Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Wish you were here?
February 11, 2010

Yesterday I received an e-mail from some very close friends who have just gone to South Africa for 3 weeks. They are having a wonderful time and it was so nice to hear from them. However, as it happened to arrive on a day where I felt as if  I had been to hell and back, I couldn’t resist sending them the following response..tounge in cheek of course. Their email first:

Here’s a note from a very warm and fantastic Cape Town.  We arrived Monday morning – pretty weary from the flight and straight to our B&B at Hout Bay.V. nice a great place for seafood and beach walks.  We didn’t expose our bodies to the masses as that would be totally unfair on them.  Tuesday we went shopping – yippee says Sue.  Woolworths (an M&S equivalent) is great. We went to the Cape Town Waterfront – V&A dockside.  Loads of people – very smart, so we blended in nicely in our newly acquired attire.  Shame they couldn’t see Marcus’ new pants, but they would have been impressed. Wednesday, we went wine tasting in the Constantia region – not very far away.  Three wine tastings and a long lazy lunch on the lawn just seemed to take all day.  

So our plan today is to linger in the same area a little longer – do Cape Point and Table mountain, or whatever takes our fancy along the way.  Then head off East.

We are thinking of you.  Hope the weather back home is ok.
With love from the both of us on the road trip…

Marcus and Sue   xxxxxxxxxxx  

And my response:

Here’s a note from a very f**king freezing , snowy C******. Yesterday, got up at the crack of sparrows and drove on icy roads to Castelnau Montmiral to teach one-one business English for the day. On the way a dog  with a death wish tried to commit suicide under the wheels, so was left a little shaken before I even entered classroom. Taught comparitives/superlatives and how to interpret graphs from 9-5.30….brain was going into meltdown by the end. Drove back in snow to collect child from friend’s. Got in at 6.30pm and started child’s homework – 4 pages as he has exams on Friday! Child ended up on floor having temper tantrum as he didn’t want to do it. Mother felt like getting right on down there with him! After 1 page sent child upstairs to calm down. While child is up there (as I later discovered, hiding my things and chucking my clothes around) I took the opportunity to start dinner and write a detailed, coherent report to 7 teachers (due in by 9pm latest) on the day’s lessons and how the students dealt with them – not easy while child is sobbing away loudly. After 10 mins, manage to coax child down. Give up on forcing him to do rest of homework and turn a blind eye to the fact that he has just started to play his Nintendo DSI.  Manage to get the report off by 8.30pm, which also happens to be small child’s bedtime. Sit down to dinner with grumpy/hungry/tired child. Child refuses to eat as ‘chicken’ is no longer his favourite. Mother on the verge of tears. As it is child’s bedtime, mother decides it is probably best if child actually does go to bed. Temper tantrum number 2 ensues. Child tries to escape from bedroom and has to be restrained; in a loving, firm hug kind of a way – bloody child-parenting books! Child then asks to see Papa. As Papa lives 15 mins away, mother offers to call him instead. No deal. Only Papa in person will do. Screaming escalates. After some gentle reasoning, give up, strip child to underwear and carry to bed – pyjamas and brushing of teeth are out of the question! Leave child crying (he is so tired he drops off within 5mins) and go downstairs to find there isn’t a drop of booze in the house. Feel like crying myself. Go to bed several hours later, to find jewelry box under the bed, and various other personal items hidden in strange places. 

Wish you were here?…….didn’t think so!

