Runs by, waving

I feel like the universe has decided that I have been lolling about too much recently and it’s decided that it must stop, immediately. I don’t think my feet have touched the ground this week, and it’s now ten o’clock on Sunday night, and I could keep going until the wee, small hours, if I wanted to be completely mad. As it is, I shall put my ever spooling to do list in the bin, and go and have an illicit loll, whilst pointing at something over there for the universe to go and look at.

Let’s see:

Monday I went to see the GP. I am, it seems, mildly deficient in vitamin B12, but all will be well as long as I ingest half a cow smeared in Marmite. In between nutritional tips, I chatted to him about my smear test of doom and how two more might be on the horizon and how I have been told by a woman on the internet that if her husband has to have a finger up his bum in the name of science, he gets ketamine.

So what about me? When I get a sommelier’s best cork screw up my hoo ha, I get a: ‘flop your knees to the sides and try to relax.’ It seems hardly fair. Not that I want ketamine. No thanks. Drooling in a puffa jacket at the side of the M25 mistaking the car indicators for some tasty beats by The Orb is something I’d prefer to leave in the past. But gin and valium would be acceptable substitutes.

We have an arrangement now, which means I will only get one smear test of doom and it will be handled by someone who is proficient in tracking down a cervix as elusive as The Scarlet Pimpernel, or my money back.

After that I vaguely remember doing a lot of errands and a lot of work for the patient panel I am now back on, and a lot of work on my very own good self because Boot Camp, and cooking dinner etc etc forever until death.

Tuesday involved going for a massage, which was very good, because I spent the rest of the day working like a dog, and had typist’s elbow by the time I set forth to be manipulated back into a vague approximation of the human form. I had a request for dinner which I was unable to fulfil as we had none of the ingredients to hand. I decided it would take the work of a moment to get them as they were not tricky, and then spent over an hour failing to get any of them and driving to three different supermarkets, one of which had actually closed down. BUGGERIT. We ate at about two in the morning, because once I’ve decided it shall be so, it bloody well will.

Wednesday saw me spending the morning doing more errands and panel work before hurling myself into a shiny outfit and driving to a place called Frolesworth (splendid name. Rolls off the tongue. Looks like Midsummer Murders. Probably bodies everywhere behind all that mellow stonework) for a networking lunch with some lovely ladies.

The snow had melted, the bird was on the wing and la. Except I was driving along some glorious country lanes and realised my car was making an interesting noise. It was sort of like a cross between a ticking and a clunking. As my engine management light has been on for the last six months permanently, it’s hard to tell whether this was urgent or merely a passing fad. I turned Kasabian up very loudly to drown out the noise, and sailed on. It got me there. I lunched. I networked. I clunked home with all four wheels intact, and considered it a victory.  I cooked dinner and got Oscar from a playdate and took Tallulah to the theatre and back. AND THEN I DIED, as Oscar used to say.

Thursday saw Jenn coming to do me ‘air. I had another networking lunch followed by a photo shoot and needed to look fly. She did a marvellous job and made me look like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Tiny Tears. I wanted this look. So don’t panic. She can do others.

I threw on another outfit, and sashayed to lunch. Networking was great, lunch was like eating tramps’ shoes that had been cooking for about a week. There will be words with the chef for next time, thank the lord. Hurtling back in the rain to my car to get home for my photo shoot, I realised I had no umbrella (perpetually lose them) and me lovely ‘air would get wet, so ran erratically around trying to dodge the raindrops. This was not terribly effective.

Then I needed to buy a pair of Marigolds, (more will be revealed later) and ran into Tesco Express. Stood in the queue thinking ‘what’s that smell of old lady cupboards?’ Turns out it was me. My vintage 1950’s grosgrain duster coat smells like old lady cupboards when it gets wet. I styled it out, got in the car and drove home.

