Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Re-painting, yes. I decided I wasn't sure about the first colour so we're changing it. (And don't tell him but I'm not absolutely certain about this one either. No, I'm sure it'll be fine. You see the problem is that when the paint-mixer-man was mixing the paint for us, some of the tint went over the edge of the tin, which suggests to me that the colour inside isn't as dark as it should be. I should have said something at the time but I was being terribly British and didn't want to cause a fuss. So it's just that underlying suspicion that is causing me concern rather than the actual colour that is going on the walls. So, yes, it'll be fine. Won't it?) Husband is used to my little foibles; I can't tell you how many walls he's had to repaint over the years as I've changed my mind. He has come to expect it.
Then there are the lights to fit, the blind to put up and ... oh, that might be all.
Then it will be time to start on the bathroom ...
But I'm having a relaxing day today, the first real one of the holiday. I'm doing my jigsaw and nothing else. Except walking George in the pouring rain. But I have new wellies so we can splish splash through the puddles.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Uncle joined Younger Son, Husband and me for dinner, which in spite of the new oven and mistiming everything, tasted better than it looked.
Then last night Elder Son and Daughter-in-law arrived for a couple of days. And I had a webcam for Christmas so we even got to see Grand-Daughter on the big day and that was lovely even though she was asleep.
Our Christmas television watching consisted of:
1) Christmas Eve - Victoria Wood - okayish;
2) Christmas Day - Doctor Who - disappointing;
3) Christmas Day - Dad's Army - reliable;
4) Christmas Day - Blackadder - fell asleep;
5) Christmas Day - Royle Family - fell asleep;
6) Christmas day - Gavin and Stacey - good;
7) Boxing Day - Scarlets versus Ospreys - good (Ospreys won, yay!)
And that was the sum total of our telly-viewing. All BBC, of course: is there another channel?
Good collection of pressies, loads of food, plenty of choccies. Mmmm, yes, a good Christmas.
Have I mentioned how happy I am? And how incredibly blessed?
P.S. Anyone else got a webcam and want to chat?!!
No, the reasons we've bought a mini are:
1) it's economical to run;
2) it has cheap insurance and road tax;
3) it has very low emissions;
4) it's FUNKY!
I drove her today for the first time. She has six, yes 6, gears. I never found use for 5, but she tells you when to change gear. Which is rather useful as I'm often not sure what gear I'm in. Except I now have to look at the rev counter/gear changer instructor and keep an eye on my speed as well as still watching the road. Which is a bit too much, don't you think?
She also switches off the engine when we stop, at traffic lights for instance. As someone who's used to panicking when Betty Beetle does that, I found it a bit unnerving until I got used to it. Now I rush to red traffic lights just so I can demonstrate to Husband how it's done: he hasn't got the knack of it yet.
The big question: will George fit in the boot? We're going to find out this afternoon when we take him to the beach.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I'm planning on blogging again later to send Christmas wishes to one and all but in case I don't make it have a fabulous one!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
And Husband decides to buy a car and tell me we have to go to Stoke-on-Trent to collect it.
If he finds cyanide in his tea, it will be an accident, you understand that, don't you?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
It was very sad and felt wrong, rather like rummaging through the belongings of a dead relative, looking for anything worth keeping. That didn't stop me doing it though.
I did quite well until I reached the children's section. There I stocked up on books for Grand-Daughter's library. Mostly poetry ranging from A.A. Milne to Roger McGough, T.S. Eliot to Carol Ann Duffy.
By the time I reached checkout my basket was over-flowing but I wasn't worried as the signs promised me 80% off.
I really should have read the signs better. What they actually said was 'Up to 80% off'.
Still money spent on books is an investment. Isn't it?
From Borders I carried on to Tesco where I engaged in a slanging match with the Self-Service checkout. The machine told me to, 'Place scanned item on tray (or whatever they call it).'
'I have done.'
'Place scanned item on tray.'
'I have done, you stupid machine.'
'Place scanned item on tray.'
'Look, it's there! Just because it's so light you can't register it doesn't mean I haven't put it there.'
And being a machine it doesn't lose its temper and maintains a calm voice. Unlike me.
I'm going to bed now.
He says that, at times, he's considered suicide. That is so sad.
He retired from international rugby a few years ago but was a fantastic player, great captain, and wonderful ambassador for the sport. I am confident that he will be amazed by the support he will receive from rugby players and fans everywhere.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The 'cheap' Maseratis. The slightly more expensive Ferrari. (Yes, that's £151, 850.)
