Thursday, March 30, 2006

Daytime Fibs.

Well his Lordship is home, and so is his washing, and paperwork, and laptop, and briefcase and all the other essential detritus that accompany him on his trips away. No he doesn't travel light this man.

It reminded me of the time I decided in my infinite wisdom to pack light, when I was going on holiday. You've seen the packing wizard on daytime TV, who shows you how to pack everything you need for a weeks holiday into what would normally be your toiletries holdall. Well I took the advice. Lazy holiday, reading by the pool, easy. Swimsuits, sarongs, undies, little dress for the evening, shorts, couple of t-shirts, cosmetics, suntan lotion. Well she said that, that would be all that I would require. And so with my little holdall as hand luggage I confidently stepped onto the plane and was whisked away to paradise.

We arrived late that evening just in time to grab a bite to eat and then fall exhausted into bed. The following day was hot, hot, hot. So out to the pool, book in hand, sitting under the palms. Lovely. Followed by a lovely evening. Then the next day, pool again, and another lovely evening. Then the next day a morning in the laundry, followed by a very expensive shopping trip for more clothes. (There do have to be some advantages.) Don't believe a word they say, they tell big fat fibs.

Hence forth I have become the ultimate 'bag lady', if it will possibly fit into my case it goes with me. I am that awfully annoying woman that holds up the check in queue, with her umpteen cases and assorted matching bags. (I'm sorry but I cannot under any circumstances travel unmatched, it simply is not done.) I used to mourn the passing of the days when one could pack one's trunk. That is until I started cruising. Now I too have my trunk, it has drawers, hanging racks, shoe racks, you name it, it's there. I fill every little nook and cranny. It is my salvation, my own little bedroom suite on wheels.

Yes I am a very sad little woman. But that's what you get for a) watching daytime TV, and b) believing what they tell you. Anyway here is the Lady who stole my heart. (No not liberty you twits, the other one.)

(It was her last transatlantic crossing, I partied in New York and all the way home, but that's another story.)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Today has been a day of memories.

It is exactly one month ago today that the Fat Controller left us. I have thought about him often, (not just today), but I suppose today has raised my conscious thoughts of him. Sadly the memories I have at the moment are still those of our final hours spent together. My desperate need to protect him from what was sadly inevitable. I knew that each precious moment slipping by was lost to him, Mrs Beeton, his children, and myself.

You see I have been living with a dilema. I could have given all of his children, including my husband, the chance to say their farewells to their Father. I knew the choice that I made that night could prevent this. He could have been admitted to hospital, they may have been able to prolong his life just long enough for all of his family to say their goodbyes. I chose to keep him at home. My reasons for this? I did not want him to die in a side room in the A&E department with strangers and noise, with people no matter how caring, who had not loved him as we did. I wanted him to be at home with Mrs Beeton by his side, in his own bed with what dignity she and I could still afford him.

And so the options for the Doctor that night were limited, he could only administer drugs that would ease his 'transition'. I knew this. I made that choice without consultation with his wife or children. And so that is how I stole the chance for my husband and his brother to say goodbye to their Father. But I suppose there must always be payment. I too was not present when he went, I never got to say my goodbye, and so I suppose in the scheme of things that is the price I was asked to pay. A small price for something so dear.

Today is also my wedding anniversary. It was 25 years ago today that I married the man I loved, and still love very much. We had intended to celebrate our Silver Wedding, however events over the last weeks have prevented this, and now it seems that even his Lordship's work is conspiring to keep us apart. We are spending our anniversary at opposite ends of the country. But as I sit her alone tonight, feeling pathetically sorry for myself, I know that he will be walking back through the door on Thursday... unlike Mrs Beeton, also sitting at home tonight, alone.

