Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas..

We've had much celebrating and frivolity this Festive Season.
The Frog in the Field Office Party was an occasion to be remembered.
Our non-executive breakfast chef (Darling Husband's best friend who turns up with bacon for breakfast when he's not working days) called in sick, so there were only four of us.

Our executive transport arrived spot on time to collect us all, and after a small tussle regarding who was sitting in the front, we were off!
We laughed all the way, and arrived at our venue in perfect time.
After an aperitif, some Newspaper reading and a bit more arguing regarding seating arrangements we selected from the menu.

We sat and pulled our crackers (we knew how to have a good time) and I took the lead reading out my joke:
" What do you call someone who buys presents for pets?"
Answer: "Santa Paws"
Everyone groaned.
Darling Husband read his joke out:
" What do you call someone who buys presents for pets?"
Answer: "Santa Paws"
We laughed
Household cavalry read hers out:
" What do you call someone who buys presents for pets?"
Answer: "Santa Paws"
We laughed a lot.
Fourth member of our party (Brother-in-Law) read his joke out:
" What do you call someone who buys presents for pets?"
Answer: "Santa Paws"

We were in hysterics, totally helpless!

"Hats on!" said my Brother-in-Law.
Darling Husband and his Brother donned their paper hats perfectly.
My hat had a diameter of a large tea-cup and our Household Cavalry just had one long strip of zig-zaggy paper which she draped across her head.

We were in hysterics, again.

Lunch arrived, beautifully presented.
The waitress asked : "is your lunch ok even though the crackers were crap?"
Thank goodness we had booked such an upmarket establishment for our festive treat, goodness knows what sort of people might have waited on us if we hadn't!

We ate our main course, during which the waitress/barmaid went home, and were pleasantly surprised to hear a man start playing guitar and singing really well behind us. It was lovely. We turned to see one man sat on the bar stool singing with feeling, while another gentleman sat not too far away on a table for one.

He said "He's not singing to me!!"
More hysterics...I asked if we were interrupting something..

We started thinking about pudding and noticed the chef leaving.
The bar lights had been switched off and even the man playing guitar had stopped.

Ah..better leave then...
We paid up and wandered out into the cold winter air deciding to take a stroll while we waiting for our executive transport to collect us.
We walked into the castle grounds passing a sign that said:
"No guide dogs or hearing dogs except for the deaf"
That didn't seem terribly fair to me, but I suppose those who were blind wouldn't know they were being discriminated against because it wasn't in Brail.

Our transport arrived and the driver suggested a slight detour to another quality hostelry for another drink before we were driven home. After a slight tussle for the front seat we settled in and each told our cracker joke to the very kind person driving who of course wished they weren't in our company at all.

The next venue was a total let down, the bar was open , they were welcoming, everything was perfect and therefore not so funny, but all in all we had a great time!

And's a silly poem:

It's Christmas Eve
All is quiet
When the girls wake up
there'll be a riot
They are so excited
They can't keep still
They are squealing and running
(Making me feel ill)
Time is dragging,
they just can't wait
Is that a rattling on the slate?

I wish you a Happy Christmas
Full of Smiles, Love and Cheer,
Chocolate and oranges,
Turkey Sandwiches and Beer.
But most of all
I wish you peace and goodwill
(Keep the turkey well chilled to make sure you're not ill).

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Bah! Humbug!

Well Merry Christmas Everyone!
We're very excited in the Frog house, our 11ft real Christmas tree is up and looking good. Father Christmas is the topic of the moment and the children eagerly look forward to their Uncle arriving on Christmas Eve with some carrots and a bucket of oats, sometimes a small net of hay. He makes a fuss of showing them the reindeer food and assures them it's freezing outside, they rush into the sitting room and listen for him to climb onto the roof (he throws sticks up there I think) to put the food in place and then rush to talk at him, all three at once while he has a congratulatory cup of tea and mince pie. He loves it, they love it.

This year a miserable supply teacher has been told not to return to one primary school after she told a class of seven-year-olds that Santa Claus did not exist!!

Children at Blackshaw Lane Primary School in Oldham were talking about Christmas when the teacher came out with the news.

Father Christmas was not responsible for delivering their presents on Christmas Eve, the pupils were taught. The teacher, who had been drafted in for just the day, has now been told not to come back and I'm glad that action was taken. Life is tough and we're a long time grown up, why spoil a little childhood magic? It achieves nothing but disappointment.

Frog in the Field has been extremely busy, I'm happy to say. Frog headquarters has been hopping with orders and this year I've had one or two excellent complaints which I'd like to share with you.

The first was a great comment about how in the web site photograph three products were featured, but only two arrived.

I replied: "Dear Mr A,
we were disappointed to see your negative feedback on Amazon regarding the service received from Frog in the Field.
May we please draw your attention to the technical details which clearly state the price is for two products.
We respectfully request you withdraw your negative feedback owing to this not being our error.
Negative feedback has a detrimental effect on business and the ability to trade on Amazon.
I very much hope you will honour this request.
Kind regards"

I got a fantastic reply:"Hi,

I understand your concerns, and acknowledge that the detailed technical small print does in fact indicate the price is for two products. I will therefore remove my negative feedback on the condition that you change the picture on Amazon, which is much more obvious and has three products in it. I could understand if it had one item, showing the product, or two showing the number you get, but I do think that most people would assume that they would get three of these by looking at the picture, and not realise they needed to check the small print.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Regards "

How much was the item? And what was it?
Well, it was a skull & crossbone temporary tattoo costing 50p.

The next one was great too:

The customer left feedback which read something like: 'Poor quality, not worth the money, postage costs far too high'

I responded
"Dear Mrs Rymer,
We are most disappointed to read your negative comments on Amazon regarding the toy microphone you purchased. I'm very sorry you were unhappy with the quality, may I suggest you return the item to us for a full refund? Unfortunately one cannot expect a fully functioning microphone for £1.50.
I would have very much appreciated you contacting me directly regarding your concerns than put negative feedback onto the site. I have not been given the opportunity to resolve the issues with you.

The P&P costs are not excessive for the item (£1.50). The Royal Mail charges us 95p Second Class or £1.14 First Class.
The item has to be picked from stock handwrapped and also packed into an envelope and then two stickers have to be printed to put on the parcel, the item is then taken to a collection point, all these steps are labour intensive and have cost implications.

I very much hope you will reconsider your comments and remove them.
Your sincerely,"

Both customers have now removed their feedback and I have a great selling record again....what is wrong with people?
I also had a request to give a refund on a sheep keyring (£1.50) because it was a no longer needed Christmas Present...what was the scenario there?
"Algernon! how could you?
I simply don't like it!"

Bets are being taken on what my present will be from Shirl this year. I wanted to give her a 2008 Calender but Darling Husband won't let me, the pictures are fabulous and he wants to keep it, damn he's so mean to me!

But today is the Frog in the Field Office Party...yippee!!
I look forward to slurring ribbits all afternoon and eating far too much lunch.
Must go and get glammed up now (wash my wellies).

Frog (hic!)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Blogging, Buddies & Christmas Boxes

Sparx has been very kind awarding me this, well, award. Thank you Sparx, it was a lovely boost to my battered little self.

I love the Blogging world for it's friendliness, it has led me to people I click with and laugh with. I read things that make me howl with laughter and sometimes this leads to hour long conversations on the phone, while consuming copious amounts of wine! I shant name names..

Frog in the Field has been very busy, even for this time of year, and I've not had time to blink let alone blog, but as the cattle have escaped this morning (yes we got up at 3am!), and Fruitcake alerted us with that stupid bark that makes all her feet leave the floor at once, I thought, to heck with it, I shall write a post and damn the consequences!

Yesterday I was a little concerned, and I'd appreciate some comments on this...yes, another true story!
I had an order for a small item for a child, and it was to be sent to a lady whose surname was 'Bilevych', I love Spoonerisms as much as the next person, but am I just being overly suspicious?

This week we played 'I spy'(we really know how to live), as we often do and daughter number three is now getting quite good at it. All this going to school makes the game far less funny. It used to be along the lines of 'something beginning with 't'
Daughter number three: 'house?'
But not any more.
Me:'I spy with my litle eye, something beginning with 'f'
Daughter number three: '' she looked thoughtfully round the kitchen.. 'um, I'm not allowed too say the swear word am I Mummy?'

Ah, and news on the new position as Chair for school Friends committee.
I was asked to Chair the AGM because the gentleman who was to take the last meeting was unwell, and as I was then Vice-Chair, it was my duty to stand in.
No pressure, just a new Head, only the AGM, and erm, no notes to work from.
It was all very pleasant with canapes, wine and polite conversation.
I had to improvise big time....didn't have a clue what to do or say and the inner Frog was screaming 'arghh!!!!!', while outer Frog remained cool and composed and inserted plenty of polite intervals between matters, while I frantically sifted through old minutes trying to work out what the hell I should be saying.
I think it went rather well!
(Cue the corkscrew!)
And in my new role as Chair, I like to think I'm on top of things...apart from emailing a fashion agent in Blackheath with numbers of tables booked for the ball, instead of a parent in Monmouthshire with the same first name, everything is under control!!

