Saturday, 31 May 2008

The Finger of Suspicion?

First it was these:

Next it was 'Let's take the kids out for the day'

Then it was an invitation for a night out:

Now, if I were a more suspicious type of person, I might be wondering what on earth the Father of This Lot's up to now.

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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Joy of Texts

The Football Fanatic has a friend called Kelly. When I say friend, I mean more of an acquaintance. The Football Fanatic is sitting behind me and has asked me to point out that Kelly is not from these parts. She's from Birmingham. Whether or not that makes any difference to anyone else, I have no idea, but where the Football Fanatic is concerned, if you're not from The Republic of Mancunia, then you're somewhat of a second-class citizen. (Oh, to be nineteen again and live in a world where everything is black and white - but I digress).

Anyway, yesterday, Kelly sent her a text:

Fancy going 2 pictures 2moz? It's Orange Weds n i get in free if u pay

Now, they had been out together over the weekend and Kelly had said some rather hurtful things to the Football Fanatic. I think this may have been because boys in nightclubs tend to flock around the Football Fanatic and not around Kelly, but who am I to judge?

Anyway, because of this, the Football Fanatic did not want to go to the pictures, and because she is not by nature a mean-spirited girl, decided to make up a story which would get her out of it without upsetting Kelly.

She texted back:

Soz can't go pics 2moz. Working l8 and meeting Katie afta.

Then she decided she'd better text Katie to let her know:

trying 2 get out of going 2 pics with kelly so told her i was meeting u

Which would have been fine, if she had sent the text to the right person.

Yes, you've guessed it. The text saying she was trying to get out of going to the pictures with Kelly went to.........Kelly!

After I had resussitated her we tried to work out what to do. I'm pretty sure I mentioned something along the lines of 'This is why you shouldn't tell lies' which was actually no use whatsoever.

However, the Football Fanatic is nothing if not resourceful. She called in The Fixer, who thought for all of three seconds then said 'I know what to do - send her another text saying this':

soz wasn't meant 4u. ment 2b going with jack. didnt want u2 fink i was ditching u 4 a lad

'Now send Jack a text saying this':

if kelly asks we're going out 2moz. i'll xplain l8r.

Now, far be it from me to cast aspersions, but the Fixer has been trying to set these two up for a while. Maybe it was all part of the plan, but she for one wasn't remotely surprised when Jack texted back:

why dont we just go out anyway?

This would be the ultra good-looking Jack, with the apartment in the city centre, the black Mercedes Coupe and perhaps most importantly, the season ticket in the Stretford End.

Up to now, they're just good friends.

I'll let you know.

In the meantime, the Football Fanatic sends this message:

Anyone for Tea?

Tootsie tagged me to show my teacups!

Now, either I'm not a very good photographer, or the camera's no good, or the light in the kitchen on a rainy Wednesday afternoon won't suffice, because the first lot of photos I took had a sort of abstract look about them, and I had to move the whole lot to a tray on the hall table for you to see anything at all.

Anyway, this one's mine:

Oh, alright - the china teapot only makes an appearance on Christmas Day, but I really will only drink from a white china cup. Can't abide coloured cups. I would drink from one if I was desparate, but it would have to be white on the inside!!

The Singer's the next biggest tea drinker in the house. She likes something chocolatey with hers:

The Fixer's United mug and a Smarties cookie or two:

The Peacemaker's always been a big Winnie the Pooh fan:

While The Noise is more of a 'Groovy Girl':

The Football Fanatic doesn't drink tea or coffee. If she could get away with it, she would drink this in the house:

But since she can't, she has to settle for this:

Oh, I forgot to show you what I have with a cup of tea:

Now, don't get all self-righteous on me.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

You couldn't get through a day in here without some form of substance abuse.

I tag Mrs. Fox, Pud and Working Mum.

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Monday, 26 May 2008

Just thought.... might like to see where I am when I'm not here. (A bit of a cheat because I am completely out of things to say).

Anyway, this has been my parish church since I was a little girl. I got married here, my children were baptised here and my dad was buried here.

I think it's the nicest church I've ever been in...but then, I may be biased!

Main body of the church:

The mosaic above the altar contains one million pieces:

Windows in the Lady Chapel:

The Sacred Heart Chapel:
(the chairs are in there because there was a wedding on Saturday and the couple play in a brass band, which performed at the wedding. Obviously, they were two memebers short that day)

The narthex window:

Sometimes, all that church cleaning seems worth it.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Free at Last!

No football till August! Do you realise what this means?
Well, apart from a couple of weeks half-hearted interest in cricket, and possibly some excitement during Wimbledon fortnight, it spells freedom from the arcane superstition regarding laundry!

It means that on a Saturday afternoon, the back garden can once again look like this:

I feel almost overcome.

