Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Hee hee!

Sometimes I irritate my mother in law without even meaning to (or indeed planning to) which is great. For me, clearly. Amelia has just rung to check on whether or not Mac has been recruited by dark forces (he told her about the Halloween party - she's not impressed and said she was going to "speak to Father Thomas about it") and asked if I'd "come to my senses" and were going to abandon all idea of a spooky shindig tomorrow night.

After I'd assured her that all was well and that David was upstairs trying on his monster costume, she made vague reference to the fact that she'd been invited across to Mrs Talley's for dinner tonight and asked what I had planned "for supper". How I hate that word. That and "frock". Both make me wince involuntarily. Anyway.
"Kebabs" I said without thinking, eyeing up the succulent raw lamb escalopes, wholemeal pittas and copious amount of salad piled on the table. Sharp intake of breath "Kebabs?" she thundered, managing to give the word fifteen syllables.

I paused to think about what she were thinking about and just managed not to elucidate further and make reference to organic lamb, fresh pittas and the gigantic iceberg lettuce rolling around the table courtesy of Junior Dog who was playing beneath said table. "Yes. Kebabs" I said mischeviously. "Got to go Amelia, they're getting cold"

Now that I've left her thinking that I'm feeding her precious son and cherubic grandson processed "lamb", saturated fat and chilli sauce with rancid salad I'm off to chop some tomatoes and light the grill.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Move over Anthea!

I have been in a cleaning and cooking frenzy this weekend. All three dogs followed me round the house alternatively ducking out of the way of hoover cables and Flash spray residue or dribbling and lurking for dropped items of food - cooked or otherwise. David spent most of today gazing at me as if were an alien from Planet Nigella. Mac is concerned that I'm going to make him eat one of the steak and kidney ("eurgh mummy, no!") pies that are currently cooling on a wire rack in the kitchen.

My frenzy started at 8am yesterday morning when I discovered something sticky on the kitchen floor. I found it with my left, bare foot and it sqeulched unbecomingly as I moved forward on my way to the kettle. Which meant I had to clean the whole floor. From my supine position on the tiles I noticed something unsavoury on the kitchen cabinets - I knew I shouldn't have got white, they show every mark, dribble and tide mark. Once I'd cleaned the cabinet doors I had to do the work surfaces. And on it went - I finished the kitchen at just gone nine. An accident with Mac and a bowl of Rice Krispies en route to the living room to watch Scooby Doo meant I had to do the hallway. By twenty to three I'd done the whole of the ground floor.

I then got something quick out of the freezer for dinner - whilst waiting for Elizabeth to start I'd found the mince, stewing steak and chicken thighs I'd hoiked out of the freezer whilst looking for the Sainsbury's Taste the Difference lasagne. All three items were defrosted and soggy and were unceremoniously hurled into the fridge.

I woke up at ten past ten today. Or so I thought. For, despite texting Charlie, Saskia and Lydia to remind them that the clocks went back this weekend, I'd put every single clock in the house forward an hour. "You idiot!" David said, not unkindly as he realised my error and stopped rushing round the house yelling "I'll be late meeting Neil for golf!". While he got his breathing back to normal, he asked for a "nice chicken casserole" for dinner. This I did (too late did I find this from Silvana) but I put enough wine in it for it to pass muster. Half Coq'd I suppose you could say.

I have several pies (using some pastry I found in the freezer - checking that I hadn't mistakenly left out any other items that would see me up to my oxters in stock and vegetables tomorrow) and I've lost count of the Cottage Pies I've got in the freezer. And I don't even like Cottage Pie. Or its lamb counterpart, Shepherds Pie. Never mind, we've been invited to Bea's Bonfire Night Bash next Saturday so I'll take them with me. Enormous Au Pair will think it's Christmas come early.

The house smells freshingly lemon-y with a mild hint of garlic, Mac is encouraging me to take the steak and kidney pies to Auntie Bea's as well and David is tiddly on the chicken casserole. And I'm currently contemplating eating the last remaining seven chocolates in the Quality Street box and a nice cup of coffee. I think I deserve it, don't you?

