Saturday, 31 March 2012

Ginger Gentleman is continuing

The ginger gentleman is an un-neutered tom cat. This means he has a large territory and a belligerent attitude to other cats, although he does give very nice cuddles. He has been seen at some distance, and is frequently in our little road. Our street is a very desirable location for a cat. There is not too much traffic, plenty of sun if you pick the right spots, some quiet kipping places and some really good hunting. We often see Oscar or Roxy trotting past with something grey, furry and limp in their mouths, and one of them left a dead magpie on their owners' step. There are a lot of small birds like finches and sparrows about, and I expect that they also get chased, if not caught. So the ginger gentleman is muscling in.

He has already tried to go for evil cat, and she is just too old and frail to cope. Last night we realised that her tummy was so shrunken that the flap of loose skin she had after neutering was no longer swinging like it used to but sucked up to her rib cage. The days when she could have given the ginger gentleman a nasty surprise are gone. And ginger gentleman is having so many running battles with Oscar that Nice Mr Next Door has been picking huge chunks of ginger fur out of Oscar's black claws.

So I was not entirely surprised to hear the sounds of battle yesterday. But I am trying to chase ginger gentleman out of the garden in case evil cat is taken by surprise, and I don't want our garden to be disputed territory with all the spraying. So I opened the the kitchen door to the sound of battle and found that the ginger gentleman had a young tabby from next door cornered in the cupboard under our steps. The young tabby is called Alfie, he is about a teenager, very small (so far!) and slim, but with a tom cat attitude. He has only just started going out. However he seems to be getting stuck in on the side of Oscar and Roxy.

The ginger gentleman appears to be outnumbered. However I am not sure that he can work that out - he doesn't seem bright, even for a cat!

Little bear's fun day

Little bear had a Change 4 Life Fun Day. It was hell. It was over crowded, badly planned and despite having some good info it was bewildering. We left as soon as we could and got ice creams.

Little bear did not win the egg painting contest. The little info I had out of that was that one of the winners had an egg that was dressed like Cinderella. Please let us escape this next year! And little bear had refused categorically to guess the name of the rabbit. He couldn't guarantee he would be right, so he wasn't doing it. That was the end of that! So I put 'little bear's mummy' next to a name at random. I wasn't allowed to choose my own suggestion, either, so any 'adult' suggestions, or even Stew, Pie or Mustard, were not allowed. We didn't win the rabbit. I was relieved.

Little bear is still exhausted. This morning he dragged himself downstairs and lay on the sofa. He declared he didn't want to go to sleep AT ALL. He is off for Easter Holidays and I think it is in the nick of time. However I can see the holidays stretching ahead of me with a five year old who is actually a tired little man, trying to keep him amused. I intend to make shameless use of soft play.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Little bear is pushing boundaries

I am beginning to worry about little bear. He is showing signs of being completely exhausted, such as trying to get a nap before school. And he is behaving fair to middling appallingly. This is usually a sign that he is sickening for something.

To be honest, I suspect he is still suffering from the after effects of the chicken pox. I know I am being a fussy mummy, but he is soooo tired, too tired to get to sleep at night, sleeping later than average (6.50am today!) and generally not happy. Once upon a time it was a fortnight off school. Now it is five days, and I was pushing it keeping him off the Thursday and Friday after he was diagnosed. At the end of last week, after his first week back at school, he was completely exhausted. This week he seems just as bad, if not worse! Thank goodness he is off school next week.

Yesterday there were two memorable incidents. He had an ice lolly after martial arts (all over his suit - marvellous) and was nice and sticky. He got sticky over the computer desk. So I asked him to go and wash his hands. I think my words were something like, 'Okay now, sweetheart, go and wash your hands please and we can have a nice cuddle.' He refused to wash his hands.

Routinely I let things go, but to me this was just ridiculous. So I was firmer. I shouted. I escorted him to the stairs. I escorted him up the stairs, step by step, with him shouting furiously that he would never wash his hands, NOT EVER!!! Then he dashed into the bathroom and locked the door. He was not washing his hands and he was never coming out. He even ignored the lure of washing his hands in Grandad's sink.

Then he found an excuse that he didn't want to wash his hands because of a cut. So I got him to open the door, washed his hands with a new sponge and looked at how open the window was all of a sudden. I had had the window ajar, and it is never locked as it is the fire escape window, but now it was wide open. 'I had it open for some more fresh air.' Little bear said artlessly, 'Because I needed more fresh air so I opened the window. For fresh air.' He had opened the window planning to climb out and thought better of it! All this fuss about washing his hands.

The second incident, which to me was far more worrying, was during dinner. We had some very nice, natural smoked haddock, which little bear loves. 'I've got a bone,' little bear wails. I sigh because the fish was sold as boneless, but say, 'Never mind, just spit it out.' Little bear says, 'No!'

Little bear has his moments but normally does not refuse to spit something out that he doesn't want/like, and we couldn't let him swallow a fish bone! To be honest, it was probably just a tiny bit of hard skin from smoking, as it was lovely fish and well prepared. However I could now cry. Little bear has been really enjoying his fish, and now he is saying that he will never have fish again because of bones, and I worry that because he got himself so worked up and stressed, he won't touch one of the few healthy options he would genuinely tuck into. By the time we had managed to get him to spit out the offending piece he was almost hysterical.

This sort of awkward, irrational defiance usually means little bear is about to have something really, dreadfully gruesome. I am hoping I am wrong and it's just the embers of the chickenpox virus.

As I type he is stretched on the sofa, making the sort of little grunts that usually mean that a nap would be a possibility, and we are about to get him ready for school! He is five now, not two or three when naps were a good thing.

It's a 'normal for five, but mums worry' situation, I suppose. I am sure he will be far too active for me to keep up soon. I wonder if I will ever stop worrying.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Great News!

According to an article on the BBC website here, eating chocolate makes you thin.

If that were true, I should be six inches wide and three inches deep. However, perhaps I should do a little more research on this idea...

Monday, 26 March 2012


The whole house now smells of vinegar after the boiled egg fiasco. It could be worse, it could smell of boiled eggs, but I will now probably dream of chips.

As I am currently having a lot of recurring dreams about hairdressers, this will make a nice change. I know it is usually boring to recount dreams, but I am getting fed up of dreaming about getting nice haircuts, little bear having nice haircuts, OH having nice hair cuts in underground bunkers. The bunkers are all the same, with a naked bulb hanging from the ceiling, gloss paint over stone and the smell of old, concrete bus shelters - filled with hair dressers. I am sure my subconscious is telling me something. I have got to the stage where even in my dreams I am thinking, 'Oh, no, not again!' as I am led down yet another set of neglected concrete steps.

I have only just had a haircut. I certainly can't afford another one this month!

Not another thing

And on top of everything else, my phone has started playing up. Half of my directory is missing, half has reappeared from when I accidentally deleted, and I could cry...

Still, I have had it for some time and it only cost £10. I suppose another inexpensive phone will be manageable, but only just.

More egg disasters

Out of seventeen eggs I have two unboiled and three being painted...

And the eggs boiled in vinegar and water - I left them to cool in the water, as I wanted a nice firm set. Now the outer layer of brown is coming off the shell! I think there may have been a little too much acid.

Little bear is applying paint and glitter and no longer requiring a tree. This is progress. However one of the three being painted has developed a crack. I am hiding in here and trying not to whimper.

It could all be worse. Probably.

Success - eggs boiled with vinegar!

Thank you Justamum and Savvy_Sue from MSE! Eggs with vinegar do not crack.

Little bear came home, looked at my attempt to prepare a nest and was very disappointed. I had got a smallish snack pot, glued brown paper on the outside, put pieces of green paper and scrunched up brown paper on the inside and hoped that it would look somewhat like a nest in grass. I hadn't been able to get out to get brown paint (considered mixing it, considered track record, got brown paper out), so I decided to go for the plastic pot option rather than papier mache.

I thought it looked okay. Little bear solemnly shook his head. He wanted a tree.

In little bear's defence he is doing a very good impression of middle to outright exhausted and was desperately trying to nap at 8am this morning. I have no idea where to start with a tree, I have no desire to start with a tree, and I have no idea what little bear thinks is going to make the dratted tree. Especially one big enough to look right with a hard boiled hen's egg.

Little bear doesn't want to enter this competition as he doesn't think he is going to win. This is not an attitude I want to foster. I am scratching around for ideas to make decorating boiled eggs fun for a tired, uninterested and irritable five year old with a mum who does not do decorating anything because I am rubbish (and fairly exhausted and uninterested with it).

Next year we work on the tree.

I am buying a Lakeland Egg Boiler

Apart from the frustration of suddenly not being able to boil an egg - the waste of food is killing me!

