Bet you didn’t expect that.

Let us look on the bright side.

All my children are home, and we do not have to go to school for a fortnight. Hoorah!

Oscar is complaining of being itchy, but has no rash, no nits and no other symptoms. Scarlet fever is sweeping the school, so I am not hopeful that he will remain chipper, but at least he will be home if he succumbs to more plague.

Tallulah has spent most of the day in bed, and as a result is infinitely more cheerful, although her sinuses are causing her grief and her head hurts. On the other hand, she can now speak, and is not looking like parchment.

Tilly is Tilly, which is always good.

I am better.

I have made my peace with the situation that has been driving me insane for the last fortnight on and off. I have reached the ‘Fuck you’ stage of processing, which is actually rather healthy and has made me feel much less freighted with responsibility for something I cannot change. This is good.

I cleaned the downstairs of my house. I sorted out a load of things for the  charity shop. I sorted out a load of things for the tip. I cleaned windows. The window cleaner came and cleaned others. I had the right money to pay him with, even though I had to scrabble down the back of the sofa for it. This is all good.

Upstairs can wait until tomorrow.

I am up to date with the laundry, and the dinner is on.

Oscar has minimal homework and we have agreed to get it done this weekend and not leave it dangling for the duration of the holidays until it becomes miserably pressing.

My Kindle died this morning. Luckily I have my iPad as a back up. Looking back it has done stirling work for many years. There are plans afoot to replace it. I was going to get stressed about it and then realised what a gigantic waste of time that was. I had a biscuit instead.

There is food in the house. There is an excellent Christmas stash in the utility room which is wobbling towards gluttonous perfection. The Christmas grocery order is all in order. I have Panettone, chocolate oranges, pate, cheese, salmon and champagne. I don’t care about the rest, frankly.

The last present I was chasing arrived today. If anything remains unbought now it is tough. I am shopped out.

I have a pile of interesting books to read. I have nearly finished Around The World in Eighty Days, which contrary to a lot of classic books, has actually been hugely enjoyable. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s an absolute joy.

I intend to spend this evening watching absolute bilge on the telly whilst picking up my knitting for the first time in weeks. I am looking forward to it.

We are bored of the CLD (TM)

Right. Let’s. Stop. This. Right. Now.

Said in a John Cleese bark.

I am absolutely absatively posolutely fed up with illness, ill people and myself in particular.

It’s all a big, steaming lump of pooh.

So there.

I woke at 4.00 a.m. yesterday with a pounding headache, which turned into a crunching, head mangling, vomit inducing migraine which made me throw up and throw up and weep on my knees until about half past nine last night.

I was too ill to take my son to school. I was too ill to go to the theatre. I was too ill to do anything except wish myself dead.

It was utterly, utterly, despicably miserable.

Today I have felt nauseous all day, and slightly hung over and rather fragile. Although I have managed to get up and dressed, and ferry Oscar to school and remember to sort things for Christmas parties etc.

Tallulah has come home and is losing her voice, and her cold is back and her sinuses hurt and dear lord God, have we not suffered enough?

Thankfully she only has a half day tomorrow. But taken all in all, the last week has been ploptious.

On top of that I have been aggravated half to death by stuff that is stupid and annoying and annoyingly stupid and makes me want to rend flesh with my teeth.

Not my own flesh.



There has only been one poorly child at home today, and he was very hungry, and rather bouncy, and has got his voice back, and is generally very much on the mend. To school he will go in the morning.

He has, at times today, tried to convince me that he might be far too ill to go tomorrow, but has failed miserably due to his naturally exuberant nature and utter failure to be a very good liar.

I am very grateful that healthy times are heading our way. I am watching Tilly like the proverbial hawk. She seems very chipper, and amongst other things has embarked upon a ginger bread house building project, marking up the Christmas Radio Times and getting excited about Carol Singers.

I am hoping this festive excitement is not dampened by the onset of hidjus germs, too evil to contemplate.

In the meantime I am resolutely downbeat about Christmas, despite being relatively organised (for me). I think I might possibly get a weeny bit excited on Trifle eating Sunday as I have decided to call it.