Friday, 26 October 2007

Little Devil

Last night, Mac sat me down with his serious face on. He would like a Halloween party for just “a little some friends mummy”. David is all for it and questioned me at length on the start and end time of the potential party. I drew two figures out of the air, one was 3.30pm, the other was 6pm. Sigh of relief from my beloved – he doesn’t get home much before seven most nights. “Hold on a minute!” I cried to both departing husband and child “I haven’t said yes yet!”

But of course, the die is cast and the scene is set. Mac is already designing his costume (he wants to be like “Drackla mummy”) and David is ensuring he has a late meeting that day. Mac’s guest list – read out to me during bathtime - includes Tom, Ben and Luke and his cousins Caitlin and Ian. Once Mac was in bed and David and I were settling down to watch some mindless TV I rang Bea and got Enormous Au Pair who sounded as if she were eating the phone. I eventually got my dear sister who complained at the “chicken grease all over the handset”. Enormous Au Pair has taken to having a KFC meal every evening, Weight Watchers are in despair and have offered Bea a refund.

“That sounds wonderful darling and…..yes…..I’m free that afternoon so I can come and help!” Discussions were held about just how gruesome we could be with the food without it giving poor delicate Caitlin nightmares. Then I rang Charlie who promised to whip into Asda and buy up their Halloween decoration range and join in the fun. Auntie Ivy rang to ask if we watched Frankenstein last night and then chatted all the way through the first twenty minutes of The Bill – she’s coming along to the party as well and will be dressed as a witch. Then Lydia texted so I invited her and Matthew – I was seriously in danger of enjoying myself here.

This morning, when I told Mac about the extended guest list he looked miffed for all of ten seconds and then realised that he could perhaps capitalise on his mothers social circle. “Will they be bringing presents and scary things, Lydiarrrr and my brother?” he enquired hopefully. Hm.

Marjorie is also planning something big for Halloween – she caught me on the way back from Lewisham (we’d been to buy material for our outfits – don’t ask) and asked me if I was prepared to supervise the Bobbing for Apples “We’re opening up the house to local revellers, y’know kids and neighbours!” she said gleefully clapping her hands together “I’ll be dressed as something ghostly and ethereal and Frank will be a ghoul.” My mind was boggling at this point and so was caught unawares with her next sentence “I say, why don’t we have a joint party? Open up both houses – we could take one of the fence panels out and link that way? Oh, it’ll be great fun!” Mac looked dubious at this, as well he might.

“Having a Halloween party?” came a voice from behind me. The postman, weighed down with the usual junk that ends up on my door mat, was standing there resplendent in his blue and red uniform. “Mrs Travis over by the park has some fabulous Halloween parties y’know.”. Marjorie visibly bristled “Oh yes?” she enquired tartly. Postie handed me a pile of brown envelopes “Well, she did. But I suppose she won’t have any more now, thanks to the apple bobbing, erm, incident last year.”. We were both now agog and demanded to know more. Postie drew himself up to his full height (five foot two) and said in hushed tones “One of her guests got a bit carried away whilst bobbing for apples, inhaled too much water and drowned. Carked it, there and then on the floor, a large Cox in her mouth”.

I’m afraid I reverted to fourteen years of age and started sniggering whilst Marjorie looked on in horror. “You’re joking?” she squealed, no doubt thinking of guests dying on her shagpile and ruining the evening entirely. “Well, that’s what I heard anyway” Postie said, tapping the side of his nose. “Mrs Travis didn’t come out of her house for a month afterwards, I had a parcel she had to sign for and she wouldn’t even open the door. Well, you wouldn’t, would you? If you’d had someone kick the bucket in your living room?” He moved off down the road, shaking his head in wonderment and roaring with laughter. “Put you right off apples for life that would as well wouldn’t it!” he bellowed.

Marjorie was clutching the sides of her head and gazing at me open-mouthed and with huge eyes. She looked like The Scream – quite apt really. “I’m sure it’s just a rumour that’s grown out of all proportion” I said, racking my brains to see if I could remember anything in the local press about Death by Bobbing. I couldn’t to be honest and I’m usually quite good at retaining things like this in the party of my brain marked “Useless Information”.

She shot off home, no doubt to relay the information to Frank – I went inside with Mac to continue the debate about whether or not Dracula would, if he had access to denim, wear jeans with his cape.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Why do I do it?

