Sunday, 27 December 2009


Time woken by husband on Christmas Day: 4am with the words "did I lock the back door?"
Time woken by son on Christmas Day: 5.35am with the words "he's been mummy!"
Number of times Amelia/Bea/Ivy asked me why I cook my turkeys on Christmas Eve: in total, around nine times. That's at least three each.
Presents received: numerous
Useful presents received: a few
Unwanted presents received: one, it's brought me out in a rash, I never learn
Number of times aged family members asked me the name of Bea's niece: seven
Number of times aged family members loudly called her the wrong name: numerous
Number of official glasses of wine imbibed: one
Number of unofficial glasses of wine imbibed: a bottle-ful
Number of times Amelia called Mac spoilt: every time he opened a present, therefore around 30
Number of times my back went up during the day: back was permanently up so exact count neglible
Compliments on food received: many, except from Bea's sister-in-law who found fault with everything including the light switch in the toilet
Family rows: three. One involving me and sprouts with Auntie Ivy, one with Janey and Bea's sister-in-law after Bea's sister-in-law called Scarlett "attention seeking" and one with Bea and Ian when Ian refused to eat his carrots. We got away with it I feel.
Number of times Bea's sister-in-law asked if it were "hygienic having those dogs in the house": countless
Number of times my beloved hounds "purposely" paid attention to Bea's sister-in-law: all day long, it was great
Number of massive shocks: one
Number of weddings I have been asked to arrange: one
I hope your Christmas was as merry as mine!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Turkeys purchased: two
Collection date of turkeys: tomorrow
Reasons why Bea is no longer hosting Christmas Day: plentiful (and verging on ridiculous)
Guests for Christmas Dinner: 22
Number of guests I do not personally know: 3 (Bea's sister in law, her husband and child)
Number of chairs currently in house: 6
Number of chairs to therefore source: 16
Number of people to offer chairs: 0
Number of times David has said "why are we doing this?": too many to contemplate
Presents wrapped: 4
Presents still to wrap: unsure, David currently locked away in bedroom with sellotape, gift tags, wrapping paper rolls and multiple paper cuts
Cards written: all except David (gold star for achievement)
David's "helpful" suggestions: lots
Number of David's "helpful" suggestions put into place: two (both involve his mother and are in the whole Keeping Her Away From Me area)
Last minute Christmas shopping purchased: sending David out to Sainsbury's in the Bleak Midwinter at 2am tomrrow morning
Festive thoughts from self: minimal
Family row: brewing
Number of times Auntie Ivy has expressed dislike for sprouts: 7 and increasing
Number of sprouts Auntie Ivy will find on her plate if she doesn't stop it: at least 12
Number of bottles of wine in utility room: 8 red, 8 white, 2 rose
Number of bottles of wine hidden for Cook's Treat: 1 red, in cupboard with Comfort and Ariel liquid
Presents still to buy: something for Bea's sister in law, husband and child
Helpful suggestions thereof from Bea: none
Number of suggestions thereof from David: one very good one "just get them a big box of chocolates to share"
Details of defrosting times for pork joint: unknown
Date and time of Amelia's arrival: 24th of December at approximately 9.17am
Date of my certain meltdown: 24th of December at approximately 9.20am
Number of times Mac's face has lit up whenever he hears the words "presents", "Santa", "reindeer" and "Christmas Eve": countless
Thoughts that this is therefore all worth it: growing

Monday, 14 December 2009

Pain versus gain

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m not a very energetic person. It’s not laziness, honest, it’s just that my mind finds it hard to programme my body, the body that, to all intents and purposes, would much prefer it if “everything” went away and just left me to just “be”.

So imagine the shock that both my mind and body encountered this weekend:

Friday night: work party
Saturday morning: Bluewater shopping centre
Saturday evening: ice skating
Sunday morning: brisk walk around Dulwich Park
Sunday afternoon: balancing on beams

Let me explain further.

On Friday night we congregated in the hospital social club (and adjoining lecture theatre when the junior doctors found it unlocked and set up a mini gambling den in there). I left the house at 7pm, sleek and shiny of hair, svelte of body (Spanxed up to the eyebrows), assured on my heels and radiating coolness.

