‘The End of the Pier’




Thirty days of blogging.

Stories, memories and a very small poem that crept into my head in the night.

Dominated somewhat by the saga of the Krappy Kitchen and the process of acquiring the food preparation and dining area of our dreams.

Over the past day and a half we have watched the last vestiges of the Krappy Kitchen disappear.  I let out a small cheer as the lump hammers hit breeze blocks that have dominated the middle of the room for the past fifteen years.

The electrician was the last of our visitors to leave today, having drilled out the holes for my brushed chrome spotlights (I had a choice between white, shiny or brushed chrome).  My mind scurried back into virgin kitchen mode when asked to make that choice.  Then I asserted myself and after opting for brushed, was strangely proud to be told that I had made the right choice.

Hub and I wandered around after our visitors had left today. Our kitchen is an echoing shell now, with dangling wires and the huge double RSJs lurking in the ceiling.

We have found out a few things about our house.

It’s a miracle that Gap Boy hasn’t fallen through the floor when stropping in his bedroom because the existing RSJ only went across half the ceiling – the bit where he sleeps, not the bit where he regularly shouts, guffaws and giggles on his computer.

It’s another miracle that we haven’t all been killed in our beds due to the shoddy wiring put in by the first owner – who was (surprisingly enough) a qualified electrician.  Perhaps he trained st the same establishment where the subsequent owner did her artexing course. There will be no more skin scraping artex in our kitchen either .

The builders have sorted out the dodgy building bits and an inspector is coming to check it all  out tomorrow. Another stranger at the door.

The nice electrician is going to have a look at the rest of the wiring when he’s finished in  the kitchen.  He very gently told me that progress will slow down a bit now because the plasterer is coming in and it will take a couple of days for the walls and ceiling to dry out.

I smile that silly smile and remind him that after waiting fifteen years to be able to afford this kitchen a couple more days won’t worry me.

Talking of compromises, the work top won’t be quite as sexy as planned.  With the wisdom of Solomon I had to make the choice between waiting another three weeks for the Star Galaxy worktop or cancelling the order and getting the slightly more down-market black granite with just silvery bits in it which can be delivered when the builders need it because it has been sourced locally.

It is still a sexy worktop and with any luck, my kitchen will be done much quicker (and a bit cheaper too!)

Washing up in the downstairs bathroom is a bit challenging but having the temporary kitchen on the dining room table is easier on the legs.

After rebelling about the use of plastic cutlery and paper plates, we bought GB a set of his own cutlery and unearthed some plates.

More compromise.

I was in a bit of a quandary about the old gas cooker yesterday.

It had to sit outside all night until the big lorry came to collect the rubbish. I really should have given it a bit of clean before the builders came but it is being junked anyway and we ran out of time.

Trouble is, it sat in the garden in full view of the manic mothers on their school run (they slowed down to have a look – not quite to 20 miles an hour but not bad).  Now they all know what a dirty  cooker I had.

GB has been quite sweet today but that goes hand in hand with his lecturing and hectoring about every single subject under the sun.

My idea of snoozing gently with Scoob whilst Martin and Lucy wax lyrical about three-bed semis in Clapham has been shattered  due to the fact that GB cannot sleep upstairs whilst all that banging is going on. So he talks and talks and talks.

Mind you, he told me about the hose incident last night.

Apparently one of our elderly neighbours was watering his garden yesterday evening when someone drove up the road at speeds in excess of 60 miles an hour (I doubt it) , so my neighbour remonstrated with him.  The neighbour remonstrated back and my neighbour hosed him.  More naughty talk and another shot of hose.  I expected to hear the our neighbour had been bopped but apparently the drive chose to zoom off instead.

Perhaps it was the sight of my neighbour’s hairy, brown and extremely pregnant-looking belly that saw him off.

I know it’s been warm over the last couple of days but that belly would certainly frighten the horses. Put it on!

Poor Scoob had just got used to the chaps who chipped of the seventies brown and white tiles  yesterday when there was a change of personnel and he had to come to terms with three more of them.  Luckily the poor young boy in the hoodie who got so badly wuffed at yesterday was off on another job today.

They are a smashing bunch though.  I can hear their conversations through the wall and the range of topics is impressive and very informative.  GB asked me if I minded all the swearing. I hadn’t actually noticed it.

The kitchen singing is even better than the banter though.  The lads brought along their old, dusty, paint-spattered ghetto blaster and they sing along to Radio One. – although they may have wandered into Radio Two yesterday afternoon when I heard one of them singing falsetto to ‘Too shy, shy’.