I have boiled ten eggs so far and have four that are fit for decorating and I need spares to have as a fall back in case little bear happens.

And breathe!

Second attempt at boiled eggs - Fail!

I've been boiling eggs intermittently for years! Why can't I manage this simple task.

I'm blaming PMT. Also random celebrities - without any good reason, but I have to cheer myself up somehow.

I burnt the boiled eggs

Yes, I managed to burn boiled eggs. I am having a 'not only is this glass half empty but it's dirty as well, look at that, second hand lipstick, who do I complain to!' sort of day and the burnt boiled eggs are a good symptom of that.

I am even saying 'Bah, humbug!' to the glorious weather (got clothes drying, though).

It could all be worse - that's what I keep telling myself. Then I remember that 'we' are decorating little bear's eggs tonight (fresh ones boiling to decorate, decided I wasn't up to blowing them) and that little bear is pessimistic about it. And then OH is off after Wednesday and I know he will have Ideas about doing things in the house - I am currently on the floor with lack of sleep. And we have a 'Family Fun Day' at school on Thursday which to me sounds like purgatory.

Off to check on the second lot of boiled eggs.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The difference between boys and girls

I don't know where little bear got the idea, as I do try and keep an eye on input, and I try and weed this stuff out, but there are limits to what mums with five year old boys can do. All I can do is give him guidance, and try and give him a clear idea of what is or is not acceptable. One day he will be courting, and the behaviour I tolerate or fail to tolerate could make a big difference.

However it does not help when I am giving little bear hell fire and brimstone for pulling his trousers down and showing his bottom to the neighbours (not naughty or defiant, just joking around) to have darling father and Nice Mr Next Door laughing helplessly behind me.

What boys and girls find funny can be very, very, very different.

(also, would I get into trouble for giving the older men hell fire and brimstone as well - they probably wouldn't notice)

Little bear has a few toys

Little bear has bullied OH into digging out all his toys. Suddenly he is vastly attached to them. Or, to be exact, I can't get rid of any.

And trust me, the ones in the picture are only a very small selection

I hate Big Pandy

At 6.30 am little bear wanted Big Pandy. It is in the junk room and will need noisy excavation to get out, and I really didn't want to know.

Little bear is still demanding Big Panda. He got a bit of a shout from me along the lines of, 'this is ridiculous, daddy needs his sleep, it would wake half the street to get it out, and it is still two hours before you would leave for school if it was a school day! No!'

And when we do get the rotten thing down it will take up far too much space. It is massive. It is a four foot high, three foot wide, cheaply made soft toy. It will take up more of the living room floor than is actually free. It will block chairs, endanger the tv and cause fear to evil cat. In little bear's room it will take up more of the bed than little bear, knock lamps, sweep off books and block the wardrobe.

Little bear has mentioned that he wants all his pandies. When he was very tiny lots of people bought him pandas because he loved pandas. They multiplied. I don't even know where all of them are, but I have a sinking feeling that little bear has a better idea than I do about exactly how many of the black and white trip hazards there are.

It isn't even 7.30am as I am typing this and I am being harassed by little bear over toy pandas! I think I need to get a lot tougher with little bear!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Little bear and his Pandy

Tonight little bear has been just about the most exhausted little bear in the world and has been lying on the sofa (he is, however, currently refusing to go to sleep, sigh).

Before he settled down he asked for his Big Pandy, to snuggle up to him. Hmm. Not only is Big Pandy hidden behind a shedload of rubbish, due to be evicted, but Big Pandy is still bigger than him at a good four foot tall. Big Pandy is massive, he is huge, he is vast. He is due to be thrown out (not fit for anything) but little bear has remembered him.

This has given me a sinking feeling. I have been planning to sneakily remove a lot of little bear's broken stuff and outdated and worn toys. Little bear will always refuse to part with them, but some of the bits don't look like they belong to anything but little bear will declare them his favouritist toy.

Regardless, I have volunteered OH to heave the vast carcass of Big Pandy out of the junk room and in to little bear. We will just have to work around things - again!

Not a good day

I broke a crown (in my sleep, grinding my teeth, the night I found out about the car...) so it was a trip to the dentist.

I was feeling v sorry for myself coming home on the bus, and ashamed as I nearly passed out in the dentist and all they did was re-glue a crown.

Then someone got on, they were distraught and crying and apologising for crying. They had just got the news that their cancer had come back.

I couldn't talk (teeth!) to say anything, and what could I say. The lady sitting next to her was being as comforting as possible. And how can anyone need to apologise for dealing with that sort of news - she had only found out a few minutes before and she was calm by the time she got off the bus. It put my pity party right back into perspective. I hope it all works out for her.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

These adverts

Wean - I don't think I have much to say, but in Real Life I don't really have anyone to say it to, and to be honest, I enjoy wittering like this. A few years down the line I will be able to look back on a pretty good record of little bear. I get real pleasure out of tapping away at a keyboard and others reading, and any comment is always welcomed (in fact, I am thrilled by them).

Money would be nice - of course! But I don't like the idea of asking friends for stuff. I couldn't do a Tupperware party. And I do enjoy the humour of the adverts. After my little tantrum about cards there was an advert for an internet card company. I wonder if there is a script going on somewhere.

So, if you want to blog, go for it! And don't forget to send linky!

Tempus fugit

I was asked to make some knitted baby clothes for next door's about to be newest grandaughter. I should have had until the end of April, and to be fair I had found the needles and wool and patterns and even finished one little coat (obviously haven't sewn it together, I have not been that out of character!).

The baby may be induced next week. Actually the baby may not wait that long - it looks like she is ready to come out!

So I am praying for the little one and mum and I am going to sit down for the next few days and do some concentrated knitting! Evil cat permitting, of course


I've just watered a patch of garden. It's to discourage the cats from their favourite toilet, but the ground actually needs it. I think I will do a round of the garden this evening. Everywhere seems so dry!

It is March! All I can say is that there had better be some April showers on the way, I do not currently feel up to trudging up and down with watering cans.

Also, glass half full - great drying weather!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


I hope no-one is too bothered by the adverts. I haven't made any money from them yet and I am not sure when or if I shall, but that isn't stressing me. I am getting a lot of entertainment from them.

Today there was an advert to gifts of crystals for Mother's Day. I can't click on any links, so I don't know, but I am sure that it is a good site and I am confident that a lot of mums would enjoy something sparkly from their children.

However all I could see in my mind's eye was a stereotypical old fashioned housewife with her hair in curlers and a pinny on, thinking, 'Not another thing to dust!'

I hope I am always really enthusiastic about anything little bear does for me or gives me. Even if it is a Dr Who plastic figure. It's the thought that counts, and I think little bear is wonderful!

The Recliner has gone

It isn't part of Operation Clutterbust, it was really just shot to pieces and after little bear had bounced on it there was a huge crater. Darling father took it to pieces and we got it out of the house that way.

I shall miss it, it was wonderfully comfortable, eased my bad legs and I slept on it several times when little bear was poorly. However it was finished.

We have a smaller chair there now, which is more than acceptable, though when it is possible to go to somewhere I would like to get darling father a nicer proper armchair to sit in. Until darling father is well enough to do the trek to IKEA (or similar) then the current chair will do. It has an upholstered seat and back and bentwood handles.

I have swept up etc around it, ironing next. At least dinner is sorted out.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

I am not technically minded

I am not very good at the technical stuff, and I am not proud of it. I am sure that if I could just look at things carefully it would be possible to work it all out. The trouble is that so much technical stuff seems to assume that you know what a gasket is. I am not much more knowledgeable than that.

So I have been trying to work out how much maintenance our car needs, how often, and what to do. I can not drive. I have no interest in cars apart from the 'box on four wheels that gets us to our holiday' sort of interest. So I didn't even know what questions to ask. I have spent a bewildering afternoon, but I am now somewhat better informed.

I think that is the problem - I don't know what questions to ask, and often I don't understand the answers that I am getting. Thank goodness for the kind people on MSE, as I just didn't even know what to google. Now at least I know how often to check the oil. OH had never checked the oil, not even before a long trip. I am going to learn how to do it myself.

And after that I was muttering evilly about our central heating thermostat. It needs a new battery. There is a little flashing battery sign on it. I am very wary about messing with this, and rang the people who did the boiler. They told me I could just slide the thingy off and replace the battery myself, or they could come out and it would cost me £50. I don't think that included VAT either.

