Monday, 28 September 2009

Oh Mr Jamie

Honestly. It's like he knows I need material for my blog. And boy, does he oblige. I mean, as if my life wasn't random and entertaining enough, then he turns up and does things like this ... As ever, everything below is true. When your life is as random as mine is, there really is no need to make anything up.

Yesterday, the day got off to a surreal start and continued in the same vein, due to his obsessive demands to be allowed to drink from a shot glass. Yes, that's right. A shot glass. Usually used - well, for doing shots. Of alcohol. Now, before you have some mass panic, rest assured that, in the interests of Health and Safety, this was in fact a plastic shot glass. (Yes, they do exist.) A left over from Eurovision joy.

Contrary to popular belief, my shot glasses aren't kept at baby height (along with my vibrator and condoms). They're actually up in the glasses cupboard, which is slightly above my head height. That didn't phase Mr Jamie. As I opened the cupboard door to empty the dishwasher he suddenly shot into the kitchen and started pointing and hurling himself up against the side, yelling "GASS, WAHER, GASS, WAHER". (Translated, this roughly works out as "glass, water, glass, water".) I attempted to fob him off with several more sensible looking glasses before admitting defeat and issuing him with a baby blue plastic shot glass, filled with water. I then stood back and watched, as my nearly two year old stood, legs akimbo, raised his glass into the air before pressing it to his mouth and tipping his head back. Water vanished. His eyes lit up. "MOR WAHER, MOR WAHER." I refilled his glass. He necked it. And so the ritual continued. For the rest of the day, my baby walked around with his trusty shot glass in his hand, absent mindedly sipping from it and placing it carefully on a surface whenever he required the use of two hands for a moment.

And - if I'm honest - I think we'll probably continue using it. It may even be my parenting tip for the week. Yes, it looks a little odd. And yes, you will get strange looks from the general public (so what else is new). But, with such a small container, spillages are minimal. And, let's face it, it's very, very entertaining.

Then we reach this morning. Monday mornings in my world are chaotic at the best of times; even more so when I'm attempting to also squeeze the packing for two days away into my usual morning routine. Dragging bags and cases down the stairs, I lost track of what Mr Jamie was up to. Suddenly noticing the suspicious silence, I ran into the hallway. To find him sitting, happily, chatting to himself, totally absorbed in the task of taking tampons out of the open box I'd left there and stuffing them into the pockets of his jeans. He continued until they were all out of the box, and in his jeans. Given it was a full box, this meant he was left with several brightly yellow packets protruding out of each side pocket. He looked at me and smiled. I attempted to remove them from his pockets. He hit me and growled. I decided to prioritise getting us both out of the house on time, and went to pack up the car. Returning, I found him with the tampons still in his pockets, plus now holding the bolt from a stair gate and the accompanying leaflet from the tampon box. Despite much cajoling, he would not give up on any of them.

And so that's how I dropped him off at nursery this morning ... twenty tampons in his pockets, a bolt in his fist (how I hope they take this off him) and studying a tampon leaflet. I apologised to the nursery staff when I arrived there, who just smiled politely. They've clearly already got me pegged as a woman who allows her child to participate in this kind of madness ...

Anyway, that's all from me for a couple of days. I'm off to be posh and corporate (are the two mutually exclusive?) and will return on Thursday with, I'm sure, a whole myriad of tales of what happens when Kathryn attempts to take on a 5 star luxury hotel ... Bet you can't wait.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

A rude awakening

So, my nice, relaxing Saturday started with a full pint of Ribena being poured onto my head. No, this wasn't the start of a domestic argument. Neil and I are far too lazy to fight via the means of anything which might require doing an extra load fo washing. Instead, the perpetrator - perhaps unsurprisingly - was one Mr Jamie, who met my startled lurch into awakedness (I hope you're all enjoying my new, entirely made up word there) with a surprised "Mum. Oh no." Hands raised into the air, shoulders shrugged, complete with a total look of bewilderment. Who in the world could have spilt Ribena onto your head? Nothing to do with me, that's for sure.

Unwilling to launch myself into full awakedness (hmmm, it's growing on me), I attempted to snuggle down back into my Ribena soaked pillow and duvet. Shutting my eyes, I could feel Ribena dripping into my ears. Before I had an opportunity to give up entirely on sleep, I saw stars as I was smacked on the head with an extremely hard object. Opening my eyes, I was confronted with the menacing sight of Mr Jamie standing half naked above me, brandishing a hard, pink, shiny plastic object. Otherwise known ... as my vibrator.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you, my son. Who will be able to claim that, at the age of nearly-two, he spent a proportion of his time playing with sex toys. (Just for the record, and before you report me to social services, that is an extremely small proportion. But still. It's a proportion that no sensible parent would want to have on their unblemished record. And god, I tell you, the hassle of trying to get the thing off him. He screamed, hit me over the head again, and attempted to get it onto its fastest setting. I am so proud.)

Vibrator finally removed from his clutches, and safely put away where he will never, NEVER be able to access it again, I contemplated my mortification as I walked into the ensuite to put the shower on and remove a full pint of Ribena from my hair. Suddenly, a small object shot past my legs and into the corner of the bathroom. Closer inspection revealed it to be Mr Jamie. Teeth clenched around a mystery object. Unable to establish exactly what it was, I attempted to pull it from his mouth. He growled. I retreated. A momentary stand off took place, until I rushed forward and caught him by surprise. Ignoring his angry howls, I examined in closer detail what it was he'd been chewing. Oh joy. Let's collect the set. For Mr Jamie, post vibrator bashing, had now moved on to condom chewing.

There really is no way I can put a positive spin on that. Well, unless you count the fact that at least it was still in the foil packet.

So, I think it's safe to say that Neil and I will be making some changes to our bedroom arrangements. Ribena will no longer be balanced precariously above our heads, and sex objects will be removed to somewhere - well, somewhere at least which is out of biting range. And, you know, maybe they won't end up making that Channel 4 documentary on us just yet ...

Friday, 25 September 2009

A post without humour

Because, I'll be honest, there really is no way of making the fact your beautiful cat has had to be put to sleep into a comedy adventure.

I am devastated. And that's pretty much all I can say about that.

Traumatic times

Oof, yesterday was most traumatic. As follows:

1) I was required to drive to and from Bristol for work purposes. A five hour round trip. Niiiiiice. On the way back down the A34, I experienced a strange feeling of deja vu as, with a sudden burst, the trim from my windscreen leapt off and started smashing about the front of my car. Pulling over, I trapped the marauding trim in the door of my car and spent the remainder of the journey reaping the benefits of my hands free kit as I gave Auto Windscreens hell about their general incompetence. Followed up, upon my return home, with a strongly worded email to their MD. My day might have been traumatic, but then I suspect his Friday hasn't exactly got off to a flying start.

2) Hideous, hideous evening when The Best Neighbours In The World (aka Simon and Ruth) came rushing over to tell me Bracken (my eldest cat) was bleeding profusely, and suspected of being knocked down by a car. This was followed by a thoroughly horrendous 20 minutes of trying to get my traumatised, half collapsed, broken up cat down from the tree in which she was hiding. Thank god for Simon and Ruth (and Neil when he eventually arrived!) who stood in their garden and helped us before eventually driving Bracken, me and a lot of blood to the emergency vets. Her current status is as yet unknown - am waiting for the call from the vets - but have many fingers crossed for her.

3) And - in profound juxtaposition - driving home last night through Emsworth when, ahead of me, I happened upon a man riding a bike. A slightly old, slightly fat man. Wearing very short shorts. And I mean, VERY short shorts. So short, in fact, that I realised I could see a small flap of scrotum hanging out each side and over the edge of his bicycle seat. Quite, quite the most unpleasant thing I have seen for some time. Jamie, upon sighting him, sat bolt upright in his seat and yelled "BIKE, BIKE". I, meanwhile, was desperately trying to distract him with screams of "don't look, don't look", thinking to myself, 'you'll be in therapy until the end of your days - and this time it won't even be down to who your parents are'.

