Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Bees are still buzzing

There were rather a lot of bees flying around the chimney pot today. I hadn't noticed them, but as I was mugged by a bee on the way out, I thought I would actually look up, and yes, there they were. In fact, there are quite a few stretching their wings and taking the air.

There are crocus round here, and some forsythia, and a few winter pansies, but not that much in the way of flowers that I have noticed. On the other hand some flowers are also bamboozled by the warm weather and I saw some flowering blackcurrant (tom cat bushes - I loathe them) starting to flower so who knows? I am confident there will be plenty of dandelions soon as they are very prolific here.

After all the fuss and stress, I think I would now be quite sad if we had no bees in the chimney.
Lesley said - Hubby blows our eggs as we found the boiled eggs started to smell after a couple of days.As for the eggy scene the parents at our school have already latched on to that and last year there was even one parent who turned up with a three foot handcrafted wooden castle that a Rapunzel egg stood in the top of!I truly despair at the competitiveness of some parents and my children are always told they arent going to win before they even attempt to but they still get a little depressed when they dont.But at our school its not about the egg its about whether you are related to the judges or not

I am sitting here with my mouth open, lost for words. I mean, the castle? I have this awful, cold sinking feeling that I am looking at the same scenario, as little bear shares a class with the daughter of one of the Governors. Little bear is only in Reception. I can't see it getting better. Little bear doesn't want to take part because he knows he won't win - it is very hard to encourage in the face of that, as you say.

And am I the only one that thinks that the poor children are firstly getting rather more stress than is healthy about this and that also they are not really getting the right life lessons?

Also, thank you for the tip re blowing the eggs - we have to take them in on the Tuesday for judging on the Thursday. Which means an interesting time Monday night. Dearie, dearie me.

Must think before engaging spending

I finally pushed myself to walk to the library. It isn't actually that far, maybe half a mile, and now my joints have been better it is about time that I did a little more.

I walked there without any problem. As I said, it isn't really that far. There is a part time library, mercifully still staffed, and I thought I would pop in. I am not very good at libraries. I like non fiction, in fact, apart from Mills & Boon, I can't remember the last time I read fiction. And the non fiction I like is usually hard core history. But I picked up a book on unusual signs, a book on how to save money (which I seriously do need!) and a book on how to write your memoirs, for darling father. The last one may be an error of judgement.

Then I noticed the book sale. I can't help it, I am drawn to library book sales like a flimsy iron filing to an extremely strong magnet. Resistance is futile. They were marked up at 40p per book.

Five Asterix the Gaul books and a book about deep sea creatures later I staggered home, my shoulder complaining all the way at the books rammed into my shoulder bag. If anyone has not read any of the Asterix the Gaul books, I seriously recommend them. I grew up with them, darling father loves them, OH loves them and little bear will soon be introduced to them. They are a full length book in cartoon strip from with a bunch of Ancient Gauls defying the Roman Empire with such lovely wit and style, my favourite is Asterix in Britain, though Asterix and the Normans comes close, and so does Asterix and the Banquet. The level of excruciating puns and jokes is amazing. Who can resist a character called Vitalstatistix, or Unhygienix the fishmonger? They wear out extremely fast in this house.

As for the book about deep sea creatures, little bear seems to take after me. Once per week the children go to the library and choose a book, their free choice, just to take home and read for pleasure, not to be tested on. I did ask that when he comes to choose a library book that the teacher guides him to fiction. This was after he brought home a large picture dictionary. My objection was that I could read him a story in a night, possibly two, going on the selection in the bookcases available to him. However the dratted Picture Dictionary took several days. So did the Letterland 'find the thingy in the picture' book - that took three nights. Last night he brought home a book about bugs. I kept my 'ewwwwwww' reflex as hidden as possible, but it will take a lot of concerted reading to get through it.

I don't really mind. My little bear is reading, and reading with an interest. That's the important bit.

Decorated Egg

Lesley - You are so right about the last minute stuff and the things that are asked. In nursery I saw how the Easter Bonnet competition spiralled out of control, and I recognised some 'home made' ones as ones bought from ebay specifically sold for parents to put in as their own work for Easter Bonnet competitions. Now we have the 'decorate a hard boiled egg' competition

We have to decorate a hard boiled egg. It is a competition. Little bear doesn't want to do the 'decorate a hard boiled egg' as he never wins. So this means that I have to encourage him to do his best, enjoy the process and get used to not winning everything he touches.

At least half the children in the classes have working parents who don't have the time, resources or mental stamina to do this. It is a massive ask to a bewildered parent to come up with ideas. Eight days notice for World Book Day was awful, but we have a few weeks notice for the egg. And I have ideas.

First idea - buy a large quantity of value eggs and keep hard boiling a few at a time, so little bear can get used to the idea. There may be egg salad later.

Second idea - make a little scene with the hard boiled egg as the body of a hen with wings, head, nest and miniature eggs made out of paper (not sure my craft skills are up to this)

Third idea - find all the glitter, sequins, fluffy bits, sparkly bits and felt pens and let little bear loose.

And also watch with interest to see which eggs have the most parental involvement and if any show ebay signs. Also watching parents for cut throat tendancies - I know several VERY competitive mummies in little bear's class. School is very educational - for the parents!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Little bear is an orange belt!!!

Little bear has passed to be an orange belt.

I have to add, little bear may be doing martial arts, but he is not very martial and he did get marked down for his 'blackbelt attitude'. He spends far too much time looking at the mirror during things like gradings. And he is not a lethal weapon. Except possibly to ornaments and evil cat, as he spins and gestures and generally causes mayhem.

Little bear has been doing this now for nearly a year, and you can really see the difference in him, and a lot of the other kids. I don't exactly know why. I am not particularly rigorous in getting him to practice, I am not exhorting him to be more 'blackbelt attitude'. But the difference is definitely there.

So I would definitely recommend BMMA to anyone, they are wonderful.

Edited to add, if you click on the link, little bear is in one of the group photos, not paying attention. But still gorgeous to his biased mum!

Naughty Nick may rise again

I took little bear into school today and the school ground, which at its best is like the Charge of the Light Brigade just after it reaches the guns, heaved with princesses, ghosts, supermen, and teddy bears. A lot of the costumes had a very tenuous connection with books - I am pretty sure that there are Transformer books, but I suspect that the transformer costumes are based far more on the film and cartoon rather than any comic or sticker book. I saw at least two spidermen, but I am willing to allow comics to come under 'books'. Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore both write 'graphic novels' in an erudite and elegant way. I can't get into them myself, but that doesn't mean that they aren't amazing stories well told.

Going to the Reception class means going up a ramp that overlooks the rest of the playground, and I saw that every child was wearing something on the theme of 'dear heaven I have to send them in a costume, what can I scrape together with eight days notice'. Which means that next year and the year after and the year after that I will be scrabbling around in the same way. Sigh. However, I will be putting it in my diary for the beginning of February, so that even if the school are late in letting me know, I can at least be forewarned.

Better mood today

I think I may have unnerved the young lad serving me in Argos. I bought the replacement tv for darling father, sigh, but I am still going to see if I can get the original one mended, just on principle. Regardless, I was watching him tie string around the package for me to take home with a sort of dreamy smile on my face. It must be very unnerving for a young man to see a smile like that on a middle aged biddy like myself.