And syrup sponge with real custard. (Real as in made with eggs not Bird's) (And with an extra jug of custard for pouring - and, in my case, scraping out the last dregs with a spoon.)
Friday, December 11, 2009
'Do you know where Ikea is?'
'Yes, of course.'
You can hear the alarm bells ringing, can't you? I couldn't. Which is why I drove around all of west Cardiff - not to mention Dinas Powis - before phoning Husband. 'Where exactly is Ikea?'
And once in, it's as if the normal rules of time and space no longer exist. If you've ever been in Ikea you'll know what I mean. It's hard to explain except to say, 'Think Tardis.' Bigger on the inside than the outside.'
I came out two and a half hours later with a trolley-load of stuff I didn't know I needed.
Phew. Is that all?
So when I got home last night the cooker and hood had been fitted, as had the replacement glass doors. The waste disposal was working and Daft Dai had even fixed the bath taps (the ones that we'd been without for about three months or more). It's like all my birthdays at once!
The house is still a tip, the kitchen has to be painted and the granite worktop finished, but there is hope now.
And Grand-Daughter is absolutely perfect. I know all grannies say this about their grand-children but she really is. Here she's saying, 'No, granny, I'm not going to open my eyes in this bright sunlight!'
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
We usually walk in the grounds of Killerton Estate, a National Trust property. It's excellent for dog-walking as it's a mix of open spaces and woods. I've got to know it well over the last few months but it's a good job Holly knows her way back to the car as every time I think I know where a path is leading, we end up somewhere else.
It's very much gentry country and most of the dog-walkers are green-welly-wearing spaniel owners. They're awfully nice and pass the time of day, commenting on the weather, giving me the opportunity to put on my telephone voice and say, 'Oh, yes, it's terribly muddy here.'
Unfortunately when faced with having to make conversation with anyone other than Holly or myself, I get flustered and turn into a yokel. 'Urm yeurh.'
Mud-caked trousers and fell-out-of-bed hair probably don't help either.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
in a first aid class;
when I cut myself;
when I thought Husband had been injured playing rugby;
when Younger Son as a toddler cut himself (I took him to hospital and I was the one who had to lie down);
giving blood (twice - they've banned me now);
and - until today the silliest - when visiting someone in hospital.
Today I excelled myself.
I fainted at the optician's.
Okay, I didn't actually faint but I had to ask if I could lie on the floor. Twice.
But my eyes are fine.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
While trying to work out how to work the new dishwasher Husband chipped a plate AND the new granite worktop.
And what's more, we have been blessed with Daft Dai, the thickest plumber this side of Merthyr. He's supposed to be coming back tomorrow morning at 11. Yeah, right, he said that last week too.
Good job we're going to see Grand-daughter tomorrow!
The cooker that should have been delivered next Wednesday won't be coming until the week after. Thus its fitting and that of the hood is delayed. (Will we have it for Christmas do you think?)
The new fridge didn't fit in the gap. Slav, our Ukrainian fitter, has had to remove skirting tiles.
The glass doors that were missing from the original order have been fitted - but now we've discovered they're the wrong colour. New replacements will be fitted the same time as the cooker.
We won't be able to open the dishwasher if we have the proper handle i.e. the same as all the rest, on the cupboard next to it. Slav is going to try to find an alternative handle as similar as possible. (And we paid 180 'beeping' pounds for those handles!)
Aren't these the sort of things kitchen designers are supposed to think about?!!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
a) George being beaten up by a small three-legged dog;
b) HollyDog and me being chased into bushes by cows (4-legged ones in spite of my drawing - I couldn't work out how to do the other legs);
c) Driving round the same roundabout in Exeter twice two times and using a Buses Only road.
I particularly wanted it before yesterday afternoon so I could write a short monologue from the information in it. I phoned someone else I thought probably had it: he didn't but suggested the library. I tried the library: they couldn't get it for me until the 9th.
I gave up and thought I'd have to borrow it from the prison chaplain yesterday afternoon; he didn't have a copy either.
My first choice for a monologue character had already disappeared off the face of the earth so I was getting a bit desperate now. I came home and started going through my shelves again. 'God, I really need this book!'
And there it was, not lined up neatly with the others, but actually sticking out from the shelf.
Coincidence? Maybe. But it's strange how often coincidences happen when I pray
'I mean, well, you sound rough.'
'No, what I mean is ... well ... you're from London.'
I'm thinking of a career change: there must be a diplomatic post in the Middle East for a woman of my talents.
P.S. Fortunately 'rough Londoner' was laughing. I say fortunately because not so long ago his reaction might be have been entirely more physical.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Before we got up this morning I said, 'Do you want breakfast in bed?'