Wish I was with you guys? Y>E>S. Have a big Gin for me ;@)

Catch up
January 15, 2010

It’s official, I’m a ‘stop n’ start’ blogger. Life just seems to take over and there is never any time. I have no idea how you lot (aka my blog list…except for Housewife in the Highlands, who seems to have screeched to a halt at about the same time as me in May last year) manage to keep it up? Your lives seem as hectic, if not more so than mine but there you are, tap, tap, tapping away. So now that I have admitted that you’re great and I’m crap, here’s your bi-annual update, starting with today:

This morning: the ‘gastro’ (stomach flu) is ripping through this town like a dose of salts (pun intended). Everyone seems to have had it except for me and my son. Feeling a bit smug, I remarked to a friend yesterday that it seems to have passed us by. I should know by now to NEVER EVER tempt fate like that. Consequently, I woke up this morning feeling a bit queasy. As I haven’t had sex in ages, I’m definitely not pregnant. BOLLOX – that’s to having the ‘gastro’ and not to not being pregnant….Anyway, decided not to apply mascara this morning just in case I am required to say hello to last night’s roast pork dinner (with carrots I might add) at some point during the day. Vomiting and mascara (and carrots) just don’t go – makes my eyes smart just thinking about it. Every cloud has a silver lining though and this one’s weight loss. Come to think of it, god probably created the ‘gastro’ to help people lose those extra pounds after Christmas. That’s why it only ever seems to appear in January, a bit like those Weight Watchers ads.

Yesterday: I received a letter saying that I have won a prize in the local ‘Vitrine de Noel’ (Christmas Window) competition. I never win anything. I was so excited that I phoned all my friends to let them know. They no doubt think I am really sad now. Hey ho. The prizes are great. A holiday for two somewhere hot (must find a partner), dinner for two in a local restaurant (must find a partner), crates of wine (should be able to manage that one my own). Will find out what I’ve won next Wednesday when all the prizes will be handed out at the town hall. Will keep you posted. In light of my blogging track record, that’ll be some time in June.

Tuesday: In light of my current single status and the fact that I live in the country, surrounded by old men, alcoholics and pigs, I have swallowed my pride and joined an internet dating site. So far I have been on dates with one old man (his recent profile picture must have been taken circa 1980), an alcoholic (he had more than his fair share of wine over dinner, but maybe that was down to nerves?) and 3 little pigs – no change there then! Piglet No 1, after I refused to bed him on our first encounter, called me up the next day to tell me how handsome he was and…..wait for it….how, at the grand old age of 36, and with a kid in tow, I should be lucky if anyone wanted to bed me at all! Suffice to say, I didn’t give him a second date. Bacon boy No 2 only ever called me after 9pm on a Tuesday night when he knew I didn’t have my son – obviously in search of some free sex, rather than a relationship then! At least Piglet No1 had the courtesy to take me out for dinner before he tried. And the 3rd little Piggy is indeed a pig (a policeman), or le ‘Flic’ as he referred to himself, with a glint in his eye, over coffee on Tuesday. However, he was also very keen to let me know that he was a ‘nice’ policeman. And so far, it would seem that he is. We plan to meet again next week, however, I do have one reservation: my friends. They are not the most law-abiding of citizens. So, if I do decide to take things further with Mr Flic I can kiss goodbye to any future dinner party invites. Think I need some time to mull this one over!

To be cont…….

Me
April 30, 2009

I came across this delightful meme on Belgian Waffle earlier today. As Mdme Jaywalker has opened it up to all, I thought it would be fun to give it a go.


1. Are you a male or female: Red shoes, red nail varnish…yes, I’m a bloke.


2. Describe yourself: Snow White with roots – plan to get them done just before my sister’s wedding in 2 weeks time.


3. How do you feel about yourself: Could try harder. It was even on my report card at school.

4. Describe your parents: My poor, long suffering parents. Absolute stars, the pair of them! I have given them so much grief over the years, that they have well and truly earned the right to come and live with me in their old age – come to think of it, that would probably be their worst nightmare.

 

P.s If either of you ever happen to stumble across this blog: Sorry, I love you and I promise I won’t put plastic on the chairs.


5. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriends: Disappointing, including the actor Gerard Butler (yes, I had him before you Mlle Aniston). He left me to ‘make it big in Hollywood’ and he did. Sob.

6. Describe your current boy/girl situation: 6ft ex-marine with extra large extremities – why else do you think I took him back after he totalled my car?

