Friday, 30 September 2011

The One With the Tree Surgeon and My Pants

Next door are having a huge eucalyptus tree removed from their garden.

We knew the work was going to happen soon so we were prepared and looking forward to all the lovely light it would reveal and flood into the back of our house. We just didn't quite know the exact date it was going to happen.

This morning the tree surgeons turned up!

When they arrived I was feeding the boy his breakfast, clad only in a t-shirt and my pants. Well it's been unseasonably warm so I've slept in little else. Inspired by a recent Twitter conversation about music, I'd dug out "Funky Divas" by En Vogue and was trying to get the boy to eat his Bitesize Shredded Wheat whilst booty bouncing, badly, to 'Free Your Mind". I'd not thought anything of this when suddenly there was a knock on the back door.

I turned and looked out of my dining room window to see a young, fit and very hot young tree surgeon smiling back at me!

Hubby was only in his dressing gown but I still sent him to the back door in preference to my pant wearing self. Hubby was not impressed with my state of undress and brazen attitude.

"Put some clothes on" he chastised

"Ah go on" I said "It's all right. I've got a nice bum and legs. Shame my tits are dragging on the floor but I think I got away with it."

"No you haven't" hubby hissed "They're laughing"

Two other, young, hot, fit tree surgeons emerged from next doors garden. They'd obviously all seen my 'Strictly Come Twatting About' through the window and were quite frankly pissing themselves!

"We'll be making a bit of a mess of your garden today" the hot tree surgeon said to hubby suppressing his giggles "Sorry about that!"

Not as sorry as I was feeling!

"We'll be done by the end of the day." he assured us.

In reality the job has turned out to be larger than they first anticipated, not helped by one of their number having a log fall on his leg, resulting in a trip to A&E and the poor chap ending up on crutches.

The upshot of all this means they'll be here all next week. 

Not that I'm complaining. I've had a very pleasant view out of my window all day.

Much more pleasant than they one they had first thing this morning.....

Monday, 26 September 2011

Listography/The One With Five Celebrities I'd Like To Have A Beer With

I'm joining in with a fellow bloggers "Listography" this week over at Kate Takes 5.

Every week she gives us bloggers a topic and we chuck our four penneth worth in.

This week it's "The Five Celebrities I'd Like To Go For A Beer With".

I've never been for a drink with a celebrity, which is a source of disappointment to me now I think about it.

I've sat on the same table at lunch as 3-2-1's Ted Rogers, I once bought a gin and tonic for the woman who played Jacko's sister in Brush Strokes and I also bought a whiskey for the comedy writer Mike Craig. 

I was having a drink in the same room as Roy Hudd and June Whitfield and they were drinking too. They didn't talk to me. To be fair they didn't know who I was so there was no reason why they should.

I've been lucky enough to meet a few celebrities over the years via Hubby's work and at various charity golf days I went to with my Mum and Dad when I was younger.  And by just hanging about at the back of theatres. Stalking people! No that's a joke. I don't stalk people. Well not anymore. I promised the judge I'd stop!

I've even met a few of my idols, Paul Merton, Ronnie Corbett and Paula Radcliffe (it's an eclectic mix). I once saved Sir Terry Wogan from certain death from a golf cart (that's a "bit" of an exaggeration really. I just said 'Oh mind out! there's a golf cart coming" and we stepped aside as he signed an autograph for me) and Jimmy Tarbuck once remarked on my resemblance to his daughter - who was only standing a few feet away and yet to have become a household name. He didn't, however, remark on my dad's resemblance to him! 

So all in all I've had my fair share of celebrity spots but I've never had a beer with one.

This was going to take some thinking about. I do love a list and this one wasn't to be rushed.

I started off with a 'long list' with the intention of narrowing it down.

When I finished I realised that nearly everyone was a comedian, they were all male and mostly all dead!

I scrapped that list and started another!

I asked Hubby for his opinion. Hubby is notorious for hating just about everyone on TV (with the exception of his own private list of course) and couldn't think of anyone he'd like to go for a beer with. 

"What no one? No random guitarists, heavy metal musicians or footballers?" I asked

Hubby thought!