Thank you Kelly for asking me why I blog. You have the lovely Dulwich Mum to blame!

She got me into blogging – she emailed me one day last December and told me to follow the link to her blog in her email and get reading - I’ve been hooked on her trials and tribulations ever since. And then I thought “why don’t I start a blog myself?”. The subject matter was easy peasy – my friends and family have often said that if my life were a sit-com, no-one would believe it. Well, in the absence of a cast, crew and hand picked audience/can of laughter the next best thing was to write it all down.

My parents have always encouraged me to write and, over the years, I’ve sent off short stories a-plenty but none published (unless you count a story I read in one of my mum’s mags a year or so ago that was fairly reminiscent of a story I’d sent in to them a few months before – but I’m pretty sure that that was a pure coincidence). My blog is another way of getting myself “out there” and, like Kelly, I revel in the almost anonymous aspect of it all. In fact, out of all my friends and family (including David, whoops!) only Charlie is aware that I blog – I bit the bullet and told her about it. She read it and was generous in her comments which was a relief as I’d been worried that I’d either misrepresented her or offended her. This was only a few weeks ago and I’ve been writing this blog for nearly a year…..you never know, I might even tell David one day!

I’ve got a few regular readers (thank you, thank you!) and you just can’t beat the thrill of seeing your hit counter spool round, nor the buzz you get when someone has commented on your latest post. It really is quite heartwarming. And addictive. You get attached to your fellow bloggers too – I catch up with them daily or weekly but I always catch up with them and their lives and they provide so much inspiration – there are some wonderful, thought provoking bloggers out there.

So I write about my life, my experiences (however mundane), and the people in my life whom I love dearly – even if sometimes I’d like to shoot them. I’d like to think I’ve been fair with them, showing both their good and bad sides in an objective way and that they’d agree with my perception of them. For example, Katie’s only concern might be that I don’t stress enough that she has been forced to live in Rotherhithe in a tower block and that she didn’t actually choose to. My blog reflects my moods, gives me a free rein to whinge about things that bug me and, as I read back through older posts, shows me how I’ve changed, even in just such a short time. It’s giving me confidence to write what I feel without worrying about sanitising it – sometimes my “real” self appears, that gently bitchy side of me that I try to suppress verbally but allow myself to indulge in on the odd occasion in my blog.

I would ideally like to do a post-a-day but life isn’t like that is it? But then I think that if I did that, my posts would be boring and non-descript which I’d hate (although some might say they are already!) so I wait until something (or someone) grabs my attention and then put fingers to keyboard. With an inbuilt desire to please, I hope my blog makes for interesting reading – I write for myself, for others. If that makes any sense (it’s no coincidence that this blog has the word Rambling in the title).

Looking now at my “to-do” list, I sometimes wish for a quieter life……but then, what would I blog about?

So…..now I’m throwing down the gauntlet to Mutterings and Meanderings, Omega Mum and Landcroft House.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

64 days until Christmas

I know this because Amelia told me during her usual Sunday morning phone call. "I've ordered your turkey for you already" she said, live and exclusive from Sevenoaks. "I took Mrs Tolley and her son to see Giles yesterday and picked out a nice one. It's been marked up for you but has got a few more weeks fattening up to go yet". I've now got visions of a turkey running round a field with a name tag bearing my name round its scrawny neck. And there I was, happy to get a frozen one from Sainsburys.

The guest list for Christmas Day is compiling itself. Us three and Amelia of course, my dad and Aunt Daisy who "can't stomach going to Ivy's for Christmas again, the turkey still had its giblets in". Charlie is coming this year as her family are off on a "chance of a lifetime" cruise and Saskia too - a self confessed Christmas-detester but she does love my garlic and rosemary potatoes. Bea and family will be joining us on Boxing Day - she sent me an email on Friday telling me that her PA has started doing her Christmas shopping for her and I should let her know where I'm "up to on my Jo Malone collection. Or Molton Brown this year perhaps sweetie?". Matthew and Lydia will also be joining us - Matt because his mother is "not doing Christmas this year" and Lydia because the two of them come as a package at the moment. I'm hearing the clank of commitment, she's gone deaf.