The children were holed up in the front room looking terrified. Matt and Clare who were doing the shoot with me, had arrived before me, and the children had forgotten about the shoot, and thought two, timid murderers were lurking on the drive, plucking up the courage to come in and kill them. HA

Once we’d sorted all this out, I spent two hours having the time of my life, dressing up in ridiculous outfits and showing off alarming. I will write about this in more detail next week. After Matt and Clare had gone home, it took me another two hours to put the house back together, and by then I was too knackered to cook so we had fish and chips and I drank gin, because it’s good for what ails me. Then I did some work.

On Friday I had to get up at stupid bloody bastard o’clock to get to the endocrinology department at the hospital for half past eight. The consultant was lovely. I do not have any hideous hormonal or genetic diseases that explain my exploding blood pressure. I was persuaded to try a 48 hour monitoring thing, which I really don’t want to do, but am trying to be brave and vaguely sensible. I await the letter with deep joy.

I did many errands including picking up three pairs of boots from the menders and getting out in under ten minutes. I love Dillip. He’s our local cobbler, and he’s absolutely brilliant, but he talks more than me, and at times I have had to send for help in order to leave the shop, which is why he had three pairs of my boots, because I had to pluck up the courage to go and redeem them.

I took my old lady cupboard coat to the dry cleaner to be redeemed. I did some shopping for stock, and then went and met a lovely friend/client/fellow networking lady. We drank coffee, ate cake and organised our lives and the world. I remember being busy on Friday night. God knows what I was doing, but it was almost certainly stuff and things, and definitely putting some stock on EBay.

Saturday involved ironing, photographing and listing stock. Lunch happened and Jason and the children rescued me and took me out so I didn’t go mad. In the afternoon I fell asleep, but had to get up and go and see a lady about the patient panel, and we talked for so long, when I got out it was dark and there was an inch of snow on my car.

Today I have been ironing, photographing, listing, blogging, doing some patient panel work, helping with homework and cooking keema peas. I still have parcels to wrap for tomorrow and I am so far behind with books to review it will be a miracle if I ever catch up with my commitments. I am currently grinding my teeth in my sleep so hard that my cheeks are a bloody pulp and my next photo shoot may well have to involve a Hannibal Lecter style face mask as fancy ‘air won’t cut it.

Gloria Gaynor’s Got Nothing on Me

I feel mildly ‘we are the champions,’ that I have survived this week to be honest with you. Were I not nursing a horrible head cold I would be running round the garden doing a victory lap. As it is, I have cracked open the jam and cream biscuits and have topped up my water glass (indulgence of biscuit being balanced out by ‘health’ of water). Running will have to wait, possibly for another incarnation.

You already know that my Monday was spent deep in the throes of plumbing 101. I learned that I do not want to be a plumber when I grow up. Also, that it does not matter how old your children are, they still find new and unusual things to do with toothpaste that will drive you insane.

On Tuesday morning I had a smear test booked for nine o’clock. The lovely nurse, Debbie, was unable, after three abortive attempts to locate my cervix, which as long term readers will know, is a notoriously shy beast. Smear tests are always painful for me, and the last one required three separate appointments with the nurse (not Debbie) and finally a GP appointment. This time, we decided to learn from past experience, and as I am being referred to the gynae team at the hospital anyway, we agreed that we would leave it as a lovely surprise for them. I believe they have miner’s head lamps and drilling equipment, which should aid their search. I am beginning to feel that my cervix may actually be as elusive as The Beast of Bodmin. It may actually be The Beast of Bodmin. It would explain a lot. Perhaps a tranquilliser dart may be more the thing. I wouldn’t say no.

After this fun filled start to the day, I then had a blood test. Then I went elsewhere and had more blood tests. My arm was beginning to feel like a pin cushion, my vagina was beginning to feel like the saloon doors in a particularly unsalubrious part of town with a very lax door policy, and I was fed up of ripping various articles of clothing off, as there was still more than a nip in the air.

I took to my heels and went into town where I had various errands to run, which led me neatly to the doors of my afternoon meeting with the patient panel I am a member of. I have been missing in action for the last few months due to surgeries and medical things, and so I was due a catch up. It was a difficult meeting, which lasted several hours, and meant that I did not get home until about half six, and was fit for nothing when I got there.