My attitude to our builders is very positive therefore.  They don’t seem to mind the awfulness of the tea I make them (being allergic to tea makes this a very hands-off process and the fumes make me retch a bit). The biscuits I sent Hub out to buy have been a great success, and the fact that I really don’t mind them using the downstairs toilet also went down well.

“I don’t mean to be cheeky but can I use your loo/have a cup of tea/ smoke in your garden/ eat these lovely biscuits?”

They are such polite boys.

I have a feeling that today’s blog won’t really be the end of the pier as planned thirty -one days ago.

Making the effort to write something every day is a discipline I learned when participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is held every November. http://nanowrimo.org/

It may not be easy to stop now although I’m not sure if I’ll continue to blog every day.

I have a kitchen to dress in the next week or so (that’s what they say on DIY SOS isn’t it?)




‘The Peace of Easter’

I put this rant on my FaceAche page just before the schools broke up for Easter.  I must admit to getting just a tad annoyed  by the cacophony outside my kitchen window every weekday morning and afternoon

. It should be pointed out that the local school is of a particular religious denomination and as a consequence many of the pupils and their parents live some distance away – hence the expensive overpowered cars.  The particularly strident parents (some of whom have threatened us for having the temerity to park in our own driveway while they are trying to get their offspring to school or back home)  sound a little bit Scally.

We have been known to take our boys to school by car but when they were small we used to park in the pub car park (with the owner’s blessing – his trade increased hugely on sunny days) and walk round the corner.  When they got bigger and went to high school we were permitted to drop them off and collect them only if we parked in a side road away from the school and didn’t play the car stereo too loud – SO embarrassing.  As the boys are n-n-n-nineteen and almost twenty-one now, those days are gone; replaced by longer and more complicated collections and droppings off.

The school-bound moronic mummies ceased to bother me when I went back to work full-time but now that I am home and not particularly gainfully self-employed, they make me a bit cross – sometimes – at other times I want to dash out there and slash their tyres but I am reluctant to blunt any of my new kitchen knives.

Rant!!!!!! We live on a blind corner. There is a very good reason for 20 mile an hour signs. My breakfast preparations have been marred yet again this morning by the sight (and sound) of screeching brakes and screeching thirty-something harpies in over-powered 4 x 4s who have narrowly avoided a head on crash outside my kitchen window. Oy! Surely it is a greater sin to kill your children, your air-headed selves and to smash up your car than to be a few minutes later for the school drop off? Get up earlier! Drive more slowly! Look where you are going! Oh Brainless Bimbo Mummies! (and Daddies but Mummies are in the majority).  Yes, you know who you are! Your parking is selfish and thoughtless but pales in comparison to your awful driving. Rant over – will eat breakfast now and shut up. The sun is shining and it is good to be alive. Let’s keep it that way eh?

Well, they really are dreadful.  When my boys were small I would often walk them to school and back – when I say walk I mean one in the buggy and the older school age one hanging off the back.  It was me that did the walking. Trying to get past the on the pavement by the school just up the road (not the one my boys went to) was almost impossible. Huge gas-guzzling cars barred my way whilst I ran the gauntlet of gossiping mothers with far bigger, better buggies than  mine, looking down their noses at me as I struggled to get past.  They only used said buggies to transport the youngest from the car  to the school gate; the wheels were spotless and only a matching designer changing bag hung from the handles whilst mine were festooned with carrier bags.

After one particularly frustrating trip which resulted in us taking a detour past the  local shop (once an old-fashioned newsagent with jars of sweets and a man who did bird impressions – now an estate agent), I phoned the council to complain and was rewarded with a set of zig zag lines outside the school.

Not that the mummies took much notice. In some cases they are parked up on the other side of the road as much as an hour beforehand leaving the latecomers to park as close to the zig zag lines  as possible and leave no room for cars to get through the middle – especially when the car doors are wide open as they take an age to lash their little ones into the car seats.

Just before the Easter holidays bestowed peace and tranquility on all our houses; I called the police to have a moan. The woman on the other end of 101 listened patiently and even gave me a crime number.

I was mollified.

Whilst sipping my Vanilla-Latte-Macchiato (no added Valium or painkillers) and idly channel-flipping, I received a call from a very nice PCSO from the local (and very nearby) police station.