Mac has started on his Christmas list thanks to the copious amount of flyers and catalogues that come with every newspaper and magazine at this time of year. He watches the adverts during "his" programmes intently and can now write the word "presents" with his e's round the right way. I've told him that Santa has a lot of presents to buy for lots of children and so he's not to expect everything that he wants. He fixed me with a pitying look (this was yesterday) and said "Daddy will give him some money to buy my presents". Ah, the innocence of childhood. Where has it gone?
So....just the 64 days then. More than enough time to buy the cards, make present lists, write the cards, decide what imaginative gift to buy my beloved, hand deliver some cards, plan the menu for both Christmas Day and Boxing Day, buy stamps for cards, find the decorations, buy wrapping paper, post the cards, bankrupt myself at Bluewater/The Glades/on t'internet buying presents, buy the tree, wrap the presents, make the cake, test the tree lights, buy presents for the dogs, make my own table decorations, break some baubles, do Mac's stocking, decorate the tree, separate the dogs from the tinsel, buy a range of batteries for the toys Mac finds under the tree, stud some oranges with cloves, decorate the house, buy and bake my famous Christmas ham........

Hm.....piece of cake. Which will need icing as well.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Autumn haze

I love this time of year, I really do. Even living in London you can appreciate the full extent of the season change and none is more dramatic than the change from summer to autumn. Autumn to winter is barely noticeable (apart from the fact that you’ve got to start putting lights on at 3.30pm in the afternoon). Even winter to spring is gradual……lighter nights and pretty flowers pushing their way through the unforgiving earth. Spring to summer (not this year I hasten to add) is just as gradual, like sitting in an oven as the temperature rises.

But I love autumn the most. The smell of bonfires in the air – although they always smell best when you’re in the country I must admit. Sweet, strong, sharp, smokey, woody – whenever we’re out driving and we smell a bonfire we open all the car windows and just inhale. Even the idea of the clocks going back doesn’t feel me with dread. I love the idea of Halloween and Bonfire Night and hot comforting stews and cosy nights in wrapped in fleeces. The gradual arrival of Christmas lights and decorations in neighbours houses - unlike the shops that started stocking festive fripperies on August Bank Holiday weekend.

I love walking in the park with the dogs and a low winter sun that blinds you and prevents me from seeing Junior Dog chasing squirrels. Jumping in great big piles of leaves with Mac but without a thought for what’s underneath them. Breathing in that cool, crisp, smoky air first thing in the morning when letting the dogs out. Appreciating clear blue skies while you’re wrapped up in jumpers and jeans. Seeing the trees change colour, different shades of russet and brown. Of getting all those Christmas catalogues from supermarkets and random mail order companies and leafing through them in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.

I was waxing lyrical about autumn to Janey on our way back from Katie and Surrey Quays yesterday and she fixed me with a bewildered look. “But it’s cold and horrible and nearly winter. How can you love autumn, it’s like the year is dying slow and painfully, just waiting for winter to come and kill it off for good”. I was so shocked at this earth shattering statement - she’s not usually so poetic – that I nearly ran into the back of a bus.

But autumn is a chance of new beginnings for me – I’ve just been tempted back to work - just for a couple of hours a week to help cover a maternity leave. It’s very ad hoc which suits me down to the ground and they can be flexible enough if I can’t make it in because of sick child/poorly dogs. I’ve been in today to see the old crowd and they were all delighted (or so they said!) to have me back and that we had “three and a half years of gossip to catch up on!”.

I’ve said I’d see them on Wednesday and I’d bring the digestives.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

All shook up

I’ve been to see Katie – I couldn’t put it off any longer but I had a damn good try. Her pleading phone calls have increased to three times a day (she’s still ringing me after Jeremy Kyle and once she’s stuck into the vodka but is now also ringing at ten to ten to wail about “going to bed alone – again”. She was fairly cheerful on my arrival – Robert is giving her a monthly allowance (“even though it’s less than we used to spend in Sainsburys every month”) as long as she doesn’t make a fuss and agrees to a quickie divorce. He’s also dangling the carrot of her looking after a business associate’s mews house in Bromley while he goes off round the world for six months to “find himself”.