And of course we're all looking forward to Christmas here.

Bets are being taken on this years offerings from Shirl.
Here's a shortlist of favourite presents from her in past years:
A pot of honey
Terrys Chocolate Orange (4 years out of date) - no, I am not exaggerating.
Chocolates from the Tobacco Warehouse (chocolates inside were not the ones on the carton).
a vacuum she won in a competition.

I'm so terribly excited!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

My Wonderful Nan

Today has been a sad day, today was my grandmother's funeral.
She was fab, I shall miss her very much, we laughed a lot together and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had so much quality time with her in my adult life. My children adored her almost as much as I did.

So, we gathered at the church, a large and sad family. Sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends of grandchildren, and children of friends of grandchildren.

The sun shone and it was a lovely service and burial (as lovely as it could be), with tributes read out and some particularly dodgy hymn singing, and although I've cried many tears over losing her, I've decided to highlight the humour of the day, because indeed there always is some, and I could always make my Nan laugh, she loved to hear the ridiculous stories about life at Camp Frog.
I recall making her laugh so suddenly one day that she spat her tablets out..thankfully her teeth stayed in!

As we sat there today I thought about Darling Husband's friend's comments this week. He had been visited by a Jehovah Witness.
JW: Do you know what happens to you after you die?
Friend of DH: Yep, they put you in a box and drop you in a hole in the ground.
JW : Well that's not really what happens
Friend of DH: Well, I've been bearer at many a funeral and I can tell you, that's what happened every time.

The gentleman left, sadly shaking his head, fearing for Darling Husband's friend's soul.

The undertaker arrived and put up the stand at the front of the congregation, on which to stand the casket...We were once at a funeral and the undertaker did the same thing, carefully placing the trestles just so. Darling Husband leaned over and whispered "this really is not the time for putting wallpaper up".

The flowers were stunning and almost everyone wore something lilac because it was Nan's favourite colour.

Shirl was without question engaging in an Oscar winning performance at the graveside, so much so, I have wondered if she's been watching re-runs of Dallas! She had adorned herself in gold sunglasses and fur coat for the occasion. (Bear with me, you won't think I'm so mean in a mo)

We all retired to the local hostelry, which was once owned by my Great-Grandfather and indeed where many of us had spent happy hours as children.
Shirl had to be helped into the pub, such was her distressed state, which wasn't easy viewing.
Funerals are never easy, emotions run high and we were all a bit reluctant to say much for a while, but soon a row broke out, as they always do at funerals.
There were raised voices and pointing, others were called over and they joined in, sides were taken and no-one could sort out exactly where the Grandfather clock used to be. Beer flowed and we ate four times as many sandwiches as the pub had prepared in advance.

A man I'd seen in the church was introduced to Shirl and amazingly the tears stopped and Barbie re-appeared!! Gosh what talent to be able to change characters like that!

I know, you think I'm mean, but going from an inconsolable wreck to come up and see me some time was quite a transformation. She still managed her high heels, tight belt and leg-showing skirt. I could almost hear my dear Nan asking what the hell her daughter was playing at!!

And the punch line, I'm shocked and embarrassed, but as I can't tell my Nan, I'll tell you. Before we got into the car to travel the 40ish miles home I walked down to the Grave for another look at the flowers, and was surprised to see a few relatives also there.

"Aren't the flowers lovely" My Aunt said.
I started feeling tearful again.
My Aunt can read me like a book and continued with a tiny smile ", lovely, guess which ones are from your Mum (Shirl)?"

I looked at the flowers, huge cushions of white and lilac buds, a whole row of letters forming the word 'Mum', Sprays and Bouquets..obviously hundreds of pounds worth of flowers.

"I don't know" I said quietly.

"The Cyclamen" said my Aunt and laughed and laughed.

Amongst all the beautiful arrangements was a single potted Cyclamen; a pink potted cyclamen, and this for the wonderful lady whose favourite colour was lilac, and from the monied daughter who was clearly the most devastated about her passing.

"She said they didn't have any lilac flowers left"

Well, there is a credit crunch on I suppose !

Can I make a public plea..if ever I get that mean, shoot me..

Friday, 7 November 2008


November the 5th was a filthy wet and windy night.
Everyone in our house was grumpy.
Nothing would placate the two youngest, not even Jaffa cakes!

"Right!" said Darling Husband "Who wants to see some fireworks?"
"Me! Me!!" they shouted.

The two youngest covered themselves in thick warm clothes and set off with Daddy.

On their return they came in with glowing faces, tired out and flopped into bed.

Darling Husband poured himself a drink..
"Well, we drove to the Golf Course, but it seemed to be cancelled, lots of other people turned up - but there were no fireworks.
So, we went into town and just saw the last ones going up in the distance.

We drove out to Llanarth, as it started later, and got there a few minutes late.
The little one was frightened by the fireworks and refused to get out of the car.
She finally got brave and we all got out.
They wanted a hot dog...
We got hotdogs,
We missed the last fireworks
The Little one hated the hotdog
I said I'd eat it, she threw it on the floor in temper."

Big Sigh.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Cars & Bras

My nephew is the most gorgeous young man ever (excluding my Godson and his bro).
He's 8ft 6" (The Vampire says he's 10ft 9") and has hair like Sideshow Bob.
He's just finished a masters degree in something terribly exciting that starts with Geo-..
Nephew was invited to join the medics he had shared a house with for three years after they finished their work stint in India, we were worried, Nephew booked his ticket.
He journeyed to London to sort out his visa.
All went as planned and being a Country boy, called a friend and asked, what should I do to kill a bit of time?
The young lady in question sent him to look at the longest escalator in the world!#!!
Why (splutter) would you even mention that if you were female, to a chap?...were there not better things to see in the great capital?
Anyway, Nephew went to see the escalator, and thought it was really cool(speechless).

He left for India.
The first email we had said:
"on the way over we hit turbulence and dropped miles and a mans' dinner floated over the seat in front and i got showered with rice( a bit scary )!"

The next email read:
"the Taj Mahal was amazing. Rhys trod on a cobra when we were playing golf there. I had a monkey jump on me at some temple like on the jungle book."

He did a camel trek in the desert and slept on the sand under the stars, he had the most fabulously awesome time. He even bribed a zoo-keeper to get closer to the Tigers while they were being fed (why would anyone do that?).

Back at home, while he was away, another adventure was happening on a very quiet still night. We don't get light pollution here, so on a clear night you can see all the stars and mountains lit up from behind by the South Wales City of Newport. It's also very quiet, just the sound of animals munching, breathing..crickets in the hedgerows.

My Sister in Law woke when she heard a noise outside and rushed to the window, it was around 2am.
My Nephews' car was disappearing down the road.
She shouted to her Husband and says she's not seen him move so fast in thirty years. He gave chase in their other car, clad in only his pj's and slippers.
My niece woke upon hearing all the commotion and got dressed while my SIL phoned the Police.
Now it just so happens that my Nephew's car runs on gas, and only starts the engine on diesel, so within a mile the car thief had conked out and was just puzzling over the problem when my Brother-in-Law ripped the car door open and snatched the keys from the ignition!! There was a bit of a tugging and to-ing and fro-ing with the car door (and I suspect some eloquently choice words) until the the light fingered fellow pushed hard on the door from the inside, throwing my Brother-in-Law into the hedge!! Then the scallywag made a run for it while my Brother-in-Law unhooked himself from the foliage, probably very grateful that he'd had any pj's on at all.
Brother-in-Law returned home with one slipper and collected my niece who helped to retrieve the stolen vehicle.
Meanwhile, what was my sister in law doing?
Well somehow, in all the excitement she'd managed to put two bra's on and when she tried to take one off it was the underneath one and she'd got in a complete knot...

I just give up, I really do.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Harvest Festival

This week we had the Primary School Harvest Festival in one of our beautiful local churches. It was a crisp, sunny Autumnal morning.
The children streamed into the church, class by class, some pushing and shoving, some grinning, some sucking thumbs.
The parents packed out the back of the church and the vicar welcomed us all to such a lovely occasion.

The orchestra struck up a light rendition of "Always take the weather with you", the saxophones and violins joined the throng and it was a light tune no longer. The volume of the extra instruments drowned out the others and the timing went totally to pieces. The rosy cheeked singers began to look flustered, but battled on.
Darling Husband and I shook with laughter, two Mums behind us made strange wheezing and whining noises, thankfully drowned out by the sax.