She was picking up on my complaint about the speeding and parking.  She was very sympathetic (she’s a local girl) but told me a few facts that make me dread the coming term even more.

  • The 20 and 30 mile an hour signs that have blossomed on lamp posts throughout the locality are not enforceable.  They have been put there by the council as a traffic calming initiative.  This may be why the mummies don’t take any notice of them – or it might just be because the mummies are morons and paid someone else to take their driving test.
  • Similarly, zig-zag lines outside a school are not enforceable and the Highway Code suggestion that you should not park right on road junctions is merely that – a suggestion.
  • The mummies could get done for dangerous driving if caught in the act but with five primary schools and a  high school on their beat, the police are trying to solve real crime – allegedly.
  • The mummies could get busted for obstruction if their god-awful parking barred the lawful progress of an emergency vehicle – no doubt trying to speed through and attend an accident caused by other stupid mummies.
  • The police say it is the council’s responsibility to sort out the parking and speeding issues, the council says it is the school’s responsibility, the school says it is up to the police and hey presto! We are back where we began.

The nice PCSO promised to get a colleague to pop into the school after the break and have a word. I can think of several but I am still mellowed by the uninterrupted sound of birdsong and my dog wuffing at the postman – oh, and the people across the road having a very colourful and explitive filled row – and the man on the other side of them throwing his empty whisky bottles into the blue recycling bin.

Dammit!  Back to earplugs and  ‘Homes Under the Hammer‘ on subtitles next week then.

‘There is always something there to remind me’

Scary photo alert!!!!!

 passport2 passport1IMG_00000607_edit

Time to renew the passports and oh boy have they tightened up on the rules and regulations.

Picture 1 is me circa 2004 – short dark hair, tinted Deirdre specs and just the hint of a smile – too far away from the camera, this photo would not make it through the awfully nice Passport checking lady at the Post Office (worth paying the extra fifteen squids to get her to check it).

Picture 2 is me circa 2014 – back to my reasonably natural blonde status, sans specs, sans smile – my sad face fits in the red oval of the photo-me booth.

Hub and I visited our local supermarket last night to get our passport photos done, and we were both deeply traumatised by the results.  It took me three goes to get photo 2 – the first two versions had me looking decidedly cross-eyed as I tried to peer at the instructions on the screen.  Yes, I know that the nice lady tells you what to do but I don’t hear so well without my goggles on. BTW it took Hub two goes before he pressed the final green button, so ner.

I have worn spectacles since I was eight years old; going from the anaemic pale blue plastic NHS horrors, to the more severe black plastic ‘these are supposed to be for boys not girls‘ to the gold-rimmed, blue-tinted lens John Lennon lookie-likies of my teens. I have had even larger Deirdre bottle-ends and smaller metal framed versions. I even dallied with red metal frames but the red coating wore off and brought me out in a rash, leaving me with the choice between more mega-plastic nasties or expensive titanium. As I earned more money I ventured into designer specs – Versace, Dolce and Gabbana –  but they didn’t actually make me see any better especially when I had to give into varifocals.

This year however, the local supermarket came up trumps and I now have a pair of stylish titanium frames with brown transition varifocal lens AND a pair of slightly purple metal frames, as above but with grey transitions. They cost me £500 squids less than that the place that we should have gone to. Hmmmm.

All this optical rambling is tenuously linked to my discomfort at having to be photographed with a glasses-less face after years of being so used to looking at my features through a range of (rose) tinted lenses.

My dearest Hub is mourning the loss of his locks. Still abundant at the back of his nicely shaped head, his cranium is getting more and more exposed as the years fly past; visits to the hairdresser are a thing of the past as electric clippers wielded by my own fair hands can now do the job to his – well – not satisfaction exactly because he’d far rather have enough hair to have a professional do the job.

Comparing my 2004 face with my 2014 face – yes, time has worn away at me and etched a fair few wrinkles and bags  – bags which are usually hidden by the specs, and wrinkles that don’t seem to show so anywhere near so much when you smile.

Ten years ago I was doing two jobs – both of which brought me fulfilment and frustration.  Our boys were still in primary school, we had a houseful of cats and I had just embarked on my Open University journey.

Facebook was born.

Janet Jackson flashed a boob at the Super Bowl, Uni Boy was obsessed with Harry Potter and Gameboys, Gap Year Boy was playing football in a local team and Hub was as much into Motorhead as he  was as a teenager and still is today.  He is as constant as the Northern Star.

