Monday, December 31, 2007

If only I could stick to New Year Resolutions...

One of my strange idiosyncrasies is that I'm very good at doing things for other people but absolutely rubbish at doing things for myself. Thus when I agree to do something for someone else I will invariably do it any cost but when it comes to doing something such as losing like weight, or actually having a beauty routine (I don’t) or keeping fit which would all be of great benefit to my health and decaying looks, I find it very difficult to maintain the impetus for much longer than 24 hours. I suspect I am not alone in this; the truth is many mothers are so wrapped up in the welfare of their children, their jobs and 101 other tasks that they often find themselves at the bottom of the pile. Then one day you realise you look weather-beaten and washed up and those last few years when you could have looked half decent have been lost in a multitude of nappies and dirty dishes. (That day is a bit of a bummer I can tell you so get your bottle of sherry in now and stash it at the back of the pantry in preparation.)

Ok, so better make some resolutions for this year. Yawn, yawn...

1. Remember to take my cactus appetite suppressants. (Which seem to be helping although I'm a bit distressed by the increase in spiky body hair.)


2. Remember to remove the spiky body hair. (But not with Immac/Veet as last time I managed to get it on my head and was very disconcerted when even more of my hair starting falling out the following day.)

3. To stop burning the oven chips. (Pretty unlikely.)

4. Give Mr Turley something other than cheddar cheese in his sandwiches which he has had every day for the last 20 years. (Spam or Ham or maybe… Edam?)

5. Stop eating chocolate. (Damn. Damn. Damn… if I don’t have a regular fix I turn into a raging lunatic.)

6. Exercise more frequently. (Slightly hampered by a dodgy knee which fortuitously manages to play up every time Mr Turley wants to do a long distance walk.)

7. Remember to wash, comb my hair and change my knickers before I do the school run. (Well maybe I’d better just start with remembering to change out of my slippers.)

8. Join the WI and invest in a large case of over ripened tomatoes. Yippee! Oh, let me explain as you won't understand if you're not British; ladies of a certain age in the UK join The Women's Institute, a group which discusses the noble arts of flower arranging and cake baking. Occasionally, they slow hand-clap the prime minster if he's been particularly naughty. I'm planning something a little more entertaining because, frankly, I'm not keen on kilts. Well, not on men that look half dead anyway.

9. Send the Education Secretary a bill for all the private tuition I've had to fork out for my kids. (Inside a dubious looking package postmarked “Holland” - with any luck he’ll be fired.)

10. Stop looking at men’s arses. (No chance… I'm pre menopausal and I'm having a surge of hormones.)

I’ll let you know how I get on...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

You thought I disliked football? You haven't heard me rant about steam engines!

Just for starters here’s my review of the Thomas Tank Engine book A Cow on the Line by the Rev Awdry. Let’s introduce it with that lovely theme tune from the TV series. Here we go…

♫ ♫ De de de de de de derrrrrrrrrrrrde de de de de de de de de de derrrrrrrrr…♫ ♫
Come on, get into the spirit now!

(Alternatively, put your ear muffs on.)

There, don’t you feel exhilarated. No? Why not? Perhaps it’s because that repetitive tune is enough to drive a woman who has seen every engine shed and pisston in the whole of England to sheer and utter madness. (Me, obviously) In fact when I hear it, I reach for my double barrelled shotgun in order to blow my brains out. Unfortunately, the kids keep holding me back:

“No, no, Mummy you must watch this bit. It’s so funny!"

Yeah, yeah…and Gordon Brown isn't Scottish.

The reasons I've selected A Cow on the Line to review from the many Thomas books are:

a) It doesn't have Thomas in the title and I'm sick of him.

b) It sounded like it could be marginally more absorbing than the others. ( Until I opened it.)


Review: there’s a cow on the line and regrettably it doesn't get run over which would have made the whole storyline a lot more interesting.


Have you noticed that the Thomas stories are a little repetitive? No? Perhaps you were spaced out by the constant choo-chooing and poop pooping. Strangely enough, when I want to know about puffing and panting it's not this kind of book I want to read.


I suppose the kids like the Thomas books but really they’re not that imaginative or particularly well written... and somewhat dated especially as Thomas doesn't transform into an intergalactic engine that flies to the moon and destroys all other steam engines in his path. Shame really.


De de de de de derrrrrrrrrrr, de de de de de....... ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫

Right then -you should be getting the idea now that I'm not keen on steam engines. In fact the only thing that could be worse than a steam engine is a steam engine full of football supporters. I equate this to being in purgatory: when the inevitable happens and should I have been too naughty a girl to wing my way to the pearly gates my punishment will be an endless train journey squashed in a tatty seat, surrounded by drunken Luton Town Supporters. (All wearing baggy shorts.)