So, it can be said with some relief that I am happy to have reached Friday. Although I'm not entirely sure why. Tonight and tomorrow bring with them their own personal traumas; ie a cabaret performance and singing set which I am woefully underprepared for. Something which is entirely of my own making. Still, as I say, if you want a laugh then head for Havant Arts Centre at 10pm this evening, or the gazebo garden in the car park out the back of Waitrose at 2.30pm tomorrow. I promise you copious line forgetting and falling over hilarity.

And, when all's said and done, yesterday could have been a lot worse. The trim could have come off and caused me/other road users to become involved in an accident. Bracken could have been killed outright. And the old man on the bike ... no, actually, I'm not sure there is any way that could have been worse. Fucking grim.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Excerpts from my life

Specifically, excerpts from last night's bedtime interchange between Neil and I, as we lay in bed, one eye warily on the (recently suspiciously well behaved) Velux ...

N: I wonder what people will say about me when I'm dead. I wonder what I'd like people to say about me. Are they the same thing?
K: People will say that I was bloody hilarious. And so they should. Because I am. I am glad I am me. I would miss me if I wasn't with me all the time.
N: You appear to have turned the conversation round to you.
K: That's because it is about me. Always.
N: That's what you should have on your gravestone. "It's not about you, it's about me."
K: I am SO going to have that. Please ensure it is arranged.

K: What is a nuclear weapon?
N: (Patiently explains.)
K: If one of them fell onto us, would it be bad?
N: You know Portsmouth?
K: Yes.
N: If a big one fell onto Portsmouth, it would wipe out all life in the city.
K: What about me?
N: What about you?
K: Would I be okay?
N: Are you in Portsmouth?
K: No, I'm waiting for you at our secret rendez-vous point.
N: Where's that?
K: I can't tell you, it's a secret.
N: Anyway, to be honest, you would probably not be the main focus if a large nuclear weapon was dropped onto Portsmouth.
K: Neil, have I not told you already, it is all about me. What about if a little bomb fell on us.
N: It would still be pretty horrendous.
K: Where do we keep our bombs anyway?
N: All sorts of places ... some of them are on submarines.
K: Why have I never seen any of them?
N: (Sighs.)

N: I wonder how people will remember me?
K: I think as a kind of Gandhi-esque figure.
N: What?
K: Because you are nice, and look good in a loincloth, and have a large penis.
N: I think you might be thinking about someone else.
K: I am. I'm thinking about Gandhi.
N: No. I meant ... never mind.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Child prodigy

Alas. I do not have one of those. Instead, I have a Mr Jamie. Who is in a category all of his own.

It's not all bad though. He's progressing, albeit slowly. He can at least now walk without looking like he's had one too many beers down the pub - although it's a bit of a worry that it's taken him almost a year of walking to get to this point. Maybe he has been on the beers. He does like looking at them in the fridge: he opens the door, pulls open the 'alcohol' drawer, takes out any bottles of beer, cans of tonic etc which might be laying in there, caresses them lovingly (whilst I freeze, terrified that a momentary loss of control will mean glass bottle hitting slate floor and resulting in a beer soaked child with glass in his foot ... not the sort of incident you want to go to A&E about, really. I can sense questions being asked.), before stacking them up precariously in the door of the fridge, pointing at them proudly, proclaiming 'Daddy' (well of course - everyone knows that Daddy is the heavy drinker in our house) and then shutting the fridge door. Both of us them promptly forget about his work, until half an hour later when I open the fridge door and shout obscenities loudly as a bottle of beer and four cans of tonic land on my foot.

While 'child prodigy' is never likely to be a phrase which applies to him, he has already been given the honour of being moved up to the next class in nursery, a whole three weeks in advance of when he was meant to go. He is delighted: his best friend Annabel is in there, and there is nothing more that Jamie likes than playing with her. (For playing, read biting, kicking and hair pulling.) I would like to think that he's being moved up because of his advanced development. I have a strong suspicion that the reality is that he's being moved up in the hope that he'll be better behaved, and stop picking on the babies.Tragically, I anticipate we'll only have a matter of days before the next in the series of 'biting forms' appears. Although, knowing Jamie, he'll end up managing to pin the blame on someone else. Probably me.

And I even think he's also developing something of a conscience. Well, a conscience for other peoples' wrong doings. He has quite a talent when it comes to absolving himself of any misconduct (god, I really am HR-mother) which occurs around the home. For example, Saturday morning, at my mum's. I was washing up (yes, you are correct, this is an exceedingly rare occurrence - but necessary when the dishwasher has exploded) when Mr Jamie sidled in and tapped on my leg. "Uh-oh." "What do you mean, uh-oh." "Uh-oh." "Is there an uh-oh?" "Yes." "Shall I come and see?" "Yes." (Such is the banality of our conversations.) Following Jamie into the conservatory (you need to bear in mind at this point that my mother's house makes most show houses look in need of a seeing to by Kim and Aggie), I was confronted with the sight of a large mound of dried fish food (anyone else find it odd that fish like eating food that smells of - well - fish?), scattered over the previously pristine deep pile carpet. I looked at Jamie. Jamie looked back. A momentary stand off occurred, before he raised his arms in the air, rolled his eyes, and declared "Oh no". At which point he ran off to find my mum, leaving me standing ankle deep in fish food, pointing back at me and yelling "Nan. Mum uh-oh." That's right son, blame your parents for all your misdemeanours. You'll go far.

Monday, 21 September 2009

What a week

Yes, that's right. I am writing this at the start of the week. Trust me; seeing the week out is entirely unnecessary. I already know the phrase 'what a week' is going to be entirely appropriate.

My conscious week started at 4am this morning, when I got up for the day. No, I hadn't planned to be up and about before the dawn. But that's the time Mr Jamie thought it would be fun to awake me with a well timed kick to the head. Both parents fully awake, he chattered, gibbered and danced for the next 90 minutes, before suddenly falling asleep and making contented snoring noises. By which time, both Neil and I were fully awake and had not a hope in hell in getting back off to sleep before the 5.55am alarm call. Needless to say, Mr Jamie then went on to snooze until 7.30am, when he suddenly awoke, bright, rested, and leaping around. Good to know at least one of us was.

As if a 4am start wasn't enough to contend with, my body is falling apart. And it's entirely my fault. Well, mostly. You will recall my posts from a couple of weeks ago, when I drew attention to the 'black hairy tongue' side effect of antibiotics. What can I say? It frightened me into committing the cardinal sin of antibiotics: not completing the course. I know. I have no one but myself to blame. And I am too scared to go back to the doctors, because I know they - quite rightly - will tell me off. But, most likely as a result of my sinning, I now have intense sinus pain, a mouth full of green mucous (I am such a sex goddess), a sore throat, a cough and a banging headache. Oh, and to add insult to injury, half of one of my teeth fell off last night. No idea why. Neither do I have the time to follow it up this week with a sensible trip to the dentist. But it is proof, if ever it was needed, that my body is quite literally falling apart. At the age of twenty-seven-nearly-twenty-eight. It's not boding well.

Central to the week of doom, as I'm going to propose referring to it, is a cabaret performance I somehow find myself involved in on Friday night. Which requires me to sing (not entirely sure what the impact of green mucous will be on this), and perform in three comedy sketches. Which will be bloody hilarious, if only for the fact that I have not learnt ONE SINGLE LINE. At all. Not even a little bit. And not even the impending fear of Friday's live performance is sufficent to actually make me get up and do something about it. I know. If I spent less time writing about it, and more time getting on with it ... blah blah blah blah blah. I can't hear you. But still, if you want to watch me make a complete tit out of myself, then 10pm at Havant Arts Centre is where you need to be. Roll up, roll up, for the lady with the green mucous and unlearnt lines ...

