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Archive for January, 2010

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Sunday 31 January 2010

Gordon has never been a ‘dedicated follower of fashion’, much to the girls’ disgust and my despair.  He wears what he wants, when he wants: he can’t bear it when his jeans touch his shoes or his jumpers are ‘baggy’.  He’d sooner stand naked in the snow than wear a tie although he will relent slightly for weddings and funerals, and hates shirts with collars because they touch his neck.  Are you getting the picture?  My husband works at home in a very dirty job and therefore wears what he considers suitable.  Unfortunately, in the past few years (as he’s got older) this has mutated itself into dungerees for work – over everything else!  Not top-half of dungerees under jumper, but out there for the world to see, bib and braces, the full works.  I used to protest, but gave up when I saw it was a lost cause and although I inwardly groan when he says “but they’re comfortable.  At least they don’t cut me in half around the waist”, which is such an old-person thing to say, on the whole I let him get on with it.  He also has a complete disregard for where he puts himself whilst wearing his dungerees.  Flat on his back under a tractor.  Up to his shoulder behind a cow he’s AI-ing.  Just sitting on a grubby seat in the workshop that’s covered in oil, dung, sawdust and cobwebs.  On top of that he puffs constantly on a pipe and if you’ve ever known a pipe-smoker you’ll know how much ‘spillage’ you get from one!  Burning tobacco drops out regularly – most pipe smokers have tell-tale singe holes down the front of their clothes, and there’s a lot of black, sticky ash involved.  OK, having painted that picture for you I’ll backtrack slightly.

Yesterday I picked up my new car.  There she is in the photo, shiny and new, smelling of polished leather upholstery and gleaming as a result of her recent valetting.  I drove her home from the garage with suitable caution, having driven an automatic diesel for the past six or so years and now having to get used to a manual petrol car all over again.  Last night we went to a party and I was so determined to drive her home myself that I drank soft drinks all night.  Trust me, those of you who know me will realise how much of a sacrifice that is, especially since I’m partial to a glass or two of red wine.  This morning Gordon announced he was going to visit his mother and could he borrow my car?

“Are you changing?” I asked.

“No, why?” was the reply.

“Because unless you change out of your work clothes, you’re not getting into my car.  Perhaps you could change into a pair of jeans?”  He made a face.

“That’s not very fair!”

“I don’t care”, I said.  “You’re not making my car dirty.”

“Fine!  Forget it!”

He stormed off and climbed into the very considerably grubby Land Rover.  I almost felt guilty.

But then I didn’t.

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Photo Shoot

Friday 29 January 2010

As you know I have two daughters, both of whom I consider to be very beautiful as every mother probably does (except mine really are, of course).  Although Alexandra is no longer a teenager she still has that teenage worry that she’s ugly.  Yesterday she spent some of her birthday money on a photo shoot with her housemate Tanya and the above photo was one of those they chose.

Whaddya reckon?  Pretty hideous right?  I really wish I looked that hideous!  She was worried I’d be cross at her for spending her money on something so ‘indulgent’, but she’s right – everyone deserves a photo of themselves that they can look at in future years and say “damn!  Why was I worried about being ugly?  I was gorgeous.”  I think that’s what this photo says.  Truly beautiful, you daft girl!  Next time she moans that she’s fat and ugly I think I’ll sit her down with this photo for a couple of minutes until she’s come to her senses!

Having said that, I was worried I was fat and ugly at her age and I was a size 10!  Look what happened.

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Tuesday 26 January 2010

I’ve showered, done my hair, put on my face and some decent clothes ready to go out, but it’s not happening.  It’s approaching 4.30 pm and I’m still here.  I need to go to the bank, the post office and have yet to check out the sales for left-over Christmas stuff.  To be honest, I’ve a feeling I may have missed the boat this year.  I haven’t been into town since the week before Christmas and the longer it goes on, the less I’m inclined to do so.  I’m braving the outside world when I have commitments but have totally lost interest in going anywhere just for the sake of going.

