Monthly Archives: May 2004

A good good day

I’m typing this wiblog to stop myself doing anything else before bedtime. It’s been a day and a half and I think my body may be complaining tomorrow. This morning was aquafit (great fun, apart from discovering I am too buoyant to do some of the exercises! I really MUST lose some of this blubber!) followed by a great fun swim with the boys in the outdoor pool.

Smudgelet narrowly escaped being throttled today as he was at his most irritating. He just cannot look where he is going, listen to what he’s being told, do as he’s asked without procrastination (now where does he get that from?). I love him dearly but sometimes he’d be well advised to give me a wide berth (and any jokes about me already having a wide girth will be studiously ignored).

I definitely had no ulterior motives whatsoever when I talked through with M the jobs I was planning to do in the garden over the next few weeks. Honestly! The Smudgelets and I were hard at work out there – well, Tiddles and I were hard at work and Smudgelet was hard at procrastination – when M suddenly arrived with shears, secateurs, pruners, bin bags, twine, gardening gloves and a rechargable hedge cutter and proceeded to muck in with the rest of us. My dear friend with her arthritic hips and back and knees and totally undefeatable stamina led the way, cutting back the wild hedge, weeding, pruning and generally making the place look far tidier. We lesser mortals struggled bravely on, determined not to let her show us up (but failing, nonetheless!)

Mind you, it looks wonderful out there… and we still haven’t finished. She left after an indoor-barbeque-cum-cinema-evening muttering vaguely about tomorrow afternoon… and having inspired me with some bright ideas for the lounge too. So I’m resisting the temptation to get on with the lounge because I really do need to be able to move tomorrow. I do, really


… when fresh golden haddock tastes so delicious, does it smell so horrible? And when the fish itself is eaten within minutes and leaves you wanting more, does the smell linger for days and make everything it touches smell of fish?

… on the mornings when I can have a lie in, do I wake at the crack of dawn all bright eyed and bushy tailed, but on the mornings when I have to be up early, I am overwhelmed with the need to sleep?

… when I organise our plans for the half term around Tiddles being at swimming/snorkelling lessons in the afternoons, do I get a phone call from the pool to say they’ve been moved to the mornings?

… when I need to sort out the mess that is currently my return to work, does it have to be bank holiday weekend so I can’t phone anyone and my computer breaks down so I can’t get to the email the boss sent me which I really need to forward to Occupational Health.

…when my computer isn’t working, do the computer firm move offices and does my laptop start playing up too?

Anyone fancy some fish-scented orange juice?

Find a space and sit down.

It feels like the end of a lovely Sunday. Is it really only seven o’clock? Can I go to bed now, please? I mean, the Smudgelets are snoozing away, looking incredibly sweet as they always do when asleep. They were both extremely tired today after their late night yesterday – almost eight o’clock, I ask you! – and we’ve had tears from each of them during the day so an early night was a must.

It was my friend B’s 70th birthday today. When I told Smudgelet it was a special birthday, he asked open-mouthed whether B (his godfather) was going to be 100. I replied “nearly” and Smudgelet added that he knew he must be nearly 100 as he was so much older than grandad. Naturally I was extremely reluctant to pass this on when I saw B this afternoon – I resisted for all of five seconds!

The boys are really getting into gardening, despite having let all their seedlings die! Today we went to the garden centre and bought them some gardening gloves and some extra child-size tools so they don’t have to share (fight over) Tiddles’. Heaven help our poor garden! We discovered once again that elder is an irritant, (The elder bush, I mean, not the elder child. After all, they’re both irritating in their own way!), and that brambles have rather sharp and persistant thorns.

We were late for church again. My fault this time, for a change. I … er… forgot we were in a hurry and just drove like a Sunday driver out for a spin rather than a Sunday morning driver late for church. It was an excellent service, really made me think. Then the Smudgelets made a two-pronged attack on the assembled congregation in search of sponsors. Smudgelet got a little confused on the meaning of sponsorship – he reckoned as they’d raised £100 he’d be able to use it to buy a new bike!

How’s this for a way to end the day? We sat out in the sun at a local cafe, drinking banana milkshake and sharing two Icecream Sundaes with three different flavours in each: white choc and honeycomb, raspberry pavlova, vanilla, strawberries and cream, caramel, and triple choc, Mmmmmmmm. And as we were eating a beautiful yellow aeroplane came into sky above us, with a vapour trail of brilliant blue, and began a spectacular display of aerobatics, totally free of charge. My only fear was for Smudgelet’s aim with the icecream while gazing up into the sky!