Finally, surrounding all of that, is the usual Kathryn mayhem. You know the kind of thing, coming out of the nursery this morning (leaving a sobbing and inexplicably traumatised Mr Jamie. I suspect overtiredness ...), spending several minutes attempting to unlock your car, giving in, breaking into said car, setting off the quite excessively loud burglar alarm and reducing all toddlers and babies in the immediate vicinity to tears while the nursery staff came rushing out to see who was stealing a car. Just the normal elements which make up my so called life ...

What a week ...

Friday, 18 September 2009

Bala-friggin-mory

So, it's about 7.30am on Friday morning. (That's my day 'off', just in case you'd forgotten.) Jamie and I are sitting on the sofa watching Balamory. (For the uninitiated, this is some insane childrens' programme, set in an utterly random village in the wilds of woolly Scotland with freakishly bright coloured houses everywhere.) Jamie, over the past couple of weeks, has become OBSESSED with Balamory. Seriously. He wakes up in the morning. He rolls over and sees me. He smiles. I anticipate that he might be about to say something heartwarming; I don't know, something along the lines of 'Mummy'. I am deluded. Instead, he opens his mouth, sits bolt upright, and articulates: 'Balla'. (aka Balamory, for those unfamiliar with Jamie-speak.)

The rest of the morning will continue in this vein. 'Balla, Balla, Balla', every time he spots a television. Before too long I will give in. (I am, after all, only human - despite the rumours to the contrary.) Turning on the TV, I cycle through to our library of recorded programmes. There it is: Balamory. The ONE episode of Balamory I managed to record once Jamie's obsession was outed, before selfish fucking CBeebies decided it was the end of the season and removed it from their programming. Bastards. Don't they know what this means? It means I am now destined to watch the SAME FRIGGING EPISODE on REPEAT. Over, and over, and over again. Literally. Once we've got through it once, the credits roll, and I have a brief 30 second hiatus before a little voice next to me pipes up. 'Balla, Balla, Balla.' And the whole process starts all over again.

I'm now at the point where not only can I offer a detailed critique of the performance of every actor in the episode, right down to facial movements and number of breaths in (and believe me, if there was ever an example of 'how the hell did these people become professional actors', Balamory demonstrates that. I genuinely think that they must have rounded up some of the residents of the coloured houses and just forced them to attempt to sing and dance.); I can also recite along with the dialogue. And sing all the songs. And complete the dance routines. And, let me tell you, if I have to hear one more time about the possibilities of turning a coathanger into a horses head (have they never seen The Godfather?) ... well, let's just say I'm not too optimistic about the future lifespan of my TV set.

Please, Mr Jamie, for the love of god: anything, anything other than bloody Balamory. Or at least, possibly, could we graduate onto another episode? With a heavy heart, it may be time to really push the boat out ... I sense a Balamory DVD purchase may be forthcoming. Sob. What in the world has my child become?

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Wonderous Things

Several Wonderous Things have occurred over the past week or so. I shall now chronicle them here for the benefit of you, my lovely blog readers. Enjoy.

Wonderous Thing Number One
My car broke. Not very wonderous at all, you might think. And you would be right. But. The lovely AA man came and mended it for me (ie, took off the broken tyre and put on the mended spare one), and THEN ... I took it to Kwik Fit ... and they mended the tyre ... FOR FREE. Oh yes. 100%, free. Just like my sofas. (In fact, probably even better than my sofas.) And did I use my feminine wiles to get such treatment? I can't believe you're even asking me this. Of COURSE I used my feminine wiles. I wore very tight jeans, knee high boots and a low cut top ... and my tyre was fixed for free. Screw the female revolution. I need all the help I can get.

Wonderous Thing Number Two
I can hear! At last! My ears were syringed today, and it was one of the most magical experiences of my life. (After getting married, Jamie's birth, trips to the supermarket - those kind of things.) Vast quantities of minging wax have been removed and I can actually hear proper sounds like a proper normal human being. A miracle! (Although, having said that, it's starting to become less magical already. Who knew that the sound of my tights rubbing together would be so bloody irritating?)

Wonderous Thing Number Three
I am still young! At least, in appearance. It appears. (See what I did there?) I have just returned from a trip Sainsbury's (post ear syringing) and at the check out was accosted by the check out lady who asked me if I was married. At first, I thought I was being picked up, and debated how best to word my polite rejection. She then explained herself: "But you can't be married, you don't look old enough." Oh yes. That's me, twenty-seven-nearly-twenty-eight, the morning after the night before (see below). Rock on.

Wonderous Thing Number Four
Magic wine of wonder. My dad recently visited, bearing two bottles of white wine which he told me I would like. And my god, how I like this wine. Not down to the taste, you understand. Although that's very nice too. But down to the fact that, for the past two weeks, Alice and I have drunk excessively on Wednesday nights. For the past two weeks, this has incorporated some of my dad's wine. And for the past two weeks, despite indulging quite excessively, we have both woken up the following morning with NO hangover. Magic wine of wonder indeed. Should I find the opportunity, I will write down its name and post it here, for you all to benefit from its magicness.

Wonderous Thing Number Five
Oh, you know, the usual stuff: yaks, pink things, Mr Jamie, Neil, almost having lost a stone (you have the promise of a full weight loss post once I reach the magic Stone mark - I have about a lb to go. Control that excitement), supermarkets, pretty shoes, etc etc etc.

Rejoice, rejoice in the world of the Wonderous Things and revel in the glory which is Thursday-nights-in-the-bath-with-Heat-and-wine. Mazeltov.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Best laid plans ...

So, last night, the plan was: home from work, feed Jamie, bath Jamie, put Jamie into bed with milk and assorted dummies, Jamie to fall asleep, go downstairs and put olive oil into my ears (pre ear syringing, as opposed to pre fetishistic activity), undertake workout, eat food, relax with Neil, early night with book and restful night's sleep.

Last night, the reality transpired to be the following:

Return home from work. Late, due to far too many cars bearing bad drivers on the road. Feed Jamie. Left over tuna and pasta, which he was disproportionally suspicious of. Spend an excessive amount of time explaining to Jamie that his food was in fact simply nicely heated, as opposed to "HOT, HOT", and that no, attempting to squish pieces of tuna onto the new rug was not a pasttime which would be encouraged. (I love my new rug. If you are lucky, you may get a photo of it at some point.)

Bath Jamie, whilst simultaneously attempting to clear pools of wee from the bathroom floor (as with hot meals, Jamie is deeply suspicious of toilets) and persuade him that toothbrushes (at least it was his, I suppose) are not really the ideal tool for cleaning your willy. Put Jamie into bed with milk and assorted dummies. This bit, at least, was successful.

Jamie to fall asleep. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. Jamie to pretend to fall asleep, then let out a war cry of unparalleled decibels every - ooh - 7 minutes or so. Decide I can get away with forgoing the workout, on the basis that my thighs are getting enough of a pounding from going up and down two flights of stairs every 7 minutes.

Put olive oil into my ears. Aided and abetted by Neil, I did just this. (There is something inexplicably joyous about the feeling of warm olive oil running down into your ears. It's a bit like someone having had a very soft and nice smelling wee in your ear. I would imagine.) I attempted to combine the 'eating food' part of the evening with this, but suffice to say it didn't end well. Eating food which has post-ear olive oil inadvertently dripped on it is somewhat less than appetising.

Relax with Neil, early night with book and restful night's sleep. You may now wish to imagine me laughing ironically. Go on. Yep, just like that. No, not quite that raucous. That's it, you've cracked it. Well done you.

Neil and I made the fatal error of attempting to go upstairs to bed, whilst Mr Jamie was still WIDE AWAKE. Neil's theory: that he would snuggle down next to us and fall asleep in our arms. My theory: that chaos would ensure.

