Wednesday, 30 July 2008


The Football Fanatic has threatened to leave home if I write one more blog post about Jack.

Believe me, I considered it. No more clothes and shoes strewn about the place, television programmes other than Match of The Day and Sky Sports News, not to mention the fact that the food bill would reduce by half.....but....since she is quoting privacy laws at me, I suppose that for the moment at least, tales of Jack have been...well...hijacked.

Shame really, because I thought you would love to know the nature of the verbal abuse sustained by Jack's friend who had the misfortune to pick up one extremely angry mother at the airport. Or what she said on arrival at the apartment, when she found that although the place was stacked to the rafters with cans of lager and bottles of Jack Daniels, there wasn't actually any food. Or the texts between Jack and the Football Fanatic the night before he went into hospital......

Oh well.

On the bright side, I gave up all notions of privacy about five children ago.

So it looks like it's down to me and the Father of This Lot to keep you entertained for the forseeable future.

God help us all.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Got My Wires Crossed

Contrary to popular belief, I have NOT been in Monte Carlo with the Football Fanatic, Jack, any combination of the two, nor anyone else.

I did however, spend a week awaiting delivery of a connecting wire necessary to get back online after our internet connection took a decidedly deadly turn.

When it arrived, I followed all the instructions, plugged everything in and....nothing. Unfortunately, my technical assistant, The Fixer, was spending two days at her friend's house, and so was unavailable for comment, assistance, or anything else of any use whatsoever.

On her arrival home, she checked what I had done, gave me a withering look, undid all the connections I had made in an attempt to get the thing to work two floors up from the main plug, re-plugged everything back in to different connections and...voila (as they say in Monte Carlo).

Please don't think I have been bored whilst I have been away. Let's see what's been happening:

1. The Father of This Lot invited me out for the evening and proceeded to ply me with copious amounts of alcohol. This led to some rather interesting developments:

a) I will never touch another drop of the stuff as long as I live. In fact, if I could find somewhere I could take the Temperance pledge, I would do so immediately

b) The Father of This Lot had a fight with the taxi driver who brought us home (Nothing new there, then)

and c) He has been here night and day ever since.

Please don't ask, as I am sure you do not want me to re-live the embarrassment of recalling my public renditions of Connie Francis' "Who's Sorry Now?" or Dean Martin's "My Rifle, My Pony and Me".

2. Jack has had an operation to remove a piece of shrapnel from his knee sustained in a bomb blast whilst he was serving with the Marines in Afghanistan.

If anyone feels that they are falling a little bit in love with Jack at this point, please form an orderly queue.

Behind me.

Jack's parents live abroad. In order not to worry her, he did not tell his mother about the operation. I made it known that I did not think this was a very good idea.

Today, Jack's mother found out about the operation and is currently on a plane on her way to Britain. Although Jack has been in extreme pain for the last week, he feels that it is probably nothing compared to what he's going to feel when his mother lands on his doorstep.

3. My own mother went for an eye test and was referred immediately to an emergency eye clinic, where she was given an appointment to see a retinal specialist tomorrow. As I type, my mother has torn the appointment card into shreds and is adamant that she will not attend.....




Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Monte Carlo or Bust!

At the end of August, Manchester United are due to play Zenit St. Petersburg in the UEFA Super Cup at the Stade Louis II in Monaco.

The Football Fanatic has been invited to the match and a tour of the principality.

By Jack.

I just looked on Google Earth.

The Stade Louis II is approximately 2.3 miles from Monte Carlo - a distance of about six minutes.

Six minutes on foot? Six minutes by car?



Six minutes from Monte Carlo?

I swear to God, if she doesn't go.............I WILL!!

Monday, 14 July 2008

A Learning Curve

The Father of This Lot has finally decided that he does not want this relationship to go completely down the tube.

Don't worry - I won't do anything rash.

I did hear him muttering something about there being 'a great long list of stuff he'll have to do' in order for him to regain his somewhat tarnished reputation in the household.

Not really. Just start behaving like a husband and father of five children rather than an eighteen year old single male with absolutely no responsibilities.

Now I think of it, that will actually constitute a major life overhaul.

Oh well.

