Thursday, 20 December 2007

Feeling Festive - another true stroy

It's a fabulous crisp and sunny morning here in Monmouthshire.
The robin has been flying around my utility room and Radio 2 has sounded very festive. I've packed my last Christmas order.
I'm happy but exhausted, and feeling more in the Christmas spirit, even though I've forgotten to send Christmas Cards to my lovely relatives and friends in exotic places.
That means no invites to the sun next year - bugger!
In my state of exhaustion, I'm a bit more dippy than usual. The Milkman drove down the lane as I was walking daughter no2 up to meet the school bus. "Are you going to be long?" he said as he drove past.
"No, put the kettle on"

On walking back into my kitchen, Darling Husband and the Milkman were chatting.
Me: "I bet you didn't recognise me with my clothes on this morning?"
Milkman: lots of spluttering
Darling Husband: huge laughter

I realised immediately, as of course even the most stupid person would (which I suppose I am this morning), what I had said and how it sounded.

I must explain, on Tuesday morning I got up early, it was still dark, and I decided to go outside and bring some logs in for the fire and then go and feed my gorgeous pregnant pigs (only two weeks until piglets!!). I didn't want to disturb anyone in the house by putting lights on to find clothes, so in the bathroom, I found Darling husbands jeans and thick jumpers. I pulled those on and went outside. The milkman arrived early. He stopped and said loudly "what the hell do you look like?".

So that's why I asked if he recognised me in my clothes...whew! Thank goodness my mother-in-law wasn't in the house.

And one more true story, if I've already told it, then, I guess I'm repeating myself!

We really felt the Christmas spirit last year, after all, isn't that really what it's all about? We saw a neighbour, wandering around in the Supermarket on Christmas Eve, with a box of cereals in a basket and looking pale and terrified. He was late picking up the turkey they had pre-ordered and the shop had sold it. He was concerned for Christmas Day, his three young children, his marriage and life as he knew it if he went home without something for their Christmas lunch. The shops were closing in 10 minutes. We told him to go to our house and get our turkey from the fridge, and we ate with my Mother-in-Law instead. We felt like Heroes, it was a nice feeling.

And with that I'm retiring for the Christmas holiday. Hoping to consume smooth red wine, lots of fizz and relax.
Merry Christmas, enjoy your few days without getting too stressed.
Frog in the frozen fields!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Festive Hamster

The first realisation that Christmas was just around the corner was the arrival of the school hamster. "Piper" is staying with us for the holidays. This didn't bother the goldfish at all and I don't think the piglets noticed his arrival, but the cats certainly got excited about it.....especially when he escaped from the plastic ball that he likes to roll around the kitchen floor in. Well, I'm all smartly dressed and ready to go to my daughters' school play when the plastic ball came open. I watched with horror, as 'Piper' headed towards the gap under the door into the utility room. As his head reached the door, a black paw stretched out and scooped him up...agh!! 'She'll never be head girl now!' ran through my mind as I threw the door open and chased the cat. The cat was hiding under a cupboard and I threw myself on the floor to grab it. Once I managed to get hold of the furious feline, I had to hold her between my knees so I could use both hands to prise open her jaws. After much growling and gnashing of teeth (on both our parts), I rescued the hamster...he's perfectly fine now, though we were both quite shaky at the time. Once I had put him safely back in his cage I looked down at my clothes with further horror...the utility room was being re plastered and I had just led on the floor in all the dust and mess...... I did get to the school play just in time and in clean clothes, but only just. Next year the hamster is going somewhere else for Christmas, he'd only been here 23 hours when he escaped…

Sunday, 9 December 2007

The final curtain

I've 'done' my last Christmas Fair, I'm shattered.
All that brushing my hair (well, actually I don't have to do that anymore, a quick blow-dry and it's perfection!) ironing clothes, wearing matching socks and smiling at people! Working from home is so much easier, I don't have to be anyone, it's my service and product that's important.
But, at a Christmas Fair, you have to don the smile, not swear at children who break things, and horror of horrors....I'm expected to eat all those bloody awful Mince Pies from Tesco and sip glasses of the most disgusting cheap red wine, thinly disguised as 'Mulled wine' and appear awfully grateful for such top tucker! What is it with these people? They obviously know nothing about wine, why would you want to spoil a perfectly good one with spices and heat it up? I don't get it at all. I met a teacher on maternity leave who makes beautiful handmade Christmas Cards. She teaches at the local Haberdashers Pre-Prep. Poor thing, she nearly died of shock when she saw another Primary school and the type or parents walking through those doors! I thought it would be nice, there's a lot of nice new housing in the area and the school is brand new and beautiful, but..Phew! was scary. The three quarter length 'jogging' (by the average size I would say this is the term for the style and not purpose) trouser and trainer ensemble was very prevalent, put that together with the slicked back hair style and overly aggressive expression and you'll get a pretty good picture of what it was like.
The gentleman making the tea wore a black vest with gaudy rolled gold chain and had a number of overly decorative tattoos all over his arms and uncovered shoulders. His hair was nicely arranged in a ponytail and he was slightly overweight and ill-washed looking. I was too scared to ask for a cup of tea.
But I have to say everyone was quite polite, oh, apart from the boy who came over, mouth crammed with a lollipop..he slurped the confectionery from his chops and declared he'd just been sick..... I grabbed my things and left.
It's back to the anonymity of my keyboard and telephone, where I can smirk at customers with strange names and not worry that I'll get caught!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Catching Up

I've been very busy with everything, Thanks for the nudge Elsie Button, it's nice to be missed!
What's been going on over there I hear you ask, well, it has nothing to do with the milkman for a start. He's not fresh, but he's just kind of decided we're ok and that he'll have coffee with us every other morning. 'Adam' is in his late 20's and a gadget man. I think we're great entertainment value, and we've become firm friends.

I have visited my lovely grandmother, try to do this every Monday but often fail. She is brilliant, not deaf, no failing eyesight, a great sense of humour, but a little wobbly and so she's confined to the downstairs of her home. This grandmother is not one of any wealth at all, in fact she's the complete opposite to my Paternal Grandmother. She lives in a small Council House, I love going to see her. Often one of my aunts or uncles will be there, I think there are around 15 of us with a doorkey! Last week my Uncle Tony told me a very funny story about his friend, apparently it's absolutely true.

His friend has a very large dog, and sleeps in a nightgown (the man, not the dog). His wife woke him up and said she could hear someone outside trying to get in.
He crept downstairs in his nightshirt and tip toe'd up to to the glass front door.
He bent forwards to listen intently for a burglar...
The dog rushed up behind him and stuck his cold wet nose right up his night shirt (and into crevices hithertoe unexplored by a canine) making my Uncle's friend jump through the glass door in shock. He had lots of stitches and the dog is recovering well.
I've been to 10 School Christmas Fairs in the last three weeks.
I haven't been lying on the sofa watching ER re-runs, but standing there watching lots of children rummaging my products round and round the table, while their parents say, "Oh, isn't that sweet? Algernon of course knows that Father Christmas doesn't exist, here Algy, have another £20 to just keep quiet, and don't worry if you knock anything at all on the floor!" Algy is, of course a possessed child that wants to hope there's no hell either. He talks in a moronic monotone voice using only the most minimal amount of words possible...'want that..MUM!!'
Most of the children have been absolutely delightful, beautifully mannered and condifent, confident even.

Business has been brisk, thanks to Amazon requiring my presence on their site. I have been very diligent and careful with all the orders and have achieved 100% customer satisfaction rate, with comments like : The image of product was accurate, was of good quality and it arrived really quickly. Would definately use frog in the Field again....until yesterday..ugh!
Someone complained, the postage costs were too high for the product...duh! don't they read these charges before they order? And, is £1.50 really a rip off?
Someone else complained, the car are too small for their price (10cm length at£1.00 each!!).
It makes me so mad, but how does one respond to these comments? I can't really, and I'll just have to re-read the fab comments.

I hope to chat again soon, sorry I haven't visited anyone, I'm thinking of you all and looking forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Taking Stock

I don't quite know what's going on this morning.
Fruitcake (the dog) is having an identity crisis, leaping on to the bonnet of the Volvo (great!) and sitting like a cat. Never has she done this before, but I suspect it will be the norm from now on through the winter, it probably is a nice warm place to sit after the school runs are over.
I have been very busy with orders this week and have taken to leaving the warehouse door open. Fruitcake (said dog) seem to have decided it's time she gave me a paw and brought a few of my most expensive plush toys out for me. Very sweet of her, but now they are covered in mug and dog paw prints. Darling husband brought it to my attention asking "is the dog meant to be packing an order for you?".

Adam, the milkman arrived. He tends to yell hello!, march in and put the kettle on.
Sometimes muttering " nearly out of coffee, I see" , often he comments on the mess in my kitchen. This morning he sat down for a few minutes to give us the benefit of his wisdom on life, the universe and the weather. I am fanatical about product testing and the milkman has been used to test animal radios for me, today he started inspecting my racing car kits. "ooh, can I have one of these? Ah, better not, I'll be in trouble with the wife,.... I'll build a little bit of it each time I come in, can I have my own area to build it?"
Why is it like this here? It's madness.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Haircut 100

I imagine I've had over a hundred haircuts by now, but like so many people, it's an emotional thing, I was only just peeking at Ingenious Rose and seeing how she felt about it all.
A week ago I flipped, I couldn't stand it anymore! Everytime I tried to do any work my hair flopped around my face and I hated it. Ponytails just irritated me in the car because I couldn't loll in the drivers seat and piggy tails get funny comments from the general public. So, I went to visit a very nice lady and asked her to chop the bloody lot off!
Julie was rather nervous and so was I, child No. 3 declared (as only a 4 year old can) that my haircut was stupid. Child No. 1 said I was to stay in the house for a long time for fear of spoiling her social life. Darling Husband likes it very much. And I love it, for the first time, I like my haircut, and no-one has called me Sir yet, even though it's quite short.
I think my fear of haircuts comes from my Mother, oh Shirl trained to be a hairdresser, oy yes, hmmm.
We would choose a nice photo in a magazine and she'd say, I'll do that for you, we don't want to waste money at the hairdressers do we? No Mum, we'd love you to do it, we'd say.....
It was a terrible time, a bowl on our heads to chop round would have looked nicer. Even when we went to the hairdressers, it was always the cheapest cut and I would come out crying because it was so awful.
But this time, Ha! I look very presentable, smart, no grey hairs and I look very, very different. Friends are shocked at how different I look...younger even!!