My Bezzie Mate took a look at photo 2 and recommended ‘some of that TV glowing youthful reflective base, lightly pencilled eyebrows and lighter lippy’.   I may take that on board but I will have to consult some of my female friends for confirmation.

Hub looked at the pictures, gave me that smile that I know so well and made me forget all about silly old passport photos.

I have included picture 3 because I feel comfortable with it.  It is also proof of my ability to take  selfie. It may well be an only child though.

Nobody knows – tiddly pom – how cold my toes – tiddly pom – how cold my toes – tiddly pom – are growing

Yay! Today has been another inside in the warm day.

A very long lie in after the other half had gone out to scrape off the snow and toddle off to work.

Lush smelling shower  – hoorah – salt water bath – boo.

The post brought important letters but the contents cannot be divulged – it’s no use trying to torture me – someone’s already killed my toenail and made it fall off – so you can forget the bamboo shoots as well – I will not give out the information.

The PAM laughed a lot though and looked a lot happier than she has for the past couple of days  By the rate at which she was texting – she was imparting vital secrets. Oh how those thumbs flew!

I enjoyed a very brief exposure to the elements after the shower and then it was the lighty whitey indoor dressing so that I was protected whilst trying on my festive willie warmers – which arrived in the post with the important letters.

The festive red WW  engulfed not just me – but my four little friends and half the foot.  It has a shiny red ribbon to stop it from falling off and we’ve sent a picture to FB so that my hoards of fans can admire the look.  I fully expect Heat magazine to be doing a feature on toe-couture within the next week or so.  The two black WWs were customised this evening and provide that chic and sophisticated look that I SO desire.

No dozing off today or going back to bed for the afternoon nap – the PAM has been busy tappity tapping, downloading documents  and making  extremely important phone calls.

A question for my fan base – if you write about people – like ‘In The Thick of It’ and you change their names but EVERYONE knows who the character is based on – that’s satire innit?  And you can’t get into trouble for satire can you, because it is just made up stuff?

I’m the only V-toe there is – so people had better not try to write anything about me that I don’t like – are you listening PAM?

There was a brief respite this afternoon when the PAM did the maternal bit and cooked food for the thundering teen – who was hyper-critical as usual. Why DOES she bother?  All that standing on one leg (the other leg) whilst she’s cooking makes her look like an overweight flamingo – in plain clothes – she won’t wear bright pink.

The more civilised sprog phoned this evening  – on his way to a party to get riotously drunk; with the news that he was a runner-up for the University Challenge team – he’ll be on it next year – you bet.

The PAM’s Blackberry has continued to be busy with texts and FB alerts all evening – but she can sort those out without disrupting me from my comfy cushion thank goodness.

If it wasn’t for this annoying pins and needles stuff, the achy joint and the stinging – life would be quite pleasant here in the land of the V-toe.

Oh well – off to bed – we are all up early in the morning (apart from the slumbering teen) to visit the pod and get the update on just how much damage that lethal lump of moulded plastic did when it fell on me.

Toe-dle Pip!

Only 9 hours in A and E – The Duke of Edinburgh isn’t the only one on hospital food

Sunday 3rd June; more jubilee stuff and the heavens have been pouring down on the celebrating masses since the early hours.  Lovely hub is home from his night shift , College Boy has eventually gone to bed and I will be on duty at nine o’clock.

The morning is busy with a couple of complex cases that require long phone calls to sort out. Twitter provides a welcome distraction and I don’t feel at all deprived because I can’t watch endless newsreels about the Jubilee and the Flotilla.  Up here in the North we are not a part of the damp jollity going on in ‘that’ London – phew.

By mid afternoon lovely hub is up and College Boy is not. I have decamped to the bedroom and whizzed through the channels on the TV to find something un-Jubilee.  I cooked up a load of Manchester sausages on Saturday and lovely hub is going to pop them over to my Dad this afternoon to see if they will tempt his flagging appetite.

I know that Dad has been undergoing a series of tests and by what he hasn’t been telling me I know that it is serious.  Whilst College Boy uses the word ‘whatever’ to express his contempt for the rest of the world, my Dad uses it in a vague ‘Ooh I can’t remember the word – well actually I can but I don’t want to worry you’ kind of way whenever I ask questions.

When he came over for a barbecue last weekend he had shed his customary jacket and I was shocked at how much weight he seems to have lost suddenly, how frail he looks and the difficulty he had getting down the step to the patio.