It would have been far less flattering to him if he realised I was feeling so much cheered up by watching him wrap a parcel in string, because it reminded me so much of my grandfather and the exact way he did it.

Monday, 27 February 2012

More grumbles

I shouldn't be typing this as I am suffering from massive eye strain after sewing 'n's on a t-shirt and sweatshirt for little bear. He is going as Naughty Nick from Letterland, and I let him talk me into sewing the letters on rather than just gluing - I will stick to my guns and trust my instincts next time.

And darling father's tv has stopped working. We got it for free last year, it was a bit iffy then, but it has soldiered on until today it suddenly just stopped. And with the modern stuff it is more economical to buy another one rather than get the original one mended. I hate that. It just seems so fundamentally wrong, that it is so much harder and more expensive to repair than replace. I don't even know where to start finding a repair, and darling father really gets a lot out of his tv. I will be picking up an inexpensive one tomorrow from Argos.

Also, twelve days before little bear's extremely belated birthday party, chicken pox has struck at least one child that has said that they will be coming. That is, a child in little bear's class, who little bear plays with, and who little bear was chasing around with like a mad thing last week. I have been watching out for chicken pox for years, and I have never known it going around at a convenient time, but anyone want to take bets that little bear breaks out in spots in eleven days time?

I am sure it will all look better in the morning.

I should have known, but it could be worse.

Evil cat will make a more concerted attack on marshmallows than she will on sardines. Marshmallows have to be guarded with extreme vigilance, sardines are ignored.

And if I ask OH to check the beef burgers in the remoska, I will end up, when I don't know if I am going to pass out or throw up, unblocking the sink because of the fat from the remoska he poured down the plughole. Because he thought the liquid from M&S burgers would be 'just water'.

And, yes, if little bear starts yelling about his rat at 6.15am, I will be calm and pleasant because I am too tired to be anything else, but I won't be sympathetic.

And now little bear is being allowed to watch Ben 10 like all his friends, as it is his favourite, the more he watches, the more I come to loathe the mouthy, spoiled brat that is Ben 10. Please let little bear find a nicer role model. One that can manage please, thank you and doesn't have arrogance delivered in bulk. I am watching its influence very carefully indeed.

And please, when it is wet and muddy, let me not wear something that shouldn't have paw prints over when I pop next door with their lovely, bouncy, daft as a brush, mainly border collie puppy.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Very secure package

I have just had a very silly Asda order - silly because I didn't really need it. However, I have stocked up on the cans of cola OH likes, 30 cans of coca cola for £8 is a good deal. Most of the order was bits like that, adding little or nothing to our nutrition.

However to my surprise there was a blue box with security break off tags. So I watched in trepidation as the delivery lady broke off the tags and got me to sign to say I had received...

...a packet of antibacterial wipes that cost £1. I just wanted them for convenience in the bathroom, and they were a last minute impulse buy. I am now a bit nervous to use them - I would have expected something like dry ice or secret magical artefacts in something like a tagged box, not £1 wipes. Sigh. Real life never lives up to my imagination.

Very minor grumbles

So the basket for washing that was exactly the right size and £1 in the pound shop has broken - the rim has detached all the way round. When I can swing it I will go to Lakeland, until then I shall continue to use a bucket that is slightly too small. I found a berry stain (no idea!) on little bear's martial arts kit and he has his grading on Saturday so that and the shirt with someone else's nose bleed are soaking together. And I did half an hour of ironing and nearly passed out.

I am doing the glass half empty thing, and it's bugging me every time I realise.

Little bear has come home more grumpy than normal as well. Please let it not spread from me to him!

Another Milestone

For the first time little bear doesn't want to go to school today. It may be that he is too tired after being up a few times in the night looking for his rat. It may be that he is upset about his model being broken in school.

My bet is that he is just too comfy on the chair surrounded by stuffed toys and watching cartoons. He is going to school.

And for the first time for months, breakfast was straight forward. So it isn't all bad.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ginger gentleman cat

I am not sure how much of a gentleman the new ginger tom on the street actually is. I have caught him squaring up to Roxy, a tabby and white lady cat from next door. This is very brave of him as Roxy takes no prisoners and is extremely assertive. He will get a huge walloping if he is not careful.

However this morning as I left the house to get little bear to school the ginger gentleman was squaring up to Oscar. I always get the impression that he is a lover not a fighter, despite his bits being sent home in a jar. Oscar is not an intact tom, but he has the air of a Victorian cad about him sometimes as he lounges at his ease. This morning he was definitely on the back foot. This ginger gentleman means business. Poor Oscar, he moved out of his previous home for a quiet life, but now he has this ginger horror to deal with.

The ginger gentleman has lost his collar. He is a very handsome chap with plenty of meat on his bones, I wonder if he has been lost. I would be very tempted to give him shelter from the rain if it wasn't for evil cat, who can't be having with it at her time of life. I am tempted to ring one of the cat's rescues to see if anyone is missing a ginger gentleman. I may just pass the information on to local shops, so that if anyone asks they can come.

Fortunately the ginger gentleman only seems to turn up during the day, otherwise I am sure that the early hours would be full of the sound of warfare. For today, I think rain stopped play, but I await the next installment. Hopefully, for the sake of poor Oscar, it can all settle down soon.

Probably working washing machine

Well I slept for three hours, changed the fuse on the washing machine which then started working, and now I am off to collect little bear.

Still so very tired, suspect a very minor bug. Hopefully OH is out tonight, so it won't be too bad.

Not another thing

Well, so far I have a list of things I really want to get - a stair carpet for the stairs to the kitchen, because a hole in the stair carpet is dangerous, a dishwasher because the sink is set so washing up hurts my back and a table top one is likely to cost £139, the holiday to which we are committed, wallpaper, paint, new carpets as all of ours apart from the one in little bear's room are fit only to be condemned and around 20 years old, the bathroom needs to be completely re-done because it isn't really working and one of the struts under the bath has gone...

Obstacles have started to creep in - the problem with the car missing which Nice Mr Next Door thinks is a fuel filter, little bear's birthday party to pay for, darling father's chair needs to be replaced, little bear has needed new vests and is about to need new shoes...

And last night the washing machine went. I was feeling really, really, really poorly so I set the washing machine machine off and crawled onto the sofa. A part of my mind noted that the machine was going, then there was a bang rather than a click and it stopped, but I really didn't feel able to investigate. This morning the power is off and the washing machine door is firmly stuck. Sigh. Most of little bear's school trousers are inside there. I shall investigate the fuse situation, which seems the most likely, after little bear goes to school. However I have been feeling so poorly that I had earmarked today to be asleep. Instead, if it is not a fuse, then today is a 'wait in for the washing machine repair man and clean kitchen so that I won't get reported to Social Services' day.