Wednesday saw me spending the morning with my lovely friend Clare, who I have known for an age, and who is going to help me rebrand my business, because although I could do it myself, I don’t want to, and she is really good at her job. We have put plans in place. It will be fun. Daunting but fun. I drank too much coffee and had the jitters, and the sweats, but really good reflexes.

From there I had to dash to pick Tallulah up to take her for another trip to the orthodontist. Tilly had braces for 18 months and had to have an emergency repair on them once. Tallulah has had braces for six months, and has had to have three emergency trips to the orthodontist and one actually scheduled trip to the orthodontist in the last few weeks. I am really, really fed up of teeth. I have put them on the list next to cervixes, bosoms, vaginas and endocrinological items when it comes to things that I could do with never, ever having to talk about again in medical terms.

On Thursday, Jenn came to do my hair. My pink hair is now a ‘thing’ and it was becoming less and less pink, so she did an absolutely brilliant job of empinkening it again for me. It takes hours to do, and it was and is definitely worth the time and the money, but that’s a day gone. Just like that. My evening was taken up with ferrying my children and their friends to and from various play dates.

On Friday I had a ton of things to do with regard to the patient panel, which I thought would only take an hour, but which took me right up to the wire when I went to visit a lady called Akila, who as well as being a seamstress who is doing some jobs for me, also wanted to show me what she does with her other business, which is a beauty business. I got a facial, which was very good, and we chatted about work and its various challenges until I had to run to the supermarket, and go home and feed everyone.

I woke up yesterday, full of cold. My lovely husband and my lovely children took me out for a mother’s day breakfast. I like to have my mother’s day treats early because I don’t like fighting with all the other mothers for attention. They bought me cakes afterwards, and took me home where I wrapped up in a blanket with a hot water bottle and watched Deadpool and Queer Eye (IT’S MY NEW FAVOURITE) until my eyes rolled out of my head and onto the floor.

On top of all this, I have had a spectacularly grim reaction to last week’s work on the Cinderella Bootcamp, which although major and ultimately very good for me, was rather like staring into the eye of the storm and knowing there was nothing I could do but hang on to my hat and hope for the best. I have not slept much. I have been insanely stressed, and also quite very mad, while I have been waiting for it to all settle down. It has, but it does not surprise me that I now have a stinking cold. I have not managed to do much on week four yet, even though it is nearly over, because week three needed two weeks of my time, and that is what it got.

So, ironing, buying stock, washing stock, listing stock, photographing stock and generally chatting about clothes, has all had to go by the wayside in favour of self preservation. Despite an early doctor’s appointment starting my week tomorrow and an early endocrinology appointment finishing it, I am really hoping that the rest of the week will be considerably less medical and/or stressful.

IWD – For All of You

It’s International Women’s Day today. You can tell that by the number of idiot men on Twitter shouting, ‘when is it going to be International Men’s Day?’ (19th November fyi) and the sterling work Richard Herring is doing, telling them and raising money for Refuge in the process. He’s raised £77K already and it’s not even tea time yet. If you want to help him hit his 100K target, you can donate by clicking on the link.

I have been thinking about all the women I’d like to celebrate today. There are loads of well known women who are doing amazing things, and have done amazing things. The list grows every year. I could start with Emma Gonzalez and Mhairi Black and go on to Amanda Palmer and the wonderful Caroline Jones from Knicker’s Models Own. I’m waving to Vintage Vix who gives no fucks and lives life to the absolute top of her bent. I’m waving to Katherine May who writes brilliant words and inspires me every day. I’m waving to Sasha, who always finds the time, despite everything. I’m stopping off at Frances McDormand, Dawn French, Carrie Fisher, Mary Beard, Michele Obama and literally thousands of other women who have shaped, and continue to shape a future in which women  are being the difference they want to see.

But my heart is full to bursting with those women who are near and dear to me, who touch my life in ways that make my here and now one in which I am supported, loved, nurtured, friended and cared for in ways that make me proud to share my womanhood with them.