My Mother, 'Shirl' visited for half an hour last weekend (well it is a five hour drive each way, one mustn't expect too much), and guess what her reaction to my new look was? Not a comment, not a whisper, no mutterings about being a skinhead even from her (Whotcha!) boyfriend..they didn't even notice. Typical.

When she left, a very poignant comment was made.
My cousins' son said very loudly, "I know this may sound like a stupid question, but who were those people?" I sometimes wonder myself.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Christmas is sorted

Today we found out about a fantastic new(ish) website.
Now if, like me, your Mother, or other relations are really rubbish at presents because they've forgotten how many children you have, and have failed to factor into account that they actually grow in size and development, this is idiot proof!

It's a website to build your Present Wishlist and then email to those retailphobic relatives. Not only that, but the recipients can then click on each item listed, be taken DIRECTLY to the website and item detailed, and then just click add to basket, credit card number and wayhey! the Christmas Shopping is over!

I have set my eldest to the the task of list building already, and she thinks it's fantastic...high praise indeed.
It's fab, I've started one for me and one each for the children. I shall email one to my husband, print it off and then stick it on his John Deere or Pedigree Bull.

No longer will I have to suffer at Christmas!
Never again will I receive a Terrys Chocolate Orange that's four years (FOUR YEARS!!) out of date from my Mother.
No more chocolates that are all melted and stuck to the celophane, from the Tobacco Warehouse in Belgium.
There will be no small pot of Honey for me this year.
Oh the website, almost forgot in my excitment that this year I will get something that's not from Macro or Poundstretcher, here it is: I urge all children able to control mice to register, just think, no moaning on Christmas morning, no screaming "I didn't want the pink one!"..ahh bliss!

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Half Term is Over at last..

It's actually almost over, just one day left to go and I've come to the end of the three weeks of half term, and getting serioiusly closer to insanity than I like to get without copious amounts of alcohol. Living so close to the border of England and Wales means that different schools have different holidays.
Child No.1 had two weeks off and went back last Tuesday, while Child No.2 had all of last week off for half term. Child No.3 had last week off at the Welsh Playgroup and the week before off at the English Playgroup.
We've had Christmas Shopping, Cinema trips, Halloween Parties and Disco's, oh, and various sleepovers here and elsewhere.
Last Saturday I had my three nieces here to make Christmas decorations and my house is still covered in glitter even though I've hoovered a number of times. It's all very well making vacuums that pick up dust and stones, what about glitter?
Tomorrow I have cousins and children arriving to go for an Autumnal walk in Herefordshire searching for chestnuts, will it never end?
I want one whole day without having a Celtic House built and demolished in the garden.
I want a whole day without shuttlecocks getting stuck on the roof.
Just one day without the entire contents of the Airing Cupboard being dragged downstairs to be made into a den.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

What's in a name?

Darling Husband:
"I see 'the Geezer' has put huge rocks outside his gates to stop people driving on his verges, I might get the digger and move them to irritate him"

'Geezer' = our newest neighbour (a mile away, but that's fairly close around here), who hails from Kent. Sounds like 'ALWIGHT?' and 'WOTCHA MATE!'

'Dutchy' = Mr Holland, lives next door to the Geezer. (Once wore shorts every day for 12 months (short, shorts that is) for a bet. How much was the bet?

Darling Husband:
"There's a duck-filled-fatty-puss outside"
Duck-filled-fatty-puss = "Boots" the cat, having swallowed a whole duck that was a little too gamey for our liking. Sunday lunch was a vegetarian affair today.

Darling Husband:
"That's a 'Garlic' driving that tractor, either that or Prince Charles has a 'Case'

'Garlic' = Mr Garlic the farmer.

'Tosser' = tractor drivers (beginning with 'G') that won't pull over for cars to overtake. (Also managing director of Think Courier)

Darling Husband is so awfully eloquent today.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Father of the Bride

Whew! What a week!
Darling Husband was (acting)father of the bride last Friday.
It was fantastic, we had the wedding outside in beautiful gardens, in a small Cotswold village.
Darling husband, the girls and I all met up with the Groom (my cousin)and other family members in an old Inn that once belonged to my Great-Grandfather for 50 years.
Darling Husband had to change into his Hire Suit at the Inn. He didn't like the look of the small loo and so got his kit off in the car park! This merely confirmed to my relatives that I am in fact married to a maniac.
He greeted the Bride and walked her up the grassy aisle, and made a fantastic speech, toasting to the Bride and Groom with cider (at their request, they dislike champagne). It was all very different. The only trouble was Darling Husband isn't used to cider and had to retire for the evening at 8pm owing to over-indulgence of the said apple juice. Many attempts were made through the evening by my mother (Shirl), sister, uncle Frank, cousin Paul and all the children roaring in and out of our suite, to wake him up and get him back into the party but he stayed put. He has no recollection of going to bed or the many visits.
The next morning I put his hire suit into the back of the Grooms' Mercedes. Myself, the Groom and his brother all looked in did Darling Husband take his waistcoat off with out undoing the buttons?
"He's like bloody Houdini" said the Groom

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Another True Story


Dear Customer services,
I booked and paid for a courier to collect a parcel from me, through 22 hours ago, 7pm last night.
The parcel has not been collected, it has been sat waiting since 8am this morning.
Would you kindly fully refund my fees paid.
This is another failure of service from DHL, I will have to book a next day delivery with another company, at a much higher rate, because my customer needs this parcel by Friday.
I am very, very disappointed and angry. This is the third problem I have had using this service.
Kindly confirm my refund.


Good morning,
Please accept our apologies that your parcel was not collected yesterday.
I have refunded your payment via Paypal as requested.
Our apologies for any inconvenience caused.


Thank you for the refund.
Please forward this message to someone senior in your company.
The service by Think Courier has proved to be unreliable.
I now have a parcel to ship to London today and all the stress involved with re-organising collection, finding another company etc.
I will never use your company again.
This is the third time I have been let down by you. You have cost me a great deal of time and money.
I suggest you improve your services dramatically, you are likely to cause damage to the reputation of smaller companies like us because you do not keep to the terms of the contract.


Hello, I am sorry you have experienced such problems. I feel the urge to explain the situation so you understand our part in the logistics operation. I am not passing the buck and accept we are responsible as we are the company you contracted to do the job, however, our role in this operation is the software which deals with your order. Whereas other couriers have people sat at a computer punching your shipping data into another system, this can put your shipment at further risk of delay or failure as busy times can result in your order being processed hours after you have booked it. Our software is monitored constantly, every order is piped through to the actually carrier who is doing the collection, it is processed within seconds of you booking it. The software is so successful we have been installing into other courier networks across the UK.

Where the delivery system has broken down is with the carrier in your area; they clearly have the order on the system and the driver has the instruction to collect from you. Unless we can actually get hold of the driver and ask him why he did not bother collecting from you, it is beyond us why he/she did not collect. I have to say it is rare when this kind of thing happens and it really is because of the collection depot or driver in your area, either too busy or not pulling their weight. It lets the side down for all of us, and to add insult to injury I will expect to see abortive collection charges on my account where the driver will make out he attempted the collection, but this is my problem.

The solution to your problem is not to stop using Think Courier, as there is a good chance the next company you use is probably using our software. Please select a different carrier on the quote page, not DHL for instance.
Kind regards
Stephen Abel
Managing Director

Dear Mr Abel,
Thank you for your email. I regret your decision to not even personally address your email to me.
I appreciate your comments but I will be using UPS from now on.
You must take responsibility for your service.
I cannot simply tell my customer that the party bags for her child won't be delivered, therefor she'll have to go without, I have to find another way around the problem and ensure the parcel gets there on time.
You should have this same policy and instead of sending an email saying sorry, we've refunded your money, you should stand behind your service and make sure a courier gets here, collects my parcel and does the job.

I am sorry, I did not realise you were going to make this personal.

I do accept responsibility, I made this clear I my email. Considering we orchestrate over 100.000 parcel deliveries a month whether it is a Think booking or via the other companies that use our software, we suffer with very little failed collections, but I feel I must educate the customers who jump to the wrong assumptions. Just as it frustrates you that a driver did not arrive, it frustrates me just as much that the odd driver spoils a perfect delivery solution.

Your choice to go with UPS is very wise, they are excellent albeit expensive if you are buying direct. We have a UPS account too and can ship parcels from £9.39, this is for a typical parcel under 10kg. If this is competitive with you current UPS supplier you can book this with our larger sister company

you really are a tosser


Thank you, I could return the compliment but that would be low.

Maybe I asked to be called a tosser but you have a knack of rubbing people up the wrong way, i.e. I regret your decision to not even personally address your email to me.