I hope we are not going to get another spell of everything breaking at the same time. Two years ago we ended up spending around £6k in six months on broken printer, new television as little bear was trying to pull the old style, heavy one forward and it scared me, new gear box, new central heating (it broke completely), new washing machine (thanks OH), new sink unit (old one was collapsing) etc. I don't think I can cope with that again.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Little bear's costume

Little bear has decided he wants to be Naughty (or Noisy) Nick from the Letterland books for the Book Day fancy dress.

So, I have done some research, agreed the results with little bear and shopped. I have purchased a yellow polo shirt. I could only find them in packs of three, which is a bit annoying. I have bought two remnants from a fabric shop to make the large green N on the front, with matching cotton. I feel I have a better chance with giving little bear a choice of two rather than presenting him with something to reject. And I have unilaterally decided that the blue trousers that Naughty Nick wears are jeans, just like little bear already owns.

Little bear has also decreed that the letter should be sewn on, rather than glued, and I do feel that it will look slightly better. He wants to watch. Please let me not sew the front to the back of the shirt. The total is £9. I think I have got off lightly.

Little bear has Views

This morning started with a prolonged, intricate and intense conversation about how to spell water. Little bear is insistent that it is wat-ter, watter. As he doesn't pronounce it watter I have no idea about where that comes from. I usually let his odder ideas slide (life is far, far too short) but I am trying to keep him on some sort of track and spelling is either right or wrong.

Little bear stuck to his guns in the face of the authority of mum and a look in a dictionary. I turned it over to the majestic and final judgement of his teacher, who is very patient.

The water debate was an intermission. Last night OH decided that he was going to take a stand. Little bear had been passed on some gorgeous, nearly new wellingtons by darling father's friend. They are about four sizes to big for him, but he is wearing them. He is wearing them coming in, he is wearing them going out, he is wearing them standing up, he is wearing them sitting down. OH said firmly that he was not wearing them upstairs.

Of course I backed OH up, and OH is right, but it is not that long ago little bear slept in his wellingtons, and it is perhaps not a battle I would have picked. But I unhesitatingly backed OH because little bear needs to understand that sometimes 'no' just means 'no' and is not a prelude to negotiation. Little bear was incandescent, which proves that we need to be saying 'no' more often. He told me very firmly that he didn't love me and wouldn't love me ever again until December when he could wear his boots upstairs. I just smiled, said 'Okay, that's fine, I still love you and you are not wearing those boots upstairs.' It took us ages to get him up there. The first thing that he did when he came down was put the dratted things on. He went to school in them, but changed into shoes. He tucked the wellingtons under the shelf beneath the coats. I am wondering if I would be a bad mummy if I didn't remind him at the end of the day?

Monday, 20 February 2012

Housewifery, and lack thereof

I watched Superscrimpers tonight. Partly I envied their lovely clean homes - mine would be condemned! And I made some mental notes. However tonight was one where I probably wouldn't use that much.

One of the main headlines was the £50 for romantic break. A couple who had spent over £7000 on romantic breaks and romantic presents in one year were challenged to go away for £50. We don't do romantic breaks, and after last weekend it is a push to be romantic as long as a commercial break. I made a few mental notes, but was interested that they didn't mention vouchers etc. I shall be giving it a lot of thought. One thought I had was that you could buy a new car for £7k.

They also had a masterclass in furniture renovation. We don't fiddle with the furniture, we buy it, or acquire it from friends and relatives, and then just keep it. We wouldn't get rid of something because it was boring and replace with a more fashionable thingy of the same type. I think we put fablon on something once. It was one of those inexpensive bench type units with holes for storage boxes from Argos. We used it in little bear's bedroom and we put the bottle warmer for nights on it and put fablon on to protect the 'wood'. It is now under the window in the living room as storage for little bear's toys. We are probably a bit boring. Darling father is amazing at what he can do, but reupholstering a recliner that has spronged a spring is asking a lot. Especially as I was already considering that he could do with a different chair that was easier for him to get out of. So I look at the sunk seated, stained and worn chair and think that we are just going to replace.

I should add that I am sitting at a desk that we acquired from the office where I used to work. They were completely refitting, and this lovely, sturdy desk that has stood the test of time in this study for fifteen years cost me £2.50 plus inexpensive man with van. At the same time I acquired a pair of four drawer filing cabinets, whose passing I still mourn, at £2.50 each, and a huge metal shelving unit (£2.50) that also went to the Salvation Army.

I think my main concerns are not buying anything unless necessary (with a realistic view of necessary), and being a bit more aware of the costs of home economics - meals, takeaways, unplugging things etc. Tonight's challenge is little bear's shirt - stained with someone else's nosebleed. I am not going to be all old fashioned and Mrs Beeton. I am going to soak it over night in Ariel stain remover and cold water. It's a start.

World Book Day

I have been hit with World Book Day, little bear has eight days to come up with a costume for school dress up day. He is supposed to choose someone from his favourite book.

He doesn't have one favourite book. When it comes to books, for little bear it is quantity every time. I am wracking my brains to think of stuff he already has. Then we can just choose one of his books to fit.

Still, they have not asked for money so far this term, so I shouldn't grumble.
Today so far is not one of my shining hours. Also, darling father's chair now needs replacing due to my weight and a certain vigorous usage by little bear. It wasn't dear, thank goodness, but I am not looking forward to replacing it. Sigh.

My instinctive mental check about where to look for an armchair, such places as charity shops etc, probably will come to nothing and we will head off again to IKEA.

Still no idea about how much it will cost for the car.

New Half Term

Little bear is back at school and I am left with a house in ruins. I am also shattered from lack of sleep. For some reason I am exhausted during the day - I could put my head down and sleep now - but awake during the night.

We are having fish tonight, and I could do with a deep clean of the kitchen. Darling father also tided up a large heap of chaos in the living room and it is starting to creep back. I need to make several phone calls.

I think I will worry about the phone calls first, then start working in the living room, clearing out some space to put the chaos. How do you eat an elephant - one mouthful at a time. I will do fifteen minute chunks with fifteen minute breaks, which has worked in the past, and see how I go. A miracle might happen. First things first, though, I need to call darling uncle. That will take up the first hour of my day.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Thinking harder about shopping

I was thinking carefully about the Makro offer. £10 is £10, after all. On the other hand it is not long before I need to pay the rest of the holiday, and anything could happen between then and now. Really, I need to start saving like a demon for the next one.

Two things have changed my mind. I don't actually like Velvet loo roll. It is too thick and there is a bend in the toilet waste pipe which makes me nervous of flushing anything too substantial. I actually prefer the Asda own brand smartprice thicker rolls which last for ages and are more than adequate for the purpose intended. The other thing that significantly changed my mind - the car has started missing. Nice Mr Next Door (a professional mechanic who used to have his own garage and is pretty clued up) will deal with it. He thinks it is a petrol filter thingy. I know we will not be overcharged, but I think I would rather hold back on the shopping to save in case the car needs something even more expensive.

I can eke out the washing up liquid for a little longer, and it will be really healthy for me to walk to Makro and really sensible not to carry a big load back. The washing powder will be good for a week or too and, best of all, Asda not only had 7up for £1 per bottle (bought six) but they also had 30 tins of coca cola for £8 (15 tins bogof).

My house is still too full to stock up for the sake of stocking up. However, agreeing with Robyn on the benefits, when it is a little less congested I shall try and think scientifically about stocking up, and doing the research.