"No!" he concluded "Most people on TV are w*nkers"! and that was the gospel according to Hubby.

For someone who always aspired to be in the public eye herself this wasn't an encouraging response!

So anyway, after much thought and deliberation here are my final five:

1) Jimmy Carr 


He reminds me Bob Monkhouse, who was one of the sadly deceased celebrities on my long list. He's as dry as a martini, wickedly funny, topical and often just that little bit over the mark. He also laughs like a drain. 

2) Liza Tarbuck


As I mentioned it has been said I look a bit like her! In fact when The Big Breakfast was at it's peak I worked with a chap who looked like Johnny Vaughan. Oh how we laughed. She is also very funny, a great presenter and actress and she's Jimmy Tarbuck's daughter. What more reason do you need. He's comedy royalty!

3) Peter Kay


He doesn't drink. But we'd have a Baileys because we don't give a sh*t! 

I would probably freak him out by quoting his entire act back to him! Garlic bread and cheesecake anyone?

4) Eric Morecambe


If I could turn back time, I'd tell Cher that see through net body suit and chaps were a bad idea, but more importantly I'd meet Eric Morecambe. I'd make sure he only drank squash because booze would be bad for his heart and I'd tell him to go home early and stop jumping about like a teenager. I'd bring a paper bag though so he could do the imaginary ball trick. But I'd like to think he always carried one anyway. Just in case.

5) Sir Terry Wogan


He's the reason I love the radio. Why I still love listening to it. Why I love broadcasting on it. 
I also reckon we could do a bottle of Irish whisky a fair bit of damage. 

So there they are. My top five celebrity drinking buddies. In my dreams hey!

Pop over to Kate Takes 5 and have a look at who others bloggers have chosen.

Cheers. All the best!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The One With The Nappy, The Door, The Step Ladder and The Fed Ex Man

Talk about a title that sums it all up! Because that was pretty much yesterday lunchtime.

We'd returned from yet another successful Jingles session and it was only 11.30 but for some reason I'd had my head up my arse all morning. Not literally you understand. If I could do that I should join the circus. Or go on Britain's Got Talent! Or move to Amsterdam! 

Monday is bin day and this week it was the turn of the black bin with all the proper rubbish in it, including nappies.

The boy was obviously relaxed and happy after his morning of singing, dancing and drum banging and decided to reward me for taking him out with a not too fragrant present in his pants. 

He needed changing before lunch!

Incidentally the only way to keep the boy still on a changing mat now is to give him something to hold! I have learnt that needs to be something wipe clean, like a toy car and not a soft toy. Poor Iggle Piggle copped it the other week when the boy had a particularly delightful "teething nappy" and we proved the theory that shit really does stick to a blanket!

Having dealt with the boys bum and hearing the bin man cometh I wanted to get rid of the offending bag quickly so it wasn't left festering for another fortnight! The bin was just by the front door. I'll pop it out while he plays for a second I thought.

Our front porch has a two door system! I closed the outer door so the boy couldn't run into the road. That much I'd thought of. What I hadn't given enough thought to was the inner door.

It's a Yale lock!

It was as I plopped the nappy in the bin that I heard the slam and a little cheeky voice saying


I opened the outer door to see the boy grinning at me from behind a shut and very immovable front door.

He'd locked me out!

"Bye Bye" he said, waving and laughing at me.

The innocence of his reaction, to what he thought was clearly a game, would've been sweet if it hadn't been for the fact I couldn't get back in.

Just at that point my neighbour came out of his house. He checked round the back for me but I'd left no windows open. The only option was the window at the front. 

He went and fetched a step ladder.

Only the top portion of our windows open. They are small and not very wide. My neighbour is a big bloke and ruled himself out of getting through it straight away. 

"We need someone skinny" he said "So that rules you and me out"

Now I know I had more pressing matters on my mind, like getting back to my 18 month old son who was currently home alone, but kick a girl when she's down why don't you! My son's locked me out, I'm beside myself with fear and worry, the boy's getting hysterical, I am currently favourite for "worst mother in the world" award and I get a "you're fat" insult! 

I hauled my obviously fat arse up the step ladder and poked my head through the window.

