Thursday, March 29, 2007
Pete was getting ready to go to the Gym last night, and I was chatting to him(in other words, hurrying him out the door so I could have the PC to myself), when Ryan runs in covered in blood shouting "My eye, my eye!". We thought he'd had a fight at first, but it turns out that he'd been wrestling with a girl and her keyring had pierced the skin and got caught. I had to get him to stop crying, which was no mean feat let me tell you, as the tears were stinging. He soon recovered and went back out with his mates, but woke up with a wicked black eye today. We've been calling him Eyepatch ever since. Here is Ryan, who had a fight with a keyring, and lost!
The Council sent round a plumber who unblocked the drains outside our block, so I now have full use of my kitchen again. It was a joyous occasion, as it was getting dangerously close to DEFCON 1, which is the level at which Mum Walks Out And Never Returns.
We've finalised our mortgage today, we've got an excellent interest rate so our credit rating must be higher than we thought. We expected to have rows with them about that, so were pleasantly surprised. We are building Ryan a bedroom downstairs in the next month or so, and doing the kitchen, at last, after the wedding. I can't wait. Our kitchen sucks.
It will go from this Council standard issue crumbling monstrosity:
To this free standing Ikea dream:
Pete had some unlucky, but ultimately fateful news today. Yesterday he got the date through for his Blackwell's interview, he has to go to London on the 12th April.
He also had a telephone interview for Halfords two weeks ago. As we haven't heard we presumed they didn't like him. They got back to him today to invite him for a interview. On the 12th of April.
Doh!! He's had to turn them down, and as it's an assessment centre the succesful candidate will be selected on that day and offered the job, so there is no chance to reschedule. Oh well. It's given him a confidence boost if nothing else.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I have white onions sprouting;
Lettuce seedlings growing merrily in my lounge, looking more and more edible by the day;
And, my rock garden is flowering! I've never 'done' flowers before, so I'm surprised they haven't died yet.
My spuds have also shown their little sprouts above the surface. I was getting worried about the little guys what with the frosts and snow we've had.
Taylor's school have dug a vegetable garden and asked for volunteers, so I've sown some extra spring onion, lettuce, and leek seeds in a tray to take down there in a few weeks time. They can have some onion sets too that I have left over. I'm hoping to go and help out with the Gardening Club, but I need a Criminal Records Bureau check first(even though I was only checked by Essex County Council two years ago before I did some youth work). It's a huge waste of money, but I guess I should be glad they won't be employing any Ian Huntley's anytime soon.
We've had a slow leak in our kitchen for a while, and it's eating away at our kitchen units. Because we have put in a Right to Buy on this place, the Council will not carry out any repairs. Last week the water started pouring all over the floor every time we ran the tap or used the washing machine, so we had to start using the launderette. At £20 a time(which just about did two days worth of clothes), it wasn't something we could keep up.
Yesterday, Pete and the boys sat on their arses playing on the X Box all day, and I got more and more pissed off with the mountain of clothes and dishes that couldn't be done. There was no end in sight, and I don't do well when I feel out of control with regards to the house. I got so depressed about it that Pete said we could call a plummer in. So out he came this morning, costing £59 an hour(minus VAT, of course). He fixed it, it broke again, the clock was ticking, water was still pouring out, and I only had £190 on my credit card. I started to get a tiny bit vexed, and eventually he sorted it. After paying £232 that we don't have, I waved him off and put the washing machine on. Would you believe it, when the washing machine empties, the drain backs up again and water trickles out!
When I told Pete he was livid. It wasn't the plumbers fault. He could have stayed and made sure that it was all fixed, but I had to rush him as I had no money to pay the guy. On top of all this, Pete's Dad has gone back into hospital again with chest pains.
Not a good day all in all. I'm trying to look on the bright side. At least I can wash up now, it's just the laundry that's a problem. Nothing ever goes right in our house. :(
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I've been off the diet all week, having had no motivation and declaring that dieting and exercising was a loads of bollocks. But, I'll be back on it tomorrow, as I now have to get rid of the fat rolls at the top of my new jeans. Yes, they are a teensy bit snug, but I didn't need to lay down and pull the zip up with a coat hanger, which must count for something surely?