Things little bear says

Evil cat was sitting on little bear's chair, looking old and creaky. Little bear wanted to sit there. OH and I tried to persuade little bear to leave the poor old cat alone. Little bear was unimpressed.

'That chair, in writing that only cats and little boys can see, says Little Bear Only.' Little bear said crossly.

In the end evil cat roused her old bones to come and see what I was up to and little bear scooted in quickly. I can't wait to see what other signs are written in this mysterious language.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Tempted to spend

Makro have an offer that if you spend £100 (ex vat) then you have a £10 voucher.

They also have an offer where you can buy 36 Velvet toilet rolls for £9.95 (buy 18 rolls, get one free ex vat). two lots of this would set me up for some considerable time, I have places to put them and they don't go off. That's £20 of the £100. Then I could do with a gallon jug of washing up liquid, and while I could eke out my washing powder for a little longer, they have an offer of Persil at £9.95 (ex vat) for 85 washes. So you are looking at £35 of the £100.

Then I could sort out some pop, darling father is keen on 7up and 7up alone for his whisky. That is one of the few places that Makro really scores against the supermarket. OH really likes tins of coke, and he insists on coca cola, again that is an area where you can really save money at Makro. £100 looks doable, although a lot of it comes from stuff that really could be cut back on if we were struggling.

The offer starts on 22 February. That is four days away. I shall think about it. Spending that £100 could save a lot of money, but do I really want that £10 voucher that much? Spending £50 would save a lot of money, and wouldn't make such a dent in the bank balance. I shall do some serious thinking.

Little bear is happy

Little bear had a wonderful time in Leeds. He did not need new shoes. As it must be six months since he had his shoes this bothers me, but he seems to be growing fine everywhere else, so I shall wait for the next growth spurt.

He managed to persuade me into a cafe, he generally was a happy soul, and he had a go on two of the rides in front of the Town Hall. The little roundabout was unremarkable. However the bungee ride was not.

It is brilliant for little ones, and although of course I had my moment of nerves, little bear thought it fantastic. The little one is strapped into a harness, attached to two separated bungee lines, and then hoisted up to bounce suspended over a trampoline. Sometimes the lines were higher, sometimes they were lower, and sometimes the nice man pulled the cords to make little bear bounce like crazy.

All I can say is that the delighted smile on little bear every time that happened lit up my world. He thought it the most amazing thing ever! Fear was happening somewhere else.

Friday, 17 February 2012


Little bear was messing around on a step stool. He tilted back, I grabbed him and the step thudded back - right on my toe!

And I have to still take little bear to Leeds and walk around. I am feeling a bit fragile. And I am not looking forward to the bruise to come.

I hate Dr Who cards

I am about to start sorting them again.

The alternative is to open the huge box of craft stuff that has just been delivered, but which I am really, really not up for.

Devil and the Deep Blue Sea spring to mind.

But little bear is relatively happy. I am completely at my wits end with food for him, but have reached the 'eat it or go hungry' stage, so that should buy me a breathing space. I am insisting that he sticks to relatively healthy things. All things are relative and I would consider breakfast cereal for lunch if it got something into him. He is not going to starve.

What I need is a looooong sleep, which I may be able to manage during the day on Monday.

Promises you regret

I promised I would take little bear on a train to the area where OH works and we could have tea together.

On the one hand little bear is objecting strenuously to venturing outside the house. On the other, I have a pounding headache. Still, a promise is a promise. I am sure it will be fun.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Poor darling father

Darling father was distracted by the ginger gentleman and Oscar squaring up to each other and fell. He is shaken, but not hurt. He is probably in a better state than I would be. He has missed his snooker afternoon, but I am sure he will be as right as rain soon.

Ever feel like worrying? I was looking at part time work possibilities yesterday. I just hope it could perhaps maybe work, just a bit of part time work. I don't know if I am even employable after all these years. And I can have a wonderful time worrying about darling father. Sigh. He was climbing a ladder painting tall doors yesterday. I am sure I am worrying over nothing.

Counting Down

Little bear is organising his Dr Who cards. He decided he wanted to write down all the numbers. There are literally hundreds of the dratted things and he was going through, laboriously writing down the number of every card that passes through his sticky hands.

Then he remembered that when the first half of the cards came out I typed up a table of cards 1-170. So I sat down, typed up a table, did some fiddling...

...then he decided he was going to do the typing. So he started off on a blank screen, carefully typing out 1, 2, 3... Every so often he would come through to where I was sitting and triumphantly announce that he had typed 127! After I while I mentioned he only had one hundred to go. That was a mistake. He started counting down. Not only was he counting down instead of giving totals, he started running from the study where he was typing to the living room where I was talking to darling father and shouting out the running total to go - for each number!

Finally he got to 279, and then came in and told me he had a sore throat and his hands were getting tired. I took pity and finished it off.

He is currently following some system of his own where he circles the numbers that were typed and printed out, then he writes it on a piece of paper and then he puts a tick next to the number. He is happy. I am leaving him to it.

Early night

I was sooooo glad to get to sleep last night, I have been on short rations since before Christmas and it is not always my fault.

When little bear woke me up at 4am because he had lost his rat, I was unimpressed. Fortunately I was so dazed from being woken up from a deep sleep that he didn't learn any new words, but while he just grabbed the toy rat and went out like a light, I took ages to get back to sleep. Sigh. The only good part was that he conceded that he needed more than a very small, very light fleece throw to sleep in when I snuggled the duvet over him (again).

He was so good at sleeping when he was little.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Character witness

There are at least a thousand Dr Who cards accumulated by little bear. And I had painstakingly sorted them into numbered under 100, over 100, over 200 and over 300.

Little bear is shuffling them into a huge heap. No doubt he is looking forward to calling out the numbers as I sort them. They are all sort of piled into a very large box, completely ignoring the small boxes I had carefully put them in.

I need to keep calm, and count to ten, or I will be needing Character Witnesses. It could come to that anyway - little bear demanded round sandwiches (no idea) and then decided that he didn't like the taste of them round he wanted square instead. Four full days until he is back at school.

Half Term Museum

I have just staggered in from taking little bear to the museum. It was very, very, very busy. Lots of mums have had the same thought - we have to do something and Leeds Museum is free.

Actually Leeds Museum is not only free but scattered with lots of little bits and bobs ideal for the youngsters. Little bear explored them thoroughly and extensively. He had a marvellous time looking at the Egyptian artefacts on tour from the British Museum and trying to grasp how old the things were. I explained that they were older than our house and grandad and evil cat all put together. Little bear looked dubious at that. I didn't see much of anything but hope to have a look later on. I spent most of my time trying to track little bear who didn't so much explore the museum as ricochet.

I then went and got a Leeds Card, which costs £7.50. I only need to go to somewhere like the Tropical House three times and I have my money back. It lasts a year!