7. Describe your current location: Rented flat, with grubby 1970’s lino, make do furniture and a gorgeous, sunny terrace. I also have a ghost that presents itself in the form of a dark shadow. Shiver.

8. Describe where you want to be: I was going to say on a beach in Mexico (Playa del Carmen is one of my favourite places ever), but in light of recent events, (oink, oink, has someone turned the heating up?) maybe not. Alternatives would include: in a hot bath with a glass of champagne, or in bed with Mr XL Xtremities (think I have found a new name for him. He will be pleased).

9. Your best friend(s) is/are: Fantastic, wild, funny and rude.

10. Your favourite colour is: Mint/pistachio Green. I bought my first car, a Nissan Figaro, because it was green. I was in tears when I sold it (I didn’t want to, but I needed the money to settle my debts before moving to France), especially as the new buyer came to pick it up on my 29th birthday. My ex made me this card to make me feel better. Suffice to say, it didn’t.

 

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11. You know that: If someone says, ‘it will only take a minute,’ it’s a lie. I wouldn’t say I was slow, but it has only taken me 35 yrs to work that one out.

12. If your life was a television show what would it be called: I would go for ‘6 feet under,’ but it’s already taken.


13. What is life to you:

 

20 days per month – Something to get through.

5 days per month – Hell

The remaining 5/6 – OK, sometimes verging on pretty good.

 


14. What is the best advice you have to give: Do the washing up before you go to bed and make your bed in the morning. It makes you feel as if you are in control.


If anyone else fancies having a go, link back to me, so that I can come and check it out.

 

Curiosity (could have) killed the cat
April 22, 2009

For those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know that I have had more than my fair share of ‘close encounters’ with shady Frenchmen. However, here is one with a less than happy ending – I was lucky, but another girl less so.

 

It took place six months after I had moved to France. My ex was digging up the floor to install the electrics, so we had temporarily relocated to a B&B just up the road. As my ex spent every day at the house, and there was little I could do to help with a toddler in tow, I took myself off for long walks in the surrounding countryside instead. Sonny was only one at the time, so enjoyed being pushed around, looking at cows, donkeys, horses and flowers. We would often collect stones or sticks on the way and turn them into little works of art on our return.

 

My favourite walk was through a small hamlet, in which only two of the four houses were inhabited. In one of the houses lived two brothers, both in their 60s; one of which slept in the main house, the other – for reasons unbeknown to me – slept on a bed of hay in the cellar. Although I never met the older brother, I would often speak (though it was more like him rattling away and me saying the odd word in both English and French) with the one who slept in the cellar, even though he had a rather disconcerting habit of talking only to my chest – and to my mother’s when he met her in the supermarket several years later. Most days he would delight in giving me fresh figs from his garden and showing me his cattle, but one day he surprised me. His gaze left my chest and he looked me straight in the eyes. Pointing to the far end of the hamlet he told me to be careful. As my French was still quite basic at the time, all I understood was, “Attention!” I assumed he was telling me to be careful of the busy, main road at the top of the lane. In hindsight, I think he was trying to warn me about his neighbour.

 

On first impressions, his neighbour seemed very nice. He was in his late 40s and was clearly in the middle of renovating his house. The first couple of times I walked by, we exchanged nothing more than a polite ‘Bonjour’. After several trips he initiated a conversation. He asked me where I came from and spoke a little about the difficulties of renovating a property on his own. When I mentioned that my partner and I were in the middle of doing the same, he asked if I would like to have a look at some of the work he was doing in his kitchen. Having a genuine interest, I said yes. As I peered through his patio doors I could see that he was a skilled artisan. He was halfway through laying a traditional, terracotta, tile floor and had just started to build his own ‘French country style’ kitchen. When I said that it looked lovely, he asked if I would like to go in and have a look at some of the rooms that were finished. As Sonny was still asleep in the pushchair, and I didn’t want to leave him on his own, I declined (knowing what I know now, it still makes me shiver to think what might have happened if I hadn’t). I continued to walk past the house for at least another week before I moved back home. I would always stop to chat but, thankfully, never took him up on the offer of a quick tour round the house or a ‘Pastis.’