I found, after some extensive research on the internet, the thermostat that is supposed to go with our system does have a thingy that you can just slide off. However we don't have that thermostat, we have a different thermostat. It does a good job and I am very happy with it, but nothing slides anywhere. I checked YouTube, I checked diy and plumbing forums - nowhere could I find a way of getting into the dratted thing to replace the battery. The unit seemed completely solid. There wasn't even a 'press here' or a 'push to close' note. It was apparently impregnable. After some serious consultation I had a prod, darling father had a prod, and we managed to prise the cover off. It is a 'click on and off' type cover, it doesn't slide.

Darling father looked at me and I looked at him. I have no idea if the battery is an AA or an AAA, the landing light was dim, darling father was on his way to watch football on tv and I was about to help OH with little bear's bedtime. We will investigate the battery tomorrow in the clear light of day.

I now feel very worn out with thinking about such unfamiliar things. I am sure it is healthy, I just wish I found it easier. However, I will find things easier if I practice, and I am not giving up!

I am a hypocrite about cards

Wean - I think you are right. I am really bad at remembering cards etc, and do feel v guilty about it. But I do like sending a birthday card that fits, that suits the person. I am a little restricted as I only buy from my local newsagents, who do have a brilliant range, but it isn't vast. I just believe in buying local.

I love sending cards but I hate the commercial pressure. And I really, really hate the commercial pressure that means that we should feel guilty for not spending money on something that is an invention of the card industry. I used to print our own cards, but OH didn't like that.

I have a weird background to birthday cards. My mother died two days before my birthday. I was staying at her house, and stayed for the week trying to sort stuff out. OH came up for the funeral, and brought a carrier bag full of cards, evenly divided between birthday cards and sympathy cards. So birthday cards to me are nice because of the thought, but I don't really think about them much.

Also, I can't be having with Valentine's day as it is now so commercial, I can't be having with a lot of fuss at Mother's Day at the moment, with little bear being so young, and I really don't want to be reminded of my wedding anniversary. I am a bit of a dead loss to the card industry. I even bought my last lot of Christmas cards in bulk from Approved Food. I do try and remember birthdays with nice cards though, sometimes in quantity from me, little bear, evil cat....

I am a hypocrite

Morgan - you are right about the handwritten notes. On the one hand I will send drifts of cards - from evil cat, from little bear, from OH and me, etc. I have even been known to send them in separate envelopes, paying extra for the stamps rather than saving with the cards all in one envelope, as I think it is sometimes nice to have a lot of cards land on the mat. It is my way of showing that I am thinking of someone. It shows that bit more care than an email or text.

On the other hand - I hate that you feel obliged to send cards at all sorts of triggers. If you are unable to see someone at Easter, and send a religious card from one religious person to another, then that is fine, I am right behind that. On the other hand, from one non-religious neighbour to another, a card with a fluffy bunny on is ridiculous and a way for the card shops to extort money.

I am also a bit of a grump about wrapping paper. Everything gets wrapped in the plain gold stuff I got on sale from Matalan. The thought of maintaining a file of different types of wedding/christening/birthday paper horrifies me. I am far too disorganised to get it right, and with my wrapping skills, you could never tell anyway! I spend a lot of thought on gifts inside the packaging, but usually have an epic fail with the wrapping.

The other thing is, I am entirely behind sending cards of condolence. It can make a real difference. I don't mind the card shops selling them!

I tagged my post as controversial, and I am torn about it. On one hand I love being able to send cards to show someone I love them, to say I am pleased that they passed an exam or a driving test, that I hope that they get better soon. I can be really prolific. On the other hand I hate this growing and relentless social pressure to spend more and more on cards for more and more occasions that are not as old as little bear. The Mother's Day card to a lady who was pregnant, from the bump, is so astonishing to me.

Also, I think it is a sad sign of the times. Instead of congratulating a pregnant lady, and joking about how this time next year she will be getting a card, it seems necessary to pay out money to send a card. There always seems to have to be something material involved.

I think I have more or less defined my feelings - I resent spending money on a card that is for an event that has been created by a card company where I wouldn't otherwise have sent a note if cards didn't exist. I resent over big cards and over glossy cards that are expensive, difficult to carry and either take up far too much storage or won't recycle. And I saw last Friday too many people with a haunted and stressed expression wondering if they had done enough to meet the expectations of mother's day, and all the worry and hassle that has nothing to do with love from mother to child and everything to do with marketing campaigns and materialism.

On the other hand, I really like the lady who runs the florist at the end of the street, and she was open at 6am on Sunday, and sold everything! So I (hypocritically) am glad she made a profit. I just wonder how many flowers were bought out of love, and how many out of duty and a guilty conscience, and how much as a substitute for spending time with their mother. I think most out of love.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Poorly car

It seems that our poor old car was suffering. I thought it was getting serviced when MOT'd. I should have realised it wasn't, due to the costs. But I can't drive and I have never really been involved in the running of the car. So not only was the fuel filter blocked, but the air filter was shot and the oil was at the bottom of the gauge.

The air filter has been sorted and a full service will happen next weekend, thanks to Nice Mr Next Door. The oil has also been topped up. There will probably be the need for plugs.

So I will put in my diary when it should next be serviced, and get Nice Mr Next Door to show me how to fill up the washer thingy and the oil, and put those in the diary.

Thanks to Nice Mr Next Door being lovely to us, it is all likely to come in under £100. However if it had been serviced regularly we could have gone out last weekend. We would not have been traveling in a state of extreme tension to little bear's party. OH would not have been a nervous wreck driving to and from work at 50 miles per hour on a dual carriageway.

It's now on my list.

Cards taking over

OH was in the newsagents with little bear. I said I hadn't really wanted to be bothered with Mother's Day as little bear was not only full of chickenpox but probably a little too young to really get to grips with it. I am becoming less and less interested in times where you have to behave in a certain way just because it is a certain date - Christmas and Easter excepted. All this mother's day, valentine's day, secretaries day thing seems to be set up just to sell cards. Mother's day in the UK was originally nothing to do with a biological mother. It was to do with church law.

(for those interested - in the middle ages churches had legal dues and were entitled to charge not only tithes but had the second best beast of a serf when they died, fees for burial, fees for baptism etc - marriage only became a church matter a lot later - and it could make a tidy profit. So if a church had previously covered a large area that included many village, and someone built a church in one of those villages, then the original, or mother, church would lose out financially. It was usually agreed that churches that would encroach on existing rights would be subordinate to the 'mother' church, give them a cut of the money and once a year, during Lent, would process back to the mother church to confirm that the original church still had the right to take the money. This was the origin of Mothering Sunday.)

I seem to be in a bit of a minority, however. OH came back and told me that someone had been buying cards headed up, 'to mummy from your bump'. That's right, a mother's day card to a lady who had not yet had the baby.

I think my jaw hit the floor.

Now I am fine if someone wants to buy into the card frenzy and get cards. That's up to them. However what worries me is that everyone else is sucked in, because it becomes compulsory to buy cards for half year anniversaries, or purple day or whatever else the card industry think up, and you have to buy and send them or you look unfeeling and uncaring. And what is this about Easter cards? Why? Just because there are Christmas cards surely they are not trying to tell us that Easter cards are also mandatory. I'll buy Easter cards when people start selling Pentecost cards.

Also, I am a hypocrite. I sometimes send cards from evil cat. But not for Easter!

Budget - what budget?

This month we have had a few more expenses than I had hoped. Some have been planned, some have been unplanned, I am sick of it.

So far, off the top of my head for this pay packet, darling father's tv, little bear's party, sister in law's anniversary - I don't usually bother but this is her pearl anniversary, two close birthdays which we buy for, the car (still ongoing) and we NEED to replace darling father's chair (probably Wednesday). I am sure that there is more, but I am just too depressed thinking about it.

The latest hit the budget is taking is a skip. A few months ago Nice Mr Next Door suggested that we pool together to get a skip, that is us, Next Door, and Next Door's two sons who are taking over Next Door but One after they have shovelled all the rubbish out of it. It is probably coming next week.

We could really do with the skip. We need to get rid of darling father's old chair, a broken compost bin that is taking up too much room and a broken exercise bike (not broken through use, I might add). We can't get the council to come and collect it. In theory we are entitled to so many free collections per year. In practice, even if there are no cars in the road, the council workers look at our road and say that they couldn't gain access - every time!

We could really benefit from our share of the skip. It is a large one, and pooling in will still be cheaper and it is one skip taking up room in the street rather than another smaller one later. However it has been dragging on for so long that I had almost forgotten to worry about the cost. Sigh.

I have to pay for the holiday next month, and that should be okay. However the latest idea is that we take the half term holiday in October away and while we are away get the laminate floor fitted. That's easily £1000 to find in six months. We need the carpets replacing, they are a health hazard and worn beyond hope. OH does actually need the break before the Christmas rush. I will think of something.