Monday, March 27, 2006


This is a huge apology and grovel to all of my fellow gasbags. I got lost on the way to the party... or rather my internet connection got well and truly buggered by AOL, and so I have had to cobble together a dial up connection, which is so slow, I could probably walk to your house and deliver this post in person faster. Ah well, nobody said that it would be easy.
The move was interesting. I had booked the removals to arrive at 1pm on the Friday and to deliver at 11.30am on the Saturday. This was confirmed with my 'moving coordinator', on three separate occasions. So of course they arrived at 9am on the Friday and tried, (unsuccessfully), to deliver at 9am on the Saturday. I did however receive a letter explaining that they would be arriving early and why... at 9.30am on the Friday morning.
Needless to say the 'moving coordinator' was quite literally moved to tears when I telephoned her to discuss this 'mix up'. As I am sure you can imagine, I was not best impressed at the sight of the burly removals men at my front door when I was still stuffing knickers et al into boxes in the front hall, or the fact that the letter detailing the changes didn't arrive until half an hour after the said burlies had turned up. Stressed is an understatement. Next time I believe that my 'moving coordinator' will remember that telephones are wonderful devices, and much faster than letters.
They also managed to lose my entire lighting department, (assorted table/floor lamps) and my step ladder, (I am only 5' 2" remember so an essential piece of equipment). Never fear they turned up after several phone calls, to 'moving coordinator' and just a few days late and every lamp in the lighting department totally wrecked. One of the nice burlies had packed them for me and found new and interesting ways of taking them apart. Ah I shall remember them all so fondly. (In their dreams!!)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I'm Home Daddy.

The eagle has landed.
We are now in our new house.
Hampton Court maze has relocated.
I'm shattered, I'm slightly pickled, I'm going to bed.
Night, night all.
(Have I got a story for you, Pickfords! Smichfords, I don't care about spelling anymore, I've lost the will to live.)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Military Operations.

It's M - Day
I'm going over the top.
I'll see you on the other side.
(In a few days)
(Ooh look it's those nice men from Pickfords.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Leaving Home

Conversation with her Ladyship last night;

"If you have any washing to do I suggest you get on with it asap." I said

"Oh no the drying fairy won't be here after Friday will she." She replied

"Actually dear the washing machine won't be here after Friday, ."

"Oh mum, you're abandoning me!!" she wailed.

And to a certain extent she is right. But as I wrote here there comes a point when you have to cut the apron strings. As she is showing no signs of intending to leave home we decided it was time for action. So we are moving out instead.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Avast Me Hearties

The packing frenzy continues. There are now boxes stacked five high throughout the house. In a bid to make the whole process slightly more interesting I have begun to model my box stacking on Hampton Court maze. It's very amusing when his Lordship wants the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Anyway I digress. As D-day, (or should that be M-day), is rapidly approaching I have called in the packing fairies again. So as they got their backs into it, with much encouragement from me,

"Come on you scurvy dogs, aha, ye motley landlubbers,"

I don't normally talk to them like this but Bizziebot, grandchild #1 is on a Pirate theme at the moment so we are all walking around with tea towels on our heads and eye patches, with wooden spoons stuck through our belts. (By the way the dough hook from a Kenwood Chef makes an exceedingly good false hand, it's not bad at dough either, funnily enough).

So with the maze coming along nicely and the 'crew' getting stuck in it looked like we were onto a real winner. Then the doorbell rang. As I headed toward it my wooden spoon slipped out of my belt, tripping me up and sending me hurtling towards the door, (you'll be pleased to know that it broke my fall). As I lay there momentarily stunned, the letter box lifted up and a pair of bemused eyes peered through.

"Sorry to bother you, are you number 3?"

"No," I whimpered, "that's next door."

"Ah jolly good, sorry to have bothered you madam."

I now have a lump the size of an egg on my forehead, a stinking headache, and Bizzie thinks her Grandma is great because she can fly just like Peter Pan. Yo ruddy ho ho!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Personal Services.

When the nice young lady from Pickfords telephoned me last week to finalise arrangements for 'the move', she asked if we would require the full packing service. After much thought I replied,

"I'm not sure really. It's all rather personal having someone poking about in your drawers. What would you do?"

"Well they are professionals, and they are very discreet when dealing with clients." She replied.

"Hmm, let me get back to you."

And so I made myself a nice cup of tea and started to ponder. Then I started to have a little look in some of the said drawers. Then I started to inspect the contents further, and as I had emptied the drawers, I decided to clean them, and then as everything was out of the drawers I thought it would be a shame to put everything back in the drawers. So I packed it into boxes. Several days later and umpteen cups of cold tea I am now surrounded by mountains of boxes and immaculately clean drawers.

The professional, discreet drawer rummaging service is no longer required. However I shall retain their card, purely for reference you understand.

Monday, March 13, 2006

It's a Time Warp, Honest!

I'm sorry alright, I was supposed to do this yesterday, but I thought that yesterday was today, well that's not strictly true I thought that yesterday was the day before yesterday, which is why today is Monday and not Sunday. I'm so glad that we've been able to clear that up.