For Daughter number 3, this was her first experience of being involved in a Harvest Festival. Of course she had attended to watch her bigger sisters in previous years. The last one was 2006.
Our Head doesn't encourage pre-school children at these events because she feels the noises they make can be off-putting for their older siblings. Parents of course, ignore the advise saying their poppets will behave in an exemplary manner.
I was fortunate to never get 'the look' from the Head mainly because I always waited to go into Church last and stand next to the door, so I could leave the minute there was the slightest grumble.
But alas, all good plans...
In 2006 I waited to go in last, chatting to the Vicar.
The Vampire was with us because she had a day off her new school for some reason(she left Primary a year early), but all her classmates (46 of them were there).
We walked in together and I stood by the door, squashed with other parents.
All 46 of the Vampires classmates started whispering her name loudly.
The Head frowned. (It was not the thing to do, taking her out a year early)

Mr Vicar "Ah, Frog, don't stand there with daughter number three, come up to the choir stalls with me"
Oh, so I was taken by the man himself, paraded past the Head (frowning) and sat behind the pulpit.
Whew, I was out of sight of the Head, Daughter number three could wriggle and make a bit of noise and I'd be ok, but I was a bit bothered about being so far from the door in case of screaming.
The children all did their stuff beautifully, and often out of tune.
The vicar teased Daughter number three and was no help whatsoever on the discipline front.
But the finale, oh, it was good.
A very lovely lady from the village (My old Economics teacher at Grammar School) asked to stand next to the pulpit and congratulate the children on money raised for a well-fund in Africa. She talked eloquently about the children it would help and the whole Church fell silent to hang on her every word.
Daughter number three decided it was time to go and leapt from my lap.
She marched up directly behind lovely lady ex-teacher and shouted 'HA!!' while doing a star jump.
Vicar laughed hysterically
Vampire choked and spluttered
Daughter number three grinned (while being yanked sideways)
Lovely Lady took no notice whatsoever
Head frowned.

A lovely Blogging buddy asked me a few weeks ago, "is what you say on your Blog about your mother true?"
It's all true....all my stories are true, in camp Frog there's no need to exaggerate.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Ever the Diplomat...

I've been asked to consider taking on the position of Chairperson of the school Friends Committee. I was slightly ever so flabberghasted by this and could only squeak: "I'm not sure I'm sensible enough".
I don't know the new Head, the Bursar scares me and what if I say something stupid out loud?
The Vampire told me to go for it, "I mean what can be so bad about it?"
Me: "I might say something stupid"
The Vampire "Yes,'ll have to learn to be diplomatic"

Yes, that's all very well, but this is me, and I'm not so sure I'm really capable.
Here's an example, (click here) and this was cut and pasted from genuine emails.

I asked a friend what she thought..."Don't do it, it'll be a disaster"

I asked my bag lady with whom I have an excellent working relationship..."You'll be brilliant, I've never met anyone with so much....."...I've no idea what she said now because I was a bit shocked, again, but she thought I'd be fine.

I asked Darling Husband what he thought.
"Friends? Pah! You should have sat in on my bloody village meeting last night, we should call it negative! you just wouldn't believe the moaning...mutter, mutter"

I decided to try my best, "I'll do it", I told the present Chairperson, I'll try really hard to behave myself".
"Great! Thanks" he said.

So today I sat here,at my desk working diligently preparing for the hard slog of Christmas Trade that starts in 6 weeks and the phone rang.
It was from a lovely company I have worked hard with this summer preparing their new range of party bags and we are just waiting on the web page...have been waiting on the web page for around 6 weeks. We chatted, finalised matters, and then she said:
"By the way, Kevin (geek of slow speed) can read every email you send to us"


"Oh, I'm so sorry, I had no idea, if only I'd known I'd never have..."
The phone signal was lost and I felt rather undiplomatic in the highest order.
Here's what I'd written:

"Have you seen what he's done?

What's he playing at? He got the new photos the other day, but has just changed the order and resized the crap pics!!
Do I have permission to go and slap him?
Don't forward this email to him......I know what you're like (Ha Ha!)"

Oh the shame!
What are my chances of getting a book deal on the Title "How to make friends & influence people"

ps. He shaped up pretty quickly after he saw that though!

Sunday, 21 September 2008

True Stories...and there's more to come!

I had a night out with some friends.
We went to a super fab gastro-pub which is THE place to go at present. I was salivating at the thought of it. I was driving, so declared myself out of the wine affair for the evening.
Wine was chosen.
Wine was brought.
Wine was hated and sent back, with a toss of the head and flick of the hand.
Wine was brought back (with impeccable manners and perfect service) and it was gently explained to my co-diners that madam is mistaken, the wine is not corked.
We ate dinner and they begrudgingly sipped the vino.
The waiter returned...I felt like a pelican (I had a huge bill in front of me).
Me: "Did you know how much that wine was when you ordered it?
Diner 1.."yes, well I was struggling to find anything decent"
Me: "Yes, but" I was spluttering now with shock "did you know how much it was?"
Diner 2 "Let me see the bill...hmm, yes I'm not surprised"
The waiter arrived to take our money and said he hoped we had enjoyed our dinner.
Me "Lovely, Thank you"
Diner 1 : "Fine Thank you"
Diner 2 looked straight into his eyes and said : "The food was lovely, but your wine is s**t"

How much was the wine you ask?
We dropped off Diner 1 and I asked Diner 2 again.."did you really know how much that wine was when it was ordered?"
Diner 2 "I didn't have a clue!"
OHMYGOD!! snigger!
Darling Husband: "How was your night out?"
I told him.
Darling Husband "OHMYGOD!!"

My sister called by to shower the girls with gifts from the Maldives (humph!) and announced she was taking a keep fit lesson this week.
When she said taking, she meant she's the head honcho, in command, top dog!
Darling daughter number three was excited to tell how she has started ballet (me with a daughter going to ballet???).
Sister instantly sprang into pose wanting to show her ballet moves she uses for keep fit.
"Look, like this, hold your arms like...oh, I can't do it very well in my wellies.."
That's going to be a keep fit class worth going to, obviously.

Last Friday I bought a Chargrill Chicken sandwich from Greggs and then drove on to Bristol.
Halfway there, I went to take a bite and discovered no chicken in my chicken sandwich (well of course I pulled over, you really don't think I'd be eating whilst driving do you? I mean..that's illegal!).
So, I continued my journey and decided to return the said sandwich on my next visit into town for a refund.
I came home after the shops had shut, did the weekend things and then, on Monday returned to Greggs after picking up all the children from various educational facilities.

Me: "Hello, I bought this sandwich on Friday and thought I'd better keep it to show you...there's no chicken in it and there should have been. Could I have my money back please?"

Young male assistant "Oh, um, er, I'll, um just go and ask ...."

Female Bakery assistant of senior level (and boy, didn't SHE know it):
She didn't say anything for a moment.
She looked me up and down very slowly from my head to my feet and back again, with the contempt that only a senior level bakery counter assistant could muster.
Sneering slowly "You bought this on Friday..............and you've JUST noticed there's no chicken init?"

We laughed all the way home.

And people wonder why I don't like going to town?

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

New Term...when are the holidays?

And so here we are, just starting the second week of school.
Some things have changed in camp Frog, others things remain the same.
Daughter number three has started school, my (almost)14 years as full time Mum are over.

Daughter number two has a new teacher and is rather scared of her, so that means another year of amazing excuses to try and get out of it every day.

The Vampire loves school, ever the swot (don't know where on earth she gets it from) but has a new Head...she's missing the old one.
New term, new regime...healthier lunches. No school dinners where the smackeral of something lovely is the only thing eaten and one's children arrive home like savages in tempers.
Now all tempers are lovely and happy and I'm certain their food has something to do with it. So..
6am the vampire pokes at me until I get out of bed.
I get dressed (I think) and line up the sandwich boxes.
Empty the dishwasher.
Potatoes are peeled and cook while I get fresh salad stuff from the paddy field that was our cottage garden.
I wash and chop up fresh salad, prepare potato salad, slice cold (home-produced) pork and throw it all in the boxes.
Then I prepare the fresh fruit salad..ugh.
The mountain of peelings go into the pig food bowl (which is enormous).
Darling Husband then drives the vampire to school in his toolbox, I can't see it's a car any longer, it contains gateposts and John Deere filters and other odd bits and pieces.
The vampire strongly protests because there was a bottle of Bud broken by daughter number two in the 'car' and now she's concerned that she'll smell of beer in school.
Then I poke the other two girls until they get out of bed.
Answer the phone and listen to the vampire plead with me to drive her lunch into school...again!
I heat Baked beans for daughter number, she eats one spoon and says she doesn't like them.
Cheerios in a bowl..she eats one spoonful and says she doesn't like them.
Fresh pancakes? no
Rice Krispies? no
Daughter number three, the new girl gets up, puts her uniform on, brushes her own hair (gasp!), puts shoes on the right feet and gets her book bag ready...perfect!
Darling husband arrives home in time to take the other two to the school bus and strap them in.
I feed the piggies
Empty the washing machine
Load the washing machine
Load the dishwasher
I'm shattered.