Bless him, darling father has paid for his tv, though I felt bad for taking the money. The cash is now on my desk ready to pay for the car.

On the bright side, after sorting through so many knitting magazines, I am not tempted to buy any more in the short term. Long may that continue!

Taken exercise

I have taken some exercise - a trip to the Methodists with books and back. A trip to the Methodists with magazines and back. A trip to the Methodists with more magazines and back. And finally a trip to the Methodists with their frozen stuff (space back in my freezer!) and back.

It is only a few yards, but at least it is something.

Evil cat is grumpy

I think she's grumpy. She will be even grumpier if she doesn't stop trying to sit on the mouse - I'll dump her heartlessly on the floor.

Actually she is getting away with a bit more than normal. This morning she had a small lick of the kitten food, and then was loudly and theatrically sick. The amount of kitten food she has been eating has decreased over the last day or two. Perhaps the novelty has worn off.

She is looking malevolently self satisfied whenever I stop typing and stroke her, but I am keeping an eye on her.

Yesterday when we were clearing the bookshelves we found some old photos, including one of evil cat in her much younger days, trying to destroy a flower arrangement. Her rear was then like the back end of a bus. Now she is definitely too thin. It was quite heartbreaking.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Meal Planning Challenges

I am giving little bear a certain amount of leeway in eating. For one thing, he is eating a lot of fish so I am loading him up with that.

(he told OH, with solemn firmness, that what we were eating wasn't haddock, it was fish!)

And darling father is struggling. It is only just a week since he had five teeth out, and a lot of food is a challenge for him. He has been under the weather, regardless, so he needs to be built up. I also am a bit wary of some ideas as on Friday night darling father had a serious choking fit. Due to a stroke twenty years ago, he hasn't got a good swallowing mechanism and a whole pea got stuck in his windpipe. So the usual peas that I dish out to us all, and that little bear will eat, are a bit of a gamble.

At this point I should say that I give in to little bear due to the stress of OH, and that little bear will eat almost anything out, will be incredibly polite in company, and eats a varied diet at school. Apparently he only likes fruit in school. I am proud I didn't say anything when he came out with that gem.

So all in all, working out what on earth to cook is getting to be a bit of a challenge. Tonight we had chicken crown (from the freezer, it had been on offer) with mash and mushy peas. Little bear loves mushy peas, so I can see those being a staple for the next few weeks. Tomorrow is likely to be corned beef hash (fish fingers/soup etc for little bear) and the day after I have some turkey breast strips ordered and I think stir fried with a jar of sauce should be fine for darling father, he has been fine with rice so far.

I didn't bother with an ocado order, it just wasn't worth it, not at this time, though I will certainly check it out again in the future. However I seem to have asda delivering twice a week at the moment, which isn't good, but hopefully as all settles down it should be less. The delivery charge, if I pick my moment, is still less than the bus fare to anywhere I can buy food.

And as little bear realises the treats are drying up now he is no longer stuffed with chicken pox, he is going to be very fed up, so I plan to sneak some home made fruit in jelly into him, and hopefully that will set a good precedent.

Operation Clutterbust stutters on

Darling father will be manning a stall at the Methodists next weekend (or the weekend after - I am not sure when I think of it) and he will be covering the bookstall. It was time to go through our books.

The way we work is that we take all the books off a shelf, then we take it in turns to put the books back on the shelf, but only the ones we actually really want. We don't have to justify or explain, and we both get a say in what is kept.

OH and I filled one large shopping trolley and one very large suitcase on wheels and took it to the Methodists after service. Then there was another stint which easily filled the shopping trolley again. I have also filled a few more bags with old knitting magazines. Interestingly, since I started culling them, I have found it easier to resist buying them. I remember my late grandmother with a room filled with stacks of Woman's Weekly, kept in case she needed a knitting pattern or a recipe. To my knowledge, she never did.

I have also filled a few bags of stuff that need to be sent to other people. Next week will involve parcelling things up and queuing at the post office.

Depressingly, we need more bookshelves and we have nowhere to put them. Most of the books currently on the shelves are ones that are unlikely to make it to kindle, and many are quite hard to get hold of. I think I shall have to work on this.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Little bear is precise

We had a pack of cherry bakewell tarts in, one of little bear's favourites and designed to tempt him to eat through the rigours of chickenpox. He is feeling much better.

'I really love cherry bakewells.' Little bear said longingly to OH. As we are trying to get little bear to ask direct questions, OH just nodded and smiled.
'Can I have a cherry bakewell.' little bear finally asked.
OH noted the lack of 'please' in the sentence. 'I'm sorry,' he said, 'what was that?'
'Can I have a cherry bakewell.' little bear repeated patiently.
OH persisted. 'What comes at the end of that sentence?' he asked, trying to remind little bear to say 'please'.
Little bear's eyes lit up with mischief. 'A full stop!' he said triumphantly.

And yes, he did get a cherry bakewell, eventually, when he asked properly (and had stopped giggling).

Friday, 16 March 2012

Evil cat's tail seems fine, she was leaping up and down onto the sink unit earlier and could manage quite a bit of battle tail when I refused to give her the barbecue chicken. I think she has recovered quicker than my nerves.

Food consumption continues. She has been sick three mornings on the run (or rather, I have found evidence three mornings running) but otherwise seems to be managing fine. Kitten milk was a fail, but I shall just keep going.

Little bear is tired

I took little bear to piano practice, thinking that it would be a good try out for School on Monday.

Little bear was fine at first, bright and lively and remembering everything. Then his concentration began to shrink, he couldn't sit still, he was looking like he was going to go into the piano teacher's cupboards, he tried to climb on her shoe rack, he was almost swinging off her door, I was mortified.

The melt down at the bus stop didn't help but then he fell asleep on the bus, poor little man.

He is going through the first stages of his bedtime routine, I am about to go up, and fingers crossed he will sleep well tonight.

Poor evil cat

Poor old evil cat - she was hovering near her dinner dish, so I went to the cupboard. The old girl was more spry than normal and the first I knew that she had made it over to the cupboard was when I stepped on her tail.

She was not impressed, not at all, and no doubt will plot revenge if she could remember it, but she wasn't interested in consoling cuddles - she wanted food! Everything seems undamaged.

Most of her life I have lived in fear of treading on her and doing real damage. She has always had a thing of hovering under your feet on the stairs. When you are trying to get on the next step down and a tabby tail is hovering all over it, flicking back and forth with evil cat's ears on high alert, it is extremely nervewracking. Or sitting down without thinking and a baffled and angry tabby emerging next to you from underneath a throw or cushion, it makes you very twitchy. How she has survived I do not know.

I will keep an eye on her and see how she does, but she was managing to give very annoyed tail signals earlier, so I am hoping all is fine.

Sore Eye

Little bear has conjunctivitis and a stye, that needs to be fussed over. The doctor (very nice doctor!) said that he would be fine and prescribed some drops. His chickenpox is definitely on the wane, he is fine, and has been demanding sandwiches. This makes a nice change from firstly being too poorly for chocolate, then demanding all sorts of goodies. He is back on the ricicles for breakfast.

Evil cat seems fine, and is mooching cuddles.

Darling father is definitely feeling a bit better, and I am so glad to see it.

Also, little bear has found a set of books that we got thinking that they would be ideal when he got to around 7. They are Disney encyclopedia type books, and I think he will get the benefit. He is now happily trudging them up to his bedroom, or rather, supervising me!

The tablets I took are kicking in, and I am hoping that I may manage to dry some washing outside. It all could be worse.

I am being an idiot

I have a cough, and a sore throat, and I ache all over. My ears hurt whenever I swallow, I have sniffles and feel like I have been hit by a very large truck.

Up until now I have had chicken pox three times plus shingles. I can't have anything now, I really can't - I must be imagining this. I have too much to do.

I am sure it is lack of sleep and too much imagination. I shall nap at every opportunity and then when little bear is in school next week (conjunctivitis permitting) I shall be able to make further progress.

Also evil cat has been sick again. I think I need to worry.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Poor little bear

Poor little bear. He is getting a lot better (though still has a very red and sore eye) and I am not up to playing with him. I feel awful.

On the other hand, I had him lying on the sofa, drifting gently off to that awful Ben 10, when the Asda delivery arrived an hour early. If it had been within the window I could have been on the look out and dashed out very quietly to stop them banging on the door and ringing the door bell. I could have cried.

He now wants to play Ben 10. I have to look him the eye and say - I have no idea where to start.

And no matter what I am suggesting for tea at the moment, darling father is having takeaways. Sigh. He is happy to pay for them, but OH is having fits about how unhealthy takeaways are.

Never mind, tomorrow is another day.