You may have gathered I am not too good at customer service hence why I don’t normally do it.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The Christening - a true story

Potty Mummy reminded me of this occasion with her witty posting this week.
Our neighbours had their second child Christened last summer.
Frances attends her Catholic Church evevry Sunday, Dr.G (her husband)never accompanies her, he's not a great believer.
They were renovating their palatial house at the time and living in a mobile home.
I offered my kitchen for the preparation of all the food to be prepared.
Dr G delegated and my children did a smashing job of the buffet. His parents retired to my bathroom to wash, change and go out for lunch while we soldiered on.
We all arrived at the Church and sat quietly waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Big sister entertained us all with a beautiful rendition of "the enormous catapillar", or "crunch, catapillar, crunch" unusual but nevertheless inspired choice for a Christening.
The vicar walked in and greeted us all, shook hands with the God Parents and Dr. G.
The Vicar announce there would be a reading, Frances turned round in the pew, "Oh, Dad, could you do the reading, please?"
A wonderful portly gentleman rose from his seat, did the sign of the cross and bowed with respect before the alter, then gave a faultless reading..not bad for an impromptu moment.
The Vicar put his fingers into the Holy water and made the sign of the cross on the babys' head. In turn the God Parents and Parents were to do the same. The vicar stood in front of Dr.G.
Dr. G glared at him.
Frances nudged Dr. G.
The vicar nodded with encouragement.
"Look Frances", he spat "I don't agree with any of this and I'm not doing it!"
He slouched in his seat, arms folded across his chest and steadfastly refused.
Darling husband and I were shaking with laughter, our children were glaring at us and mouthing to be quiet.

The Vicar then said he would annoint the babys' head.
He rummaged in one pocket, then the other, then another.
He frowned, shouted to his helper at the back. The helper rushed forwards searching round the alter, into little cupboards, backwards and forwards, it was like something out of the Two Ronnies.

Frances fed the baby.
Frances walked out and changed the babys' nappy.
"He's lost the bloody oil" she hissed as she walked by us.

Frances returned with the clean and tidy baby, the vicar found the oil in his pocket (this was after around 20 minutes of rummaging)..darling husband and I were crying with laughter, our children were furious with us, we were going to be in big trouble when they got us home.

They annointed the baby and I forget the rest, but it was terrific entertainment.

Friday, 12 October 2007


I've been given an Award by the lovely Elsie Button.
It's for making her smile! Thank you so much Ms Button!
I first thought I was seeing things last night when I read her Blog, too much Chardonnay, I thought. I did a double take and then went all emotional, somebody likes my stuff!
I'm totally used to people laughing at me. I've never managed to chair a PTFA meeting or attend a Friends meeting without somebody bursting into laughter. I come home and quietly say to Darling Husband "they keep laughing at me".
"That's because you're ridiculous" he says lovingly.

When I write my blog, I often laugh at what I've written, I know how I would say it all, but wonder if it can be funny for anyone else.

My award has made me smile a great deal and helped me through my good deed today. I should like to dedicate it to the gentleman I found this morning on the roadside, his beautiful Volvo had been squashed by a huge trailer full of potatoes (probably destined for Asda or Tesco).
He was in tears, furious and suffering from shock. It was so upsetting to see it in a man I have known for many years, a man so formidable and regimented, to see him lose his composure was horrid. In the rush for other vehicles to get by someone had driven and knocked his shoulder, another had ran over his foot. There was relief when I offered to stay with him, all offenders left rapidly and I stayed with him for an hour, just talking and being there when his anger overcame him again. I called the Police and waited for the recovery vehicle, making sure the gentleman in question would be able to escort his battered car to the garage. A Hire car awaited him, the insurance company notified, he was shaken but physically OK.
He gave me a hug and peck on the cheek before I left, I think I helped him, he gave me a very warm and sincere smile as I drove away.
I came home, feeling how unfair old age is and how awful to have to go home to an empty house. It must be difficult.
I told Darling husband all about it.
As usual he put it all into perspective:
"It's a good job you stopped and talked him into calming down, I would have just told the old bugger to stop being so bloody stupid"
He's mean, but it did sound funny and did make me smile, again.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


My Grandparents were complete opposites in socio-economic terms.
When my parents married in 1963, their wedding cost £4,000.
My Mum left a very run down,condemned council flat on the morning of her wedding and moved into the wing of my Dad's family home.
As a child it was quite novel to have such different grandparents. At one house we'd fight with our cousins for the battered biscuit tin, not wanting to be left with the crumbs. Tea was had in mugs and we'd always have chips for dinner.
At the other house we'd be served tea, while sitting very quietly in the lounge. Tea was poured from the tea pot into bone china cups and saucers, one never had biscuits with tea, let alone dream of dunking.
Both my grandmothers like being called Nanny, both extremely lovely, always knew what we liked and didn't and always had great gardens. One garden was very formal, perfectly manicured, the flowers were used for arrangements in Church and at WI. The other was packed with strawberries, cucumbers and runner beans (brilliant for hiding in).
I only had one Grandfather, he drove a Bentley and smoked fat cigars, he was a terrific Grandfather. In his office, he would let us twirl round and round in his huge leather chair and kept one of the drawers of his desk full of sweets and chocolate for when we called in to see him.
My Dad told us a story about his parents having a huge row on the doorstep of their enormous house when he was a little boy. My grandmother was stood in the doorway shouting at my grandfather and he was shouting back. My Dad, the youngest and smallest was hiding behind his mother with his two sisters. The row got more heated, the children joined in, one of them had the bright idea to throw the shoes in the hall at their father. My Dad said for years he had no idea what he'd done, but the row stopped fairly soon after that.
My Dad had been throwing shoes as hard as he could over his mothers' head at his father. There were plenty of shoes, with five of them in the house and he kept at it until the shouting stopped. Apparently he was too small to throw very high and each shoe hit my grandmother on the back of her head.
My father always hated his sisters, there would be wild fury in his eyes when ever their names were mentioned. When fairly small they dressed him in a pink tutu and hung him upside down out the upstairs window.
I think these things truly had an effect on his mercurial character later in life, in fact his sister said only a few weeks ago, that their mother had often commented that it might have been better to have dropped him after all...

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Moving On

Shirl is has put her house on the market, complete with the original feature of blue downstairs loo.
It was an emotional moment when she broke the news. I had recently asked if I could have first option on the house.

"What will you do with it?" she asked

"Flatten it" I replied (I'd love to put a Huf Haus up there)

So I didn't get first refusal, and I sincerely hope that no-one we know will arrive on our doorstep telling us they've just viewed my Mother's house.

Shirl doesn't live there, and has made it her project this year to do a 'make-over'.
Her boyfriend (Wotcha!) has been helping.

The oak flooring that was going to cover the entire downstairs appeared in the form of end of line clip laminate flooring from Macro.
Apart from the fact it looks awful, it sinks when you walk on it.
The edging strips have been laid on top of the floor, next to the old skirting, how can I put this, it's not a flush fit.

The new bathroom suite (white!!!) is already in disrepair ("it was a really good deal"), and the new fitted kitchen is still covered in pvc.

My sister lived there for six weeks in between houses and was not allowed to remove the plastic from the cupboards or indeed the draining board!

My old bedroom curtains are still up and Shirl has painted over the footprint stickers I put up the wall 25 years ago.

It's so bad it's funny, but I'm so ashamed...what if people think I helped her do it? I just don't think I could cope with that sort of gossip.

My original suggestion of a freestanding bath in front of the window would have been beautiful, the hill drops down in front of the house and you have uninterupted views of at least 10 miles.
What has she done?
Ah, well there's a lovely upvc FROSTED (!!) window in the bathroom with the bath tucked against the wall in case you can see through the window at night when the light is on...
I'm telling you, if they have telescopes that strong in Wales, they certainly aren't going to bother carrying them up the mountains to look at my mother in the bath through a frosted window.

Will I become like this?
Pour me a double...

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Following On

I don't remember that much of my childhood before South Wales.
Moving to Herefordshire was equally shocking.
My mother spent the entire time we lived in the mistakenly bought house, stripping seven layers of wallpaper off every wall and re-decorating. My father probably installed a blue bathroom (as he did in every property he ever owned), but I've managed to block that out. When the house was finished, it was put on the market and sold within the week, this time rather than a plethora of property, we had no-where to go.
We moved into a very old and grand hotel for six weeks and ate Gammon Steak and Chips every night for dinner (well that's how I remember it). My parents sank the odd bottle of Blue Nun or Black Tower and life was just tickety.
While we lived in the hotel, my parents desperately added the finishing touches (roof, kitchen, blue bathroom) to the cottage they had bought just before Dad bought the last house by mistake (instead of the dining chairs he'd originally gone to the auction for). Am I making myself clear?
I remember the electrician fitting the kitchen units and the decorators were called Harry, Harry and Harold.
Of course once we moved in no-one turned up with a pot of morning tea! We would leave our rooms in the morning and when we wanted to go to bed no-one had bothered to tidy up and waitress service was lousy. I hadn't seen washing up for months, it was terrifying.

The children all spoke differently again, and I couldn't understand them either. We went to school in the remnants of a blue Morris Mini-bus and were always so very grateful and awfully surprised to get dropped off within sight of our house each afternoon. We had pheasants in our field that made strange noises like they were choking and the wind howled through the woods behind the house in Winter.
Locals told us it was haunted..
Great, another fine mess we'd just gotten into.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Driving into the Sunset

I'm sitting here watching the sun set behind the mountains, it's calm, chilly and beautiful. I Let property in the Heritage status mining town of Blaenavon and that is where I headed this morning when I drove over those mountains, I gasped at the fantastic view before me, it always has that affect on me (possibly because the air is thinner), yet when I was a child, that part of the world was filled with gigantic machinery. There were steel cables across the roads, bits of coal dropping from the enormous buckets that moved along them, wobbling, precariously. The air was full of dust and soot and I can not remember much about strong daylight, it was always twilight or dark.

I moved to South Wales when I was a child because my father bought a large house at auction by mistake.