I was SO right.

In no particular order, the next two hours consisted of: Jamie bouncing up and down on our heads, Jamie running around the bed and falling over a lot, Jamie rocking back and forward laughing insanely whilst pronouncing "Allah, Allah" in a deep and freaky voice (some kind of religious visitation, perhaps?), Jamie discovering he could access the naked skin on my bottom and blowing raspberries for over 20 minutes (that's including breaths in between, not one continuous 20 minute raspberry) whilst giggling uncontrollably, Jamie running around the room yelling "Beebees, beebees" (whilst the television remained firmly off), Jamie getting excessively hyped and crying, Jamie refusing to respond to Neil's attempts to put him into bed, Jamie being taken downstairs by Neil and put into a darkened bedroom to show him what the alternative for sleeping was, Jamie becoming hysterical, Jamie returning (plus Neil) to the bedroom and lying down to sleep. By which time, if I remember correctly, I believe it was about 5 minutes past 11.

Tonight, I don't think I'll bother. Early nights are clearly entirely pointless. The alternative plan: clubbing all night, intravenous ingestion of gin and collapsing in a hedge. I still reckon I'll get a better night's sleep.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Monday Monday

Bah bah, bah ba da. (Just in case that was lost in translation, that was me singing the opening bars of Monday Monday. Never let it be said this blog doesn't embrace the art forms.)

Mondays are rubbish, aren't they? Particularly when you wake up with a cold (thanks for that, Mr Jamie) and general feeling of having been kicked in the head all night. Oh no, wait, that actually happened. I can't wait for the day (well, strictly speaking, I suppose that should be night) I get to spend a night in my bed without a midget lying horizontally between my husband and I, partaking in what appear to be endless dreams about running, and responding as such. The irony is, even if I move, he comes and finds me. Even lying hanging off the edge of my own bed, upside down, with my feet on the pillow ... the afeorementioned midget still wriggles his way down the bed to rest his feet in a more comfortable position. Which just happens to be on the edge of my nose. A black eye can only be one more dream away. And THAT will take some explaining.

Head kicking aside, I've spent the weekend being OLD. (Well, now that 28 is only just around the corner ...) Not only did I spend Sunday afternoon in B&Q, I also - sob - even went so far as to contemplate some GARDENING. I know. I'm losing my entire identity. Next thing you know I'll be starting to do ironing. Fortunately, the gardening contemplation went no further than that, and my cuticles remain dirt free. But it's still there, festering, in the back of my mind ... a middle aged desire to do WEEDING. WHO IS THIS PERSON??? I am troubled, deeply troubled. This is clearly the result of having been kicked in the head once too many times ...

So, feeling exceedingly old, I'm off to spend my Monday morning doing 'yoof' stuff. In a pitiful attempt to regain it. You know the kind of thing: hanging out in bus stops, phoning the operator and demanding they tell you the time, throwing up in gutters. Hmmm. On second thoughts, middle age is starting to sound quite appealing ...

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Cervixes and libraries

There's two words you don't often find in the same sentence. Well, I'm always happy to break with tradition.

I promised you a follow up to give you an update on how the smear test avec Mr Jamie went. Bad luck - I'm true to my promise. Feel free to skip this bit if you feel you're already far too familiar with the state of my cervix.

I won't overexaggerate (there's always a first time). In relative terms, it all went absolutely fine. Of course, given it involved myself and Jamie, it wasn't without its random moments. (I just inadvertently typed 'tit' instead of 'it' and now can't stop giggling. I am such a child.)

Despite having to wait for a while, Jamie was relatively well behaved, other than demanding 'CAKE' at a level of decibels arguably unnecessary for such a small space. Fortunately, I had come well prepared. (Parenting tip of the week: lie to your child. Convince them that various healthy foodstuffs such as bars of dried fruit and oatcakes are, in fact, cake. Respond to their cries for cake with such. Watch as they chew happily and mumble "cake, cake" to themselves.)

Mouth full of so called cake, my name was called and Jamie and I walked down the corridor to the nurse's room, hindered only slightly by a huge red pushchair transporting 10 library books (more on which in a moment), cake-substitutes and my entire make up supply. Always prepared ...

We had one slightly sticky moment when Jamie suddenly, unexplicably, jumped off my lap and legged it out of the room and down the corridor back into the waiting room. Like the responsible parent that I am, I ran after him. Fortunately, at this point, I'd only got as far as removing my socks and boots. 30 seconds later and it would have been a very different experience for everyone out there waiting.

Capturing Mr Jamie, we returned to the nurse who made me go behind the curtain for the 'getting naked' bit. Ah well, as she'd insisted. I took Jamie with me and encouraged him to stand next to me while I lay down on the bed type thing. Jamie wasn't keen. Mistaking his attempts to get away from his mother's front bottom as eagerness to be close to me, the nurse suggested he sit on me, and lifted him onto my stomach before raising the automatic bed. Jamie thought this was brilliant. I - well, I was too busy focusing on the bizarreness of having a smear test with my nearly-2-year-old sitting on my lower stomach, eyes fixed on the business end of things. Yet another memory for his memoirs.

What happened next was all too predictable. The nurse switched on the huuuuuuge lamp they have (seriously, how cavernous is my front bottom?) and captured Jamie's attention. I explained to him that the lady would be looking at my bottom. Jamie watched in silent interest, until the moment she inserted whatever it is they insert and took the sample. At which point Jamie recoiled in disgust, pointed directly at my front bottom, and pronounced "yeeeeeuggghh". He is nothing if not direct.

Anyway. Smear test over and leaving the highly entertained nurse, we went to the library. I am a great fan of libraries. Free books: I mean, seriously, what's not to like. If you don't already go then get your arse down there now. You may, however, wish to avoid the libraries that Jamie and I frequent. Half way round, and having exhausted his 'cake' supplies, Jamie kicked off into what can only be described as a full on tantrum. Git. Body rigid, arms flailing to get out of the pushchair, screaming at an unnecessarily high pitch. So what did I do? Well, not what I wanted to do, which was to remove my cardigan, shove it into his mouth to form a makeshift gag, and then rapidly leave the premises. Instead, and given there were other people in the vicinity, I thought I had better pretend I knew what I was doing. I crouched down next to him. I told him to stop shouting. I asked him if anyone else in the library was shouting. (Fortunately, there wasn't, or else I feel this question may have had the wrong effect.) I asked him if he would like to go home and eat some more cake. (Bribery and corruption ... never fails.) After mentioning the word 'cake' at least 30 times, he fell silent. I passed him a book and was about to get the hell out of there when I was waylaid by two elderly ladies. Who were almost embarrassingly complimentary about my parenting techniques. (I decided to omit mentioning my initial plan to silence him.) And, I'll be honest, I was bloody smug. Great parent? Of course I was! Until I remembered where I live ... where, to be honest, seeing a parent who isn't yelling at their screaming child probably is a bit of a novelty. (I know. Viva la social stereotypes.)

So there you go. Front bottoms according to Mr Jamie, plus library chaos. Just another normal day in my oh so normal life ...

Friday, 11 September 2009

Stupid woman

I currently have a chilli up my nose. Hurts like buggery. Not that I would know. Of course, it's not a whole chilli. That would be insane, even by my standards. But it is a small piece of chilli. Which was on the end of my finger, when I chose to pick my nose immediately after chopping a chilli and putting it into my Quorn Meatball Chilli Mash Pie (it's a culinary car crash, I tell you). (For anyone who is concerned, hands were washed immediately after the chilli up nose occurence, before any further cooking preparation took place. Shame I didn't think about that beforehand.) (And yes. I have been entirely honest with you about the fact I was picking my nose. I could have lied, and told you that I'd had to insert my finger up my nostril in order to remove a strange foreign object which had lodged there. But you wouldn't have believed me. Besides, let's face it, we all do it. A bit like sex really ...)