Cut to three and a half hours later after spending said three and a half hours on the dance floor. My hair looked as if birds had started nesting in it, my Spanx were seriously rucking up under my (mock) wrap round dress, my shoes were abandoned under the table and I radiated enough body heat to warm the Isles of Scilly. I’d also developed a highly attractive wheeze due to the sudden onset of three and a half hours of frenetic dancing. My mind, body and lungs were all waving the white flag. When I arrived home, David took one look at me and made me a strong coffee.

So, on Saturday morning, muttering “whose stupid bloody idea was this?” I joined the queue into Bluewater that began on the A2. Charlie was already there and waiting for me and getting increasingly annoyed that I was still on the road. “I can’t help it, what do you want me to do? Helicopter in?” I screeched. 45 minutes later I joined on her on the roof and parked, amazingly, next to her. “You can imagine the funny looks I’ve been getting” she said as she packed the fold away chair back into her boot – she’d been camping out in the adjacent parking bay and reading Martina Cole.

My legs, already suffering aches and pains brought on my shaking my booty, took one look at the length of shops spread out before them and went into cramp. I spent the first ten minutes standing bare foot on the marble floor, flexing. I managed to get David’s present, one of Mac’s and a little something for Auntie Ivy before we went off to get a coffee. Charlie, who was joining the gang for the ice skating trip, came back with a jaunty little hat, scarf and glove set in blue for her, purple for me. “It’ll match my bruises” I said gloomily as I packed it away in my many bags. “Think positive” she beamed “you can skate, you can skate” she said in what she obviously thought was a soothing voice. “That’s what you think, that’s what you think” I responded.

Naturally, I was right and she was wrong. I can’t skate. I can’t even stand upright without wobbling. She and Bea were naturals, as was Eliza. Janey was an enthusiastic amateur, Lydia could at least manage a few tremulous moves and Jane Opposite preferred to ogle the attractive men on the sidelines. Dawn, Fellow School Mum (who arranged the outing, curse her) had completed failed to mention that she was ice skating champion in her youth and spent the evening getting applauded for her every move.

I tried. I did, really. I put on the skates and clomped over to the ice thinking “ooh, this is a doddle”. Until blade hit frozen water. Have you seen how THIN they are? And they’re supposed to support my body weight AND control it?

I didn’t get a chance to plummet to the floor because I didn’t leave the hoardings for the whole time. I managed to look pretty damn good while I was doing that though and actually said, to a passing whippersnapper who invited me to “have a twirl” with him, that I was “having a breather because I’d been on the ice all afternoon”. “Liar” Janey said as she whizzed past me in a flurry of ice particles.

By the time I was back in my (flat) shoes my legs felt as if they’d been pummelled by a particularly vicious masseuse and then sat on by a large elephant. I have no idea how I got to the bus stop and even less of an idea of how I managed to heave myself onto the bus. Of course, Bea was overly enthusiastic and suggested that we make a regular thing of it. I managed to shut her up by suggesting we find the nearest Pizza Hut and get a stuffed crust each. She was so horrified she spent the rest of the journey in silence.

“I need to get fit” were the first words I said to David on my return. I heaved myself onto the sofa and settled down to watch the Strictly Come Dancing results show. “Really?” said my devoted husband as he offered me the tin of Quality Street. I took five, put three back and stared glumly at the television. A plan was formulating in my head (a classic example of the will being strong but the flesh being weak) and I decided to start my fitness campaign after Christmas. “Why not take the dogs round Dulwich Park tomorrow?” David suggested.

So I did. An hour and a half of brisk walking and I fell into the car. My left leg went into spasm and I couldn’t control the clutch so we kangarooed past Bea’s house just in time to see her dressed in designer leisure wear and supervising the gardener put the fairly lights on the fir tree in her drive.

Which prompted me to go up into my own loft (no mean feat, I hate heights almost as much as David does and so it took ten minutes and a Baileys to get up the courage) and balance on beams whilst stretching across the void to collect the dusty boxes. A full work-out in the loft, not everyone can claim they've done that.

I'll get fit. Definitely. After Christmas. I promise.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Get your skates on.....

......because we're going ice skating this weekend. No kidding. Me. On ice skates. Can you imagine? David can. That's him you can hear guffawing with laughter.