So my IWD post today goes to them, and to you, who comment and love and support me all year round.

I’m celebrating Hannah who is going through hell but always finds the time to check in with me and make me smile. I’m celebrating Helen who lost her mum only a few short months ago, and who is not letting grief get the better of her. I am in awe of her ability to choose love every day.  I’m celebrating Alexis who is doing the same, further down the road and helping her resilient, wonderful daughter and a kick ass grand-daughter. I’m celebrating Claire, who does a tough, tough job which would grind most people into the ground and who rarely complains, I am so impressed with her stamina and her ability to keep finding the joy in her days. I’m celebrating Andrea, who in mid life has rebuilt her entire life and career and is shining brighter than ever and puts up with me and never, ever makes me feel stupid. I’m celebrating Jenn, who is one of the best friends in the world and who is steadily building herself a brilliant career and taking care of two children all on her own, whilst forever remaining stylish. I’m celebrating Danielle and the wonderful Tove for reminding me so much of me as a parent of young children.

I’m celebrating Kaz who decides she’s going to do something and bloody well does it. I’m celebrating Liz and her fantastic, fierce daughter Doris who are far more wonderful than they know. I’m celebrating Anne for her lady wizard ways. I’m celebrating Lynn for never, ever giving up, when everyone around would have fallen by the wayside long ago. I’m celebrating Kathy and Sally who campaign hard and never lose their sense of humour. I’m celebrating Lindsay and her dedication to caring for her husband whilst still contributing to her community.  I’m celebrating Shirley, who is the busiest retired lady I know.

I’m celebrating Kim, who decides what will happen and makes it so. I’m celebrating Lizzie for doing a spectacularly difficult and important job and remaining one of the most humane and caring people I know. I’m celebrating Linda, who gets up every time she is knocked down. I’m celebrating Jess for always coming out fighting and having such immense compassion.

And then there is my amazing family. My glorious daughters who blaze brightly and do everything I was too afraid to do and more, and my amazing mum, to who I owe so very much that I can never, in a thousand years, repay her, and who keeps on indebting me to her every day.

And there are so many more of you. I could spend the rest of my life writing about you. You are all doing amazing, wonderful things every day that you probably take for granted, that you think are ordinary. I don’t ever take you for granted and you are not ordinary at all. You are every day, walking miracles who make me hope for the future. You make me proud. You make me believe. You make me feel like part of something incredible and profound and glorious. Between us we are so much greater than the sum of our parts, and we are and we can and we will have everything we want and need.

Thank you.



A Guide to How Not to do Home Plumbing

You know how I said that Thursday was basically behaving like Tuesday? Well, Monday is behaving exactly like you would expect a Monday to behave up to now.  *Shakes fist in the air at a cruel universe/indifferent God/passing 747*.

Today’s plan was as follows:

Spend the first part of the morning doing some photography while the light is good, so that I can make the best of my parlous photography skills.

Take advantage of the fact that the snow has melted, the wind has dropped and the sun is doing its best, and go out on a treasure hunt for new stock.

Pick up the ingredients to make tonight’s dinner.

Post my parcels.

Take my library books back. Spend too long doing this, so that I can metaphorically roll around on the floor of a building dedicated entirely to reading lovely, lovely books.

Go and have a massage, to ease out the giant knots of tension I have accrued on the hardest week of Cinderella Bootcamp so far.

All this was a good mix of business and pleasure, which is how I like to operate if at all possible. I do not fare well on an unrelenting diet of discipline and waggy fingers. I tend to have a massive mardy (tantrum) and run away in these circumstances, so I have learned to treat myself like the very fragile parcel I am.

What actually happened:

I got up late and not even having got down the first cup of coffee was confronted by Jason waving some kind of wrench at me (in a non violent way) and asking for me to help him fix the plumbing.

