Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Dealing With Something

Well today was an experience.

This is, no doubt, to be the first in a short line of medical related entries, albeit with a tentative start. I'm building myself up to talking about the whole thing on-line because the topic needs shouting about from the rooftops. I will make it humorous and light hearted when I get my head around it all. But at the moment I'm still feeling a bit delicate and a touch embarrassed, just like the other woman in every 8 who has the same problem as me.

Today I had a test. It was unpleasant and unladylike, and made worse because I burst into tears in the middle of it, as is my wont. The consultant said she had "seen worse reactions" and "at least I didn't try to get off the bed during the test". There was no chance of that happening - I was too scared to move.

A lot of time was spent with the lovely consultant and nurse trying to distract me by talking about Whitby and rabbits while I was in quite some discomfort. There is a time and a place for discussion about the benefits of male rabbit castration in my opinion, but their hearts were in the right place.

Anyway the whole excruciating experience proved I have a problem but thankfully not a terrible one. And it proved I need to do something about it. Which is a date in the next few months and a topic for another day.

I am a bit down, but hopeful I guess.

This is me dealing with something that I've ignored for as long as possible. Sound familiar? If it does then maybe reading about my situation might help. Or you could take the "la la I'm not listening" approach, I wouldn't blame you.

Monday, 29 July 2013


If you had told me last week that I would have started sacrificing perfectly good socks to my rabbits I'd have...well I wouldn't have been that surprised to be honest. Nothing about these rabbits surprises me any more.

Sufficed to say we are currently on pair four. It's a shame really. I tried to sacrifice only socks from the odd sock bag, but they were either too short (not covering the wound in their tummies) or too constricting (I don't really think limiting their ability to breathe would be a good plan even if they would have had immaculate well healing wounds). So, perfectly good pairs of socks it is. Nowhere on the internet did I read this would happen when I did my extensive pre-rabbit purchasing research.

We are day five post op. Not that I'm counting down to the magic ten days of course.

It really has been the best five days of our lives. Two days of thrusting all manner of veg, fruit and soggy nuggets at them to ensure they didn't die from not eating. Then three days of checking poo, putting socks on rabbits, catching rabbits who escaped into the hall, readjusting holey socks , setting right the litter tray (that Betsy tips over every five minutes) and mopping up wee that has leaked on the kitchen floor (see litter tray).

We've worked out that the rabbits are the equivalent of teenagers in animal years. And they clearly currently hate me. I'm not really surprised. I wouldn't like someone heading towards me with the express intention of shoving my head and front paws into Sainsbury's best hosiery. And since they are still too poorly to be left alone or even let out of the hutch, we won't be rebuilding our relationship any time soon.

The nurse said today that it "could be worse" and we "should keep doing what we are doing". Excellent news. More trauma all round.

Apart from anything else, five more days of this and I'll have reached the bottom of my sock drawer, and possibly Paul's as well.

So there we go. Half way to the bit where they start to get better. £158 plus several pairs of socks worse off. Having pets is terrific.

And now? It's time to adjust socks and mop up wee. Again not a sentence I thought I'd ever write.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Dropping some bean bags

I was going to put balls instead of beanbags but I was worried David Cameron would censor me.

So I have been working now for nearly eight weeks and the good news is I still love it. The place, the work and the people - so that's a pretty good start. It's the life juggling that's marginally problematic. Me and every other parent out there I guess. Work, home, Paul, kids, rabbits, family, friends, writing, my own unachievable high standards - it's all rotating overhead like I'm some kind of crazed maternal circus performer.

The bean bag I dropped yesterday was not realising that leaving infant school would be as upsetting as it was for my eldest. It wasn't the end of the world. She got a bit upset after school and at bedtime and we had a good chat and lots of cuddles. But I feel guilty of course because I should have thought about it. I was so caught up in simply getting to the end of school (and the joy of 6 weeks without making lunchboxes, plaiting hair and carrying too much stuff) I didn't think about her enough.

There are others of course. I dropped a personal bean bag by not fitting in time to edit and submit a play I've written to a writing festival. Bugger. And my blog isn't getting the time and attention I intended lately either.

If you have been the victim of the several birthday bean bags we've dropped all over the place in the last three months I'm really sorry.

And we'll not even think about the house cleanliness bean bag. It's crash landed and spilled it's contents all over the floor. Not that I ever usually throw it up there in the first place.

The trouble is I fully expect that the minute I bend down to retrieve the bean bags (this metaphor is going well isn't it) I'm going to drop a whole other load.

So who knows if things will improve. In time I guess I'll have a system. I would like to hope I could learn to keep more beanbags in the air. Or maybe grow more hands.

Oh darn it I'm about to drop a freezer related beanbag I'd better go.

So If you juggle better than I do, I take my hat off to you. Sorry I will leave the metaphors well alone and go back to rabbit watching in my kitchen. Once I've made sure the freezer bean bag is back up and dancing.

Monday, 22 July 2013


I must admit I was worried about Tramlines a little. Worried that I was, frankly, too old.

The key indicator was that I hadn't heard of anyone on the list (apart from Selector, who are, well, from a long time ago). As for everyone else my knowledge of the bands was linked to band members I knew. Two dads from school and my boss, specifically. Which pretty much has an air of middle aged about it right there.

