The Old Lady Chronicles Continue – Molly Vs. The Sun

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted about everyone’s favourite golden oldie and her faithful familiar, so I though it might be time to share another great episode of The Molly and Benji show.

Surprisingly, she’s been pretty quiet on the weather front recently (at least she hasn’t said too much to me. It may be another story for TMM who sees her more regularly than I do). In previous years, she’s lamented mightly at the heat, exlaiming tirelessly about how “it’s too warm to do anything”, “can barely breath in this weather” and “it’s not good to be this warm!” with a furious furrowing of her brow and a proper sulky lower lip. This time round however, we’ve barely heard a peep. True she’s been living her best life in a skimpy vest and fantastically flowery skirt, and she doesn’t expend any effort trying to mountineer up the stairs anymore, but I am rather admonished that she’s adapted to this heatwave so well.

Now regardless of the time of year, she is prone to throwing wide the front/back door (her house is strangely sideways so I’m not 100% what it’s classed as) when she gets up at about 2 in the afternoon and then not shutting it til it’s properly dark. In the winter this only really allows about 3 hours of fresh air to circulate, but with these long summer nights, she gets a good breeze and an influx of blue bottles wafting through and keeping her (and us) both cool and mildly irritated for a good long while. However, it was this practive that led to a somewhat problematic event a few weekends ago.

After spending most of the morning completing general grown up chores and slobbing about in the sun, we’d decided to nip to Go Outdoors and pick up a couple of cheap and cheerful deck chairs. Seeing as Molly’s was on the way out (and it was well past 12pm) we stopped by, only to find the door shut and resolutely locked. After peering through the window to check she was comfortably ensconced in her downstairs bed and that we could see her breathing (just to be on the safe side) we decided we’d try again after our shopping trip. It was only as we were leaving that I noticed the sad little pile of feathers and fluff curled up on the lawn. At the time, we only made a brief mental note to move the dead bird on our way back and thought nothing else of it. Oh, if only we’d read the signs…

An hour or so later, two deck chairs and a new bra better off, we returned to Molly’s with a skip in our step. Pulling the car in, we noted the door was now wide open and at the sound of the closing car doors, Benji (the deaf dog) bounded up the garden with unexplainable enthuasism for a dog his age and shepherded us towards the house. As we rounded the corner, picture, if you will, a scene of complete and utter chaos. The room was like a bomb scene, only it appeared the bomb was a pigeon. In the middle of all this catastrophic feather strewn mess stood Molly, a sheepish smile on her face.

“I think Benji’s been a naughty boy.”

TMM and I shared a look and a matching high pitched faux giggle tinged with hysteria.

“So it would seem.”

She, already mostly bent double, reached down to pick up a tuft of downy grey feathers and side eyed us.

“I honestly didn’t hear a thing last night. I came in this morning and saw it but couldn’t really face sorting it out quite yet…Do you think maybe-?”

Spurred into action by her querulous query and Benji’s frantic barrelling round the room (until walked, he’s basically the Tasmanian Devil), we lept into action. TMM liberated the dustpan and brush from where she was, completely iniffiently, trying to brush the detritus. Hilariously, she kept shovelling things up and then whirling round so quickly that everything she’d manged to pick up would lift on the gust she’d created and flutter back to the floor. He corralled her gently whilst picking up some of the bigger clumps of bird whilst I battled with her ancient vacuum cleaner (after having to dive to the floor behind the sofa and plug it in before she did herself a mischief trying to reach for the socket) to try and get as much of the remaining carnage off the carpet. Meanwhile, she and Benji succeeded in getting thoroughly in the way, gently careening off all available surfaces whilst murmuring helpful platitudes (Molly) and yelping excitedly (Benji).

One of my favourite highlights of the whole situation was her high pitched and fervent repeated insistance that “at least it’s not dirty” whilst blindly ignoring the splotches of guano splattered across everything. Thankfully we got most of it up, but I did have to turn away and giggle into my hand silently and somewhat overwroughtly every time she said it and TMM’s eyebrows got closer and closer to his hairline. I nearly lost it all together when she said, in a tone that brooked absolutely no argument “the bird will be okay though, won’t it? I imagine it will have made it out and flown off” and TMM slipped silently off to flip the aforementioned corpse over the fence before coming back and agreeing that it had probably survived just fine.

After about 15 minutes of damage control, the majority of the room was cleaned and she drew our attention the figurines on the window sill which she believed had been knocked over by the erstwhile birdie. In front of said window is a huge wooden chest on spindly little legs that Benji likes to lie prostrate on like a lion and watch the sheep in the field over. Shuffling towards it like Yoda on a mission, she started tugging on the thing and images of her squashed flat like a pensioner pancake flashed in front of our eyes. Before she managed to get a proper hold, TMM took charge and wrestled it out of her grasp. After much ferreting about and shoving of Benji, who is by this point almost apoplectic at having to have been forced to wait so long, the figurines were retrieved and inspected for damage (minor and fixable you’ll be pleased to know). Finally happy that everything was as good as it could be, TMM went out to the bin to disgard the final bundle of feathers and Molly hustled over to me. She wrapped her arms around what I think she thought was my waist, but was in fact my upper thighs, and headbutted me affectionately in the crotch, burbling happily about how grateful she was. I hugged her back as best I was able and by the time TMM had come back and wrangled Benji onto his lead, she’d decided she was done with her display of emotion and sent us on our way.

Since then, we’ve thankfully had a grand total of 0 bird related incidents, though the front/back door remains firmly open, and she’s forgotten about the possible fate of the poor pigeon. Benji remains as unconcerned about the whole thing as it’s possible for a dog to be and it must be said that, as much as they might be a menace of the highest order, they do sometimes warm my heart.

