Not suitable for people with irony deficiency and
cannot guarantee nut-free

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Mud, Midlife Crises and Mayhem

One word to sum up this half-term: MUD.
Rain + boys + football in the garden = MUD x 10000000.
Sometimes the mud stays in the garden.
But more often than not it comes INSIDE THE HOUSE.
Coating boys.
And their kit.
And the walls.
The floor.
The bath.
The shower.

(Dear K., sorry I sent your children home today with a large plastic bag of mud.  If you dig around you should find their clothes and shoes in there somewhere.  Don't worry about letting me have the mud back, you can keep it, we have plenty here, and I know you will enjoy it - it's organic).

What was once a lawn, is now a treacherous mud wrestling arena.
Hey. Silver lining.
Must contact GirlonGirlAction TV...

While I am busy with my mud/mop midlife crisis, Mr B is having a midlife moment of his own.

He would really like one of these.

Taken from MenoPorsche website, vroom vroom

Then a few months ago he wanted to buy one of these.

Some sort of electric guitar

No, he can't play the guitar but that's not the point.

The latest is he wants to get one of these.
Take from WaterRower website, sploosh, sploosh

Yep, a rowing machine.

Look, they come in different finishes and really set off your decor a treat.

You could also hang trousers on them, or a train a plant to grow up them.
Or spend the evening looking at them, like this couple. What fun!

Maybe you are wondering where the mayhem comes in.  It doesn't.  We take things steady at Blighty HQ.   I just needed another "m" word.

But I do have some important correspondence update news.

Do you remember I read this fab book recently?

Well I emailed Ms Bussman to tell her how much I enjoyed it and she emailed me back.  How kind and polite of her.  I was so thrilled I wanted to email her back and swear undying devotion and become her new best friend but Mr B warned me: "That would be stalking and we have already talked about that."  He is no fun these days.

 I also had a reply to my tragic empty Crunchie letter. They kindly sent us a £2.50 voucher.  But sadly their letter was a standard form one. I don't think they really took my letter seriously for some reason.

Well the boys go back to school tomorrow. Just in time.  Can't take much more boy humour.  I leave you with their "joke" of the week ( I use the term "joke" in its widest possible sense) :
Boyz:  "Mumeeeee, what do you call a winged horse?"
Mrs B: "Er, dunno."
Boyz: "Pegasus."
Mrs B: Fascinating.
Boyz: "Right, so what do you call a winged willy?"
Mrs B: "Leave me alone, I'm on the loo."
Boyz (through bathroom door):  "Penisus!"

 (Cue raucous laughter, collapsing onto floor, shrieking etc.  Really must get myself under control).

I blame the parents. I really do.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Slap Update, Other Books and Channelling Our Inner Picasso

Dahlings, please forgive my lack of posting.  Boys1 and 2 are on half-term.  Shocking, as it seems just the other day that they went back after Christmas. 

Evidence of half term:

Spider suspension.

Small boy writing practice. I don't dare tell him that "jealousy" is misspelled. Else there may be "irritation" and  "kicking".

The weather has been lousy so we decided to do some Art.  Grandma Whacker gave Boy 1 paints for Christmas.  Thank you Grandma!!

When we started it, it looked like this.

But pretty soon it looked like this.

Then a hairdryer got involved.  Boy 1 said it was standard practice for arty types.

Boy 2 produced a picture of an evil apple.  He called it "Evil Apple".

Boy 1 did something very clever with interlocking doves.

Afterwards I hosed down the kitchen, the boys and myself, and then had a restoring cup of tea. We'll do art again soon - some time next year.

Thank you to Linda in Chile and to Kate B who recommended this book.

I got it through our library. For free.  Amazon wanted to charge me £62 for a copy, on the basis that it is an exotic Australian import.  £62, has the world gone mad?  I am looking forward to this and may even let Boy 2 read it as well.


