Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One Last Time

This afternoon at approximately 4 pm, when I open my front door, it will be over.

14 years, 3 children, several prams, a lot of footsteps, even more car miles and one worn out mother.

There's been times when I've gone out with my slippers on, driven into cars at the foot of my driveway, felt sick, and wanted to weep with the death of my parents. Sometimes I did weep.

There's been times when I've had to turn around because I'd forgotten lunches, swimming costumes, medicines and PE kits.

There's been acquaintances made and lost and friendships that have stood the test of time. Together we've experienced disappointments and frustrations, births and deaths, tears and laughter.

There's been wet days, rainy days and windy days. Days when I've skidded on ice, got stuck in the snow and days where I was so tired with my insomnia I pumped myself with caffeine and sugar just to get the kids there on time.

But today, at last, the school run is finally over.

They'll still be plenty more trips to school and elsewhere of course. This is just a stage in life - as a parent you never stop caring for your children. I know in the future they'll be trips to pick the boys up when they're ill, for sports days, parent's evenings and after-school activities. And then they'll be the trips to universities to hand over cash, rescue them from crisis and maybe deliver a wholesome(?!) meal. One day, there may even be trips to see the grandchildren.

But for now, I'm happy. A little bit more time for me - but always a lot of love for my children, wherever that journey takes me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This Book is Brillant by Jane Turley

What are the universally hated professions? These days it appears it is bankers, (sorry Mr Intrepid!) closely followed by builders (Sorry Gary!) and naturally - the estate agent. (Anybody an estate agent out there? No?  Phew, I can at least rant about them without feeling too guilty...)

Oh, in my experience, solicitors are a bit of a pain in the arse as well. Have you ever known a solicitor to actually contact you and say they've done something on time? NO! They always wait for you to ring them and ask what's happening and invariably the work has never been done. They're always missing a mysterious piece of paper or waiting for the other person's solicitor to send them another piece of mysterious paper..... I tell you, if I ever move house again I will be standing outside my solicitors with a red hot poker. You know, theoretically, you can actually conduct a house sale in about 2 weeks - not in the UK you can't though - not with your solicitor picking his nose all the time and filing his paperwork in the bin. Still, it's a small consolation that so many young people apparently want the prestige (ha, ha!) of being a solicitor they will actually be too many of them in a few years time and they'll end up with less pay than your average plumber!

Oh plumbers. I forgot about them. Hmm. They're not so great either are they? The one who springs to mind is the one who dropped his blowtorch is Mrs Midwife's sister-in law's attic and legged it. As a result her house burnt down. Think I'm kidding? I'm not. In fact, there's been two fires in our small village in the last few years - Mrs Midwife's and another one a couple of weeks back. In fact, I glanced out the window as I was pulling Master Ben's blind down  and I saw a huge, black plume of smoke. Wow, I thought, maybe that nutter with the helicopter pad (yes there is one) has crashed!  I was all for getting out Ben's Matchbox helicopter and leaving it on his doorstep as a replacement - I'm so thoughtful. Actually, it turned one of the retirement bungalows across the other side of the village had blown up in a gas explosion. See, I always say old folks eat too many Brussel sprouts and no one believes me......

Anyway, I'm kinda worried that I might have joined the ranks of the most hated professions myself - as a book reviewer. Now I know you, Dear Readers, are familiar enough with me to know that I'm a kind, sweet and good natured soul but I fear with my naughty book reviews I may get a reputation as bad as Cruella deVil. Oh woe, woe is me! I like to be liked! I don't want to be a baddie! But the problem is I just have to speak the truth as I find it - Yes, I am the woman who tells her friends if they have visible facial hair. What good friend wouldn't? But reviews, like any valuation, are just one person's opinion at a given time aren't they? People really shouldn't take them too seriously.....should they? Oh dear, poor Mrs T is all  upset that maybe will she soon be universally hated.......

Cripes, and what happens if I get my own novel published? Will all the authors I've reviewed come out of the woodwork and call it a pile of poo even if it is the work of genius that it obviously is? Oh dear, dear, dear.....they do say all publicity is good publicity but I'm not so sure.....

Hmm..... maybe I should be cunning. Perhaps I should change the name of  my book from Capital Crusader to This Book is Brilliant. Yeah, that's a good idea; it's pretty hard to review a book without the title and that one sort has a ring of success about it.? Kinda memorable eh? What d'you reckon Readers? Shall I do it?!

Anyway, on another matter (noticed how I've avoided the subject of bankers and builders!) this morning I had to take back a pair of trousers which were supposed to be "high waisted" but turned out to sit well below the waist. If there's any fashion designers out there please take note that people over 40 or who have had children DO NOT WANT THEIR BOTTOM ON PUBLIC DISPLAY and neither do we want to be hitching our jeans up every 30 seconds or look like we're about to break dance outside the school gates. Right have you got it? Well make some darn trousers that fit real women will you? And whilst I'm at it, I don't want skinny leg trousers or ones like masts that I could sail round the world with. Just normal stuff PLEASE. Oh yes, and also make some tee shirts with proper sleeves as well and not those ones that cut off at the shoulder with a silly tight elastic fitting that makes you look like mutton dressed up as lamb. Let's leave that to Priscilla Presley shall we?