By this point the boy realised this was not a game and Mummy couldn't get back in. I'm not sure if he was missing me or just concerned that he wasn't getting any lunch but he was crying and freaked out.

Oscar arrived from upstairs and miaowed constantly to add to the chaos. As I peered down two sets of soulful eyes peered up, both wanting food and their Mummy back.

I tried to encourage the boy to get my handbag from the dining room so I could lean down and pick it up from the side table under the window but he didn't get what I was saying. I knew in my heart it was too advanced for him but I was going to try anything.

Keys!  He knows keys. Keys was one of his first words.

"Can you get Mummy's keys?" I asked over and over again but it was a fruitless task. He was gone to the dark side of hysteria and I wasn't going to be far behind him.

Just then the Fed Ex man arrived.

Hubby's job means we get regular parcels delivered on an almost daily basis so I know all the delivery guys to chat too.

This one was tall, young, athletic and as skinny as a bean pole.

Just the lovely ole' job as we say in this corner of the UK.

I have no idea what the boy made of a strange man posting himself through our front window but I can only say I am eternally grateful to him, his kindness and his nimble frame.

I hugged the boy within an inch of his life when I got back in.

So what have I learnt.

My neighbour thinks I'm fat!

I will no longer moan about having to answer the door all day to sign for hubbies boxes.

I will put the door on the latch or carry a key or better still sew a spare key in my bra so I'm never without it.

Side tables are sometimes called occasional tables because occasionally they break the fall of a Fed Ex man descending from a step ladder and falling through your window.

I will always close my windows when I go out because I've now seen how easy it would be to get burgled. 

And most importantly..

Never underestimate the kindness of strangers.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The One With The Indiscreet Tweet and The "List"!

When it comes to social media I've always been a bit of a Facebook girl. 

Up until now! 

In the last few days I've been swayed by the power of Twitter. I only set up an account to promote the blog initially but "Clementine", (the last of the boy's Fairy Godmother's to get her own blog name), persuaded me that it "kicks Facebook's arse" and I should start following other bloggers and people in the media. 

Only trouble is I can't use it!

It took me a week to find the hash key! 

In my defence the hash key on my keyboard gave me a pound sign and the pound sign gave me a dash and so on! Nothing was where it was supposed to be. This wouldn't be quite so laughable if it weren't for the fact that I used to work in IT!

No wonder they made me redundant!

Twitter is fast moving and as upfront or anonymous as you want it to be. You can follow anyone without having to wait for them to accept you as a friend, including famous people!

A couple of days ago, I replied to a tweet from the amazing Beverley Knight about her tour dates. To my surprise and sheer delight she tweeted me back. I'm such a  big fan that I was thrilled and a bit giddy that she'd answered! 

I'm easily pleased, me!

Buoyed and brave from my Twitter success I replied to a tweet from one of my favourite actors, Neil Fitzmaurice, who's currently playing naughty boy Fergus in Mount Pleasant on Sky 1.

He answered too!

I was proper star struck. So I tweeted to my followers (all 43 of them - but everyone precious) the following:

"I'm on a roll with this famous person lark. Neil Fitzmaurice has tweeted me back now. I've gone all hot and giggly."

Only trouble was I'd copied his twitter name in!

So he saw it!!!

Told you I didn't know what I was doing!

Because he is an absolute top bloke with a wicked sense of humour he saw the funny side and we ended up having a little twitter chat. Which only served to prolong the flush in my cheeks and the girlie giggling!

When I explained it all to hubby later, he asked why?

"Well, he's on my list isn't he!"

"What list?" hubby queried

"You know.... "the list"! The list of famous people were allowed to.... you know"

Hubby finally cottoned on.

"Oh "that" list! What him? Ray Von from Phoenix Nights?"

"Well he doesn't look like that all the time" I said justifying my choice of celebrity crush.

"Who else is on your "list" then?"

"Paul Hollywood, Philip Glenister, Phil Mickelson and .... ummmm.... Fireman Sam!"

"Fireman Sam!" hubby spluttered " You know he's not real don't you?"

"I like his voice" I muttered sheepishly. 

