone that he does not give that impression.

Mind you, he is sucking cold tomato soup through a straw at the moment. He is four, it is nutrition, I don't care. It is one battle I wasn't fighting today, and he has far more soup through a straw than with a spoon.

Regardless of the soup situation, little bear has been signed off from the pediatrician. The doctor did, however, helpfully point out that she thought he was borderline Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Little bear is very good at charming strangers and quite outgoing. He gives very good cuddles.

If little bear does have a below average IQ, or needs more help, or is on the Autistic spectrum, that is fine - I will do all I can. However I don't think he has or is. And today when I watched little bear play happily with some toys while waiting, and watching other parents with their little ones, I was struck by how happy and confident he seemed and also felt - what a waste. Someone who really needed this appointment should have had it.

At least he won't be going back.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


We went to IKEA today.

We need a wardrobe for darling father, it is quite urgent as it will really make a difference to him being able to hang up his clothes. However the one we wanted was out of stock and we will have to go back next week.

So we spent out on dinner (meatballs!) and some goodies from the shop (dime bars!)and... nothing else.

I went round the kitchen section and thought of all the stuff my shelves are still groaning with. I looked at all the lovely textiles and knew that I needed none. I didn't hanker after the storage (I need less stuff, not more storage) and as little bear was getting more and more tired we hustled past the scented candles. So nothing.

It feels very odd.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Food, glorious food

Little bear is definitely having a growth spurt. Not only did he manage a healthy lunch at nursery but he had sausage and chips with darling father as well. And didn't stop begging for food all afternoon - he ate some of the stuff this afternoon but he made serious headway into the sausage and chips!

Evil cat stole the rest. She is not looking quite as spry as the day after her injections, but she is not doing too bad. I am not sure that chip shop sausage is good for her, but the stealing is definitely a boost to her quality of life!

Doggie doings

We will get a dog one day. It is as inevitable as taxes.

OH adores dogs. Little bear adores my darling brother's dog and is a soft touch. Darling father is a doggie person. I am outnumbered. It is me and evil cat against the tide. And if the dog was comfy to sleep on, evil cat would come to an arrangement.

We will end up with a slightly larger dog, sort of labrador size, in theory. Some sort of working dog cross like an alsatian cross. In theory. I know exactly what sort of dog we will get - the one in the dog's home that tugs on our heart strings.

I am holding out for two things. First of all, little bear has to be older. He is still too young to get a pup. I don't agree with little ones being left alone with dogs for a second, it isn't fair to the dog. If we had a dog when little bear was born that would be slightly different, but it would be cruel to get a pup now, and OH really wants a pup and not a mature dog (I'd go for the older dog in a second). The second condition is that I would take the dog to dog training classes so that I can learn how to look after the pup. Another thing I firmly believe is that there are bad dog owners, but not bad dogs (with some exceptions, on the whole, by and large). I want to be a good dog owner.

I know I am going to be a soft touch to any dog, but I am digging my heels in. When the weather is foul it is not going to be me that walks it!


Robyn - I apologise, I have not seen your comment until just now. Sorry.

I am terrified of dogs, and if I am in a bad way I can't even walk past a dog in the street. I have got past a lot of this (and I would never hurt a dog) but I don't want to give little bear the same fear. So I have been toughing it out and letting little bear pet dogs whose owners give permission, and let him stroke the dogs GENTLY. I think learning how to do that will help. Today I am getting an approved food order with dog treats in, some for my brother's dog and some for the dog next door. I have asked Nice Mr Next Door's permission and little bear will be giving their dog (who is a sweetie) some treats himself. I want him to be confident around dogs.

It is just that I was desperate. I tried to explain that bad people could hurt him, but he has been in such a safe environment that I don't think it registers. I was just trying to convince him that sometimes it is good to stay near mum. You make a really good point, and I will try and find something else that may impact him.

Only half joking, I may threaten him with scary cats - evil cat has nailed him a few times in the last few days and he is treating her with a healthy respect.

Battling on

Another battle this morning. Little bear has nursery on a Tuesday morning now, and OH usually takes him in his car. This morning little bear was complaining he didn't want to go in the car, it wasn't nice any more. He wanted to go on his scooter.

Two things made me challenge this. On one hand I know it is a bit of an extra time with OH. On the other hand rain is forecast and I don't fancy the scoot through the rain on the way home. So I told him that it was either walk or go in the car.

Hallelujah! Little bear didn't challenge the lack of scooter. He just thought for a moment - and decided to go by car!