Yes, I’ve stood on, sat on and admired numerous steam engines. I’ve even risked my life by driving with only one hand on the steering wheel whilst pointing out the window and yelling “Look! There’s a steam engine whoo-whoo!” Yes, when you’re desperate to avoid the kids vomiting or stabbing each other in the back seat of the car it’s amazing how even the most boring things become suddenly so interesting. Yes, I’ve been known to become positively orgasmic at the site of a digger or a crane in full action. Sad, but true.

So what is it about steam engines that men find so exciting? Well obviously steam engines have big round wheels which are a major plus factor. (The male fascination with all things round a subject I have already espoused upon.) They are also disgustingly dirty and greasy, rather like football boots. (Which men also find appealing but as any mother knows must remain that way until 10 minutes before they are next required when hubby will use the best cutlery to prise the dirt off and invariably flick it all over the kitchen worktops.) Steam engines are also very noisy and grate on the nerves, again rather like football supporters, and every now again they emit an irritating whistle that sends shivers down the spine of any women stood on a platform knowing soon she will have to fork out an extortionate amount of money for a short and hideously uncomfortable journey. So to sum up; men like noisy, greasy, dirty things with big round bits which occasionally make high pitched squeaking noises. Sorry I can’t fully explain why…but it is obviously why Jordan is so popular.

Pictured below is Jordan. Britain's premier glamour model. Just as well she didn't want to be swimmer as she might have encountered a few problems. Beach ball might have been a suitable alternative though. Rumour has it that she is involved in scientific experiments to see how far human skin can stretch before it spontaneously combusts - not long to go now obviously.

Implants at their best/worst. Why Jordan is pointing at her breasts I've no idea as even without
my glasses I'm not having difficulty in seeing them.
Anyhow, here are my top tips for ensuring your son doesn’t become one of those old men lovingly stroking some olds nuts or a large rusty pisston;

1.Don’t buy him a train set. Buy him Monopoly instead; with any luck he might become a property magnet and you won’t have to sell your house to pay off his student debts.

2.Don’t buy him a Casey Jones type hat because a) he’ll look pretty stupid and b) he may end up as a cross dresser.

3.Don’t buy any Thomas the Tank Engine Books and if anyone gives them to you burn them along with any copies of Postman Pat. (Sorry, it won’t be smokeless fuel, but it’ll be very satisfying.)

4.Don’t let him watch any Thomas the Tank Engine video or DVD… he might pick up a Liverpool accent (which frankly would be worse than becoming a train driver.)

5.Encourage him to play “chef” in the kitchen and if he can also develop a lisp he could become an overpaid TV chef, producing inedible dishes but being paid heaps of cash which hopefully you will be able to (discreetly) embezzle.

Friday, December 28, 2007

What Is It About Men And Balls?

Having returned from nearly 2 hours standing in the cold watching two of my boys play football in a Christmas kick around with some of the dads from the football club I am posing the question...

WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEN AND BALLS?

Yes, I know men do possess balls.(Although I'm not sure about Gordon Brown now that he's ratified that treaty without asking the consent of the electorate.) Maybe that's why men have an affinity with anything relatively circular in shape: footballs, snooker balls, beer glasses, women's bottoms (regrettably, this doesn't include mine as it's round shape has become somewhat elongated over the past decade) and of course... breasts.

Women know men are particularly stupid about round things and even the thickest women know that if they stuff their breasts with large amounts of silicone so their breasts have a taut and bulging roundness they will become instantly more desirable to the opposite sex. Personally, I think cotton wool is so much easier: it's a hell of a lot cheaper, softer, easily removable and won't knock your partner out if you accidentally squash him during a passionate love making session.

Yep, men like round things.They can't stop playing with them either. Have you noticed they're always fiddling with them? On the cricket field those boxes always seem to require adjusting, on their desk at work they have a little squidgy ball that they can fiddle with every time they remember they can't multi-task and they particularly love those round soaps on a rope as a Christmas gift. (I think this is just so they can drop it in the bath and have lots of fun finding it.)

Men spend hours and hours kicking balls, throwing balls and, of course, watching balls. Yes, I'm sure I'm not the first woman who has been mightily displeased during the throws of ecstasy to find herself listening to the football scores.Men take note - if you want your woman to be satisfied turn the telly off. (Unless Alan Hanson is commentating which may in fact increase her libido. You know what? There's just something about that guy and it not jus just his wallet...)