Oh and whilst I'm in self pitying, ranting mode..have you seen the Kylie Minogue video for her latest release All The Lovers? Ghastly, ghastly, ghastly. I like the song and I even like Kylie's boots but all those folks cavorting in their underwear? No, no, no, no. It looks like some sort of Roman orgy but with no grapes. Not what I want to see when I'm eating my tea. Anyway, here's Kylie with All The Lovers but without that awful video;

Oh, there's also another naughty book review coming up from me next week on The View so stay tuned!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fairytale Kisses

Having been somewhat busy lately, I haven't got around to writing many of my Music Monday posts. However, I thought I'd pop in briefly to play a couple of songs from the group Ben's Brother  of whom I'm growing increasingly fond. I'm currently listening to their album Beta Male Fairytales. I'm not good at putting music into categories but I suppose it's what I would call a heavy pop sound whilst being a little more melodic than the norm. (Correct me if I wrong!)

The lead singer, Jamie Hartman, named the group after his brother in whose shadow he lived as a teenager; his brother was a top notch student and sportsman and went on to work successfully in advertising. Jamie is quoted as saying;

"I suppose I did live in his shadow....but I never hated him, which was fortunate because I could have ended up very bitter indeed. Our family has always been really close and also big on gallows humour." 

Jamie has a very interesting and pleasing voice. It has that feminine edge to it that quite appeals to my senses but at the same time has a raw huskiness reminiscent of Rod Stewart and Joe Cocker; a perfect voice for the passionate ballad. He also writes great lyrics! Have a listen to the two songs below for a taster. Firstly, there's Let Me Out which was nominated for an Ivor Novello award back in 2008 and then Stuttering (Kiss Me Again). The latter video caused me some amusement as it has been set to clips of famous screen kisses and I enjoyed trying to put film titles to some of those classic moments. It also made me feel that perhaps we don't do enough kissing as we get older! What a pity to miss out on one life's greatest pleasures; I'm gonna get my poster of Mick Jagger out and do some practice! In the meantime, I suggest you all turn to your nearest and dearest and give them a big smacker or even one of those long lingering kisses or even a sloppy French kiss....

Hmm, I think gonna stop there before my imagination goes a little haywire!

You know I'm not so sure about that Mick Jagger poster......maybe someone a little younger.........Hmm........let me see.........(rifles through magazines) Oh yes.......... that's better.......yummy..... yummy.......XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

No Returns

I’d never stolen anything before. Honest. It was the first time.

I guess there’s a first time for everything.

A first time for living, and a first time for dying.

It slipped silently into my pocket. No one saw, no one ever does. Least of all him. I don’t exist as me. Just a useful puppet. A puppet with broken strings.

It’s lavender fragrance. “Calming” it says on the bottle. It swirls, blends with the steaming water. The deep purple essence dilutes to shades of lilac bindweed, warm, inviting.

My fleshy thighs fade to shapeless shadows. My breasts lie flat. No more womanly curves. Just an amorphous being who cooks, cleans, and draws clouds in the dust.

Water trickles down the overflow. I don’t suppose many people have a waterfall for a requiem.

The bottle sits on the shelf, carton discarded. The scent spirals upwards, weaving its way to freedom. If only I could escape my box so easily. Climb free, run wild. But I’m sealed with sellotape and tied with string.

The water creeps into my ear, my head lolls. I feel relaxed, sleepy.

Sometimes it can be quite cosy in my box.

I hear small muffled voices. Crying, laughing. It’s just a trick. But it makes me wonder. Wonder whether I should sleep or not.

Bubbles in my nostrils. Only a moment longer now. I could hook my leg over the edge...or welcome the embrace.

But whatever I choose, they’ll be no return.

No Returns is a piece of flash fiction that I wrote for Gary Davison's writing competition. The challenge was to write a story in less than 250 words which included a given title and first sentence. Gary (my blog buddy) assures me my winning story wasn't a fix as he had 4 judges, including the author Ray Robinson who wrote this about No Returns. I put together this piece in a very short amount of time and submitted it exactly on the hour of the closing date (promptness is not a speciality as you know!) - with hindsight I'd probably change a couple of words.


Oh, and before anyone thinks I have plans to kill myself let me just say I am of completely sound mind; this is a work of fiction. Although I admit, I did once try drowning myself in a bath of liquid chocolate. Strangely enough, it didn't work.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The End is Nigh!

The day is coming. Yes, it is!

No, I'm not about to preach that the end of the world is approaching; I mean the day is getting nearer when I no longer have to do the school run.

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!

Sound the trumpets, wave the flags and blow the horns. Notify the Queen! I will be a free woman at last!

(Well, from 8am to 4pm anyway.)

Yes, finally, after 14 years of the school run, my two younger sons will be catching the school bus from the end of our road and my eldest will (hopefully) be going off to university. Believe me, as this day draws closer you've never seen a happier woman than Mrs T - except perhaps Demi Moore when she hooked herself Ashton Kutcher. (That was before she realised the cost of the extra childcare.)