It's quite true. He only went to buy some furniture.
There was a rather noisy domestic when he broke the news to my mother about their predicament. They had little choice, when the hammer goes down at auction, the contract is legally binding. They quickly sold our nicely renovated cottage and we moved into 'the valleys'
I couldn't understand a word anyone said to me with their strong Welsh accents, and they couldn't understand me either. It was all very scary. I didn't really know who to turn to, my parents were clearly insane and my sister couldn't understand anyone either. The only thing we were actually certain of was that our neighbours were called the 'Fritter's'.
I had to get on a bus and ask for 'a half to Hafodyrynys' (try that with your milk teeth falling out), but it always cost one whole pence. I never understood why a half cost a whole and my mother would tell me to shut up and get on the bus.

I remember walking to the local playground with my little friend, the Fritter, the mountain was on fire and our way back home was blocked by flames higher than us, the mountains always seemed to be on fire, it was a bleak place to live.

We moved into Herefordshire within 18 months and watched the mountains burn from far away, it felt much safer.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Huffy Husband

Today has been tense, moody, sultry even.
I kept looking around, had I forgotten something, done something that he simply didn't know how to tackle me about.

Was it the coffee?
No, I put the milk in after the water, that was OK.

The cup?
Bone China or John Deere mug, yep, I was OK there.

Had I run out of homemade bread?
No, there was plenty.

An Insurance salesman came, never a good move here. Darling husband treated him with admirable contempt. It would have made a great public information film about how to get rid of double glazing salesmen too.
He told the man to hurry up and make his point, he had work to do.
He let the salesman ramble incessantly for a few minutes, while eyeing up a huge chocolate sponge cake in the middle of the table.

The salesman tried to close but darling husband said, no, I'm not having it.
"Why not? Can't you see the advantages of such a policy?"

Darling husband replied, "It's none of your business why I don't want the policy, I don't want it and that's that"

Insurance Man " Well, there's only two reasons why you wouldn't have it, either it's the cost or you don't like me"

Darling Husband "Both"

Cue exit stage left for the insurance man, slightly panicky looking insurance man.
It may have been the nasty look on my husbands face, or just the worrying fact he had a spider sticker clinging to his shoulder saying "I've been good today".

Darling husband was so vile to him, it was quite brilliant. I began to hope we would get a call from India regarding our telephone supplier so he could deal with them too. In fact perhaps he could handle the advertising executives who regularly telephone me trying to sell me outrageously overpriced advertising in obscure publications only likely to be seen on 'Have I got News for You'

I still wasn't too sure what had upset Darling Husband, I put my arms around him
and looked into his seething eyes, ah.. the wind was howling outside.

"It's windy isn't it?" I said.
"Yes" he hissed through clenched teeth

My laid back, gentle, lovely humoured husband who invites the world and his wife into our home for cups of tea and a chat, turns into a (devastatingly handsome)Gruffulo in a temper on windy days. I always forget.

Moral of the story, never try to sell him anything when the wind is blowing.

Saturday, 22 September 2007


Ah, what a week.
My rantings to DHL for their diabolical service have left me exhausted.
How can a courier company be so bad at what they do? How can they say a parcel is not address correctly when they are delivering to a postcoded address of a Lutyens Listed grand building?
I take issue with their advertised 24 hour delivery, I suspect it's secret coded text for 'Next time we're passing an incredibly huge listed house with formal gardens at the address written on the parcel, we may drop off said parcel, or we may leave it for another day, or we may not bother with the delivery until we are yelled at for 24 hours'.

The Postman this week has equally been what can only be decribed as outside the human race, he drives far too fast, can't find his brakes and crashes into things when he turns his van. He has the personal speed of a sloth and wit and intelligence of a blunt knife that lost it's blade many years ago in very soft butter.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Birthday Present

My Mother has just arrived.
She has brought Sophie her Birthday Present.
It's a triple pack of tights from Woolworths (Ladybird).
Two pairs look like they'll fit, one pair is twice the length of the others..very entertaining.
I don't know what else to say about the present really, I suppose at least she got the correct colour!

Monday, 17 September 2007


When I was just a few weeks from giving birth to my middle daughter, I had some car trouble. My gorgeous Jaguar sports car (sadly now sold) developed some problem and as my nearest maternity supply shops are at least half an hour away, I didn't want to risk getting stranded and having to give birth in a multi-story in Newport.
So, against all instincts, I asked my mother to get me a list of items.
Now I know she will opt for the least expensive and of course always the poorest quality item she can find, so I decided to give her a foolproof list.
I telephoned her and made her write down 'Mothercare' at the top of the list and then each item description, catalogue number, size and price.
She read the whole thing back to me, I'd cracked it, I just had to wait for her to deliver the stuff to me. I also told her, to be on the safe side, that she should approach a member of staff on entering the shop and hand over the list.
As my mother lives near Bluewater I had no fear that they would be out of stock of anything.
Well, how wrong could I have been?
My mother arrived, dropped the huge bag onto the said 'Boots' on the side.
"Wrong Shop Mum" I said.
"You told me to go to Boots!"
"No, Mum, Mothercare"
Silence filled the room.
"Oh, well, they're all the same aren't they?" said my Mother realising that causing a scene might set off my labour.

Darling husband kept stifling his giggles, but I knew he was doing it and I was not impressed.
We opened the bag and went through the list.
The Maternity Bra was two sizes too big... "Well it's all they had!"
I was speechless
Composing myself, I delved into the bag again.
I pulled out Toddlers Antiseptic Hand Wipes. "What are these for? I wanted moist toilet tissue!!"
My blushing Mother said, "It's all they had"
What she meant was she was too embaressed to buy anything to do with maternity, babies and normal bodily functions.
The whole bag was wrong, every item in it was wrong. I couldn't make do with any of it, she had gone to the wrong shop and so bought none of the right items.
And, she was furious with me for being so ungrateful that I wouldn't even bother to try and make do with any of it.
I pray I never become like my mother.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

It's almost here...

Friday is almost here, OK, OK, so I'm no where near ready!
I had to learn to plough yesterday (sad, but true).
And I had a lot of emails and phone calls to get through, but really I'm just procrastinating.
The Birthday Cake is in the oven as I Blog and smells good.
I've got to make some Chilli and a few puddings, some bread and buy some cheese, that will do, I think.
I think the thing I most dread is what my Mother (Shirl) will give to Sophie for her Birthday present. Last Christmas she gave her book and cd from a pound shop. The choir on the cd murdered every Carol and after one song it was quickly disgarded in favour of Bear Necessities.
Last year there was a second hand Readers Digest book of Nursery Rhymes, printed in the late 70's and had another childs' name badly written in it.
Oh and I forgot about the Bin Liner of second hand videos from a car boot sale, all of them pirate copies.
What did I get for my Birthday you ask?
Well obviously it was a very special Birthday. My husband surprised me with diamond earrings, my mother with an Asda carrier bag containing cheap red wine (£2.75) and a box of reject chocolates from the Tobacco Warehouse in Belgium.

Other presents include:
a Terrys Chocolate Orange that was four years..FOUR YEARS!! out of date.
a pot of Honey ("Wellll, I thought it would come in useful, y'knowww")
a small vacuum cleaner that we discovered she'd won in a competition ("It was very expensive, Darling")
some rubber gloves and clean o pine ("well, I didn't know what to get and I knew you'd use it") All spoken in Barbie tones!

I'm terribly, terribly spoilt by 'Shirl' and so are my children!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Judgement Day

Sophie is 4 on Saturday.
She's having some tiddly peeps here for a tea party on Friday afternoon and I'm already getting worried. None of the Mum's have been here before and I'm going to be judged.
That bath panel that I threw out in disgust and refused to have installed is bothering me now because I have never got a substitute and the underside of the bath is displayed in all it's glory. These rash decisions seem great at the time.

Then there's the television, it's not a flat screen cinematic breakthrough in technology and although there is a DVD player in the house, it's hidden under the pile of videos, oh the shame! We are surely the last home in existence with a video player and even now, not one of us can programme the 'B' thing.

Oh dear, the landing had never been plastered, I don't notice any more. Will our guests think that because that hasn't been done, our beautiful stone walls are destined for the same thing and I'll get asked when we're plastering the sitting room and painting our beams black? A question my mothers' boyfriend used to ask frequently. He now just looks around tutting and with pity in his eyes, wondering if we'll ever be able to afford carpets instead of having to suffer bare floorboards (beautifully oiled in our eyes). Of course to him, unless your skirting board is glossed white and there's not wall to wall fitted patterned carpet covering your entire house, then he is going to feel sorry for you.

But Friday looms ever closer, what am I going to do with the piles of paper that seem to build up, I can't seem to find the right place to file them and so they just hang around, waiting to be shredded, so they can sit in the bottom of the shredder and hear me say, oh my God, I've shredded the wrong pile!

And the garden, so full of weeds, loads of bright coloured flowers and gorgeous roses, but even my Mayor of Castorbridge roses can't disguise the whiff of my pet pigs the other side of the hedge.

How can I hide the fact we have a room full of wellies and waterproof clothes (sheep smelling ones in my husbands' case), dog biscuits by the bucket full and huge sacks of pig food, chain saws and filing cabinets (oh the bliss of being married to a farmer)!