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Adulting Volume #476

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Considering how long I’ve actually been waiting for summer, I feel like we haven’t really been utilising it all that efficiently now it’s here. Whilst we have spent the last few weekends bbqing hard (so much tasty fish), we have pretty much been in bed by 9pm every night after work. It’s like we’re under some kind of bewitchment and like true sleeping beauties, have spent a majority of our free time snoozing. I do find there to be something fundamentally pleasing about going to bed whilst it’s still light outside (I think I like to pretend that I live in one of those dreamy places where it never truly gets dark but just moves through various bruised pastel shades of dusk that turn into tomorrow) but I’m pretty sure it can’t be classed as living life to the fullest.

Still, we’re slowly getting used to this whole adulting lark and I suppose we have to take it one step at a time. First step – doing chores, Second step – staying up late, Third step – conquering the world. So whilst we have seemingly been struggling at Step 2, we’re doing our level best. This week we’ve been attempting to complete real life chores like real life grown ups. Now I am fully aware that most chores are something that should be done regularly in order to ensure your house is continually clean and whatnot, but I’m not going to lie – that’s not how it works with us. Landry and dishwashing etc. are obviously done on the regular (otherwise we’d have no plates or pants) but there are some things I just cannot bring myself to care about unless I really have to.

Hoovering is 100% one of these things. Little sessions, like just sucking up some fluff or the odd bit of soil accidentally walked in I can just about survive. Vacuuming the whole house (one of those proper hooverings where you sit on the floor so you can properly see all the fluff and make sure you’re getting it, and when you use all the attachments to clean all the ceiling corners of spider webs) is literal torture to me. I hate it with a passion. I occasionally think I wouldn’t mind it as much if we had one of those old fashioned hod-a-durs carpet rollers that just fluffs everything about (my grandma used to have one and it holds a fond place in my heart) but we don’t and as it is I definitely DO mind having to do the vacuuming.

Our Henry Hoover (Henri as we’ve originally christened him) is an actual fucker and spends the whole time he’s out doing everything he can to enrage me. He likes to get tangled up and fall over, wheezing smugly, or get caught behind door frames and just peer out at me like a little bitch. My language (as I’m sure you can tell) is never more choice then when I’m trying to clean. I have to listen to aggressively upbeat late 90s dance tunes at an unhealthily loud volume just to be able to complete one room without having a full blown breakdown. White/cream carpet is actually the devil (especially when you’re already lazy and prone to living like a slob) and having pets, a penchant for walking everywhere but never taking your shoes off and the ability to create tiny bits of paper that scatter everywhere make it almost unbearable. (Thankfully we managed to finally convince the landlord to get rid of the bathroom carpets. I still get flashbacks to those horrors). I’ve already made TMM promise me that when we own our own house it will just have laminate flooring throughout. Or maybe just no floors altogether. We’ll just have suspended walkways so far off the floor I won’t be able to see the dust and fluff and god knows what else that accumulates.

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Look at his self-satisfied smirk. God I hate that machine.

I think what really gets my goat is the fact that you spend your hard-earned leisure time putting all this work in and then within 20 minutes there’s fluff, spiders and mud all over the floor again and it’s all I can do to raise my eyes despairingly to the heavens and not have a hissy fit. This is why I’m still trying to convince TMM to let us hire a cleaner. It might be wasteful and bourgeois, but it also would mean that I don’t have to do it. I’ve tried to convince him that we’d be helping the economy and keeping people in employment and that WE WOULDN’T HAVE TO DO IT ANYMORE, but so far he’s still resistant. Damn him.

However, it’s not all been vacuum cleaner related toil and trouble. We have been using the long days and warm weather to make more of a concerted effort to tame the garden. TMM definitely takes more after my Mother and her green thumb than I do (she’s already promised to save him a wood pile for chipping which has pleased him no end) and he’s been taking good care of the various greeneries she’s gifted us. The greenhouse has been cultivating fruit sprigs and vegetables sproots beautifully and after a furious weeding session, we’ve managed to successfully move a potato plant and some raspberry vines to the outside boarders. Hopefully by the end of summer we’ll be able to gather in a small harvest and class the whole things as a win.

After being inspired by such joyous little greens bits and how neat everything looks, I spent Saturday morning vigorously ripping up dead pampas grasses and crusty heather bushes that had taken over the path by the backdoor with vicious severity. Considering the plant bed itself is no more than a few inches deep, there was a lot of sweaty exertion and unladylike grunting whilst removing all the unnecessarily dug in root balls, but I emerged muddy and victorious. Rather than look to replace them with something similar, we went instead for the classic Groundforce plan of just artfully gravelling the hell out of it. After 2 shopping trips (3 bags of gravel covers nowhere near as much as one would expect) and an unhealthy amount of hefting from TMM, we got everything in place. There was a slight hiccup about halfway through the whole exercise, when we’d both taken turns shovelling out excess soil with what can only be described as the “wrong tool for the job” I was firmly of the opinion we’d made a dreadful decision and should have just stuck with the little pathway of horrors. However, we powered through and by the end of the day, it looked rather lovely and I was resolutely won over with our hard work. As Mother says, there’s a goodness in gardening; an old fashioned healthy warming of the soul that tires the body but quiets the mind and looks pretty nice to boot.

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A little lavender, a little Buddha and a lot more gravel than anticipated…

I also finally achieved my Surviving the Dentist badge and successfully got my very first filling. Now I can’t imagine anyone particularly enjoys going to the dentist and I an definitely no exception. I have previously had mildly harrowing experiences involving oral care – due to my inordinately tiny mouth (no jokes, I can’t even fit a full chupa chup lolly between the two top rows of teeth) I had a mental framework brace inserted which was supposed to stretch out my upper jaw and widen the whole pallet area. Spoiler – it didn’t. What in fact happened was it cut into the soft fleshy skin and in retaliation, the soft fleshy skin ended up swelling and growing right over the bloody thing. Cue lots of whimpering and straw based meals. When we went back to the orthodontist, he was fully geared up to shout at me for not brushing my teeth properly and being a whiny little teenager until my Mother helpfully pointed out the immense amounts of swelling and acute pain I was in. After much flustered apologising, there was a flurry of cutting and blood and general ickiness as the contraption was removed and we made the executive decision that my piranha like jaw and wonky teeth were fine as they were. And there, good reader, ended any good feelings I had regarding the dentist chair. HOWEVER, in this, the 27th year of our Ebear, I got over myself and returned to the oral hygienists fold.

