Archive for June, 2009


shakyIt was hard to get away from the main topic of conversation today – Michael Jackson’s untimely sudden death. This afternoon sat in the reception area of the motorcycle training school I go to was no exception. I relayed my surprise at having heard nothing about Farrah Fawcett’s death until much later in the day since it’d been overshadowed by the news of Jackson. The receptionist laughed and said she’d been about to mention it to me and my instructor who was stood opposite me finishing his coffee, but felt we were probably both too young to remember who she was.

My instructor was thoughtful for a second and then queried if she’d been the woman on The Good Life but the receptionist shook her head and informed him that was Felicity Kendall and that Farrah Fawcett was most popular for Charlies Angels. I smiled and informed them both that Felicity Kendall had been Wil’s childhood crush. My instructor smiled and said his childhood crush was Samantha out of Bewitched.

I kept quiet as I didn’t think anyone needed to know that my kid crush was Shakin’ Stevens.

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As Always The Boy Attracts The Girls

You distract him Wendy and Ill grab his boxer elastic

"You distract him Wendy and I'll grab his boxer elastic"

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Doomed To Eat

I love to eat. I love food. One of the reasons I exercise as much as I do is so that I can afford the luxury of stuffing my face with food all day without becoming a rotund lardy fatass who could hide small animals in the folds of my stomach.

The good thing is I love healthy food – vegetables, rice, fruit, nuts, fish rank amongst my favourite foods. If I go a couple of days without eating salad or fruit I start craving something fresh and crispy – or what Wil and I refer to as a ‘Clean Dinner’. When Wil contracted for a living it used to be a popular request from the mobile phone in the car when I asked him if he’d want dinner when he got here. He’d nearly always sigh a breath of relief and state ‘yeah a nice Clean dinner would go down a treat’. What I’d cook would be something along the lines of steamed salmon, carrotts, courgettes and potatoes – all fresh, non-fussy ‘clean’ foods that were a screaming oasis of heaven in a week filled by stodgy restaurant and hotel food. Foods that made you feel self righteous in that you were doing something cleansing and good to your body. I get the same urge when we’ve been away from home on holiday for a week. As much as I love to dine out, I really enjoy my own home cooking and can’t seem to go too long without it.

I sound like a smug bugger don’t I. The thing is like many people I also get those hellishly bad sweet cravings. I don’t care much for chocolate and sweets but desserts and cake are my thing. Trifle, ah god, trifle is the stuff the best dreams in the world are made of. The custardy, creamy, fruity bits laden with jelly and sponge and magical greatness I could die for. Every once in a while Wil buys me a Trifle when he goes shopping and I eat it for breakfast on a weekend.

Icecream is another favourite, especially plain organic handmade vanilla icecream made with clotted cream. I could eat it by the gallon.

During the last 6 months I’ve had bad trouble with my hamstring injury.  I got a nasty shock when I found that during my down time I’d gained some weight. Nothing horrendous but enough to make me feel quite heavy and clumsy on my bike and while running. The problem when you exercise a lot and then stop is that the eating doesn’t seem to taper off as easily as the sport does – therefore I ate the same but did nothing to work it off. I’m lucky in that my build and height disguise the addition of 10lbs fairly well, unfortunately those heavy legs and increased jiggly bits when you’re trying to run are not as forgiving, so the extra ‘me’ had to go. The thing is – when you only really make a habit of eating natural fresh unprocessed food and the occasional trifle or cake there really isn’t a lot to cut out so I had to take a closer look at the amount I was eating.

I joined Tesco Diets for a trial period. I’m not an advocate of diets – I like to eat what I want and I don’t like to omit particular foods altogether as it’s unrealistic to think I won’t occasionally binge on trifle or cake. Fortunately TD had a plan for me – Mediterranean Plan with no meat or poultry. I have to say it’s fantastic. The recipes are all really easy to make, it gives you an option to buy the list of shopping you require online and all the foods are the normal every day foods I’d eat anyway but I’ve learned some awesome new recipes that all the family are loving. (Before anyone worries – I give them a lot more than I eat!)