I don’t know if I mentioned that the sink in the kid’s bathroom has been borked since the end of last week? Well, it was. Good and proper. In the time honoured manner of vaguely  domestic/DIY amateurs I tried to pour hot water down the sink to no avail. I tried caustic soda, to no avail. I tried plunging, to no avail. In fact, to worse avail, if there is even such a thing. I got a mixture of stinking, caustic soda infused water, replete with nasty black ‘stuff’ spouting back into the sink and all over the floor. Then, because our cat is a bloody idiot and would probably have drunk it in the mistaken apprehension that I had made her a sink full of cat cocktails, I had to bail it out with the sick bowl, into the bath, which was still draining.

Over the weekend, Jason scaled the side of the house and pronounced that he thought the pipe was frozen, and that was why it wasn’t draining. As we had no hair dryer (we are an au naturel house when it comes to hair) and it was pointless pouring warm water on it, given that it was minus eight outside, we, gave up until the thaw.

The thaw was this morning.

We trundled outside in our pyjamas and wellies (no point getting good clothes covered in drain detritus – also we invariably wear pyjamas for every occasion unless actively forced to get dressed). I held the bottom of the ladder, and Jason clambered up and had a good prod about. We poured water over everything, from various receptacles. It appeared that the outside pipes were fine, albeit leaky and falling apart (I must ring a real plumber). We repaired indoors to the wreck of the children’s bathroom and stared gloomily into the sink like very sad soothsayers.

Jason dismantled all the pipes while I mopped up the water so we didn’t drown. There was ‘matter’ in the u-bend bit. It was solid. We ascertained this by more, vigorous prodding. We thought, at this point that it was plaster of Paris. This may seem odd, but we have children, so you know, all bets are off. Also, Tilly agreed to be put in a torso plaster cast for her friend last week at college, and came home to wash the remains off, so we assumed that was what it was. The perils of living with artists etc. Anyway, we could not budge this stuff, not even after prodding it with a knitting needle, which is crazy, right? I mean, most stuff shifts if you prod it with a knitting needle.

So, Jason, still in his pyjamas, sailed off to the plumber’s merchants to get a new u-bend bit, and I, still in my pyjamas, set about scouring the bathroom, and clearing up all the gunk we had by now, liberally dripped all over the house.

Whilst doing this I indulged in a fair amount of chuntering in my head, along the lines of ‘FFS, children’ and ‘FFS, home grown plumbing’ and a lot of out loud swearing when I opened the bathroom cabinet to put something away and found it caked in wall to wall toothpaste and empty bottles of mouthwash.

I had just finished when Jason arrived with the U-bend and we wrestled it into place, and then I had to clean up some more, whilst secretly wishing I could just burn everything down and start again.

And then it transpired that it wasn’t plaster of Paris, because upon interrogation, Tilly had had a shower, and on further investigation it transpires that if you pour caustic soda into your pipes too enthusiastically, and without the aid of forty gallons of water to dilute it, it will set solidly in your u-bend, so there.

It is now half past one, and I am in my filthy pyjamas, with toast crumbs all over my chin, having done nothing much except plumbing and scrubbing and accidental chemistry, and I am very glad that I am having a massage in an hour because I have additional, plumbing related knots in my shoulders.

And please God do not let the shower pipes be blocking up with plaster of Paris now, because I will just burn it all down.

The Antithesis of the Day Before

You know how I was saving Wednesday because it was such a lovely day? Well, I think the universe was giving me a little treat because Thursday turned out to be a bit of a bastard, and frankly Thursday, you let me down.

I expect days like Tuesdays to be the sort of day Thursday was.

I’ve always had a sneaky liking for a Thursday. Unlike it’s bolder, brasher neighbour, Friday, it doesn’t need to advertise its quiet brilliance. It doesn’t get an ASBO and piss off all the neighbours for vomiting in their bin and playing trap music until three in the morning while shouting, ‘He’s not worth it, Sandra!’ It just gently reminds you that the end of the week is in sight, and if you did happen to go clubbing, it would probably be quite a cool, Indie type evening, and nobody is going to shout too loudly if you turn up for work on Friday looking no better than you ought. It’s got style, has Thursday. Except yesterday, which could honestly ‘GET IN THE SEA,’ and we’d all be happier. Well, I would be, and in my universe, that’s what matters.