(Admittedly, I did have to have pep talks from no less than 3 family members and TMM had to buy me a curry as a pre-emptive reward, but whatever).

To be honest, it probably could have gone better but at least it’s over and done with now. I think I thoroughly annoyed my dentist who kept asking “does your mouth not go any wider” and then tried to winch it open when I replied in the negative, obviously believing I was a big fat liar pants. More fool her when my jaw strongly resisted and I nearly bit her with the bounce back. By this point she finally realised that I really do I have the tiny mouth of a vole. There was also a slight schism of exasperation in the room when I couldn’t stop swallowing during the teeth watering section (I’m assuming they were cleaning, but it honest just felt like that were jet washing the back of my throat for lolz) and nearly burst into hysterical laughter when the nurse kept accidentally sucking up my tongue with the mouth hoover. I refuse to be cowed though, because I’m pretty sure that subconscious swallowing when being forcibly drowned is a pretty solid reaction and she should be happy I didn’t just cry.

Anyway, the whole ordeal was thankfully over with within about half an hour and all I had to contend with was Numb Mouth. I have capitalised this because whilst it wasn’t quite American Youtube comedy video bad, it certainly wasn’t great. My boss even had to go out and buy me squeezy baby proof yoghurts to eat (which I did terribly unattractively) after she noticed my sulky face and the bemoaning of my inability to eat the leftover curry I’d brought for lunch. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but losing control over half of your face is fun for about half an hour and then just feels like the worse kind of bodily betrayal. Especially when people keep coming over and expecting to have a serious conversation with you. I spat on many people. Soz not soz. Still I made it through the day and have regained full use of my mouth and not swallowed the filling so I’m definitely counting the whole things as a win.

So whilst it may be true that we have the late night staying power of two overtired toddlers and can’t properly look after a house for toffee, we’re clawing our way through adulthood and that’s alright. Next stop – world domination.

I Have Walked 500 Miles

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*A little note before we start – Today’s post is sponsored by Levels by Avicii which I have been listening to on repeat since Monday and BuckMiester, the world’s most passive aggressive cat. He is currently sitting unashamedly brimming with rage by the foot of the armchair I had to kick him out of in order to be able to plug in my laptop, giving me shifty side eyes and throwing “hella shade” whilst simultaneously refusing to move out of stroking distance. Just because he’s miffed doesn’t mean he’s going to do himself out of a good fussing.*

The Time Line of out current relationship. Disgusted bat pose > accusing eyes > grudgingly allowance of neck tickles.

In general though, I’m pleased to say things are looking up. Regarding my weekly weather update that I have appear to have been unthinkingly giving you all, (and which I’m sure you’re all terribly invested in) I’m happy to say we had a whole three (3) days of summer over the weekend. Saturday was, in fact, so warm that I sat on our front wall for most of the morning chatting to TMM’s mum whilst he and his dad tinkered with Hans. I then proceeded to go through a further two (2) outfit changes to ensure I was baring as much skin to the sun as was safe and socially acceptable to do so. Whilst this pleasant weather unfortunately didn’t last (I am writing this post interspersed with sad, sepia moments of me staring forlornly out of a rain soaked window) I have been promised by various news sites to expect some more nice weather as soon as May, so that’s something at least.

Speaking of Hans (the devil’s chariot as I have unkindly christened him), you’ll be glad to know he is now up and running again, though he is still very much for the rope. I have made the executive decision that, whilst I don’t drive, I deserve to be driven in comfort and it’s time for a new car. Poor TMM has been swept along without consent and whilst I think perhaps he would have been fine to keep Hans or look at another second hand car, he’s coming to terms with the security and sensibleness of getting something that, if not brand new, at least comes with a warrantee. We’ve been looking into the various routes on how to do so without bankrupting ourselves, feeling very grown up all the while, and even have what could loosely be termed as a “plan of action” regarding the whole shebang. Thankfully we’ve got a rather good network of supportive parents, mechanically minded friends and neighbours with an obsession for cars and hopefully between the lot of us, we’ll manage to go into summer in a car likely to make it across country for our various road trips, rather than leaving us stranded in the middle of a busy road (which has happened to us on more that one occasion. Let me tell you, you haven’t known awkward British embarrassment until you’ve broken down at a set of traffic lights or on a steep hill off a roundabout and had to be pushed out of the way of angry honking motorists).

Our lack of car has meant our weekend has been rather sedate though, for want of a better word. It’s weird to think that there was a point in my life when I didn’t have ready access to a car and yet managed to fill my weekends with ease. Now, there has been a slight and irrational undercurrent of confinement and I think both TMM and I have felt at a bit of a loose end. We tidied, we lazed and we watched most of the London Marathon with twin expressions of amazement and slight panic – I can’t even comprehend how people can do something like that. It simultaneously seemed to be one of the longest weekends of doing nothing whilst being over in the blink of the proverbial. The biggest thing we achieved (just behind fixing Hans and just ahead finishing my most recent upcycling project) was walking to visit our Pet Old Lady Molly and take Benji, the World’s Most Ridiculous Dog out for his daily jaunt.
You might have thought after watching a literal f*ckton of people push themselves to the limit of physical endurance on one of the hottest days of the year would have motivated and encouraged me to take to such an endeavour with vigour. If that is the case, I think perhaps you don’t know me quite as well as you thought. In the car, the whole event takes roughly 40 minutes from start to finish (and 30 minutes of that is spent helping shake Molly into her trousers and discussing the sad lack of corporal punishment in today’s society – her opinion, not mine). Without the car, it takes 700 hours apparently. It’s strange because when I was younger, I used to love going hiking with my family. We had official walking boots, matching cagoules (literally the coolest) and every walk typically ended with me threatening to cry if I had to give up the stick I had inevitably adopted along the way to be my designated hiking staff. These days, I have the boots, an actual hiking stick with a handy camera on the end and a partner who is desperate to explore and yet the love for walking has gone. Admittedly (and if I am being honest with myself) it wasn’t quite as awful as I’m making out, and it was nice to get a bit of fresh air and smash my step target three days in a row for the first time ever, but I definitely don’t think I’m going to be signing up for any marathons any time soon.