"He's Welsh. You can't stand the Welsh! God you like some weird people" 

I daren't tell him about  Lord Tumble from Something Special and Captain Barnacles from Octonauts, he'd divorce me on the grounds of deviancy with cartoon characters.

"Who have you got then?" I asked him

"Sophie Raworth, Kerry from CBeebies, Sue Perkins and Rachel Weisz." rattling off the names a tad too quickly for my liking.

"What? I'll give you the news reader but the rest...." I exclaim.

"What's wrong with them?"

"Well nothing, apart from one's only got one arm, one's a lesbian and the last one's gorgeous and married to James Bond. Best of luck with that!"

There followed that silence that only 12 years of marriage can create and then instantly dismiss with laughter.

We decided we watch too much children's TV.

And that I shouldn't go on anymore social media networking sites.

Well, not at least until I've learnt how to use them.... oops!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The One Where The Boy Makes Me Wonder?

A new term of Jinglies music group has started.

Lemon Cake Lady and Lemon Cake Boy have decided to give it a miss so we've changed our day to Monday at a different venue.

Same teacher though. She may have an impossibly high voice and a look of Joyce Grenfell (George - don't do that!) but she is marvellous with the boy when he either kicks off or wants to go up the front and be the centre of attention! (don't know who he gets that off..hmm..hmm)!

Yesterday morning the boy developed a mild rash on his shoulders, a reaction to the mix of his eczema cream and our leather sofa we now surmise, but going to Jinglies I was a bit concerned he was out of sorts.

The new venue is nearer home and a smaller room than before. A lot of the children are younger than our previous class so sit still, mainly because they can't crawl or walk yet, but the overall result is that the boy doesn't run around as much as he did before.

This was our second lesson of the new term and when we arrived the boy seemed agitated. We sung the first "Good Morning " song and then he started pointing at the door.

"Door. Door. Car" he exclaimed

He wanted to go!

Then he started pointing at my bag. Did he want a drink? Maybe a snack? Maybe my car keys?

"Car, car."

Oh god this wasn't good. He normally loves Jinglies but he was yawning in the car on the way there and I started to get worried.

Then he picked up my jacket, that was lying over the bag, tossed it to one side and proceeded to root around in my bag.

He was after his book with cars in it.

"No you can't have that now darling"


"Look they're getting instruments out now. It's drums"

I thought at least he could bang the hell out of that to get rid of his frustration.

But once the class got going and the drums, bells and whistles came out the boy was a changed... well, boy!

So much so that I spent the entire class thinking there was still something wrong with him!

He sat still when he was supposed to, held my hand nicely as we did walking in circle songs, fetched the instruments and toys calmly and more importantly put them back, with a "Ta" too.

I have never known him be so attentive and compliant in class before. As a result he loved it and got so much more out of it but I couldn't help thinking he must be ill, he was so, well, docile!

I checked down the back of his shirt. The rash was gone. If I felt his forehead once in that three quarters of an hour I must have felt it about a dozen times. He wasn't hot. There was no fever.

The hall is on a roundabout at quite a main junction. Last week all the boy wanted to do was look out of the window at the cars. This week I spotted a fire engine riding past. Oh no I thought, we'll lose him. Now admittedly it didn't have it's siren's going but the boy didn't even notice. Normally he's like a heat seeking missile when it comes to "Nanus" but he was so intent on smacking that drum he missed it.

At one point the teacher looked over at me and mouthed,

"He's being good"

"Shhhhh" I whispered back "Don't break the spell"

We finished, as always, with the sleeping bunnies song and then it was all done. I was still highly suspicious , especially when he waved "Bye Bye" and said "Ta" as we left.

Back in the car I fully expected him to fall asleep, cry and, or be sick but he was happily eating his snack and staring at the cars.

Comes to something when you assume your child is ill just because he was well behaved, doesn't it! 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The One With The Historic Date

Ten years ago today the world stopped! 

It held it's breath and watched the second plane crash into the second Twin Tower. It wasn't a freak accident. This was deliberate. This was terrorism on a scale we'd not seen before.

The world changed. Apparently! 

