Friday, 30 March 2012

The One Where We All Panic

To quote The Smiths - Panic on the streets of London, Panic on the streets of Birmingham, I wonder to myself....

What I wonder to myself is firstly who are all these people queuing for fuel and panic buying the pumps dry?

If social media networks are to be believed everyone is deriding those who are queuing around the block for fuel, but someone must be doing it because there are long queues everywhere.

Yesterday I had lunch with Ken. As I drove over to my old place of work I stopped at the traffic lights. I looked across to a BP garage and idly commented to the boy,

"Oh look there's no queues at that petrol station. Maybe people aren't being too silly about it anymore?"

On closer inspection I realised that all the pumps were covered and they had no fuel left!

I turned the corner to be greeted by an enormous queue for the Shell garage instead. So huge in fact that I had trouble passing it and when I left Ken after lunch I couldn't get out of the end of the road and had to turn round and go another way!

So if everyone you talk to and everywhere you read about it, people are saying these panic buyers are irresponsible, reactionary, selfish idiots - who are they?

Or are we in fact all closet panic buyers?

After all there's nothing we like better than a good old crisis in the UK. Stock up, hunker down, put that light out and dig for victory. The Dunkirk spirit. We'll show them, we'll buy all the fuel we can carry now and then let them strike. We don't care. We're British! If we can get our upper lip to really stiffen we can hang our jerrycan of petrol off it on our way home from the forecourt!

And it's not just petrol. With the massive hike in stamps prices in April the great British public are stockpiling those too.

And for god's sake don't get the man on the street started on the Pasty Tax!

I put out a little tip on Facebook and Twitter yesterday

Buy a cold pastry. But it on the bonnet of your car. Queue for petrol. By the time you reach the pumps it'll be hot. The money you saved in VAT on the pasty means you can put an extra millilitre of petrol in your car. 

I also had a theory that even if we could afford the stamps to send letters to each other, the posties won't be able to get the petrol to drive the vans to deliver them! 

If you've got anymore interesting panic buying tips then pop them on a postcard and send them to a friend. Don't forget a stamp. If you can afford one.......

Keep Calm. Carry On. And as Jones always said in Dad's Army......

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The One Where Curiosity Kicked The Cat

Just when you thought it was safe to put Oscar and the boy back in the same room together, there was an "incident at the pass" yesterday evening!

It was bath time and in order to get the boy to do anything now you have to prise him away from the TV. So we switched it off and called him for his bath. 

We've been exposing the boy to old skool children's telly programmes so he was watching The Clangers. For those of you who don't remember The Clangers they were small pink, knitted, aliens looking creatures with long snouts and they lived on a planet far far away and whistled to each other. There was a Soup Dragon and an Iron Chicken and they ate blue string pudding. 

I know it sounds like a 60's acid trip, up there with The Magic Roundabout, but believe me it was very good. If good means weird. Hubby and I loved it as kids though and the boy seems to be the same.

"Clangers, Clangers" he protested

"After your bath darling" one of us said. I don't remember who because what followed was a barrage of shouting, screaming and crying. 

And that was just Hubby!

The boy lost it and in his frustration gave out the most vicious, hateful kick at Oscar our cat, I've ever seen him do. 

Oscar might be an old moggy but he's no slouch still and he ducked in time but the sheer vitriol on the boys face was pure bloody evil.

I have never heard Hubby so cross and so clearly disappointed in his son.

Bath time was a solemn affair with no toys, no bubbles and no laughter. 

The boy kept trying to engage with us and make us laugh again but, certainly for Hubby, he'd gone too far this time. 

There was no TV after his bath and all the stories were either cat based or about being kind to animals. A subtly clearly lost on the boy who just drank his milk and played as normal.

He had obviously forgotten all about it in his gnat like attention span and the incident had past in his mind.

Or so I thought!

Today Nanny P and Granddad Atu arrived at lunchtime to take the boy out for the afternoon. The first thing he said to them was,

"Oscar. Kick. Dada say no, no"

I'm not sure he was remorseful. I think he was probably just relaying it as a piece of news to his grandparents, but it had obviously struck a chord with him and been playing on his mind.

I had been trying to explain to him that he was lucky that Oscar was such a docile cat and didn't bite or scratch back. I didn't use the word docile of course. I'm not daft. He can't count to 10 yet without missing out all the odd numbers (thank you Thomas the bloody Tank Engine and your "they're 2, they're 4, they're 6, they're 8, song) so I was hardly going to hit him with a word like docile. 