(I would like to reiterate this statement pointedly to my best Woo. Not only is she generally insistent that I join her in all kinds of hideously active hobbies, she is now threatening to fake her own death after I stupidly shared my absent-minded musings that if she died I would have to run a marathon in her honour as it’s on her bucket list.)

Through all of our trekking cross country and confused carless wanderings though, the highlight of my weekend was going to see My Dad Wrote a Porno live on Friday night. For those of you not in the know, this title might seem a little alarming (as well it should) but I definitely recommend it to ALL. It’s a free podcast feature Alice Levine (of Radio 1 fame) and her friends, Jamie and James (cute but slightly confusing) and does exactly what it says on the tin. Jamie is “fortunate” (note my use of sarcastic quotations here) enough to have a father who decided, somewhat rashly I think, to give writing erotic literature a go, and did so with what can only be described as relish. As any good millennial would do, Jamie told all of his friends and decided to do a weekly podcast in which he reads it out loud, in all of its graphic detail, and then proceeds to completely tear it apart for #bants. It’s pleasing on so many levels; including but not limited to the way that poor Jamie is constantly reminded of his personal shame, the vigour in which he approaches the various accents (and boy are there many) and the very relatable way that both Alice and James absolutely corpse about the place with laughter after practically every sentence. It’s unknown if Rocky Flintstone (the nom-de-plume given to Jamie’s dad/the author of this fabulous fiasco) is particularly satirical in his choices or just completely unknowing about how a women’s genitalia works, but either way it’s great for a giggle.


Pre Porno stage – you can just about see the top of the heads of the absolute granny legends who took up half a row

The live show consisted of a reading of the “lost chapter” of one of the Belinda Blinks novels (of which there are, somewhat alarmingly, many) and included various references to hilarious in-jokes, a short yet extremely comedic lecture on the positioning of a women’s cervix (it makes sense as to why this is very much needed when you listen to the podcast, I swear) and some truly terrifying audience participation (which may or may not be exactly what you’re thinking).

However, in an unseen and rather heart-breaking turn of events, poor TMM, who had been looking forward to the show for months, was too poorly to go (cue much sulking on all of our parts). In his honour I refused to enjoy myself too much and when I got home we binged a couple of episodes of the podcast (interspersed with my retelling of the best bits from the show) to cheer him up. He is mostly recovered now thankfully, and we’ve been girding our loins with glee for the new series of the podcast, which is due out in a couple of weeks. Just enough time for all of you Porno virgins to catch up…

This weekend brings the promise of car shopping (hooray), hopefully a new fridge (we did call the landlord like typical grownups and he did the typical landlord thing of fiddling with it, humming and saying he’d get back to us) and at least one (read – 76) cinema trips to watch the new Avengers film – which I am dangerously excited about. I am so excited I almost don’t want to go and see it because I don’t know if my gentle geek heart can take what it’s going to dish out, but TMM has promised to stand by me and not walk away in embarrassment even if I ugly cry (this will undoubtedly happen). The good news is that Mother is continuing to allow me to oversee her education of the Marvel universe (how grudgingly I can’t tell over WhatsApp, but she is providing thoughtful commentary so I’m feeling confident) and this means that even if (when) TMM gets bored of me wanting to see Avenger – Infinity Wars for the millionth time, I will at least get one more viewing with her (soz not soz MotherBear).

I will leave you here to ponder on your interest (or lack thereof) in dramatic superhero adventures/patriarchally written pornos and report back next week with further insight into my week and an updated weather report. Stay Classy San Diego.

The Times, They Are A’Changing

Been a busy old couple of weeks this month. Considering February is supposedly the shortest (and often most lambasted) of months – the Tuesday of the year if you will, it’s managing to cram a hell of a lot in. This week alone, we’ve had 3 events and it’s not even Friday. I’ve celebrated Galentine’s Day (a personal favourite, celebrated with the customary Leslie Knope pictures declaring ‘ovaries before broveries’ and love for magnificent land mermaids). We smashed Shrove Tuesday – the pancake situation involved bacon, eggs and maple syrup, followed by chocolate spread, bananas and squirty cream and then ended in a pallet cleansing lemon and sugar. This repetitive and delightful ongoing cycle did mean that I had to lie on the couch afterwards and groan for a while, put it was so worth it.

We’ve also had Valentine’s Day, and once again TMM brutally betrayed me; even after we promised each other repeatedly the ‘no presents rule’ was in full force, I still got into the car to find a bundle of my favourite flowers, a box of beautiful macaroons and two tins of gin and tonic. I reacted in the obvious romantically accepting manner. I punched him in the boob and told him I loved him rather aggressively.

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I mean, just look at it. What is a cold hearted, emotionally shuttered and terribly awkward girl to do? He’s such a bloody sweetheart. 