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Sooooo, Pete left at 6am to go to Oxford for his interview, which was at 11am. I had a manic morning trying to get three kids off to school/childminders and get myself to work by 8.30am. I have no idea how I did it. If he gets this job I'll be doing this for three months on my own. He called me at 9.30am, panicking, as he'd only travelled two thirds of the way, because the M25 had been horrendous. He managed to get there early in the end, and it all went brilliantly. He got on really well with the woman, who'd be his manager if he gets it. She called the consultancy as soon as he'd left and gushed about how impressed she was, and they called Pete straight away to tell him how much they liked him. He has an assessment centre with 3 other candidates and a second interview in a few weeks. I'm actually really crapping myself now, we're one step nearer. Of course, there is a huge chance he won't get it, and either way I'll be happy as I really really don't want to leave my job. If he's offered this we're in a very difficult position.
Then when Pete got home we had a new valuation from the Council about the house. We had to appeal the first valuation as they reckoned that this dump was worth £98,000. After we got this independent valuer in, he's given us the final price of £91,000, so we've stuck two fingers up at the Council there. I don't know how anyone would want to pay almost £100,000 for one of these. I will feel a bit naughty buying this place if he gets this job offer, as the only reason we were considering the purchase was because we couldn't afford anywhere else on our salaries. Of course with a new job that wont be the case, but we'll go ahead anyway.
We were talking about dogs in work this morning, and Val my colleague told me about her friend Linda’s Rottweiler.
Linda went on holiday a few years ago on her own to visit her father in the US, and when she came back her husband had bought 3 Rottweiler puppies, Diesel, Rio and Paris. She really wasn’t happy about it, and managed to rehome Diesel a few years ago. Paris and Rio had some puppies at some point, and now that they had moved to a smaller house Linda had put her foot down and said that they had to rehome Rio. They found a home quite quickly, the man came to collect him, but then changed his mind and said that he was too boisterous and he didn’t want him. They found him another home, but within two days he was back as the wife was allergic to him. They then decided to take him to a shelter, but half way there the husband had a change of heart and turned around. It was then decided that Rio would go to the vets to be put to sleep, but their son said he would take the dog to a shelter near his home the next day, and claim to have found him wandering in the local fields.
The son comes the next day and takes Rio to this rescue centre, the woman opens the door and screams “Stanley, my Stanley, where did you find him?” The son just stuck to his story and said he’d found him, and walked away. So, somewhere out there is a dog being called Stanley, who hasn’t a clue what is going on. Do you think the woman will ever notice that this isn’t her Stanley? I know Rottweilers can all look pretty similar, but surely they have their own mannerisms? What if the real Stanley comes home?
I absolutely cracked up when she told me, but I’m glad the dog has found a home, even if it is as ‘Stanley’!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Our car was hit today while Pete was sat waiting at temporary traffic lights by some roadworks, by one of the workmen on a quad bike! They've given us the run around, refusing to pay, or give us their insurance details, so Pete called Essex County Council, who've contracted the firm out, and who Pete also works for. He spoke to the Highways Manager, who is obviously mates with the building firm manager and on a backhander, as he was rude on the phone and unhelpful, so Pete pulled rank, told him who he was and started quoting Council Health & Safety procedures. Jobsworth manager then shits himself and starts doing his job properly. Hopefully this won't be too difficult to sort out
Taylor had to go and give video evidence at the Police station tonight, about those two traveller children punching him in the face last month. It was quite an adventure, the two police men were lovely and flirted mercilessly with me. :D
He was interviewed by CID, and Taylor was an absolute legend. He had CID running around making him cups of tea. At the beginning of the recording the man asked him to give examples of a truth and a lie, so Taylor said that the chair was red as a truth, and then the chair was grey as a lie. Then, the man asked him what happens when you lie, and Taylor said "My Dad will smack me". I just about died laughing.
Monday, March 19, 2007
I haven't done much today, I just went down the town with the little 'uns in the double buggy.
It's been bitterly cold here today, the wind was biting. We hadn't had any snow, then at 3pm on the dot, while I was outside the school talking to Dan, the heavens opened. Taylor took his tracksuit bottoms off earlier to play football out the front(no, he wasn't playing footie in the nude, he had shorts on underneath), and the wind blew them away!
I'm getting really really bored of this exercise thing. Every day it's the same crappy food, and the same boring exercise, and although I'm getting somewhere at a snails pace, I've had enough.
I just want to be fat and happy. :(
I got on the scales on Sunday morning, and I'd lost 4lbs. "Whohoooo!" I thought, as I've been putting in all this effort and the scales haven't shifted for about 5 weeks. It was nice to be moving again. Then today, I hop back on the scale, and I'm back up 4lbs. What the hell is that all about? I can only presume I was very dehydrated on Sunday, and now I've gained back the water weight I'd lost. Bugger.
Still I can't be too glum as I've lost 17lbs since New Years and gone down about 4 inches round the waist, but bizarrely am still the same clothes size.
