Thursday, 27 May 2010

There is life after death!

Long term readers may remember the tear-stained post I wrote when my beloved 1970s orange-and-chocolate-brown Kenwood Chef died in the line of duty. That was in October 2008. Grays of George Street, that venerable Edinburgh institution is no more and I didn't know of anywhere else I could go for help with a disabled Chef. Despite this, I kept his body in the garage. I just couldn't bring myself to throw Kenwood away.

This morning however, I came downstairs to a (tuneless) chorus of Happy Birthday from Husband and Boys and look what was waiting for me!

They pimped my Chef! Kenwood had been smuggled out of the house (apparently I actually helped with this operation in the mistaken belief that Husband was taking an amplifier into his office. If you knew Husband, you would completely understand why I accepted this ruse without question) and then sent off to the Hospital for Geriatric Kenwood Chefs where they gave him a brand spanking new motor, a groovy new control knob, new rubber feet and all sorts of wonderful new attachments (not the sausage stuffing one though - I may have to wait until Christmas before I get that). He lives! He even has a pulse (function)!

Isn't he lovely? I suddenly feel the urge to make bread. Or drink tea and eat chocolate while admiring him. One or the other.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Wow! It's like Barn Buddy in real life!

That's what Second Born exclaimed when I told him I planned to break the habit of a lifetime and actually try to grow some vegetables this year. (If you don't know what Barn Buddy is, then good for you! I strongly recommend you keep it that way. And Jess? I chased away some raccoons and squirted some bugs for you. You're welcome.)

Anyway, I decided to take a gamble that we had seen the last of the frost in Edinburgh and I planted some lettuce seeds and some courgette seeds. I was slightly concerned that the cats might just follow me round the garden and dig them right back up again - you know how cats can't resist freshly dug soil. However, some of the seeds appear to be actually, you know, growing! Look!

Those miniscule little spots of green are going to be lettuce when they grow up. Provided Zyra doesn't roll on them. Again. I also planted garlic a while back and it seems to be holding up reasonably well too,......

........given it is kind of in the cats' regular route from the area where they lie around in the sun outdoors to the area where they lie around out of the sun indoors. It is a hard life being a cat. So much territory to cover, defend and sleep on. (PS Do you think I need to cut the grass out there?)

When I was out taking these photos, Bellus came out onto the back doorstep to supervise operations and assumed his most regal position, sitting upright on the step with his tail tucked neatly around his paws, nose in the air and eyes half-closed, the embodiment of inscrutable wisdom. I took a photo of that too. See?

Cats. Motto: Never cooperate when you can scarper and ruin a good photo instead.

In other news, First Born has decided, entirely off his own bat, that he will attend the Primary 7 end of year dance. This is the social event that had me choking on my tea when I read the letter about it from school. The letter that asked us very nicely not to send our children to the dance in stretch limos, as they cause traffic jams.



Seriously??????!!! FB is 12. He has to be marched at gunpoint to the bathroom to take a shower and his idea of fun is four hours of building Lego empires followed by chasing his brother round the garden with a water pistol. I had been thinking of maybe buying him new trousers for the occasion. I was no more thinking of hiring a stretch limo than I was of sending FB to the ball in a pink tutu. I clearly need a bit of a reality adjustment. But oh how I wish I didn't.

In any event, he is going, and of his own free will which is good. FB, with all of his issues, finds social situations a bit tricky and I would not have wanted to force him to go. That he wants to go is a relief. Mind you, I think the main reason he wants to go is that he gets a new bow tie. FB is a sucker for bow ties. If I would let him, he'd wear the new tie (black silk with geometric-y purple and white pattern, since you ask) AND carry the very realistic fake pipe he bought with his pocket money. He took some persuading that this might be a wee bit over the top. As would braces and a tweed jacket. He basically wants to go to his dance dressed as Doctor Who. This is not going to get him a date.

Did I mention they all ask girls to be their partners to the dance? My insides turned over when I heard this. Husband and I have spent 12 years protecting FB from aspects of the big wide world he finds difficult. We are trying very hard to teach him now how to deal with the tricksy, slippery field of human social interaction by himself. This development however is a biggie. Ideally what Husband and I would like is to be made invisible so we can stand behind the girl in question and, as FB asks the question, whisper menacingly into her ear "Be NICE to our little boy!!" So if any of you have managed to invent invisibility over the weekend and haven't announced it yet, please let me know. There could be macaroon bars in it for you.

What else? Saturday was scorching hot and we had a barbeque in the garden which was lovely. Sunday started out grey, cloudy, misty and rainy as I headed off in the early(ish) morning to Musselburgh to volunteer at the Edinburgh Marathon. I had to take refuge from one of those sudden cloudbursts which are so heavy you are convinced the rain is going to leave little dents in your skull. And then it cleared up again and was scorching all over again. I realised that whilst I had remembered sunscreen, I had forgotten a hat so ended up with a sunburned scalp where the parting of my hair is. That really hurts, in case you have never done it.

