Craving and no I am not pregnant

It was Friday evening and I had a sudden craving for sausage and chips from the chip shop. Now we very very rarely go to the chip shop. I think we have probably only done this about four times in the two and half years since we moved to this house. I decided to combine my taxi service of picking up Skater from the station with a trip to one of the chip shops in the area. There is one in one of the housing estates between the station and home, we would go there.

As I was driving towards the shop I could see that there were no available parking spaces, I figured that I would drive a bit further along the road and turn around to find somewhere to park. The couple of cars driving right behind me meant that instead I continued driving and ended up leaving the estate altogether. Never mind I would go to the one that I pass on my way to and from work. This is the one we have used before.

‘Oh no!’ there is nowhere to park here either, Ok, we can go to the parade of shops at the end of this long road. There is a decent car park there. ‘What! I don’t believe it. I have never seen this car park so full.’

I managed to park half on the curb at the far end of the car park. Leaving Skater in the car I walk to the small chip shop in the parade. I have never seen such a small chippy, barely room for a single line on people. I couldn’t tell which end of the shop the queue started. I stood in the doorway looking up at the meagre menu on the wall. I might be craving chips but I didn’t fancy getting anything from this establishment.

I decided to continue my search. There is another chippy on one of the main roads not far from where I now was. So a few minutes later I pulled up outside the popular chippy we had gone to once before when the lads and their girlfriends were with us. I remember that service had taken an absolute age on that occasion last spring. Here I see that the only place to stop is in the bus lay by. I know I shouldn’t park here and Skater is not happy with me for doing so. As I pull out from behind the camper bvan taking up the majority of the bus stop I see a car pulling out of a space a few yards ahead.

Damn, before I can get there another vehicle slides into the space from the other direction. Why oh why does everyone else want chips on the one occasion I have this craving. I could give up and go home, we do have food I could cook, but no I must satisfy this craving. On we go, where to next? Maybe I shall have to go into the town centre there is sure to be somewhere there in the parades near to the station. An area I have only visited a few times. We are nearing the town’s college where both Statto and Pug studied for their A’levels. If I go along the road that passes the college entrance I know there is a small parade of shops up there, I wonder would there be a chippy there?

Oh great, I have finally found a chippy with parking spaces outside. Going into the shop I place my order, hand the girl who is serving, my debit card. They only take cash, I have no cash on me! I tell the girl I will be back. The nearest place to get cash is back where I had earlier stopped in the packed car park. This time there are a couple of spaces. I have to struggle to get out of my door as there is not enough room. There is a convenience shop in the corner which has a cash machine. I wait impatiently for the guy who is composing a whole album on the buttons of the machine. Finally he is finished and I can pay £1.75 for the privilege of taking out my own money. This done we drive back to collect our dinner. By now I am beginning to think that after all this running around in my quest to satisfy my craving, I will find that I don’t actually enjoy it once I get to eat it. I needn’t have worried though.

I actually did enjoy my food and felt that driving around for almost an hour had been worth it in the end.

 

 

Twittered

I seem to have joined the world of twitter although I don’t have the faintest idea what to tweet or even how. I found Skater much to his disgust so I shall try not to follow him  too closely. I actually opened my twitter account back in 2007 but in some things I am a slow learner.

I shall reserve judgement on the world of twitter until I have got my head around it.

Yesterday’s sore throat has morphed into a cold so I have mostly indulged in a sofa day today, although I did venture out to Asda this afternoon before settling down to watch Polar Express (the first time I have ever managed to stay awake through the whole film. Whilst indulging myself I have been keeping a watchful eye on incoming tweets. I had thought it would be a good idea to follow @mydailyinspiration only to my mind it should be called @myhalfhourlyinspiration. If they keep this up they will become @myhourly irritation. I might have to stop stalking them very soon.

Where did my dad go?

On our recent visit to London to see Statto and Miss Effervecence, I was standing on the pavement with Skater, whilst our host and hostess made a few purchases from a store near to the station.  We were chatting about this and that when the peace was broken. Inside the shop a man was being abusive to a member of staff. His stream of abuse was uncalled for and a security man did his best to usher the man out onto the street. It didn’t take long for this man to return to the store only to be ejected once again. At this point a couple of obviously homeless people were passing and the woman persuaded the ejected man to follow them. Her partner was busy picking up dog ends from the pavement. (This action amazed Skater more than the abusive guy).