Ok, righty ho then. Attila the Mom, in cahoots with Charlie came up with a cunning plan, ably supported by Rhonda. So check it out and join up, you'll be saving wails, so it's your duty.

(I think I need a nap?)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Just Hanging Around.

Moving house is a bit like absailing. If you don't keep control of what you are doing, you land with a bit of a splat!

I was reminded of how I learnt to absail, (in my younger days), whilst potholing. For those who haven't a clue what on earth I am talking about let me enlighten you.
Absailing: climbing in reverse. you are hooked up to a rope and instead of climbing up the side of a rock face, you descend it by using your rope to control your descent. A rather more sedate way of experiencing rock faces, with the added bonus that one usually manages to 'land' with all of one's nails intact. You can of course apply absailing to buildings, bridges and potholes.
Potholing: A pothole, unlike a cave, is a steep vertical shaft / corridor that descends into a cave system. This is accessed by either a ladder or absailing. One thing to remember when potholing is no matter how much fun you have descending, you still have to climb back up!! (Or become a hermit.)

I had long fancied having a go at absailing but unfortunately I had one major disadvantage, I am afraid of heights. And so it was that I discovered the delights of potholing. You see caves and potholes don't have windows and still to this day very few have electricity so they do tend, on the whole, to be rather dark gloomy places. What more could I want, if you can't see how far down it is then you can't be afraid. There are however a few points that should be noted when considering potholing / absailing:

a) Remember to tie your rope to something secure at the top, big trees and rocks work. Cows have a tendency to wander.
b) Make sure that you take a long enough rope. It hurts if you don't.
c) Don't share your wetsuit with anyone... there are no toilets down there!
d) Always keep your mobile phone switched on throughout your expedition. That way your battery will have run out so that you can cool down with a nice ten mile hike back to civilisation when you finish.
e) Ensure that someone checks the weather forecast. If it should begin to rain whilst you are in the cave, don't worry, any feelings of panic as the water rises will soon disappear when you stop breathing.
f) And finally, if you do bump into a hermit whilst down there, always remain on pleasant terms, he may just turn out to be your neighbour if someone forgets to throw down the breadcrumbs.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Never Again... Oh please!

(Ssh!) His Lordship is a bit the worse for wear this morning so I'm having to type quietly. He went on his leaving do last night and to be quite frank he had far too much pickle juice. BIG headache, lots of grunting and very little coherance. Bless him.

I haven't told him that his grandchildren are about to arrive at any minute... won't that be a nice surprise for him.

Friday, March 10, 2006

You Can't Take Them Anywhere, Even Home.

Last night was my last meeting with my writing group before I move north. We've been getting together for the last eight and a half years. We met at a creative writing class and have continued to meet up at each others houses for dinner and a glass of wine every fortnight or so since then. When I say writers group, I use the term very loosely, we don't actually do a great deal of writing as such, you know how it is. No, we tend to spend most of our time having a natter and setting the world to right. Well someone has to do it. (By the way looking at the picture above, I'd be the one in the back row looking decidedly 'out of it' just a quick nap before tea.)

We've had some fun times. Like the time we decided to go out and have dinner. One of our number, (we only number 4 by the way), organised for us to go to a local Chinese restaurant to see the owner perform. He's a Chinese Elvis impersonator. We were up for it, so on a balmy summers evening last year we experienced the delights of 'ruv me tender', etc. We were having a lovely time singing along with him, unfortunately he wasn't too impressed with our little karaoke going on in the corner and promptly cut the set short and stomped off to a 'prior' engagement. It wasn't until we went to pay the bill that the waitress pointed out that he wasn't playing for laughs, he takes this stuff deadly serious. Oops!

There's also been the celebrations, a lovely wedding, births of four grandchildren, a surprise 50th birthday party, and Ginnie's first egg, (it's an important time in a chickens life). Other less celebratory moments have included the onset of hot flushes, buying our first pairs of reading glasses and the occasional minor mishap when laughing too hard. Ah the joys of being a 'mature' woman.

And finally there was the memorable evening spent at my house, (it could of course only happen with my family). The girls and I had enjoyed another evening of gossip, wine and laughter, when his Lordship and our son arrived home from a little sojourn to the pub. They duly said their good nights and took themselves off to bed. (The menfolk normally stay out of the way when the 'coven' is meeting.) We settled ourselves back into our chat and about half an hour passed before my son re-surfaced. He ambled through the lounge and into the kitchen to peruse the contents of the fridge. It was at this point that the eldest member of our little group, looked across at me and smiled, "I think a naked man just walked through your lounge, I'll have a top up as you're heading that way." she said holding out her glass as, armed with my cardi, I did a mad dash across the lounge.

