Friday, October 31, 2008

Crumpets at Five O'Clock...

Actually I've spent this week feeling very lucky. I went to the Doctor on Tuesday to get my black and blue foot checked, and he sent me to the Hove PolyClinic (very smart) for an x-ray in case I had broken any of those annoying little foot-bones. Nope. All intact, and the woman who did the x-ray said "I think you've got away with it." Just so - and what a bit of luck.

Half Term week for Grandson, and he went to a Football Course run by Chelsea (we'll overlook the fact that it wasn't run by the Spurs) at Daughter's local Sports Centre in Dorking. This was for children in Reception and Year 1 (4 and 5 year olds) and they did some training and then played 5-a-Side games. Grandson was apparently a star, scoring three goals on Monday and 4 on Tuesday. He came away with a medal and a certificate, and had a great time. Brilliant.

On Wednesday I went to collect him because Daughter was working an extra day. I was glad I did the journey, because the roads had been very icy early on, and when I got close to Dorking there was thick snow everywhere. Rather me than her, because I think it can be tricky to cope with icy roads when you are an inexperienced driver. Anyway, we had a good journey back, stopping for a muddy walk at the Windmills, and just chilled out for the next couple of days. We walked by the sea in a freezing wind yesterday, and gathered shells, seaweed and driftwood for his Half Term Nature Table. Good fun, but it was even better to snuggle up indoors in the warm.

Talking of chilling, this evening Mr Picky came downstairs for supper in his usual tracksuit, and told me that it was very cold in his room. I was surprised, because he is in my lovely, cosy single bedroom, which is actually the warmest room in the house (if you don't count the toilet). When I enquired further, he told me that his radiator was cold, and had never been hot! Never. I raced upstairs to check it, and, sure enough, it was stone cold! How I don't know, because I never turn any of the radiators off - perhaps someone else had done it? Anyway, I fiddled with the valves and turned up the thermostat, and sure enough it came on. I came back down and assured him that it was now hot - but I did wonder why he hadn't mentioned it in four weeks! It's a mystery.
I felt very sheepish, and said how sorry I was - let's hope he will now be snug as a bug in a rug.

Grandson and Daughter pootled off home this afternoon, with their pumpkins and their costumes for Hallowe'en. So at 5 o'clock I settled down in front of a rubbish film on TV, with a pot of tea and a toasted crumpet, and I thought to myself "It doesn't get much better than this." I had some sweeties at the ready in case I was asked to "Trick or Treat", but no. All was quiet.
No ghouls or ghosties here.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Did you enjoy your Trip?

Oops. What did I do last night? Fell down the stairs... Well, I was on my way out to a Birthday Party for my neighbour's Fortieth, downstairs. I had taken the time to dress up (the invitation had specified " Sirens and Matinee Idols"). And though I wasn't dressed as a Siren, I had put on a long dress, a pretty frilled devoree jacket and some Chanel No.5. Plus, sad to say, a pair of high-heeled red velvet slippers. These were my downfall. I was carrying carefully wrapped Birthday Presies, a bottle of champagne and my keys, and then tried to lift up my dress to navigate the stairs. Too much stuff and not enough hands! I caught the shoes in the hem of my dress and the result was a sharp fall, a thump and a scream (from me) and a shout from Daughter who was (luckily) here watching the X Factor, and who ran to my aid. I sat awkwardly on the landing, pouring blood from my mouth and feeling very shaky indeed. It turned out I had put a tooth through my lip and twisted my foot - plus given myself a sizeable lump on the back of the head. Half an hour later, when the bleeding had stopped and I had stopped shaking, I did go down to the Party and enjoyed a glass or two of pink champagne, a few tasty bits of party food, and some good conversation. Today the foot is very swollen and I have a pouty lip, but there's really nothing much to show for my trip. How lucky. Daughter said last night that I'm "hard-core". Which translates as "I'm a tough old bird". She also said "You never cry, Mum." I thought about this and came to the conclusion that, over the years, it wouldn't have been much good to dissolve into tears when bad stuff happened. I was a single parent, so whatever it was, I had to deal with it on my own. Tough, but true. And at least I've also got strong bones -now that is lucky.

