Monthly Archives: January 1970


Was woken at 3.00 a.m. this morning by an irritating sound. Not the first time, either. Careful investigation showed it to be coming from the loft. Obviously I have lodgers! Unable to sleep, I donned dressing gown and slippers and braved the cold and dark to fetch the step ladder from the garage. (Mental note to self – really must get a loft ladder fitted)

If it’s mice, they’re certainly both brave and devious. They carried on whatever it was they were up to regardless, even when I switched on the light and clambered up into the loft. No scurrying feet, no mad panic (except perhaps from me as I contemplated just how much I really wanted to track down the source of the noise).

The scuffling and nibbling sounds seemed to be coming from the boxes of Christmas decorations. (Could we possibly have trapped Rudolph in there last year, I wonder) I steeled myself to move a few things about. All fell silent. I didn’t look tooooooo enthusiatically but found no trace – not even the advent wreath had been nibbled. Obviously I had been imagining it.

Switch off the lights, close the trapdoor, put the steps away, back to bed.

“Ok lad’s… coast’s clear…. back to nibbling and scurrying again!”


Well, that’s been a busy couple of days! No wonder I haven’t had a moment to wibble… far far too much happening.

My training as a washing machine repair person instead of a teacher has obviously hit a major snag. I can’t get the blinking pump off the washing machine. Hmmm. The house is full of dirty and half-washed washing (to say nothing of the mountain of ironing hidden behind the kitchen door which I am determined to ignore in the hope it will go away).

Visitors in abundance. Picked my sister up from the boat on Sunday and took her with us to take Smudgelet to a birthday party. The plan was to get something to eat en route. I ask you – would you have expected to have to book a table at a garden centre on a cold, windy, rainy, November Sunday afternoon??? Well, would you? I shall know better next time! Everywhere was either closed or packed out. After six turns round the one way system looking for somewhere to park or somewhere to eat, we ended up on Somerfield’s carpark eating some hastily bought sandwiches. I love Sunday lunch!

Monday was the day when Ship of Fools’ Tigglet and Soggy Amphibian visited overnight as part of their UK tour. How precisely do you explain to two Smudgelets that a) you have broken the rule about not telling people on the internet where you live (to the extent of inviting them into your home!!!) and b) that these people are actually called Tigglet and Soggy Amphibian???? Hmmm… I think I managed it OK… though I am not sure what the Smudgelets’ teachers thought to their “news” for the day!

This morning, once the Smudgelets were packed off out of the way to school, I took the visitors to complete one of their challenges – to paddle in the sea at a famous seaside resort, while wearing hankies on their head tourist fashion. Hmmmm… little did I know that I would end up with my jeans rolled up, shoes and socks abandoned on the beach, and up to my ankles in freezing cold water!!! God had the last laugh, mind, as a huge wave suddenly arrived from behind us – much to the amusement of the other people on the beach! Hmmm… should have assumed an accent so’s nobody would realise I was a local.

After taking them to the boat at midday, and then taking my sister at 5, I am now totally shattered. Think I may sleep until Christmas.

Major achievement of the day: finally reaching the top step on the walk back up from the beach…. only stopping five times to admire the view!

Thought for the Day: sleep

Drat – Friday and I haven't put the bins out!

Spot the smug smilie again! My washing machine has a new pump fitted by yours truly. Perhaps this will be the end of my washing machine saga – I certainly hope so, although I am starting to think of giving up teaching and going into washing machine repair.

’twas incredibly easy actually…once I realised that I didn’t have to use violence and bad language to remove the old pump, just tip the machine up and undo the two tiny screws underneath the base! Mind you, someone might have reminded me to make sure the detergent drawer was empty of conditioner before I left the machine lying face down on a cushion all day. I knelt to fit the pump and… well, suffice to say that my knees now smell like a spring morning (apparently) and are very very soft !

Other major achievement of the day yesterday : finished writing an application form and took it in to the school. I’d been worried that I might have missed the deadline and said as much to the secretary, to be told ” Er…deadline? No, I don’t think so… wonder when the deadline is!”