He got sick of my asking questions and went into total vague but I made him promise that if he really felt unwell or needed anything at all he would call me.

The house phone went in the middle of the afternoon a week later and lovely hub rushed up the stairs to tell me that Dad is on the phone and needs to speak to me.  Sod’s Law that I am already on the work phone and writing furiously but I manage to call him back within five minutes and it doesn’t sound good.  Not eating or drinking, still in his dressing gown and feeling dreadful.

No point in getting the OOH GP – who I know is rushing round like a loon on the bank holiday weekend.  No point calling an ambulance for the same reason. Lovely hub is putting on his shoes as I soothe my Dad and tell him help will be there soonest.

The scary thing about emergency work is that even when it is one of your nearest and dearest that is in crisis, the years of ‘get on and deal with it’ kick in and you only start shaking hours afterwards – when you can – safely.  So I spend the next  hour updating my records, throwing things into a suitably large handbag and putting on clothes that are practical for a long wait in A&E.

I phone family members and give them as much information as I have, promising to update them as and when.  College Boy is awake now but  oblivious due to his headphones and being in the midst of a virtual battle with someone on the other side of the world.  He gets a brief update and his first question is ‘Can I still have my party next Saturday?’  I kiss him but would prefer to strangle him right now.

My wonderful colleague relieves me an hour early just after I get a text from lovely hub to say that he has booked my Dad in and is on his way back to get me.

I still can’t panic and in truth, I don’t want to anyway.  When we get back to the hospital lovely hub goes in search of the cash machine for taxi fare for me later and to get change for the ever-present vending machine in the waiting room (change that I forget to ask for but manage to find enough in the bottom of my bag to get a KitKat).

Dad is there, looking small and ill; his poor hands are purple and swollen.  I want to jump up and shout at someone but this won’t help him and I don’t want him frightened even more. The waiting room is full of hopping people; slippery conditions  due to the rain or clumsiness brought on by too much jubilee cheer?  Within 15 minutes though a nurse comes out and bless her, once she sees how frail my Dad is she rushes for a wheelchair and we take him through to minors.

Within five minutes we are moving to resusc – assured by the nurse that we shouldn’t worry – we are only going there because majors is full.  Lovely hub and I leave for a while and sit in the waiting room holding hands whilst the nurses undress my Dad and wire him up to various machines.  When we return he is tired but resigned to whatever it is they will do to him, and my stiff upper lip wants to loosen but that won’t help anyone so we continue with the kind of inane banter  that relatives resort to in A&E.

The weather  is dreadful, bitter cold and torrential rain. A motorcyclist is brought in , wrapped in silver foil and with their head immobilised.  You don’t want to listen but you can’t help hearing and a little bit of someone else’s crisis takes the edge off our own.

Without having to use thumbscrews (fortunately) I learn that my Dad has been feeling unwell since I last spoke to him Friday night but hadn’t wanted to bother me.  He’s had nothing to eat or drink for two days and as a consequence at least five different members of staff fail to get blood out of his poor collapsed veins. The sweet and apologetic junior doctor finally squeezes enough blood out for tests and they set up a drip to get fluids inside him.  A drip that goes very slowly.

I sit back and let him do the talking; it’s a slow process but I need to curb the instinct to step in and take over because it is important that the staff to get his history from him.  I supplement when asked and the doctor goes off to hunt up the results of the tests that my Dad has been having over the past month.

Another biker is brought in and I nearly crack as his teenage daughter; long blonde hair, daisy dukes over black leggings and an ‘OMG’ tee shirt, sobs heartbreakingly; he too is wrapped in tinfoil and immobilised.  The grief of other people always seems so much worse than your own.

The doctor comes back. She draws the curtains round us and pulls up a chair.  My heart sinks.  They can sort out the immediate crisis and will be admitting my Dad once the medics have come down and had a look at him. In the long-term however, the test results that he wasn’t due to get for another couple of weeks state the bad news baldly.  The evil c-word that no one ever wants to hear.   The doctor is so kind and apologetic and as I write about it now I can cry but I couldn’t then.  I held one of his hands and she held the other and he took it in the stoical fashion that he always has, except for that one occasion  when I had to explain to him that my Mum was dying two years ago.

Life intervenes; I have had a text from Uni Boy and I text back in his medical terminology, knowing that he will understand just as he did when we looked at his Grandma’s CT scans together after her stroke.  I update my brother and he offers to disseminate so that I can get back to my Dad.  Lovely hub has to go to work and College Boy phones to say that he is hungry and are there any shops in the hospital where I can buy him something nice?  I tell him that I love him but again I could cheerfully strangle him.