I suspect part of the reason is my continued lack of my own car.  This is about to change.  We’ve part-exchanged the ‘people-carrier’ for a ‘me’ car.  I’m calling it my ‘mid-life crisis’ car, but I’m not necessarily sure that’s what’s going on.  I’ve reached the stage in my life where my children (again, using that term loosely) no longer need me to ferry them and their multitude of friends around.  I’m spending a lot of time all alone in my seven-seater and was beginning to seriously consider changing it before Christmas but the fact that it once again let me down as soon as the weather got colder made our minds up for us.  This new car is too posh for children to ride in, with leather upholstery and a retro cream dashboard as well as chrome trim and wheels.  We’ve bought a Chrysler PT Cruiser in midnight pearl (dark blue), a car that I’ve fancied the look of for a long time.  It’s one of those cars you either love or hate, but I love them and I’m picking mine up on Friday!

In the time I’ve not written my blog we’ve celebrated Alex’s 21st birthday.  It doesn’t seem possible that my first-born has now reached true, official adulthood, but it has really happened.  She came home from University on Friday and spent a laid-back and well-fed weekend here, starting with chinese takeaway on Friday evening, followed by a meal at the local pub on Saturday with other family members and Sunday lunch, which she cooked, with friends.  Her friend Tanya joined her for the weekend and they disappeared on the train back to Cheltenham late on Sunday afternoon.  She’s in the process of writing her dissertation so hasn’t been in touch as much as she was before, needing to concentrate her efforts on that.

I’ve also become a surrogate mum to an abandoned calf called Jenny.  This little babe was premature and didn’t realise she was supposed to chase her mother around for sustenance.  Her mother quickly lost interest when she wasn’t being sucked and was added to the herd without a murmur.  Jenny Junior was bottle-fed with her mother’s milk which was kept separate.  In the first couple of days we were certain we’d lose her; she was so tiny and lacked any interest in sucking, but she’s come on in leaps and bounds.  When I go into the calf-shed to feed her in the mornings she starts head-butting the bucket and hanging her tongue out ready to go.  She’s not out of the woods yet, but it certainly looks a lot more encouraging.  Alex took a photo from her bedroom window of the pair of us going for a walk on Saturday evening – the more exercise the calf gets, the stronger she’ll be.  The photo’s quite dark as it was about twenty-past five and if you look at the bottom left of the photo you can just see the tip of Gizmo’s nose.  At one stage they were touching noses, both curious about what this strange creature could be.

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Monday 18 January 2010

Once again the clearing bug has come upon me (unfortunately it happens so infrequently) and I’ve been listing things on Freecycle or Ebay depending on the condition of them as well as ease of delivery.  The large sewing cabinet mother-in-law left behind when she headed for the sanctuary of a bungalow in Pawlett, thus not allowing herself any extra room for ‘large’ furniture, finally had to go.  It’s been sat in the corner of the study for more than a decade, usually buried under a pile of stuff that tends to accumulate on the top of any flat surface and the aggravation involved in clearing the rubbish off usually outweighed the need to sew anything.  When last tried it didn’t actually work so it wasn’t even useful any more.

I offered it on Freecycle a while ago and someone claimed it straight away so it was moved into the hall to wait for collection.  Didn’t happen.  I wasn’t surprised; it’s not the first time, as you may recall.  This time I was determined that it went to a new home one way or the other, but whether it was a ‘loving’ one or the tip depended entirely on the whim of local freecyclers.  A chap called Jim was interested and came this morning to collect it.  Apparently, that’s what he does.  Collects sewing machines.  I could think of more handy things to collect: after all, how many sewing machines does a household need?  In my case, probably none, but Jim “likes the mechanical simplicity of them” so off it went to be cossetted.  That or he’s a local dealer who chops them up and sells the bits on Ebay.  I don’t really care.  It’s gone and I have the majority of the end of my hall back.  The cats are miffed because they were spending a lot of time sleeping on top of it, but now they’ll just have to find another surface to get muddy – a work-surface I expect.

Having said that, we could have done with a sewing machine before Christmas when Stephanie took it upon herself to design and sew a quilt to give us as a present.  She accumulated fabric in matching colours, cut it and designed the whole thing herself without us ever catching a glimpse of it.  She borrowed Terri’s sewing machine to put it together and the first time we had a clue about it was on Christmas morning.  To say we were staggered is a bit of an understatement.  Stephanie, to the best of my knowledge, has never sewed anything in her life and her first project was a bed-sized quilt.  When the weather improves I intend to drape it across the fence outside and photograph it in natural light so you can see what a fantastic job she made of it.