Our lady that does (otherwise known as the household cavalry, it's usually a fight just to get from one side of the kitchen to another) arrived and was delighted to be told Darling Husband had purchased a new vacuum. She hated the old one and was so happy when it finally fell to pieces.
The milkman arrived.
I stayed outside chatting to him while Darling Husband bravely brought our lovely lady that does, inside and broke the news that yes, he had indeed, against all her pleading, purchased another Dyson.
The milkman left.
I entered the kitchen and noticed Darling Husband was still able to walk and was surprised by an apology from our lady.
"Why are you apologising?" I enquired.
"I swore in front of your child, I'm sorry, it's just that hoover..."she pointed at it with an accusatory finger and then muttered "it won't be long before the dog eats it, anyway"
Later they were sat having coffee reading the Hereford Times and discussing the proposed changes to the city centre.

Darling Husband " I don't know why they can't just put it all back to a nice old city instead of trying to make it look like every other place"

our Lady "Yeah,....I hate change"

Darling Husband " I know, that's why I bought a Dyson.."

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Another True Story

There's trouble at camp Frog today.
Our daughter dissolved into floods of tears over her free range rare breed sausages.
"What's the matter darling?"
"Yesterday when Bea asked you if it was true that (sniff), that if you got a bat stuck in your hair, you'd have to have all your hair cut off, you said, no, you'd have to have your head cut off...sob!"
Darling Husband left the room and was heard to be stiffling strange noises as he went outside.
"But darling, surely you know Mummy was just teasing precious Max?"

Darling Husband returned to his breakfast, wiping tears from his eyes, a forced frown on his handsome face.
Darling Husband: "Now you know Mummy talks complete nonsense most of the time, why on earth are you taking her seriously all of a sudden?"

"But you always tell us that you will never tell us lies and we can always trust what you say"

This is all your fault Dulwich Mum....

Sunday, 3 August 2008


Thank you Mean Moody Middleaged Mom, Confused Take That Fan, Not enough Mud and Berthddu Suit for awards, I get all emotional to think someone out there loves this little frog (sniff).
I've also been tagged by said Welsh Blogger to do the following:
supply six random snippets of information about myself.
Tag Rules:
Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on the blog. Write six random things about yourself. Tag six people at the end of your post. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

only six? erm, where to start.

1. I once went to an Agricultural Show with Buster Blood Vessel of Bad Manners.

2. I'm married to a beef farmer and my initials are now CJD.

3. I have a tendency to give my pets ridiculous names:
Spot (no spots at all)
Truffles (Mother in Law thought I said Shovel)

4. Though loyal and generous to my fab chum friends, I never forgive and forget.

5. I have the ability to create the most amazingly awful Trifle ever.

6. I had Blue Hair and looked like something out of Fraggle Rock when at Art College.

I don't know who to tag, so I'll think on it....

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A Grand Time Out

Ooh, I've been receiving awards and tagged, so exciting!!
Thanks very much to Berthddu Suit and Confused Take That Fan.

I will endeavour to 'do' the tag too...but not today, and bear with me, this is a long one, but the punch line isn't half bad.

We've been camping in Cardiganshire with friends. It was a fantastic break.
Our friends nagged us for most of the week before, phoning at all sorts of times of day and night, dropping 'are we going camping?' into the conversation until we gave in.

The plan was to leave at around 5pm.
Our friends rang to say they were ready...darling husband was farming, so they left and we would follow.
I had:
booked the campsite
washed the children
Made fresh bread
cooked a joint of gammon
had a blowout on the car with 200kilos of pig food on board
had a new tyre fitted
cleaned the kitchen
cleared the fridge
tidied the living room
washed and dried clothes
finished an enormous quote (yeehahaha!!!)
put the pod on the car
packed clothes, towels, knives forks and storm kettle
rediscovered all items for camping and using tesselation skills packed the car to perfection

Darling husband came home, washed and changed and drove us to West Wales.

My friend and I had sat at my computer to find the site they had stayed at before, she knew where she was going and when we got near the coast we met up with her and followed her onto the site, in the dark...we were very glad not to have to try and find it on our own.

We arrived very tired, delighted to be handed a large glass of port and invited to sleep in their tent for the night instead of putting ours up in the dark and the coastal winds.

The morning was beautiful, fresh and sunny and the campsite looked straight over the sea. It was fantastic.
We put our tent up next to our friends.
The farmer arrived.
We had to move our tent.

We went to the beach, us our friends and our five children.

Daughter number three spent the day filling her pockets with sand and rocks, the older two children built a dam and the oldest two children went fishing with a dad. Vampires it seems are a little duff at fishing.

I spent the day perfecting my sunburnt extremities and reading the Saturday Telegraph (what a fab publication it is).

Darling Husband slept on the beach, my friend read the Daily Mail, we were all very happy.

And our time continued in this relaxed manner.
We ate a leisurely brunch on the last morning.
packed the contents of the tent away
Folded all clothes
Flattened airbeds
aired sleeping bags
stuffed sleeping bags in their bags
resorted possessions into theirs and ours
packed the pod with bedding
swept the tent out
took out all the tent pegs
tied up all the strings
took out all the tent poles
folded the tent
packed the tent away
packed the car

Darling Husband poked the fire, then went to settle up with the farmer, along with my friend.

He and my friend returned, a little disgruntled.
"How much did they say it would be on the phone when you booked?" asked my friend
"£15 per tent per night"
"Well they charged us £20 a night!"
I decided to go and see the farmer and his wife, I made the booking, I'd sort it out.

I knocked the door, a female human rabid pitbull chewing a wasp answered the door, and she wasn't terribly friendly and had a slightly very aggressive manner.

"Mrs Davies?" I asked politely.

Pitbull "NO! Where are you from?"

Me "Erm, sorry to bother you, we're camping in that field there, I seem to have made a mistake, I do apologise"

Pitbull "You're with us then!"

Me "Oh, um, well, I'm terribly sorry, I think there's been a misunderstanding somewhere. When I spoke to you on the phone to book with you.."

Pitbull (now getting nasty) "I've never spoken to you on the phone, who are you?"

Me "I'm Mrs Frog, my erm husband was talking to you this, when I telephoned you said the fee was £15 a night per tent.."

The pitbull stormed into other room shouting "this woman is complaining about our prices!!

The farmer slammed his knife and fork down and marched to the door.
I explained again about the price on the phone and the price we'd just been charged, his wife ranted and raved behind him (I wished he would chain her up).
He said that their prices were clear and justified and in fact should be £23 a night.
Pitbull "I definitely didn't speak to you"

I suddenly had a thought, it all didn't seem right.
Me "What's the name of this farm? I asked.
Farmer answered "Nant-y-Croi"
Me " Oh dear, I'm so, so sorry. I have obviously booked one campsite and come to another, I'm so sorry, there's no problem at all, I'm obviously in the wrong place"

Pitbull and farmer racked up the strop even more, justifying their prices and insisting I hadn't spoken to them.

Me "I think you've completely misunderstood me, I'm apologising for bothering you, obviously I am not in the place I booked us in to, there's no problem at all"

Pitbull stormed off, the farmer said not to worry it happens all the time.

So, it seems we followed our friends into the wrong site and not one of us noticed the huge sign at the gate with the wrong farm name on it.

I just need to call the other site now and apologise for not turning up, they sounded so friendly and nice too....

We saw it on the way home, it looked time.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

I've had a few surprises this week or so.
Firstly I never realised what a tight grip over merchandise Disney has, I buy in huge quantities, usually from importers but I've struggled this time, failed in fact.

I found a kitten hiding from daughter no.3 in a mixing bowl in the cupboard (sigh!).
So it was Spring Clean time and more stuff in the dishwasher (I'm sure it's going to go on strike soon). I'm seriously thinking of writing to Norris McWhirter to see if I hold the record for most uses of single dishwasher in one day (full loads every time).

I discovered Darling Husband is capable of booking tables in restaurants. Our wedding anniversary was looking grim when I called my Scottish friend to enquire where we were going and what I should wear.
I was told we were off to the Indian in Abergavenny....I was gutted. Don't get me wrong, I love Indian food, but it was our anniversary and I want to be indulged!!

On the way, Darling Husband suggested we stop for a drink in the Walnut Tree.
I got really excited, way hey! I thought, he's going to surprise me....then I remembered he doesn't do that sort of thing and that I really would be having a curry and should just calm down a bit.
We left our friends fighting over the position of the car in relation to a. the road, b. the other vehicles c. the rain!! and wandered in. Darling Husband announced to the waitress he'd booked a table and I squeaked irritatingly with excitement,it was a lovely!
We had a great evening, but again a surprise, it wasn't as good as our favourite place in Herefordshire. Hmm.
Darling Husband wasn't impressed with a thin steak (never give a beef farmer thin steak) and our friends thought it was pretty average.
I loved the whole night, fab!! Ahh, he can be romantic sometimes....