Yes, I'll miss our little literary gatherings.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

So Much to Do

Ok so I know that I have been going on about it for ever, but it's actually happening, next week in fact. I'm moving house. Aargh!!! Half the packing isn't done, the place is in absolute uproar, I haven't spoken to any of the utilities yet to tell them. But the worst thing of all is that I don't know my new telephone number so I can't set up my internet connection ready for when I move in. I'll have an internet vacuum. What am I going to do? Now calm down you silly woman.

What am I thinking, when we moved down here I was juggling, three house sales, four schools, two children and his Lordship was out of the country, no where to be seen. This time it's easy, afterall it's just the two of us, (and the dogs), we're leaving the kids behind. No schools involved, no house sale, just the removal men and us to up sticks. Simplicity itself... I'll believe that when I'm sitting in my new house sipping a nice cup of tea from my intact china on my undamaged sofa.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The End of an Era.

It's so good to be back to normality, sleeping in my own bed, sitting at my computor in my own study. (Well for a short time anyway.) I'll be moving back up to Yorkshire permanently on March 18th. The cleaning fairies finally put in an appearance while we were away. Yipee!!

The funeral went well. Obviously we had all been dreading the day somewhat but it's a necessary part of the process. His four grandsons had decided that they would like to carry him into the chapel. A lovely gesture and a bit of a tear jerker really, as our son was one of them. They are all big strapping lads of six foot or so, a couple are ex rugby players, so there was no danger of them dropping him, (thank God). However it might have been a little easier if they had been a couple of inches shorter, the flowers on the top of the coffin were lovely. Unfortunately the doorways are not that high and so when they went through the first door, everyone to a man in the waiting congregation ducked in symmetry as the lads came through the door and topped the flowers on the door jam. Fortunately they didn't end up on the floor, they were just slightly re-arranged.

The parson, as Mrs Beeton called him, was superb. He really captured the character of the Fat Controller and even managed to raise a smile along the way. After he had done his bit it was time for another little ceremony, which, we had no input into and no idea what would be involved. You see the Fat Controller was a member of the Royal Antidiluvian Order of Buffalos, or the Buffs for short. He had been a lifelong member and so when the 'funeral marshall' called us to ask if they could do their own ceremony at the end we decided it would have been what he wanted. As he never chose to discuss what he did at the meetings we were all a bit in the dark. With a nod from the parson they stepped forward and surrounded the coffin. Then the funeral marshall started to talk, I have no idea what he was saying and on asking around later, it appears that everybody else was in the same boat. So they did their little speech, sang a nice song, then the only dodgy bit, they each took a leaf out of their pocket and placed it on the coffin, and linked arms to say a prayer. Phew! at least there wasn't any rolling up of the trouser leg or knotted hankies on their heads. I get the impression that the Buffs is a sort of adult version of the boy scouts, instead of badges they have medals, instead of brigades they have lodges etc. I could be wrong.

The funeral tea went swimmingly, well apart from a sticky moment when Mrs Beeton's brother had a funny turn and was carted off to hospital in an ambulance. They let him home the following day. We met lots of people that we didn't know but were very charming, we also met the Fat Controllers half brother, and cousin. (The Fat Controller was adopted at four, and didn't find his real family until after he had retired.) We got an invite to an 80th birthday party and another funeral 'possibly' in the next couple of weeks!! Don't ask, I didn't like to go into detail, and as the average age in the room was eighty, you get the picture.

All in all I think the Fat Controller would have been pleased with the service and the turn out, and very proud of Mrs Beeton and their family.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Medicine for the Soul

I'm feeling like a yo yo at the moment. I'm back in Yorkshire after a brief stopover in Kent on Saturday.

There is no humour today. You see my visits back to Yorkshire have not only been for the sake of finding a house to rent, they have been necessary for another reason. My father in law, (the Fat Controller), was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas in January of this year. Along with the rest of his family I have been taking turns in caring for him and Mrs Beeton. It was my stint over the last few days. He passed away peacefully yesterday morning with Mrs Beeton at his side.

I'll be posting again, in lighter mood, in a few days. Laughter is the best medicine for the soul.
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