Then we popped into the Pound shop as I wanted to see if they had a bundle of biros. Little bear has gone through our stock of pens like Sherman through Georgia, leaving a similar trail of destruction. This weekend included the destruction of the pen he bought his father for Christmas. Of course I didn't stop at the pens. Little bear included some more felt pens (which he definitely doesn't need), some boxes for his Dr Who cards and a write on wipe off book which is a little too young for him. I found a washing basket of a style I have been trying to find for ages. I wanted a small washing basket, with the holes in the sides, not too bulky, for carrying one load of washing in, out and around. I now have one for £1 and I am really pleased as the nearest equivalent was Lakeland. Lakeland's version probably wouldn't cut into my fingers and would undoubtedly be more robust. However the one I was looking at is £10.99. So I am happy with the bargain.

Then it was the trip to the bus stop, and that I think was the most exhausting part. Little bear is full of cold and tired, which means that he is in a world of his own and seriously erratic. It took twenty minutes to get him from the Pound shop to the bus stop, and as Leeds was packed it was a fraught trip of trying to keep little bear close to me while holding two carriers and a laundry basket. As little bear's cruise control was erratic I spent half the time calling him to stop and stay close to me and not run ahead and the other half coaxing him to just keep moving, take another step, that's it... He was humming quietly to himself all the way home, and if he had been a year younger he would be napping by now. Instead he is playing upstairs with his toys.

I am now going to go and knit. I feel just about flattened.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Meal Time Madness

Little bear was being stubborn, so I said, 'You have to eat at least two before you can have any chocolate.' Little bear protested. 'I want at least two eaten but you can have small ones, quick sticks, down quick as you can.' Little bear did his best impression of taking poison. 'Okay, you can just finish that one, but you must have another forkful of that before you have your chocolate.'

I was negotiating with little bear over his evening meal. Darling father has a knack of producing chocolate and goodies just before mealtimes, which makes things more interesting. Little bear is also developing Views. I personally don't think it worth while trying to force him to eat too much of something he doesn't like as I worry it will 'set' the distaste and mean that he can't eat it as an adult - it took me years to get past the force feeding of carrots at school dinners before I could eat them again as an adult. So I try and work round little bear to get some sort of balance in him.

As for the rejected food, he had just eaten a whole breaded haddock fillet with gusto and enthusiasm, which was why I was so lenient with the other stuff. The other stuff was chips which he was treating as extremely toxic and baked beans, which he was forcing down. He prefers plain pasta and sprouts. While that continues, I think I won't mind so much cooking a separate pan for little bear.

Dr Who Cards

I bought a very large pack of the dratted Dr Who cards at Christmas in the hope that they would keep little bear quiet.

Little bear has other views - they are to keep US quiet. I am designated to sort into piles while he calls out the number on the card and ceremoniously places it into a plastic box. This could go on for some time. I plan to crack on with them after he has gone to bed so that I can present him triumphantly with a large amount of cards in number order which he can then read out. My sanity depends on it.

Five more full days before he goes back to school. And I know that he will be agitating to get some more. Not if I can help it!

I need to be tougher

Little bear has negotiated that we do not go out today because he has a really busy day! He has to sort out all his Dr Who cards (several hundred, possibly even a thousand!) and he has to do his dot to dot books. So we are going out tomorrow.

As I have some lovely stomach cramps and we also have martial arts at 3.45pm, and the museum that is our target is not open until 11am, I have agreed.

But so much ends up being done his way. Seriously it is not healthy for him. On the other hand, I don't want to say no for the sake of it. I need to do a lot of thinking about this.

Little bear does not like half term

One of the greatest threats I can make to little bear is that I won't let him go to school. It obtains near instant obedience. So you can imagine how much fun half term is.

In addition little bear has a cold and is lovely and green nosed. I knew it was coming, but being bunged up means that he is not getting enough sleep and waking early. Sigh. So I have a tired, bored and fed up little bear with the attention span of a kitten in a feather factory. And he is refusing to leave the house.

In a few minutes I will start the wonderful task of stuffing him into clothes and dragging him out of the door to actually do something. It is purely for my benefit. I am losing sanity trying to keep calm while he is complaining he can't find number forty two in his dot to dot when I am struggling with full hands on the way to somewhere. As I am refusing to drop everything the minute he demands something, there is a certain amount of tension. Also I am running out of ideas for him as I am putting off a lot of craft stuff until my order from crafty bugs turns up.

Little bear does not want to leave the house. He is happy here, he sees no reason to change, he does not want to go anywhere. I had rather been hoping to go and see the Vikings in York, but that is currently looking unlikely.

Still we have got the wii working, which means that at least little bear is getting a little exercise.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Darling Uncle is much better

Darling uncle has had time in A&E, but has been discharged and is now much better. I am so relieved, although there is no doubt going to be the hassles of adjusting the tablets.

I think he will probably have a while to recover, in that he was stuck in A&E for hours without food etc and he is a diabetic, but that is just time. I shall be keeping closely in touch!

Now I can focus on the mayhem that is little bear and half term

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Darling uncle is poorly

I wish I knew what to do for the best.

Darling uncle has had a change of tablets. He started them on Thursday. He was fine on Thursday. Friday he was a bit stiff. Saturday he was aching. Today he can't get out of his chair - literally.

So, although he is fine in himself, and although he is not in any way confused or befuddled, he is waiting for an ambulance to take him in, as he can't move. Hopefully it will be an overnight stay, or at most two nights, as they sort out his tablets. I can't get there today, and he has forbidden it as the weather is worrying him. In fact I don't think anyone can get there easily. So I shall sit here and worry.

I am sure it will be okay.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Wolfman

I watched the Wolfman with OH and darling father last night. I really enjoyed it, though I am not much of a horror fan. It wasn't too gory for me, though it was gory enough, and it reminded me a lot of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

I risked the £2.99 for the DVD because it had Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving in. Hugo Weaving doesn't have a large part in this, but I did enjoy him. I know that he is not everyone's cup of tea, but I am rapidly becoming a fan of his. I think because it is 'stage acting' that I like it, there is a bit of drama out him.

I shall keep a good look out for him in further films.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Random sort of day

I have had a bit of a random day. I made a nice tea with mash, carrots and fish cooked in milk, butter and with a large sprig of rosemary. All was prepared before little bear got home from school.

I cooked ONE slice of eggy bread without setting off the alarm. I think if i thoroughly clean pans between eggy breads then I may be able to make that. Little bear saw it on tv and I rushed to make it for him, something relatively nutritious that he will eat. He also ate all his fish and all his carrots. I didn't bother with the mash. On one hand he had had eggy bread. On the other hand he will only eat mash this week with brown gravy over it. Obviously it will change next week.

I found out the direction that the ginger gentleman tom cat usually comes from and that a truce has not been established with Oscar. I managed to get to school relatively easily with a certain amount of co-operation from little bear and he came home with both gloves which have lasted a whole week! I handed out the invites to little bear's belated birthday party and picked up all the newspapers. Darling father painted a door and frame white. He needs to do a second coat, but evil cat (who scrounged rather a lot of fish from darling father) will no longer be camouflaged, sitting and crying for the door at the bottom of the stairs, a dark tabby next to a dark brown door, on a navy carpet on dimly lit stairs.

I also did some rather random online shopping. OH will be getting some more substantial shirts, little bear will get some decent quality sheets and M&S are doing four long sleeved tshirts for £12 in his size. That should keep him going for the rest of the spring (hopefully!).