I started the day early, because I needed to book some theatre tickets. It’s usually Andrea’s job, but she was caught in a railway siding, covered in snow, so it was me that got to stare blearily at the screen as it gaily announced that I was 1,613th in the queue for tickets, and would I like to hold?

Shortly after that, an email pinged into my in box to tell me that Oscar had got his second choice of high school and if I wanted to accept the place would I follow this link? As the alternative is a school teetering on the verge of being a Borstal, I clicked away like a tiny grasshopper with maracas, but to no avail. The link was broken. I went onto the council website to do my clicking. That page was unavailable. I used my click on ‘contact us’ and it said: ‘This email address may be malformed,’ which is a new one on me, and then parked me in a cup-de-sac of gibberish code. I decided at this point (1,234th in the queue) that I would wait for them to fix it and not spend three hours of my life trying to call them to no avail, and if they said ‘Oh dear. Well because you didn’t click within three nano-seconds of receiving this mail, your child will now go to Borstal’, I would sue them with might and main.

While all this was happening, Oscar was having his face painted by Tilly at the kitchen table. It was World Book Day yesterday and he wanted to be a character from the Divergent books, and this apparently required him to have two black eyes, some tattoos and a lot of scarring (makes note to check what son is reading more carefully). Tilly is the face painter in our house and had agreed to get up half an hour early to make him up. Instead of being grateful, he was being a bit of an arse, which considering he has all the artistic skill of a bread roll and cannot do it himself, is a dangerous game to play. He was also a bit fed up about his school choice. We had words, and he very grudgingly said thank you and sloped off to school looking like he’d already started at the Borstal. (He’s much happier about his school choice now, btw. All his mates got the same school as he did. Phew).

In addition to this, Tallulah was shouting from upstairs, which sounded a bit like Miss Othmar in Peanuts, i.e. ‘WAH WAH WAH WAH!’ But which, when translated turned out to be ‘Muuuuuum! The sink in our bathroom is blocked.’ WOT JOY. I put this to the bottom of the to do pile and forged on.

Eventually, I managed to get tickets for the play we wanted, albeit in a cupboard at the side of the stage, but hey ho. Beggars and people who are ninety millionth in the queue cannot be choosers.

At this point I had ten minutes to have a shower, done clothes suitable for sporting a freshly laundered vagina, and keeping me warm against the evils of the Beast from the East. I did a Dale Wintonesque supermarket sweep and just as I was about to go out the door, Jason, who was working from home and in a very important meeting, put himself on mute and said: ‘We have lost the sink plunger. Please buy one on your way home.’

I rocked up at the doctor’s with sixty seconds to spare. My swabs have come back negative. Yay. The doctor is not happy that I did bleeding. Boo. I have been referred to the gynaecology team at the hospital. Wah. I have to go back to the doctor next week for a smear test and a blood test to get the ball rolling. BOOOOO with added WAH.

I hurtled to Homebase via the petrol station after realising I’d been driving around all week on fumes. It was so cold, the hand holding the petrol nozzle thing got hot aches and I cried on the forecourt. I was cheered by the lovely people at the petrol station, who, if you spend more than £30 on petrol, give you free chocolate, so I consoled myself in the car with a small, Lindt bunny.

Homebase was a bust. They had sold out of sink plungers. Who knew these were popular during Siberian weather fronts? I imagined someone driving about like a loon, with a boot full of bread and milk and a back seat full of sink plungers, ready to hibernate.

While I was musing where one could buy sink plungers I realised a) that I had left my parcel to be posted on the side in the kitchen and b) that the wonder that is Jeff’s Hardware would undoubtedly have sink plungers. This was a bit of an emotional roller coaster to be honest, and I paced the aisles of Homebase feeling somewhat oppressed by my own emotional landscape. Then I ran away, went home and picked up my parcel and drove to the post office, which happens to be two doors down from Jeff’s.