I've visited New York twice. Both times post 9/11. The moment I touched down at JFK airport I fell in love with this amazing, vibrant, loud city. We'd come from the west coast after LA and Seattle and the first thing I remember was the change in accent. A New Yorker was on the phone as I waited for hubby to collect the luggage. She was shouting for "Bob. Bob!" in a rich east coast twang.

When we got in the yellow taxi to take us to Manhattan Island I asked the Jamaican taxi driver

"Have ya bin busy?" and " What time ya on to?" 

He didn't answer. He didn't speak much English. Still Peter Kay would've been proud of me.

The Americans welcomed us warmly. This was Spring 2005 and things were still fresh, tourism was down, they were frankly glad to see us. They were glad to see anyone! Especially anyone British. New York felt like home. Hubby and I could've happily stayed.

The second time we went back it was Winter 2006. This time we visited Ground Zero. We'd not gone before as it felt like we were treating it as a tourist attraction, which it isn't. We'd seen it from the river on a boat trip on our first visit and I'd felt an overwhelming sense of anger just from that glimpse. How could anyone want to hurt these incredible, warm, resilient people?

When we actually went to the site it had a cold, eerie atmosphere. We read the names of those who died on the plaque. I got about half a dozen in before tears fell down my face. The plaque was huge. The names went on forever. They always will.

So today is the tenth anniversary of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

On 11th September 2001 hubby and I had just celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. It was my first day back at work after a holiday in Cornwall. I handed my notice in to the admin department that morning to go to a job in systems. I was office gossip until lunchtime. By 1 o'clock no one was talking about me anymore. Hubby still had a days holiday and was watching the news at home. He called me at the office to tell me about the first plane. As we were on the phone the second plane hit. He described it to me live as it was happening. 

So has the world really changed?

I guess everyone's world has changed because it does. It has too. In the UK we lived with terrorism on our door for years. As a little girl I remember us having to drive through London to go on holiday. There was no M25, no Queen Elizabeth bridge, no Dartford Tunnel. You had to go into London, across the Thames and out the other side to get to the west country or the south coast. I was about 5 or 6 years old. When we got to London I lay on the back seat and shut my eyes to pretend to be asleep. Because of the reports of all the IRA terror attacks on the news I thought the streets of London were littered with dead bodies.

If the TV news could do that to a little girl back then lord alone knows what 9/11 did to children in America.

So yes the world has changed because it was always going to regardless of what happened that day ten years ago. 

It's just "that " day made it change a bit faster!

So to everyone, but especially my readers in the US, whoever your god may be let him or her bless you today and keep you safe.

I'll never forget reading those names on that plaque and I never will.

Yes the world has changed in the last ten years.

Let's just hope it's for the better.....

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The One Down On The Farm

The boy used to be obsessed with animals!

One of hubbies sisters lives on a farm and when we visited last April, during lambing season, the boy woke up every morning asking for the "Ba,Bas" 

How quickly time flies. The fickle finger of fate has moved on from being stuck up the cow's arse of life and is now tinkering with all things mechanical!

Basically if it doesn't have wheels and an engine the boy just doesn't want to know!

I only wish he'd happened to mention this too me before I paid for us to go to a local farm for the afternoon.

Don't get me wrong the boy's "Nanu" obsession has hardly gone unnoticed but I foolishly thought he might still hold a place in his heart for a four legged friend.

No such luck! 

Pigs? They go oink and are pink- ish. Do they have a blue flashing light on their heads? No? Next?

Sheep? Dull. Do they save people from fires? Can I ride on their backs? No? Moving on!

Butterflies? Mum you're taking the wee wee now. They don't even have legs let alone wheels! It's too hot in here and I'm bored! Lets go! NOW!!!

The boy got fractious, tired, hot and arsey.

Never a good combination.

"Let's look at the chicken's" I suggested hopefully.

Just as we reached "chicken world", which did include ducks and geese as well, a man arrived on a ride on lawn mower.

This was more like it!

"Nanu. Nanu. Nanu!" the boy screamed. Finally something that goes! 

The boy watched in raptures as the man cut the grass.

We could've sat at the side of the A14 and watched a man from the council do that for nothing.

The guy cutting the grass cut the engine and looked over at us as the boy clung to the fence around the chicken enclosure.