Okay, okay get out your exercise book Mrs T...

I am not jealous of Demi Moore
I am not jealous of Demi Moore
I am not jealous of Demi Moore
I am not jeal..........

Look, there is something to be said for having an older husband! Umm.. When I discover what it is I'll let you know. In the meantime, what can I say?

I have an aversion to slippers.

Anyway, in preparation for Young Sam leaving the bosom of the family I have spent the last week or so researching second hand cars. And blimey, what a nightmare! I haven't even had time to blog what with the endless searching, insurance quotes and test drives.  Of course, Young Sam would happily settle on anything with 4 wheels - but when I suggested a scooter with some extra wheels he didn't take too kindly to the idea. Pity. I kinda liked the idea of him scooting down the bypass at 60mph - I think actually seeing daylight and breathing air instead of living in that darkened room with the fetid odours of decaying salami sandwiches would have worked wonders for his acne. Still, what am I to know? I'm only his mother.

However folks, since Yours Truly is forking out for this car I have noticed that Young Sam has been slightly more appreciative of my cooking. Hmm..what a duplicitous fellow. Does he think I can't work it out? Anyway, little does he know that I have plans for him this summer;

I am going to teach him how to cook! (No laughing please.)

Yep, the best Young Sam can presently do is warm up a tin of soup. And if, horror upon horrors, I should ask him to make a cup of tea he looks at me with a face like the president of BP might have when he finally realises the UK shareholders aren't going to let him have a bonus this year. Yep, you know the look that says;

What? I'm innocent! I swear to God I screwed that cap on really tight; it's not my fault it was a toothpaste cap! I blame my secretary she didn't send me a memo that I needed a bigger cap....."

Said the actress to the vicar. (Sorry couldn't resist that. Too easy.)



May I suggest we all cover our eyes and ears now before this catastrophe of film making is unleashed upon the world.

Hmm... I wonder; do they use midget replicas for those action sequences? Do you think the props man glues together Airfix models of F11s and then tells Tom to hop on in? Hmm...just curious....

Anyway, back to Young Sam. So I'm going to teach him how to cook. Now folks, I have actually tried teaching him before but he never takes me seriously. So this time I think I'll start with some of my simple recipes such as;

1. Pizza. Take off wrapper. Put in oven. Stand next to it so you can rescue it before it starts to burn.

2. Cheese omelette. Whip up 3 eggs with a little milk. (Remember to remove shells first.) Put in hot frying pan. When it looks a little firm add cheese and fold over into a pancake shape. When that fails mash it all up and make it into scrambled egg. Serve with beans.

3.Chicken curry. Dice up some chicken breast and fry in a little oil. Open jar of sauce and tip on top of chicken. Simmer for 30 minutes. When 27 minutes have passed, open packet of rice, place in microwave on high and cook for 2 minutes. Perfect.

4. Tuna and pasta speciality a la Mrs T. Boil some pasta, when cooked rinse under cold water. Add some tinned tuna and salad cream. Chill in fridge and Hey Presto one culinary delight!  (If feeling adventurous, add some tinned sweetcorn.)

5. Angel Delight. Open packet and whip contents with half a pint of milk. (If you pour in too much milk serve in glass as a milkshake.)

So that's my easy recipes. Not too too difficult to handle I feel. My spaghetti bolognese might prove a little more difficult - I have problems with that stringy stuff.

Anyway, don't think I'm stopping with just cooking folks; I also have plans to teach Young Sam how to clean the bathroom!  Now I have actually being making hints about his lack of bathroom cleanliness for sometime by using the following subtle remarks;

1. Oh my God...what is that?!

2. Bloody Hell...someone pass me the air freshener.

3. Cough, cough, splutter, splutter. SAM!!!!! Would you mind opening the window, I can't reach because I'm having convulsions.....

4. Sam..... do you have a problem you want to tell me about?

5. It's alright everybody; I've just fenced off the bathroom.

6. If that's a slug trail then I'm Coco the Clown.

7. I've only got rubber gloves Sam, not body armour.

8. Jesus, and I thought meconium was bad.........

9. HELP! There's a python down the toilet!

10. Pass the gas mask Sam; I'm too young to die.

11. Have you got a dead rat up your arse Sam?

12. So how's the experiment going Sam? Is is safe to turn the lights on?

And so on....

But so far he's just not getting the message. Now I don't really want to call my own son thick ...

But he's thick.

But is that intentionally thick or unintentionally thick? Is he pulling a fast one on me Readers by ignoring this problem? Hmm...Mrs T is perplexed. But one thing Mrs T does know is that all the males in her house have the same problem......

You know, I think I'm going to become a lesbian and move in with a woman. Bathroom cleanliness issue instantly solved.

Okay, I could have a problem in that I actually prefer men but well sometimes where needs must.....

Right... so I'm looking for a woman who is prepared to do all the cooking and cleaning and just let me slob around and do whatever I want. Any takers?!

My Nominees for the US and UK Elections and Other Waffle

It's the early hours of the morning, and I have had a large gin... Late-night alcohol is always a good recipe for writing gibberish. And...