Jeff’s Hardware (Queen’s Road, Leicester) is an amazing place. It is eleventy hundred years old and resembles Arkwright’s shop from Open All Hours. It has everything from sink plungers (yay) to tamarind paste, and it smells like a proper hardware shop. You should visit. It’s a good place.

I stopped by Simon’s deli (Christopher James, Queen’s Road, Leicester) to pick up samosas and millionaire’s shortbread, because by this point, I needed a reason to continue the day and not duvet dive and gin was not an option this early.

When I got home I spent the afternoon doing a serious piece of work on and about myself for this Cinderella Boot Camp I am on. I had already attempted it twice, earlier in the week and ended up ripping up all the bits of paper I had scribbled on and lobbing them in the bin. It was very, very hard and required a great deal of honesty and some deep soul searching. As Thursday was not going to be improved, I decided to do it and stop prevaricating, and spent the next four hours being brave, even though I am only a very small animal.

WHY? WHY? Has someone not invented a site where, when you have done something stupendously and personally brave or achievementish, which nobody else cares about, but which you know should involve being paraded through the streets covered in laurel crowns,  you can pop your details in and it sends you an email with a smiley face and a gold star and a scattering of benedictions?

Then I cooked dinner. Then I broke up a fight between Oscar and Tallulah. Then I issued a stern team talk to Oscar who was still being a bit of an arse, ministered unto Tilly who wasn’t feeling well, and listened to Tallulah’s school dramas about drama, ironically.

After that I spent forty minutes upstairs in the bathroom with a box of caustic soda crystals and the new sink plunger, failing to unblock the sink. It turned out that the pipe outside is frozen, but it’s too far down for my hot water/soda crystals to get to, and too high up for us to reach, and there are icicles. And then the sink spat back a load of stinky, black, swirly water that smelled of acid, and I had to bail it out with the sick bowl and throw everything down the bath plug and JESUS CHRIST ON A TRICYCLE. etc.

The Ocado man came and brought biscuits, which was wonderful and I nearly wept. I put all the groceries away and then lay in a dazed heap on the sofa thinking: ‘FARKINELL’ before dragging myself to bed while the children rejoiced  because all the schools had declared a snow day for today.




I’m saving this day, it’s so nice

Hello, hello! It is bloody freezing here. I am wearing three vests, and this is not even fashion. The snow is a bit more beastish that yesterday, but only in my back garden, which is exceedingly odd. I had more errands (I have decided it is the week of errands) to run today, and when I looked out at the mounting snow in the back garden, and the huge swirling flurries of flakes, I thought I should go out first, rather than last as is my usual way.

I have this theory that most people who do errands are ‘up and at ’em’ types who are organised and don’t slob about the house in their husband’s old Muppet onesie all day hoping that the post office will set up a mobile venture and come to their door before real clothes have to be worn, and that if I hang on, by the time I am usually ready to set forth (around half past three in the afternoon), every serious person will have gone home already, and all the shops will be empty.

Today though, I donned appropriate garments (enormous fluffy hat, enormous fluffy pink jumper, and hot pink wellington boots) and struck out for the high ground, only to find that when I opened the front door, there was no snow settling at all. I thought about changing clothes so that I looked less like Sherpa Tensing guest stars on the Fraggles, but it was too much of an effort, so off I sallied.

Turns out most of the shops were empty anyway, due to the snow fear. I sent my six parcels off into the ether and had a great chat with the post office chap about home cinema screens. Yesterday we talked about Ganesh. Last week we talked about early synthesisers. We do like to roam far and wide, conversationally speaking. I’d say that was true of all my encounters actually.

From there I went to see my friend Simon at the deli, where I bought cake and we talked about how frustrating society’s insistence on commenting loudly on people’s weight is. Then I bought myself a piece of Millionaire’s shortbread to celebrate not giving a fuck. At the chemist I paid for some shampoo with a £2 that the lady gave back to me as she said she thought it was rare. The chap behind us in the queue turned out to be a coin collector, and confirmed that my £2 coin was worth about £20 and we all got very excited and I promised to come back and treat everyone to Millionaire’s shortbread if I made my fortune.