The trouble is, it’s our anniversary next weekend and I’ve got no idea what the etiquette is now. The ‘no present’ rule is supposedly still standing, but after this shambles who knows what’s going on. TMM promises that he’s not going to buy anything but I don’t know if I can trust his devious yet adorable face. I might just go wild and buy him something dramatically garish and over the top. Or maybe a barbershop quartet…

It’s not just been the last few days though. There’s also been a couple of birthdays (and you’ll be glad to know that those presents I did actually remember to send were all posted to the right addresses), preparation for an upcoming wedding (so much craft to do!) and the annual work’s conference in London. I did rather well I think and can confirm that I didn’t throw up (though it was a bit touch and go) – which I am taking as a sign of my ever encroaching adulthood.  There were some sad points around the time we requested a bit of Daniel Bedingfield (classic) where I had to turn down some proffered beverages (and depressingly, a krispy kreme) in order to maintain my non-vomit status, but overall I’m rather proud. I managed to come home with £2 more than I left with, a new liking for mixing strawberry vodka with white wine and a pair of skin coloured tights with the feet completely ripped to shreds #hardcoredancing. Admittedly, I did have to spend the Saturday after lying on the couch wrapped in blankets whilst being brought chicken bites and Victoria sponge cake by friends whilst shamefully binge watching Ex on the Beach

Work has actually been rather dramatically busy recently; there’s only limited time to share embarrassing stories about each other from the party. Yesterday I spent 5 hours (5 hours!!) training on a new all inclusive platform that’s being integrated into our daily lives. Whilst being slightly bitter about it (it’s basically going to make all of my skills defunct in about 3 months) I can’t help but be grudgingly wowed by how snazzy it is. Today I have been raging at pretty much every thing (so many tersely worded emails have been fired off) and even worked through my lunch rather than hiding behind my book and snarling at anybody who interrupted my food break like usual. However I have attempted to deal with my three inboxes, numerous KPIs and constant questions from colleagues regarding training in a sensible and mostly calm manner. I haven’t even cried once yet. It’s a brave new world out there people…

Well! Look at me talking about work in my blog! Who would have thought we’d ever be here. This is just another step on the endless escalator of adulthood, and a sign of things to come I think. I am starting to feel rather aggressively grown up these days really and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’ve got sensible cleaning products and a regular laundry routine. I’ve got a savings account, a perm office job, at least two real lady dresses and I use the phone on a semi regular basis now (still hate it though). I seem to be ticking a lot of the boxes on the “how to adult” guide sheet (including the one that says 25-34 age range which does sting slightly) and I’m still not really sure when it happened. It all feels very much like some kind of rabbit hole I’ve stumbled into by accident and have been tumbling through since the early 2000s. I’m moving forward with some control (though very little purpose) and so far have been seemingly to do somewhat passably. I mean, it’s not all going completely smoothly – I nearly had a mini breakdown the other day when I realised I had no idea how pensions worked, and had to watch all of the Pirates of the Caribbean films to calm myself (I live by the rule that if I all goes horribly wrong, I would make an excellent pirate as a last resort). And let’s face it, I still have the gangly limbs of a teenager, the flat chest of a child and the hair of Beaker from the Muppets, so I wouldn’t say I’m quite there yet but there’s this secret longing for posh cream tiled kitchens and regular skin care routines that I don’t remember having 6 years ago.

I have always been rather antiquated at heart – old films, sturdy knitwear and Sunday nights in with ITV3 crime dramas are definitely preferential to skimpy outfits, drinking holidays to the coast of Spain and “dick pics”.  But perhaps in my old age, I’m developing a previously unknown level of maturity… Though considering my reaction to the below Valentine’s picture and caption sent from TMM to our WhatsApp group, maybe not…

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“I believe Valentine’s convention among the youth now comes with the understanding that one sends ‘noods’ to their sweethearts. So here you go team, happy Valentine’s Day.”

As the old adage says – This Too Shall Pass

I’m falling horribly behind on my blogs recently, I need to pull my socks up. With work being so busy, I mainly get home and lie face down on the floor whimpering quietly, which is putting a massive damper on my creativity.

I did actually write one (admittedly, it was more of a bloglet) for last week with all the joys of my holibobs, but I ended up completely forgetting about posting it. Still, I don’t want you to miss out too much, so please enjoy some highlights from it. I feel all the salient points are there – the rest of the time I was just generally bumbling and enjoying the good old country lifestyle.

Good bits included:

  • An early morning (read – 11am) high speed car chase when we realised TMM, who had to go back to work for a few days after the first week, had forgotten his bag. Mother and I threw ourselves into the car half-dressed, wild haired and with only 1 cup of tea under our belts and hared madly down country roads after him. Thankfully we caught up with him before he crossed the boarder into England and managed to do a hostage exchange in the car park of a petrol station. We did then have to go home and have a sit down to recover #hardcore.
  • A week of pleasant bumbling around and imbibing truly staggering amounts of tea, homemade mackerel pate and being in bed for 7pm. Due to the flooding (and the fact that I’m nesh) the house can be rather perishing, we made the executive decision to retire to the big bed with the cats and just watch Film 4 pretty much every night. We looked a bit like the grandparents from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but the cats were most pleased with the turn of events (especially when they’ve been allowed to share the pate).
  • Having to leap out of bed at the drop of a power tool when Bas the builder (and changeable crew) turned up to build up the flood fortifications. It’s starting to look a little like the scene from Lord of the Rings when the Ents go around trashing Sauroman’s patch, but Bas have great plans for how it will look (Mother’s basically given him free reign).
  • Taking Mother to pick out her first real smart phone since the trusty Nokia 3310 (original model) has finally given up the ghost. By the time we left, she was picking out background themes with gay abandon and I’ve received topical gifs daily (which has brought much joy to my life).

 bobby

Bob-Cat, enjoying the gourmet Mackerel Pate straight from Mother’s toast.

Overall, it was a lovely week (as it always is) and I did my usual thing of holding it together very well until the last minute and then clinging desperately to my mother and crying like a child. It’s clear that we very much twinnies and I think we forget sometimes how much so. Over Christmas, Mother made the rather astute observation that I might actually be her Daemon (please refer to Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights Trilogy). We basically think the same person, shouldn’t really be allowed to do things on our own and get very distraught when separated. With my Father (whom I obviously  love dearly – even when he’s a boob) we do better with a little distance. Whenever we go and visit, he has to chuck us out after about 6 hours so we don’t kill each other. Conversely, I am 100% sure that I could move into Mother’s spare room and we’d all be dandy.