Glass half full - I managed to get a cuddle from the ginger gentleman who was hinting I WANT TO COME INSIDE AND BE FED as only a cat can hint. He is very much a he, and very much intact. However if he carries on, next door's tabby will be wearing them as earrings.

Evil cat still has it

Oscar, the vast black tom cat from next door, has been staking out his territory against the ginger gentleman. He has been taking him on, protecting the females (okay, Roxy, who is hard as nails, takes no prisoners and suffers no fools - Oscar is still protecting her). Yesterday Nice Mr Next Door picked large quantities of ginger fur from his claws.

I had nipped out to put something in the bin and was gossiping with Nice Mr Next Door so evil cat popped out to have a sniff around. Oscar came around the corner, still wary after his battles. He took one look at evil cat, turned around and walked away.

Poor old evil cat, her eyes are getting so bad I don't think she even saw him, but I am glad that she can still make an impression.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Proud Mother

Little bear had his parent's evening tonight. I was so nervous, but I needn't have worried. Little bear has four or five friends he plays with regularly, but will play with anyone, is confident with other children, well behaved and happy. That's the big deal for me, that sort of assurance with his peers will go a long way. The teacher was also really happy to see us, and was very happy how little bear was progressing.

I am so relieved. I really was worried that little bear wouldn't settle, wouldn't make friends, wouldn't be confident in a social situation - all for nothing. And I am glad that his behaviour is good and that, according to the teacher, he seems to seek out sensible children. That is a habit that will keep him out of a lot of scrapes.

And, although he is in Reception Year, he is reading Year Two books. He is around Year One for everything else. The school must take a lot of credit for this as they are allowing him to push on. I have a list of his 'next steps'. I had best get moving!

Operation Clutterbust limping along

I may have had an epic fail with it last year, but I am determined to keep going. Nice Mr Next Door got a swing bin liner full of old socks yesterday, mostly OH's. They are really, seriously, desperately past their best and I had already provided replacements.

I have to add that Nice Mr Next Door uses a lot of rags with mending cars, and I can see old socks being v useful for all sorts of things. I am not keeping any back, however, as I am sure any old socks we need will emerge over time.

I also sent two carrier bags of knitting magazines to the Methodist's Knit and Natter (the one I am too scared to go to). I have no idea what they could do with them, but it was either that or the recycling.

And I managed to wash out a load of old jam jars on Monday. They are currently in a carrier bag in the garden as I don't know where to take them, and the car isn't fit to take anything to the tip. However they are not in my kitchen waiting for me to do something. Okay, they are in my garden waiting for me to do something, but it could be a lot worse.

Darling father is running a bookstall on 31st at the Methodist Fair. I am determined to go through our books and we should be able to make a contribution. Not a large one - we have had a cull relatively recently - but we should be able to get rid of something!


There was a knock on the door and an older gentleman was standing there, flinching a little at my, 'who the heck are you?' expression. I had finally got little bear sitting quietly watching Ben 10 dvd (which I really regret buying, but he needed to be slowed down) and I was hoping to actually do some washing up.

He is a friend of darling father, who hadn't seen him for a few weeks, so he was calling to ask after darling father's health.

I invited him in. The living room looked like nothing on earth - crumbs all over the floor, toys scattered, Dr Who cards surrounding a ground zero of an empty box, things piled up, stacked, dropped, shoved to one side, and dear heaven the place needed dusting. Actually it needs stripping back to the plaster and starting again. I couldn't even ask him to sit in darling father's chair. Another spring went last night and it is not safe for the unwary to sit in.

Added to that, darling father was still in bed, still tired and not really up to visitors. For one brief moment he looked as appalled as I felt, he was in no fit state. But this poor man had braved me, a long walk and an unknown destination to ask after darling father, so darling father dragged himself into some clothes, and I made him a cup of tea and then dragged little bear to play on the computer quietly - or else!

Little bear should be back at school next week. I MUST do something then! Also, Ben 10 is truly awful.

Evil cat is dining well

Wean - thanks, she is necking the kitten food with gusto at the moment and most of it is staying down for more than half an hour. She had two pouches yesterday.

I am not sure about what will happen. I found a patch of real vomit rather than the usual 'ate too fast, brought it up, looked confused, begged for more' stuff that is evil cat's trade mark for the second morning running. The tablets for the pain are not good for the kidneys, and I have been told to watch out for dire rear and vomiting. If that starts, then we have to stop the pain killers. There are other painkillers, but the vet has agreed that it will be impossible to give her tablets. We can't do blood work, it is just not possible, so we can't see with accuracy what stage her kidneys are at.

The vet thinks that if the painkillers are stopped then evil cat will be in too much pain to continue with any sort of quality of life, not even the 'sit in the sun shedding on clean washing, gloating' sort. I cannot face the thought of her in agony - and it is her lower spine that is severely affected.

I am watching her litter tray like a hawk.

Also, despite being tanked up on kitten food, she still begged for chips that she didn't actually want yesterday. I suppose she is just keeping her paw in.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


I need to get more sleep, it's starting to get to me. I found myself looking at some yogurt pots and thinking, 'they are really cute little pots, I bet they would be useful if we wanted to plant seedlings.'

Problem one - darling father is in charge of the garden. The garden is so tiny that we don't have anywhere to put pots with seeds, even if he didn't get all his plants from the lovely lady down the road.

Problem two - I HAVE NO ROOM

Problem three - where does it stop? We can easily get through a dozen yogurts in a week if we put our minds to it, if we decided to plant seedlings after all.

And I can just see the expression of any children's group faced with a mad woman holding fifteen bags of yogurt pots and saying, 'I'm sure you can find a use for this...'

That way lies madness, and possibly a documentary on Channel 4. They went in the bin. And the cute triangular glass jar is going to the recycling for exactly the same reason.

Glass half full - I finished a throw at the weekend. It was yoyo yarn which was absolutely foul to knit, but it is lovely and warm and when the next cold snap comes (probably mid April with our current weird weather) it will be perfect around my shoulders, it is a lovely generous length. That is one project out of the way, and as it was so awful to knit, it took ages. I feel really relieved that it is gone. So there is light at the end of the tunnel.


With darling father really feeling the effects of having five teeth out now, and little bear being so tired, and trying to get as much washing through as I can, I am up and down stairs like a madwoman. Last night at dinner time I was up and down stairs non stop for about ten minutes.

Glass half full - not only was it good exercise, but not long ago I could not have physically managed it, I literally could not have climbed all those stairs in one go. I feel quite good about that.

Shopping and storing

My freezer is fuller than I want. Fortunately I was running it down, as darling father brought home a large bag full of frozen stuff from the Methodists, as they were defrosting their fridge, and what with all that was going on yesterday, I failed to return it. That is one large drawer absolutely full of something that isn't mine. Glass half full - it shows that I am, despite my shopping habits, running down the freezer.

That may not last. Little bear likes fish. I don't particularly like fish, neither does OH, and I have always skipped the seafood chapters of cookbooks. However, it is just too good nutrition to not shovel as much down little bear as I can. And I had an email from Ocado. 15% of my next shop, (minimum spend £60, naturally) plus a special offer on fish. I should really fill my boots (and my freezer). I clicked on the link and it had inexpensive lemon sole and plaice - things I have never cooked.

When it comes to fish, it is either white or yellow, and both get bunged into a warm to hot oven with milk and butter for @ twenty minutes. The white gets huge sprigs of rosemary. It is not haute cuisine, but little bear enjoys it.

Do I have £60 to spend on shopping? The offer expires 19 March, and the fish offer is just so tempting. With the 15% on top, it is worth a go. On the other hand, I have no idea yet how much the car will cost. I shall have to have a big think.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Cat Wars

The ginger gentleman is hovering around the street, but either Oscar or Roxy seem to be on guard all the time. Nice Mr Next Door was picking ginger fur out of Oscar's claws this morning. I think that this is one of the blessings of double glazing - it has filtered out a lot of sound.

Darling father came in with a sore mouth - he had had five teeth out and was full of cotton wool. However he was not too full to point out the massive bulk of Oscar, curled up on a garden chair. When I went out to throw stuff in the bin, Oscar had moved over with the travelling sunshine and was occupying a very large patch of earth. He really is enormous.

The youngest cat from next door, Alfie, doesn't really bother about coming out of the house, but I am sure he will be roaming about soon. Then the ginger gentleman will really face opposition in numbers. He is not yet a year old, though, so a little young for pitched battles.

Darling father and little bear are both doing pretty well. Darling father was feeling a bit low, and little bear is too tired to do anything (while denying completely that he is tired), but nothing that can't be expected. I expect I will be dealing with a lot of faddy food requests over the next few days (little bear) and special diet requests (darling father). It could be worse. Little bear has just insisted on having crisps. I was bad enough to let him try them - he has chicken pox all around the inside of his lips and he didn't like it. Actually, he didn't like it after a sterling effort that demolished half the bag, so I am not worrying too much.