Lovely hub leaves us and the staff turn the lights down to give my Dad a chance to rest.  he is now on his second bag of fluids but his heart rate is all over the place.  There is a glut of possible cardio admissions in majors who later turn out to have indigestion from Jubilee overindulgence.  An old man with a chest infection and much confusion sings hymns beautifully despite his daughter trying to hush him up.  the old lady opposite shouts endlessly into her oxygen mask and sounds like a fighter pilot.

The nurses doing half hourly obs on my Dad are unfailingly cheerful and kind; managing to persuade a surly security guard to steal a bed so that they can transfer my Dad off the uncomfortable trolley and let him get some sleep whilst we wait.  They grumble about the fact that all the wards are allowed to put up bunting and flags but not in A&E.  I stifle my Republican principles for a moment to commiserate.  It isn’t just my world after all.

The medic comes down to see my Dad, waking him from a fitful sleep; I have been alternately dipping into my Kindle, looking at research papers on overconfidence in identification (thrilling) and catching up on Twitter and Facebook.  Who needs the telly when your virtual chums are happy to update you on the damp flotilla and the subservient celebrities.  This is why I follow people who make me laugh with their acid observations.

At half-past one we hear that a bed is ready on the acute medical ward.  The porter, Jane the nurse, and I gather up my Dad’s belongings and take him on a journey through the dimly lit corridors, up in the lift to a ward that I know from memory will smell strongly of urine at this time of night due to the high number of little accidents and the low number of staff on duty.  Nevertheless the corridor is well-bedecked with bunting and our jolly porter dons a Union Jack bowler and does a little dance in the corridor for our amusement.

My Dad, having had three bags of fluid, medication for pain and to steady his heart, is quite wide awake and chatty now, so though I am hungry, thirsty and dog-tired,  (the Diet Coke and KitKat went long ago) I laugh with him and make jokes about his ‘hotel’ accommodation.  A surly man, fully dressed and fully mobile sits on the bed opposite, only disappearing once I draw the curtains for privacy.

A young nursing assistant patiently helps an old man off the commode and when she comes back from emptying it, calls my name.  She smiles and identifies herself as the daughter of someone I used to work with.  We exchange memories and she shows me a pictures on her phone of her nephew and niece.  Before she leaves she promises me that  she will keep a special eye on my Dad at night.  My eyes fill at this spontaneous act of kindness but I am determined not to crack.

Dad’s ‘special nurse’ comes in and with a line in gentle teasing banter, manages to get more information out of him in five minutes than I have all evening.  Once he’s settled I kiss him good night and after a few words with his nurse and a promise to call in the morning, I make my way back to the lift.

The surly man emerges from the lift and as I step in the smell of fags and booze is overwhelming – no prizes for guessing where he has been.  It’s now two o’clock.  I go back to A&E where the kind receptionist offers to get security to call me a taxi.  I thank her, as I have thanked so many people this evening.

I text my lovely hub at work to say that I am on my way home, then phone College Boy who has managed not to eat the sausages that I have been craving for the past five hours.  The young girl with the long blonde hair kisses her Dad as he is taken up to the ward; luckily he only has a fractured collarbone, his ruined leathers and crash helmet saved the rest of him.

My taxi arrives in five; a jolly young Scouser who chats sympathetically and wishes my Dad well when he drops me off at home.

College Boy and whingy cat are still wide awake and I have texts to respond to from lovely hub.  The indigestion-giving sausages taste wonderful.  I try not to get cross with College Boy’s unsubtle probing and finally get to bed about three o’clock.

I get up when lovely hub comes home at seven; he looks desperately tired and although for a very brief moment when I first woke up  my thoughts were merely of bunting and all that crap on the TV, reality came back again and I remembered that it hadn’t been a dream.

I had breakfast, phoned the hospital and was happy to hear that Dad had a good night and was tucking into porridge.  did an update on Facebook for far-flung friends and family and was touched by the speedy and loving responses I got.

We visited in the afternoon and the horrible smell was gone.  Dad was looking much better – all the drips had vanished and he was has a post-prandial doze having feasted on veggie soup, cheese sandwich, fruit cocktail and ice cream.  We took orders to collect his mobile phone, charger and to get some shortie biscuits in case he fancied a nibble with his tea.