I'm thinking the best option is make a very large jug of Pimms, if they care about it all, at least I won't!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Losing Loved ones

I recently commented that these days I seem to socialse electronically.
Once you have children and give up your previous job and previous life, things you had in common with friends often disappear and your social aquaintances become your children's friends' parent's (did I get that right?).
One of my most favourite pair of friends are my daughters best friends' parents. If my daughter hadn't made friends with their son we would never have met them. The dad is Godfather to my youngest daughter and I feel so very fortunate to know them.
I also find that now I'm older, I value friendship so much more than I ever did, because of course as an adult, it's a stronger emotional thing to really adore your friends. I don't think I realised that when I was younger, but that's certainly the case for me.
A very good friend of ours moved to Scotland a few years ago. She rang me to warn me that she'd bought a house in Scotland and would be moving as soon as they had sold down here. I cried and cried (much to my surprise I have to say). I was going to miss her and who was going to speak in French to my children? It felt awful. Now we are used to it, they visit twice a year and phone often, we still all adore them, but they aren't here.
This week my daughters' Headmistress has announced she's leaving, Ok so I'm not wildly in love with her, don't get me wrong, but I hate the change, I was comfortable in knowing her ethos on my daughters' education. Now I have to start a whole new relationship with someone else. I suppose I feel too tired to start again with someone new, I just don't want my comfortable relationships with friends and associates to change.
I haven't been blogging that long, but I feel I've discovered a whole new world of women like myself, feeling like they have a teenage mind in an older body. Still with a wicked sense of humour, but without an outlet for it (I'm just so embaressing). And I have to say I read the same blogs, sometimes daily, to see what funny things have happened to them. I cry laughing, I sit here, and as I look up from my work I gaze at a garden bursting with colour, I can see no other house from my window, just flowers, fields and mountains, yet even in this remote part of the world I feel a connection with people I don't even know. Laughter certainly is the best medicine.
The sad thing this week has been the posting by Drunk Mummy saying she's giving up blogging. I'm honestly gutted. She was the first co-blogger who made me realise I'm not the only one. I wish her every success.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Party Bags

Reading other ladies blogs, I see that there are strong feelings about party bags. Sorry, I don't remember who wrote it, but it was that she really hates doing them, but bowed to the pressure because it was just too scarey not to. I have to confess here, that I always used to refuse to do them! Pretty rich considering I now run a Party Bag Business, I know.
I remember all the children piling in to the local village hall for my daughters' 8th Birthday. At least a third of them came straight over to me and asked to see the party bags. I was furious at their bad manners and appalled that I had to confess I hadn't got any. So the next time there was a party, I bowed to the pressure and produced the obligatory party accessory. I'm sure we all feel the same, we don't want to do them, but everyone seems to these days.
I personally don't like plastic bags and cheap rubbishy toys, I guess I am a party bag snob, but I get sick of them being left on the floor in the car after collecting my children from parties, they just seem pointless. And of course now, I can't get out of doing party bags because it's what I do, but still I get surprised by my clients. I suppose the average party spend of my customers is £5 a bag, it varies between £3 and £8. A lovely lady in Kent phoned me last week saying she didn't want to go too mad, but is happy to spend £18 per bag, I wish she had six children!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

I've got that Sunday Morning feeling and it's only Saturday

It's been a long week, but somehow I'm not sure what's been going on or why?
I think most of it has revolved around washing endless pairs of pink pants (darling husband will just have to change his ways) and trying to search for bits of school uniform that is still ok.
I'm putting off shopping for shoes, I know I need to buy 8 pairs of shoes/trainers for the girls and I could certainly do with some new ones.
I am also putting off going to the school shop. Daughter number 1 has a habit of losing bits and pieces, mobile phones, especially expensive bits of uniform. Sometimes it appears the day after I've bought a replacement and the total denials and incredulous surprise that flows from her is pretty impressive.
I think I'm trying to leave it all because trying to get my head around three completely different sets of things is tricky. I have one in Nursery, one in Primary and one in Senior School. I also sigh at the huge cost of school fees, but then see how much our daughter gets from it all and know it's worth it.
Really I think I just need a good nights sleep and a whole day without cooking, washing (clothes, not me)and My Chemical Romance. I might just pour myself a large Pimms and go and tickle my pigs.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

I-Spy with my little eye

This morning began with Fruitcake and Jess barking at the heiffers in the field next to our garden. They stood munching and chewing cud steadily, taking no notice of the ridiculous dogs whatsoever.
Jasmine and Sophie had come into our bed for their morning cuddle and the obligatory game of I-Spy.

Me: I spy with my little eye something beginning with W

Daddy: window?
Jasmine: web?
no (grr!)
Sophie: Spider?

peels of laughter

I spy with my lickle eye something ginnin with six

Jasmine: sixteen?
Sophie: no Jasmine, that's a number!

Friday, 17 August 2007

Chinese Fairies

Today has been lovely.
The children have been good, no moaning or whinging of any kind.
We have been to Usk Castle for a Fairy Playtime.
The eldest (12 years)went dressed as a pirate (don't ask), the middle one (8 years)went in a pale blue Per Una sequined woollen hat, and a pink fairy dress over: a Monsoon hippy chic top, Italian designer boots and Designer soft Denium Trousers. My goodness, she looked a sight. Individually her clothes are very beautiful, but they just weren't meant to go together. The little one (almost 4 years) wore a perfect pink fairy dress, pink sandals and a Tiara and carried a silver jewelled wand.
It was a really great morning. I did have one bottle of Party Bubbles stolen by a sneaky little madam, whose mother seemed blissfully ignorant that she had them, even thought she opened the bottle with her teeth for her daughter!
We wandered back through Monmouth and purchased a fine book called "The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls" by Rosemary Davidson & Sarah Vine. We all love it!
But, aha, the best for last..
After being out for the whole day and running my business from home, I came in and naturally checked all my emails. I often get emails from toy manufacturers with slightly dodgy English, but this is absolutely the best yet:

Hello !

At present, we are supplying valentine items.

If you are free now, please attend the enclosed images of some of our new valentine gifts.
They can bring much soulful and romantic feeling for lovers, so they must be selling well when the time is coming.

If you are interested in them, please kindly let us know.
More than 100 kinds of newest valentine items are waiting for you to choose.

Wishing all the lovers are in honey.

Best Regards,
Grant Lee

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Camping (and clothing)

The first time I went camping was with one of my sister's in law - I have three.
We put up her tent, put up a smaller one for our friend next to us, and then they left to find supper...left me in charge of a tent and 8 children under 9. I'm still scarred by the experience.
There was a book running on whether I'd actually sleep in the tent or book into the nearest decent hotel, but I stuck it out, I was very brave.
On the first morning my sister in law rushed into the tent declaring very loudly that I should have pointed out that her skirt was on inside out. Well, I might have done but I was too busy laughing. She then confessed to attending a school governors meeting in her official capacity as Chairman of the PTFA, in a very smart blouse..inside out, labels flapping! Of course she had no idea until she went home and took her coat off. Her partner couldn't speak, but only point at her mistake. She was horrified, poor thing.
Another of my sister's in law is a well respected, bigwig tax accountant, with a love of unusual hats ( and some interesting clients). She walked all the way home from entertaining clients at Bath Rugby ground, stopping to speak to people she knew in the street and finally walking into her beautiful apartment, where we were waiting for her. My subtle husband laughed extremely loudly at his sister, telling her how ridiculous she looked. I was in tears laughing, though not making the awfully rude noises my husband was.
My sister in law had walked right through Bath City Centre with the white, 3 inch label sticking out of the top of her hat, because she was wearing it inside out. She did find it funny, but then worried because she couldn't remember whether she'd put her hat on before or after she'd said goodbye to the prospective clients.

My Brother-in-law is a Haulage contractor, of very generous proportions. He often gets up in the middle of the night to do some work with his lorries. He's just so lovely and smiley, a fabulous gentle and indulgent uncle to my children and indeed his own.
I mentioned to him one evening how Sophie (she is only three) will put her pants on sideways if there's no bow on the front. He said he knew exactly the problem, getting dressed in the dark, he'd wriggled around in the drivers seat of his truck for a very long stretch (and not just metaphorically) wondering just why his undergarments were so ill-fitting that night. It wasn't until he got home and undressed that he realised he too, had his pants on sideways!
I of course, will not admit to any problems whatsoever with my own clothing!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Diet Days

Well, I've blown the diet already, I think!
Saturday started well, we went camping.
I'm sure lugging our tiny tent in and out of storage and in and out of the car, not to mention the mental activity required to get the outside layer the same way round as the inside layer.
Then of course was the frantic waving away of gnats required.
We camped near a reservoir, just half an hours drive from home, right next to the river.
There was our family of five plus my husbands' sister and two of her little girls. We all slept in our tent, though sleep is probably an exaggeration. The spot was idyllic. There were two young girls nearby with two tents for them and a tiny tent for dogs (I want one for Fruitcake). Lovely! we thought, ah but then their boyfriends turned up in car after car, all through the night. Beeping horns and shouting, dogs barking. All this, after the four hours of giggling stopped inside our tent. I remember everything falling silent and I felt lovely and warm and snugly in our double sleeping bag, and feeling this wasn't so bad after all, when my eldest niece woke up and started chatting. Slowly but surely, the five girls woke up and carried on five different conversations at once. We all got up and my husband lit the fire and cooked us all breakfast and made steaming mugs of tea (amber nectar), I snuck back into bed with a book.
We cleared up, put the tent away and repacked the cars, which took a considerable amount of time. And what was the time? Only 9.30am!! Needless to say we were shattered. The girls moaned for the rest of the day and I tried very hard to keep my eyes open.
Confession: I drank too much sugary tea and ate far too much shortbread to lose any weight this weekend! Starting again today.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Frog Blob

That's it!
I've read Pig in the Kitchen this morning and she's made me think about when I was thin. I certainly don't want to be a size 6 again (even though I have a super size 6 skirt upstairs), but thinner would be good. My daughters' size 10 Per Una jeans are just too, too tight around my middle,and I think I'm really a size 14 again. I used to swan about, 3rd baby in arms, in my super skinny suede jeans and other Mums were so jealous. Now they look at me and tell me I look well, I know what that means, I'm getting fat.
My children cuddle me and tell me they love my wobbly tummy.
I have got out of the habit of juicing every morning and it shows.
So, Day 1, I've had a glass of water and I'm about to get my juicer going again.
I will get back into all those clothes, sitting redundant in the wardrobe.
I did have a Mountain Bike somewhere, and of course if darling husband wasn't so mean to me, I could have my indoor pool with beautiful glass roof and swim everyday.
I'm starving already. Thankfully we have a garden full of vegetables, runner bean anyone?