Coming back though has made me realise that I’m feeling static again. There’s always a slight undercurrent of dissatisfaction whenever I leave the un-stressful and undemanding environment of that little cottage. The attitude of just waking up, going about your business and living for yourself (rather than in the cycle of eat, sleep, work repeat) gets under my skin delightfully, but makes coming back to my world a little harder every time. The time of year probably doesn’t help (as much as I try to ignore the idea of the New Year being a specific cut off)and with the dark days, cold weather and grey skies everything seems a little less hopeful. Any grand dreams seem that little bit further away and it’s easier to find ways to rip apart any plans rather than build them up.

I’ve heard some people say that social media can have a huge affect on mood and productivity too, and I understand why some people choose to leave a particular platform and cut out any “toxic posts”. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed catching up with other people’s lives, keeping in contact with folk I necessarily wouldn’t and being able to share things in my life with far flung family and friends. I like seeing other people forging forward and succeeding and I love the ideas and inspiration they give me but at the moment I can understand the stigma. Where things usually make me feel good and proactive, they now just seem to be drawing attention to how fixed I feel.

I think the majority of the problem springs from the fact I don’t actually know what I’m searching for. I’m not looking to raise a family and I’m not particularly interested in becoming a team leader or manager at work. I have a wonderful fiancé and a very nice house and by rights have nothing to desperately lust over. Still I  can’t help feeling like I’m stuck in a rut. There’s a sort of personal frustration in the way that I feel I need to be doing something – working towards some kind of overarching goal, yet I don’t know what it is. Is this just the human condition? Are we destined to constantly aim to achieve and yet never able to identify why? Am I yet another confused cog in the grinding philosophical conundrum of humanity?

To be honest, I think I’m probably just feeling down at the moment. I’m too lazy to be a philosopher and not motivated or intelligent enough to strive for some unknown greatness. I know I don’t want to be stinkingly rich or world famous, and I am lucky where I am right now.

Perhaps, as TMM suggests, non-dramatic life goals are the way forward. He reminds me that we’re hoping to make a little bucket garden over the next few months; something to furnish us with fresh fruits and veg and provide a smidgeon of green in these dark days. We’re going to try and improve out fitness levels and go adventuring all over National Trust properties – “head out to the countryside where we feel most at home”, and we do have a wedding to plan in the long term – something low budget with “oodles of character”.

So, from now on, I’m going to try and spend time focusing on the small victories rather than the big holes, and find peace in the things that I know. My hair will always be bright, there will always be books to read and the stars will always shine.

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

fire

Is it wrong just to want to be able to sit by the fire and read all day?

Welcome to 2018 – In with the old, in with the new and in with all the bits in between

What Ho Readers!

How are we all after the festive season? Stuffed full of good food and good cheer? Overjoyed at the gift haul? Back in work with pained grimace and gloomy face? I woke up this morning to a rather dramatic nose bleed (I think it was my brain rebelling at the pressure of having to be a real person again rather than a Christmas blob) and spent a good ten minutes wailing quietly into my pillow.

To be honest though, work itself hasn’t been that bad (not great, but it could have been worse I suppose), but having to wake up and leave my duvet nest before 10am has been absolutely hellish. It’s been absolutely and most unnecessarily pitch blank both in the morning and when I’ve left work and I am just Not About It. By the time I’ve actually built up any energy, it’s about 11am and when 5.30pm rolls around, I’ve lost it all again. Home time mainly results in me getting in, immediately changing into pyjamas and then sulkily doing a jigsaw until bed time. Any hope of doing anything vaguely constructive or helpful has been swiftly denied and if I’m honest you’re lucky your getting a blog post this week. (Gosh, what a little ray of sunshine I am). Anyway, to this end I have made the  business savvy and hopefully conducive decision to move my regular blog day to Thursday. This will hopefully give me more time to actually write and prepare each update and will give you all something to look forward to before the weekend. Bear with me though, and we’ll see how it goes…

In other and far less depressingly morose news, I am glad to let you all know that Christmas was a roaring success, even with a couple hiccups during the build up. The best (or possibly worst) issue we had was when, during the Great Wrap of 2017, gravy was accidentally spilt onto a beautiful hardback copy of a book we’d bought for my sister’s partner. After much hysteria, gravy dabbing and a narrowly avoided hissy fit (not me for once), we ordered a replacement. This would have been the end of it, but after a few days the new book turned up with a big sticky black mark on the front of it. Obviously I was not okay with this (cue my narrowly avoided hissy fit) and I wrote a sternly worded complaint email (inclusive of pictures because I am nothing if not thorough). There was a bit of back and forth – I didn’t get the vouchers I was angling for, and we finally agreed a new (un-besmirched) copy would be sent directly to the gift receiver. Imagine then my surprise when a day before Christmas a third copy unexpectedly turned up on my doorstep. Poor Jo from Blackwells Customer Service Department was as confused as I was and who knows if yet a forth copy is winding it’s way through the postal system even now. Still, we managed to get the clean copy to wear it needed to be on time and we do now have two spare/slightly sullied copies of the book for our own personal use. If anybody fancies a copy – do let me know.

Apart from that fun little interlude (and the one evening I spent in floods of tears, covered in cello tape and had to be sent to clean the bathroom in disgrace), everything went swimmingly and TMM and I ended up with an almost repulsive amount of presents. TMM even managed to keep nearly all of my presents a surprise (something he has previously been incapable of doing) and went far beyond the self imposed limit we’d given each other. Still, I’ll let him off because he also prepared a truly scrumptious Christmas dinner and has generally been rather fabulous for the whole period. (Admittedly, he was in bad books on Monday night after he burst in on me in the shower and sprayed a bottle of Cava everywhere like a nutter – I nearly died trying to get away without slipping all over the place, but I grudgingly forgave him before bedtime).