Before that mishap, the weekend had been pretty-well perfect. It started early, on Thursday afternoon, when I collected Grandson and brought him back here because he had no school on Friday (and Daughter was working again). We had a very lazy morning on Friday, and then went for a very muddy walk up to the Windmills. On Friday evening I had two parties to go to; the first was at the Foreign Language School which supplies most of my Students. They were having an official opening Party for their new building, which was very smart. There was delicious party food and pink bubbly and I chatted to a few interesting people. Then I whisked off to a Private View down at the beach, where there was more bubbly and some very tempting prints - sadly too expensive for me at the moment. As Daughter was staying here (she came down after work) I didn't have to worry about feeding my Student, and she sat with Hon Grandaughter and Grandson while I enjoyed myself. When I came back, she went off to meet some Brighton friends for the evening, so it all worked out perfectly.

On Saturday morning, after feeding my student, we all tootled off to feed the Donkeys and then had a spot of lunch before delivering Hon Grandaughter back to her Mum for a bit of shopping. Thankfully, as I said, Daughter was feeling so relaxed that she decided to stay another night with Grandson. If she hadn't been here, I might well have cried!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Big School in Words and Pictures.

More photos! There's no stopping me now that I know how to do it! Below is a selection of pics from Grandson's first day at School - the first one before they left for School and the last one as he was coming out at the end of the day (I love the way the Teacher is shepherding him along.)

My lovely boy leaving for Big School.
With his "partner in crime", Thomas.

Keeping the crowd amused.

Looking after his Book Bag.

The end of his first day, in the rain.
I must tell you about Grandson's first Parents' Evening at his Big School. It was last Thursday, and Daughter had a good chat with his Teacher. She (the teacher) has discovered that Grandson's ears aren't too good - he is having difficulty hearing properly and making sense of things. She said that at first she wondered if he was "trying it on", but quickly realized that it was genuine. She recommended getting his ears tested ASAP, which Daughter has already arranged. I had a look at those lovely little ears at the weekend, and they are full of wax- which probably doesn't help.

We have had lots of ear problems in the past as Daughter's ears were a constant cause for concern when she was little. She kept getting ear infections, and ended up with a bad case of "glue ear". When she was 5 I discovered that she was almost deaf. One day she was walking away with her back to me, and when I called her she didn't respond. So I called her again, and again, louder and louder. In the end I was practically shouting, and still she didn't turn round. I panicked and rushed her to the Doctor, who said that she had simply coped with her increasing deafness by learning to lip-read - and without me realizing! He also said that it's quite a common response; children just get on with it and find a way round their problems. You can imagine how terrible I felt - she hadn't said a word to me, poor little scrap.
She had her first set of gromits when she was only 6, (what a nightmare it is to see your child being taken away for an operation!) and another two sets after that, the last being just before she went off to Uni. At one point, when she was about 10, the Specialist said that he thought she would be completely deaf before long - but in the end she did make a pretty miraculous recovery. And now her ears are fine. I do wonder if these things can be hereditary.

Anyway, to return to the Parents' Evening, Grandson's Teacher said that despite his ear problems, and the fact that he is one of the youngest in the class, he has the most stars! He tries so hard at everything, and loves answering questions. And he makes her laugh every day.
I think that's just about the best School Report anyone could ever have. Of course, I may be slightly biased.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Displacement Activity.

I'm not having much luck with printing out my poems this evening. For some reason the bloody printer is just sitting here quietly humming away to itself and refusing to work!!! (That's after it got the first lot wrong and started printing out my entire file.) I expect I've pressed the wrong button somewhere. Oh Dan, Dan, where art thou? (I'll have to phone him in the morning.) It's too frustrating, so I've decided to try and add some more of my photos:

There you are - Grandson helping me in the garden, my little pond (home to Mrs Frog and the Tadpoles), another view of the garden with seat and semi-naked Greek lady statue, and a sparkly sea picture, with a white-sailed yacht taking centre stage. This is where I walk most days. "Perfick", as Pop Larkin would say.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pictures at last - Peace and Love, Peace and Love :-)

Daughter was here to collect Grandson this morning and I persuaded her to check out the photos I tried to put on before. It seems the files were too large. I'm hoping that this will work now...