The Vampire has gone to Greece with the school. She has sent a few messages home moaning about the heat but we did warn her that vampires and sunshine didn't mix. I also suspect that the white clothes I bought her are making her feel vulnerable instead of the black, khohl-eyed Emo that she is inside.
Biggest surprise there, she rang me and said she missed me and her voice wobbled....oh! I admit it gave me a lump in my throat and I wanted to go and get her home again. She's also just emailed to say she misses me loads and loads and that her toy bunny is ok. Bless! See vile teenagers can love their mothers sometimes.

The other two are sleeping in their sisters' bed together, sharing her skull blanket and squabbling because one has long feet!

So apart from a lack of loud music and stamping, it's still pretty wild and wacky here.
The wine rack is looking a bit sad but I'll just rummage in the fridge, ah, anyone fancy a nip of Blue Tongue vaccine?

Monday, 7 July 2008


I have a serious problem and I've spent hours and hours running into days searching without any success. The Vampire has been no help whatsoever ("Mum, that's just so not Emo!"), and the other two have never heard of it. Darling Husband has absolutely no interest, "What no John all? What's the point in that?"

So I'm begging does any one of you, look we'll keep it secret, it'll just be between us, do any of you know anything about High School Musical?

I need to put together some High School Musical Party Bags and I just can't get to grips with it.
I really need an importer or volume supplier who can supply me with cases of merchandise, but none of the ones I use are licensed ones..can anyone at least tell me what's out there?
What should go in a bag ?
Please...I'm desperate.
Help me OB1 kinobe, you're my only hope....

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

I've been tagged by From Dawn till Rusk
to do a rambling apprciation of five Blogs I like. This in itself is tricky because there are so many good ones out there. I have to limit my blogging time otherwise Birthday Parties would be a disaster because I had blogged instead of sending out party bags, ooh, imagine the hostlities!!

So, in no particular order I like this one, by Girl with a Mask which I think most of you have seen.
It just makes me cry laughing. It's the kind of thing I can imagine being muttered under the breath of my husband around his mothers table, just loud enough for us all to hear but inaudible to his mother.
I love Girl with a Mask, very often I don't comment, she leaves me speechless, but she's brilliant.

Next (in no particular order is Millenium Housewife she writes the most brilliant lists.
This one is my favourite, unless you have a young child you just can't appreciate it, so if anyone wants to borrow my youngest daughter, do give me a, I'm not serious, we'll sell her on Ebay to the highest bidder.

And another wild woman I like is Jo Beaufoix this post is just typical of the nonsense spoken in my home too...erm, I think I have a theme going here that a. we are childish and b. we are childish.

And this Post from my lovely Blog friend (whether she likes it or not) Potty Mummy because she's inspired me to go on a diet too...and boy are we hungry!

And I am a huge Pig fan, so here's the recent post from her a great example of the trials of motherhood and selflessness which we all exhibit from time to time inthe course of our duties as parents......

But, I have to add one extra because I cannot go without the person who inspired me to start blogging. The queen B Dulwich Mum. I can't find the Swarfega one, so I'll settle for this fantastic post by Bea.

So I tag Millennium Housewife, Dulwich Mum, Gone Back South, Valley Girl and Blog That Mama

Sunday, 29 June 2008

We seem to live constantly in a rat race!!
Living out in the sticks, this is a constant source of entertainment to anyone who comes here..."We thought it would be so quiet here" is often the reaction.

Yesterday for instance, we all got up and surveyed the immaculate downstairs (my lady that does is just brill).
Everyone was threatened with severe pain if they made any mess, 'my boys' were coming (my Godson and his little brother) with their Dad and Step-Mum. 'Dad' was going to take some product photos for me to put on my website so I cleared the kitchen table and started to make up a wrap-around light box.

Darling Husband was rushing in and out giving orders for the was his first year as Chairman of the Village Show and he was putting in wads of effort.

"Pick me up from the hall"
"Just knock up this poster with the Chicken Race rules"
"Phone Hywel and get him to bring a chicken"
"Who's manning the Crockery Smash?"

The Milkman arrived.
He put the kettle on and said 'mornin'!'
I was horrified..
He made no comment or looked the slightest bit surprised that I had a 5ft lawn mower box on the table and was lining it with white card...are we that weird in our house that nothing shocks the milkman any more?
He got fed up with waiting for our archaic water boiling method and made like Elvis.

I fed my piggies (31 now!!- I do fear I'm becoming a farmer) and unlocked my executive storage facility to get out new stock that needed photographing.
Right on cue, here come my boys, Godson now at eye-level (gulp!) and an aspiring Welsh Rugby player with a deep voice. In came the tripod, two cameras, laptop, cuddly toy and tea-set.

I pretty quickly realised that my multi-tasking skills were fading fast.
Making tea,
answering the phone "Yes I will give you a lift to the show, no it doesn't star for a few hours yet",
cooking pancakes,
setting up photo-shoots,
mopping pancake mix from my jeans and shoes,
delegating the chicken race rules poster to 'Step-Mum',
finding felt flower rings (where are they?)
chasing the cats out,
keeping the dog in,
teaching Godson how to make pancake mix,
putting out pan fires,
smoke extraction without letting the cat in and the dog out,
making coffee for those I forgot in the first round,
proof-reading the poster.. " Erm,I think there's an 'r' in Mallard",
answering the phone..."yes I will be there for the start of the fun run",
"Where does Darling Husband want the Purple sprouting planted? ..In the garden"

My boys and friend and lovely wife left with all their belongings, my children sat in the car.
Eldest daughter (vampire-pirate-fairy)looking all lovely
Youngest daughter looking pleased with herself at having managed to avoid a hairbrush all morning.
Middle daughter seemed to have already gone to the show with Mr Chairman, un-noticed by this caring nurturing mother.

The Village Show went very well.
No fatalities on the Fun run
No fighting over the vegetable competition
The ice-cream van didn't run over any children even though we thought he was making a very concerted effort to do so when he arrived.
No chickens turned up, I for one was very grateful, but Darling Husband was disappointed.
The highlight for me though was the local Mayor, who is blind, having a go on the coconut shy!!
Not content with missing badly, he proceeded to the crockery smash!
Then he had a go at skittles....

We came home exhausted and I was hit by the thought the house had been vandalised. There were broken and burnt pancakes all over the kitchen, wrapped around knife handles, sugar covered the worktops and maple syrup dripped from the bottle on it's side. The living room was no longer how I remembered it that morning, all the cushions were piled on the floor, throws were screwed up under the TV and my lovely feather sofa was as flat as road kill. There were empty cups all over the place...bugger!

I re-adjusted the living room and put all the washing up in the sink (thank goodness it's so big) and flopped onto the sofa with a glass of wine.

The milkman arrived.
He brought with him his lovely wife and daughter.
They also brought with them a huge bunch of gorgeous flowers (for dog-sitting) and a new kettle .. he's so subtle.
My children got out of bed and played badminton in their pyjamas.
We sat and laughed and watched our fab new kettle that changes colour according to the water temperature..awesome!

I'm such a tired little frog.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Pigsty inside and out

Hoorrrayyyyy!! (Don't panic, I'll moan in a couple of paragraphs) More baby piglets!
My lovely Pepper Pig has had thirteen piglets.
Poor thing, she gave birth to them over 7 hours while the boy pig, Ham (short for Hamilton) sat outside the pen, puffing and panting in sympathy.

We have also had an overnight guest, my daughter's best friend. He and she have been in each others' company since she was six weeks old and he was born. They've been to restaurants and barbecues, parties, camping and they are even in the same class at school. It's lovely, they are very close and think the world of each other even though the whole class thinks they are in love..bless! They are only 9!

He and she are very alike, they bring out the creativeness in each other like I have never seen. Within minutes of being home from school yesterday our living room was dismantled and transformed into a world of blankets and giant lawn mower boxes. The den 'fell down' (with the aid of my 4 year old daughter) at least three million times and there was whining of the screechiest quality to be heard for over five hours. The den became a large bed of a strange design, so basically they slept in a box and we had a momentary panic that only two children could be found, the third was found fast asleep snuggled (wedged) between the sofa and a cupboard.

This morning the den had taken on an organic form and life-force of it's own. I fear I will never reach my huge feather sofa again and I've no idea where the TV is.
The lawn mower box has collapsed and there is growing criticism between the friends that each is pretty duff at building dens. The tension is building faster than the den, it's a true test of friendship, and a true test of my nerves...I need a drink but I don't suppose being sloshed at a school summer fair might be terribly good for my company image.