   I found it absorbing and thought provoking but found most of the characters grotesque, almost caricatures, particularly Hector, Harry and Gary. In fact Hector and Harry seemed very much the same.  And I found it all very unrealistic: most parents I know, male and female are busy working, working and working, juggling appointments, doing the school run, making Tudor costumes, taking the car to the garage, cleaning paint off small boys, going to the supermarket, our time and minds filled with the minutiae of everyday living.  The book's characters seemed concerned mostly with sex, both marital and extra marital, drinking and pill popping.  I guess they have superior time management skills and the constitutions of an ox. I also found Aisha and Sandy and even Rosie surprisingly subservient to their husbands.  And it was so over the top, the writer just had to push it with everything e.g. Rosie has to still be breast feeding a 4 year old; teenage Richie celebrates graduating high school by shooting up speed for the first time, Aisha just has to have fab one night stand sex at a conference....enough already!  So I agree with Nik and Kate, I can't believe this represents middle class families living in Melbourne.  Kylie/Mouse directed me to an excellent review that a friend of hers did, please look once you have read the book.

As an antidote to all this torrid stuff, I have turned to this.  I want something gentle and quietly observed.  With no bonking.  What's the betting I get to page 42 and all sorts of shenanigans breaks loose!

I am also planning on reading this, I have heard good things about it.

While on the subject of reading, do you find blogging and reading blogs means you read fewer novels?  I do, which I find a shame. I am intrigued by this lady who for a year read a book a day, and still continues to read at an amazing pace.

  How does she do it?  Of course she must read very quickly but does she only sleep 4 hours a night?  Do her family get annoyed that she always has her head in a book?  Does she ever get headaches which stop her reading?  Has her eyesight got worst?   Whatever, she is a great source of interesting books to read.

 Finally, look what a very kind and thoughtful friend gave me.  She had read me going on in the blog about Clock Failure.  Thank you S. so nice of you.  The cutest little clock ever.

Friday, 18 February 2011

A Complete Clock Up And A Costume Drama - Chocolate Required Urgently

Hello Dahlings!  So much to tell, so little time!  (Ha, so little time, in fact no time at all, I crack myself up!)

Blighty HQ has been struck down by Systematic Clock Failure.

This clock does not work.

This clock does not work.

This clock does not work.  (Yes Mr B, I have tried putting in new batteries)

Even Mr B's trusty hi-tech Casio which updates using satellite signals beamed  down by little men on Mars (oh yes, I read the user manual  - see p.175. section 4a)  is Not Performing Properly.  This is his arrangement to top up its solar power panels.  Er, Mr B, that's the teabag jar you have used for propping up   - can I risk a cup of tea or will it jeopardize the important work of the European Space Agency (Buckinghamshire branch)?

AND - Boy 2 cheerfully informed me that he had lost his watch at school
BUT - his friend Clifton Perkins ( not his real name) found it for him on the astroturf
BUT THEN - watch later crunched in freak classroom collision scenario and now hands (of watch not of Boy 2) free floating so possibly time keeping not 100% accurate..

AND - my old Omega watch which I bought 100 years ago has also stopped working
AND - I took it to Omega shop in Regents Street Lundun
AND - they phoned and told me it needed "servicing" which would cost £250 - I kid you not - £250, has the world gone mad?  They could not tell me what wrong with watch but yes, 250 big ones would be needed.  I am going to contact Scotland Yard as I feel this is a watch hostage extortion type situation.  I want a SWAT team to storm that building and get my watch back.  I can always paint the hands to the correct time using my handy laundry marker pen.

But I think the Universe (the one that directs Faux Fuchsia to bake and me to buy nail polish) is trying to send a sign:

A Rolex is the answer.  Everything will continue to be Out of Alignment till I get a Rolex.
(Mr Blighty, how am I doing? Is this convincing? Oh well. it was worth a try).
As if I didn't already have enough of a crisis on my hands, Daphnes4Boyz, that excellent country club (with school attached) to which Boys 1 and 2 belong, has thrown me a curved ball re Boy 1's costume for the Tudor play.

I had already cobbled together this.

Then my lovely neighbour M ( hello M!) lent me this brilliant doublet - her grandmother used to organise pageants years ago and she has the most fabulous range of costumes - matador outfit anyone?

But then Daphnes4Boy$ (not a typo, they have just rebranded to make it clear that they are happy to be paid in US dollars, they have an Equal Opportunities Policy where hard currency is concerned) - sent me these instructions!

 Has the world gone mad?  Do they think I am some sort of 1950s housewife with nothing better to do than drink cocktails  tea and eye up the tennis instructor  Rolex website?   My clock calendar clearly says 1982 ( oh sh*t, not another clock gone!).  I have not got the skills to do advanced origami type dressmaking.
Plus, I have already got my outfit prepared BUT
it's a 1537 one, not 1538!  Oh the shame!  All the other boys will be in the latest fashion for 1538, Boy 1 will stand out like a sore thumb and be scarred for life.  The horror! Total crisis!