 

Several months later I heard through a neighbour that he had been carted off to prison. When I heard why, I went white. Apparently, he had attacked and raped a young girl. Her car had broken down at the top of the lane late one night and seeing the headlights he had gone up to help. After assaulting her and leaving her for dead, he ran back to his house and shot himself through the mouth with a rifle. I have no idea whether the girl survived or not, but I think she managed to make a call to the police from her mobile. When they arrived at the scene they knew exactly who her attacker was: the man in the neighbouring hamlet, who had been arrested for a similar crime several years earlier. When they paid him a visit he was still alive. His suicide attempt had been unsuccessful and he was lying paralysed in a pool of blood on the floor.

 

Shocked, I asked my neighbour to fill me in on his history. Apparently, he had been diagnosed as having a mental disorder, and after serving time for his last crime, had been released back into the community on the condition that he continued to take his medication and checked in with a psychiatrist once a month. Now this is where it gets scary. Apparently he had stopped taking his medication several months before he attacked the girl (about the time when I was walking by), and that even though he had missed a string of appointments with his psychiatrist….wait for it…no one had bothered to follow it up.

 

Erm…….why? It leaves me cold to think that a man like this was alllowed to slip through the net. I wonder how the psychiatrist felt when they heard the news? In my opinion, not only did they fail their patient, but they put the lives of innocent people at risk. That poor girl. I have no idea what became of her, but everyday I thank my lucky stars it wasn’t me.

Food for thought
April 1, 2009

Son (to shiny new boyfriend): I want a brother.

Shiny new boyfriend (to son): Oh that’s nice.

Me (trying to change subject): So what do you two fancy for supper?

Son (pointing at more than ample bulge in shiny new boyfriend’s trousers): If put your zizi in my Mama’s kiki (now pointing at my essential equipment) you could make me a brother.

Shiny new boyfriend (bulge in trousers no longer visible): eeeeerm…..

Me (squirming): Toad in the hole anyone?…..nope. Didn’t think so.

That was over two years ago. Now the not-so-shiny-new boyfriend is up for the job. Mmmmmmm. It would seem I have some thinking to do.

Cake
November 25, 2008

As I write this, the oven is whirring away and the smell of Nigella’s Chocolate Cloud Cake is wafting through the air. Ooooh, it is diviiiiiiiiine…retribution for having a dirty oven. Sadly, the cake is long gone. It was made (and eaten) on Sunday and all that remains is what I am smelling now, some soon-to-be-burnt, chocolaty blobs at the bottom of my oven. If only I had removed them before putting the butternut squash in for lunch. It’s so unfair!

 

While I am on the subject of cake, I might as well show you one I made for my friends the other week. Three birthdays, one party and an empty purse meant I had to get a bit creative in the kitchen. This was the result:

 

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My friends brought to life in sugar paste. They all loved it, except for R (the heavy smoker), who I had depicted with a cigarette in his mouth. How was I supposed to know that he had stopped smoking a few days before and didn’t want to be reminded of his previous addiction?

 

“Nevermind,” said M, coming to the rescue. “I still like the odd puff now and again. Do you mind if I have it?”

 

And with that she lifted the offending white stick from the cake, popped it in her mouth, chewed on it for a bit then said,  “I can see why people give up. That was disgusting.”

 

Friends!

 

Wheelie useful
November 18, 2008

Brace yourselves. After several months without transport I have a new…wheelbarrow.

 

 

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Yes, that is my shopping inside. I love it. It is easy to park, builds muscles, costs nothing to run and is environmentally friendly. Ask your partner for one for Christmas. It is never too late to start saving the planet.

 

Ps. Kids love to ride in it too! Think of how many calories you could burn doing the school run (literally, if you are running late).