I chose the setting which suggested I sit or stand all or most of the day and don’t take regular exercise. Although this is only a partial truth I felt that for the time being it’d suit me better as I’ll be able to chance those odd moments where cramming an icecream into my face overrules all rationality and care I had about not feeling the backs of my legs jiggle enough to hit my arse when I run. Because of my recent sweet tooth spurt and increased hunger due to plentiful exercise I’ve only lost 4lbs in the last 4 weeks however, I’m fine with that because the idea of losing weight really isn’t realistic when you’re creating muscle in it’s place. The dissipating jiggly bits is where it’s at for me.

If you’re trying to diet or lose weight or, like me just try to gain a better perspective on portion sizes and quantities Tesco Diets is well worth a try… It has to be said, for me ‘Every little’ wasn’t helping!

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An Eggstraordinary Event



I walked outside this evening to let the girls out for a roam around the garden before they turned in for the night. As they waddled off to the grass I figured I’d spend a few moments clearing the lump of poo I’d seen in their nest box this morning.

After retrieving the small hand trowel and a bag from the shed I lifted the nest box lid. Inside lay a couple of big poos and a little tiny egg.

Huh.. poo and an egg.  I straightened out the bag and held the top open ready to receive the dirty straw from the end of my trowel.


I lifted the little egg out of the nest box as though it were made from delicately connected petals. Small and pefectly formed and completely clean it is about half the size of a standard egg and is now sat in the kitchen awaiting breakfast time.

The only mystery is – Who did it?

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Life – Not A Bowl Of Cherries

fedupI’ve had one of those days that has nearly reduced me to tears. And because I haven’t had an outburst of uncontrolled sobbing into the crook of my elbow on my desk, every time I think of today I get that jerky lump in my chest and throat that reminds me, at any time, I could burst into tears.

I’ve been pretty quiet about this but I’ve been doing lessons in order to complete my motorbike licence. I did the CBT and the upgrade to a 500cc bike and I’ve been taking hourly lessons while waiting 3 weeks for today to take my theory test. It costs £30 to do the test and the waiting time is horrendous because there aren’t many test centres around. Either way mine was today and I’d swotted up, watched the dvd they sent me and even passed the two online practice tests.

My test was at 13:30 and was in Ipswich so to make sure I didn’t end up in a panicky rush I left work at 12:30 and stopped at Asda to get some money out to pay for the car park I was going to have to use across the road from the test centre. After all, it’s a government agency and they sure aren’t going to provide you with parking spaces. At Asda I drew out £10 but then had to go into the store to buy something small and menial in order to get the change I’d need to pay for my parking at the machine. The queue at the fag counter where I could have bought a pack of gum was about 20 people long so I grabbed something off the nearest shelf, which happend to be a box of cherries and walked to the self checkout, paid with my £10 note and got a load of pound coins in change.