Damn you childbearing hips! *shakes fist*
Here's a quick photo of my two telly addicts earlier today.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
We went to Oxford for a look around today. The drive was fine, took about 1.5 hours, so less than we thought. It was pretty straightforward, and strangely we found our way around the city centre easily, considering we've never been there before.
When we turned into Broad Street, where the store is, it took my breath away. You know what a sucker I am for architecture and old buildings. I thought I was going to die. It was all a bit emotional really. I didn't think I'd ever even have the chance to live somewhere like that. I'm not getting my hopes up at all, I'm being very pragmatic about the whole thing(for me anyway!). Two days ago I didn't want to go, I love my job too much to leave, and didn't want him to get the job. Now, after seeing the city today, if he gets offered the job, we've got to seriously consider it. We won't be discussing it again until he's had the interview. I don't want to talk about it, I'm going on instincts rather than thoughts right now. :)
We drove out and looked at a few suburbs in the city outskirts and other local towns a bit further afield, as that is where we would more than likely end up renting.
The bookshop is superb, they're going to love Pete's experience. It is just a huge, ancient library. No wonder they spotted his CV and liked it! Pete was laughing because walking through the town I blended in with my drainpipe jeans, converse shoes and strange indie t-shirt, and he stuck out like a sore thumb in his blue jeans and white Nike trainers. It's my kind of town, what can I say!
This building is opposite the store
A Tudor building that caught my eye, now housing a Nokia shop!
A picture I took of Blackwell's from the car
Inside the store, in the Norrington room in the basement
I didn't take this, but it gives you an idea of the size of the store. The whole of this is Blackwell's, except for the cream coloured sliver of a building in the middle, which is a pub. To the left is the Norrington Room, and the right is four floors of books and a coffee shop
Thursday, March 15, 2007
I can't believe I missed the 1st Birthday of my Blog! My first post was a year ago on the 9th March, and I missed it. What an idiot! Well, I've progressed from chatting about shite irregularly, to chatting about shite regularly. I've made friends with some lovely people, who I would've never met otherwise, so thanks Blogger.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Do you know what I did today?
I got up, got the little 'uns ready, and walked to my nearest garden centre. It was 30 minutes away. Am I insane? I got loads of plants though, and only spent a few quid. The rock garden, for now, is finished. I can do no more until pay day.
Here are the ever so boring pictures, not boring to me obviously, or I wouldn't have taken them. :)
Pete has an interview for the Oxford job, which means we are halfway there. We're going to Oxford for the day on Saturday so he can do a mystery shop on the store and have a look around. Me and the boys are just going to have a wander around the shops and get a feel for the place.
Pete's Dad was rushed back into hospital at the weekend with severe pain in his lungs, which they think is a clot. He's stable, so hopefully he'll be OK. I'm just glad they noticed and rushed him back in. He got sent home way to early in my opinion, he hadn't recovered that well and they were turfing him out. That's the NHS for you I suppose. I've never had a problem with them, but they aren't known for taking their time emptying out the beds.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Unfortunately, the video has the longest most boring intro ever, at about 1 minute long. *yawn*
Voodoo People - The Prodigy
Saturday, March 10, 2007
We've been to Shoebury beach with the kids today, where we had lots of fun trying to take each others eyes out with a stunt kite, and searching for interesting stones and fossils. It was a gorgeous day, spring has definitely sprung. I feel like I've got loads of sea air in me now, I bet I'll sleep well tonight. There was loads of old blue and white hand painted pottery washed up on the beach, so I picked some up. I wonder where the hell that came from?
Pete took me out for a meal for our anniversary tonight, to our favourite Italian restaurant in Billericay. It's only a Cafe Uno, so it's a chain restaurant, but the food is superb. We used to go there all the time, once upon a time when we had money. Then we had to rush back to Basildon to see Hot Fuzz at the cinema. It was hilarious, probably the stupidest film we've ever seen, but great all the same.
I'm now going to go and crack open a bottle of wine and get very pissed. :D
Thursday, March 08, 2007
I had another days annual leave today(back to work tomorrow though), so I walked Taylor to school this morning and left Pete to deal with Isobel. Taylor had an assembly this morning so I hung around for that. Considering he's only been there a week, it was nice that he had a part to play in the assembly.
When I got home, as I'd left Pete with strict instructions to get Isobel ready and he'd actually listened(bless!), we were able to leave straight away for our day out. We went over to Leigh on Sea for the day, the weather was glorious, I got some rocks and shells for my rock garden, and found some wild oysters! There were hundreds and hundreds of them, but I was very well behaved and ethical and only took four, as that's enough for Taylor and I.