Oh, and while I was inserting said chilli up my nose, Mr Jamie took the opportunity to organise the kitchen cupboards. I now have a popcorn box full of potatoes, and a potato bag full of microwave popcorn.

Fucking chaos. And that's before I even start to go into details of today's smear test extravaganza, followed by library lunacy. More on both tomorrow ... in the meantime I must remove my pie from the oven, feed Mr Jamie, and then start mainlining gin ...

Potential for disaster?

Surely not. How in the world could taking Mr Jamie along to observe my smear test be disastrous?

Yes. I know. I'm not quite sure what I'm thinking. Well, I do. It's arguably slightly less disastrous then leaving him in the house alone, which is the alternative. (I'm joking, before you all start phoning social services. Clearly I would never contemplate leaving my child in the house alone. I value my furniture far too much.)

Anyway, given that there really is no viable alternative, Mr Jamie will be a press ganged audience member at my smear test today. Poor child. This is going to be the kind of traumatic memory which forms the basis for his memoirs, isn't it? (Then again, in Jamie's case, the question is probably more: where to start? So many options ...)

I'd like to think all will run smoothly regardless. But I'm Kathryn. To think in such a way would be exceedingly foolhardy. For example, my very first smear test. Which occurred while I was at drama school. (Highly appropriate, given the events which followed.) Not knowing quite what to expect, other than the fact that front bottoms would be involved in some way, I bribed a friend of mine to accompany me. A male friend. Thank you Tim. I understand that the scars are yet to recede.

Tim came down to the clinic with me but opted to remain in the safety of the waiting room. It's important I point that out, to avoid sounding like the kind of person who insists on an audience at every smear test. Walking into the room with the nurse, I got onto the examining bed thing (what are they actually called?) and followed the instructions to remove my clothing from the waist down. Figuring I knew what was coming, I also decided to helpfully spread my legs for the nurse. Who returned to the cubicle with the expletive "good grief girl, you don't need to spread them quite that wide".

What can I say? I'm extremely flexible.

Legs returned to a more savoury position, she inserted whatever it is they do (don't worry boys, I'm as much in the dark about this as you are), and pronounced the phrase which will forever remain forefront in my mind when any talk of my front bottom should occur. (It's more common than you think.) "My goodness. You have an EXTREMELY accessible cervix."

Woo yeah me. Screw the straight As. Accessible cervixes - that's where it's at.

Coming out into the waiting room, I found Tim almost crying with laughter, having heard the majority of our exchanges through the door, along with the rest of the waiting patients.

As a nice follow up to this story, the following morning I was on a hideously crowded bus on the main route into Birmingham city centre. My dad phoned, and I decided this would be a good opportunity to inform him just how well his daughter had performed the previous day. "Guess what Daddy? I have an extremely accessible cervix." It was one of those brilliant, tumbleweed moments, where all conversation on the bus draws immediately to a standstill and people turn their heads in horror. Meanwhile, I was smiling smugly as my dad told me how proud he was. At the front of the bus were a couple of my friends who hadn't seen me get on. They told me the moment they heard the phrase "accessible cervix" they knew it must be me. I'm hoping that's down to the choice of subject matter, rather than the fact I'd always looked like someone whose cervix was within easy reach.

So it's with all that in mind as I head off to the surgery this morning, accompanied by a reluctant Mr Jamie. I shall keep you posted ...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Football frenzy

Well, rock on England. How-ay the lads. And other patriotic football terms. (Which these are probably not.)

(It's at this point that I should probably inform you that, if you don't like football, you might want to look away now. For this is a post about football. Albeit, it's a Kathryn post about football. So, as always, expect the unexpected.)

For anyone who doesn't know, England kicked some serious Croatian footballer ass last night. It's something of a novelty to write about an England game using the phrase "we won". (For anyone who's Sky Plus'd the game to watch tonight ... oops.) It's even more of a novelty to be able to use the score line 5-1 (yes, that is in England's favour), and nigh on unheard of to announce that England have qualified as group winners for next year's World Cup - with 2 games still to play.

I reckon we must have cheated.

Seriously. 5-1? Against a team who stuffed us 3-2 only two years ago? And, as a reminder: this is ENGLAND playing. The greatest underachievers of all time. It's got to be a fix, hasn't it?
I spent a large amount of yesterday's game (when I wasn't cheering and leaping around the room) wondering quite how we could have managed to cheat. I think there are various possibilties. Firstly, we'd made the Croatians play in blue. And we were playing in white. Well that's not fair is it? Blue is pretty much the same colour as grass. So how were they going to be able to see each other to pass the ball? Very challenging.

Then there was the fact that (Rooney, notably, aside) we seemed to have fielded a team of generally attractive players. Probably quite alarmingly attractive, and certainly very distracting, when you're used to the usual dross England line up. Must have thrown Croatia big time when they looked back to two years ago.

And then, of course, we have the small matter of the location of the game. In ENGLAND. Ergo, attended by hordes of drunken English football hooligans brandishing knives and pistols and water balloons. Not a happy sight, if you're a Croatian. In that kind of environment, I'm pretty sure I would have avoided scoring goals. (Well, due to that, and, of course, the fact I can't actually walk unaided, let alone kick a football.)

Anyway. Those are my theories. And the crux of it is: I couldn't actually care less. Cheat away England, with your shiny white shirts and pretty young boys and threatening mad hooligans. FIVE ONE. WORLD CUP. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
And you know something else? I might be a woman, but I am also in total command of the offside rule. What? You don't believe me? Well, on your own head be it ...

For the offside rule to apply, a topless woman must be situated off the side of the pitch, and the ball must be kicked to land precisely between her left and right nipples. Offside rules: as created by Kathryn. I don't referee football matches, but if I did ... they'd be the oddest bloody things in the known universe.

ENG-ER-LAND!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

What the ...?

Seriously. I know I've just posted, but then I found this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/wiltshire/8246197.stm

WTF?

The Lying Down Game? Popular on the internet? REALLY???

Honestly, I thought I was odd. Appears I've got a long way to go to catch up with fans of The Lying Down Game. Anyone else EVER heard of this?

Freaks. Albeit very entertaining ones.

Our house (in the middle of the street)

Stupid lyric. How can a house be in the middle of the street? It'd block the road, not to mention be a major Health and Safety hazard. Song writers just don't think, do they? Tut.

Our house - that is, mine and Neil's - is not in the middle of the street, at least not in that sense. It is in between some other houses, so I suppose from that perspective it is in the middle of the street. It also has the unique distinction of being both terraced, detached and semi detached. Ground floor: semi. Middle floor: terraced. Top floor: detatched. Get me and my interestingly attached house. Oh yes.

Random musings aside, the reason for this post is to break the tragic news ... our house is coming OFF the market. And no, not because we've got a buyer. Bless you and your enthusiasm. No, it's coming off the market because in the past 6 months, we've managed a quite pitiful 4 viewers. None of whom stayed more than about 5 minutes. Despite my house's inner beauty. And the fact I made Neil wear clothes. No, they were out of there just as soon as they could. (Mind you, at least those ones actually made it over the threshold. We also had a couple cancel on us at the last minute as a result of having driven past. Yes, really. And as those of you who have seen it will know, it's really not that bad an area. Really!)

So, with very little feedback to go on, and even fewer offers, we've decided that our house is effectively unsellable. At least, at the price we need to sell it at. (Which, for the record, is SO not unreasonable. Stupid house buyers.) Which means, as of next weekend, it will be removed from sale. Sob. Weep. Wail. Etc.