The milkman's' Labradors have been here for a week now. They are city dogs and have thoroughly enjoyed a farm holiday. They collect sticks and pile them up outside the back door like a pair of beavers. Fruitcake is quite friendly towards them, but Jess, the long-wheel-base sheep dog climbs onto the windowsill and shakes with fear.
The cats have taken to the darkest corners of the barn.
At night we put them in a nice straw lined horsebox outside the house, where they bark every four seconds, in turn, with two second intervals, until we let them out in the morning.
These clean sleek city dogs are muddy and have been eating and rolling in things their owners would probably scoop into a bag and throw in a special bin. I hope and pray we will not be blacklisted for it, otherwise we'll never get milk delivered again!

But good news, Shirl left a message on the answerphone saying she'll be visiting tomorrow....
All I need is for her to bring some bloody red wine!
I'm a Frog on the edge!!!!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

I've been ill and v.grumpy lately, so I'll continue the theme with some home truths,

Shirl could easily be confused with Short Term Memory Barbie.

I do not like the cheap red wine my mother (Shirl) brings me.

Phoning me at the exact time I leave the house, every day to take children to school is not the best time to phone me and declare you had something to ask me, but can't remember what it was...while eating something loudly.

Farmers do not (all) get up at the crack of dawn.
Dairy farmers do, of course, have to get up at unearthly hours to do the milking, but it’s not the case for so many others any more. When my father in law was a young man, he had to get up early to feed the horses. The horses would then have some time to digest their food a bit and then go to work. That’s where (I think) this modern myth comes from. Tractors don’t need a rest after filling up, and they can also see in the dark, which the horses couldn’t, and so the farmers work later rather than earlier.

There’s no such thing as a mistletoe tree. Mistletoe is a parasitic dieasey plant type thing.

I do not like the cheap red wine my mother brings me.

Putting your child into private education does not mean you have bucket loads of money, it means you have no money because you are paying for private education.

No does not mean: ‘yes, of course you can, especially as you have moaned and whinged about it for an hour, I really like it when you do that’.

Vauxhall Vectra’s and Mercedes sports can be easily mistaken for one another.
I do not like cheap red wine.

Just because we have stone walls and old beams in our home does not mean we haven’t got round to plastering and painting our beams black, this is how we like it.

Not all members of the WI (Wild Indians) wear false teeth (I have heard of a youthful group in London), but around here, I think we can take it as red..

Farmers do not have hairy calf muscles….wellies make their legs smooth and completely hair free.

The smell of diesel is not attractive.

I do not like the cheap red wine Shirl brings me.

Sheep are not cute fluffy, woolly things that gambol about in the hills. They smell and are extremely stupid. They like getting tangled up in briars, so much so, that if you release them from such a constraint they will endeavour to do the same thing again, immediately if not sooner.

Shirl is not actually related to Sindy.

Why is it that when tidying the house (shudder!) you pick up three million pens, and put them by the phone, yet, two minutes later, when you need a pen there isn’t one there?

Not wearing a hearing aid when you need one is quite frankly, irritating.

If washing something delicate, placed inside a securely tied pillowcase in the washing machine, the knot will always come undone and the items will have come out….yet…if washing items separately, the pillowcase will always have the entire wash stuffed inside it when the load has finished.

I do not like the cheap red wine my mother brings me.

Telling me how well you can hear when you wear your hearing aid is, quite frankly, irritating.

Saturday, 14 June 2008


I'd like to apologise for not visiting anyone this week, I've been very unwell (sniff!) and not feeling very humerous or sociable. In short, I'm rather short tempered and cranky ("nothing new there", I hear someone muttering at the back).
Some of my dearest friends have expressed concern at my total lack of conversation and enthusiasm for anything other than hot tea and very soft tissues.
I'll be back!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Fine Wine

I'm not the slightest bit feminist, after all, who wants to carry the rubbish out or fix the car? I'm happy to cook (most of the time) and leave instructions for my fab friend who cleans for us.
I admit to being a petrol head and being a better driver than my husband on the road, certainly much faster, but that's about as far as equality of the sexes goes in my life.
I have no wish to wrestle the bull, chase cattle round and round the field, drive the tractor or do the sheep shearing.
But today I was sent this and I thought, yeah, let them think what they like, now we know the real score.

"Men are like fine wine.. They start out as grapes, and it's up to the women to stomp the crap out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with"

Saturday, 31 May 2008


I just Don't Believe IT!!
Today I received an offer to enter a competition, the winner will receive a Luxury trip to Paris, Wow!
Runners up will receive a pair of Eurostar Tickets.
The competition simply requires me to sign up to a 'Green' Club that wishes to promote healthier living and greener living, such as more composting, less emissions etc. "There are a wide range of things, from simple to life changing, that you can do to reduce your impact on the environment."
Oh, but hang on, am I missing something or is travelling abroad not contributing at all to our eco-problems?

Last week I saw a man win £100,000!! Wow!
It was a fantastic prize and although I didn't see the whole programme, the final task, to clinch the dosh, was to drop a pea (yes, a pea) into a wine bottle??##!!!

What's going on?

In a local paper is the story "Flying Mattress brings city to halt".
Now, this really happened!!
A mattress 'fell off the back of a vehicle', and became wedged under a Fiat Punto. "Two ambulance crews were called to the scene where the mattress was eventually freed from the car tyres"
In case you're wondering, it's doing very well, it'll obviously take some time to recover but should spring back fairly quickly.

What is going on?

Then there's the farmer's wife on TV saying that her Bull is the biggest 'cow' in the world.....How can a Bull be a cow?? Cows are girls, even I know that, and that lady is a proper farmers' wife, indeed she's probably a farmer...pfft!!

Darling Husband has just collapsed in hysterics..."listen to this!"
Apparently a man has arrested in Australia because he was driving with two cases of beer on the front seat, firmly kept in place by a seat belt, and his Toddler in the back seat, wearing no seat belt whatsoever!
He obviously didn't give xxxx!!

And why is it?? Hmm, say! It's good question, one I just heard on the radio.
Why, when you open a can of Evaporated Milk, is it still full?? Surely Trading Standards would have something to say about this?

I've said it before and I'll say it again...will someone please take me back to my room?

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Family Sit Down Meals Have Gone to the Dogs

We have had a number of special visitors to the farm recently. It means we all get together and of course do what we do
It’s a bit like a very amiable mafia meeting, the family I have married into is definitely a clan not infiltrated easily.
There are seven offspring and their partners and children.
I already knew some of the clan before Darling Husband and I started going out but I still had many surprises when first meeting with them on their own territory and long after moving here too.
The 'family' have developed their own language of sorts and have such a great sense of humour. But more importantly there is an impressive talent they have perfected, to be able to judge the volume of your voice so perfectly that only your mother cannot hear your comments at the table, and they’ve certainly managed it, not only that, but knowing how their good-natured, God fearing Mother would be horrified if she heard half the funny things they said, they are able to maintain straight faces throughout almost anything. A number of times I’ve almost choked on my meal, my Mother-in- Law looking at me disapprovingly because whatever I’ve found funny is obviously abhorrent to everyone else.

The first time I went to ‘the house’ for dinner is an occasion never to be forgotten. The farmhouse kitchen was full of wonderful food smells and cheerful chatter. It's a very traditional farmhouse kitchen with meat hooks in the ceiling and there's a long wooden bench on one side of the table with huge gouges in it. It's called a pig bench and yes, years ago, is was what the pigs were chopped up, on.
On one side of the kitchen is a sofa, there’s a big rectangular table in the middle, a round table in the corner and there were two Rayburn cookers, one was in use but very old and one was waiting to be installed but in the meantime was there with a television on the top.
The television was on showing a programme about Gypsy life. We all sat down and mother started slicing bread and flicking down the table with the knife. The bread was expertly caught and although I was a bit surprised, no-one else raised an eyebrow, so this was obviously how it was done in this house, probably the quickest way to serve it up when you have seven children and excellent for eye-hand co-ordination, of course. We started eating and one of the sisters motioned towards the TV, a Gypsy man was washing his dogs. (Farm dogs are not the cleanest canines)
I’d probably better mention at this point that Darling Husband, his brothers and also some of their friends call each other 'Dick' ( no idea why).

“That’s the way to wash your dogs, Dave” said the sister.

“That’s the way to wash your dogs Dick” muttered Darling Husband, just loud enough for everyone, except his mother to hear.

The spare Rayburn has gone now and so we no longer have the pleasure of TV in the kitchen.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Speech Day

Saturday was Speech Day at No1 daughter's school.
She was very nervous but excited about her Prize for Creative Writing and insisted we got there early. The town was full of beautiful cars and smartly dressed people.
The Marquee was fabulous, as always, and the choir and speeches were truly impressive. We had to forgo a harp recital from my daughter's old harp teacher though, as she'd been asked elsewhere.
Daughter No2 was interested because she also wants to go to the school. Although she fidgeted and yawned a lot, she thought it was all rather nice, if not boring when the actual prizes were given out. I meant to tell Darling Husband to pace himself on the clapping, one should never clap heartily because stamina is needed to retain any feeling in the tarsals, but fortunately he's very tough.