In Ipswich despite long traffic queues I arrived at the test centre at 1pm – 15 minutes earlier than the 15 minutes early they’d asked me to arrive. I was 30 minutes early. The bloke on reception crossed my name off a list and said ‘Can you come back in 5 minutes because they’re all still at lunch’. I looked around me at the tiny reception with no waiting area and looked back at him. ‘Where would you like me to go for 5 minutes?’ I smiled. ‘Just stand outside or something’ he replied. Bemused, I walked outside and found a bench about 30 yards away from the building where I sat people watching the staff leaving the large office building for lunchtime in town. Eventually a smelly drunk parked himself on the bench opposite and began rolling a fag whilst guarding his beer carefully as the wind tried to dump it on the floor. Not wishing to get caught up in a drunken conversation that would probably result in my being an arsehole (sober) whatever I did, I began thinking of ways I could move, without being glaringly obvious that I was moving just because he’d arrived. And just at that point the reception man appeared at the entrance to the building and beaconed me in. At the counter in the test room I walked up to the old bloke whom I thought ought to be in retirement by now and told him my name. He prompted me for my licence. For those non-brits here – We have the most fucked up system of driving licence available. Years ago you only had a green piece of paper which had your name/address and the numbers of what you were qualified to drive listed on it along with a big grid that would be filled in with the details of any points/penalties you got. Some time ago they decided to introduce a plastic photo card with your name/address and photo on it. But you only got one if you made any changes on your licence, such as the address or you asked and paid for one which means many people still have just a single piece of paper for their licence. HOWEVER, just because you have a photocard does not render the old style piece of paper void. NO – WHY CHOOSE ONE OVER THE OTHER WHEN YOU CAN FORCE PEOPLE TO KEEP UP WITH TWO DOCUMENTS?. The photo card AND the paper make up your licence, and let me reiterate here – the paper part is the same as the paper was before you had the photocard with it. Same colour, same style, same info. And this was when the utter bastard of a day began. Because I couldn’t find my photocard, I brought along my paper licence half, passport, letter with my address on it and my County Council ID badge and all the old bastard could say was ‘can I have your photocard?’. “I’m sorry”, I replied, “I’ve misplaced it but I read that if you had the old style licence your passport would suffice, so I’ve brought my passport”. “Can’t accept it” he replied curtly. “But you can accept it if I didn’t have a photocard licence?”, “yes, but you do, so I need to see it”. I stood there staring at him in disbelief. This arrogant bastard whose sole purpose in life is to follow the pedantic red tape bureaucracy levelled out by the government and make peoples lives as difficult as hell can’t find it in himself to use some common sense in between it all. I mean I’m in one of those positions too – policing the ridiculous ideals set out by people we don’t know and who know nothing about what we do and I don’t think I’d actually survive a day in my job if I didn’t take a step back sometimes and realise that by adhereing to every scrap of regulation they dish out nothing would ever work. Still staring at him with the look of ‘really?, are you really going to send me away and make me lose £30 + my parking + an hour off work and another 3 weeks because the document that allows me to enter my country and every other country in the world is not good enough to prove that I am ok to sit a poxy motorbike theory test?’ I didn’t say another word and instead, carefully folded my documents up and left before I got the full on rage, grabbed him by the throat and ended up being escorted out by two police officers and levvied a charge for assault. The car park robbed me of £2.70 and I went back to work completely fucked off and unable to think of anything other than the pounding fury in my stomach. I tried calling the test centre to see if they’d reschedule me and transfer my fee but unsurprisingly every time I’ve called they are ‘experiencing high call volumes’ and then promptly cut me off. But not until they’ve kept me waiting on the phone for over a minute while telling me the call is costing at least 3p per minute. One day, this shitty country is going to disappear up it’s own arse – as for me, I’m fucking off to Spain because they grow sodding good cherries.

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Weekend Summary

Saturday was the day of the Annual Village Fete. I absolutely love the fete which is held on the church lawn a stones throw away from our house. They set up a few old fashioned games for the kids, like hooking ducks out of a paddling pool and there are cake stalls, a wide array of old tat for sale and a plant stall to name a few. The best bit though is the brass band which trumpets through the air and summons you from your garden to come down and look around.

In the 3 years that we’ve been here my garden has benefitted greatly from the village fete. Each year I leave laden with 50p plants that I immediately set about depositing around the borders. This year I bought a large tub of Canna Lillies and two pots of Cosmos before jumping in the car to drive to town to pick my Nana up. I thought she might enjoy sitting on the lawn with a cup of tea listening to the brass band.

At 5pm as they began to clear away the plant stall chap walked over to where we were sat to see if we were interested in any left over plants. I reached in my pocket and found only 85p. In return he gave me an Anemone and two Impatiens which I’ve planted in a container just outside the patio doors of the living room.

On Sunday evening we decided to let the chickens out of their coop for the first time to freerange. With great intrepidation we watched as they hesitantly tiptoed carefully through the open coop door and out on to the patio where they began tugging at little blades of grass and weeds growing between the paving slabs. The three of us sat in a triangle as the girls made their way into our space constantly eyeing the ground and pecking at bits and pieces. Every so often Susan would scratch the ground with her feet accomplishing nothing other than flicking some dried blades of grass into the air. They pretty much stayed together and had no problem walking right up to us and eating out of our hands. They did draw the line at being stroked and if you lifted your hand just above their back they’d sort of ‘limbo’ away from it. As it began to get dark they made their way back to their coop making it easy to just close the door behind them.