To help me through my trauma, Neil has come up with something of a consolation prize. (As well he should - if it was up to me that house would still be up for sale now. Patience is a wonderful thing ... and entirely out of Neil's remit.) Well, I say consolation prize - I'm not sure how consoling it will be to be spending a lot of my non existent money. But regardless, that's what we're going to be doing. Resigning ourselves (sigh) to remaining in our current (actually rather nice) house for the foreseeable future, and therefore spending a lot of money that we haven't got on making it beautiful. (Although mind you, if the rest of the spending continues along the line of the FREE sofas - well, perhaps I don't need to worry.)

Floors will come up, wallpaper will be stripped, Artex will be removed (praise be) and the ceiling roses from hell will die a horrible, horrible death. (I hasten to add that none of this will be done even slightly by me. So don't worry, it'll be safe to enter post improvements.) And then I'll have a lovely house which I can leap around in (carefully, with shoes off and all jewellery removed) and we'll all have a brilliant party. And forget about the fact we EVER TRIED TO SELL IT. Rage, rant, etc.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Jamie-isms

So then. Mr Jamie. I thought it was about time I gave him a post of his own. (In an attempt to distract myself from looming-hairy-black-tongue-appearance.)

He'll be two in a matter of weeks (6 October, for anyone who wishes to send me hard cash - or champagne, he loves champagne ...) and is as much of a loon as ever. Which, if I'm honest, is great: it's like having a very small stand up comedian in the house. Who can't really speak. And falls over a lot. Strangely similar to rather a lot of stand up out there, I'm thinking ... For those of you without a Mr Jamie of your own (you fortunate, well rested people), here are a few examples of recent Mr Jamie behaviour. No idea where he gets it from ...

1) He counts! In twos! My child is a genius! Ah, if only. When I say he counts in twos, that's what he literally does. He knows that after you say one, you say two. Ie, when putting on his shoes, I will say to him "one" as I put on the first shoe, he will then say "two" to the second shoe. And he understands the importance of inflections when counting: start the number on a low note and end on a high, as in "oNE, tWOO, thREE", etc etc etc. (You have no idea what I'm going on about, do you? Not to worry - rest assured, neither do I.) With his new found knowledge, Jamie spends a lot of time counting things. I'll find him sitting on the floor in the lounge, surrounded by sticks. (No expense spared when it comes to providing toys for my son.) He'll lay them all out next to each other, counting as he goes. "tWOO, tWOO, tWOO, tWOO, tWOO ..." and so on, into infinitum. Inflections: mastered to perfection. The number two: mastered to perfection. Numbers one, three, and onwards - well, I'll be honest. They might need a bit more work.

2) He has developed a simultaneous fascination and loathing of front bottoms (showing potential gay promise?). Which unfortunately manifests in him stalking me into the toilet, watching me with terrifying intensity as I pull down my pants, and then advancing towards me, finger pointed accusingly in front bottom direction, yelling "Yeeeuch, yeeeuch, yeeeuch." And then collapsing in giggles as I proceed to do something as controversial as have a wee. My only hope is that he doesn't do this with his nursery workers, otherwise I suspect an explusion can be only just around the corner. Or, god forbid, he progresses onto random strangers ...

3) Combining all of the above is his obsession with tampons. Once his disgust at a front bottom sighting has passed, he goes to the bottom shelf in the bathroom (yes, I know, I should move them. I have inherently lazy tendencies, okay?), pulls out the box of Tampax, and proceeds to count them ("tWOO, tWOO, tWOO") before holding them between his legs and then placing them in a pile in the floor. Well, it's good to know he's prepared for any eventuality, that's all I can say.

4) He may well be an OCD fetishist in the making. That's my boy. He is OBSESSED with cleanliness and tidiness. The moment we get downstairs in the morning he rushes to open the dishwasher and take out every clean (or even dirty) dish simultaneously (usually prioritising the ones most likely to smash upon impact with the slate floor), thrusts them haphazardly in my general direction and gestures for me to open the cupboard doors, yelling "there, there". (He'll make someone a wonderfully demanding husband one day.) He then speeds around the living room, picking up any empty vestibules he can find and hurls these towards me shouting "all gone, all gone". Finally, he'll search out any of his toys which may, perhaps, have slightly less than a pristine appearance, and bring them to me, holding them at arm's length, asking for me to give them a "wiiish, wiiish, wiiish." I believe he means 'wash'.

5) He makes bedtimes somewhat excessively traumatic for himself. We take him up to bed, bath him, cuddle him, put on some sleep inducing music and snuggle him into bed with his bottle and his dummy before leaving the room. After about 10 minutes or so, the sobbing starts. Going upstairs, you will find Jamie sitting up in his bed, looking wildly around crying "Duggy, duggy", a look of sadness and bemusement on his face. This, it transpires, is due to his missing duggy, aka dummy. Nine times out of ten, you can lift up the pillow to find the dummy sitting there, where it has been pushed underneath by Jamie as we have left the room. Occasionally, you don't even have to lift up the pillow: the dummy will be sitting on the sheet, about 5cm away from his right knee, Jamie apparently powerless to return it to his mouth. Upon sighting the dummy (with my/Neil's help) Jamie will let out a relieved cry of "oh DUGGY", cram it back into his mouth and seemingly lay down in his bed, ready for sleep. Until - ooh - about two and a half minutes later, when it appears that the dummy has yet again been mystically removed from his mouth and trapped underneath his heavyweight pillow ... (Yes, I know, nearly 2, dummies should have stopped by now, rod for own back, etc etc etc. Thank you. Now please shut up and leave me alone.)

You get the general picture then? He is an utter, utter lunatic. But then, really, what in the world was I expecting?

Monday, 7 September 2009

Black hairy tongues

So how we all today? Well? Good. I'm not. Glad you asked. I'm still Properly Ill. To the extent that I'm actually off work. Which - contrary to popular belief - is an event of such rarity, it's probably on a par with the number of times a year I go out and cut the lawn. Or juggle slugs. Or have an alcohol-free week. In fact, I've been in my current job for nearly four years, and in that time - hmm, maybe 3 days off, in total, 2 of which would have been down to having a Mr-Jamie-in-situ. What can I say? When you're the HR Manager for your organisation, and a large part of your job comprises of bollocking other people for taking too much time off work ... well, let's just say I don't want to get into any black pots and kettles scenarios.

Regardless, given I am struggling to move without vomiting on my own feet (the weight loss is clearly paying off - I would never have been able to do this a couple of months ago. That's vomit on my feet; not move. Huzzah for declining stomachs.), it seemed a sensible decision to stay at home today and spare my colleagues the sight of sick stained shoes. And hell, on the plus side, the antibiotics seem to be making at least some inroads into the razor blades trapped in my throat. I can now speak without sounding like a Dalek, and open my mouth without falling into a wild rage. Progress indeed.

Unfortunately, having continued to feel iller and iller since commencing the aforementioned drugs, it appears they may have some less than savoury side effects. For example, the 'vomiting on feet' tendencies. Apparently, a 'very common' side effect of penicillin. (At least providing you've lost enough weight to facilitate it.) Even more disturbing ... and I quote: "Other unwanted effects which are more likely to occur are: black hairy tongue."

WTF WTF WTF?????! Black hairy tongue??? Black hairy tongue, which is more likely to occur than - for example - vomiting, nausea etc??? What kind of crazy arsed phrase is that to throw into an instruction booklet? Surely that kind of affliction deserves a pamphlet all to itself? And surely, SURELY there must be a more attractive, sensitive way to describe a side effect than black hairy tongue.

So, with nausea etc in full swing I'm sat here in my pyjamas, mouth glued to a mirror, watching and waiting for any signs which might suggest that a black hairy tongue is imminent. Quite what that might be, I'm not sure. A grey furry tongue, perhaps?

And you know the most disturbing thing of all? Absolutely no indication WHATSOEVER is given of how long 'black hairy tongue' might last for. Is this a temporary thing, until I finish taking the antibiotics? Or is this how I'm destined to spend the rest of my life: a social leper from the moment I open my mouth, due to the fact I appear to have a baby gorilla nestling between my molars. For fuck's sake, I'm a singer, AND I never stop talking. It's not even like I have the option of keeping my mouth shut.