Well, it has sort of worked - above you have Hove beach huts, with and without people, on a gloriously sunny day only two weeks ago. I thought it would be a lot quicker though. It has taken me absolutely ages to put these two on. And I was hoping to add lots more: I have photos of Grandson's first day at school, and of the Windmills, and of my garden. Maybe I'm not doing it properly, but I'll try and sort some more out tomorrow.
Ringo Starr gave me a great chance to chat to Mr Picky last week about that type of humour so beloved of the British, the ironic statement. Dear old Ringo - he really is hopeless, and the "Peace and Love, Peace and Love" bit was killing. (Terry Wogan enjoyed the joke too.)I tried to explain that irony is when you say one thing and mean something quite different, and gave him a few examples - one of them being Ringo's unintentionally (I think) ironic statement, i.e. for
"Peace and Love" read "get off my back and out of my life; you people are really annoying me." Mr Picky looked most confused, so no great success there. However, I have succeeded in teaching him how to hoover his room, (he calls it "hover"), and have also shown him how to wash up a cup and saucer. He has apparently never done either of these things before, and he has never, ever cooked anything. He keeps repeating that he is 25, but methinks he doth protest too much. I would guess him at 30 minimum. It's the greasy hair and the receding hairline that do it. And his repeated insistence that he is very clean. I have yet to meet a 25 year old Student who is so preoccupied with being as neat and clean. Or who needs quite so many towels.
The trip to Ikea on Monday was great. I bought the most wonderful white sheepskin rug to put my toes in when I get out of bed. And a sort of chandelier thingy to try on one of my ceiling lights. I'm trying to think what else I bought, but my brain has blanked - anyway I managed to spend £65. Oh yes, some gorgeous pretend paeonies in a stunning deep pink (silk I think, but just lovely in my new bedroom), a new Wok (well 2 actually, one for me and one for Daughter), and a set of bedlinen for Grandson with, guess what, windmills printed on in red and blue. I also spotted the bookshelves I want for my bedroom, but they will have to be ordered and delivered. Not by Ikea though - they want to charge £75 to deliver to sunny Hove! Luckily I've used a local "I Go to Ikea" service before, and it was excellent. They will only charge me £28 to collect and deliver the flat-pack. And then I can put them together myself.
" Oh No" I hear you say, "not the dreaded flat-pack. We've been here before". True, but now I know how easy it is....
The rest of the week was a bit of a blur, but I have sorted through my writing and have found some Poetry Competitions online. I'm intending to enter a couple of these this month (deadlines on 31st October) and then next month will go for another Short Story. What a busy, busy bee..
PS. Gay Friend called round yesterday morning, while Mr. Picky was "hovering", and I really wanted to introduce them. Sadly, they managed to miss each other. Mr Picky nipped out while we were having a coffee and a chat with Grandson. The best laid schemes - anyway, I've decided to ask GF to supper one evening, just to see what happens. Watch this space.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Catching Up...

I think I'm going to strangle Mr. Picky. He manages to wind me up every meal time with just the tiniest comment - and a smile... Yesterday, when I had had a lovely day and was all smiles, he greeted me at suppertime with the words "You look tired Margott". (He pronounces my name with a strong T, when as we all know, "the T is silent as in Harlow") This, of course, is a euphemism for "You look bloody awful Margott". Thanks, Mr Picky. And this morning it was no paper napkin - everything else was on the table. Oh f*****g domage! Thankfully, I'm going out for the day today, to Ikea, so I can forget all about him for a bit.

I seem to have become a weekly Blogger instead of a daily one. It's not intentional, but when I sit down at the computer, I feel so guilty about not having kept up with all my Blogging Friends that I spend all the available time reading and commenting. I'll just have to find a couple of extra hours to add on to the regular 24.

Last week was so busy too. After my two days of Grandson collecting on Monday and Tuesday, I had lots to catch up on at home, but boring things like paying bills and listening to the ever-gloomy news on the radio. As Terry Wogan (my Oracle) said "Why don't they just stop talking about it." I agree, this whole financial panic is self-perpetuating. The more we all rush headlong towards the cliffs, the more lemmings will follow. I for one am counting my blessings (yawn) and keeping my head down. Oh, and shopping at Lidl, where I saved a fortune on Friday!

Thursday I went to London, again, and was planning to drop in to Son's office to collect the Birthday scarf he didn't like ("I don 't think I'll ever wear it, Mum."), return it to John Lewis, and then have a bit of lunch with Sister who has been having a very worrying time lately. Just as I was walking from Oxford Circus to Berwick Street I had a text message from Sister to say that she couldn't make lunch as she had to take her Son to Hospital. Such a shame, but perfectly understandable. So I popped into Son's office, picked up the offending scarf plus a present for me, from one of his girl friends, (which also turned out to be a scarf), and then went in search of a cup of coffee. Even seeing Son for five minutes was fine - especially since he looked very well, very busy and pretty happy. That's alright then. I then spent the whole day walking round shops, looking at clothes, chandeliers etc. (I fancy some new chandeliers for Chateau Margot). I bought a card plus a gift voucher for our lovely Bank Manager who got married recently. Then I bought some food and water in the Food Hall and sat in the sun in the park behind J.Lewis with my picnic. More walking, more window shopping and a couple of hours later I was completely pooped. My little legs couldn't take any more, so I flopped down in the train and snoozed all the way back to Hove.