A few moments later Statto and Miss Effervecence emerged with their shopping. To my amazement Statto asked.

‘Where did my dad go?’

Now I know exactly what he was really saying. His dad was not in London at the time (as far as I am aware). However the abusive guy who was obviously drunk was behaving in a way that Statto had witnessed from his own father many times over the years. I had also recognised the paranoid behaviour of the drunk, believing that they were being insulted when they weren’t. It reminded me of one particular summer evening years ago.

I had dutifully collected my drunken husband from the local pub, bundled him into our car and driven him home. Our house was not situated directly beside a road, we had a public footpath to negotiate before reaching our own garden path. The public footpath ran along the side of my friends’ back garden. It was a hot summer evening and our friends were sat in their garden with other friends having a laugh. Considering that the garden in which this group of friends were enjoying their evening together, has a 6′ brick wall around it, they would not have been aware that we were passing by.

However on hearing laughter my husband in his drunken state believed that they were laughing at him. This led to his agitation, causing a string of curses and threats to beat up anyone who was laughing at him. Now I know for a fact that his presence had gone unnoticed by the group within the walled garden. Although I am sure that had they seen the way my husband was stumbling all over the place including falling into the rose bush at the side of their driveway, then they would certainly have laughed.

In his drunken state my husband was convinced that he was being insulted and was determined to punch anyone who was insulting him. No amount of cajoling could convince him that nobody was either laughing at him or wanting to fight him.

I have noticed over the years that it is not unusual for someone under the influence of drink to imagine that someone has insulted them. Now that I am aware of my current husband’s drink problem, I can see that this has been part of the problem when he has imagined insults by family and others, where no insult was intended.

Drink has a lot to answer to.

I am just grateful that my four sons have all grown up to be, not tea total, but moderate drinkers. They all enjoy a drink from time to time but none of them are heavy drinkers.

 

 

pinch and punch

Today being 1st of November, laying in bed, I waited for my husband to come close enough, then I got in quick as he leaned in for a kiss. I pinched his arm and punched his chest, only lightly of course. His response being.

‘Damn, you beat me to it.’

Most months he gets me first, so this month it was my turn.

Do any other couples participate in this tradition?

Do any of you know where it comes from?

I thought I would have a look to see what google would tell me.

It’s a fact 1: As president, George Washington met local Indian tribes on the first day of each month, when he would supply fruit punch with an added pinch of salt. It became known as “pinch and punch on the first of the month”.

It’s a fact 2: Originating from old England times when people thought that witches existed. People thought that salt would make a witch weak, so the pinch part is pinching of the salt, and the punch part was to banish the witch. The witch would be weak from the salt so the punch was to banish her.

It’s a fact 3: According to playground rules, your pinch and punch has to be followed immediately with the words, “White rabbits, no return”. By saying so, it means you can’t be pinched back.

I have checked several websites and they all seem to come up with the same answers.

Skater reminded me today that it is just one month until his birthday. His last birthday as a teenager! Where have the years gone. It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was pregnant with prodigal, yet here we are about to celebrate Skater turning 19 which also means that my dad has been gone for nearly 20 years, how did that happen?

Yesterday was Halloween, I hadn’t bought any treats this year as we never get any trick or treaters at our door. However Owl had been working on a project in our front garden and was just finishing up with the use of the light from the hall. A group of children in fancy dress saw the light at the door and took their chance. Next thing I knew Owl was raiding our confectionery cupboard, there was very little in the cupboard but he managed to grab enough loot to keep the gaggle of children happy. The next lot unfortunately went away empty handed.

The reason that Owl had been in the garden in the dark is that he was finishing off work he had begun earlier but had to stop for a meeting he was having regarding some work that he might be taking on. The meeting lasted a lot longer than he had anticipated.

Hopefully his meeting will result in Owl working for our future.

Day tripping

Yesterday I took Skater on a day trip to Hertfordshire. Not your usual destination for a day trip, I know. We had an important reason for going. This was to be the start of Skater’s new future. We were visiting The University of Hertfordshire which happens to be in the small town of Hatfield. This was my second visit there as I was also there three years ago with Pug.  We set off at 6.45am (on a Saturday! criminally early) in the rain. Luckily the National Car Park that is M25 was the clearest I have ever seen it. We made good time and were parked and registered by 9am.