Believe me, it doesn't get much better than this!

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Friday, 23 May 2008

Coming Down From Cloud Nine......

......with a bang!
The Football Fanatic has been saving this......

since her birthday in February.

It was due to be cracked open on Wednesday night, but since she didn't arrive home from painting the town red till six o'clock the following morning there was a slight delay.

The resultant hangover lasted well into the next day, so we didn't get to open it on Thursday either.

Friday night, then, kids. You can have a VERY small glass each.

Oh...hang on....what's that sound of vomit hitting the toilet? No, it's not who you think - it's the Peacemaker and the Noise who have managed to pick up a bug from school just as they finish for a two week holiday.

And as the Football Fanatic has just informed me that she's out tomorrow from lunchtime to meet up with the returnees from Moscow, Saturday doesn't look much good either.

Can't stop - sounds like Niagra Falls again in the bathroom.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

On This Day...

When it comes to football, my eldest daughter is possibly the most superstitious person on the planet. As far as possible, everything has to be the same as the corresponding match in a previous season. Any slight deviation could mean a defeat. Obviously, the entire football world runs on the basis of what happens in this house on any given day.

So, just for today, and in order to try and calm her down from the state of superventricular hyperventilation she has worked herself into, I have decided to go along with it and do my best to re-create the day in 1999 when United last won the European Cup.

I have mentioned in a previous post, that for reasons known only to herself, she remembers what we had for tea.

Steak and onions it is, then.

She also remembered something with custard.

Apple crumble? Will that do?

She spent the first fifteen minutes of the match in 1999 at Brownies. The Father of This Lot had to pick her up and moaned all the way home.

Now, with the best will in the world, I could not see Brown Owl letting a nineteen year old into a Brownie meeting (and believe me, she wanted me to ask). However, we seem to have solved the problem - The Fixer went to athletics training after school and the Father of This Lot had to pick her up. He moaned all the way home. So that was alright.

I was wearing jeans and flip-flops. That was easy, since I always wear jeans and flip-flops.

The kids were decked out in United shirts.


We had flags and various other bits of memorabilia hanging out of the windows.


I did not watch the match. I paced about upstairs until five minutes from the end.

Check, check and double check.

The plan seems to have gone a little awry in that, in 1999, the Football Fanatic was not ensconced in a bar in town, surrounded by everyone else who has not gone to Moscow, with the intention of partying all night and turning up sometime tomorrow morning. When mentioned, however, this was classed as 'a mere detail'.

So there you go. I've done everything I can to re-create the day to the best of my ability.

Although how the hell I'm going to fit The Noise into a 0-3 month old sleepsuit and start breastfeeding again I've yet to work out.



Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The Final Countdown

Twenty four hours and twenty minutes to go.

The biggest football match in the world.

No pressure.

The Football Fanatic and myself have been locked in a war of words for the last two weeks.

Her: You do realise EVERYONE in the world is going to Moscow except me, don't you?
Me: It'll be packed then won't it?
Her: MUM! It's not fair! WHY can't I go?
Me: a) You can't afford it
b) It's not the safest place in the world
c) I would be dead of some stress-related illness before you got back, and
d) (and this is the big one) I am too scared of you opening your mouth and ending up in
some Siberian jail.
Her: But I'm nineteen!
Me: I don't care how old you are. You're not going.
Me: Stick around, kiddo. It doesn't get much better with age.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Better Late Than Never

I know I'm inexcusably late, but the truth is, I haven't been able to get near this computer ALL weekend.

The Singer and The Peacemaker spent most of Saturday sending incomprehensible messages on MSN, while The Fixer...well, who knows what she does on here? Probably something to do with MI5 and a Russian in a trilby, and very possibly a threat to national security.

For the whole of Sunday MY (did your hear that kids?) MY computer was transformed into an editing suite for the Football Fanatic's latest university assignment - as usual, given out weeks ago and left till the last minute (the last minute being two o'clock this morning).

AND THEN, the Father of This Lot stayed lastnight and has been here ALL day. He has just gone off to work, so here I am. At last. I've missed you.

Anyway, here is my week in pictures:

This lot's idea of 'helping your mother':

My beloved city after the Billy Boys trashed it:

I haven't been to town myself, but the Football Fanatic likened it the next day to 'walking through a cess-pit'. She had stepped over bodies on her way to work in the morning, and apparently the smell (the streets having been used as a public urinal) was really something to behold.

The Peacemaker had her SATs week, and the school provided a free Breakfast Club for them to 'ease them into each day'. Thanks. It just meant we had to be out even earlier than usual.

Still, at least it meant I had more time for cleaning. And the house was done by Friday. Honest.

Pity you missed it.