“I can’t eat, I hardly go out, I’m all alone!” she wailed after I’d found mugs, washed them up, made coffee and found biscuits. My suggestion that she had a bit of a spruce up (she does look a bit insipid) and took a wander down to Surrey Quays for some decent food (there was an alarming amount of Pot Noodles in the cupboards) was met with disdain. She has no energy, apparently, to do anything other than get up, eat junk and watch TV. I pushed the point further: “If you whipped down to Tescos and got some fresh fruit and veg and stuff, you’d soon get your energy back.” I was aware that I was sounding like my mother. “I can’t!” she hissed, scrabbling for her cigarettes. “No” I responded tartly “but you can go down to the offy for twenty B&H quick enough”. Transformation complete, hello mother.

She can’t have any of her friends over because “well, I live in Rotherhithe, none of them would know how to get here” and she’s got no friends on the estate because “well, they’re all, well, not really that nice. The man next door has got ferrets”. She whispered this because, I’d noticed, the walls are very thin. “He’s got a bad cough as well” I pointed out. The lady the other side, according to Katie, plays Elvis “day and night”. I strained to hear murmurings from The King. “She must be out” she said sulkily, switching the TV over for a Trisha re-run.

I then gave her a pep talk – full of cheerful gems such as “you feel as good as you look” and “a healthy body is a healthy mind” (this after she said she’s been watching Eastenders and feels suicidal afterwards – I’ve assured her she’s not alone in feeling like this) and “luck doesn’t find you, you have to find luck”. I’m not sure it’s helped much, she did seem to go into a trance at one point but it was only because she was having a flashback to the day before.

“I’d just lit a cigarette and the doorbell rang” she said shakily. “I couldn’t be bothered to get up so I yelled through ‘oh go away, I’m having a fag’ cos it was bound to be someone wanting me to change my gas supply”. She closed her eyes at this point. “So, then, I turned on UK Gold and Harry Enfield was on. This….woman….in a rancid purple tracksuit had just been asked to do something by her lout of a husband. And…..she said…..”. She covered her face with bitten to the quick nails “And she said…..’I. Am. Aving. A. Fag.”

I have since mistakenly repeated this conversation to Janey who couldn’t speak for laughing and had to go because, well, she had to go. I’ve promised Katie that I’ll pick her up tomorrow and take her to Tescos – Janey’s coming with me and “Waynetta”.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

What's in a name?

I have a hangover from celebrating both England victories yesterday but I'll just leave you with this which you might find interesting to do. Mine is Gentille which means "kind. You value things like friendship and loyalty. You are caring and very nice to everyone, not only those you care about. You have a small group of friends that you love and are probably very accepting."

I'd like to think that that's right! What does your name mean?

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Party time

“Mackenzie is invited to Alex’s birthday party – even though he wasn’t invited to Mackenzie’s”. This kind, nay, thoughtful invitation was issued by Alex’s mum Joy at the school gates this morning. Taken aback somewhat, I enquired when the party would be. “This afternoon, straight from nursery, at Alex’s grandmothers house in West Dulwich”. Ah, I suspect we’re making up the numbers.

This was confirmed to me during a discussion with Alison, mum of Tom and Mac’s best friend. Tom was invited only minutes before Mac was because, Alison informs me, Nike and Ali had pulled out mysteriously this morning, both with “stomach upsets”. “Come on, it’ll be a laugh!” Alison said as we watched Joy hand round the address of her mother-in-law and marshalling the parents and their offspring into “not bringing any tat please, if you can’t find an original and educational present, then please put some money in an envelope.”.

That’s that then, I’m off to put £10 (£5?) into an envelope and Alison is heading off to the pound shop to get some plastic toy soldiers with dangerously sharp swords and guns.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Of mice and women

I got such a fright last night. We'd just watched Eastenders and was going over to the sink to wash up our coffee cups when a movement over by the spaghetti jars caught my eye. A little brown mouse shot behind the jars and hop-skipped-and-jumped along the work surface until it got to the microwave. Trying to fight the urge to scream like a big girls blouse, I shifted the microwave two inches to the left and shot backwards in case it, erm, leapt out at me. It didn't. And I lay awake all night wondering how the hell the little bugger had got in.

Although, I do have the back door open all the time (three dogs with unsychronised bladders mean that if I'm not letting one out, I'm letting one in so it's easier to keep the door open - even in the height of winter). And I've always got windows open and it's a well known fact that mice, gulp, climb. So it's an open invitation I guess.