I also purchased a hasty selection of craft items for little bear, and I am hopeful that I will survive next week. Little bear is firmly stating his intent to stay at home all the time! I am eying up a trip to York. It wouldn't be inexpensive, but there is a Viking Festival, and I think little bear would like Vikings. Little bear categorically stated he did not want to go to York, but wavered when I mentioned that there were treats in York. I shall wait to see what the weather holds.

In addition, it will be a takeaway tomorrow. Darling father will be watching Liverpool play Manchester United tomorrow. Kick off is 12.45pm, I believe, so I aim to line his stomach with something substantial for lunch and I think only a takeaway will do for tea, when he will need to mop up all that he has drunk. It's an important game against fervent rivals, he can stick to shandy the rest of the time, but Liverpool and Manchester United deserve whiskey.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Evil Cat has a gentleman caller

I was cooking dinner (beeferoni, very pleasant, extra plain pasta for little bear) when I heard a cat crying outside. I had heard it a few times recently but I always put it down to Oscar. As there is usually someone around to let Oscar in next door I have always ignored it. However it was cold outside, wet, and I thought that the lovely family next door might have gone in for the night. So I opened the door to knock for him to go in, and was surprised by a large ginger tom!

Evil cat was wary. She carefully crept towards the door and stared coldly at the newcomer. I didn't dare shut the door as I didn't want to interrupt ongoing cat psychology. However I was worried as evil cat has only ever worked out how to attack, and has never worked out the idea of retreat, and this looked like a young cat. However they gently touched noses and then parted. Neither seemed overly traumatised, but the ginger gentleman didn't immediately cross the threshold.

I did, however, shut the ginger tom out. It may have been a cold night, but it was only 6.30pm, there wasn't snow on the ground, and most of all, this was a large, well fed, ginger gentleman cat wearing a reflective collar with a bell on. I am confident he will be around again, and I may donate some treats outside - if the weather permits.
Robyn - You are absolutely right! Most people who comment on here are and the rest have comments advertising 'adult' items removed.

I do not have money to burn on pancakes, but I don't know how to take the batteries out of the smoke alarms, and I don't know even if I can, they were fitted by the fire brigade.

And I can cope with them, but OH can't. Making the batter, pouring the pancakes, keeping the door open and wafting - no problem. Dealing with OH, I cave - it's overpriced Aunt Bessies. I am ashamed but resigned.

Breakfast Battles

Little bear was up at 6.20am, which before I had him I considered a mythical time, or a time that existed in theory but was never actually seen. Sigh. He had a blocked nose and was very unhappy. As I suspected, he is coming down with a dreadful cold. I expect it to hit on day one of half term holiday.

After being summoned by an imperious 'Mummy!' we tiptoed downstairs, and then addressed the thorny question of breakfast. 'Would you like cereal?' I ask. You would have thought I was asking him to eat poison. 'I-DO-NOT-WANT-CEREAL!' little bear said. He said it very loudly and several times. 'How about ricicles?' I asked. Little bear paused and suddenly was all interested smiles. 'What are ricicles?'

In this case, ricicles are what were delivered by Mr Asda instead of Grandad's sugar puffs, but I just provided a bowl. Little bear ate the biggest breakfast he has had for about a fortnight.

I am now thinking carefully about these matters. I have somehow to get a decent breakfast into him with the minimum of fuss. I also have to get a relatively healthy meal into him at night. I think I may explore cunning and strategy. Also a large variety of breakfast cereals.

Cynical Sybil

In my email account there was a very plausible email confirming payment by me to Skype via paypal. Except I don't have Skype. Obviously something wrong!

So I didn't click on the very plausible link. Instead I went to the actual paypal site and checked there. No, nothing showing, no payment to skype, not hint of a problem. If I had clicked on the link no doubt someone, somewhere, would know my details for a paypal account. Perhaps it is just as well I didn't.

Memo to self - do not become complacent AND DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS YOU DO NOT KNOW!

Meal planning fail

Darling father bought some nice looking pork chops from Sainsburys. I was very grateful and was mentally planning some whole for tea last night and some for a stir fry for tonight. Sigh. The chops were lovely and pink where they were exposed to the atmosphere within the packaging. They were lovely and green on the inside. I should have kept them and taken them back, but I binned them with a sort of 'ewwwwww!' reflex. At least they weren't wriggling.

I already had the potatoes and carrots on, plus stuffing ready to go in and gravy primed. So we had the mash, the carrots, the stuffing and the gravy with corned beef. I will start a new list with corned beef on it - again.

I actually had quite a bit of room in my freezer when I stashed the chicken fillets and the sausages as well. I am feeling quite good about things. I also had a delivery and there was plenty of room for the fish fingers and the frozen pancakes.

As a note about frozen pancakes. I can make batter, and I have successfully made batter in the past. I have also made pancakes successfully and while they were not lacy thin, were very tasty. And every time I have made pancakes I have set the alarm off. This also applies to eggy bread and fried bread. I managed to burn some fish fingers under the grill and they didn't set the alarm off, only the frying pan seems to have that knack. Pancake day is on its way, and little bear will have Views. And also frozen pancakes.

My grocery bill is creeping up slightly, so I shall continue to try and keep it down. However there are gaps in the freezer and gaps (very tiny ones) in the cupboards. I just need to keep working on it.

Also as a note to the corned beef. It was a substitution and I got Princes instead of Asda's own. The Princes had a sort of ring pull thingy at the bottom instead of a key, and it took me all my meagre strength to pull it. In fact, it was a really struggle to get the dratted tin open. And once I had got the bottom off the tin then I couldn't get the dratted meat out. I was banging it and trying to prise it with a thin knife and generally getting crosser and crosser until it shot out and bounced all over the table - I just caught it before it hit the floor. I do not approve of the new packaging of Princes.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Tactics and strategy

I remember seeing something on NCIS about horse trading. You look at the best horse in the stable, and you start to push a deal. You push and push and push and push until the deal breaks. Then you make a hard but okay offer on the second best horse and get away with a bargain.

I suspect that little bear is doing that, hence him eating cold hot dogs for breakfast. I am looking back and thinking about some of his tantrums. I am thinking about some of the deals I cut just to get the day moving. I think I shall have to toughen up.

Fortunately little bear is terrified of being late, and he can be threatened with not being allowed to go to school, and he can be bribed with marshmallows. I think it comes down to - what do I really want and how do I get the best for little bear.

Little bear is very annoying

Little bear is probably coming down with something gruesome - he is usually this awful just before he comes down with something green nosed and disgusting.

This morning, 7am, I heard a desperate cry of, 'Mummy! Mummy!' So I hurtle upstairs. 'Mummy, I can't find Ratatouille!' So I picked up the toy rat from next to little bear and hand it to him. It set the tone.