Kitten Food

One pouch of kitten food put down, eaten and thrown back up in around five minutes. As this is exactly how she was when she was a youngster (up until about eight!) I am not worried, I have just put another pouch down.

Thinking about it, she is getting slower in her old age, it used to be a lot faster between in and out, and she once threw up over malevolent cat.

I am watching this carefully. The kitten food is recommended by Wean and by the vet, but she may just enjoy a new taste and then go off it. I have to be a bit careful as I need to give her medicine on food, so it may be putting a few mouthfuls down with food and then putting the rest down when the first lot is likely to stay down.

Little bear has enough energy to want to play (I haven't after giving him cereal at 4am, amongst other night time traumas) but isn't well enough to concentrate on anything. At least his spots are not so bad now, he seems to be rushing through the chicken pox. I don't remember it working so quickly with me, it seemed to go on forever.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

OH is a hero

OH is an absolute hero - he let me sleep for four hours this afternoon and fielded a very spotty little bear.

I have just scratched a delivery together for first thing tomorrow, it is quite random. Kitten food, soup for darling father who is having five teeth out tomorrow and I can't go with him! I wish he would change the date. And also all sorts of nibbles that might tempt a very spotty little bear. It rambles between rice pudding and jelly via cucumber sticks and smoothies. At the moment he isn't even keen on chocolate.

We didn't go to a doctor in the end, as his eyes are now fine, which I am very relieved about. In fact he is seeming a lot better now, although poorly and itchy. As he is refusing all mention of calamine and bicarb baths, I am a bit stuck on the itch front. I will work on it some more tomorrow.

Darling father is also looking much better. I think I shall do all I can to get him to rest this week. Then he will be out in the garden, battling with cats, being in the sun and generally enjoying himself.

The car is now looking more expensive. The change of fuel filter didn't help, the petrol tank is quiet clear and so it therefore looks like an injection pump is blocked/broken.

I am trying not to look at the Approved Food's website. I am sure I would want to buy, especially chocolate, and I don't think that would help.

I love calpol

Okay, I started off today with a doughnut - not what I need to set me up. There are, however, some left - for now. I shall have some porridge when OH gets up. I have not managed to convince little bear food is a good idea. I am working on the liquid - and working hard!

Little bear had a rough night, he was itchy, his eyes were really full of gunk, running almost as bad as his nose, he was aching, he was uncomfortable - normal for a five year old with chicken pox and probably conjunctivitis. I know that so many have it worse, and this morning it isn't as bad as it could be, but poor little bear is suffering.

This morning his eyes are still very swollen but not as gunky. I think I will still try and see the walk in doctor. I won't take risks with eyes and ears, if it was just chicken pox I wouldn't bother, just keep on the tlc (and calamine, when he lets me use it). He only got to the doctor on Friday about the awful spot that the doctor called a lesion and got a second opinion on. Which reminds me, I need to find the antibiotic cream, he is due his morning dose.

Now that he has had a dose of calpol and it has started to work he is so much happier. He is currently 'sorting' the lego that was part of his haul yesterday. And another side effect - I am getting so many more 'please' and 'thankyou' from him. And grumbles, but you can't have everything.

I will just say, it has taken me well over half an hour to write this, as little bear has needed the heater on, the heater off, the heater on again, the heater lower, calamine - then he couldn't stand it, juice, no - fresh juice! etc. btw it is now around an hour since I started this post.

Really, little bear is normal for chicken pox, and I am doing a fretting mummy. I am so glad he has it now, and I am sure he will be better soon. If he had it later in life, like my friend who caught aged forty - she was seriously ill for three weeks and now has permanent nerve damage - it would be far worse. I shall just plan the next few days with care.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Little bear is not happy

Little bear's eyes are filling up with gunk. We are currently planning on taking him to the walk in doctors tomorrow, depending. I don't expect to get much sleep tonight. OH is sitting with little bear who is beside himself with painful, gunky eyes and itchy chicken pox. I am taking five minutes as I won't get it later.

I am watching carefully, and will call the out of hours doctor if I need to. At the moment, if little bear could just get sleep, it would be a really boon for him, and he is dosed up with calpol, dabbed with calamine and green nosed and unhappy. He had half an hour's sleep earlier, fingers crossed he can get a little more. At the moment he doesn't want to be left alone.

I will try and scout the local shops for kitten food, though they don't carry much beyond Katkins. As for the rest, I will just keep cuddling and hope for the best.

Glass half empty - little bear is normal for a five year old with very gunky eyes and chicken pox. Evil cat is normal for a very elderly cat with failing kidneys. Darling father is normal for someone recovering from a nasty virus. Glass half full - OH is doing okay, but worried that we may have to take taxis to the doctors as the car is not working properly and not responding well. And at least little bear had his party.

Thank you

Thank you for all your comments, suggestions and good wishes.

We went ahead with the party, and all but two had had chicken pox anyway, I was just poised at the entrance to the party and pouncing on people. Little bear had a lovely time. He was slightly subdued, but managed to have a good time - and got a huge haul of presents! He is incredibly lucky!

I am typing this as OH starts little bear's first stage bedtime routine. Little bear is soooooo tired, and his eyes are hurting him. I think there is some conjunctivitis there, I will try and get him into the dr on Monday. His spots really started appearing today, from a few to lots and lots and lots, and poor little bear is now exhausted, aching and fed up (but fortunately not too itchy).

Wean - evil cat is managing. I forgot to get the kitten food, but I am getting a grocery delivery very soon anyway for the 'comfort' food for little bear so I shall look out for Applause. She is not really eating much, but the cat that wouldn't touch prawns has just eaten a good slice of yorkshire pudding.

Friday, 9 March 2012

And what I am supposed to do with the three dozen doughnuts I bought in for the party?

(Yes, I do want to eat them, but really, three dozen...)

The Doctor has spoken

The doctor was not certain - he was young and lovely with little bear, and he got the senior and experienced doctor.

The senior doctor was not certain.

We are currently going with early stage chicken pox (little bear is not itchy) and an antibiotic cream, keep pushing fluids and calpol. Which leaves the party tomorrow in something of a limbo.

I am thinking furiously - I have no idea what to do for the best, especially as they aren't actually convinced it is chickenpox. Because if it isn't chicken pox (I would risk little bear sitting in a corner with a colouring book at the party with everyone warned for chicken pox, especially as several children coming are candidates for the source of the stuff), what the heck is it?

There may be a lot of very random posts on here, as little bear will be taking up a lot of my sanity in the next week or two.

Poor little bear

I have just had the call from school and brought little bear home. He is now lying on the sofa, being tired. He doesn't even want chocolate.

Timing is everything, with his party tomorrow. Still, this has been lurking in his system for some time, hopefully he will get it out and then bounce back. Poor little man.

Evil cat threatened!

I had the Asda delivery (hint to Asda delivery drivers - no means no, and no, I don't like strangers in my home, and it's quicker to unload in the garden, so no, you are not coming in! I thought I was going to have to rugby tackle him!) and evil cat sneaked out to take the sun and enjoy a cuddle from Nice Mr Next Door. The ginger gentleman was also out and about.

Evil cat was just taking it easy, when the ginger gentleman started to stalk her. He was coming from a few yards away and he was all feline crouched intent. He was completely focussed on her and in 'about to attack' pose. Evil cat was oblivious. I am not sure how good her eyes are these days, and she is not looking well at all. Once upon a time I would have let the ginger gentleman have the unpleasant surprise that any cat got with an encounter with the younger evil cat, but the poor old girl really is not in a fit state.

Fortunately Nice Mr Next Door chased off the ginger gentleman. It took some doing, the ginger gentleman was very much focussed on his target. He had to do some serious shouting. I chased evil cat inside. She still has the fighting spirit, but she hasn't the old strength. I think she could have been quite badly injured if the ginger gentleman had managed to complete his attack.

So, now I know to keep a very careful eye out for the ginger gentleman. And evil cat has been looking particularly frail today.

Glass half full - the Asda delivery contained all the doughnuts I plan on using instead of birthday cake, so that's good. Darling father is looking better. The Book People delivery is due today. All things to be grateful for.

The power of calpol

At 7.30 am, after lolling around looking very poorly for two and a half hours, little bear announced that his leg didn't hurt and he was going into school. He walked into school with me very sedately, for once he didn't hurtle round like a lunatic. I have an appointment with the doctor for him this afternoon.

Evil cat is also looking under the weather. On the bright side, it is sunny, and that should help.

