Monday, 21 November 2011

Week One

Sorry in advance but I'd better blog our extension. Maybe in the future it will serve to remind me how straightforward a building job can be. Or maybe it will provide me with a clear reason never to have another extension. Who knows. It's hardly going to be the subject of a novel.

Week one has passed. They came, they knocked some walls down and they dug a big trench. A concrete lorry came and delivered the concrete. He managed to break at least four paving slabs on the pavement so I've no idea what we do about that. That was during his perpendicular to the roadside parking episode which must have inconvenienced most of our neighbours for about three hours. I went out. On foot as I couldn't get my car round the concrete lorry.

I want it on record that I currently think our builders are lovely. Barry is growing a moustache for Movember so he must be alright. His young helper (who I still haven't been introduced to) is very smiley. They are tidy and chatty. Mark isn't on the job regularly yet. He's lovely too. Phoebe calls him the one with the big face. I won't tell him that.

Today we have a big skip on the drive and have had bricks delivered by crane. It's a shame these things keep happening while the kids are out, but I don't think the head would approve of me keep Tilly off for the day so she can watch men bricklaying. Plus I imagine they'd want to help.

Other than that? Oh the bank still haven't given us the money and claims the forms haven't arrived. So we're submitting again, this time by fax. I can't shout at them yet because they haven't given us the money and since the work has started I didn't ought to make them think twice about the loan. Once it hits our account though all hell is about the break loose. I'm in one of those moods.

And finally to everyone I know who has had an extension that was a nightmare, or knows someone who has had an extension that was a nightmare...I'm not listening ;)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

My hero

The feeling when he comes onto stage is one of love. Not passion or excitement but love.

I love Billy Bragg.

Oh yes you know I'm a fan and have been for years. I suppose everybody has someone that they can't imagine having missed out on in life. For me it's him. He is the only artist that makes me feel this way.

He appears with no fanfares. He is honest and real. And yes he transports me back to being 15 again. My brain suddenly remembers every line of every song. That feeling when it comes out of your mouth before you even seem to have thought it.

I've not always agreed with him. But his passion I could never argue with.

No other artist or band I have ever seen gives so much of themselves on stage. The trouble is I saw him before I saw anyone else. And since then no-one has ever matched up. Most play the songs but speak very little. Or if they do speak they aren't speaking about anything real or anything in particular.

I saw him again last night at the Leadmill. I'm not a superfan. I don't even own every record.

But for me the artist of choice is Uncle Bill.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Ups and Downs

I definitely write more often when Paul's out. Because I'm bored and avoiding housework largely.

Building on yesterday's more depressed theme I thought I'd better do an update for fear that anyone worries about me. I'm actually fine just being a whinge-bag.

1. Phoebe got through only one pair of pants today. Mostly through my involvement at key points but you can't have everything.
2. I didn't shout today. Even when I realised on reaching school that I had forgotten Tilly's lunch and book bag.
3. Have decided my toe is just mashed and no broken. If I could get by without shoes I'd be fine.
4. The kids are already enjoying Father Christmas on DVD and our Christmas books are out. It's too early but I don't care. It makes me and them smile. I think I've managed to convince Tilly not to leave Father Christmas a present out by suggesting that the present to-ing and fro-ing might confuse him.
5. Tilly asked me how toothpaste is made. She had imagined it was like wine. I have spent all day chuckling at the thought of people squishing a vat of toothpaste with bare feet.
6. The builder starts on Monday.

1. I'm knackered. P woke three times last night, and T once. She ended up sleeping with me because I was too tired to move. When I woke in the morning I was teetering on the edge of 4 inches of my king size mattress. How do children do that?
2. Still no paperwork from the bank. I rang again and she is resending tomorrow. Useless.
3. Paul still isn't here.
4. I still have no wine.
5. The builder starts on Monday.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Will Young

I went out last night. I know, I know, I'm like a social whirlwind.

I tell you what that Will Young can sing. Brilliant. Although for the cost of the ticket I'd have liked him to chuck diamonds at the audience.

Will was on good form though. Lots of banter and laughing, and all his best songs including a new pretty magical cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill". I'm not very good at reviews but if you secretly love him but daren't tell anyone, you should go and see him. You'll feel liberated. Although you might have to groan a little when he sings Evergreen.

He made the slightly interesting move early on in the first song of gesticulating to the crowd to stand up. I was just beginning to wonder whether my middle aged legs could cope with standing up all night when the second song ended and some of the crowd sat down. Then a faster song began and they stood up again, by which time some other people had got a bit tired and sat down. It was a bit like an odd, very long version of musical chairs.

