Monday, 14 January 2019

Bear says

I have shot myself in the foot in spectacular style. The biggest boy had been rejecting food containing carbs for a while, after reading a book that said they were basically the devil. So I happened across a Bear Grylls book in the library and got him that, in the hope that he would change his ways. A few hours later he announced in dramatic fashion that he had turned vegan. Sigh.

I don't object per se. I was a vegan for 25 years, so I know what it's all about, but it's just another complication in the horror of preparing the evening meal. I'm already contending with one or two people who don't like anything and all of the people who don't like something. I am trying to be positive about it all and I'm gathering up my nut roast recipes from yesteryear in readiness. There are many other things that Bear does not approve of apparently. Again, I am not complaining (much) (well, we all know that I am, but let's pretend I'm not) as I've followed much the same diet in the past. It's just that more and more I seem to be preparing different things for different people.

On the positive side, I can join in with the vegan things, so hopefully I'll start eating better. The sheer volume of food that the biggest boy can get through is a bit scary as well, what with all the sport and the gym workouts and the general size of him. Oh how much easier it would be if they would just all eat a sack of kibble like the dog. It would utterly revolutionise my life.

The littlest boy is happy to have a new Swiss Army knife with all sorts of handy gadgets on it. He persuaded me to let him get it with his hard-earned dog walking money when he saw it in the sale at the garden centre. He had to ask me about eighteen times before I said yes. After I'd paid he said, 'That was really hard work mum.' Sigh. He has taken to telling people he collects knives now, being as he has three. The first one was his original Swiss Army knife, the second one is a pen knife that he bought when he thought he'd lost the first one. So this is the third one, which I really didn't mean to let him buy, but I only have limited resistance to anything after lunch and I fear they have all worked this out.

In other news, I have a new laptop. It came a week or so ago, and it took me three days to pluck up the courage to remove the outer plastic bag. It then took me another four days to peel off the sticky tape. I still haven't removed it from its box. Can you tell I am a little reluctant? Someone suggested that I Get A Man In, so I am doing that. Even so, I know it will all be horrible and I will be reduced to a screaming, jibbering wreck, unable to access anything, with all passwords long forgotten. Plus, Windows 10! So basically, you may never hear from me ever again. Although I am keeping my old laptop, so perhaps all won't be lost. The new one was needed because I increasingly have children breathing down my neck asking to use it for their homework. Sometimes there is even a queue. So it was something that was needed, although it's taken me a long time to bite the bullet.

The computer guy suggested that I have the old one wiped and sell it, which gave me palpitations. I am writing him a huge sign saying DO NOT WIPE ANYTHING and sticking it to the screen. I'll be back again soon, or maybe I won't. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 10 January 2019


As the camellia buds fatten and the seed catalogues thump down onto the doormat I've been dreaming garden dreams. I went through a brochure or two and made a list of all the things I'd like to grow. Then I added up how much it all came to and went through it all again crossing things off. Then I thought carefully about how much time I have and how the dog and the children will squash it all down anyway and I went through it again trying to be realistic and crossed more stuff off. Then I had another look at all the pretty pictures (dahlia cafe au lait!) and reverted to the original list. Dreams and delusions are the stuff of life no? I'll probably end up somewhere in the middle. That dahlia has been crossed off for now, but I feel it will be back. Sometimes a thing sticks itself in my head and I get a bit obsessed. Although the snails round here have a real taste for dahlias so it could all end in tears. And of course there are the flying footballs and basketballs and cricket balls. But for now I am deluding myself that I can make a garden just like in the seed catalogue and it is making me happy.

Do you remember me telling you that I took up drinking coffee back in the summer? Well of course I am now hopelessly addicted. Even the dahlia is coffee! But I've come to the conclusion that the milk part of the coffee doesn't agree with me. After years and years of not drinking milk I don't think I can tolerate it very well. Yoghurt, kefir and hard cheese seem fine, but milk makes me bloated. And fat. Well something is making me fat, it's either that or Christmas. I am switching to soya milk and no doubt I'll be slim as a clam before you know it.

The town is in the grip of a spate of anti-social behaviour at the moment. Vandalism, graffiti and arson attacks. Everyone has quite a lot to say about it as you can imagine. The littlest boy saw the police chase (and catch) someone yesterday, so he and his friend were all agog. It has been very destructive, including damage to schools, burning down of a school building and the burning down of some allotment sheds, including one that really was show quality, so pretty and big and beautifully organised. It's been heartbreaking. There are lots of opinions about what should be done, and some people are showing their true colours and reverting to a more neanderthal approach. No doubt it will all blow over eventually, but at the moment things seem to be gathering pace. A documentary was made about this area a while back that cast it in rather a bleak light. It was slewed rather to make good viewing, and as a result has cast a bit of a shadow over the place. But on the up side, plenty of people are rallying round and pulling together and all that sort of stuff. The good balancing the bad hopefully.

Cricket practice started again at the weekend believe it or not, although it will be a long time until there's a match. Doesn't hurt to get one's eye in early though. I will leave you with dreams of sunny flower-filled gardens and scorching afternoons watching cricket. And don't blame me if it turns cold.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Dogs at the beach

It's been a fairly quiet start to the year here. In fact I ended up visiting an elderly relative in hospital on New Year's Day, which wasn't part of the plan. But onwards and all that.

We took the dog to the beach, which he loves. All that space and all those other dogs to run with. He did run off briefly, which was scary. I wonder if we need to do a bit more training. He's very good a giving you his paw for a bit of sausage and lying down and rolling over, but not quite as good at coming when he's called and dropping things he's not supposed to be eating. He has his priorities.

I seem to be amassing a big pile of books to be read in 2019. Sometimes it's a reassurance thing I think. If I've got lots of books to hand, I can escape from real life if it all gets a bit too much. Not that I have any reason to think it will, but I'm just generally a slightly anxious person.

In the big bookshop the other day one of the assistants in the children's section asked me if she could help. When I named a book she not only knew exactly where to put her hands on it immediately, but she'd also read it and could tell me whether it was suitable for 12-year-olds.

I told her a book the middle boy had loved (Andy Weir's The Martian - he said it was one of the best books he'd ever read), and she not only found me another one by Weir, but also recommended something else that the middle boy might enjoy. And she found a colleague who'd read the second Andy Weir as she hadn't read it. I was so impressed by their depth of knowledge.

For those of you with children who enjoy sciencey stuff, The Martian is brilliant apparently, but get the junior version without all the f-words in it - I understand there are a lot. On the subject of f-words, the middle boy watched a lot of Robson Green's fishing programmes a while back, as he loves fishing. Oh my goodness RG swears a lot. F****** fish practically became a family catchphrase.

I hope your New Years are all off to a cracking start. If not, you have my sympathy and best wishes; hang on in there and maybe find a good book to escape into. Until next time.