I haven't quite decided what to do with the little buggers yet, but you know what I'm like for foraging, I couldn't resist them. I'm not keen on them raw, so may fry them in herb butter and have them with pasta.
I had another nice surprise when we came across a derelict building that I've loved for years and always had a soft spot for. Here is a picture of it last year, I think this was taken in April 2006.
And this was it today, all shiny and new. It's been renovated by the Heritage Lottery Fund, so it won't be bulldozed now. I was really pleased when I saw it, if a little jealous. Not that it would ever be big enough for us to all live in, but still, I can dream.
We also got Fish & Chips and an Ice cream, so the diets are out the window for the day. We have done lots of walking to make up for it though. Here is Isobel enjoying her Ice cream.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
The closest bed is the new one, I'm really pleased with the size of both of them now. I should get plenty of veg out of those two. I can see them getting bigger next year, as I grow in confidence. really, I have no idea what the hell I am doing. Ignore the date/time stamps on my photos, my camera was having a bad day.
I now have a huge mound of lumpy clay soil piled up at the end(as you may be able to see), which I had no idea what to do with. Then it hit me, in a flash of inspiration. A rockery! I wanted to grow some herbs in tubs, but why not landscape that mound, chuck in a few rocks and gravel and some alpine plants and herbs? It'll be fab. Exciting or what?
My god, what has my life turned into? :D
Here are my Catriona potatoes, waiting to go in their tubs. I've only planted six, I'm not brave enough for anymore than that!
Unfortunately, today's sun has cruelly tempted me into planting when we are due a frost on Thursday morning, between 3 and 6am. I'll have to cover the onions with newspaper and bring the spuds indoors. I'm putting some seeds in trays indoors tomorrow too, but they'll be nice and warm indoors for a while yet.
I took this picture of Isobel pretending to be a lion today too.
Taylor had his first taste of swimming with his school today, and he got his first ribbon. He couldn't swim at all a few weeks ago, Pete has been taking him occasionally on Saturdays, so hopefully he'll pick it up quite quickly now. He needs to be swimming by the time we go away, or he's going to be pretty miserable having unlimited sea and swimming pools and not being allowed in them!
Monday, March 05, 2007
The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.
There is only one pretty child in the world and every mother has it.
A child's greatest period of growth is the month after you've purchased new school uniforms.
Anyone who says 'Easy as taking candy from a baby' has never tried it.
Be nice to your kids. They'll choose your nursing home.
Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners.
Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.
Children: You spend the first 2 years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 telling them to sit down and shut-up.
Familiarity breeds children.
I love to give homemade gifts... which one of my kids do you want?
If I want to hear the pitter patter of little feet I'll put shoes on my cat.
Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your kids.
Learn from your parents' mistakes - use birth control.
Mother's of teens know why animals eat their young.
My kids are the reason for everything. The reason everything is out of place, broken and dirty.
Neither teenagers nor cats turn their heads when you call them by name.
Raising a child is like baking a cake - by the time you find out it's a disaster, it's too late.
The difference between snot and broccoli? Kids won't eat broccoli.
They say kids brighten the home. That's because they never turn the damn lights off.
We child-proofed our home 3 years ago and they're still getting in!
We didn't know what true joy and happiness was until we had kids - then it was to late.
Who are these kids and why are they calling me Mum?
You can tell a child is growing up when he stops asking where he came from and starts refusing to tell you where he's going.
This is an old video by a relatively unknown band called Redwood, from about 1998. I was a singer in a band myself at the time, and our guitarists brother had been to university with these guys so we went along to see them at the Esplanade in Southend. We had a great night drinking with them and having fun. ;)
I've been in contact with Alistair the singer ever since. Redwood released a few albums and singles, but he is now a solo artist, writing really lovely summery folky acoustic songs.
Redwood - Falling Down
Here is Alistair Cowan's You Tube page with some solo videos on it too.
I'm really missing my Nan this week. I have no idea why. Little things keep reminding me of her. Both myself and my Mum both have these huge ungainly hands, but my Nan had elegant tapered fingers and really soft skin. Isobel has her hands, and every time I hold her hand and look at it I think of Nan. It's a nice memory, and it will hurt less with time, but right now it's still quite raw. I held my Nan's hand when I went to see her in the Chapel of Rest, and it's one of the imprints left in my mind of her. I know a lot of people don't like to view the body, but for me it's important.
I'm going to find it hard at our wedding reception, obviously she couldn't be at the ceremony as she was too old to fly that far, but it was important to us for her to be at the reception. I wish we'd done it sooner. She adored Pete and would've been really proud. Isobel talks about her all the time, but she will forget her. If she sees anyone walking with a stick she'll shout 'Nanny Farm!', and we all laugh.