The women in front of us were very enthusiastic and stayed standing (and doing that dubious various speed swaying dance move) for much of the gig. The knock on effect was of course that we had to stand up as well if we wanted to see anything more than the elevated drummer, as did the people behind us, and so on and so on until there was a line of standing people stretching to the back of the hall. Every one else was having a nice sit down. Even Will Young sat down during two songs. He probably wondered why we were standing up.

Amidst all this the steward ran about with hawklike expression trying to stop anyone from videoing or using flash photography. She had no chance. There were blinking hundreds of flashes going off and anyway it must have been tricky to keep track what with the audience bobbing up and down.

Anyway it was a great gig overall. Will is lovely as, of course, are the ladies I went with. We might be feeling it in the thighs tomorrow morning though.

Away blues

I think it's safe to say I'm not enjoying Paul's absence in the slightest. There have been two notable nice things (Will Young and a lovely book selling morning today) but other than that it pretty much sucks. And he's only been gone 34 hours.

1. I stubbed my little toe this morning, did very well not to swear loudly and have been suffering the consequences all day. I didn't do it whilst doing anything impressive, worthy or even just dramatic (I came off worse than the door frame at least) and I think I've broken it. I have tried to explain to my children that walking isn't easy and that I'm limiting it to the absolutely necessary. They got cross that I wouldn't come out into the garden, root around in the choc-a-bloc shed for gardening gloves and pick up a soggy dirty sunflower head so they could extract seeds from it. Then Phoebe trod on my foot. I don't think it was malicious but still...

2. I have one daughter who can't make it to the toilet in the night time and one who can't make it in the day. Specifically four times today. The house is festooned with washing and I can't get the smell of wee out of my nostrils.

3. Phoebe is being fussy and ridiculous with food. Ham is too "crunchy", she is regularly "too full up" to eat any kind of fruit and she wants to dip everything in butter.

4. I still have no paperwork from the bank. Apparently first class Royal Mail can now take four days to arrive. Seriously. Is there some snow storm I'm unaware of? I also haven't heard from the builder. If the work starts on Monday I'll eat one of the numerous pink bobble hats we have, when I can find one that is.

5. I have spent a large amount of time on hold to Nikon before hanging up. There's half an hour of my life I'm not getting back.

6. My clothes from Boden came. Very little fitted so had to go back. Perhaps sizing is different if you are a Baroness. Thank goodness I bought a bag. If the replacement clothes don't fit everyone's children will be getting Boden tops for Christmas.

7. Every night on Facebook someone says they are off to drink wine. I don't have any. I have even had to forego my quiz night pint tonight because I'm so broke from the babysitter yesterday.

None of these things are a big deal but do you know what? I just plain miss Paul. I'm lucky that he is here so much, but when he's away it's rubbish. Roll on Saturday morning.

Saturday, 5 November 2011


I love bonfire night. Apart from in the rain of course. I love the smell, sight and noise of bonfires and fireworks. I love the noises people involuntarily make when the fireworks are impressive. And I love the look on children's faces as they look on in awe.

I don't remember a time when I didn't like it. In the garden while my Dad wrestled with a tin box in the dark on my brother's birthday. Writing our names in the air with sparklers and wishing my name was shorter. Big displays at Baytree Nurseries while wearing a snood. Gingerbread men and home made treacle toffee - the bigger the bits that stuck together the better. The year when the traffic was so terrible we got to the venue just as the fireworks finished wasn't such a good year, but that's the only negative night I remember. And we just ate treacle toffee in the back seat of the car instead.

And now? I've found it a bit harder with the girls. Both have been freaked out by the pitch black of the garden and the bangs and screams of fireworks when they were very little. But tonight it seems back to being wonderful, albeit in a slightly different way. Paul walked up to Chelsea Park with his big girl all wrapped up and excited. They both loved the display and the bonfire and Paul loved having quality time with just her. He even got to wear his hiking boots again which is a plus.

I stayed home because Phoebe really hates the bangs. She was bathed and dressed in her snuggle suit before reading stories. Then we've looked out of every window of the house to see which is best for firework viewing. She still had her hands over her ears at points but she loved the colours and I loved seeing her face and not having to deal with a tantrum in a field and the possibility of losing one or both children.

Who knows about next year. Maybe they'll be old enough to both go out and I will work out how to make treacle toffee. Or maybe not. But if it's another alternative bonfire night like this one I'll be just as chuffed.