Also yesterday saw the back of that heap of a Mini owned by next door. I celebrated it’s departure on the back of a trailer with a little dance behind the large shrub I was busy pruning in the corner of the garden at the time. As far as I’m aware the rest of the clan should be following next weekend. It’s not a moment too soon in my book either as we stepped out side to wave Wil’s mum off, next door emerged with a basket full of kittens some stray cat they found had given birth to under their bed. She then went on to tell us about this other cat they’d bought to replace another they had put to sleep a few months back bringing the grand total of vermin in their house to SEVEN. YES, SEVEN flipping cats. And there I was concerned that if I got some chickens they might be a bit noisy. Seven wretched cats trumps my two awesome hens on the annoyance scale by 10. Not feeling so sad about the unfortunate break down of next doors marriage now because if seven cats were about to start shitting in my garden there would have been some full on war breaking out in the not too distant future. War, and a paintball gun.

Today I took a day off work to try and catch up with a few things around the house that have been left untouched through lack of time. One was the large pile of filing I need to get on top of (but first need to purge some old crap out of my folders before anything else can fit in) and the other was some weeding in the garden. First I had to see Cameron off on his school trip, so at 8am I gathered in the playground looking much like the other mums this time wearing badly fitting jeans and t-shirt along with bed head hair, no make up and pillow marks on the side of my face. As the coach rolled away to take the kids on their school activity holiday I breathed a sigh of relief for a week to myself in which I can eat cereal for dinner every night if I want and NOT HEAR ANY MOANING. A euphoria that was halted as I looked around to see various mums wiping tears from their eyes. Glancing down the road I found the bus was still in one piece and hadn’t crashed and burned. I came to the conclusion that mums who cry over their kids going away for a week is as incomprehensible to me as kids who worry about staying away from home for a night is to Cam. We will both have an awesome week and I won’t worry about Cam being gone for 5 days and he will be safe in the knowledge I’m not soaking my pillow unecessarily. I asked Wil if there is something wrong with me, perhaps I don’t love my kid as much as those real mums do? He said it’s fine and that I’ve clearly done a smashing job of raising an independant kid who’s more than capable of standing on his own two feet. Aside from that he was one of the few 11 year olds I saw this morning who were not embarrassed to give me a big kiss and hug in front of all his friends.

So I came home with the intention of making a start on that paperwork, although I made the mistake of sitting on the doorstep of the patio doors to eat my breakfast where I made a visual plan of which areas of the garden I was going to attack first. No sooner had the last mouthful of porridge gone down I was face first in the flower border ripping bind weed out.  At 4pm Wil was asking how much longer I was going to be out for and I told him that depended how long the girls were going to be busy, and nodded at the two feathered behinds sifting through each trowel full of soil I turned over.

Gardening with chickens is ace.  They followed me all around the garden and when I started digging and pulling up weeds they sat watching the soil for any movement or tasty grubs that became uncovered and quickly jumped in to grab them. When they’d eaten enough they just laid down on the grass and sunned themselves for a bit. It’s not so dissimilar to living with Wil.

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Wendy had her first loud verbal flip out this morning when she caught site of something in the hedge that she didn’t like the look of. She immediatetly ran to the other end of the coop where she began shouting in standard chicken format ‘buck, buck, buck BAGERRRRK’. Susan wandered in circles around her trying to figure out what the hell the fuss was about.

I’ve been taking small treats with me each time I’ve gone to see them so that they associate me with nice things. I’m hoping this will make it easy when I need to get them back in their coop before they’re ready when they freerange around the garden.

Wendy appears to be the braver one of the pair. She’s very alert and curious and usually the first to try something new. Susan often just follows the lead and looks like shes in a state of permanent surprise at everything around her. ‘WOW, hen house’. ‘WOW, water’. ‘WOW, other end of this space’. ‘WOW, hen house’… rinse and repeat.

I’ve found they like boiled potatoes, porridge, raisins, yogurt (messy) and their favourite treats so far are flaked almonds and walnuts! The yogurt and the porridge were battle of wills. They really seemed to like the taste yet were not at all keen on that wet mess on thier beaks. Hence there was a lot of flicking and head shaking going on which has left both of them smothered in small white yogurty dots all over their feathers.

We still haven’t had any eggs but we are expecting to wait a few weeks before that starts anyway.

In the meantime on my quest for information on chickens I’ll leave you with this:

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