I'll report back. If I manage to keep life and limb intact.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


I asked David yesterday what he'd like for Christmas. He didn't know, shrugged and headed out to the garden. Five minutes later he popped back into the kitchen, a wistful expression on his face. Ahah, I thought, he's going to tell me exactly what he wants for Christmas which will save me wandering around shopping centres with a wild look in my eye, will prevent me getting "mouse clickers finger" while I search online for the perfect gift, will stop me panic buying socks, pants and aftershave that, in the bottle smells just about acceptable, yet on the face smells like paint stripper. And has the same effect on his mush.

"Do you know something?" he mused as he leant on the fridge "No, what?" I said, eagerly anticipating the end of my worrying over his present. "I think that squirrel is gnawing his way through the bird table".

Great. Really useful. I suppose buying him a new bird table is out of the question?

He asked me today what I'd like for Christmas. It was a fairly lengthy list and he had to go and sit down. I had to make him a strong cup of tea in the end and he took it with a trembling hand and just.....gazed into space.

In the meantime, I thought I'd treat you to my most favourite ever Christmas song. The guy might have had dodgy gnashers but he signifies the start of my Christmas.

What have you asked Santa for this year?

Friday, 4 December 2009

Christmas Risk Assessments and Health and Safety concerns

I received this email from my boss (who has Health and Safety responsibilities at work yet insists that "an accident or two never hurt anyone") and thought I'd share it with you all!

The Rocking Song
Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir;
We will lend a coat of fur,We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you

Fur is no longer appropriate wear for small infants, both due to risk ofallergy to animal fur, and for ethical reasons. Therefore faux fur, a nice cellular blanket or perhaps micro-fleece material should be considered asuitable alternative. Please note, only persons who have been subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check and have enhanced clearance will be permitted to rock baby Jesus. Persons must carry their CRB disclosure with them at all times and beprepared to provide three forms of identification before rocking commences.

Jingle Bells
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

A risk assessment must be submitted before an open sleigh is considered safe for members of the public to travel on. The risk assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly if passengers are of larger proportions. Please note, permission must be gained from landowners before entering their fields. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we would requestthat laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

While Shepherds Watched
While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around

The union of Shepherd's has complained that it breaches health and safety regulations to insist that shepherds watch their flocks without appropriate seating arrangements being provided, therefore benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available. Shepherds have also requested that due to the inclement weather conditions at this time of year that they should watch their flocks via cctv cameras from centrally heated shepherd observation huts.Please note, the angel of the lord is reminded that before shining his / her glory all around she / he must ascertain that all shepherds have been issued with glasses capable of filtering out the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and Glory.

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

You are advised that under the Equal Opportunities for All policy, it is inappropriate for persons to make comment with regard to the ruddiness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from the Reindeer Games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence. A full investigation will be implemented and sanctions - including suspension on full pay - will be considered whilst this investigation takes place.

Little Donkey
Little donkey, little donkey
on the dusty road
Got to keep on plodding onwards with your precious load

The RSPCA have issued strict guidelines with regard to how heavy a load that a donkey of small stature is permitted to carry, also included in the guidelines is guidance regarding how often to feed the donkey and how many rest breaks are required over a four hour plodding period. Please note that due to the increased risk of pollution from the dusty road, Mary and Joseph are required to wear face masks to prevent inhalation of any airborne particles. The donkey has expressed his discomfort at being labelled 'little' and would prefer just to be simply referred to as Mr. Donkey. To comment upon his height or lack thereof may be considered an infringement of his equine rights.

We Three Kings
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Whilst the gift of gold is still considered acceptable - as it may be redeemed at a later date through such organisations as 'cash for gold' etc, gifts of frankincense and myrrh are not appropriate due to the potential risk of oils and fragrances causing allergic reactions. A suggested gift alternative would be to make a donation to a worthy cause in the recipients name or perhaps give a gift voucher. We would not advise that the traversing kings rely on navigation by stars in order to reach their destinations and suggest the use of RAC routefinder or satellite navigation, which will provide the quickest route and advice regarding fuel consumption. Please note as per the guidelines from the RSPCA for Mr Donkey, the camels carrying the three kings of Orient will require regular food and rest breaks. Facemasks for the three kings are also advisable due to the likelihood of dust from the camels hooves.

All about me

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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.