Why men haven't developed a game called "Handball" instead of "Football", I don't know. Then they'd have the perfect excuse to feel their balls all the time, rather than making a sorry excuse by pretending they don't care by kicking them, heading them, bouncing them off their chests and feebly crying "handball!" should one accidentally touch them.

I'm not saying women don't like round things too because I particularly like a number of round things which include:

Pound coins. (They have a certain feel about them which is pretty good and if they just happen to be in Alan Hanson's pocket I'd be even more pleased.)

Chocolate Footballs. ( The only kind of footballs that require my undivided attention.)

Chocolate chip muffins. ( Even more satisfying than chocolate footballs.)

Round tins. ( Containing Quality Street, Roses or perhaps Celebrations.)

Men's arses. ( Yes, a pert round bottom is very attractive but, alas, even though we women spend hours watching football we don't even get to look at any nice ones as they're all hidden underneath those truly horrendous baggy football shorts. I say bring back those tight seventies shorts and let us have some pleasure whilst we stand in the cold.)

Good. Now I've got that off my not very round chest, I'm going to have my lunch; a banana, I think. A much more interesting proposition......

Thursday, December 27, 2007

There comes a time when you have to explain The Circle of Life.

I'm normally a cheery type of gal but this evening I have the arduous task of telling the kids that Granny Turley died earlier today. Kids are so succinct too - no doubt they will some it up in some heart breaking sentence that will make it difficult to hold back the tears. This is not the first time I've had to do this. I prepared my eldest for my father's death some years ago by telling the truth to which he replied "You mean his heart will stop beating?" I've never forgotten his words, so succinct, so final. I've already told him today's news. He's now 16 and as a teenager he is absorbed in his own life so in a way it will be easier for him but later I must tell the younger ones who will take it much harder...their memories of Granny and wonderful times in her garden will still be fragrant and fresh.

You know, I think it is very important never to underestimate the grief of small children. I always remember the total devastation I felt when my own grandmother died. We were very close and even today people remark upon our similarities in our looks and personalities  She too, had a streak of madness and had she been alive today no doubt she would have been penning her very own "Diary of a Mad Grandmother." Occasionally, I still wear some of her hats; she was a furrier by trade in the days when that was an acceptable way to make a living that way. Like her, I tend to wear them in a quirky fashion. I still have a pair of her shoes in the wardrobe...

But the thing I remember most is that I never had the opportunity to say goodbye to her and to tell her that I loved her.

However, it's not easy being a parent. Each child has a different relationship with their grandparents. Some children would be devastated to see their loved ones on their death bed but for others it would be healing...and then you have the enormous task of dealing with your own grief too. There is no right or wrong answer, no set course... but death is hidden away these days, often ignored. It shouldn't be.For it is as much a part of life as birth and something ultimately we will all one day experience.

It always saddens me that many people do not or cannot acknowledge another person's grief. Sharing emotions, be it love, pain, joy or sadness is what makes mankind truly special... what should enrich our lives...but it seems we are losing our way in this materialistic, greed-orientated world; money over morals, politics over passion, labour over love.

It will be our undoing.

Life brings lessons; sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet. I learned mine long ago, the day my grandmother died. I regretted that I'd never told her I loved her and when my father lay dying I was able to find the words and tell him I loved him... and I'll never forget the look on his face.

And so the time approaches.I always knew that Lion King video would come in handy.

The Circle of Life.


Granny Turley, Jacob and Benedict in 2005. Happy Days.







Decisions, decisions.

Yes, it can be very tough when your husband works long hours knowing when to make a decision and deciding whether or not if you've made the right one. Now when you've had your first baby this usually revolves around "Shall I call the doctor or not?" or "Shall I give one spoon of Calpol or two?" Fortunately, when you get to my advanced age and the three kids are out of their nappies (Thank God) it usually revolves around whether or not to have one glass of wine or two. (Sometimes more - depending on just how annoying those kids have been.)

Of course, an even more tantalising decision is whether or not to have chocolate with fruit and nuts in it or just stick to plain Galaxy. Personally, I'm not too fussed either way because, as all us gals know, chocolate can be a lot more satisfying than sex - and you get to roll it around your mouth without choking.

So as an insomniac of the highest degree I took the decision in the early hours this morning to create my own blog as I rolled some Maltesers around my mouth and gave 'em a good suck. (Yep - it was very satisfying.) Well, why not Blog? Publishing to the web could be a New Years Resolution alongside decreasing the size of my arse by 50%, remembering to pluck those stubbly facial hairs and to feed the kids so Social Services don't get called out. So Hello and Welcome to the Diary of a Mad Housewife.....

Maltesers. A satisfying suck.