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Thursday, 15 May 2008

What Are You Doing Here?

You know you're not supposed to come back till Friday!

I'm not finished!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Thou Shalt Not Blog

No, the Father of This Lot has not found out about it and issued a proclamation.

It's a self-induced eleventh commandment. (And don't worry - it's strictly temporary).

As I said, very quietly and gently to this lot lastnight,


And it's true. It is in immediate need of some de-cluttering, deep-cleaning and general care and attention.

In fact, if there were awards for housekeeping, I would nominate myself for this one:

And, as we know, blogging is not very condusive to housework. In fact, I think it's in direct opposition.

So I'm signing off for a couple of days and getting down to it. I've even got a plan!

There will be less of this:

And more of this:

Less of this:

And more of this:

This will be ditched:

So I can get back to this:

And I think this staying overnight business........

.....may need a review. Whilst it has its advantages, it is leading to more of this:

Which I definitely do not need.

And if any of my kids are reading, I would like to point out that I do not intend to do it alone. Your evenings will not include any of this:

Until we have tackled these:

So. That's the plan. No distractions till it's all done.

Although if I get an offer for any of this:

....I may well be tempted.

See you Friday!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Something For The Weekend

It's been a strange and rather lonely weekend here, all things considered. Not the I-need-your-pity sort of lonely, more just a distinct lack of people around the place.

There's always someone missing at the weekend because a couple usually stay at my mother's house on Fridays and Saturdays. They draw lots for it. This weekend there was only one there because the others had a better offer of a sleepover at their cousins house. Other kids, the chance of messing about till three in the morning and Hannah Montana on Nickelodeon.
Sorry, Nana, no contest

Added to this, the Football Fanatic left for a day in Blackpool at 8.30 yesterday morning. The Father of This Lot turned up, but he would rather slit his own throat with a blunt knife than spend a Saturday afternoon here while there is sun shining and pubs open, so he didn't hang about for long. I wasn't bothered. I just relieved him of his bank card before he left and went to Tesco, where I bought something for tea, three new outfits and a pair of shoes.

Consequently, there was no-one here to tell of my new found fame and fortune. I had a mention in The Daily Telegraph, no less, as one of the recommended 'blogging mums'. Actually, I'm quite glad The Father of This Lot wasn't here, since he was descibed in a national broadsheet as a 'feckless husband'. Family Affairs and I have been wondering whether there might be a book deal in it, which would keep us in a manner to which we're unaccustomed, and if so, would we buy more expensive shoes? Personally, I have already started. The shoes at Tesco cost £8, which is far more than the £3.99 I usually pay at Primark. I'm quite giddy with it, actually.

Today, after the 10 o'clock mass, I was informed that I had to be back at church at 2pm, to provide refreshments for the Whit Sunday gathering which involved all the other churches in the area. I helped to put the tables out, fill the urns, sort out biscuits and cakes, and at five to three I told Fr. J. I was going home.

Him: What do you mean, you're going home?

Me: Father, you are perfectly well aware that the last match of the season, on which the Premiership title hangs, kicks off in five minutes. I am going home.

Him: (Hissing, no less. From a priest) You won't even watch it anyway. You'll only pace about upstairs.

Me: That's as maybe. D'you think they'll win?

Him: I hope so.

He was only jealous, that he couldn't go home and watch it.
And he was right. I didn't watch it. Couldn't. I just paced about upstairs. The Football Fanatic was in a bar in Old Trafford. I don't think she watched much of it either. She was in the toilet every time she phoned me. It's on again tonight. I'll watch it then.
In the meantime.........oh, go on. Humour me!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Daughters of The King?

'Did you know King Edward had a whipping boy?' asked The Noise, looking up from her homework.

'Yes, I did', I answered, as patiently as it is possible for someone who has been through this comprehension on Henry Vlll's son four times already with previous occupants of Year 4.

'What does r-e-i-g-n mean?'

'Reign. It means to rule.'

'You mean like rule the country?'


'Well how could he do that when he was only nine years old? I'm nine years old and I'm not a princess'.

'But your father's not a king'.

The rest of this lot, to a man, answered:

'He just thinks he is'.

Looks like they've got the measure of you, mate.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Three Things....

.....I can't explain to my mother.

I was tagged for this one by Suburbia. Here goes:

1. The Father of This Lot.

My mother despises the Father of This Lot with a passion. So I cannot explain to her

a) the initial atrraction,

b) why we stayed together for so long or

c) why on earth I would still want to have anything to do with him.

From what you know of my life so far, I think you'd agree that this makes things rather difficult.......