We listened to 3 different talks during the morning, explored some of the campus including the all important Student Forum where the live music shows are held. We were filling in time until the subject talks began but my son was getting bored, we managed to have a look at the TV and Film studio which was what he really wanted to see. Skater satisfied by what he had seen was ready to hit the road back home. We came across congestion between junctions 13 and 11 on M25 but otherwise the journey was good.

Today was a different type of day trip even though my companion was Skater again. This time we were travelling by train, I sent a text to Statto to let him know which train we were on. We had no idea whether he would be meeting us at the station or did he expect us to find our own way to his flat? An hour and 42 minutes later we arrived and there he was waiting at the barrier. He led us across the concourse towards a well known book/stationery store where he had left Miss  Effervecence.

Setting off on foot we walked past The National Theatre National Theatre From there we walked along the river bank towards the OXO Tower. Oxo Tower We were almost there. Turning down a walk way we were soon greeting the concierge of the block of flats where Statto now lives. Once in the flat we were given the grand tour and a much needed cup of tea. We were given a delicious roast chicken dinner. It was amusing to see my son carving up the meat but I am sure practice will make a difference.

After our meal we went out for a walk. Back on the south bank we continued east. Among the sights we saw were The Tate Modern The Tate Modern and who could miss the sight of Shakespear’s Globe Theatre. The Globe Theatre   Southwark bridgeUsing the Southwark bridge we crossed to the north of the river. Soon we were into almost familiar territory for me. A lot has changed since I worked in The City in the early 1980s. If we had turned east we would have been going towards the area I had known all those years ago. Instead we turned west towards St Paul’s Cathedral. St Paul's   St Paul's steps Heading back towards the South Bank I stopped to take a few photos from the north bank. London Eye  CIT tower You can’t see it but the flat is in a block right behind the SEA Containers building, right next to the cranes you can see. We had almost reached the safety of the flat when it began to rain. By the time Skater and I left Statto and Miss Effervecence the heavens had opened and we had to dash to the station, splashing through the many puddles.

By the time we reached home a little after 9pm my legs were beginning to feel the effects of so much unaccustomed walking.

I really enjoyed my day out as did Skater, tomorrow I shall pay for the punishment I have put my little legs through, but as I have a day off from work I am not too worried.

 

Family history

‘I don’t want my Grannie to die, I would miss her too much.’

I was holding an ageing folder with the name ‘Mother’ emblazoned on the front in red felt tip capitals. Skater had asked me what I was carrying. I told him it was some of my Grannie’s writing. He gets a tad confused when I mention my older relatives. He asked was she Bill’s daughter. No she was Bill’s wife, my mother’s mother. My Grannie Pat, died aged 67 when I was just 21. This is what prompted my son to utter those words.

I am well aware that my mother is now 71, I assured Skater that his Grannie is going to live longer than his 21st year. Talking to my mother this morning I mentioned this conversation to her.

‘Tell Skater that I take better care of my health than my mother did,’ she told me.

Last night I was reading some of Pat’s work. There was a tale of a holiday taken with her husband and son on a narrow boat. She described the galley and how being of a round build she had to step out of the galley each time she needed to turn around, unlike the two males who were ‘beanpolish’.

This brought back memories of my favourite woman (after my mummy, that was). Throughout my life I have seen photos of my Grannie as a stunning young woman. A slender brunette, both as a bride and young mother.IMG_2045

However my memories are all of a short, cuddly, grey haired smiling woman whom I loved so much. I remember family walks with her and her much loved labrador cross (Candy), hours at her kitchen table making or drawing things. I remember the dresses she made for me. I remember the many friends she had in their small Essex village. The flowers that she arranged in the church when it was all quiet.

I  don’t have memories of her sitting writing, although I realise that this would have been something she did when we were not there. I don’t know when I first became aware that my Grannie was a prolific writer, both for the WI of which she was an active member, but also for magazines. I don’t think I ever read anything she had written. In my late teens I started writing too, nothing much, just for my own pleasure. When my Grannie died so did my desire to write. I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything, until about 2007 that is.