My Grandad would have loved the kids, he loved chasing me and scaring me as a kid. He pretended to be this grumpy old man like Victor Meldrew, but he adored me. I was the only grandchild for about 13 years and I was spoilt rotten. He died the day after my 18th Birthday in 1998.
Here are some photos of my Grandad in his youth.
Here are some photos of my Nan & Grandad in Australia visiting my Uncle Victor in the 80's. They flew out there quite a few times when I was a child.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Pete was the Manager of Office World, now Staples, when we first met. Two of my best girlfriends were working at his store. We went on a girly night out and they kept talking about how nice the new manager was, and they dragged me down to check him out the next day. I had Taylor with me, and he was only one at the time. Pete took him by the hand and was helping him to walk up and down the aisles as he couldn't walk unaided yet, and of course my heart melted.
About a week later his store had a staff night out and my two friends invited me. Pete and I got chatting, talked about our boys, and ended up kissing. I clearly remember at one point everything seemed to stop and go silent in the club, and I got this amazing feeling of standing still in time. It was kind of like a twilight zone, and he felt it too as we talked about it some time afterwards. We looked into each others eyes, and we both say we knew right then that this was it.
We both had BAD relationships at the time(but neither were serious). I had an abusive boyfriend, and the girl that he was seeing kept threatening to kill herself when he tried to break up with her. Meeting each other was the push we needed to sort our lives out.
After a month of spending a little time together, we got together, fell head over heels in love and moved in together within 5 months. I've never been happier, and we still have so much fun together. We've been enaged for what seems like forever(I think it was 5 years on Christmas Day), and are finally tying the knot this year.
This is a picture of us at some point in our first year together, we look so young!
Did anyone watch the Eclipse last night? I haven't seen one for a few years so it was cool to watch. We had our friends Jane and Spooky(I have no idea why he's called that) and their two girls over for a few drinks last night, so we all sat outside freezing our arses off. I felt pretty much worse for wear already yesterday as I'd been out all night on the Friday with my friend Allie. Pete went out with his football team to London and I went to Allie's boyfriends club night in Southend. I had a wicked time, but danced a little too hard to the techno and my feet are aching like mad today. I met a lovely couple called Shelley & Ossie, they were really cool, so I must try and stay in touch with them. I might text her tonight, before she forgets who I am! I didn't get home until 8am Saturday morning, my Mum had stayed here over night with the kids, and Pete was mega hungover after getting in at 3am, so I had to try and keep my eyes open until 11am when we changed shifts. Ryan and Pete have gone to play football today, so I'm here with the other two kids chilling out.
So it's back to the weekly grindstone tomorrow of school runs, childminding and working, although I still have another days annual leave next week to use up so I'll only be in for one day(yay!!).
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Taylor was a bit nervous this morning. I asked him if he was more nervous than all those times he's been up on stage saying lines and singing, and he said yes. That's pretty nervous if you ask me!
Pete and I took Isobel round to see some friends in their new house today. It was gorgeous, and it brought it home to us what we could have if we take the plunge and Pete at least applies for this job. The consultant won't even put Pete forward until he's seriously thought about the relocation aspect, so today, after much thought, he's gone for it. He may not even get an interview, but we had to consider every avenue before even applying as we can't waste their time.
At 3.05pm, Taylor came out of school with a smile on his face, and seemed full of beans. He said he'd made new friends, and that all the girls fancied him, so that's a start. He can't wait for tomorrow, as we're pushing the boat out and allowing him to have school dinners on a Friday each week. We're so tight normally, I begrudge paying £1.60 every day for school dinners.
Ryan had another call from his Mum's sister Mel last night. Mel spoke to Ryan once in the course of a year, and as soon as he stopped speaking to his Mum, Mel is on the phone every week for a chat. We all know she's being the messenger and reporting back to Sian. She keeps nagging Ryan about talking to his Mum, and fair play to him he sticks up for himself and tells her straight how horrible his Mum has been. Mel pushed her luck last night though and asked Ryan how he'd feel if his Mum suddenly died and he wasn't speaking to her. Firstly, the whole situation is none of her business, and secondly, she hasn't spoken to her own mother for years as she's such a bitch. Hypocrite anyone? Ryan actually said to her 'You don't talk to your Mum Mel, so you can't really lecture me'.
I might actually get a lay in tomorrow(I'm taking some spare annual leave this week), but I doubt it! I'm planning to get out and dig another vegetable bed tomorrow while the ground is wet, ready for my sweetcorn seeds.