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How much sugar do you need?

Saturday 16 January 2010

Since the cold weather began my car has refused to start.  We’ve indulgently muttered things like “it doesn’t like the cold” and hoped that as it got warmer the damn thing would come to its senses and do the decent thing.  In the meantime I’ve been driving Gordon’s Land Rover on an infrequent basis and have almost lost interest in even trying mine to see if it’s going to behave itself.  My sister drove me out on Monday to Clarks Village at Street which was almost empty of fellow shoppers.  They’d obviously decided not to face the cold and stay home where it was warm.

Today I realised I needed to go shopping for food.  We easily managed with what we had in the freezer but had run out of fresh fruit and vegetables.  As usual at the checkout the weather came up in conversation and we joked about it being almost tropical in comparison to the last week.  The cashier sighed and said that at least people had now stopped stockpiling food.  She shook her head and said “some people are just so greedy.  So greedy.”  I could almost feel her disgust!  I suppose working in an industry that encourages us to eat more tends to emphasise gluttony.  “We even ran out of sugar”, she said.  “How much sugar do you need for a week’s worth of snow?” I asked her.  We laughed.  It was oddly disturbing.  “You’d have thought it was the end of the world” she said, “yet it only lasted a week!”

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Ice Ferns

Friday 8 January 2010

I love to see this ice pattern on glass in the morning.  I didn’t have my camera with me today so a phone photo will have to suffice even though the image isn’t as clear.  I don’t know what the official name is, but I always think of them as ice ferns.

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Thursday 7 January 2010

I know from my regular blog forays that a lot of you have had snow for ages, but we only got it yesterday.  There seems to be an invisible line from Bristol across the country and areas below it usually get snow much later than everyone else, if it arrives at all.  We’ve had ice and slippery areas for much longer; in fact I fell over in the collecting yard whilst turning the cows into the parlour because although the surface looked wet (cow pee!), underneath was hard and slick with ice.  I fell into the wet cow pee slush so you can image the state of me when I scrabbled to my feet, saying things like “damn” and “goodness me, that was cold”.  I came in to change out of wet and disgustingly dirty clothes, and found I’d hit my cheek on the ground.  I washed off the muck and examined the redness underneath, fully expecting to find a bruise in no time at all, but the redness faded without further fuss.  I also managed to land on my palm and bruised the area around the base of my left thumb.  Gordon and Daniel were totally unsympathetic.  Gordon made a sympathetic face, but then suggested I should be more careful because I knew it was icy and Daniel said something along the lines of “and you’re always telling me to mind where I step”.  Of course, this didn’t help.  I was being careful, for goodness sake.  I obviously didn’t intend to fall over, I told them – or words to that effect.

I’m a little bit mystified by the reaction to the snow, to be honest.  Schools shut their doors as the first flakes were falling and Bridgwater College has been shut for two days with plans to remain closed until Monday.  Steph is bored and even came shopping with me this afternoon for food, something that rarely happens.  She seems to have taken over Alex’s traditional role of mother-substitute, chivvying me along and telling me what I could or couldn’t buy.  On the plus side she was there to pack my shopping, which saved me the hassle of doing it.  I find myself wondering how countries who have snow for long periods of the year manage.  Do they shut schools in the winter?  Doubtful, but perhaps they’re more geared up for bad weather.  There was a rush on bread in Asda and other staples were in short supply too, particularly sugar and milk.  Do the locals anticipate this weather going on for much longer than a week? I did my normal shop, making do with a couple of loaves of whatever bread they had left.  If we run out we’ll have to eat something else!

On a lighter note, Alex has an upcoming twenty-first birthday and has expressed an interest in a designer watch.  I put the name into the search engine this morning to track one down on the internet.  I entered ‘Calvin Klein Minimal Watch’.  The search engine replied: “The query you have submitted was not found so we have corrected it and searched again”.  It had corrected it to ‘Calling Friend Minimum Catch’!  Firstly, what the heck would that be?  Secondly, why would I want it?  I know it sounds vaguely similar, but I’d like to see Alex put that around her wrist!

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