Today as I began to read some of my Grannie’s writing, I could picture myself in the places she described, whether it was a tale of a fox being hunted or the joy of her faithful dog when she knew they were going out walking. Those childhood walks on the common or along the tracks beside the farms close by, all came flooding back from that time more than 40 years ago when life was so much simpler for us children.

My Grannie loved life, it is just such a pity that her love of life didn’t include taking care of her own health. I remember that for some time she suffered from Angina which in those days was quite common amongst people who I realise were in the age group that I have now joined. She died in her sleep, after having a massive heart attack. I will never forget that morning when my grandfather phoned to speak to my mother at the crack of dawn on a Sunday.  Having answered the phone and called my mother, I sat on the stairs and just cried, I didn’t need to be told the news, I knew it in my heart that I had lost my adored Grannie.

I dressed and set out walking through the town inconsolable. Not only had I lost a beloved relative but I had also lost one of my greatest allies, my confidante.

Although my life has been without her in it, for far longer than she was in it, she has been one of my greatest influences and I shall never ever forget her.

Evelyn Patricia King always in my thoughts, I love you

Saturday surprise

This morning I was making my breakfast when I saw my friend Robin swoop down into the garden. He was feeding when I went outside to greet him. I thought I would sit in the garden to eat my breakfast, just to see if the Robin would come any closer. He flew  away but I stayed where I was, drinking my tea, munching on my marmite toast, reading my book. All the while my phone on the table set to camera in readiness for that photo opportunity.

I must have been out there for about half an hour but there was no further sign of our Robin. Eventually I gave in and took all my breakfast paraphernalia indoors. It was when I was at the sink that I noticed a movement in the corner of the room. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Hurriedly I grabbed at my  phone. Skater came running into the room to see what was going on. Being taller than me he was able to get closer than me to take this photo.Indoor Robin Yes this was our Robin, not in the garden where I expected to see him but in the corner of our kitchen. He panicked and tried to get out of the window which was closed. He must have come in through the open sliding door, but I hadn’t seen him even though I was sat just a few feet away from the door. I went outside to see if I could get a better photo from the outside, this must have spooked him as he then managed to fly towards the open door and escape.

 

I can but wonder what my next Robin experience will be.

I used to be a mummy

I used to be a mummy to four little rug rats (Prodigal, Statto, Pug and Skater). These little boys would run rings around their mummy. I always felt that I must be a bad mummy as I couldn’t control my brood. They never did what I said, they thought my living room was a) a football pitch, b) a wrestling ring.

Sometimes they were so naughty that I would stand in the middle of the room and scream. That got their attention for a while. Other times I would put on my coat and shoes and walk out of the door saying good bye. They would come running after me. ‘Mummy mummy don’t go, we will be good.’

Whenever I mentioned to anyone that I didn’t think I was very good at being a mummy, I was told that I was a very good mummy. When we were out my boys were well behaved and polite. Even our neighbours thought I was bringing up my boys well unlike the screeching noisy girls that lived next door to us.

There were times when half the neighbourhood’s children were in my house/garden. There were also times when I would walk to the local park with a string of children following me, rather like mother duck with all her ducklings.

Then after I recovered from Cancer I didn’t know how long I would be around for my boys so I got involved in the football club that they belonged to. By then I was more Mum than Mummy.  Not only did I have my own boys but their friends too. My car was always full of teen aged boys covered in mud, smelling of sweat.

I dreaded the teenage years, tantrums and strops. They never happened though. I believe it was because I spent my evenings talking to Prodigal then a few years later Statto, then Pug  and Skater. I learnt about the music that they liked/played. I learnt about all the football clubs in the Premiership, who the players were, who the managers were and what the grounds were called.

During the difficult period when I was divorcing the other parent, my boys became my support. They protected me from the abuse I was subjected to. My boys were growing up.

Now three of my boys are living else where. They have partners, they don’t need a Mummy any more. However they do all still love their Mum.

 

On the move

Saturday morning and we were on the move, or at least Pug was moving with his mother’s assistance. He was up early finishing his packing, loading the back of the truck (Chevvy). I only had to move a few things around. Just as we were preparing to leave Skater asked for a lift to the station so we had to reorganise to make room for him.