To take my mind off these trying events, I have now taken complaining letters to an all time low.
I'll leave you to read this.  And yes,  I did actually send it.

Must go now, might be time to get the boys from school. Or to get them to school. Whatever.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Books and Films

Dahlings, yes I know, two posts in one day!  I must have some sort of compulsive obsessive blogging syndrome (wish I could turn that into the acronym COBBLERS but can't manage it).

I am thinking a lot about the lovely Louise of InTownsville, who I had the pleasure of meeting in London a few weeks ago. Once back in Northern Queensland, Louise had to deal with cyclone Yasi. Carrying out repairs and surveying the damage aftewards, Louise had a dreadful fall and is now under house arrest in hospital, not allowed to move, to allow her poor back to heal.

With Louise in mind, what books and films would you recommend, to divert her, cheer her up, pass the time as enjoyably as possible?

My friend Septic Sue (not her real name, did you guess?) put me onto this:

English celebrity interviewer in LA decides to go to Africa to write about war crimes and because she fancies a peace negotiator guy.  It is very funny and very rude.  Difficult to work out what is more frightening - the Lords Army or some of the celeb's PRs.

I have also been dipping into this:

 This chap torments email tricksters, to such an extent you actually end up feeling sorry for them.

I am looking forward to reading this:

It's about someone slapping a child who is not their own.  Years ago, when Boys 1 and 2 were tiny, I saw a Japanese lady slap a toddler (someone else's child) on the cheek, who had hit her little son.  It was a frantically busy playgroup at a church in Notting Hill, a bit of a free for all.  Those of us who saw what happened did a sharp intake of breath, and being English, said nothing.  The other toddler was a monster and she probably did it instinctively to protect her child, but still...  I knew she was lucky that the mother did not see her, otherwise it could have got really nasty - police, assault charges.

What films would cheer Louise up?  The films I have watched recently haven't really been a funfest:

We all know poor old Edith had a sad life.

This one, Le Refuge, by French director Francois Ozon was very French and really rather annoying and yet watchable at the same time.  An everyday tale of beautiful pregnant recovering heroin addict, who still managed to dress chicly, with no financial worries and a beautiful house at her disposal..

Lastly, a film I really enjoyed but definitely not one for Louise or for anyone else about to go into hospital.  This features a creepy doctor...enough said.

Mr Blighty gets romantic

Happy Valentine's Day Dahlings!

Mr Blighty got very romantic yesterday.  You will recall his enticing offer of a trip to the Borehamwood Vehicle Licensing Centre a while back.  Well, he has gone one better.

"Mrs B" he said, in his special husky voice, "do you fancy coming with me to..."
(Be still my beating heart).
"What, Mr B, what?"
"The dump.  We need to get rid of those old goal posts and all those cardboard boxes."
"But what about the boys?" I ask.
"I'd thought we'd keep them for a bit longer..."

Anyone got Warnie's phone number?

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Unfortunate Publications and Mrs B back in da Village

So last week when all the turmoil in Egypt first hit the news, this publication flumped throught the letterbox.  It is Mr Blighty's Civil Service Motoring Association magazine.  I can tell you are impressed.  It's a right racy read. Well no, it's not.  And this time poor old CSMA Club have been tripped up by international events messing with their content.  How very inconsiderate of those Egyptian chappies.  Trip of a lifetime anyone?

Not the best timing and I keep thinking that chap in white is Orlando Bloom, but maybe that's just me

For a while now, I have been struggling to get Boy 2 to embrace reading. Boy 1 was bitten by the reading bug a couple of years ago and now happily lies on his bed not doing his homework but engrossed in Artemis Fowl books which are all about a boy criminal mastermind. So important for boys to have good strong male role models.

I am actually quite happy with Artemis as previously there was a most trying flirtation with a series of books about Warrior Cats - yes, tribes of puddies with annoying names like Cinderpaw. It was beyond tragic, I had to bite my tongue when reading this tosh not to blurt out " The Black Metal Snake is a ROAD with CARS on it you stoooopid moggies and in the next chapter Fluffyplumpkins the Overlord is going to get flattened by a truck, so get over it!"