2. The reason why God, in His wisdom, did not think it necessary to take both my dad and her TOGETHER.

This is a tough one. My answers have ranged from the ultra-nice 'It doesn't work like that Mum' to the exasperated 'Well, wouldn't that be lovely? I'm sure everyone would choose that if they could!' But to no avail. She deliberately misses the point that it's not her choice, or anyone else's choice. It's sad, and getting sadder, and I really don't know what to do about it.

3. The Offside Rule

Actually, that is a blatant lie. My mother knows quite a lot about football, but thinking about the previous two answers made me want to inject a bit of humour. For the sake of my sanity, you understand!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

What A Difference A Day Makes

Well, I had a lovely day yesterday. I had an early doctor's appointment on the other side of town, and once I had finished there, realised that I had the day to myself.

It was lovely and sunny, so I sat at an outside table at Pret-a-Manger and ordered a latte and something delicious containing ham and cheese, and I whiled away half an hour watching the world go by. What I noticed was that nobody actually speaks to each other - they're all on mobile phones. Even two people walking together have two different conversations.

The Football Fanatic had said she would pick the kids up from school, so, unbound by time restraints, I spent the afternoon shopping. Well, I did my best. I have to say I was very disappointed by the summer fashions - all horizontal stripes and frills - not me at all. I was hard pressed to buy anything, but I managed a couple of purchases.

After a leisurely jaunt home (and disregarding the minor details of making the tea, bringing in the two lines of washing I had put out before I left and rushing up to the presbytery to make the tea for Fr. J's Enquirers Group) I even met the Father of This Lot in the pub on the corner for a pleasant evening drink.

Later it occurred to me that perhaps my day had been so stress-free because it involved absolutely no kids whatsoever.

Maybe I'm in the wrong job.

Monday, 5 May 2008

The Art of Punctuation

A few nights ago the Football Fanatic went out to her other job at the Manchester United television station. After the show, she and the girl she works with were going for a drink in town. Fine. See you later.

At 9 o'clock I got this text from her:

battery going fone

on way home

Normally, when she gets in a taxi she rings and talks to me all the way home. Obviously she was letting me know she was in the taxi, but couldn't ring with a low battery.

At quarter to ten she hadn't arrived. Since it it a fifteen minute journey from town in a taxi, I assumed that she must have decided to get the bus instead. I checked the bus times. There was one at twenty past nine, so if she had got it, she would be home any minute. At ten o'clock she still wasn't home. I checked the bus times again. The next one was at five past ten, which would get her home at half past. There was nothing else for it, but to wait till half past ten. And pray.

Half past ten came and went. It was an hour and a half since she had sent the message. Now, I know you have all come to realise that the Football Fanatic is somewhat of a dizzy blonde, BUT, I have to hand it to her, if she is ever delayed, or misses a bus, or is going to be home later than she said she would, she always lets me know.

At quarter to eleven I started making deals with God. By eleven o'clock, I was thinking about selling my soul to the devil. Then I started thinking that sooner or later I would have to do something. Like ringing round hospitals.

And then I found the number of the girl she had gone out with. I was in too much of a state by this time to speak to her, so I sent her a text:

Hi, it's FF's mum. Are you still out?

She replied:

No, I'm home in bed. Is everything all right?

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I swear I'll never do another thing wrong in my whole life if you'll just let her be safe and come home..........

I texted back:

No. FF's not arrived home.


She stayed behind with the others to watch extra time in the Chelsea match. Try this number.....and don't worry. She'll be okay.

Isn't it strange how quickly 'please just let her be safe' can turn into 'I'll kill her!'?

I rang the number I'd been given, still shaking, not caring how much embarrassment it was going to cause her having her mum ring her on someone else's phone.....there was a bit of scuffling about and laughing....and then....'Mum? What's the matter? Has something happened?'

Thank you God. It's my little girl. She's safe.

I think I cried. I managed to ask why she'd sent a text two and a half hours ago saying she was on the way home. And then she explained. You see, it's all in the punctuation. And texting teenagers have no use for punctuation. Just let them wait till they've got children. THEN they'll use full stops.

What the text should have said was:

battery going. fone on way home.

Which does put a slightly different slant on it, doesn't it?

And if you're still not convinced about the value of punctuation, try this one:

'A woman without her man is nothing'

or, put another way:

'A woman, without her, man is nothing'.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Normal Service Will Now Resume...

Sorry, just needed a short break there to sort out some real life personal stuff....BUT....the good news is.....the prize for the giveaway arrived yesterday morning.

I typed 'random number generator' into Google (I tried to link to the page but the number kept changing, so you'll just have to believe me), and the first number it spat out was...18.

The eighteenth comment was left by.....

Pig in The Kitchen

so she wins 'The Mum's Book, for the Mum whose Best at Everything'

I absolutely PROMISE I'll be back tomorrow with more stories of life in the almost-stopped lane.