I can keep going, and I don't believe it is him innately bad. He can still be just as loving and gentle. Of course, being an only child with a mum, dad and grandad all focused on him doesn't help, but I am not letting him get away with murder. I just need to keep my eye on the ball.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Feeding little bear

Little bear had been off his food when he was poorly a little while ago. Now he has hollow legs! He demolished a big bowl of cereal and two weetabix this morning, and seems to be regularly in immediate danger of starvation. Sigh.

I am still at my wits end with his behaviour. The nursery are also a bit surprised, they say it is out of character. So I am wracking my brains to think of things that have changed. Really it is only darling father here permanently, and he was almost permanent before. I have also been trying to think of anything new he has been eating, and again I can't think of anything. Sigh.

Today's big test was coming home from nursery again. He was on his scooter. There is a really steep slope down from the nursery car park and it goes straight on to a very busy road, usually with cars parked either side. I don't allow little bear to go down it on the scooter. Today he defied me so I calmly told him that there was only one story tonight instead of two. He grumbled but eventually we got home in one piece. It was when he realised that I actually meant it that the fun started.

I am actually surprised that the police were not called. He started off with tears. Then he attempted reason, 'I won't do it again.' Then trying to blag me, 'I've changed my mind, we have two stories.' Then he folded his arms and dramatically turned away and refused to speak. Then he screamed and screamed. Then he was trying to blackmail us by saying he wouldn't be able to sleep with only one story. I said that was fine, he could just stay awake until morning, which I think he didn't expect. And finally he calmed down and he had only one story.

I will see what happens tomorrow on the way home. I am not looking forward to it. I am currently blaming a growth spurt, but we will see. I wouldn't mind, but I follow through on punishments. I don't know why he was surprised.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Evil cat is feeling better

Evil cat fought the catnip toy all night. It is high grade, organic, borderline toxic to humans stuff, the skunk of catnip. She also had the munchies.

Lesley - We will have to get a furry bundle to replace evil cat due to the rampant mouse situation. If you don't have a cat in these houses you get mice. We have (reluctantly) discussed this, and decided that when evil cat goes to meet her maker we will adopt another rescue then. All our cats have been rescues. Evil cat has never been one to play nicely and only her position as youngest saved her from psycho cat and malevolent cat. She has tried squaring up to the local cats, who have sniggered and walked off. Thank goodness. Evil cat has never got the hang of surrender, or live to fight another day. Not being able to put a newcomer in it's miserable place would be hard on the old girl.

The other factor is little bear. If we got a kitten evil cat could well be okay, as older cats tend to allow kittens leeway and by the time the kittens are a bit older there is usually some sort of truce. However a kitten and a four year old aren't necessarily a good combination. I am quite strict about little bear being nice to animals, but there would need to be a few years before we got a kitten for little bear. To be honest I would prefer to adopt a slightly older cat. We are going to also have to consider a kitten dashing under darling father's feet and he can be a bit shaky sometimes.

Little bear was stroking evil cat nicely earlier, saying that he wanted to get rid of her and get a dog. Poor old evil cat. Mind you, she nailed him good and proper later when she thought he was going for her catnip toy. Nobody touches her stash.

Another thought - when we get another cat we will have had malevolent cat, psycho cat and evil cat and they were all well named. I don't think we are going to end up with Fluffy.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Evil cat goes to the vet

We all went to the vet, including little bear though it was touch and go after he punched me. Only the hope that an exhausted little bear would sleep in the car allowed us to relent after an abject apology. One good thing is that he doesn't like people knowing he is bad - and I am telling everyone! It is a tiny deterrent.

Evil cat did not want to go to the vet and sang protest songs all the way there, I am sure we had the feline version of 'we shall overcome' several times over. Then into the surgery. Ronnie, the cat attached to the vet's practice, was there, trying to walk all over the receptionist's keyboard. He is still enormously chunky - he is the one who instead of a name tag had a badge that said 'I am fat, do not feed me.'

The vet examined evil cat, and with the aid of a vetinary nurse managed to get a urine sample, some of which will be sent off for analysis. She was very tactful. Evil cat is nearly 17 and that is old for a cat. Many owners will not want to spend a lot on an older cat. Our view is that she is still her, and we will do what is right. So she had antibiotic injections and vitamin B12 injections and some medicine. It came to @ £150, and we are still up on the cheapest pet insurance I could get a quote on.

Her kidneys are bad. The vet did not seem to think that there was a happy prognosis, though she offered blood tests. We have some homopathic stuff (which evil cat may believe in, but neither me nor OH are convinced) and some stuff for her food.