Thursday, 9 August 2007


I had to be in Bristol early this morning so my two youngest stayed with my sister last night in her new huge house.
Jasmine packed everything except her favourite toy (cow) and her p.j's.
Sophie packed a large suitcase, into which I had a secret peep.
It held:
1 Pink Tutu
2 Pink Fairy Dresses (with wings)
1 pair pants (pink)
1 Noddy Book (mine when I was little)
1 Pink Necklace.

Fantastic, what else does a girl need?

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Name calling

I feel Summery so I thought I'd completely re-vamp my Blog, hope you like it.
I had a call from a lovely lady asking about Party Bags for her daughter's Birthday Party. She needed some with Tigers on as her daughter is called Tiger Lily.
"What a cool name!" I said.
"Yes, and next week I'm giving birth by Cesarean section to a baby girl, and I'm going to call her Scarlet Ribbons!"
Wow, very cool names indeed.
I've had some weird and wonderful names sent to me for the Colouring Competition I am holding. Ellis for a girl surprises me.
I remember flying to the States when Jasmine was a baby. She was always dressed in pink. The people sat behind us were smiling at her a talking to her. I asked them if she was bothering them at all, "No, No...what's the baby's name?"
"Jasmine" I said
"Jasmine!! For a boy?"
We ignored them for the rest of the flight.
When our third daughter was born we were at a loss to think of anything to call her.
The two eldest insisted on Sophie. Our entire family bombarded us with daily suggestions, and pulled faces at any of ours. We finally settled on a name on our way to the Registry Office. We were in fact still arguing about it a bit when we reached the door, but it didn't matter, the office had moved 9 miles away so we were unable to register anyway.
As is typical of my husband in these circumstances, he swore loudly, we all got in the car and returned home. My cleaner stood in the kitchen looking at us hopefully, but to no avail.
We changed our minds over and over again, the two eldest still insisting on Sophie, we received two threatening letters from whoever feels the need to bully parents into naming their children in a mere 9 weeks.
Parents Evening came. All the teachers we passed said 'Hello Sophie' to the baby, much to our amazement. We kept explaining we hadn't named her yet; they looked confused. Then we were shown the 'Best Work Board' in school. Jasmine had painted a beautiful picture of the five of us. She had done it weeks earlier. Our names were clearly written underneath, and there was 'Sophie', proudly printed under the picture of her baby sister. Jasmine beamed proudly, with that 'See, I told you' look on her face.

Cute Daughter

I had a lovely email from my daughter in reply to mine:

Hello cutest little girl this morning.
I love you lots and lots...especially if you tidy the sitting room for
me and clean the window!
Your hair looks very pretty!
Love from

dear mummy
I woould not like to tidy up the sitingroom because iam feeling very well
Iwold like to have a nice cuit day to day sitting dowon on my chir out side.
lovefrome the cutet littel girl ties morning

I will of course beat her relentlessly for poor spelling, but it's awfully cute!
Ooh, must add, I don't only communicate by email with my children, I do call them on their mobiles too!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Foot and Mouth

It is with heavy heart that I blog this morning.
Another case of Foot and Mouth has been confirmed, living on a beef farm, it's just not want we wanted to hear. Not that it matters now, all those countries we export to will yet again refuse our beef for a considerable time and we will probably see a general dive in the price of our stock in the marketplace. The damage to the Beef trade has already been done.
We have in the past, had the pleasure of being featured in a National Geographic story about Wales. The summer of 2000 saw the writer and photographer spending much time with us here, which was a fantastic experience, and the story was published the following summer, after Foot and Mouth has taken every living sheep and cow and calf we had.
The writer of the story, Simon Worrall, sent me an email yesterday to say he's thinking about us and hopes we will not be affected this time. Vincent Musi, the photographer visited us just a few weeks ago to show his son a real Welsh farm.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Hit and Pedal

Living in the country is so traffic. Even during two school runs covering a total of 16 miles I might only pass a dozen cars. During the summer holidays we have quite a few people walking the Three Castles Walk. My husband has been known to bring strangers into the house for cold drinks because he feels sorry for them and then drives them to where they are staying or have their car parked.
This weekend we have had the misfortune to have some championship bike race going through our beautiful countryside. My wonderful friends' daughter, Ella (equally wonderful) was walking from a friends house when she heard some people yelling "get to the right!" She saw a gaggle/rook/team of cyclists coming towards her and rushed to the right as they had shouted. Poor thing they ran her down! I came along a few minutes later to find her wandering and in deep shock, the cyclist left her cut and confused, with an apology, but all alone. She's only sixteen. I don't like these cycle races at the best of times, but I was livid when I found her. The follow up car had a dressing down ( I think I'll be reported) and the safety man had the same.
Poor Ella, can you believe, the cyclists were apparently shouting to eachother to get over to the right? I would have done the same as Ella. Living out here it's really the last thing one expects, oh that and another dose of foot and mouth...

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Lifestyle Solutions

I bought the Times as there were no Telegraphs left yesterday afternoon.
I prefer the Telegraph because James May writes a very readable page every week, but The Times is just fine.
This week there was a thin 'offers' brochure inside. I love these mini catalogues, they sell the most amazingly useless items that have an appeal none the less.
One of my favourite items in this particular brochure is the 'Tummy Trimmer'.
"Guaranteed to make you look inches slimmer, it will instantly flatten your stomach while shaping your waist and entire midriff."
The photo shows a size 10 model wearing the Tummy Trimmer, with her arms held up above her head. Now we all know that if you squash into a pair of tight trousers, you end up with a roll of fat around you now higher waist. So, put the T.T. on and I can envisage a lovely roll of fat bulging out underneath your bust, especially if you are going to be seated at any point of wearing it. I will of course remember to keep my armpits well waxed so that when my T.T. arrives I can wear it in the correct fashion with my arms held high.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Camp Granada

Our holiday was really good, we survived against all odds really.
The hotel near Gatwick was lovely, really clean with a huge room (my sister's was tiny-Ha Ha!). Sophie was so delighted with it, she stripped off all her clothes, flinging them off and wiggling her bottom around. She was so pleased with herself until I mentioned her Captain Tortue top she wanted to wear on the plane in the morning had landed in the toilet.

We got up early and followed my sister and brother in law to the airport, and we met my mother and step-father in the check-in hall. Now, I know older people get into bad habits, but you would think they might have at least brushed their teeth and washed? They're not even that mother is only 62 for goodness sake! Still, we managed to stand well back from them in the queue using our multitude of suitcases as a barrier.
Sophie and Jazzie whizzed around on their Trunki's the whole time, they were such good entertainment, especially when we were delayed by 4 hours.
We got to Egypt and stepped out into an was gorgeous. We hired two taxis to take us to our hotel. We passed lots of fabulous hotels and casinos, and were getting excited (even though the taxi driver drove like a total lunatic and had no lights on..eek).
Then we turn off the main road into a litter strewn street with few lights and lots of armed police hanging around, yes, this was where the hotel was located. My husband and I were not amused, it was scary.
The hotel interior was beautiful, phew! Our room had been freshly decorated, the smell of paint was overwhelming. Dinner was waiting for us so we locked our room, pulled the key out and the entire inside of the lock came with it! We were ready to come home again.
In the morning, the sun was a big fiery ball in the sky, everything was beautiful and we felt as though we were in Camp Granada, it was very beautiful.
We found out the armed police were there because the President/Prime Minister was staying nearby. What luck to be on vacation at the same resort and time as us!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Home Again..

We've been home just a few days. It was very nice to come home to a few orders for Party Bags ( ) and no complaints, always a plus!
Fruitcake, my adorable puppy was pleased to see me, my pigs squealed and rushed over to grunt at me, it was nice to be home. There was a death while we were on holiday..Fluffy, the goldfish passed away while in the care of my mother-in-law.
Thankfully we are so high up that flooding was not a problem here, believe me, if it flooded here, Noah and gang would be floating by.
I went up to the empty house this morning to meet the man who was measuring up for new carpets. Dai the spark hadn't been in, nor had Paul the Plaster. The house is still in a state of gutted-ness (ok, I made that word up). Why are people so unreliable? The quote for new central heating is enormous considering what a tiny house it is...I'm not happy.
One tale from our trip...We finally left for Gatwick at around 6pm on Friday 13th after all the usual questions..have you got your bunny? no we're not taking Fruitcake, have you got matching shoes on? where are the passports? no the dog hasn't got one.....
We travelled for two minutes (one mile exactly) and had to make our first stop for Sophie to 'wee in the hedge' (thank goodness we don't live in town). Second stop was at Membury Services for Sophie to wee again, she sat on the loo and looked very earnestly at me and said "I'm having a very nice holiday!"
If only we were all that easily pleased!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

"We're all going on a Summer Holiday"

Well, tomorrow we're off to the Red Sea.
I intend to spend the daylight hours face down in the water, snorkeling and admiring the sea-life. It will also help drown out my mothers' boyfriend.
His constant East End 'whatcha!'s' will have me plunging my face in water whether I have a snorkel on or not.
My sister is a travel agent and so I have paid no attention whatsoever to the arrangements. My mother, on the other hand has phoned my sister, almost daily with bits of advice and tips she might like to know, like the currency we need, and, it will be hot, also, we must get to the airport in plenty of time because there is heightened sister is a travel agent for God's sake, I think she knows these things?
Of course because we are going away, this week has turned into the worst possible time to go. My oldest Tenant moved out of my house and posted me the keys without any notice whatsoever. I went to view the house and realised he had never actually hoovered behind his TV, or indeed in his bathroom. There was an odour about the house that indicated lack of venting and lots of smoking, thereby dictating we rip out all the carpets (sob!) So, I sit here exhausted having played the part of labourer to my nephew. So much plaster to be hacked off and so little time. I've broken nails, and have cuts and bruises, not to mention a lighter shade of magnolia in my hair. I kept expecting Sarah Beeny to walk through the door, the scene was certainly reminiscent of the house gutting footage seen on her programmes. What was I thinking?
Dai the spark came to see me this morning to discuss alterations to the wiring, and Paul the Plaster is phoning later. Nigel the Plumber (not a Welshman) managed to break the corner off my marble slab in front of the fireplace (howl!)and also lent on my freshly painted wall.
I've locked the door and walked away, it will look better when I get back...the Elves will have been in and tidied up....don't exist you say? ....aaagh!
Maybe I'll advertise for a Tenant who's a DIY enthusiast.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Just Stuff

It's the last day of term at HMSG...Hurray!!
No more getting up at 6am, nagging for an hour about brushing hair and getting dressed (and that's just talking to myself) and then having to miraculously produce something very important for a particular lesson when we are a minute late already!