 Here’s just a little sample of our presents…Prepare for mention of the others in upcoming instalments

My Mother came up and spent a few days with us too over the holidays and was generally the best house guest we could have asked for. She came with us to visit TMM’s family on Christmas Eve (where she once again proved herself to be the best of all Baby Whisperers), took me on a road trip to see my dad/sister and respective partners, helped me clean the kitchen on the day after Boxing Day. She also spent a good twenty minutes helping me try and catch a vole that Bucky had thoughtfully brought in for us (cleverly named Malvoleio) which was fun for all. She was, in fact, so well behaved that we have deigned to grace her with our presence at her house next week as a reward. Hopefully a week without us will have given her time to recover and she’ll be willing to welcome us with open arms when we rock up at the weekend…

We also kept up the excellent tradition that we started last year of playing Cards Against Humanity with the family. There will still never be a greater pleasure in my life than seeing my Neens say “cheeky bum sex”. We involved my mother this time as well, which went much better than expected. She took to it like a duck to water and I don’t know whether this makes me proud or concerned. Either way, she’s started using it as a weapon against me; there was one particular card that caused much hysteria in the under 30’s but left everyone else looking at each other blankly, and she now likes to whisper it at inopportune moments, safe in the knowledge that she doesn’t know what it means but that it will inevitably cause me to spit out whatever I’m currently drinking. It definitely helped us clear out chests though and I don’t think I was the only one who woke up with rib ache from laughing too hard.

Pepe

Pepe the Cat sits disapprovingly in the pile of burnt cards. This was before he went and sat in the oven, which is a great new pastime of his.

Family once again went above and beyond on the present front and I am now the proud owner of a projector, a raccoon picture (the cutest of all things), a Slytherin sports bra, a microscopic camera (literally all of the close up pictures), a super snuggly blanket and a literal shit ton of other things (too numerous to list but all AMAZING). Two of the best presents we got were books (surprise surprise), including Dawn French’s DIY diary (which I have started with great enthusiasm) and The Almanac by Lia Leendertz; a gorgeous compendium of facts, ideas and seasonal suggestions for the coming year. This month we’re on the lookout for Redwings and TMM is going to get some seed potatoes to plant. It also suggested buying some blood oranges and making marmalade which we bastardised into making orange vodka (sue us) so we’re already feeling quite chipper about our progress.

However, do not take this as a sign that we have gone in for this “New Year, New Me” crap. Remember what we spoke about this time last year, class? January is not the time to be starting this resolation-ary bullsh*t. It’s dark, cold, depressing and I would much rather spend my time wallowing in my left over Christmas chocolate. Any resolutions I do choose to make will come into fruition some time around May when it’s sunnier and I’m able to take criticism and self judgement a little better. Still, I’m will not be too much of a Debbie Downer on any you who are foolhardy enough to start the New Year with serious life changes. If you are ready to start dieting after the Christmas Binge, have dreams of brand new shiny gym memberships or just fancy trying something a bit different, I wish you all the luck in the world from my sulky winter nest.

Words in E –Minor proudly presents….An Interview With Me

I have a confession to make. I’ve cheated.

Being the busy social butterly I am, I haven’t actually had chance to write a full and detailed blog post like I know you have come to expect (the shame). It is a cruel and busy world out there, but worry not, I will not let you down. Like any good 90s child, I have taken the teachings of Blue Peter to heart so here’s one I prepared earlier. Oosh.

Before getting into it I have a few points of interest from the weekend that I’m going to just drop in for you – I like to keep you all abreast of my life.

– We went down to visit my mother for a few days and I am glad to report she is holding out admirably against the elements determined to rain all over her parade (rather literally). Perhaps not quite as dramatically as some parts of the world, she’s has nevertheless had to deal with a natural disaster and was woken up one night last week to find water gushing in through the back door and sweeping poor BobCat off his paws. Rather dishearteningly, she’s going to have to have entirely new flooring and is currently living with enough industrial fans to re-enact a late 80s soft core rock video, but she is maintaining a strong and (mostly) postive attiude (read – heavy sarcasm) and the cats are gradually recovering. We did spend the majority of the time there with the three of us tucked up on her bed like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (being as there was no power and limited furniture downstairs), but we left her with a smile on her face and the promise of further assistance whenever required, so things were looking up

– The weekend took a dramatic turn of events when TMM tried to kill me by dropping an apple the size of a watermelon on my face. We were gathering some of the bounitful harvest that Mother’s garden had provided (like the adorable little hobbits we are) when I was brutally attacked and nearly blinded when an apple catapulted from the branch TMM was fettling with. He says it was an accident but I remain dubious. Annoyingly I don’t have anything apart from a tiny red mark to show for it, but I can promise it was very dramatic.

Apples

An innocent scene, before everything took a dark and violent turn

–  You’ll all be glad to know that Operation Prepare for Christmas is well under way. It’s excellent – there’s wool everywhere. Bucky is being very well behaved considering and I’ve only had to bat him away once or twice. He does have to sit very close to me though so he can keep an eye on things and make sure I don’t need saving from a savage wool beast. My hero.

–  Speaking of the Buckmiester General, the furry little bugger has some how injured himself and I reacted, as any good parent should, with complete hysteria. It isn’t much more that a semi-deep scratch on his paw (and it can’t even be that sore because he let me prod and poke it for ages without so much as a wince), but I was VERY concerned and made TMM research pet antiseptic creams just to be on the safeside. #seriouscatparent

With those announcements out of the way, I’ll get on to the main event. I’ve got a couple of little nuggets like this saved up for such eventualities from when I researched best blogging protocol. Apparently, readers are very interested in lists, personal details and small comedic interludes, so I’ve combined all 3 into a Listicle – 10 things you might not know about me (unless you’re TMM because he basically knows more about me than I do these days). I’m unsure how well it’ll go down, but at least it gives you all something to read on an Tuesday evening (and please feel free to share your own personal facts, or judge me heavily).