But Boy 2 has steadfastly remained aloof from this reading malarkey. He reads only on a "need to know" basis: instructions on computer games, cake wrappers and explosives manuals. But the other day we had a breakthrough. He came out of school clutching this and read it all the way home. I'll knock the lamppost back into shape later.

I announced this development triumphantly to Mr B over the phone. "What is the book called?" asked Mr B.

"Do hope that is not being used as a verb!" comments Mr B.   Not helpful Mr B. Back to the spare room.

Now below we have a little book I borrowed from our local library to help the boys with their French.  (I do wonder why those 2 are being let loose on another language when they have more than enough scope for atrocities against language with their mother tongue... "random" as the only adjective for example).

The story is in English at the top and French at the bottom.

Poignantly, the goldfish checks out early on in the book.

But do not be fooled by the English text.  Georges the goldfish is not being placed in a box for ceremonial burial in the old jardin.  Oh no.  This is the French we are dealing with!  Georges has been placed on a bed of lettuce, and dressed with a lemony vinaigrette, ready for the dinner table.  That lot would eat anything! There is no way they would waste a tasty morsel like Georges.  (Note to French Ambassador: no point writing to me to complain, try that Clarkson chap).

In other news,  yesterday I went back to Bicester Village, high end designer outlet and my Spiritual Home.

I did some thorough investigations in Gerard Darel. (The shop Mr B, don't start with all that again!)  I sinned and bought this lacy blouse.  At a huge discount of course. Yes Mr B, I do have other white tops.  But no, they are not exactly the same. And yes, I did need this one. 

 The dress below was in silk and with side pockets and made me think of FF.

 I sinned again and bought this polka dot dress.  Mr B can I just speed things up?  a)yes b) no c) yes.

 Below, this is in Joseph, these are samples and were a very good price.  I sinned again with the floaty tie front blouse.  A bargain and the ties will keep me busy all day working out how to tie them..a)yes b)no c) yes

One of the shop assistant ladies told me Kate Middleton comes to the Village and that she likesTemperley.  Also Liz Hurley drops by.  No sightings of Warnie yet, they don't sell beds in the Village.

Must go, got a goldfish to marinate.

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Horrifying Return of Repetitive Dress Syndrome

Hello Dahlings,
I trust you are all well and looking forward to the weekend, except for those of you ahead of the rest of us, in which case, (not wanting to introduce a down note or anything), make the most of your weekend, it's halfway through!

First a housekeeping point: the lovely Janet of Gardener's Cottage asked me to do away with word verification.  I pushed some buttons randomly and hope that's done the trick ( if not, NASA: sorry about that satellite).  The wordster went out on a high note: Louise of North of Queensland was joking about Boy 2's refusal to eat much apart from fish and chips.  The wordster as its swansong came up with: "fried".  Excellent.

I've also had fun doing labels for the posts, but with limited success: if anyone spots "macaroni chees" (sic) lurking around, well, I don't know what it's doing there either...and just like my real life version of that dish, it seems determined to stay put...

Now, as the world is in turmoil what with cyclones and political change and economic worries, I thought I should focus on a really important issue: Repetitive Dress Syndrome ("RDS").   You may recall I highlighted this topic a while ago. That time the RDS involved  black and white.  Well, it's back and even more serious.  This time it's  leopard print.  Gasp.

Very old dress in leopard print, Karen Millen:
Much newer dress, in, oh, yes, leopard print from Marks and Spencer:

Top from Zara in pink polka dots more bl**dy leopard print:

Old dress from H and M in - oh god this is so repetitive, I obviously need some sort of counselling or at least sponsorship from the World Wildlife Fund (or World Wrestling Federation?):

Newer dress from H and M in familiar looking print ( a bit racy this one, to be worn with leggings otherwise will look as if Mrs B has hit on new way of getting money to pay school fees):
The RDS has even affected my accessorisation (top fashion word):

Another leopard top, again from Zara.  Right, I've had enough, this is ridiculous:
 (Unconnected anecdote: many years ago, in the law firm where I apparently worked, a partner came up to me, peered at my chest and said "My wife has some of those." To this day I cling to the hope he was talking about the pearls).

But have just thought of silver lining to the whole RDS business: Mr B thinks I am being super frugal, always wearing the same outfit...he may well suggest I go treat myself to some more clothes...