Early morning

Years ago I worked at McDonalds (late eighties) and I loved doing the early Sunday morning shift - it was so lovely and quiet. I expect it isn't the same these days, with the late night clubs etc, but I liked the time to take stock. That was thirty years ago, however, and I don't like early mornings now!

Little bear has been up since 5am. He is hot and flushed, although the calpol has had time to work. He has one large, yeurk looking spot that looks more like a mildly infected scratch. And he is complaining all the time about pains in his legs. I can't send him to school like this.

Of course, the hairdressing appointment that I had cued up has gone with the wind. That isn't the most important thing on the decks, but I could do without it. And I am not looking forward to sorting out the grocery delivery. I have sneaked on here for a sanity saver, but I am typing fast as I can as little bear needs cuddles, and he is just so sad.

Little bear wasn't too bad last night, I had a few moments where I had to get and cuddle him, but not too much. OH was out last night, but home early. I am absolutely shattered. But it could be worse. Glass half full - lots of cuddles with my darling!

Lesley - thank you re the jumping beans. I am a hard, hard mother when it comes to that, and I am now immune to being told that he doesn't love me. All remains of the jumping beans now disposed of!

Morgan - I hope your two are feeling better, and that you are not run too ragged. Take care.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Timing is everything

Little bear has his party on Saturday.

Today he is pink cheeked, green nosed and complaining. He is saying his leg is hurting. I have no idea of what is going on. Chicken pox has been in the class.

I cannot believe how bad the timing is. Please let this just be cold and lack of sleep.

Last Thursday OH was due to go out but insisted on staying in when I was at the end of my tether and desperately needing a bit of space. Tonight he is due to go out and I could do with someone else to share the worry - any bets on him staying in?

This time next year I will have forgotten all about this, it is such a small thing of childhood. However just this minute, it's dreadful.

Meal planning challenges

I told darling father that we had corned beef, oven chips and baked beans lined up for tonight. He offered to buy a takeaway.

So, little bear will be having something else because it stresses OH less, darling father will have a takeaway, and OH and I will have the corned beef, oven chips and baked beans. I always swore I would never get reduced to this.

Still, at least OH and I aren't having the takeaway.

Cats at War

I opened this morning to take little bear to school and was met by war - the ginger gentleman had chased Roxy under a car across the street and they were hissing and spitting and yowling at each other as only cats can. If I hadn't already had war with little bear then I think I would have found it a shock to the system.

The ginger gentleman is definitely trying to stake his claim. He refused to back down and chased Roxy along to another car. She then dashed across to her garden. The next thing I saw was the ginger gentleman fleeing down the street with a very bottle brush tail and Oscar peering over the wall.

To be fair to the ginger gentleman, he is almost certainly not scared of Oscar, but he wasn't expecting to see him or be outnumbered. So he ran!

Later on as I was pegging out washing (a bit of a forlorn hope I think) the ginger gentleman was watching me carefully through the rose bush. I think he would quite like to get his paws under the table where tuna is so freely available, but I am aware of at least one home where he is fed, and I suspect he is something of a Six Dinner Sid.

Little bear doesn't love me anymore

Little bear doesn't love me anymore and this is likely to last for at least half an hour. The problem is his jumping beans. Some bright spark (darling father) gave little bear a small box of 'jumping beans' when he was two. They were carefully put away. They have recently come to light.

Little bear looked at them and announced how like jelly beans they were. OH and me immediately decided that jumping beans were downstairs toys only, as we could really see him trying them, he just looked so doubtful when we tried to explain about choking hazards.

(it has escalated, he now will not love me for 100 days)

The latest tactic is the Dr Who tin. Little bear has a Dr Who tin, which currently contains the jumping beans. Obviously we can't see what is inside it, and little bear declared that he was the only one who could look in it or touch it or anything. I am fine with this. However I am not letting him take a tin upstairs containing jumping beans. This isn't fair! He then decided that he was going to tell me that the jumping beans were not in the tin, and only he could look.
'OK,' I said, 'Rattle the tin.'
'I don't love you any more and I'm going to tell my teacher!' little bear replied.

I can hear him in the other room taking the beans apart. I can see them going missing in the very near future. I try to respect his property but this is an actual safety hazard.

He has just come in and presented me with the tin containing the ball bearings that were inside the jumping beans. He is absolutely devastated that I won't let those upstairs either. School in 25 minutes.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Must not spend, must not spend...

I am desperately resisting the temptation to look on the Approved Food's website. I really do not need comfort food - or rather, I don't need the weight I would put on. And I MUST NOT SPEND! I have just been trying to rejig the delivery budget. Of course, without two litres of whisky (darling father) and a bottle of rum (OH), the cost would look a lot lighter.

On the bright side, I got some frozen mince from a local butcher last week, and I will get some more tomorrow. It was absolutely beautiful, very little water and fat and around £2 per pound. I can see a shepherd's pie on the horizon.

Where on earth is it?

Little bear watches tv before he goes to school. He has the remote. Then he toddles off and I don't touch the tv until he gets home.

Now we can't find the tv remote for love nor money. Little bear denies all responsibility or knowledge. It has not been entertaining being stuck on the cartoon channel with some iffy animation and dire dialogue. Evil cat does better 'dark lord about to destroy the universe' threats.

Regardless, we are currently watching a dvd of Open All Hours. We have done a fair job of tearing the living room apart - no luck. For me, it was either a dvd or a brick through the tv screen. So I set the dvd off again and continued to look. Of course, now I can't find the dvd remote either.

Okay, we are infested with remote eating monsters. The search continues (as it would say, badly, on the cartoon channel)

The Social Whirl

Little bear is going to tea today with a little girl, along with another little girl and a little boy. It is a birthday tea and I have bought a present and little bear has chosen and written a card.

He's never been to a tea like this before. I am absolutely terrified. He should be fine - he normally behaves immaculately when out. It's just, well, he's out, on his own, in a social event, and I won't be there.

The mum (who is absolutely lovely!) would be happy for me to stay, but I suspect I am more trouble than I am worth so I am scuttling home after dropping him off. Then I shall sit on the edge of a chair and wait until either something dreadful happens or it is time to pick him up. Of course little bear will be fine. They are all friends after all, and like I say, the mum is lovely and works with children. The dad will be there, and he is also lovely. What can go wrong? Yes, saying 'what can go wrong' in a movie means it is either slapstick comedy or slasher horror, but it should be absolutely fine.

Last night little bear was happily chatting away about the party to OH and then casually announces, '...and on Thursday we can invite X (the little girl who is his 'true love' and who he hasn't seen since October) to tea.

OH nearly fell over laughing. He said that my expression of utter shock and horror as I quickly said, 'No!' was hysterical. All I could think of was, 'NOOOOOOOO!!!!!' which is perhaps not a measured and rational response. I said that the house was too messy, which is accurate and which little bear accepted. But what do I feed to assorted four/five year olds? What do I do with them? Who on earth should I invite? But I am going to have to do a return invitation soon.

I am trying to reassure myself, but it isn't working. The social whirl has started.

Welcome to the day

Five am this morning - five am! - little bear demanded my presence - 'Mummy! Mummy!' His blankets had fallen off (again) and it had woken him. I did my best to convince him it was night time, but he insisted he was AWAKE! I am getting a bit worried about this as he is getting more and more tired. Last night he burst into tears at the thought of wearing polo shirts, and he is normally a lot more robust than this.

So he came downstairs and insisted on some cereal. He had four spoons of it and then cuddled down on the sofa with a blanket on him, he was out within minutes.

I could probably manage that as I am feeling quite tired, but then evil cat started. The world was not as it should be, so she sang. She sang and sang and sang. Little bear slept through it, and through the huge melodramatic vomiting noises (not found any evidence of actual yeurk, so it may have just been a performance piece) which meant I went to see what she wanted. I knew I had put down food and freshened her water when I had got little bear's cereal. What she wanted was for me to watch her eat. I was unimpressed.

She carried on for a little while, but little bear surfaced around seven, in a much better state than normal, and she is now sleeping it off on a pile of clean washing. Little bear is raring to go to school, and I am beat.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Evil cat is typical

Wean - the vet also suggested kitten food, and I shall be purchasing some tomorrow! I am really glad about the confirmation from you, I was a bit unsure.

I have to try something. I possess the only cat in existence who won't eat prawns. She also ignored crab sticks. However I am reassured - she is currently scrounging bacon chop from darling father. I think that is just to mooch and be insistent. She hasn't had much today. She had some tuna (in lots of water). She has had a few licks of cat food. She completely ignored over priced prawns. Mind you, little bear is fussier, so I shouldn't complain.