We go downstairs, and I ask him if he wants cereal for breakfast. This is met with expressions of absolute loathing. Just because he was demanding it yesterday doesn't mean he actually likes it again today. I make the usual suggestions and offer toast, weetabix, sugar puffs (cereal means cheerios), chocolate rice puffs (from approved food, a rare treat), toast and jam, porridge - all are utterly rejected. I start racking my brains. I am getting a bit desperate because I believe it important to have a good breakfast, but I can see that just handing him something is not going to work. Little bear announces, 'I need something NOW because my sweet tank and my healthy tank are empty down to my knees! You think of something, Mummy!' I hate it when he demands that I do his thinking for him, and it never ends well.

I take a deep breath, he is pushing his luck with this. In desperation I offer eggs, fish fingers, soup, beans and sausage, ham sandwich, cheese spread on crackers - all met with out right refusal. War openly breaks out when I refuse to give him sweets for breakfast. Marshmallows came from approved food yesterday and little bear noticed! He was NOT having marshmallows for breakfast.

So we stood in the kitchen, glaring at each other, and little bear noticed a half eaten packet of crisps that had been re-sealed. He asked (relatively nicely) for a crisp sandwich and he found some cold hot dog sausages in the fridge. I caved, reassuring myself that at least it wasn't marshmallows.

We had war over the sweatshirt for school, I insisted that he wore a clean one. We had war over finding his reading book, which I eventually tracked down. We had war about him dressing himself at glacial speed and we had war about getting out of the dratted door. He should be just about coming down with whatever is lurking in time for half term. Sigh.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Duty calls

I am about to get ready to sort out little bear's stuff, collect him from school and then take him to martial arts. I really don't want to. It is cold, it is slippy and I am irrationally scared.

However he is in a tournament in a few weeks' time, so needs must. I am sure that little bear will be fine as well (though frozen in the hall!) So I am going to be brave. I really wish I didn't have to.


I am sooooo cold

So I have put a casserole in, beef with tinned tomatoes, a wallop of red wine (darling father provided!), mushrooms, onions and olives.

Tomorrow is sausage and mash, which is quite warming. Then I will see what is in the cupboards and freezer.

I have just been trying to tweak my grocery order. I have nibbled away at it, but it is still over £70 without alcohol. I think I shall have to go back and revisit. We had some stuffed chicken thighs (bought ready stuffed, I am not risking myself with a boning knife!) that were really, really nice and I put them on the order. However, just because they were nice and we all enjoyed them doesn't mean that I need to get them again immediately. They are not the cheapest of meals, £3.50 for four stuffed thighs, but there was actually plenty of meat and stuffing, so it served four very easily.

(I am uneasily aware that if I did the same meal myself it would cost a lot less. However, realistically, I don't think I could do it, and until I can, I will buy them).

I have been doing really well for the last month, but I can feel myself slipping. I really need to watch myself! I am going to go and look again at the order. The stocks need to be reduced!

Little bear made it to school

Not all the snow from yesterday melted, and what was left and all the water lying around froze overnight. It was slippy, treacherous and crunchy underfoot with far too much black ice.

The walk to school is measured in yards. It isn't a long distance, and even in driving rain and wind it isn't that bad. I normally leave five minutes before the bell goes, and that allows for little bear dawdling.

In this weather, however, there is the slope. The downside of living on a side of a hill, the basic geographical reality, is that there is a steep incline no matter how I go. And I am terrified of falling - I have dislocated my left shoulder three times now, sprained both ankles and a wrist, I only dislocated my right shoulder once but it took two years to heal, and I have torn ligaments. Some of the fear is rational, if I land awkward I will almost certainly get hurt. On the other hand a lot of it is irrational. There is no real reason to think I would inevitably hurt myself, and I may not fall at all. I am convinced that the nervous and tentative little steps I use make things worse.

So I crunched over the grit that OH had put down Sunday night, crunched over the ridged snow and ice that is covering our 'road' which is about medieval standard, and along in front of the bathroom showroom improbably tucked away behind and in front of the shops. There was a slight incline up to the slip road to Matalan, but nothing outrageous, perhaps 25 degrees. The slip road to Matalan is lovely and ridged and has had lots of traffic, so crossing that was lovely. Then there were the choices. Normally I walk down the grass bank on to the path that goes along the side of the school. This is steep, and of course lovely and icy and slippy. I could have walked up to the top of the hill (steep incline, around 45 degrees) and then back down, and kept to pavements with a hand rail or fence to grab should I slip. However that was likely to take a lot longer and be more slippery. I could go the other way along the road, down a shortish slope which isn't good but not as bad, along the dual carriageway on a pretty clear path and then into school, but little bear was already fretting about being late. I went down the bank. Actually, looking back, I went down the bank at the same place I saw someone fall yesterday.

They say a coward dies a thousand deaths, but the hero just dies once. All the edging along, with those gripper things on my shoes, with little bear skidding and sliding and running on the clear bits, was extremely bad for my stress levels. Then I went up the five separate slopes to drop little bear off in his classroom. Then down the five separate (cleared and gritted) slopes, out of the school, along the dual carriageway, picked up the paper and then along the medieval standard road with lots of stones and mud to break up the ice. It will be fine when I pick up little bear.

Of course, tonight we are due a long freeze so tomorrow we start all over again. I am now really looking forward to summer.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Evil cat's test results

I picked up the test results of evil cat's urine sample - extracted under extreme duress and welding gloves.

It is very dilute. It is cloudy. It has a low ph. There are traces of blood. And yesterday OH noticed that she was now very, very, very thin. She also took one look at the snow, gave me the, 'you've got to be kidding' look and then came straight back inside. Her fur is getting that bit thinner.

Yesterday she nailed little bear. Well, when I say that she nailed him, little bear fell against the sofa where evil cat was sleeping and she gave him a generalised swipe. She then went back to sleep while little bear wailed and cried and generally gave the impression that he had lost a limb. I think it is because he was feeling poorly, but he was insistent he was bleeding lots and lots - just invisibly. There wasn't an obvious mark at the time, but now I can see a very, very fine line on his forehead near his hair and nowhere near his eyes. This may be as a result of the fussing rather than grumpy evil cat.

Poor old evil cat. We all know that tests are not the way forward, she would be desperately distressed by them and I am not sure how much could be done for such a spiky old lady. As she is curled up comfortably on a soft blanket in front of the fire, I don't think she is complaining too much. I shall keep her as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.

What little bear and the class bear did

The class bear on its snow throne. I may add that the picture does not do little bear's smile justice - he gets sweets from ladies at bus stops. He had a marvellous, if brief, play in the snow. I would like to say also that he is wearing a matched pair of gloves, which is currently a minor miracle.

Poorly little bear

Little bear was up in the middle of the night with earache. Poor little man was so fed up. He came downstairs and slept with me, going absolutely out like a light after a hug, a fuss and a dose of calpol, to be wide awake and demanding at 6am.

I slept on the fold out on the floor. You would not believe how my joints are aching now. Regardless of the effects of the weather, a disturbed night's sleep has left me flattened. I was not looking forward to a day keeping little bear at home.

Little bear wasn't staying home. Little bear declared war - he wanted to go to school! I weighed it up as best as I was able. On the one hand, it was good that little bear went to school. He would catch up on his sleep tonight. If he was poorly then by tomorrow he would be obviously poorly enough to stay home. And I could perhaps steal a nap while he was out.