One of my biggest problems with the boy is getting him to listen to me. When I'm trying to tell him something important he either, changes the subject, sings, laughs or runs away.

I just didn't think we were getting through to him but hey, maybe we are.

Never underestimate a two year old boy and what is sinking in while they are seemingly transfixed on trains, fire engines, space rockets and cars.

They are storing it all away, just ready to embarrass you at the most inopportune moment.

I just hope some of the language I use when I'm driving or when Daddy's watching football isn't sinking in as well.... 

Monday, 12 March 2012

The One with the Craft Project

I've never thought of myself as what you would call " crafty"!

I can't sew, I can't knit, I can't crochet. I can't paint, draw, mould with clay or fashion fancy dress outfits out of old blankets and used washing up bottles.

In short I can't make "stuff".

I'm no good with daring stunts or putting tortoises in shoe boxes for the winter either, so a career as a Blue Peter presenter was never on the cards.

I enjoyed art at school and wanted to take it for O Level but I wasn't allowed. Not by my parents. No! By the art teacher!

"You'll never pass it" he said "It'll be a waste of a subject that you could pass elsewhere".

I did cookery and nutrition instead.

As a consequence I bake, I don't make.

I do however hoard. I hoard what myself and Clementine affectionately call "Stock".

Stock is anything interesting, unusual or downright quirky that we can use again to wrap presents in. Gift bags, boxes, ribbon from chocolate boxes or toiletry gift sets, hair clips, baubles, bangles and beads. If we can adorn a present with it, we keep it, adorn, peel it off, keep it again and then re-adorn a present back. Most of my ribbon collection has come from Clementine and hers from me. Re-use, recycle and re-adorn is our motto. 

So when the lovely Tara from Tesco online magazine e-mailed some of us bloggers with a Mother's Day craft challenge I knew I had the stock but did I have the skill? 

You decide!

Here's the original video we first had to watch on how to make a Mother's Day gift tin or box.

Seemed easy enough. I had an old chocolate box. Well when I say old I mean full, so I had to eat all the chocolates first but hey I don't mind suffering for my art!

The box had a small pink bow on the corner which I first took off - good bit of stock that, I'll keep it. 

I then went and checked out all my existing stock for paper, ribbons and adornments.

As you can see there's quite a bit to choose from! Although my wrapping paper stocks were somewhat limited. If they didn't say Happy Birthday they said Merry Christmas! 

But I managed to find a silver and white neutral design so once I'd selected what I wanted I set to work. 

Now my wrapping skills have been described in the past as "parcely". I'm not the neatest or most patient person. Unlike hubby who, in a previous life, worked at Harrods and has been taught to wrap a present like he's doing hospital corners on a bed such is his precision.

But I had to do this one myself and hey it's a box - how hard can it be?

I cut the paper and realised I had far too much. Flappy bits overlapped and protruded at the corners. Ah well just snip those bits off it'll be fine. I covered top and bottom reasonably successfully if not tidily! 

Now came the fun bit. Time to adorn. With so much ribbon to choose from I had to recruit Hubby's expert opinion.

"I don't know" came the expert reply "They all go don't they?"

How Harrods still trade without his wisdom I'll never know.

We settled on some silky green ribbon and a string of beads to go over the top. 

It was looking good if I say so myself.

Now the purpose of the box is to give your Mum delicious home made treats in, such as biscuits. Therefore it needed a lining.

I had some very pretty clear paper with white daisies on. It would go with the colour theme beautifully. But it wouldn't crunch successfully and kept poking out and looked a mess. It also didn't cover up the wonky sticking of the paper on the inside of the box.

Amazingly I had no tissue paper but I did have some very pretty napkins.

Neither did I have any delicious home made treats yet but I did have some digestives biscuits.

So to give you an idea I improvised

The napkin I'll keep. Next Sunday the biscuits will be home made (or at least posher if I cheat and buy them... shhhh I won't tell anyone if you don't).

So here's the finished box. It's actually really easy to do and can be very effective with the right bits and bobs. If you've got children it's a nice project from them to do either with Granny for you or with you for Granny for Mother's day or even Easter. You could decorate it in spring colours and cover it in stickers of bunnies and chicks and fill it with Mini - Eggs. 

Either way if I can make it - anyone can. 

Move over Janet Ellis & Konnie Huq I've just earned my Blue Peter badge!