Hopefully, the transition from this:

to this:

...won't be too painful for him.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

If You Can't Fight.....

....wear a big hat.

(An old Mancunian saying I believe).

Well, my mother used to say it a lot, and she's an old Mancunian.

Anyway, I have had an extremely trying week with the Father of This Lot.

A LOT of this has been going on:

Perhaps it's my big hat he objects to.

(Sorry I've not been commenting on other blogs much. I'll get back to you all sooner or later).

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The Fixer Fixes It For Me

The first day of The Fixer's summer holiday passed in such a whirl of activity that I have been too shattered until now to write a post.

She appears to have taken on the mantle of housekeeper for the duration, and believe me, she could give that woman in 'Rebecca' a run for her money.

Boy, is that child organised. She has made us a spreadsheet, outlining various cleaning tasks, and we have to tick little boxes which say things like 'sweep floors', 'clean kitchen tops and table' and 'dust and polish living room'.

I was slightly concerned at one point that I appeared to be doing all the work while she ticked the boxes, but I suppose that's what makes a good manager. Anyway, over here, she tells a rather different story.

To nobody's surprise, The Singer hot-footed it round to Nana's as soon as she got a whiff of Windowlene and once The Football Fanatic had done her stint at work she retired to her room. (These two don't generally sully their hands with anything domestic. In fact, it's about the only thing they agree on).

So with The Peacemaker and The Noise still at school till next week, it was just a mother-and-one-daughter bonding session.

I quite enjoyed it. And we've got a clean kitchen. And a very tidy living room. And the hall doesn't look too bad either.

I just don't know if I can keep up the pace.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

More Awards

I just wanted to say thank you for these awards, but I am rather frazzled having just returned from collecting The Singer from her friend's house where she went after school today.

Thanks to a 'sat nav' borrowed from a friend of The Father of This Lot, the twenty minute journey took two hours.

So, I will be passing them on another day, but in the meantime, thank you Cath......

Whilst I'm here, I would like to thank those people who made sensible comments about some rather old-fashioned cleaning products yesterday.
Unfortunately, there were two people sitting at the back being very silly. If this behaviour continues, they will find themselves STANDING OUTSIDE IN THE CORRIDOR.

So, just for you, Mac and Renae....this is Handy Andy.........

...this is Andy Pandy......

....and THIS is Andy Hardy.

Teachers, both of them.. They should know better than to cause this type of disturbance.

Good job the end of year reports have already gone out.

Or does anyone think they should be sent to the Head?

Monday, 7 July 2008

Streets of London

Last week The Singer went on a day trip to London. (In that week I paid out £119 for school day trips....yes, you read it correctly....£119, but there you go. It is one of the downsides of having a large family. If anyone can let me know the upside......)

Anyway, it looked like it was going to be a good day - lunch in Covent Garden, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, boat trip on the Thames and a ride on the London Eye.

I bought her two disposable cameras and told her to take lots of photos. Remembering that we have had photographs from school trips developed before which are mainly head and shoulders shots of this lot and various friends and could have been taken in the back garden, I reminded her to get some scenery in the shots - you know, so that in twenty years we'd know where the photos were taken.

And that was where I made my mistake. The Singer did take lots of photos - 48 of them in fact - of scenery. She wasn't actually in any of them. I expressed my disbelief.

The Singer: You said to make sure I got some scenery.

Me: I meant scenery with you in it. You know, you with Big Ben in the background, you next to the sign that says Covent Garden.....

The Singer: Well, you didn't say that did you?

Fortnuately this conversation took place BEFORE I had the misfortune to spend upwards of £15 developing 48 photographs that we could have got free from Google Images.

Maybe I'll just get some from Google Images anyway and get The Fixer to Photoshop her in.

I used this picture because when I was a little girl my mother had placemats like this which I'm pretty sure came free with Daz. Or possibly Omo. And if you remember Omo, you are much older than you are letting on. Obviously, I have an extremely good memory which actually stretches back to before I was born.

You'll be telling me you remember Handy Andy next.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

How Big Is Your Problem?