I am also allowing myself a small frisson of amusement at the thought of what Derek will make of the tree this year. She spent a great deal of last Christmas trying to eat it, climb it and wear it. I hope she hasn’t quite grown out of that yet, and thank the teeny baby cheezus that all the glass baubles are still in the loft, where they have been for the past fifteen years since children arrived.

My hair is still pleasing me greatly, which is good, because it is one of the few things that has since the yellow flags have been raised atop the house of Boo. I keep catching sight of myself in the French windows and having a little preen.

To cheer myself further, and to remind myself that I am not quite dead yet, I have teamed the hair with a lime green and white patterned tea dress with a Peter Pan collar, and an emerald green long sleeved t-shirt. It clashes violently, much to my pleasure.

I am undecided, as I am about to venture to the pub quiz, whether to wear my new sparkly Boden shoes with it, or go all out on the clashing front and wear the lime green patent Docs.

It’s a difficult call, and one, which like the question of trifle, preoccupies me suitably and stops me from feeling like stabbing everyone I meet in the eye with a ball point pen.

I believe this is known as a good thing.

pinkness of hair

I am not coherent.

I started this blog post about eighteen times, trying to make it dynamic, exciting, about something else.

Instead It has turned into one of those: I got up, I brushed my teeth, diary entries from my childhood.

It cannot be helped. I am parched of brain.

This is because I went to the cinema last night to watch the Old Vic filming of The Crucible, starring Richard Armitage. It was quite amazing, but I had forgotten how powerful the play is, and consequently how upsetting.

That, combined with being hideously over tired by the time I got home at half twelve, meant that I could not sleep for ages. Then, when I did, I had nightmare after nightmare, and woke myself up constantly.

I had to get up early to let both Oscar and Tallulah’s school know they wouldn’t be in today, and wave poor Tilly off into the light of a new dawn.

Then I collapsed on the sofa and dozed, in between shepherding poorly children around.

My brother took over the afternoon shift while I went and had my hair empinkened. It is magenta with silver grey streaks in it. The grey next to the pink actually makes the grey look lilac. I am alright with that. I look like an elderly version of Stephanie from Lazy Town.


It will not last. I will fade like an aged bird of paradise over the next few weeks, but I am very happy with it at the moment.

I should be, considering it took four hours of hard work at the coal face of hair technology to do this. The poor hairdresser probably had to shut up shop and go and have a lie down after I left.

Trifling with Trifles

There is a great deal of coughing going on today. It’s fairly seismic, so if you’re in the Leicester area and you think you might be experiencing earth tremors, do not fear. It is merely the collective Boos’ coughing fits causing small ripples in the earth’s crust.

I am resigned to my fate. If I am to be the grumpiest nurse in the world, so be it.

Instead of fretting about plagues I have turned my mind to the issue of trifle.

My mother is a life long and devoted fan of the trifle. She is particularly fond of a good sherry trifle, and when I lived in Oxford, many a long lunch would be spent at Browns, because as any fule no, they used to do a splendid sherry trifle.

Alas, it is no more.

The trifle that is. Browns is still going strong.

Trifle was a staple dessert of the Seventies. I recall many a packet of trifle sponges lurking in the pantry, and many a heaving buffet table resplendent with a cut glass bowl, awash with whipped cream, flaked almonds and those lurid, traffic light coloured glace cherries.

You never see those any more do you?

I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on with trifle. Firstly I do not like soggy cake, which when soaked in jelly and left to set, is always soggy. I hate the way it turns into glutinous, gelatinous crumbs as you eat it.

Secondly I bloody hate sherry.

Thirdly, I loathe glace cherries.

I did used to like the cream and custard layers though.

In recent years, trifle has had something of a makeover. It has been deconstructed, reconstructed and tweaked within an inch of its trifley life. It is hard to know where to start with a trifle these days.

We are having our usual boxing day shindig over at my mum’s this year, and rather than a second, gargantuan roast, which we have taken to in recent years, we are going back to buffet stylings. My mum has requested that I be in charge of making a trifle, because she fancies one.