If he stayed at home he may prevent getting a really bad dose of earache, and I wouldn't have to go out in the snow. I am also terrified (irrationally) of going out in the snow - I've dislocated and sprained too many bits of me to want to risk a fall. And I know when he gets to school he is going to race around like a lunatic and not want to stay inside and the cold will not help his earache.

Little bear was insistent, so I tottered and slid with him to school, the few hundred yards total distance seeming like an endurance run. I am now waiting for a phone call from school, but to be fair he did seem fine this morning.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Teddy Bear of Doom

We have the class bear! I was given no chance to duck this, it has come home this weekend as a reward for little bear's good behaviour - I'm doomed!

Apparently all we need is a photo or two and a few sentences. I feel the responsibility. I could lose it (not impossible at all). Evil cat could happen to it (less likely, but not unimaginable). Darling father could paint it white (he's painted a lot of things white this week, mainly door frames). Anything could happen. I have never, ever wanted the class bear, the class pet or the class mascot home.

Too late.

I shall refer this firmly to OH.

How we used to live

I watched the second part of 'I, Caveman' last night, it had been recorded for a bit and I knew that OH and darling father would enjoy that sort of programme. It was described as a documentary showing modern people living as cavemen for two weeks. We heckled it. It seemed very odd to just drop a lot of people without adequate training into the middle of a survival situation which would need a very different skill set than modern day living. For those interested in hard history, it is not recommended.

I was just thinking, only 100 years ago, my life would have been so different. Just the sheer hard labour of doing washing is such a contrast to bunging it in the washer and pressing a switch. No refrigeration means that I would have had to bought things in every day, and no tupperware containers meant that storing things like flour would have meant expensive glass jars, or rust prone tins. And that is if the food itself was safe!

Tonight I will be taking little bear to piano in the cold. Poor little mite will complain, but he will be well wrapped up and I look at what was normal even in my childhood, when cars were rare and waiting at bus stops was normal, we are really very, very lucky. When I got him dressed downstairs because the fire meant that the room was warmer, I was so grateful that I was not forced to either be cold or to haul heavy and expensive buckets of coal from coal house to fire side, nor did I need to worry about ice inside the house. Darling uncle is having problems with his fire because the coal in his coal bunker has frozen. And actually, if little bear was getting dressed upstairs, it wasn't actually that cold, not compared with outside.

I feel extremely blessed.

Beautiful morning

It is lovely here, sunny and crisp. So when I forgot little bear's book bag I didn't mind going back and then out again to drop it off into the office.

I am not, however, looking forward to taking little bear to piano lessons, he is going to be grumbling fiercely. However it is not like the centre of Europe where the cold is really dangerous, and he will be well wrapped up. And cross.

I can see ironing happening, there is enough to keep me nice and warm for a while.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


I have just had a very small amount of Sambuca with a lot of lemonade. Actually, I am still having it. Sambuca seems to go a long way. It is a bit like drinking vodka laced with aniseed balls and very pleasant. And as a very small amount has lasted me all evening, it is very economical and I am not confuzzled and so able to still look after little bear. All I can do is drink a little sip at a time, it is lovely, but quite intense.

Depending on whether OH and darling father raid it, a bottle should last a satisfyingly long time. Then I may try the licorice flavour. Or the raspberry, or the violet....

Knot knitting

I should not be let loose near a yarn over needle. Honestly, one simple action, one tale of woe. All I was trying to do was a row of eyelet holes in a little jacket for Nice Mr Next Door's daughter. It's like spare stitches were raining down on the needle - mind you, little bear was supervising.

And I have put in my smallest ever order to Approved Food. Little bear can be bribed with marshmallows. They are not ideal, but are low fat. I have ordered a shed load, and a few other bits, but hardly anything, it came in at less than £30 and that included postage. All the things that I was tempted by, I could just imagine piling up on the work surface along with all the olives and the stuffing.

Also, need to not burn fish fingers. Little bear was disappointed in me.

Meal planning

I caved and we had a takeaway last night. I have got to try and work out if OH's tummy will allow certain foods or not - the jar of chilli cooking sauce may have to be shelved and I may have to think of something else.

My mind is completely and totally blank about what to happen in the next few days. I think I will just look the night before and keep my fingers crossed. The cupboards are very slowly emptying, so eventually I will get there.

All I have to do is take it one meal at a time.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Junk food is bad for your health

So far little bear has choked on a crisp and then rubbed his eye with a salty finger. They should have a hazard warning

Definitely no catnip drops

After the catnip drops comes, well, second hand cat food. As in, evil cat has a poorly tummy and can't help herself. Actually, she has been soooo bad she has been sick on lino.

btw the quickest way to find cat sick in a kitchen is to go in with bare feet. When I am half asleep, the cat is going crackers for breakfast and little bear is demanding extra honey on cereal, I have no chance!

I am blaming the cat nip drops. She has been begging to go out so she can eat grass, but when I have opened the door she has just given me a 'you have got to be kidding - who turned off the fire' look and stalked back inside.

She is now sulking. As this means she isn't giving me problems, I can live with that.

Leeds City Market

Leeds City Market is an amazing building. And it used to be a real hot house of all sorts of little stalls. However there are now more and more empty stalls.

Over ten years ago I spoke to someone who sold ironing board covers and dishclothes from a chair in a corner in Leeds Market. She was saying then that the market would go downhill now the new manager had taken over. Because the first thing he did was put rents up, like he did in the last market he managed, which had shut down. And now it is not worth selling low cost or niche items on the market because of the cost of the stalls. They are talking about closing 25% of the market but it used to be stuffed!

The same thing happened with the Corn Exchange. It went to cheap, cheerful and slightly odd to high class and empty. The Dark Arches were redeveloped back in the eighties, and again when from hippy cheap and cheerful to empty. It is quite depressing. I don't think those on the council planning board have ever shopped in a market.

Of course, there is also the question of location. The market is next to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the BBC building and just by the Quarry House building which is where several government departments relocated to from London (it has a Ming the Merciless death ray on the top and is vast - I've got lost there! On the other side there is the future site of John Lewis and at the front a few yards further down Vicar Lane there is the Victoria quarter with Harvey Nichols and Vivienne Westwood - designer shops literally yards from cut price fruit and veg. Perhaps the council are hoping that the market can be redeveloped to suit the tone.

It does beg the question of where the poor people are going to shop.Link


Little bear is obviously catching up with some serious sleep. When he staggers downstairs in the morning his bed looks hardly slept in - he is just flaking out.

He still pushes his luck at night time. Last night OH was out, so little bear missed his usual round of stories with little bear and Dr Who rescuing the school from Sontarans and such so I thought I would let him have ONE extra story. Who was I kidding.

Little bear had brought home his new reading books. So he read carefully through all three. He always loses a bit of focus on the last one as he is tired but he enjoyed himself. (Green level, Rigby Rocket, no idea what that means). Then he insisted that he read his new library book, which actually was a compilation of six stories. I read that with a little help from him. And then little bear negotiated a final story. The final story turned out to be a collection of Kipper stories - four of them! He did pretty well.

But he did go to sleep pretty quickly, so it was worth it!