Daughter No3 was intrigued by the whole thing. Why did some chairs have pink cushions? "I want to sit on a chair with pink cushions!"
"No Darling, those are for the Head and her speakers"
"That's not fair! Why do speakers need cushions? our speakers sit on the side in the kitchen!"
She enjoyed standing on Darling Husband's lap and waving frantically at her big sister while grinning and giggling.
Big sister tried very hard to ignore the elevated scampster, and fortunately there were two very badly behaved boys further back who managed to annoy people far more and save us from being forcibly removed during the proceedings. I only had to take her to the loo once, so all in all I considered the morning very successful.

Canapes, wine and fruit juice were offered after the Ceremonies. Darling Husband was in a terrible hurry to get back to his cattle, but once he had a glass a of wine planted in his hand by a long standing friend, he became quite amiable and time suddenly seemed so terribly unimportant.
Daughter No3, who will normally not eat anything except Jaffa Cakes, tucked into the sausage rolls in an almost industrial manner.
I noticed a female hovering expectantly, waiting for an opportune moment to join the conversation (about Tractors) that Darling Husband and his friend were having. I quickly stuck my head in the middle of the mechanical conversation and said quietly, "I suggest you move immediately if not sooner, because you are imminently to be joined by Mrs (nameless)." I swear the two of them should enter the next Olympics, their reactions were lightening fast and we were out of there.

In the afternoon I indulged myself in some TV..The Importance of Being Earnest was on. Myself and three girls snuggled up on our enormous sofa and laughed at the most brilliant Oscar Wilde Play ever.

Our evening was then another extreme dimension altogether.
We were going to the Theatre with friends...perfectly civilised you may think, but we were going to Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre...a bit of a culture shock after our formal morning.
Ebbw Vale has the most beautiful stark landscape surrounding it, the wastelands of the steel years. The sky was black and threatening a storm and the sun was just going down, it was a very dramatic scene.
We waited in line outside the 'theatre' while the actors warmed up.
It was bloody freezing and we were sorely tempted to go and join them, but we weren't allowed in until they'd finished.
We were going to see "Blackwatch".
No-one was allowed in or out while the performance was going on and we were reminded over the tannoy, to use the toilet before the performance started.
The toilets were scary. Once I had scaled three flights of stairs, and gone through two doors and along a corridor I discovered there was one ladies toilet. Presumably most people gave up long before they got there, so there was really only need for the one. It had a huge dent in the wall and a little graffiti. The taps were reluctant to work and the hand towels were very strange.
I worried I would never see Darling Husband again if I couldn't remember the maze of old fire doors and twisty steps.

The play itself was the hardest play I've ever had to watch. I felt uncomfortable, like I shouldn't be privy to much of the content. It was the most brilliant piece of theatre. There was much bad language, violence and vulgarity, but all put into the context of a regiment and they're experience of Iraq, it worked without question. I sincerely advise anyone to see it, but it's gritty stuff.

After the play we were all exhausted emotionally and none of us wanted to finish the evening on such a sombre note, so we adjourned to an Indian restaurant and ate far more spicy food than can be safe or legal.
The restaurant has been refurbished beautifully, not one dodgy print on the wall, no flock wallpaper and the menu was all spelled correctly, it was almost a let down.
Our friend ordered the set meal for four, my husband ordered the same.

The waiter was obviously having trouble, he managed to stamp on Darling Husbands foot each time he approached the table.

We have yet to go out with our friends and not have something daft happen.

Darling Husband has found a stone in his food, he's been served what looked like road kill and declared to the waiter that it's the best meal he'd ever had in that place (with a straight face, and able to ignore the rest of us crying with laughter), he's had to march into the kitchen demanding to know where our vegetables are, and even had mint sauce served with his pudding.
But best of all, and it must be because he's so gorgeous, he's been kissed on the top of his head by a waitress!

Friday, 16 May 2008


This is without question the funniest thing I've read for a while.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Fruitcake - please see the Post Below

I feel the need to show you how lovely my small dog, Fruitcake, is.
See the post below to see why.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Never Work with Animals

First I would like to say a huge Thank you to Andy (also known as "Oy, you in the bushes") and Ken for staying up until 5.30 this morning working on my laptop to make it better.

My wonderful lady who 'does' for me left me a note saying:
"The vacuum cleaner's not sucking"........... ?!##!
I had to do a double take, I thought she'd really lost it this time and hadn't even bothered to finish the sentence. You see she hates our vacuum cleaner, with a passion. Darling Husband loves it, not that he uses it very often, come to mention it, neither do I.

Darling Husband was required to take it apart and sort it out, which he did with style and panache, if not a distinct odour of cattle.

We have had a love-hate relationship with the vacuum. When Fruitcake (my dog) first arrived she took a liking to the flex and chewed it into tiny pieces. I was furious, my 'lady' was delighted and brought her own hoover.
I picked up the iron to iron my daughters' school shirt. Fruitcake had chewed the flex into tiny pieces. I was furious, so was daughter number one. She had to go to school with her jumper on so no-one would see the creases and it was a very hot day.

I telephoned the local electrical appliance establishment and had a difficult conversation with a gentleman who was obviously a little hard of hearing.
"No, ROW-EN-TA, TA , yes"

He told me the parts would be in on Friday, OK, I worked out a system with my mother-in-law whereby I could use her iron for the school clothes, we’d manage just fine. Friday arrived and the telephone rang:
"I'm sorry but we are unable to locate any model iron made by the Heinz Baked Bean company, or indeed a Magimix Vacuum Cleaner and we're not clear what parts you need anyway". (grr!)
I politely, but, through gritted teeth explained the make and model vacuum I had, and the Iron I had, and that I needed electrical cables for both of them. The lady said she would put the order in and it would take another week. I wasn’t happy,why hadn’t they phoned me days before?
I suggested it would be more helpful if they employed some-one who wasn’t so hard of hearing to answer the phone.
She said:”he’s profoundly deaf”
I said: " well why is he answering the phone then?"
The sales lady curtly replied ”he is a member of staff and we cannot discriminate”.
My 'does' lady commented that it's lucky we only wanted the parts, the shop probably had a blind man doing repairs as well!

The following week I telephoned the shop, and yes, my parts had arrived and I said I would be in to collect them that afternoon. I walked into the shop and over to the customer service desk. The lady was chatting to some-one on the telephone, it sounded like a social call.
I waited patiently for a few minutes.
The lady didn’t look up or acknowledge my presence in any way.
I started feeling cross.
Two more customers arrived and stood behind me.
They too started getting cross.
The phone call ended and I explained I had come to collect the two flexes.
The lady said she would look in her book to find it.
She flicked through every page in a duplicate receipt book, licking her finger before turning every page.
“It’s not in this book, have we phoned you to say it’s here?”.
“ Yes” I said,” it’s just two flexes, surely some-one knows where they are? I did call to say I would be in this afternoon”.
“No, no, you don’t understand” she said, “if it’s here, it will say in the book. I’ll have to look in the book and see where it is and if it’s here, if it is here, it will be in the book” AGGGH!
She was saying 'book' so often, she started sounding like a chicken.

More page turning and finger licking, her chipped nail varnish was turning my stomach and I felt the urge to throttle her and then record it in the book.
She then picked up another book and turned every page in that one, the queue was getting very tetchy.
“Oh, here it is” , ahhh, a sigh of relief could be heard, almost felt.
She then stood up reached her arm out to the top of the filing cabinet next to her and picked up my electrical cables!!

I was speechless, all that fuss and self important bureaucracy and it was on the bloody filing cabinet next to her!

The second time Fruitcake ate the iron flex we went to a different shop in another town, but they lost the iron!
We now order the parts online and Darling Husband repairs the items just perfectly.(sigh!)

Sunday, 4 May 2008

A Grand Day Out

We've had a day at the beach, me, my three girls, my Scottish friend and her two boys.
We were terribly eco-friendly, taking just our 7-seater Volvo, instead of spreading over two vehicles.
Daughter number one refused to go because the sea air makes vampires very huffy "and Mummy you really won't like if if I'm very angry"
Daughters two and three had busy making models and were still plastered in clay when they announced they were ready to go.
The milkman arrived, looking somewhat haggard and in need of strong coffee. I left him struggling to make coherent conversation with Darling Husband and went outside to find the inside of the car. I was amazed to find carpets on the floor and leather on the seats!! My goodness, it turned out to be blue as well! I was sure I would have enough rubbish to fill a dozen skips, yuck!
Our friends arrived all ready for a day trip. Daughter number one forgot she was in a strop and got in the car with everyone else.
We were off!
After 7 or 8 miles there was an expression of interest in throwing up from the very back. This meant a seat changeover, a sturdy plastic bag and a morale boosting chat with the other passengers that there were only a few more miles to go, well, not quite sixty miles actually.
We were off!
There was a quiet anticipation of vomit in the car and it was very pleasantly free of moaning. My friend and I sat happily in the front, enjoying the bright sunshine.
We reached roadworks on the M4, nightmare!
"Are we there yet?".....