Cause for celebration : Tiddles came home with YET ANOTHER commendation from school. My bad lad finally seems to be pulling himself together.

Thought for the day: Why are hospital beds so hard and uncomfortable when you’re a patient, but so cosy and inviting when you’re sitting on them while visiting someone else?


Yes… I did it! Major achievement of the day – I got the advent calendar and candles out of the attic BEFORE the start of Advent.

Hmmmm…… definite evidence of decoration-nibbling having taken place, though. Wonder whether to send the cats up to investigate. They’d love that! And I’ll just have to arrange the nativity scene so that a shepherd stands in front of the toothmarks in the manger.

The best laid plans of mice (hmmm… mice again!) and men – I was supposed to be out all day today, but childcare confusions and clashes meant I was stuck with the Smudgelets. Ironic, really, seeing as it was a course on parenting I was going to. I bit the bullet and taught Tiddles to play “We wish you a merry Christmas” on the organ. Anything’s better than hearing it one more time on the recorder. He’s still out of the recorder group until after Christmas, though !

After a bit of a hectic and tantrum-filled week for the Smudgelets, I finally allowed them to open a present today, seeing as they were being soooo sweet this morning. They now have jingling Father Christmas hats! These hats have been worn all morning and most of the afternoon, with the two boys bouncing and skipping everywhere to make them jingle at every move. When I see the person who gave them to them, there may be trouble. Bah, Humbug!

Thought for the day: Gosh, is that the time already? I’m supposed to be picking them up from the Advent Workshop in five minutes!

Hmmm…. dead mouse on the doorstep.


…. got ’em in time! And got a compliment on their ever-improving behaviour too…. Spot the proud mum 🙂

They went to bed with their father Christmas hats on tonight !

Some Sunday!

A little perplexed this morning.

Not a very good night, really… woke at about 1.30am with the thought that I had brought all the bags and boxes of Christmas decorations from the attic into the bedroom. Was the nocturnal nibbler still inside???

Made a fatal mistake this morning. Asked the Smudgelets to get ready for swimming and to put their church clothes in a bag ready for afterwards. I really should have known better. After all, we have only been following this routine for a year now, not long enough for two boys really to get the hang of it.

Meanwhile I get on and prepare the veg for Sunday lunch, as arranged last night with my father. A mountain of carrots and potatoes and beans later, I run them round to his place next door, together with a casserole full of chicken, for him to cook after church.. only to find he’s totally forgotten the arrangement and is busy preparing the veg!!!! Hmm… hope we’re hungry today!

Race back… yell at the Smudgelets to get in the car as we’re running late…… and they suddenly decide they haven’t got their church clothes ready – in fact one is still running round the house in just his trunks, school shoe on one foot and trainer on the other! Bleugh! Throw them into the car as they are – exclaiming that we just won’t be able to go to church – to be rewarded with an hour-long tantrum from Tiddles because it’s not fair. Delighted they love going to church so much, but it’s a bit embarrassing to carry a kicking and screaming ten-year-old into the spectators gallery of the swimming pool. Luckily by the end of the hour’s session, he’d calmed down and they got ready fast enough for them to come home and change after all.

All leap in the car and go racing off across country towards the church. Will we make it in time? Singing at the top of our voices to the now-rather-worn-out Rise and Shine tape and racing through the deserted streets, all seems well. We’re held up for a moment by temporary lights where a telegraph pole seems to have been blown down in the night and the men are doing repairs. Fascinating to watch. Lights turn to green and we dash on, only to be foiled 3 minutes away from the church. Flashing lights, road block, traffic slowly negotiating three point turns – and yet another telegraph pole across the road… this time with am extremely crumpled car against it. So that’s it. Home for coffee, a pile of ironing and a mammoth lunch.

Thought for the day: I love the peace and tranquility of Sundays.

Friday once again – how time flies

It’s freezing! Going out for a lovely meal warmed me up nicely (thanks Dad) but standing in the cold looking for Dad’s keys put paid to that once we got home. Brrrrrrr. Will it snow, I wonder?