Given all this, should you wish to send me vibes, I ask therefore for anti-black-hairy-tongue ones. Sod the tonsilitis, I'll battle onwards. Just pray for the preservation of my lovely, pink, and exceedingly bald tongue. I shall be forever in your debt. Amen.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Woe is me, woe is me, woe is me

I really don't do poorliness very well. Probably why I don't get ill very often: Neil would end up making me live in the garden. Or hiding out there himself. I fall into a mire of self pity, wandering around the house aimlessly with my hand to my forehead moaning and groaning and speculating as to the imminence of my inevitable demise.

I have however just had the gratifying experience (come on, we've all been there) of phoning the emergency doctor, getting an IMMEDIATE appointment and BEING GIVEN DRUGS. Which is cast iron proof, should you ever have doubted it, that I am Properly Ill. As opposed to just malingering, which accounts for the other 99.9% of my illnesses.

So there you go. Properly Ill, and with penicillin to boot. Justification, surely, for collapsing in a heap in the sofa and eating icecream all day? Alas, no. Not only have I entirely lost my appetite (see, told you: Properly Ill - this never happens to me) I am now required to go and attend a rehearsal and spread my germs amongst the rest of the cast. Bring it on, I say. Bring on the face licking and rubbing of genitals (to spread the germs, as opposed to any other strange Havant rituals you might imagine I indulge in). Share in my tonsilitis pain, and feel the fear. Hallelujah.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Sympathy, please

I am ill. Properly ill. Taking tablets and everything. I am angered by this. I don't get ill very often, but for some reason when I do it always appears to coincide with a Papa Wol (aka my dad) visit. Hmmm, suspicious ...

I've got a virus: sore throat, sore stomach, sore head and sore limbs. Oh, and wanting to vomit. Note that unlike the rest of the UK population I'm not referring to this as flu. As yet, it isn't. If it progresses, and I can no longer move my body into a vertical position - well, then I might reconsider. For the meantime, I'm refusing to give in to the tabloid frenzies.

And yet despite that, I've cleaned my house, gone out for lunch, gone on a long walk, done a Sainsbury's shop and cooked Jamie's tea. Whilst feeling absolutely fucking shite. And that's despite the tablets. So come on people: sympathy, please. (Oh, and any spare drugs you might happen to have. That's all. Thanks very much.)

Red heads

I have dyed my hair. Red. (I assume that part is obvious, from the title. If not - well, you probably need to start reading this blog more thoroughly. Because, you know, there are so many hidden depths.)

And you know what? It looks quite good. (So don't you dare pass me and snigger in the street.) Over the past 10 years or so I've become something of an expert at the home dying business, albeit always, always semi-permanent. Like I could be trusted with permanent hair dye.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for my bathroom. Formally white, with wood trim. Now - well - red. In a kind of stippled effect, like one of those design monstrosities from Changing Rooms.

The thing is, the makers of home hair dyes are tricky buggers. They deliberately, deliberately I tell you, make hair dye in such a way so as when you open the bottle you go: well this doesn't look very dark at all. Nothing more than a mild baby pink. To hell with it, I can splash this around at my leisure. See. No marks on me, no marks on my sink. Perfect dying competence.

And then you leave it for 20 minutes. During which time I go off and attempt to do interesting things, like prise Jamie out from under the bed, and de fluff the mountains of dummies lurking there waiting to be sucked.

After 20 minutes, following the instructions, return to the bathroom. Shriek. Loudly. Once pristine (yeah yeah yeah - well it's MY version of pristine) white bathroom now auditioning for the Psycho set. Bright red splashes up and down the walls, a bright red sink, and - horror of horrors - bright red ME. Well, bright red my face, at least.

Leap into shower, wash myself into a frenzy, watch with some satisfaction as the haemmorhage of stained water disappears down the plug hole. Slowly, the shower at least returns to some semblence of normality. As does my hair. And, you know what. I even managed to clean out the sink. Student habits don't necessarily have to die - or even dye (see what I did there) - hard.

Three hours on: my hair looks great. Shiny, glossy and nicely red. Alas, the same can also be said for my neck, my left ear and the inside of my right nostril. Glowing like a red glowing thing. I can't decide whether this makes me look healthy, or just odd. I suspect the latter. Still, it'll be okay: I've checked the instructions. Only 28 washes to go ...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Late night phone calls

The below is a transcript of an actual, real life phone call, which Neil received at 11.25pm last night. We were in bed. We were asleep. His mobile rang. He missed the call, so dialled the number back. And this is what followed. To help you with your interpretation, the Mystery Caller (MC) was described by Neil as being female, Welsh, and slightly elderly. I will not attempt to type in a Welsh accent, as I think I'd lose all my blog readers pretty quickly. Neil is just Neil, quite tired and with his usual phone phobia in evidence. As for the other two characters who are mentioned, well, to maintain their anonymity we'll call them Elsie and Bob. Enjoy.

N: Hello?
MC: Hello?
N: Hello?
MC: Hello?
N: Um, who is this?
MC: Who is this?
N: No, well, you phoned me, and I missed the call, so I was just phoning back to see who it was?
MC: What number did you phone?
N: It's ... (tells her the number)
MC: But that's my number.
N: Yes, it is, because you phoned me.
MC: Did I?
N: Yes. So who is this?
MC: It's me.
N: It is you, isn't it. And you are?
MC: Can you keep a secret?
N: Um ... yes.
MC: I'm Elsie's mum.
N: Okay. Are you okay? It's just, it's quite late to be phoning.
MC: But you phoned me.
N: No, I just phoned you back, because I had a missed call and as it was quite late I thought I'd better phone the number and see if everything was okay.
MC: I'm fine. I've got Elsie's phone here.
N: Okay
MC: But you mustn't tell her.
N: No, don't worry, I won't. (For the record, Neil hardly knows Elsie - he only knows her through someone else.)
MC: The thing is, I was trying to get hold of Bob.
N: Right.
MC: So have you seen him?
N: Um, no. No I haven't. (Bob is a friend of Neil's, but certainly wasn't in our house at 11.25pm last night.)
MC: It's just, I was wondering whether he might have seen Elsie. She went to visit him and I've got her phone, so I can't ring her.
N: Well I can give you his number.
MC: Yes, but you mustn't tell Elsie I've phoned you, or that I've got her phone.
N: No, don't worry, I won't. I'll ring you back in a moment when I've got the number.
MC: But you don't know my number.
N: That's the number I'm ringing you on now.
MC: Oh yes ...

Neil hangs up and writes down Bob's number, then phones back the MC.

N: Hello?
MC: Who's this?
N: It's Neil, we spoke just now?
MC: It's very late to be phoning me.
N: But you asked me to phone you back with Bob's number.
MC: Oh yes. Have you got it.
N: Here you go (tells her the number)
MC: So you won't tell Elsie you've spoken to me.
N: No, I won't tell her.
MC: And you won't tell Bob.
N: No, I won't tell Bob either. Are you sure you're okay?
MC: I've got to go now. It's very late to be phoning you know ...

It's safe to say we laughed for quite a long time about that.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Histrionics

Mine, naturally. Well who else did you think I was going to be talking about?

Last night, Neil was late home from work. Not an unusual occurrence in itself. Particularly not when you've just started back at work after the holidays, in a new management role, with a building that you've only just moved into. I'd expected a certain degree of tardiness and prepared for that.

However. When it reached 6pm (bearing in mind the college day finishes at 4pm), my levels of rational behaviour began to dissipate. Trying his phone, I got no answer. It was switched off. Again, not an unusual occurrence in itself. Neil's all singing, all dancing, technological guru of a phone regularly runs out of battery leaving him angry and frustrated. But, when that's the case, and he's going to be working late, he rings me from his office to let me know. I'd had no such phone call.