Fun Day has been and gone at the local Primary, I have successfully managed to throw out all the rubbish my children bought without them suspecting a thing (i.e nice ornaments glued back together for only 10p...lovely).

This morning daughter No. 1 did forget her teachers' presents (just nice coffee mugs £2 from Waitrose, none of this extravagant nonsense...we'd be bankrupt with three children) and so I had to journey into town and drop them off at Reception. I always feel terribly humbled driving up the drive to school, some parents have Bentleys, and because my Volvo is in the garage I was having to drive (oh, I'm so ashamed)a Ford Fiesta belonging to my Mother-in-Law.
The journey is really very beautiful, I have to drive past two castles,( one inhabited) over the river and through lush canopies of trees, quite wonderful.
And even though I was in the dodgem, the Reception Ladies were impeccibly polite, and I saw no other parents...whew!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

92% of men

My niece has informed me that it is a fact (must be true, she is at University) that if left alone in a room with a tea-cosy. 92% of men will put it on their head.
It's a scary fact; of course my husband puts everything on his head, he was clearing out our utility room when he came across a hand-knitted pink striped hat that was given to our daughter by a kindly, elderly aunt. It had a very large, badly attached pom-pom on the top.
It was a hat with no aesthetic qualities.
Darling husband put it on.
The postman arrived.
I watched from the upstairs window as my absent minded husband greeted the postman, failing to register the look on horror on his face as an unspoken signal that screamed "Christ mate, what the hell have you got on your head?".
I knocked on the window and pointed at my head (I couldn't speak for laughing).
"What?" was the angry shout from Darling husband.
I did it again, and he put his hand up to his head, discovering the forgotten hat.
He swore loudly.......

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Christmas Dinner

We attended a Christmas celebration last night, it was great.
We had roast turkey and chestnut stuffing, Christmas Pudding and brandy sauce, we even sang a bit. It was a mainly family affair with a few extra friends and aquaintances, but as my husband is one of seven, you can imagine it was quite a crowd.
Illness prevented my sister-in-law from being home for our usual festivities. She's just recovered from near death and so we thought she deserved her missed Christmas dinner. It was also my nephew's 21st Birthday, it was brilliant.
The smallest cousins roared around constantly, they had a great time. We all wore Christmassy Clothes and accessories, there was even an attempt at a Christmas tree.
I'd already been swigging champagne in the afternoon with my sister to welcome her into her new home, so I decided to sit quietly and not drink in the evening.
I took my plate of dinner to the far end of the room to sit by a brother-in-law. He gave me his chair and got another one for himself. How polite...I sat on the chair and it feel to bits beneath me, lurching me sideways onto the floor! My mother-in-law frowned, family members gave me a standing ovation. My husband roared with laughter and the evening was full of over weight jibes in my direction. My Diet starts Monday.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007


Second post today!
We have just come from a family trip to the doctors (we really know how to live).
There was a lady sat with her back to the childrens play area, where we are relegated to these days. She had really fantastic 80's/90's back-combed hair sticking out in huge spikes. I sat gazing at it thinking if it were only blue, she would look like I did in my Art College days. Sophie (3 years) pointed at the back of the spikey haired person and said very loudly
"why is that hair like that?"
I told her very quietly that it was very nice hair and people can have their hair however they want it.
"Well I don't like it", she said, again very loudly.
No 1 daughter burst into hysterics, my husband grinned in the opposite direction.
Sophie sat down with a book, pointed to a SeaHorse and said "look, a see-saw"....


No1 daughter is feeling unwell today. I need to telephone the school to report her absense. The school has an automated system for reporting your daughters' absence, so when the phone was answered by a very nice lady I was caught by surprise. I explained I would like to justify why my daughter was not in school today, and gave her name.
"Thank you Mrs Davies, but you will need to telephone the Girls School, you are speaking to the Boys School."
Oh, so I have managed to prove my unsuitability for being a parent once again!

That's not as bad as my darling husband, though. His telephone call to No 2 daughter's school was just fabulous. We practically eat out on this story.

I had had a slightly huge disagreement with the headmistress and refused to telephone her when there was some small problem with something (can't remember what it was now). I insisted my husband phone to sort it out. He wasn't keen, he doesn't like phoning people at the best of times, and so he thought he'd be brave and decided to say something I would say. Foolishly, when the Headmistress answered (boy, she can be scarey) he blurted out, hello, this is Jasmine's Mother. I was in total hysterics and he continued the conversation with the headmistress completely oblivious to what he'd just said, and glared at me the whole time because I was laughing so much. When he put the phone down, he was furious with me, "what is the matter with you? I'm trying to talk to her and you're just putting me off" Once I could speak again I told him he'd just told the headmistress he was Jasmines' Mother..... he swore loudly.

A week later Jasmine was ill, I still wouldn't phone the school, so darling husband had to do it. He said, right, and this time I will not say I'm her mother, picked the phone up, and honestly truly, he did it again! The Headmistress really likes my husband, she smiles widely every time she sees him.
There's really no hope for our children!

Monday, 25 June 2007

Teaspoons are like Socks

How can it be so long since I posted?
Of course I'm terribly busy making the three return school runs daily, keeping house, watching House (obviously), and trying to remember where the dustpan lives.
Jen really shouldn't just up and leave on holiday like that. She only gave me a few weeks on earth does she expect me to find all the things to clean the house with in such a short space of time.
Ocado still don't deliver here. I know we are miles from civilisation, but I buy almost the whole of Waitrose when I go in, surely that counts for something?

We had dinner on Saturday with our truly fab friends Charlie and Catrin.
They are remarkable on many levels. Catrin went to Oxford and advises ,worldwide, it seems, on green energy. On Saturday she mentioned the time she was working as an electrician rewiring strip - joints in Soho (as you do!)
Charlie went to a girls school in London, and was indeed a house-husband when we all first met. But camp? Not at all, his voice is as deep as the flood water is today.

But the memorable statement of the night was that teaspoons are like socks! Catrin is definitely unique. I'm not explaining why teaspoons are like socks, it won't be half so funny, but I was suspicious about the coffee...

Friday, 15 June 2007


My husband has a policy which he pays for just once every year. A salesman (always a man)phones us to announce the payment is due and calls to collect it within a few days. This only happens once a year, but it's far too often for my liking.
This time he phones at 10.45pm, no whiff of an apology for it being so late!
He complained he'd hurt his leg, da deed da, yawn.....
He turned up the next day...three hours late, and his body language was all indicating that he was expecting to walk into the house and given a nice cup of tea.
Not a chance of that, he was a detestible little round man with his tie half done up, greasy hair, and he was all sweaty...ugh!
Wow, I thought, a perfect example of how not to present ones-self.
He apologised for being so late, but his leg hurt so much he thought he'd give it a rest by driving at only 30 miles an hour instead of 60. I'm not sure it was an attempt at humour rather than total stupidity, I wasn't laughing.

This particular insurance company must write their adverts for staff as follows:
Crusty, stupid old men wanted for rural round.
Bad dress sense essential.
Must have no hygiene and display unpleasant facial skin condition.
Essential Quality is the ability to be irritating without even speaking.
No-one with good manners or common sense need apply.
Must have studied the book how to Lose Friends and Infuriate People.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Child Obesity

Sorry, I just cannot accept that obesity is a gene problem, a jean problem, yes!
I can eat more than most, and have to stay away from cups of tea otherwise I'll have to eat a packet of biscuits with it (there's nothing like a dunked biscuit.....awoawwmmm!) I know I've put on weight because I sit reading Dulwich Mum all day instead of running around being all fit and healthy, why can't people just be a bit realistic?

No exercise + unhealthy diet = very big person

I'll just say it the once, there were no fat people in Belsen.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

ADPS in Men

I was at a party on Friday evening in Bristol. It was a beautiful evening, very pleasant. We all donned our best frocks. The newly engaged couple looked very glamorous (a rock of a ring - hmphh! I can't stand being outdone!) The sun set over the fields, children raced around and I enjoyed watching mine from the marquee-covered patio. Then I saw him, our eyes met across the dance floor. I decided, to hell with it, I'll make the first move.
I picked up my young daughters' large toy cat and walked slowly across the room.
Why are you wearing pyjamas and carrying that large toy dog? I asked him.
Are you, too suffering from ADPS?
The tall, dark, handsome man was even wearing bedsocks. He had no children with him.
And do you know, he looked at me with the toy cat, as if I were mad!

