Sunday 2 February 2014

Frilly Yellow Rays of Hope

It was good to get out of my home-office and get some fresh air. But as January grumbled through its last few miserable days, the rain kept coming, the sky stayed grey and the cold wind blew my hood off and made me screw up my face like a prune. I shivered gloomily as I plodded around town and worked my way through my list.

In the last shop, something small and green caught my eye. Bunches of daffodil buds, tightly wrapped up in themselves at the top with thin leafless stalks, in groups of 15 or 20 with elastic bands holding them together. "Excellent", I whispered to them, "you're here because spring is nearly here. You'll make me feel better".

I bought a bunch, came home, released them from their elastic band and let them relax in a sturdy blue plastic beaker full of cold water from the tap. For the rest of the day, the daffodils didn't move. They seemed unimpressed, too chilly to bother. "Don't expect us to cheer you up", they seemed to mutter.

On the following day they hadn't bloomed, but the tight green buds at the top seemed a bit less tightly wrapped than the day before. "Well, maybe we'll try ... if you move us into the sun", they murmured.

The next day the sun came out, and the daffodils decided to bloom. "Ta daaah!" they grinned. And I love them. Frilly yellow rays of hope that remind me that winter is nearly over and spring is on its way.

Saturday 25 January 2014

An Old Man's Old Song

A baker friend of mine posted a photo of a cake on Facebook, with the words "For the Cake of Auld Lang Syne" written in icing on top. Quite funny but a bit random, I scoffed. But then I remembered that it's Burns Night tonight ... and then I remembered that I wrote this wee post exactly one year ago today ... and I decided to share it with you:

An Old Man's Old Song

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne

I have just learned that Robert Burns, Scotland’s favourite poet, wrote that song. Or at least he heard an old man singing a version of it, wrote it down, changed it around a bit and then it was his. A sweet, nostalgic celebration of friendship; all around the world, people hold crossed hands and sing it heartily to see the New Year in.

Tonight is Burns Night, and millions of friends of auld acquaintance will mark the great man’s birthday with bagpipes, whisky, poetry and a wee speech read to a haggis.

Friday 24 January 2014

Seduced by a Bergamot

I've got PG Tips, Peppermint Tea and Apple & Mango ... but NO EARL GREY. Cuppa catastrophe! And the fact that I mind, very much, indicates that something strange has happened to my tea-drinking habits.

You see, dear Reader, I've been absorbing a steady stream of ordinary bog-standard builder's tea several times a day since my late teens. But to my great surprise and for no apparent reason, I've recently switched to Earl Grey and now I can't go back! What the ...? Have I gone posh? Have I become delicate in my middle age? What is about Earl Grey that has turned my head and taken up residence in my mug, perhaps forever?

I googled it of course. Apparently it's the flavour of Bergamot that has seduced my tastebuds - a funny sour little Mediterranean orange that thinks it's a lemon and, according the Daily Mail online (so it must be true, er, right?) can help to lower cholesterol and protect against diabetes. So if you'll excuse me, I really must dash to Waitrose ...

Thursday 23 January 2014

Hello Again

Wow, I was mighty prolific as GBS in 2008, eh? I wrote 4 times as many posts that year as I did in the following 4 years altogether. And I wrote no GBS posts at all in 2013! I've been a bit busy, y'see. I blogged elsewhere, but it all seemed a bit pointless. Elsewhere just didn't work out for me.

So if anybody who knew me (well, knew me in a bloggy, electronic sort of way) in 2008 is reading this, here's an update on my life: I still live down south. I'm still married to the lovely Big G. I work part-time doing PR/marketing stuff for a local business. I also work for a theatre, publicising the marvellously eclectic assortment of shows that are performed there. My little kids are not so little now - they're 12 and 13 already - so much of my day is spent providing vast volumes of food, dodging mood swings, discussing tricky social situations and negotiating peace deals between fragile young teens as they blaze and blunder along their own precarious and prickly paths through adolescence.

There's lots more to tell. But later, dear blog, later.

Friday 9 November 2012

Low Key Sparkly Bonfire Night

This year Guy Fawkes Night came and went past our family in the most low-key fashion ever. The big town fireworks were on Saturday night - but we were at a friend's birthday party so we missed that - and on November the 5th itself Big G was working so we didn't arrange to go anywhere and it was just an ordinary school-and-work sort of day.

Luckily L remember-remembered that we had a packet of sparklers left over from last year. Inspired! I've no idea where I had stored them, but somehow she found them. At around 7pm - that handy hour after dinner but before Eastenders - we put on warm coats and old shoes and went outside.

The big tree in the back garden seemed huge and loomed over us like a gigantic vulture, and the area at the back behind the goal posts was thick black and silent. The children had two sparklers each and I had one. B solemnly did the man's job and lit the first ones with a barbeque lighter. We then cheerily ran around the lawn on squidgy autumn leaves, waving the sparkles here and there against the cold dark sky, writing our names in bright seconds of gold and surprising the guinea pigs.