Volunteering was as much fun and just as exhausting as ever. I was on my feet and on the go from 8am until after 4pm. The latter part of the day was spent manning the part of the finish line where the last member of the 4 person relay teams came through. The runner of the last leg had to collect 4 medals, one for each team member, and 4 goodie bags. With t-shirts in them for each team member. Ever tried to ask an exhausted, sweaty, dehydrated, disorientated bloke what size of shirts he thinks his three female team mates take? The look of desparate panic was heart-rending. I think he would rather I had poked him in the eye than try to answer that question. I took pity: "Take 3 mediums. You can't go wrong with mediums". He just about fainted in gratitude. Or it might have been heat exhaustion. Hard to tell.

It was great fun and I will almost certainly do it again next year. I'll just remember the hat next time.

Harumble! The sofas are back!

And so am I! A double whammy of circumstances kept me from the beloved laptop for quite a few days. First, I caught a cold. One of those sneezy, tickly, drippy, red flaky nose-y, "I'll just lie down for a moment or two and rest my eyes oh dear where has the day gone?" sort of colds. I was pathetic. Still am, only now it's a "taken-up-residence-in-my-chest,-horking-up-all-sorts-of-unpleasantness-that-reminds-me-uncomfortably-of-putty" sort of a cold. That moment a half hour ago when your windows rattled for no apparent reason? That was me. Coughing. Sorry.

Secondly of course, our lack of living room furniture. I discovered very quickly after the sofas were packed off to Furniture Infirmary that (a) I am not very good at sitting on hard chairs for extended periods (I would have failed deportment lessons at finishing school. Good job I was never sent for finishing) and (b) you can't easily use a laptop while sitting in such a chair. As a result I have not been online at all since some time last week and my mother is biting her nails in frustration waiting for my next Scrabble move (she still hasn't forgiven me for quern and is plotting her revenge).

But today! Oh, today! Today, the couches came back and I am once again enthroned on only slightly ripped and scuffed leather wonderfulness, with my laptop on my lap. Wondering how on earth I am supposed to get through 375 entries on Google reader without giving up work entirely. (I know, "mark all as read", but I hate doing that - it feels like throwing books out unread - books written by friends at that - and I am pathologically incapable of throwing away a book without at least peeking inside for a wee look and then reading on a wee bit to see how it develops and then.....well, you can work out the rest. I think I am going to have to be strong and drastically cull my Google reader subscriptions. Soon. My, this is a long passage in parenthesis isn't it? Or should that be "parentheses"? Isabelle?)

I seem to have wittered on a fair bit already, and I haven't even started on my thoughts on the forthcoming Primary 7 end of year school dance to which FB may be going. I'll save that for later and just leave you with the observation that this global warming thing is very odd, if what it does is give us snow in May.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

This is the opposite of an update

I don't have anything terribly interesting to say, really. I promised myself I would try to post more often on here and reassured myself that once I had a blank window open, fingers poised over the keyboard, inspiration would strike.

Well, I think we can all agree that hasn't happened. I blame the election myself. I have spent so much time watching no-one actually being elected on television that every last atom of creativity has leached away into the sofa.

Actually talking of the sofa, both of our sofas are going into furniture hospital this weekend for a bit of reconstructive surgery. This is long overdue and I can't wait to have seats that don't make an ominous "boing" noise every time you sit down. I am not however looking forward to a few days of sitting on green plastic garden furniture. I made the mistake of telling the boys we would just have to bring all the duvets downstairs and have a sort of hippy commune set-up on the living room carpet. They didn't appreciate my brand of subtle sarcasm and are now happily looking forward to a weekend of lolling on duvets while eating Frosties and watching Top Gear. Do you think it's better to risk their wrath by telling them I was kidding, or go along with it?

Anyway, as compensation for this rambling brain dump, have a cat photo. Proof of how delicate and ladylike our Zyra is. And how Bellus, the ultimate opportunist, will never pass up the chance of a free pillow.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Fame at last

My dear Husband has informed me that if one Googles the term "crunchy little mouse" (and why wouldn't you?) this fine blog is the number one result. I'm so proud.

Also slightly on edge as the boys have typed said phrase into a text-to- speech programme and now the laptop intones "Crunchy little mouse" at me in clipped RP tones.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


Miscellaneous number one:
Having just spent an obscene amount of money on filling up our car, I commented to the boys in the back seat on how expensive diesel is these days. Without looking up from his Nintendo DS, Second Born observed that diesel was still cheaper than running the car on bull sperm. No, I didn't ask. Scared to, frankly.

Miscellaneous number two:
Another in the series of "Sentences You Never Thought You'd Say" from Husband (he was in the living room with the boys, I overheard as I was lurking in the kitchen): "No, it's not realistic, it's a stuffed monkey firing a gun."

Miscellaneous number three:
Do you have any idea how mind-bendingly annoying it is when your Husband decides to play "Tijuana Taxi" (again, no idea why) and then adds lyrics as if sung by our cats, which go "Crunchy little mouse, it's a crunchy little mouse, it's a crunchy little mouse, and you eat it......for your break-time sna-ha-hack!" If you don't, would you like me to come round to your house and sing it for you? Then you too can have it in your head FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY. (Clue: no, you almost certainly don't)