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

First Kiss

So it turns out I can’t actually remember my first kiss. How awful is that? According to TV and young adult books, the first kiss is the realisation of sexuality and the pinnacle of your youth. Your whole life blossoms from that point and  you look back fondly with misty screen and singing cherubs. Proving once again that I like to buck the social trend, when I tried to think back on this monumental and life changing event, I came up completely blank.

It’s not that I think it was particularly scarring and therefore have scrubbed it from my memory, nor is it that I actively tried to disregard anything relating to it. And it’s not as though I can’t remember other such key life events – I vividly remember my first kiss with TMM, though that might have been because he came at me with a knife.

*Side Note* it wasn’t as threatening as it sounds. It was St Patricks Day and as any good Uni student should, our not so little gang had all covered ourselves with as much green as we possibly could. I was in charge of drawing all the cheek shamrocks with my green eyeliner pencil (I say mine, it was definitely my sister’s – sorry) but being somewhat tipsy, mostly I was just smudging great green blobs on people and rather horrifically blunting the pencil. Ross proclaimed to be able to sharpen it for me, dragged me into the kitchen where he proceeded to produce the most inappropriately sized knife for the job and then promptly forgot all about sharpening it in favour of snogging my face off.)

I can equally remember the first time meeting each of my besties, graduating and my mother’s wedding. The first kiss though? Nada. I can only hope whoever it was with doesn’t remember it either….

Paddys

He might not have been my first kiss, but he’s certainly my favourite.

Joints

I apparently have weird elbows (and possibly knees). After countless years of being awful at PE and failing most physical activities, my bestest Woo pointed out to me during a yoga class that my elbows hyper extend (like a big weirdo). I can also pop out one of my thumb knuckles. Great for party tricks, useless for anything else.

Mental

I see a counsellor and have done for nearly 3 years now. To be honest, I’ll be surprised if this is actually news to anyone. I tell literally everyone. All the time. Whilst I am pretty quiet about most things, mental health is something that should never be ignored and I do my part to make sure my part in it is visible.

Thumb Sucking

I still suck my thumb when anxious or depressed. It’s something I used to do when I was little and just never really stopped. I never had a dummy, but my trusty thumb has been there through thick and thin. It has messed up my teeth up something rotten (the roof of my mouth is so arched and narrow that I can’t even fit a chubba chubba lolly between my top teeth) and the thumb in question is slightly longer than the other one but it’s something done so unconsciously I don’t even register it anymore. I kind of think that maybe I should be embarrassed by it sometimes, and that being 26 I should maybe look for different coping mechanisms, but to be honest I’ve got bigger fish to fry, and if anyone’s got a problem with it, I dare you to tell me to my adorable, thumb sucking face.

Body Art

I am tattoo free but do not always intend to remain so. People are always a little surprised that I am un-inked (I obviously give off that kind of vibe), but I have big dreams people. Low pain threshold but big dreams.

Twinkle Toes

I have sleep musical toes. I only learnt this recently, but we have the radio on in the morning and according to TMM, my toes will join in with most songs, regardless of whether I’m actually awake or not.

*Big Families*

I have lived more of my life with my parents separated than with them together. Now in today’s society it’s not actually that unusual anymore, but I think the bit that people are always surprised about is how pleasant and friendly they still are with each other. It’s been nearly 17 years now, but they buried the hatchet long ago. There have been parties where my mum and her ex husband’s girlfriend have laughed together and hugged, holidays where my dad and his girlfriend have stayed with his ex mother in law, and whilst I don’t think either of them regret the time they spent together, they have found love in other places. Divorce has not torn my family apart. It has only made it bigger.

Family

 Just a couple of the motley crew

Personal Grooming

This ones a bit risqué, but I feel it says a lot about me as a person (for good or bad…) I once dyed my “lady hair” to match my head hair – a lovely vivid pink. Shout out to Uni friends for this – (a lot of the strangest events in my life occurred at University). I can’t remember how it originally started, but it ended with a 3 hour group research quest on some of the strangest websites out there. During the second year, we spent far too much time googling strange and unusual things and learnt far more about the dark corners of the world than any decent person should. One such sojourn took us to the land of “lower region” maintenance and let me tell you, people are willing to do some weird shit to their undercarriages. Obviously this spurned much curiosity about what could be done and resulted in a bet that I wouldn’t match all my body hair. Worry not Reader, I did. It was hilarious, and excellent if only because it meant that when someone crudely shouted out (as they were wont to do) ““Oi love, do the collars and cuffs match?” I could say yes and watch them stumble over themselves in shock.

Love

I’ve kissed more girls then I have boys. I mean, to be honest it’s not like I’ve kissed huge amounts of either, but my girl count outweighs the boys by nearly 2:1. Mainly I blame University, but to be honest I just think it’s the fact that girls are just much more friendly.

Childhood Companions

I once tried to keep a mouldy cake as a pet. There really isn’t much more to this story, but it always makes me people laugh. I was DESEPRATE for a pet when I was little (as are most small children I think) and did all I could to convince my parents that our lives would be very much enriched by the presence of a small furry beastie. They did not agree and I, of course, was devastated beyond all belief. Instead, I found and secreted a carrot cake in a tin that I found in the cupboard under my bed and cultivated it until it had grown a lovely mossy green coat and proceeded to generally stink out the house. Unsurprisingly, I could not keep the cake hidden for long and my father rooted it out and summarily disposed of it in the outside bin. I still think back fondly on it sometimes.

So there we have it. You now all know a little bit more about me than you did before and hopefully I haven’t disturbed you too much, or ruined anyone’s opinions on me. It’s surprisingly cathartic to tell the internet a bunch of things about yourself, I definitely recommend it as a starter blog post for all you budding writers out there. Who knows, you might learn something new about yourself in the process…

(God, what a cheesy ending).