"The bottom of that fence is electrified" he warned me, then started on his task again.

Evil thoughts of calming the boy down with shock therapy raced through my mind!

I pulled him away. Shortly the mowing finished. The boy was distraught.

"Would you like to go in and see the chickens?" I ventured as a distraction to his impending tantrum

We went in. Hippy Chick and Mini Hippy Chick were with us. They fed the birds, who seeing the corn, flocked around us at an alarming rate.

This was too much for the boy. The lawnmower was gone and all he had left was chickens, he couldn't even eat, pecking at his feet!

In the best toddler tradition the bottom lip went first, then the tears fell and then the screaming set in.

I have discovered nothing comes between a chicken and it's supper. Not even an 18 month old, fire engine obsessed child, having a complete paddy.

One nil to the chickens.

I put the boy back in his buggy and we went for an ice cream.

On the way back he spotted two large blue lorries near the bouncy castle. They were pumping sewage so the engines were running continuously.

He didn't want to bounce about with Mini Hippy Chick and the others. Oh no! The boy wanted to watch the lorries. They were completely stationary and stank to high heaven but that was what the boy wanted.

"You could've given me £4.50 and he could've just watched my car in the car park." Hippy Chick mused.

The smell of the sewage and the irony of Hippy Chick's remark was too much for me.

I gave up and took boy home.

Once in the car he was as right as rein.

"Car. Car. Nanu." he pointed and exclaimed at every vehicle on our journey back, smiling and waving at all the motorists.

So note to self. Next time take him to the transport museum and if you think the boy needs a dose of animal magic then just let him watch Big Barn Farm!

It'll be cheaper......

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The One with Silent Sunday

This is my first foray into Silent Sunday - a bloggers term for a picture posted at the end of the week to sum it up with no words.

I'm not being very silent am I? Not got the hang of this yet.

I call it "Toddler". I'm hoping to win the Turner prize.


Saturday, 3 September 2011

The One With All The Names

Last night was another night out with some of the NCT girls.

I'm feeling it today!

I'm drinking pints of squash and have just had a quarter pounder with cheese and fries for my lunch! It's the only time I ever eat MacDonalds, after a night out with the girls!

We went for a Chinese (can you tell the diet has gone out of the window) and the conversation turned to my blog.

Lady Garden Lady couldn't make it this time but Hippy Chick was there. The other three ladies present didn't have blog names yet. 

"What am I called?" they all asked

"Well, you don't have names " I explained.

They wanted them! I was very flattered they wanted to be part of the Random World. So we discussed what they could be called.

It's lovely when friends want to be part of something. It's even lovelier when they want to be part of something you've created.

We ate, talked and laughed. A lot! 

The girls all searched for names. It was as if they wanted to get their stripes. Like Badge Quest on Chuggington! 

So here they are, more characters for the cast of my Random World.

Biker Chick was going to be known as Fatty Arbuckle after she confessed that when 18 years old she ate the "Arbuckle" challenge of a starter, a 26 oz steak with all the trimmings and a knickerbocker glory just to get a T-shirt! Afterwards she felt sick and her Dad told her he would've bought her the t-shirt anyway. She got the meal for free. Fatty Arbuckle's has since closed down! 

Rizzlers is so known because of her home made attempt at false eyelashes from cigarette papers on our very first NCT night out. She'd take little or no persuasion to do tequila shots but never let her have Chardonnay. By her own admission she gets "fighty"! Last night she lived up to her nickname by trying to make rollies from duck and hoi sin sauce pancakes but the duck was crispy not smoked so it didn't work... (ha,ha... I'm here all week)!

Vixen I nearly called Minstrel because of her love of black and white. But it's a bit too obscure and shows my age! I can't really go into why she's Vixen but let's just say she is and leave it at that. She's not a Gladiator before anyone asks but this nickname does make her sound like one! 

Amongst all the hard sounding Gladiator names like Wolf, Cobra, Hunter and Jet I always wanted there to be one called Sponge Finger who came on eating cakes and didn't take it seriously at all. That would've been me!

So now there's only two ladies in the group who don't have names!

We need another night out with them so they can earn their badges too!