Then I went to the bookshop where the lovely man talked to me about ordinance survey maps and I bought a book entirely unrelated to ordinance survey maps. Then I wandered down to one of my favourite clothes shops, Revivals on Clarendon Park Road, where they are having a half price sale on everything for the next few weeks. The ladies in there are just lovely. Their stock is always brilliant, and we always have a great chat. We talked about lovely clothes, and I bought the first of what will probably end up being a good few bags worth of items from them over the next few weeks. I got a terrific skirt that needs a bit of tweaking by Akila, who I shall be seeing on Friday, but is exactly me. I got a gorgeous black velvet pinafore dress which is making its way onto my rails and a couple of pieces for clients that I couldn’t resist snapping up before someone else gets them. If you’re in the Leicester area, you should go and check them out. They stock childrens’ and mens’ wear too and have jewellery, bags and shoes. It’s a little Aladdin’s cave of loveliness.

Tonight I am going with the girls, and assorted boyfriends and friends of theirs to see Lady Bird at the cinema, and all in all it’s turning out to be a top notch day. I am off to do a bit of ironing and pour myself a dandelion and burdock in celebration.



Crazy Socks, Crazy Day

The Beast from the East is behaving more like an irritable vole than an enraged snow leopard, here in Leicester. I am not complaining about this. I am truly done with winter now. We are basically in March and the weather is really not playing ball. My mum says March ‘goes in like a lion and out like a lamb.’ I don’t know where on the beast register this fits.

We are having snow flurries, but nothing is really settling, which is good because I am a bit rubbish at driving in snowy conditions, despite that half hour Jason spent with me in the Co-op car park doing donuts, eight years ago. Who knew that wouldn’t come up on the snow exam? Not me, clearly.

You know what Ferris Bueller says about life moving pretty fast? That’s me, that is. Zooming, positively zooming. Also sweating, because that is my life now. Do this, do that, have a muck sweat, drive around in minus degrees with the window open, fanning face in futile gesture whilst looking like I’m being toasted on an open fire. That sort of thing.

In between that, I have been to the post office so often that I am being adopted by the lovely couple who run it. I shall live under the counter, licking stamps for my keep, and snuggling down amongst the sacks of mail every night.

I have been to a great networking meeting with my friend Jenn, best hairdresser in the world and all round top human being. This morning we spent two hours with a lot of creative, artistic people in our community who wanted to get together with other creative, artistic people and share ideas and coffee, and stop ourselves from all going stir crazy, because sometimes being creative involves pacing your dining room in your pyjamas, covered in ink, shouting at yourself, and everyone needs a break from that.

I have been buying. Always buying. You know me. I simply can’t pass a charity shop, just in case I am the only person in the world to discover a Faberge egg nestled in the gusset of a pair of bri-nylon slacks that nobody else wants because they’re beige, and if you cross your legs too fast in them you’ll set yourself on fire. One day this will be me. The egg discovering bit, not the setting myself on fire with the power of my own trousers bit.

Although to be honest, that could happen.

I have been running errands. Usually Mondays are my errands day, but this week it has been spilling over into Tuesday too. One of the best errands I had to run today was to pick up my Valentine’s parcel from the sorting office. I watched a wonderful clip on the BBC News website a few weeks back about the very inspirational, John’s Crazy Socks, and Jason bought me a pair of Hungry Caterpillar socks from John. I love them. I love everything about them and it was the best bit of post I have received in a long, long time.

I also fitted in lunch with the lovely Jenn, because there is always time for lunch, and if there isn’t, there is always time to make time for lunch. I also went out for dinner with my brother and his partner yesterday evening. We had a fantastic curry, which was meant to be a fantastic Thai meal except the Thai restaurant shuts on Monday. I am not downhearted, the curry was brilliant and now we have an excuse to go back and try the Thai restaurant on a day when it’s open.

Anyway, here are my tips for surviving the rest of the week. Get yourself some Crazy Socks from John, and always make time for a good lunch.