Skater dropped off, fuel purchased we started on our journey. We hadn’t been on the M3 for long when we joined the almost static traffic more or less in the same place as last week. Only this time the stops were more prolonged. I figured out from the emergency vehicles that passed us going in the opposite direction before racing back up on the hard shoulder on our carriage way, something had happened prior to junction 11. It turned out to be ‘vehicle fire’ according to the signs.

When we eventually reached the incident it did look nasty but the people looked unhurt, they were unloading possessions as we passed, surrounded by the emergency services. After this we made good time, although I did have a minor panic on A34. I had pulled out to overtake a caravan, I spotted a white car coming up behind me, I couldn’t be sure but it might be a police car. Should I pull in behind the caravan to allow the car behind me to pass or should I put my foot down and go for it? I did the latter then prayed. The white car quickly caught up and passed us, obviously not interested that I had been breaking the speed limit to get around the caravan. The police car with its single occupant was soon disappearing into the distance.

Coming towards Didcot we pondered te fact that 3 out of 6 cooling towers had been demolished, why not all 6 and did the demolition wake the local residents who hadn’t chosen to witness the event?

Being ahead of time and feeling that my bladder was soon going to be in trouble I followed a sign for ‘Services’ taking the slip road to a roundabout where there was no further sign pointing to ‘services’ I guessed, wrongly, the the first exit. I took a right turn in the hope of finding somewhere to turn around, but ended up driving through the pretty village of Steventon. Through Drayton to Abingdon, at which point I began reminiscing about a date I once had there and also a lucky escape which I might tell about another time.

We were only back on the A34 a short time before exiting at the right junction where they are doing a lot of road works, late Saturday morning was not the best time to be trying to negotiate the Hinksey interchange and Kennington roundabouts whilst this work is being carried out. Roadworks negotiated we made our way towards the agency. Pug rang to say we would be 5 minutes only to be told that they needed 30 mins. I pulled up at the side of the road and rushed as quickly as my short legs would take me without breaking into a run. Pug striding along beside me, towards a pub on the corner. I instructed Pug to buy an orange juice whilst I went for a comfort break.

We were sipping our expensive (£6 for 2) glass orange juice when he got the call that the agent was at the house waiting for us.

When we arrived at the house there were a couple of workmen loitering outside the door, this had me worried, what had they been fixing? My concerns were soon forgotten as we began the slow process of going through each room in turn with the young agent, as she passed a form to Pug to complete in each and every room as he assessed the condition of the carpets, walls, furniture etc. This was a real eye opener for him. Being the first to move into this 5 bedroom house it was down to him to do this without help from his housemates.

To me this appears to be a typical student house, not up to the standards that a family would expect but good enough for a bunch of impoverished students. The rooms were all a good size, the kitchen large and clean,Kitchen  the sitting room sparce but brightsittingroom 1  sittingroom

After a trip to get some groceries, a quick sandwich and I was ready to head off home leaving my boy to unpack.

I am sure that he and his friends will be happy there for the next year. I just hope he doesn’t get too lonely before his mates move in, although I am sure that he will enjoy having the place to himself when he is entertaining his Princess.

One move down, two to go.

Going on the road

This morning I shall be setting off with Owl to visit his sister and her husband. We are both looking forward to seeing them. It will be my first visit to The Peak District, although I have previously visited a friend who I met through blogging a few years ago, who lives on the edge of the Peak District.

To get there I shall be spending quite a while on the A34. I shall be interested to see how the landscape has changed since the demolition of three of the cooling towers at Didcot.

Although there are several routes I could take to get to and from my sister in law’s place it is likely that I shall use theA34 on the return home in a few days time. Then guess what I shall be doing in a week’s time. Yes I shall be back on the A34 taking Pug back to Oxford where he will be moving into a shared house with friends from Uni. If we have room in the car Skater will be going with us so that he can stay with his brother for a few days before heading off to Reading Festival the following weekend.

Also going on the road this weekend albeit a different road, Prodigal and his merry band New Desert Blues will be performing at Boardmasters Festival where they will be playing on the same stage as George Ezra.

Not on the road but travelling by train Statto and Miss Effervecence will be visiting us on Thursday 🙂