Fair enough.

In mulling this over, I realise that I actually haven’t ever made a trifle. Ever. Not once. I haven’t even ever thought about making a trifle.

This is troubling.

I have been hitting my recipe books today, and realised that the more I read, and the more options I amass, the more paralysed with trauma I become about the whole thing. I am scaring myself. With trifle.

It is not to be endured.

I have decided to be strong and take control of the trifle situation. I can do this. I am a middle aged woman. I have mastered Swiss meringue butter cream. I have made Yule logs. I have yet to get to grips with the world of macarons, but I am sweeping that aside. I will prevail over trifle.

Firstly I am going to make Sasha’s individual chocolate trifles, from Friends Food, Family for the kids.  This will work a treat, and will win me multiple brownie points from all concerned.

Secondly I am going to make a mash up of Sasha’s Blackberry and Apple Trifle, and Nigel Slater’s, Nigel’s Delightful Trifle from The Kitchen Diaries, with a few tweaks of my own. It is going to be monster.

Thirdly, because I have never done this before and I am not completely insane, I am going to road test it next Sunday, and invite the parents over for a dressing the Christmas tree afternoon tea and trifle testing event.

We will be awash with trifle by the time Christmas rolls around. And I use the word rolls advisedly.

Yellow Flags are not very festive

The plague flag is flying here at Boo Towers.

Tallulah slowly worsened over the  course of yesterday and was utterly miserable by tea time. She couldn’t go to her dad’s for the weekend, which saddened her greatly, and she was not appeased by the thought of staying at home in the warm with me.

I can understand that entirely.

This morning, Oscar was having a friend round to play. It was quite early when the friend arrived, and I put Oscar’s listlessness down to the fact that he hadn’t been awake for very long.

By lunch time when the friend’s mother came to pick him up it was obvious that the grey faced boy who snuggled into my arms and burst into tears as his friend left, was not entirely himself.

I threw him in a tepid bath to bring his temperature down and then snuggled up with him, whereupon we have dozed the entire afternoon away.

We are not full of festive spirit. We are full of festive lurgy. The good thing is that it should all be done by Christmas, but I am not sure now, how either of them are going to fare next week at school. Having done a bit of research amongst similarly stricken families it seems that this is the sort of cold that likes to linger.

It will be no terrible thing if they miss the last week of the Christmas term. They generally spend most of it watching films they could just as easily watch at home. It is going to put rather a crimp in my attempts to have magenta and silver hair on Monday though.

Unless Derek is willing to cat sit them for me.

My rock n roll life with potatoes

There is less grumpiness in my house today. For which we are all delighted.

I am feeling less awful, so everything is less awful.

The internet works for a start, which is a fantastic state of affairs. I have tracked down all but one of my rogue parcels, and I have been to the post office, despite my fear and loathing of the institution.

Tallulah is still poorly. Grey and drawn with huge bags under her eyes and coughing fit to bust. I have kept her at home today. She is more cheerful than yesterday, mainly because she doesn’t have a splitting headache this morning, and she’s eating like a horse, so I feel a few more days wrapped up warm will do her the world of good.

Oscar’s disco went well. He came back blinged up to the nines with various pieces of glow in the dark jewellery he had invested his £2 pocket money on. When I went to tuck him up last night he was glowing, radioactively through the covers in a very troubling way.

In other news, I am deeply immersed in reading ‘Life’ by Keith Richards, and ‘The Kitchen Diaries II’ by Nigel Slater. I think that sums up my life perfectly. Although given the choice I’d rather live with Nigel than Keith, thanks. Being a Rolling Stone sounds like a right palaver, and I feel a bit edgy if I take a paracetamol and an ibuprofen at the same time, so I’m clearly not cut out for the rock ‘n’ roll life style. On the other hand I am in deepest sympathy with Nigel’s ongoing love affair with the humble potato, and I am entranced by the way he writes about food. Nigel for the win. Keith for the parties.