A bit of a sad day today as a phone call came to say of a death in the family, my much-loved uncle. Only one aunt and one uncle left now. The sadness at the moment is slightly overridden, however, by the inconvenience – we will somehow need to get my Dad northwards for the funeral, just at the time when my sister who lives there is actually coming down to stay with us, especially to see my Dad!!! Nothing is ever simple. Just waiting for the phonecall to say when.

Phoned my friend and left an answerphone message humbly and profusely apologising on bended knee for missing her birthday on Monday. Received an answerphone message in return saying she’s turned Muslim and believes in atonement rather than forgiveness. Hmmmm……. !

Major achievement of the Day :Just arranged the date for the Smudgelet’s baptism / adoption party. This is only a year late, which is quite good going really. Now I just have to hope the Godparents can make it!

Cause for celebration: Yesterday I had the first day since August when it has not felt as though I had glandular fever. Today’s going pretty well too.

The Wrong Father Christmas

This morning was quite a kerfuffle, getting ready to go and see the Man In Red himself. Everything conspired against us. At the last minute we packed into the car and raced round to the church Christmas Fair. And what do you know, it was the WRONG Father Christmas. We NEVER go to see THAT one – we go to see the REAL one at the other church..which is next week!

Mind you, the Christmas Dinner was rather scrummy.

Raced Tiddles to choir practice and dropped him off. He had, of course, omitted to mention to me that there wasn’t any choir practice today….well, not until we got there, of course.

He’s singing with the choir in the concert tonight – a grand affair. Spot the proud mum 🙂 He’s a regular little songbird…. a starling, I think. Sings with enthusiasm. I am dreading the day – and it will come, I’m sure – when someone pops the bubble of his dreams of being a singer by telling him the dreadful truth, but in the meantime I love to hear him. As I type, he and his brother sit in the bath singing “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb. Mary had a little lamb, and his name was Jesus.” I’m not sure he has the words totally right. Tonight could be interesting.


Advent! I just can’t cope with it. We have a backlog of doors to open on the advent calendar. On the other hand, a forgetful evening means that the advent candle has yet again raced towards Christmas ahead of us. The decorations are all over my bed and I am sleeping curled up in the spare corner that’s left. And the school refuses to let me send the boys there out of the way any more.

90% of the presents are bought. Tiddles wants either a treehouse or a boat – a real one – hmmmm, I forsee tears on Christmas Day. Mean mother that I am, I made him write “three school sweatshirts, one tie, one pair of school trousers, one P.E. sock, one coat, one lunchbox and one full pencil case” on his letter to Father Christmas. Not much of a replacement for a boat, I suppose, but at least he’ll get what he asked for! Still, I’m not really THAT mean, he will be pretty chuffed with the go-kart, as long as I remember to go and buy it tomorrow. The question is, can I stand to get the Scalextric that Smudgelet so longs for when I know it will be broken within a week?

One small disaster on the Christmas preparation front – the cat has eaten the Christmas Pudding. He raided the multi-pack of crisps too… why precisely did he have to rip open all the salt and vinegar ones, when they are the only ones I like? Couldn’t he have gone for Smokey Bacon or something?

Major disaster – When I talked to my boss about the possibility of working slightly fewer hours next year, he was really accommodating. I said that I wanted to work just mornings on three of the days, and he agreed. Perfect, I thought. Then today my new contract and timetable arrives and he has based it on me working just three mornings a week and has employed a supply teacher for the other two days and three afternoons. This sounds blissful – shame I have a mortgage to pay! I really am not sure what on earth I am going to do about this one. Maddeningly, I had the chance of applying for another job which I really fancied, but turned down because of the security of this. Closing date for that one was today, of course. AAAAagghhhhhhhhh!

Have also been in debate with the Building Society. I have ordered four cheque books and two emergency cheque books in the last four months, and none of them had arrived until yesterday! This has caused endless problems. I must remember to write my letter of complaint once all the Christmas cards are written and posted.

Thought for the day: Why is nothing ever simple ?