'No, I'll get up.'
'Wait then while I go and put the oven on for the croissants.' (Luckily George had only managed to eat one before I caught him.)
'Nah, I'll just have toast for breakfast.'
'Okay, you can have bacon and brie croissants for lunch.'
'I was going to have cereal for lunch.'
'Oh, for heaven's sake! You are going to celebrate your birthday whether you want to or not!'
So we had croissants for breakfast on the dining table in between his laptop, an empty milk bottle, a piece of kitchen shelving and a pile of last night's dishes.
I could just imagine Albert Steptoe screwing up his nose and picking at a croissant while Harold wore a stripey jumper and said, 'This is the life for me, pater; I was born in the wrong country.'
P.S. If you don't know Steptoe and Son were rag and bone men and their home was a storehouse for their goods. Harold aspired to middle-classness.
Monday, November 30, 2009
The dishwasher is installed and working but I haven't used it yet. My excuse was that I didn't have any dishwashing tablets but really it's because the spectre of my granny is hanging over me tutting at my extravagance and laziness. I have to resist the voice that says, 'I'll just swill these couple of dishes in the sink.'
P.S. Husband has pointed out that since the worktop has been fitted we can't open the dishwasher because the door handles have not yet been put on. So that settles my dilemma for a bit.
P.P.S. I found, in a roundabout way while doing an inventory for Linden's insurance, a fabby blackberry-coloured waste bin that would look super in our new trendy kitchen. Sadly it was £159. However it did have a very solid top and if it stopped George raiding the bins maybe ... no, you're right: Husband is not going to fall for that.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Me, I'm thankful for my family - Husband, Daughter, Son-in-law, Elder Son, Daughter-in-law, Younger Son (and Girlfriend), Grand-daughter - and the good health we enjoy, for George, for my home and my life. I'm thankful for friends, for Linden and especially for Zac's. I'm thankful for Jesus.
And did I mention Grand-Daughter?!
We laid our babies on their fronts or sides anywhere in the cot, and fed them for 10 minutes a side; Grand-daughter is lain on her back 'feet to foot' (feet against the end of the crib) and fed one breast at a time (empty one on one feed and the other next time).
Ideas may change but babies are always wonderful!
Now I must stop thinking about Grand-daughter (I find myself stroking her face with my cursor) and do some work!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
'I can't make templates without the cooker.'
'That means I won't have worktops or, more importantly, a sink until mid-December. Couldn't you just do two sides?'
He took a sharp intake of breath. 'Jobsworth,' he said. 'I'll have to ask the boss.'
He disappeared off to phone his boss. When he came back in he said, 'Well, as it's Christmas ...'
By the time I got to the prison for carol service rehearsals I was half an hour late. But that was a minor problem compared to the 'casting' dilemma. (Did I mention that one of my star performers from last year has been transferred to another prison leaving me with just the one star?) There are about 380 inmates in the prison; how hard can it be to find one other man? Very, apparently. With about 3 weeks to go and limited times when I can go in I should be panicking by now. But I have a beautiful grand-daughter so I don't care!
As I was driving home thinking, 'what day is it? who am I?' I noticed the driver's door of the car in front opening. 'Oh, please don't do anything stupid! My reflexes are roughly negligible right now.' Fortunately he must have just been re-closing it.
I got home to be told we didn't have handles for our doors, instead of the two glass doors we'd ordered for top cupboards they'd sent glass doors for bottom cupboards, and we had the wrong sink.
It was dark by now so I took George down to the beach for a quick walk. As we got there the heavens opened. I don't know if he genuinely couldn't see me clearly or whether he was doing it deliberately but George came pelting down the beach and crashed into me three times. Then I saw a torch flashing in the bushes. Now this is the bit of beach by a rather notorious car park and it was also just about the place where a naked man had strolled out at me once. Enough is enough. I called George, 'Come on, butt, come and protect me.'
And then I got home and I sat at the computer and up on the screen came a photo of Elin Grace.
And the world is perfect.
Just like her chubby cheeks, cute nose, pouty mouth, soft skin, baby scent, biteable bottom, kissable toes, adorable fingers - (I can't comment on her eyes as she hardly opened them while I was there!) - but you get the picture.
All's well with the world.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Daughter phoned to tell me and she sounded remarkably good after 44 hours of labour - without drugs! She and Son-in-law had been left alone with Baby even before Baby was weighed. And they haven't settled on a name yet so I don't have any more details.