I tried to remain calm. I made toast for Mr Jamie, I cheerfully watched C Beebies with him. I brushed off his curious talk of "Daddy? Daddy?" with "Mummy doesn't know where Daddy is, he might be dead, but it's okay, I still love you". He wasn't convinced.

By around 6.30pm, I was working myself into a frenzy. I texted Neil's work colleague, hoping for clues as to his whereabouts. His response: that he'd left at 4 and Neil was still there. Not very reassuring.

I bathed Mr Jamie. I pretended the bubbles he was throwing at me were the cause of my streaming tears. I sang tuneless nursery rhymes inanely and got him ready for bed. Passing him his bottle, I gave him a kiss goodnight. "Daddy? Daddy?" "No, Daddy's still not here ... *sob*."

Racing down the stairs, I decided further action was required. I texted Neil's family, asking them if they'd heard anything from him. No joy. They tried to calm me. I was a histrionic woman. I was not to be calmed. I turned on News 24, the local BBC website and the local radio, perusing the pages for any tragic accidents which had occurred. Closest to the mark was a man who'd died in a crane accident. Even through my irrationality, I decided it was unlikely Neil (the non driver) would have been killed driving a crane. Although maybe his incompetence was the reason he'd died. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Further texts and phone calls between Neil's parents, sister, colleague and myself followed. By this point I was incapable of speaking on the phone, and could only gasp incoherently. With every minute that passed, I became more convinced he was dead. Because he must have been dead. There was no rational reason whatsoever for him not to contact me, even if his phone had run out of battery. Something VERY BAD had happened.

7pm came and went and I was losing control by the second. Neil's parents demonstrated admirable patience whilst dealing with me, and refused to let me drive to Horsham to try and find him. And thank god. What exactly was I planning to do? Break in through a side window and rampage round the college? In my head, probably yes.

By 7.30pm I was a snivelling wreck, hair stood on end where I'd ploughed my hands through it, mascara streaming down my cheeks, face stretched from being pressed against the window looking for my husband. I'd phoned Neil's parents and told them I was going to start ringing round the hospitals. And I was. I meant it. Looking for survivors of crane disasters ...

At the very moment I picked up the phone to start dialling, something unexpected occurred. The doorbell rang. I staggered to answer it. The police? Social services? Psychiatrics?

NEIL! On the doorstep, alive and real and breathing and normal and BACK HOME. I was too traumatised to be angry. I collapsed, dramatically, onto him, my hands pressed against my face and sobbing like a Victorian heroine. (Did they sob? I have no idea. I'm sure they must have done.)

It transpired, Neil wasn't dead at all. He was on his way back from work. With an out of battery mobile phone. Work, where there was no electricity, phone lines, or computers, as a result of the building work. So he'd got on a train. Passing the phone box at the station. Which was also out of order. In total, he was an hour and a half late. No time at all, when you're married to a rational human being. A lifetime, when you have a histrionic one like me.

So there you go, that was my evening yesterday. I got histrionic, Neil got home late from work, I calmed down (after about four hours and half a bottle of wine), he apologised profusely, we informed family and friends that he was alive. Hooray. I feel almost like I've had a near death experience. It's a wonderful thing, hysteria.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Free sofas! And other stuff

Rock on. Yesterday afternoon Neil and I went shopping, accompanied by Mr Jamie. We went to a sofa shop. With - oddly - the intention of buying some sofas. (This is all to do with developments surrounding the house. Which I will fill you in on. At some point. Providing I have the strength.)

So, get this. Not only did we find a sofa we liked. Not only did we like it so much, we decided to get two (hedonists that we are). Not only did we then also get the matching footstool. We got them all ... COMPLETELY FREE. Oh yes, my friends. Free sofas. Which will be arriving in my living room shortly, for you all to visit and sit on. (Providing you actually know me, of course. Otherwise that's just going to be odd for us both.) Woo! Sofas! Free! If you're interested, they look like this ...



(For the record, Neil has been trying to explain to me that they aren't actually free. Some ramblings about something called Zero Percent Credit. Or something like that. Who knows. It's entirely irrelevant. We walked into the shop, we chose our sofas, they ordered them, we walked out of the shop. NO MONEY CHANGED HANDS. Free, I tell you. Totally free.)

On a separate note, I won a prize! Yay me. Well, to be more precise, this blog won a prize, as nominated by the lovely Josie at Sleep Is For The Weak. And here it is:



Apparently, as the recipient of this prize, I now have to tell you 10 things about me. I don't want to. So I'm going to tell you 10 random things instead. Which relate to me. Which, in a way, I guess, means they are 10 things about me. Anyway, here you go, 10 things which have happened to me in my twenty-seven-nearly-twenty-eight years of life.

1) I got freaked out by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Aged about 2. Apparently there was one particular track, when my dad used to play it I used to start rocking backwards and forwards, sobbing and laughing at the same time, telling him "Horsey likes to dance to this". Finding this entertaining, he played it frequently. And everyone would point and laugh at mad, sobbing, rocking Kathryn.

2) I lost a pebble. Again, aged about 2. On a beach. A pebble beach. I was extremely keen to get this pebble back. Not any other pebble, you understand. THAT pebble. Much shouting, wailing and gnashing of fists ensued.

3) I fell off a pavement. Aged 16. As a result of wearing entirely unsuitable shoes, and getting overexcited because I'd seen my friend across the road. I fell into the gutter, tore all the ligaments in my foot and was on crutches for two weeks. Which I secretly loved, crutches being an excellent 'attention grabbing device'.

4) I kissed an Old Perv. Aged 16. He was 48, and had a moustache. Much to the relief of all concerned, this was in a play. Still bloody odd though. But that's Pirton for you.

5) I failed my driving test. Aged 18. By approaching a junction, and electing to use my accelerator instead of my brake. We went exceedingly quickly across what was a fortunately almost empty junction. Yes, almost. The examiner went white. He was pretty old: he was lucky the shock didn't kill him.

6) I fell off a stage. Aged 20, at drama school. We were doing Cabaret; I had been heinously miscast as someone who could dance. Dancing my way through the kick line, I lost all control off my limbs and tottered off the front of the stage, head first. People laughed. A lot.

7) My breasts fell out. Another Cabaret incident. This was during the dress rehearsal, at which I put on my costume of basque and hot pants (apologies if you're eating) for the first time. Mid kick line, and dancing about 3 feet away from the MD (that's Musical Director, not Managing Director, for those of a non stage persuasion), they both popped out of the top of my basque. I debated attempting to stuff them back in, but was too scared of our dance teacher. I completed the kick line, breasts akimbo, giggling like a loon. I suspect the MD is yet to recover.

8) I went to the Coop in my dressing gown. Aged 21. With Jaaams. Also wearing a dressing gown. We made a strange man take photos of us with our Polaroid camera. This probaby needs no further explanation.

9) I uttered my first words to my about-to-be husband, Neil. Aged 24, upon reaching him at the end of the aisle. "Look at my shoes, look at my shoes, pink shoes, they're amazing, pink shooooooes. Oh yes, and I love you."

10) I gave birth to a baby. Mr Jamie. Aged 25. And inexplicably forgot that babies need to have their nappies changed. Resulting in Mr Jamie remaining in the same nappy for almost 24 HOURS before I remembered. Still, it explained why he was so angry.

So there you go. 10 things which have happened to me. I hope you feel enlightened. Or just scared. Now I need to pass on the honour, and thereby nominate all of the blogs in my list on the right hand side to also receive this hallowed award. Go on, scroll over and click on them. They're great. Although, I'll be honest, a couple of the nominees might not be the most prolific of bloggers ...! And, if you're reading this and are angered that your blog isn't on there, then email me and I will add it. I'm nice like that.

Right, that's enough rambling now. I'm off to try and get hold of some more free furniture ...

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