Friday, 8 June 2007

A.D.P.S. All day pyjama syndrome

ADPS was being discussed this morning.
I was happily on my way home after the third morning school run thinking how fabulously lush the countryside is looking today. I passed two vehicles, must be rush hour! Suddenly I couldn't believe me ears, Mothers dropping their children off at school, still wearing their pj's! Even if I had pj's I wouldn't wear them to the school gate, that's for sure. Not only to school, but these mothers actually get onto buses and go to the hairdressers lie it? Why anyone would get a bus to the hairdressers I don't know!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Friends for Tea

Miss C. came for tea today. She's a lovely, very confident 8 year old, Mum works in the city, Dad farms, one part time Nanny.
She was really well behaved, even when Sophie bit her sister (Sophie's sister) very hard, she remained calm and did not attempt to join in the fight that resembled a Christian and Lions. I couldn't quite see what was going on, as I was trying to have a civilised conversation with a gentleman interested in buying some of my husbands' Aberdeen Angus Cattle. After apologising for the noise and removing Jazzie's arm from Sophie's teeth, the naughty step was implemented and toys tidied up. They ate tea without dropping any on the dog (v. disappointed) and had a nice time. Dad turned up to collect Miss C. She refused to leave, ignored eveyone for half an hour, and then walked up to her father fists clenched, screamed how mean his is to her kitten and then stomped into the car. It was almost the most amazing strop I've ever seen. The timing was perfect for ultimate dramatic effect, if a little irrelevant to the situation.
The best strop Miss C. threw was three years ago when she was 4. Jaz kept bouncing on the trampoline (as you do) and Miss C. wanted her to stop. Eventually, hands on hips, she shouted "Jasmine, my Nanny will not tolerate such behaviour!" Poor Jaz didn't have a clue how to react and wisely stood very still and quiet hoping to become invisible.
She'll be famous one day, no doubt about it.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007


I heard on the radio yesterday that a gentleman abroad was singing at a Karaoke Bar and was shot by a security guard for singing out of tune. I really laughed and then felt quite mean about it afterwards. This morning Terry Wogan was in hysterics about the same story (I feel I've had a reprieve). Apparently in the Phillipines the hit song 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra, has been removed from many Karaoke Bars because it 'results in too many fights and even deaths'!! That's seriously bad singing. Eldest daughter hates darling hubby joining in with My Chemical Toilet Brothers, but even in her teenage tantrums I don't think even she'd go that far!
'Daddy, you are majorly embaressing!'
Mc Fly also amuses Daddy beyond belief, being a farmer, he can think of no worse name than muckfly. Why bother going to see them in concert? there's plenty in the barn....

Monday, 4 June 2007

Half Term Heaven

It's over, Thank goodness.
The holiday, the chicken pox, the what are we doing now and constant 'what can I eat' fades like a bad memory.
I haven't been blasted by My Chemical Romance yet today(affectionately known by my darling hubby as My Chemical Toilet Brothers).
The oldest daughter was v. lucky. Because of chicken pox I didn't get out the house and to the dry cleaners with her school blazer until Saturday (14 mile round trip). I went to collect it and found the shop closed, luckily my loud but ladylike swearing, attracted the attention of the manager walking down the street. He galantly opened up and returned the said blazer. She was lucky..
The best bit is my cleaner has been in today..I can see the floor in the living room again, she's my very own household cavalry.

Planning a Children's Birthday Party

We always seem to think about this time of year as the start of the party season. Of course, there are Birthdays every day, and parents all over the country can be heard groaning with despair at the thought of arranging yet another birthday party for their child. How can we make them different and special for our children?.

Over the past few years, birthday parties have moved away from the “jelly and ice cream and pin the tail on the donkey” concept to parties that are almost elaborate in the extreme, with each child (or is it really us??) wishing for something “different”, something “special”. In reality, most children would probably enjoy themselves more if you gave them large cardboard boxes and lots of sticky tape, but no, we parents make our lives even more difficult than they should be through a ridiculous kind of peer pressure to create the dream party (and give ourselves a near nervous breakdown in the process).

The basic ingredients of a fabulous party are as follows: lots of cakes and jam sandwiches, and lots of balloons, with a few games such as Pass the Parcel, Blind Man’s Buff, and Musical Bumps. Additions to this recipe for success are the obligatory birthday cake, preferably homemade, and the must have “party bag”, without which no party could ever be complete. And of course, choose from the wealth of professional party services here in Wales, who will assist with all sorts of wonderful party ideas.

Party Organising Checklist

· First and most important is to agree with your child exactly how many friends they are allowed to invite.
· Decide on the party venue together, there’s no point forcing your child to have something they won’t be happy with. (If you desire a professional entertainer, be prepared to book well in advance)
· Send out the invitations two weeks before the party and be prepared to make follow-up phone calls to find out who’s coming and who isn’t. Invitations often stay in school or get lost on the bus.
· Check for food allergies when planning the Birthday Tea, so many children seem to have them these days.
· If you forget something, you’re probably the only person who will notice, don’t worry about it!
· Have a takeaway organised for the evening meal when you get home!

A twist on the traditional game of Pass the Parcel:

Instead of the usual parcel, cunningly contrived so every child ‘wins’ something, put one prize in the middle of the parcel. Between each layer of wrapping paper place a slip of paper with a ‘forfeit’ written on it. On the first slip put ‘Howl like a Wolf’, that will get them all giggling. Other suggestions for forfeits are: quack like a duck, walk like a crab, hop like a bunny. This will raise far more giggles and smiles. A plate of homemade biscuits in the shape of parcels, at the end of the game would do down a treat!

Unusual Presents for the Birthday Child?

How about a potted plant to put out in the garden or keep in their bedroom? A Venus Fly Trap or Cactus never fails to fascinate.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Chicken Pox has arrived again. Sophie has it in style.
Sophie has allergies to Strawberries, Kiwi Fruit and Dairy Products. If she happens to eat one of these ingredients accidently, we know we are in for a night of screaming and of course no sleep. She will get into such a state that she’ll stay awake on pure adrenalin until it’s time for everyone to get up, then she’ll fall into a deep sleep and I wonder if her sisters might be able to drive themselves to the school bus because I don’t think I can cope.
I have spent many a day looking very glamorous, (I’m being sarcastic, of course) and trying so very hard to sound as though I’m totally efficient and in full control of everything when customers telephone me.
The chicken pox is the very worst though, last night I had Sophie in bed with me, so that at least Daddy got some rest. ( I think he just likes sleeping in a pink bunk bed with lots of teddies.) I had to get up at least 10 times to take her to the bathroom or get her a drink. She didn’t actually have a drink or wee when I made the effort to facilitate these desires, so it was even more frustrating. She has spots where I thought it impossible to get them, poor little thing. Daddy took her to the doctor first thing this morning and they gave her the miracle juice better known as Calpol, and now we have to just wait for her to get better. Tell that to a three year old!
So it’s been a very long day. Sophie wanted to go for a walk, but didn’t actually want to walk, she wanted ‘a carry’. I couldn’t walk straight myself, so I got the pushchair from the barn, brushed it off and took her for a walk in that. Fruitcake (my puppy) rode in the pushchair too, they both really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it too, the day was glorious, fantastic. I could see the Malverns in one direction and the Black Mountains in the other.
Thinking of opening a new set of crayons to play dot to dot on her...should I be reported?

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

11 Million birthdays

We have 11 million children in the UK. All of them have Birthdays. Probably half of them have Birthday Parties. Frog in the Field has been set up to help the parents of these 5.5 million children to cope with the undeniable stress that a Birthday Party can cause.

We always seem to think about this time of year as the start of the party season. In reality there are Birthdays every day, so how do we make them different and special for our children? In Monmouthshire alone there is a wealth of professional companies ready to assist with your party plans. Caroline Davies founded Frog in the Field a year ago with her mission being to revolutionise the party bag. She works from the family farm in Newcastle, just outside Monmouth.

“I wanted to make a difference, only last month, my children came home from a party with a plastic bag full of sweets. This is everything I’m against. It’s so nice to give children a bag of quality gifts that they will treasure and re-use time and again.”

Frog in the Field has an easy to use e-commerce website ( with recommendations for age suitability and always a few special offers. While we do have an exclusive Limited Edition Prestige Range, we offer very competitive prices on our standard Party Bag range and cater for every budget and taste. With prices for complete pre-filled party bags from just £2.95 there has to be something for everybody.

We have customers from Edinburgh to St. Albans and get some weird and wonderful enquiries. The largest party bag order was for 52 guests at a 2nd Birthday Party and we’ve recently quoted for 50,000 party bags for a chain of restaurants based around London.
Customers often give us feedback, our favourite is from Mrs Parker of Kent: “Thank you so much! Am so pleased I took your advice! Will be back for my sons bday in sept – guaranteed!”

Where did our name come from? Some years ago our family were playing ‘I spy’ in the car. My daughter Jasmine was too young to know her alphabet, and shouted out ‘frog in the field!’ before bursting into giggles. We all laughed so much she would say it every time we played the game. When setting up my party bag business I wanted to think up a really quirky name and my husband said ” that’s easy, it has to be Frog in the Field.”

For a limited time only Frog in the Field is offering free delivery of party bags to all NP25 postcodes. This offer ends on 30th June 2007.

Frog in the Field have a Birthday Club on their website. Sign up and your children will receive a free electronic greetings card on their birthday!
Tel: 08451 702010

Other companies we are delighted to be associated with are:

Ayres and Graces supply beautiful hand-made party invitations. Shirley Ayres also puts together bespoke memory albums perfect for Birthday, Christenings and Weddings.

Twins Things supplies all sorts of fabulous gifts and functional items for parents and grandparents of twins, and of course gifts for the little ones themselves.

Tick Tock put on a terrific hour of entertainment for pre-school children at Drybridge House each week, on Wednesdays at 11.15am. The children love it, the parents adore it.

Flora Fairies is a fabulous new business founded by Andrea Jones. She has negotiated a fantastic arrangement with Usk Castle so your little ones can have a fairy party in the castle. She will also come to your chosen venue if you prefer.