I think the vet saw how evil cat spat, hissed, growled, struggled and nailed everyone within reach and agreed with us. Prolonged treatment would not be in evil cat's interest. And it is impossible to give her tablets. I am struggling to be optimistic about it.

Having said that, after the injections and perhaps getting the blood going (not quite literally) with a good scrap with the vet, evil cat seemed quite perky afterwards. She ran over the kitchen table in her old way - knowing it strictly forbidden - and was perched next to the microwave until I chased her off. Of course, the high grade, almost illegal catnip she had to cheer her up afterwards may have also helped.

Still stressed

Last night little bear was exhausted and the bedtime routine was relatively straightforward. He did, however, exclaim, 'I'm getting fed up of this.' while I was singing his songs. He wanted the same songs, and he definitely did want the songs, but he wanted them sung quicker. Johnny Todd was sung at double jig time and the ballad of Molly Malone speeded up. It didn't help when I was singing, 'she wheels her wheel barrow, through streets broad and narrow, crying cockles and mussels...' and OH muttered 'she goes like a rocket, with squid in her pocket...' I had a bad case of the giggles.

However little bear came stomping downstairs at 5.30am demanding cake, which he was not getting! He has been a monster demanding treats (not getting) and then he hit me. It is so unheard of for him to do this. It was a punch straight to my chest with aggression, not a flail. So he is not going to the vet with evil cat and OH now, as a punishment. He seems to be a walking tantrum.

I am going to find the reins to carry with me, at least, as little bear knows when I say something I mean it. And if I have to I will use them. The road is extremely busy and has plenty of lorries and vans as well as cars and I daren't risk him out of my sight behind the houses, there are too many things that could happen, despite there being a lot of very nice people there.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Little bear is very bad

I don't know what to do about this. Little bear was 'that way out'. I had to go three rounds just to get him dressed this morning, although he could have been worse, he could have been better. At nursery he made a massive breakthrough with the potty training, but got told off for snatching three times and had his good behaviour sticker taken off him. Coming out of nursery he ran right behind a car about to reverse - I couldn't grab him quick enough! I should have known there was trouble ahead but it is literally only yards from the nursery to our house.

About half way along there are some steps going up the hill at the side of a row of houses built into the hill. The hill is really steep and the steps are like stairs. Little bear decided he wanted to go up them, it was a short cut. I sighed deeply as he started up them and called him down, normally no problem. He didn't come down. What was worse, he dived behind the row of houses, so was out of my sight.

I was petrified. I have never had him out of my sight before. I caught up with him at the back of the houses, but he shot off again. It's only a little snicket, and he belted along and was obviously disappointed to reach the end and find that it didn't come out where he thought it would. So he decided to go down the steep grassed slope the other side of the row of houses. At this point I was almost in tears - I couldn't follow. The slope is extremely steep, slippy and uneven. Little bear reached the bottom without any bother but I didn't dare attempt it. All I could do was look helplessly at my four year old standing on his own next to a very busy main road.

I yelled at him to stay where he was and belted along the back of the houses, down the steps, and along the front of the houses. I suppose the row of houses were about 100 yards long. Little bear had gone. He had gone back up the hill. I just stood there - I had left my mobile at home as well so I couldn't call darling father to come and stand at one part of the loop while I chased little bear. Fortunately little bear decided to reappear and come back down the hill. He was crying and said he was very worried for me. I suppose he thought it terrifying when he went to find his mum, and I wasn't where he thought I would be.

I think I got through to him that it was a bad idea. I tried to explain how dangerous it was, and I think I got through when I said that a big dog could have bitten him and I wouldn't have been there to help him. But he wasn't really taking it in.

He managed to run off just about a year ago, but at least he was in line of sight all the time. Now I am at my wit's end wondering what do I do now. I have told him if he behaves like a baby he can go back in reins, but I am not really planning to do that. Besides, this is practically unheard of. But I can't take the risk of it being a regular thing.


I put in an Approved Food order today. I put loads of things on the order, looked at the total, took loads of things off...

But the screen that they have as a background was unnerving - bright yellow was not what I needed. Every time I added I got a face full of vibrant sunflowers with a visual punch like Jackie Chan. I was glad when I finished. Mind you, at least it was cheerful.

Memo to self - do not go to approved food when suffering from a headache.
Lesley, I know you haven't had good experiences and that it is usually an omen how things go, but there are some M&S brown jogging bottoms on ebay number 300523705201 and a plain tshirt brown 190372286975. Neither are pennies but hopefully could be in budget. Both UK sellers, buy it now, new. But there was incredibly little even on my friend. I hope you can find something!

I hope you don't mind me interfering. Good luck with the search.