College Boy was persuaded out of his pit for the evening visit – he evening took his earphones out and stood solemnly next to his dad at the end of the bed.  Dad was sitting out in the armchair clad in ver smart red pjs.  His hands and feet had returned to a normal size and colour and he was wearing what looked like a pair of fluffy knock-off Ugg boots – NHS issue. Phew!  The surly man’s bed is being cleaned and his name has been wiped off the whiteboard – another phew!

It’s Tuesday now and we’re visiting this afternoon and I’m on duty tonight, back to work tomorrow.  Doubt if we’ll get College Boy to visit again but Uni Boy is coming home on the train after his last exam on Thursday, family are coming up towards the end of the week and by that time my Dad should be on a long-term medical ward for assessment and we’ll now a bit more about what the future holds.

Next time College Boy asks about his party I must bite my tongue because at eleven am on Monday 4th June I was on Sarah Millican’s weblink getting tickets for her new material show next Sunday, with the crisis on the back burner.  So I am just as much in the self-centred NOW as he is (that’s where you get it from my son, I too was a truculent teenager – ask my poor Dad!).  I got the tickets and have two spare tickets (ladies only) up for grabs too.

Thank you lovely family and friends – for being there and understanding – things are going to be easy for my Dad but my aim is to  keep him comfortable. pain-free and loved while we can.  Lovely hub and I are off up the monument for some fresh air before visiting but I’d better get dressed first 🙂

There are at least twenty-five other things I should be doing and could be doing….

….. I know this because I have made my list this morning – ticked a few things off already.  The sun is shining; I’ve almost finished breakfast (tick), I am synchronising my workload by watching the news on TV, printing off research papers for my next assignment (tick), drinking my rum-laced hot chocolate (medicinal still) and making soothing but useless noises to the deaf cat who has just given me a look and gone outside into the garden.

Lovely hub has already left on his paintballing excursion (tick) – he had his own list that he started last night.  The amount of organisation that goes into getting his paintball stuff ready is impressive and often mysterious.  Last week I introduced him to the delights of Excel so that he can actually have more complex lists for when he goes off on a paintballing weekend in the Brecons in July.  All well and good but he took to spreadsheets like a – well – you know – one of those things that like spreadsheets I suppose – you can’t have a metaphor for everything.  There have been several occasions this week when we have been competing to use the laptop because of his new-found love for filtering and sorting.

I’m in trouble with College Boy’s teachers again – and I don’t CARE!  On Wednesday he went in for his Psychology exam and came home ‘shattered’ but quite pleased with his efforts.  Whilst having a yack with his mates online I received a text and then an email from college informing me that my son had missed his ‘pyschology’ exam and signed tersely by Tweedledum teacher. Confused – yes. Cross – that too. Subsequent accusatory argument with College Boy was resolved by his assertion that he was supposed to go in on Monday for a mock Psychology exam, but didn’t go because no one else was going according to Facebook (five went in, twenty didn’t). It sounded more than plausible and although I know he has inherited his mother’s fanciful imagination, he’s not very good at telling porkies so I sent off an equally terse email saying ‘When was this?’.

The response confirmed what College Boy said.  So why wait two days to tell me?  Why send the email off just after the real exam had taken place?  I was really cross now, so I phoned college and (as Uni Boy so eloquently describes it) I vented.  Unfortunately I vented at a very nice lady from the examinations unit who had already received a complaint about the message from another equally irate parent (phew! I love it when I’m not the only unreasonable one).  I announced my intention of making a formal complaint because this was the last straw as far as Tweedledum was concerned.

College Boy went off to his Chemistry exam and lovely hub took me and my bad temper out for an airing.  We had the best afternoon on the Wirral;  listening to 80’s tunes in the car and then watching the sea fog rolling in from the top of the (dangerous) cliff top.  We were sitting outside the visitor centre in the country park eating ice cream and watching a bunch of bad-tempered birds annoying each other when my mobile rang.  It was College Boy. “Where are you and what are you doing? Have you heard from College?  Ms T is trying to get hold of you.”  I established that Ms T (Assistant head teacher and someone I have already crossed swords with over Tweedledum) was trying to get hold of me to respond to my Mrs Angry Mum call at lunchtime.  College Boy was fine, he would be more fine if we got him something to eat and drink on the way home because as usual there was NOTHING in the house that he wanted “I’m almost anorexic here!”.  When told where we were and what we were doing, his response was “God, you two are just like OLD people.”  Do old people eat bubblegum and candyfloss ice cream cones and snog in public places?  Yeah – well we did and I don’t care.