Friday was shopping at Lidl day - and Saturday I drove to see one of my oldest BFs who has returned from living in Cornwall and has moved back into her house in Chertsey. I'm delighted to have her back within easy reach again - Cornwall is just too far for regular visits. It was a glorious day, and Daughter and Grandson came over too. We met up at my BF's house and talked non-stop. Grandson and I played footie in her garden, and then we all had bsgetti and worms for lunch. Perfect. My Swiss Student left on Saturday too - it was sad to see him go. He is a lovely young man, only 17, but with nice manners and a charming and cheerful outlook on life. I think he enjoyed his stay with me. I got the "three-kiss" continental farewell and a promise to exchange e-mails. Wery nice...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Princess and the Pea.

My new mattress is absolutely wonderful. It was quite a challenge getting the old one out and the new one in. First I chose (a 4' 6" Sleepeeze Pocket-Sprung number) and ordered from Mattressman as aforementioned and, true to his word, he delivered it next morning. The chap who brought it was very pleasant, but fairly short, not particularly strong and on his own, so it was obvious that he couldn't get it up all my stairs. Luckily the lovely Guy, who did my floors, had volunteered to come back and put the bed together again for me, so between us we somehow managed to heave it up the three flights of stairs. When the bedstead was ready, we manoevred the mattress on top and Guy took one look at it and said "You'll need a step-ladder to get up there." True enough, the new incumbent is possibly eight inches deep and therefore much thicker and higher than the old one. And I'm only 5 ft 2 ins. Hadn't thought of that! It's fun getting in and out of bed though, and when I'm perched up there with my mosquito net and my little sparkly paper lanterns draped around it, I really do feel like the Princess and the Pea.

The old mattress went down the stairs like a rocket, I just pointed it downwards and hoped it didn't smash into anything on the way down. The Council came and took it away on Friday morning, and I let it go without a backward glance. It took a lot of history with it, and I'm absolutely ready for new beginnings. I've reclaimed my bedroom, and there's nothing in it that doesn't belong to me. I've got rid of everyone else's rubbish and I just love the look and feel of my own space. I've re-hung the pictures and I'm going to buy sheepskin rugs to snuggle my toes in when I slide out of bed in the mornings! What Larks...

I have two Foreign Students now. The second one arrived last Friday and is a completely different kettle of fish from my Swiss boy. He is from Cyprus and says he is 25. If this is true, I'm a monkey's uncle (as my Mum used to say). He is small (about my height) with receding black curly hair, and he wears nail varnish! He is also extremely picky. He hadn't been in the house five minutes before he was asking for another towel (he already had two), more blankets for his bed (ditto) and was complaining about being cold. Of course he has been used to temperatures of 30 degrees or so (lucky man) and that was why I'd given him two extra blankets already. Anyway, he has started the way he means to go on, and finds something new to request every day. As he is planning to be with me for 12 weeks, this could be tricky. This morning it was warm milk for his cereal and coffee (perfectly reasonable) and this evening it was tea after dinner (again, not unreasonable). But it seems that everything I do isn't quite enough. I have a plan though - I'm going to introduce him to my Gay Friend. I think it could be a match made in heaven.

Yesterday and today I picked up Grandson from School. Foul weather and pouring with rain today, so we retreated indoors and had a cosy time playing with his wooden railway track. He is tired though, and really doesn't want to do more than chill out after a day of reading, singing and eating lunch. Today, apparently, he was on the School Computer. Tomorrow, he'll probably be showing me how to do it. When Daughter arrived home, she looked tired too. She seems to be doing extra days every week. I couldn't stop to chat though, because I had to rush back to cook for my two Students. Tonight it was homemade soup with pitta bread (he asked for more, so that's a compliment) followed by chilli con carne, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli. No dessert because I didn't have the time to make any. Come to think of it, that's probably why he asked for a cup of tea.

Dear old Terry Wogan, he plays some good stuff. I'd forgotten about Clifford T Ward and that old song he sang: "I could be a Millionaire.. If I had the money!" My sentiments exactly..