Freecycle has to be worth a go - I shall look into it.

Evil cat sends a friendly tail wave to Cat from Hell and a gentle touch of noses.

School uniform again

As I typed a few hours ago, I have just spent a morning looking for short sleeved shirts, because little bear's head is too big for polo shirts and he has trouble with the cuffs of long sleeved shirts.

This afternoon I got the letter saying that they are narrowing down the options for uniform, and only polo shirts will be allowed. Sigh. It is doable as I just have to get a bigger size. I will also have to get darker socks - I had invested in light grey socks to distinguish them from OH and darling father's socks - and get rid of little bear's perfectly good black trousers. At least he does have some grey ones, bought with a voucher off from Matalan.

I think the sweatshirt I have just purchased will be out of bounds as well, I suspect proper v-necked sweaters will be required.

I shall try hanging on for a little while before I purchase anything else. Just in case.


This month is not going well, and it isn't even a week old.

The car 'missing' has proved more problematic than just a fuel filter change and now the entire tank has to be investigated.

Little bear's party is on Saturday - with the balance to pay, plus cake.

Darling father's chair really does have to be replaced, as a matter of extreme urgency. It has sunk, and it is a recliner with an attached seat cushion, so I can't even stick a board under it as an emergency measure.

I can see a vet's bill coming up.

I have already replaced darling father's tv.

And now I have been shopping. Of course, little bear is the stimulus. You see, he has a larger than average head, as do both OH and myself, so t-shirts and sweaters are always a bit of a trial. Eventually I opted out of the white polo shirts for him, as they were getting hard to get over his head as soon as he was even nearly about to grow out of them. As it was the middle of winter I bought long sleeved white shirts. This was great - except that little bear couldn't manage the cuffs, and to be honest, I was struggling with them as the buttons were so stiff. This led to problems with PE and rolling up his sleeves for sand and water. He was getting really fed up, and I couldn't blame him.

So today I was scouring Leeds town centre and the White Rose Centre for short sleeved, white school shirts for his size. Funnily enough, at the beginning of March after a cold spell, there were not that many. I managed to get two shirts in M&S and four in Sainsburys - although one pack was aged five and one pack was aged six (with £2 difference in price!). I think the whole haul, together with a slightly bigger sweatshirt, came to £15. Of course, then you add in the bus fares getting there, the little pot of prawns that I picked up for evil cat, the present for an upcoming birthday, and the hazards of shopping for something for tea that will tempt darling father's poorly appetite, it all adds up.

I really am going to have to watch every penny for the rest of this month, it seems to be just draining away.

Evil cat is not well

Lesley - evil cat has a better social life, a better diet and a better attitude to life than I will ever have, lol!

Actually yesterday I didn't give her the painkillers. Partly because evil cat had started singing a full opera around 6am and I didn't want to wake little bear sorting it out and partly to give her kidneys a rest. Yesterday afternoon evil cat jumped down from the desk, cried and was sick. I rang the vet.

We had a telephone conversation. Evil cat has been off her food a little, has been a little bit grumpier, a little bit less social. Cats notoriously hide when they are poorly, so I never know whether evil cat is actually poorly or it is over-anxious-owner syndrome (again).

So we are risking evil cat's kidneys and upping the dose of painkiller, and I have just purchased a very small amount of prawns at a very large price to try and tempt her this afternoon. Only a few weeks ago she was eating three or four pouches of food at a time. Today she hasn't even eaten half of her first pouch. She also is a bit unimpressed by the value crab sticks that I put down for her.

I have also noticed that she is struggling a little on the stairs. She likes to sleep in the very warm top room, and she is very happy to nap in the dining room near her food, water and (at a suitable distance) her litter tray. There are three sets of stairs between them.

A few months ago I was looking over my blog and I realised that I had been worrying about evil cat's health since 2008. I am hoping this is just another blip, and that I can continue to worry and fuss and coax the old battle axe. Hopefully she will start really picking up with the warmer weather.

Monday, 5 March 2012


I was chatting to Mrs Nice Next Door with my door open. It was sunny, so after my natter I slowly walked towards my own front door.

Out sauntered Oscar, with the air of having favoured evil cat's 'pad' with an inspection. I sighed but wasn't entirely surprised, Oscar has made himself at home before. However Roxy then shot out.

Roxy is the lady cat from next door who is as hard as nails and far tougher! I have no idea why she shot out as evil cat is certainly isn't up to throwing out undesirables (not that Roxy is undesirable - she is a tabby and white elegant and expert hunter who looks lovely). My money is on traces of little bear made the poor cat nervous.

It could be worse - no calling cards were left.

Saturday, 3 March 2012


Little bear is upstairs now, at 5pm, starting his bedtime routine with OH. It is not a moment too soon, little bear is just about south of the middle of completely exhausted.

He has spent the day lolling around, brmmming his cars, watching (awful) tv and playing absent mindedly on the computer and being very firm that he is NOT TIRED. He is also incredibly pink of cheek.

Darling father is also not in a good way, very tired, and Liverpool lost to Arsenal, so not happy.

Early nights all round I think.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Still Pottering

I went with darling father to a dentist appointment. It is in an unfamiliar place to him (for now) but it is so easy to get to. So it was 45 minutes there (didn't need to change buses), a certain quantity of browsing and then 45 minutes back. Any minute now I will have to leap into action and make sandwiches for little bear on the bus as we go to the piano lesson.

Good news - I found some inexpensive washing baskets in the right size and bought two.

Bad news - the flyer from the book people arrived and I read it! I normally don't even unpack it but bin it straight away, but there are loads of things I would like. I have mentally clocked up around £100. I may manage to find the pennies for some books for little bear, but that's about it. It's not like he really needs books anyway. Sigh. And the Lakeland catalogue has come (but I haven't opened that).


Almost spring cleaning mood

Yesterday I didn't manage the cooker - I was having problems breathing walking downhill, so I put it down to a panic attack - due to evil cat trying to suffocate me in my sleep. That's enough to panic anyone!

So I ironed and ironed and ironed and ironed. I haven't finished anywhere near the amount I need to do, and there is a huge heap of clothes little bear has grown out of to sort, plus underneath the misplaced bedding (still no idea where to put it now we don't have an airing cupboard in darling father's room) we have a heap of paper work displaced when I lost my two, four drawer filing cabinets. I shall probably still be moaning about them when I'm seventy!

But - glass half full - I did loads! And I have put away a lot of it as well, the bits I have places for. And I have wiped my line and put a load of washing out to dry, plus I have sorted, and put washing on, and had a proper breakfast, and generally been proactive.

I have also spent an absolute fortune on Prices Candles, mainly for darling father, as Prices Candles are a lot nicer than Yankee Candles for me, and there were some interesting bargains at reduced prices. The reduced prices were actually v inexpensive as well, so good value for money. If you like scented candles I do recommend them! Prices Patent Candles

Of course, now my lady like parts are not co-operating, so glass half full I am going to get on with some knitting to try and clear some of back log of half finished items. And I can watch tv while I do it!


Little bear needs more sleep. So we have a frantic rush to try and get him to bed early enough. Because little bear has not mastered the art of turning over and going back to sleep in the morning. When he wakes up he immediately gets out of bed, grabs Ratatouille, down the stairs, thud, thud, thud, flings open the door at the bottom of the stairs, main light on (I usually sit bolt upright in shock at this point), shuts the door at the bottom of the stairs with a crash and then slumps into his chair.

Poor little man, he looks like he is half asleep. He is definitely tired, big eyes with no focus, sprawling out with Ratatouille under his head like a cushion. But he won't go back to sleep! I usually give him his breakfast, and today he has eaten and is now lying on the sofa looking boneless and gazing blankly at the tv. He needs to be asleep - but he won't do it!

It is not the getting him to sleep that is the problem, its the getting him to stay asleep. At the moment all I can think of is waiting for his teenage years to kick in. Something has to give soon.

Mind you - glass half full - not only do I never need an alarm clock, but there is also no sign of chickenpox so far.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Glass half empty

Evil cat spent most of last night sleeping across my throat. Actually I am so well trained that when I sat up struggling to breathe I felt guilty when she crashed onto the floor.

Today I am really struggling to catch my breath. And I am cross about it. And the early night I managed to get - not only did I spend half my night gasping for breath and trying to evict evil cat who persisted in choosing my throat as the prime sleep spot, but little bear was up at 6.15am and I am tired.

I am convinced the breathing stuff is all in my mind, but I am seriously, seriously grumpy.

Mind you, in this sort of mood, if I can breathe, it is a really good time to deep clean the cooker. The cooker REALLY needs deep cleaning and a foul mood always helps me get on with housework. I shall report back later.

See, finding a glass half full