Daughter said they'd phone back to tell me what they were doing and what time visiting is. Since then I've put in even more washing, cleaned the living-room and had my umpteenth cup of tea. (I thought to myself, 'Can a girl have too many cups of tea?' I decided the answer was no.)
Sure as omelette is eggs as soon as I get in the shower they'll phone.
Oh, and the kitchen fitter arrived at 8.05 am. It's all happening today. I should have known there was an inevitability about it.
P.S. In case of any confusion, Baby and I are in Devon; Husband and the kitchen fitter are in Swansea.
Daughter has been in labour since Saturday afternoon. I just phoned the hospital and all they would tell me is that 'she's fine' and they hope to have some news soon.
Fine? Is that a euphemism for knackered?
I've already done the ironing this morning and I'm about to clean the living room. Charlie Cat attacks me every time I walk past so that I'm a nervous wreck, I have no finger or toe nails left, and I'm just the gran-in-waiting. How must mum feel?
God, please let it be soon and safe.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Please pray for a safe delivery - and that I concentrate while driving!!
Poor Husband has to stay here as:
a) the kitchen fitter arrives at 8 am tomorrow;
b) more importantly, he is absolutely full of cold and coughs.
I don't think I actually believed it would happen but it is!
More reports will follow I'm sure!!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The kitchen bits arrive tomorrow and the fitter moves in on Monday.
Daughter's baby is due tomorrow.
It still doesn't seem real. I can't really imagine it happening: a new kitchen after all these years. No, I'm joking. Well, I'm not; the kitchen has been a long time coming. But really I meant I can't believe that any day now - or almost certainly in the next two weeks - there'll be a new baby in the family. Daughter, my child, will have a child of her own. Another rite of passage.
I must start taking my phone with me when I go out. ('Which is what you were supposed to do from the day it was given you!' Husband points out.)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Before we got started last night Gerry showed me his feet. Living rough in the weather we've had over the past few weeks has been especially hard on his feet, the skin of which was cracked and raw. He had some new boots and he was rummaging in the Zac's store for socks. His feet were in a really dreadful condition but, oh my, they ponged to high heaven.
There's a lady, a nurse, who's volunteered with the homeless for years, tending their feet, cuts and colds. I have enormous respect for her, a fact that was brought home to me again last night: there was absolutely no way I could have touched - or even gone near - Gerry's feet. My stomach would have turned.
Another lady who was there last night was telling me about her job working with 'difficult' teenagers and when she said difficult, she meant violent, foul-mouthed, obnoxious young people. She is another whom I admire tremendously. She and others like her fill a vital need and get paid, in some cases, little more than the minimum wage.
When we hear of bankers getting huge bonuses, we surely have to ask: where is fairness in this world? These women don't do what they do for the money; their motives are selfless. Which makes them all the more worthy of respect.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
'Yes, I know.'
'Well,' he took a we-have-a-problem breath, 'we have a problem with your cooker.'
They couldn't get the one I'd ordered - my guess is that they forgot. Rangemaster, the manufacturers, don't have any in stock as they build more or less to order, especially in these recession days. He offered me another Rangemaster, almost exactly the same except it didn't have a lid. 'But it does have a wok stand and griddle.'
'But I want the one I ordered with a lid.'
'This one's got a child-proof lock.'
'I want a lid.'
'It's more expensive, but obviously, we wouldn't charge you the extra.'
'I'll think about it.'
I thought and came to the conclusion I wanted the one I'd ordered. It took us long enough to choose it and I've waited years for my new kitchen: if we have to delay fitting the kitchen for a few more weeks it won't hurt.
I called them back and told them.
Today the man from B&Q phoned me again. 'My boss has said we'll go ahead with fitting your kitchen and we'll lend you a cooker until yours is ready.'
Yay! Hooray for the assertive me!!
The wind was still gusting as we scrambled over the rocks. George was struggling to keep his balance.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Now regular readers will know that this is where Husband should have stopped but lemming-like he continued. 'I've been really busy in work AND I had to do the things you usually do.'
'I thought Younger Son took him out.'
'Well, yes, he did but I had to cook dinner.'
'You had leftover cold meat and salad one night and YS cooked fajitas the second night, so all you had to do was "cook" Sainsburys pizzas.'
'Well, I had to do the dishes!'
So what Husband meant was, 'I missed you ... doing the dishes.'
We are having a dishwasher fitted in our new kitchen so I guess he won't miss me at all after that.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
A bit late and a bit of a cheat as it's a short video.
Rugby games are always preceded by singing led by an army band and a male voice choir. Here we joined in with a well-known Welsh favourite, Delilah.
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