 

Reeling – Part 2
November 13, 2008

I have come to a decision. I am not going to confront my ex about K and her 6 yr old daughter (I forgot to mention that she has a daughter in my last post) moving in, I am going to wait for him to tell me. I have my reasons for this:

 

  1. If I initiate the conversation and an argument ensues, Sonny will feel to blame. As he is only 6, he is far too young to be having guilt trips over things he has said, or situations he has caused.
  2. My ex may tell Sonny off for telling me what goes on between him and K, and I wouldn’t want him to feel that he had to start keeping secrets, or to censor everything he said.
  3. If Sonny is happy with the situation (which I think he is) and my ownership rights remain unchanged (call to lawyer required), is it really such a big deal?

 

I suppose I am just annoyed that neither K nor my ex has had the decency to come and speak to me about it first – especially before they sat down and discussed it with the kids. To be honest, K probably doesn’t even know that I still own the house. My ex has always been very economical with the truth, and as we were never married, he could quite easily have said that the house belongs to him.

 

There are times when I wonder if K even knows why I left. If she did, she might not be so keen to move in. As my mum said, “give her six months, and she’ll be out of there like a shot.” That remains to be seen, but in the meantime I am going to take some legal advice and play this one very carefully indeed.

 

Reeling
November 12, 2008

A conversation over dinner with Sonny:

 

Sonny: “K is moving in with Papa.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Sonny: “She is not going to live in her house anymore.”

Me: “Do you know when she is moving in?”

Sonny: “In December…I think.”

 

I knew this day would come, but I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel about it when it did. I suppose I have just been burying my head in the sand, hoping it never would. Now that it has, I am less than happy. It is not that I am still in love with my ex, it’s just that I don’t like the thought of another woman enjoying the comforts of my old home (which I still own 50/50 with my ex), while I am forced to rent a small flat 10 kms down the road. Is that petty of me?

 

Most of you will be wondering how I have managed to get myself into this situation? Why haven’t I taken my ex to court and forced him to sell, to give me my half? I could, I suppose, but I am just not ready yet. I know that as soon as I take this route my relationship with my ex will turn sour (very sour) and Sonny will suffer as a result.

 

I think I have made the right decision, but it still doesn’t make it easy.

 

 

Six things you may or may not want to know about me
November 5, 2008

I have been tagged by Hadriana’s Treasures to write 6 random things about myself. So here goes:

 

I used to work in a company where every employee was left-handed like me. They didn’t have a policy of employing lefties, it just seemed to happen that way.

 

I once got a PR job based purely on my handwriting. Several weeks later I was told by one of the firm’s partners (who was known for her forked tongue) that I was ‘a nobody’ because I hadn’t been to public school and didn’t talk with a ‘plummy’ accent. Seething, I plucked a copy of Debrett’s ‘People of Today’ off her bookshelf, flicked through the pages and pointed to my name within. “Oh, I had no idea,” she stuttered, her face getting redder by the minute. “Well, now you do,” I responded, as I stormed out of the room. I went straight to the other partner, told him what had happened and handed in my notice. He was shocked and begged me to stay, tears and all.  I refused and haven’t worked in PR since.

 

When I lived in my last house, there was an owl that would come and visit me in the middle of the night. It would sit on the window ledge and watch over me while I slept. I have been told that this is a bad omen. As the visits took place when I was going through hell with my ex, maybe there is some truth in this?

 

I have grade 6 in both piano and clarinet. My piano is still in my old house. I intend to reclaim it when I find somewhere more permanent to live. When I do, I am going to teach Sonny how to play.

 

I wash my face with olive oil, but cook with coconut oil (how random is that?)

 

I would like to have more children, but am not in the financial position to do so at the moment. I am hoping that I don’t run out of time.

 

Now that you know more about me, I have to spin the bottle and choose 6 fellow bloggers to do the same. And the lucky few are: 

 

France and the Unknown

Emmygration

East Anglian Troy

A Confused Take That Fan, 30

Highland Housewife

Mom or Mum Wars