Then we went inside and watched Eastenders. That was all.

Sunday 28 October 2012

The Leaves Leave

Yesterday we felt the first bite of winter. I had forgotten how unpleasant cold air feels on my skin. The leaves on the trees have been turning from green to yellow lately - I've tried to ignore it - but in the last week they have suddenly sped up and changed dramatically to reds and browns instead. I can ignore it no longer. The leaves are now withered and dry. They are giving up the fight, giving up their spectacular view, letting the icy wind push them off their comfortable branches and blow them ruthlessly into the cloudy sky. With a defeated sigh, they float down and land any-old-where, where they will let the ground take them back as mulchy muddy muck. The death throes of summer.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Piggy Now, Perky Later

January: the time for exercise, detox and healthy eating.

But I honestly don't know why I thought January would be a good month to stop drinking wine and scoffing crisps. I must have been deranged. January is an odious month and all I can do is try to mask its beastliness by ... well ... drinking wine and scoffing crisps as I wait for it all to be over.

I submitted my tax return today (slightly less hideous than expected) and I cleaned the bathroom (far more hideous than expected) so I have achieved something today, even if it's not healthy eating.

But never mind, payday will soon be here and soon after that the sun will shine and the clocks will change and I can wear sunglasses and then I expect I'll feel all perky and sprightly and decide to spring clean my insides with gallons of water and barrels of fresh veg. Until then, oink.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Blue Polyester Spaghetti

I bought the blue blanket nine years ago. I waddled into Mothercare like a bulbous penguin – hot, huffy and in a hurry to find comfort for the baby who had yet to draw his first breath.

I took the blanket home and washed it. I dried it, sniffed it and folded it up with gleeful anticipation. I dreamt of wrapping it around the soft little body that was kicking and wriggling and growing inside me, as I waited and waited and waited …

Eventually he came out and so did the blanket. At first it gave him warmth; later it gave much more. Security. Friendship. Somewhere to hide his face and cry. A plaything to wrestle with in his cot, he held the blanket up and gazed at the sunlight through the woven holes. He twisted it, hugged it and wrapped it around his feet. He learnt to walk so then he could drag it, swing it and take it outside.

Oops the blanket has torn, but never mind because now we have two! Oops torn again, but where did the other piece go? The baby got bigger and tougher, his blanket got smaller and tattered. No longer needed, all that’s left of it is a scrap – a tired, tiny tangle of blue polyester spaghetti. I had to use scissors to get it out of his bottom drawer, because some of the more wayward threads had wrapped themselves like ivy around the other ‘special stuff’ that he wants to keep: a carnival whistle, a sports day medal, a Mr. Funny bookmark, glass-less glasses and a cornucopia of other childhood knick knacks with cherished memories attached.

Now my small boy prefers football to snuggling, but the remnants of his blue baby blanket will never be thrown away. Sometimes, at bedtime, we look at it and laugh like fellow conspirators, remembering the olden milky days with a knowing chuckle. We feel ever so grown up.

Monday 26 July 2010

Goodbye Little White House

For my patient and forgiving readers who have been peering into this unreliable window on my life through their computer screens since 2008 ... when I first started wailing, and wondering why, and writing about how I had packed up and left my home, all my precious (but now fading) friends, my livelihood and the familiar streets of the birthplace of my precious babies and moved back down south ... well, we've finally sold the house!

Yes, our little white house in Cheshire. A place that holds a pinata-full of memories ... a little poke and they all come tumbling out. I still wish I could pick up that house that we nurtured so, and bring it down here. But that is of course fanciful silly-talk, and we've agreed to sell it to a stranger named Johns. Or is it Jones? Whoever they are, I hope they'll be happy there. I know I was (most of the time anyway).

Perhaps now Big G and I will be able to put down some new roots? Goodness knows, we have a bag full of homeless, dangling roots that need to be dug in somewhere.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Lime Green Time Machine

I keep meaning to google 'Alzheimers Prevention Techniques', and then I forget to do it. This does not bode well.

Over the course of this joyful, irritating, delightful, busy and utterly mucky weekend, full of me-and-the-kids-at-home-shenanigans and mess and distractions and sillyness, I've been more than usually despairingly sensitive to the passing of time, and my children being so deliciously young yet growing up so terrifyingly fast.

Many many times I've thought to myself: "I should blog about that - I don't want to forget it".

I didn't blog. And now ... I've forgotten all of it.

The red wine isn't helping.

So here is my pledge to my blog: Tomorrow I'll scribble down (in my new lime green notepad) as many anecdotes as I can think of about this weekend, and then list the best of them as a 'Weekend Top Ten' list on my blog.

Okay with you, dear Reader?!

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p.s. 26th July 2010: Dear Reader, never ever EVER believe any promises I ever make. Okay with you?