The artist, Graham Braddock, tells this story:

Suddenly he was looking down on his studio. He could see his own body lying on the floor. Then he was further up, looking down on his suburb. He continued to mount higher, he could see the whole city, the whole country, the whole Earth. As he watched, Earth shrank to a tiny dot in the velvet vastness of the Universe. Then a voice spoke... “How big is your problem?”
With that he was back in his own body; the same man, but with a new frame of reference.
The overwhelming problems that had driven him to fast and pray and seek after God, didn’t look the same any more. Not long after, the artist friend who told me this story became a Christian. The story stuck in my mind. Years later, I came up with this painting.

You see, you shouldn't be telling God how big the problem is.
You should be telling the problem how big God is.

And I should know!

Friday, 4 July 2008

You Don't Know Jack

Did I mention that the Football Fanatic doesn't actually 'do' dates?
If you are a boy with an interest in the Football Fanatic, let me give you a word of advice.
Don't hold your breath.
(Unless of course, you're pulling up to United's training ground in a flashy car with your first team kit under you arm, but that's another story....)
Back to reality.
If you are the said boy trying to get a date, and you're really lucky, she might say something like:
'I'll give you my number'
(Don't bother ringing it - it won't be the right one)
If you're really, really lucky she might say:
'I may be here next week'
and if you're really, really, REALLY lucky, she might turn up.
But actually make a date to meet you at a particular time and place? Forget it, kiddo. Don't waste your time. (And I'm her mother, so I know what I'm talking about).
So, given the background, you can see why I get quite excitable when she goes out with Jack.
We have had various Jack-related conversations.
Her: Chillax, Mum. We're just friends.
Me: (accompanied by knowing smile) Fair enough.
Her: MUM! I don't like Jack and Jack doesn't like me. Okay??
Me: What makes you think he doesn't like you?
Her: He's got girls texting him all the time.
Me: Does he text them back?
Her: No....but when we're out there's girls throwing themselves at him all night.
Me: Does he throw himself back?
Her: No....but...
Me: But what? You're the one he's texting and you're the one he's taking out.
Her: MUM!!!
Fast forward to today. The Football Fanatic was at work in the Menswear Department. By use of code, ('Please can you get me a pair of black Fresh Feet socks') her colleague let her know that there was an extremely good-looking person in the changing rooms.
It was Jack.
FF: What are you doing here?
Jack: Looking for you. I've been ringing you all day. You didn't answer. I thought something had happened to you.
FF: I've left my phone at home. Why have you got a bag of food?
Jack: Because you're usually in the Food Department. I went there first.
FF: Why are you trying on suits? Do you need a suit?
Jack: Not really. I'll have this one though.
FF: It's a hundred and fifty quid.
Jack: Wrap it up. D'you fancy going out tomorrow?
FF: I'll let you know......

So, is it just me?

Or should I be saying to the Football Fanatic:

'You don't know Jack'

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Thursday, 3 July 2008

Green Fingers (Take Two)


(Actually, I found it about half an hour after I purchased a card reader....but that's par for the course in here.....So, on with the story......)

Once upon a time (actually, it was the last school holiday) a little girl called The Noise planted some seeds.

She waited, and watered them, and when the sun came out she made sure they were in it, and then she waited a bit longer.

And just when she was getting a bit tired of waiting, she went outside one day and found that the seeds had become.......


And that the tomato plant that her Mum had planted (to try and cut down on the cost of financing Matthew the greengrocer's holidays) had turned into this.......

She still can't quite figure out how those little yellow flowers are going to become tomatoes, but her Mum has assured her that they will. Hopefully.
And while we were in the garden, we took a photo of this, which is by our back door.

Who says shamrock only grows in Ireland?

Maybe you just need good Irish connections.

The story editor has been asked to point out that during the making of this post, The Noise was more than a little aggrieved that her new French manicure didn't show up very well. (The one that she got at her friend's party at a beauty parlour last weekend, along with a pedicure and pink hair extensions).

In my day, a nine-year-old's party consisted of a bowl of jelly and a game of Musical Chairs.

So, what do you think?

Will The Noise one day present 'Gardener's World' or is Alan Titchmarsh's job quite safe?

Chloe update

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Tuesday, 1 July 2008


I just had an e-mail from Renae saying that little Chloe, who has been doing so well, is showing signs that she's rejecting the new liver.

Will you please pray for her.