On reaching our destination, all stomach contents intact, smiling faces, shouts of "I can see the sea!", the sun went in and it started to rain. Not to be deterred by the grim weather, the children quickly disembarked and grabbed a bag/basket each and tore down to the sand. I put on two jumpers and a jacket, bought 7 polystyrene cups of Hot Chocolates and followed suit.

The light was dramatic and beautiful, the rain stopped, the children dug holes and paddled in the rock pools. They built a huge sandcastle and got soaking wet. The tide suddenly seemed to be very close so everybody grabbed something and ran for the pebbly bits where the tide doesn't reach. "Has everybody got everything?" , we glanced around, confident we had all our belongings and legged it.

We opened our picnic, I had to confiscate the butter knife from my friend as it soon became very clear she was incapable in the spreading department, and we were soon all chomping happily on sandy sandwiches with added cheese and ham, hard boiled eggs and crisps.

We were happily munching, watching the tides swirling round the rocks we had just been sat on when daughter no. 1 shouted "Look, it's Jazzies boot!!"
There was one of her beautiful pink suede boots, floating on the incoming tide. Jazz was devastated that her boot was wet, and then even more so when she realised that she didn't have the other one. Daughter no. 1 rescued the boot, laughing at how daft her sister was. She looked around for her own boots, "OHMYGOD!! Mummy, where are my Converses??"
Another panic, we were now three items of footwear down, and had two very stroppy, upset girls on our hands demanding we left the beach immediately to buy new shoes.

I suggested we all calm down, and finish our picnic. Well what do you know, there was another pink boot floating in towards us HURRAY!! One daughter was restored to being perfect, the other now had smoke pouring from her ears and was about to spontaneously combust. The boys had wandered off along the beach in order to avoid the tantrums, the youngest one suddenly started screaming and yelling..oh, what now?? He'd found one Converse along the beach and he could see the other one trying to attach itself to a mans' foot. Brilliant!

We thought it best to leave immediately if not sooner, before any other calamity could come our way. Humour well restored and ice creams in hand we drove off, having thoroughly enjoyed our day. The journey home was speedy and stress-free, we just had to stop and fill up with Diesel on our return to Monmouth. (Have you seen how much it is??)

There is only one petrol station in Monmouth, it was packed with vehicles spilling out onto the road and there was a definite amount of stress building up because of the waiting, amongst the drivers.
The gentleman (I use that term very loosely) in front of us was in a 4x4.
He filled up with Diesel.
The car in front of him drove away leaving a nice big space (without Diesel on the pump).
We waited patiently.
The gentleman (again, loosely) locked his petrol cap (no-one does that anymore, come on!), rooted around in his vehicle for a while and then produced a petrol can.
He filled that up with Petrol.
We waited patiently.
He put the can back in his car and started to walk to pay for his fuel...I beep the horn and when he turned said, could you move up a bit so I fill up p...
"HAVE SOME PATIENCE!!" he yelled, dragged his door open and lurched his vehicle forwards.
I smiled and said "Thankyou", now I had a landrover and horse box behind me the queues were seriously building up.
I tried to put Diesel in my car, but it wouldn't work because Mr Happy had used the pump twice and they can't let you have any if two amounts are owning on one pump.
We waited patiently.
As soon as he'd started to pay I was able to start filling my car, the gentleman stamped out of the shoppy bit and shouted "See! You didn't get it any faster did you? AND, YOU could have pulled in front of me!!"
"There's no Diesel on that pump" I replied, "Dickhead!".
The man drove off, I pulled forwards out of courtesy for the next vehicle and paid for the outrageously expensive fuel politely and with terribly good humour.We laughed all the way home.
What a Grand Day out!

Monday, 28 April 2008

I've been very remiss and not thanked Elsie Button for my award, don't know why she thinks I'm funny..ppffftt!
It's the second one I've had from her, Thank you Elsie!

I've also been tagged (in a ladylike manner) by Dulwich Mum:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

Now DM wrote something quite risque and I felt somewhat shocked, I must say.
I picked up the nearest book thinking how boring mine would be in comparison, but, hey, I'm not so sure.

"This was a very impressive demonstration of raw power back in the early 1900s.
Pictured is Russell, a Giant being demonstrated with a bottom.
This bottom was lifted and dropped by the strong muscles of the two men riding."

Oh, hang on, I've noticed a few typo's, here we are, this is the quote...awfully sorry, innocent mistake to make...

"This was a very impressive demonstration of raw power back in the early 1900s.
Pictured is a Russell Giant kerosene-burning tractor being demonstrated with a 10-bottom John Deere plow.
This plow's 5 two-bottom units were lifted and dropped into the ground by the strong muscles of the two men riding the plow."

This quote is taken from "Genuine Value, The John Deere Journey" given to Darling Husband for his fortieth Birthday by our wonderful friend Vince Musi

I tag Elsie Button, Omega Mum, Sparx lets see how you do...

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Toadal Chaos

The day promised to be an interesting one, but not in the way I had hoped.
Only two children were home ill, that was an improvement.
The sun was shining, but Darling Husband and I had had very little sleep. One little girl got in bed with us during the night and took up two thirds of the bed, thrashing about and coughing with perfect aim into our faces whenever possible.
The eldest daughter also got in bed with us, she's now the same size as me, and joined us on the remaining third of the was not the most comfortable night.
Why didn't one of us get out and get in their beds you ask? Couldn't move, just too tired.
Middle daughter skipped off to school, bouncy happily and giggling about something unknown to the general human race. I promised to take her lunch up to school as soon as the bread was made.
I had an hour long meeting here at 9.30, the cough monster had an appointment to see the doctor at 10.30 and Darling Husband was to have the pleasure of taking her in. He rushed off to look at all his pregnant cows and heiffers. I washed to utility room floor and all was going splendidly.
My 9.30 soon became 9.40, the milkman crept in and quietly made himself coffee. He looked at me suspiciously and asked the eldest daughter who I was talking to.
Darling husband whisked the sick one and eldest one out into the car and off to town (usually the car is as close to town as he likes to get).
My meeting finished bang on time, the phone rang ..
My brother in law asked me why I'd phoned him, "I haven't phoned you"..Oh.
The phone rang, "Mummy there's a cow calving right down at Rhd-y-go, and we can't get through to brother in law, can you find him as quickly as possible".
(huge sigh)
I rang brother in law back, he'd made like Elvis and left the building.
I ran outside to get in the car and find him...Darling Husband had the car, I considered the Landrover, but I'm not brave enough to open the door let alone sit in it anymore, I think it contains more topsoil and muck than half our fields.
I ran up the lane gracefully in my fuchsia Hunters and shouted 'calving trouble, taking your car' to my Mother in Law.
Brother in Law had disappeared, bugger!
I drove back to our house and abandoned the car in the middle of the lane, in complete panic.
Now, I really, really am Farmers wife in title only, I know nothing! I ran down the old lane towards where the cow was....she'd gone...double panic.
I looked across the valley at the nearest herd and saw one hiding in the bushes. That was her, munching away, quite happily, making no effort whatsoever to give birth, and she obviously was going to need pretty quick intervention.
I turned to go back up to the house and try and phone another brother in law, farmer friend, vet. My heart sank, the most direct route had an incline of 10ft in one, oh my goodness, it was steep. I felt like I'd conquered Everest and certainly looked as though I had by the time I reached the house. I made a heavy breathing phone call to another brother in law who immediately rushed to help.
Meanwhile a large van arrived outside with a delivery of particularly lovely plush finger puppets. The van turned, but my awful parking obviously had an impact because the van drove straight into a deep ditch.
So to update you, there's a cow in need of assistance ('cos she ain't doing it), no men when you need one, the lane is blocked by two bad examples of female driving, AND, I still hadn't had a decent cup of tea.
The posse arrived and administered cow-type help, then they pulled the van out of the ditch. Very small daughter has been diagnosed with a severe chest infection and the eldest one still needs a blood test but we can't get any out of her because she's a vampire and they take blood not give it!
Darling husband came in from van pulling and walked through the house in his pants and socks....!!! Erm, Darling, why do you have no clothes on after rescuing that lady driver??? It seems he got rather messy with the cow, nice.
I suddenly realised it was lunchtime, and middle daughter had not had her lunch delivered to school, I phoned the school to profess our cacophony of mishaps and could someone please allow her school lunch?

Can someone please take me back to my room??