Ms T’s email response was waiting when we got home and had finished throwing food and drink at College Boy before he starved to death – yeah right.  As expected it was a standard damage limitation email which defended Tweedledum AND Tweedledee (when did she butt in?) and expressed deep concern about College Boy’s progress if he failed to attend his mock exams.  We decided to ignore it for the time being.  I was tired, my throat was throbbing and I couldn’t be arsed.  I was still annoyed with the snotty comments made by my tutor earlier in the week as well.

Felt lousy on Thursday and if I say that the high point of the day was going for my (scheduled) mammogram no further explanation is necessary.  Got up Friday morning with renewed vigour, and girded my loins for battle.  Lovely hub was in bed and sleeping off his night shift – those police helicopters can seriously affect a good night’s dozing in  front of the ATC console – the Speke massif had been busy again.

Tutor first.  Sent him an email that basically said that I wasn’t fussed about getting high marks – just learning and passing the assignment.  I’d done both. I took an exception to his comments about my using Edwyn Collins’ experience as a case study – because I thought it was very relevant, I like Edwyn Collins’ music and think he and his family are awesome.  I finished my email with an Orange Juice quote that was probably completely lost on my tutor – who sounds as if he’s a good twenty years younger than me and hasn’t had the benefit of my misspent youth.  No response – yet.

Then I started on my reply  to Ms T.  I’d already armed myself with reference material from Ofsted regarding what constitutes good teaching and set about responding to her points one by one and putting more than a few of my own.

Hiatus here as I have just finished printing off the research material  (tick) and need to go and get dressed (tick), put the ironing away (tick) and vaguely tidy (tick) because I have a cherished visitor later on (when the Grand Prix (or Pricks as she sarcastically puts it) is on.

And I’m back in the room.  Clothes hung up (tick), socks paired and put away (NO! I do not iron them – they just happened to be waiting on top of the ironing pile).  Health and Safety alert – my throat is throbbing – time for drugs; I almost broke a nail shutting a drawer and I actually gave myself a nosebleed when the curtain rail above the hated mirror wardrobe fell on me (we took the three of the mirror doors off and put some nice stripey curtains up instead but every now and again I knock the curtain rail off when being over-enthusiastic in my putting away).  It’s stopped bleeding now anyway and I’m only making the occasional whimper.

I am dressed (tick), have minimal daytime slap to cover the reddened nose (tick), hair brushed and plaited out-of-the-way (tick).  Window and patio doors open for a through draft and James Martin providing undemanding entertainment.   College Boy is still asleep having been up half the night yacking with his mates – WHY did I buy him the headphones with the boom mike? Hub hasn’t sent his usual update text yet so he must be having a horribly athletic and wonderful time shooting his mates with blobs of paint.  Nice.

So  – Friday morning again – I finished my email to Ms T, woke up College Boy for his Sociology exam and printed off a draft of the email. Unusually, he approved it with only minor amendments – some of which I made, some of which even I wouldn’t dare to put in an email. Lovely hub woke up, chuckled at my tutor email, made some sensible amendments to the college email (he is the voice of reason in this house) but agreed that in time-honoured local government tradition we’d put off sending it out till at least 1645 hrs.  That way College Boy would be home and out of the reach of the harpies, nearly everyone would have gone home for the weekend, and I’m going to be back in the office on Monday and unavailable when Miss T opens the email.  Lovely hub will have to deal with her.

Ooooh  – Masterchef is on – unfortunately despoiled for me now by Jon Richardson’s wicked parody last Sunday night.  In continuance of the hilarity theme; we are off to Stockport tonight to see Chris Addison – deep joy.  Uni Boy is wryly amused that we are spending his inheritance on laughter – poor fool – he won’t inherit anything much  from us really – just  his father’s patrician nose and my lack of respect for authority.

Deaf, smelly cat is wailing a welcome.  This worried me for a while, thinking that he was in distress but I’ve come to the conclusion that his deafness is now so profound that he can’t hear how loud he is.  His purr when I pick him up for a hug is just as loud however and he’s loving the fact that he can walk in through the cat flap and out through the patio doors without let or hindrance.  A simple life.

The majority of things have been ticked off the list now and the remaining items are linked to food, friends and having a good time.  Floyd is making risotto on the TV and I need to read about memory impairment and source mis-attribution.  Stimulating.