I daren't tell David - he hates mice. And rats. And he refused to go into Matthew's room when he was younger because of Bungle the hamster. Besides, if I did tell David then the house would be closed up 24/7 in case another one of the little buggers turned up to visit his friend and I need fresh air. He snored his way through the night, blissfully unaware that we were hosting meeting place for furry little rodents in our kitchen. I lay awake, asking Gladys for her help but there was no divine intervention so, when I got up, I did the next best thing and rang Charlie.

David, Matt and Mac are golfing today and would be out until at least 6 - Lydia was coming for lunch so I rang and whispered my shameful secret down the telephone. "Oh, blimey, don't worry about it. It's getting cold, that's why they're coming in" she said knowledgeably. They? Charlie arrived at just gone ten, with Lydia following close behind her, the latter carrying a large gateaux from Ayres. I'd spent the morning tiptoeing round my own kitchen, jeans tucked into socks and jumping every time Junior Dog (who has been dreaming a lot of late) squeaked from his basket.

Charlie is one of my dearest friends and just one of the reasons I love her was fast becoming evident as she unpacked her bag on the kitchen table. "Now, we've got traps - humane and otherwise depending on how sqeamish you are" She fixed me with her brown eyed gaze, took one look at my face and threw the Little Nippers back into the bag "for now". She was a Girl Guide and still lives by their motto "Be prepared". "How many have you seen?" she enquired as she got a large jar of Sun Pat peanut butter and a packet of wafer biscuits out of the depths of her rucksack. I answered in a wobbly voice and gazed fearfully at the microwave. "Just one?" she laughed, which inferred that the single mouse I saw last night was just the very tip of a very furry iceberg.

Lydia was slicing up the cake and asking if we could watch the rugby later as Charlie, watched by all three drooling dogs, smeared peanut butter on the wafers and dropped them into cylindrical black boxes. "Y'see how these are shaped? Right, you put this on the floor with the trap door open" here she demonstrated by flicking the trap open and lining it up along the skirting board behind the fridge. "Mr Mouse comes along, in he goes and wham! The trap tips up, closing the door which means he can't get out and is secure for you to dispose of."

Right. Which means that I'll be carrying a live mouse out into the garden, opening the trap and letting the mouse run out (possibly over my hand) before running back into the house. "NO!" Charlie yelped as she headed over the to the PC in the living room. "No?" Lydia and I chorused. Did she suggest that I was going to keep it in its little trap? Filling them up until I've got a houseful of meeces in little black oblong boxes? "No" Charlie said as she logged onto the internet. "Mice home you know, you need to take them away from the house altogether." Right. So I'll be trekking The Avenue at the dead of night with my cheese chomping cargo, opening up the trap, letting the mouse run out (possibly over my hand) and running back to the house. Even better.

"There you go" she said, five minutes later, handing me a dossier on house mice she'd just printed. By the time I'd read this, I was ready to up sticks and move. "You're never more than fifty foot from a mouse" Charlie reminded me. "That's rats" Lydia piped up from the sofa where she was watching George and Mildred. "It's all rodents" Charlie said witheringly. More traps were being set up, the whole kitchen was full of them., like some sort of grotesque production line. "Right, come with me" Charlie ordered, handing me several traps. Apparently (and to my utter horror), mice don't confine themselves to the kitchen. Traps went down in the airing cupboard (I got a sudden urge to re-wash everything in there), under our bed, in the bathroom behind the bath panel, Mac's bedroom and behind the cabinet at the top of the stairs. Charlie seemed quite cheerful as we went about our grisly task while I tried not to think of the mouse (mice?) watching our antics and laughing. "How come you know so much about them?" Lydia demanded as we came back downstairs. "I lived in the country, mice everywhere there y'know. I used to get rid of them for our neighbours" Charlie said as she whisked out of the room again with her bag of tricks. Charlie, the Pied Piper of Ongar.