But I am nothing if not determined. You simply cannot have a music festival on your doorstep and not go to it. It would be like ignoring a cream cake for three days and eating celery.

So my friend and I took full advantage and set off at five on Saturday afternoon. This has a host of benefits, the best one being that we totally avoided making tea and putting the kids to bed.

We did what we normally do and wondered down division street feeling a) old and b) too sober for it all and decided, as usual, not to bother queuing for the main stage. We did buy a wristband though because we wanted to head to Plug later.

This is where our middled aged experience come into play. Vast local knowledge meant we could come back the long way round to find a cash point that had no queue and didn't charge us £1.85 for taking out our own money. We knew what fast food to go for (Street Food Chef of course) and plonked ourselves on the peace garden grass to eat burritos, listen to reggae and read the programme. I've always been a planner and it's only in later years that I realise just how much of an asset this can be (you have to love your personal quirks you know). My spontaneity left me years ago.

So we looked through the programme, reinforced the fact that we didn't know who anyone was*, and picked some random stuff that included people we knew and a variety of venues. We are nothing if not eclectic.

We started at the Cathedral and watched Nat Johnson (lovely) drinking wine, wondering if you can have communion real ale and watching a man repeatedly touch his girlfriend's bum. I don't think he would have done that in any other venue - I think he liked the buzz of sin in the house of the Lord.

Briefly we stopped at the Library Theatre and this is the point where I stopped really remembering the names of bands reliably. It's a good job this isn't a review.

After that it was the back of Henrys to watch The Clench (fab), and then the Leadmill to wholly enjoy a band who were amazing but who cannot pronounce their own name over a microphone clearly enough for marketing purposes (the staff had no idea who they were either). Then we watched some of the Ratells who were raucous and talented, but not my cup of tea really (and someone threw a drink on my badly chosen footwear).

Finally we ended up in Plug watching Steve Papa Edwards and the Big Strong Love, who we've seen before (and has someone I know in the band). They were marvellous and deserved a way bigger crowd.

We even managed to bag a taxi home with no difficulty whatsoever. All in all a remarkable, if middled aged, Tramlines experience. Which got even more middled aged the next day when as a family we went to Folk Forest at Endcliffe Park. But middle age has to be seen as a positive if it means you end up listening to folk music, helping your child make a bow and arrow, watching a blacksmith, talking to talented crafty type friends and eating ice cream.

I guess the thing that makes Tramlines such a joy is that everyone has such a different experience. Mine was a middle aged one. Had it been on ten years ago it would have been, well, a slightly younger middle aged one. In years to come I might just sit in Endcliffe Park drinking cider and wondering what band I've never heard of the girls are watching in town.

All in all we took in bands playing indie, rock (regular and cowboy no less), folk, soul and funk. And maybe other categories if I had a clue about modern music  - I could have been enjoying grime for all I know. So next year? Why not.

*I am exaggerating for effect of course, I have also heard of (and love) the Crookes. And David Roch. Yep that's it.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Open Letter to Sheffield Council

I'm writing this open letter because your email system seems to discourage people from actually writing letters saying how they feel. I can't think why.

There was a time, about a year ago, when I requested a bin. So before we go any further, is there any progress on my bin application please? No? I knew money was tight but this seems a little ridiculous. I could have made one for each week out of paper mache by now.

While we are on the subject of money, I'm wondering about the upcoming road improvement situation.

I noted with joy last week that someone had been down the adjoining road to ours with a can of yellow spray paint and circled some clearly hazardous small holes.

Imagine my expectation, then, as I turned into our road and saw no yellow paint at all. Did your spray can run out perhaps? Can you not afford another one? It must be that for I can see no discernable difference in the state of our road compared to the other.

Of course there is the fact that we are a small cul de sac off the end of that road. But no, it can't be that you think our road is not as important as the other one? Not when the road usage is pretty much the same what with the large number of black cab drivers, quite a few residents (including elderly ones), and frankly the fact that it's an ideal place for every man and his dog to turn round (I'm not blaming the dogs by the way).

It reminds me a little of that time when you spent weeks removing the paving slabs all the way down the adjoining residential road and replacing it with lovely smooth tarmac. Then you got to the end of our cul de sac and simply gave up. I presume tarmac was limited that day too. Perhaps you should think about getting a different supplier?

Hold on, I'm being a bit unfair. I remember now that you pulled up a couple of slabs and put down a few blobs of tarmac which had broken up and fallen off by six months later. There is nothing like making an effort. And that's nothing like making an effort.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt though. I'm presuming you have every intention of fixing our road. You are simply planning to come back with another can of yellow paint when you can afford it. If you let me know how much it is I can enclose a cheque if it helps.

It is good to see, however, that you have some white paint available as evidenced by our new white lines at the end of little cul de sac road I live on. It does seem a bit odd that you have had someone paint them on when clearly you needed to come back and mend our road first, but perhaps logic isn't something applied to road mending.

All this aside, could I respectfully suggest that you encourage your line painter to go on a course or at the very least get his machine serviced. The lines are decidedly wobbly and there is a little bit of a splatter gun approach. But there is a recession on.

Anyway. I look forward to seeing some little yellow circles on our road very soon. And perhaps a new bin near the entrance to the school?

Yours sincerely
Middle aged and confused from Sheffield