We settled down to watch the rugby - Charlie is obsessed with Jonny Wilkinson and did not take too kindly to us laughing at his hair. During the break and our third slice of cake each (what with the big game hunting, I hadn't got round to doing any lunch), we turned the sound down on the TV and were shushed by the Big Game Hunter. "What are we listening for?" I whispered. Charlie had, whilst I was washing my hands for the fifteenth time earlier, put some Little Nippers out and about. "Oh no!" I wailed. "Oh come on, they're a quid each, you just throw the whole thing away, you don't have to prise the mouse off the sp......" Charlie gaped at me. She knew then that I was imagining canine noses being trapped by the Little Nippers, an emergency trip to the vet and huge bills, that would be heading in her direction. She assured me that they'd been put out of the way of marauding canines and turned the TV back on.

The fateful event happened while I was making tea at about 4pm. I switched on the kettle and heard it. Snap!

Mouse trap tripped, mouse trapped. Location: behind the microwave. Course of action: call Charlie in from looking through our DVD collection to dispose of said tripped mouse trap. She refused. "What's going to happen if another one of these goes off in the middle of the night? And no, I'm not coming over to sort it out." Bugger.

In the end, it was simple and only took me ten minutes. I put on my Marigolds and had a Sainsbury's carrier at the ready. I pysched myself up, moved the microwave, watched by a hysterical Lydia and a disbelieving Charlie. I saw the gruesome mouse trap full of (rather flat) mouse. It looked quite sweet if I'm honest. I wiped a Marigolded wrist across my eyes to stem the tears that had suddenly sprung to my eyes and swept the whole thing into the carrier bag, hopping from foot to foot and making "eurgh" noises as I tied the handle. I then wrestled the bag from Junior Dog who has the endearing habit of carrying out all tied up carrier bags to the bin for us. Middle Dog thought this to be a hoot and joined in whilst Senior Dog was still mooching round the kitchen, trying to find the rest of the peanut butter.

Five minutes later I was in hysterics on the sofa as Charlie did an impression of me weeping at "my loss". Twenty minutes after that, during a pause while we fast forwarded the boring bits of Dirty Dancing, we heard another snap! from upstairs. And then the cheery voice of my darling husband as he and Mac arrived home: "Hello darling, what have you been up to today?"

Thursday, 4 October 2007

A day with the girls

I've been to Bluewater today with Charlie, Janey and Janey's friend Serena, ostensibly looking for cool clothes in Baby Gap (Janey has taken to walking like a duck, sticking her bump out and theatrically clutching her back and groaning lest anyone think she's just "fat and not up the duff") but in reality searching for the PERFECT pair of boots, the PERFECT nail polish colour, the PERFECT coat and the PERFECT snuggly, cosy dressing gown. Janey wanted the boots ("just because I'm with child, it doesn't mean I can't wear heels does it?") and we went into every shoe shop before we found a pair that were deemed suitable. In the very first shop we went had gone into.
I found the perfect nail polish colour -three of them - in Boots at about half eleven whilst Serena perused the chill cabinet for "a snack" which she ate whilst gazing moodily at Charlie as she perused Next for a coat. Charlie found one eventually (via the costume jewellery stand) and whisked it off to the checkout till, even as the words "but it looks like something a general would wear, all you need are a few fake medals" dying on my lips. She shot me a withering look and stroked the coat lovingly.

In we went to Evans next and found a dressing gown that Serena said "would do for now". Personally, I wouldn't buy anything costing twenty five quid just because it "would do for now" but hey, each to their own. Lunch in Ed's Easy Diner - a burger each and we shared some chips and onion rings. Janey is "eating for two" and so is indulging in "non healthy stuff every now and again". She had two bites of her burger, three chips and two onion rings before declaring herself full. Ketchup covered, we headed back to Janey's Focus. Which wasn't where we left it.

Five minutes of panic ensued before we realised that we were in the wrong place, the car was where we left it, skulking next to a concrete pillar by the entrance to Marks and Spencers. Where Janey had parked it because "we'll all remember Marks won't we?".

There's nothing like a shopping trip to cheer you up is there? Janey was giddy with happiness at finding her boots, I was painting my nails different colours (heeding Janey's warning that if I spilt any I was "deader than a doodoo") as we headed down the A2 and Charlie was clutching her Next bag as if her life depended on it. Even Serena admitted that she was looking forward to dinner, a bath and then test driving her dressing gown in front of The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle.

Hm. Wish I'd bought those jeans I saw now.......

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Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.