So now for a rest, I think, then see if my laptop will run the Church of Fools. My PC is dead AGAIN and the computer firm are moving office this weekend and thus incommunicado. I can’t get at my emails from here, nor the mad tour site (goodness knows why with the latter). I feel lost!


Goodness, it’s hard work being industrious. Thank goodness I let myself be diverted a couple of times today or I’d be a crumpled heap… or rather, even more of a crumpled heap. Having got rid of the Smudgelets for the day – my friend picked them up at 7.30 this morning and returned them twelve hours later! – I have devoted the day to decluttering, gardening, and procrastinating in the Church of Fools. I’m so pleased with myself. The lounge is a disaster area apart from two corners, but those two corners are completely sorted. A box is now nicely filling up with the books from my bookshelf that I can bear to part with. Another box is full of every cassette and cassette case I own, waiting for the two to be reunited. All the drawers from my desk have been emptied into two small boxes and four bin bags. All the ironing and clothes have been relocated to Dad’s lounge while he’s away for sorting and mending and charity-bagging where appropriate. And I had a brainwave once I started getting bored and went outside to clean the climbing frame and trim the hedge from behind it (a hedge comprising mainly holly and brambles which makes a lovely cushion when they fall off!). This means that, weather permitting, the Smudgelets will play outside tomorrow afternoon and leave me to get on with my redesign of the lounge.

Dad’s staying with my sister this week. I miss him, but it’s nice to be able to get on with things… and also nice for my sister to get a reminder of what Dad’s health is like. He’s getting confused more often these days. I had a phone call to say he couldn’t find one set of tablets in the packs I’d got ready for him, despite me having shown him three times specifically where they were. Still, my sister’s taken him to her doctor as he had a little infection under his eyelid, and the doctor gave him the second opinion on his sight that he so needed. He is going to have to give the car up. Maddeningly, my sister who would benefit from it is determined not to have it because it wouldn’t be fair on the rest of us. She cannot understand that it would be so much easier for Dad to give it up if he could give it to her, and the rest of us are agreed on that.

Tiddles was an angel yesterday, cleaning Dad’s Camellia bush of the rust which covers every leaf. It’s a long-winded task, cleaning each individual leaf with a toothbrush and some washing liquid water, but he bravely carried on. As he started to flag, the fish man came round to see if we wanted any fresh fish, and Tiddles agreed to continue brushing in return for me buying him two king prawns!

Smudgelet’s birthday party is all arranged and we’re getting quite excited, although a few people have contacted us to say they can’t make it. We’re doing well collecting sponsors so it looks like I’m not going to be able to get out of doing this bike ride. I’ll have to buy a helmet, I suppose.

Memory like a sieve….

Yesterday afternoon was spent on a job I love – sewing the badges onto Tiddles’ scout uniform. Yes, I know, I know, he should be doing it himself. But then, I missed out on six years of mothering him and with most things I encourage him to be independent at the expense of longing to do things for him, so it’s nice to have this special thing which I can do for him with love. Mind you, I’m not sure if he feels the same way after last night. While sewing, I lost a pin. While at Scouts, Tiddles found it… sticking in his skin!

Smudgelet had a lesson in life last night. We arrived at Beavers, slightly late because he’d taken for ever over his tea again, only to discover the place locked up and empty. He suddenly remembered, with horror, the letter that he’d been given last week and I’d been nagging at him to give me. “I think it said they were going to the beach somewhere, but I’m not sure which one”. Oh dear – about turn and home for a much-needed early night.

I didn’t strangle Dad, but I experienced some of the frustration that’s ahead of us both as he cannot hold things in his short term memory. After agreeing that he would make his own lunch today and I would make a main meal at tea time, he forgot and looked at me expectantly at 1pm for his lunch… really hungry. I made him a bowl of soup for speed (he has diabetes and has to have regular meals) and he decided he’d like to cook some potatoes to have with it which took ages. Then in the evening, just as I was bustling round the kitchen doing the last minute bits and pieces of the dinner, he turned up to offer me two pieces of ham which needed eating up and would make the boys a sandwich. He was really surprised to find I had a meal all ready for him, but rather perturbed that the ham wasn’t going to be eaten.

I’m just as bad, mind. This morning I was enjoying a leisurely morning, waiting until the boys had gone before sinking into my now customary bath with my book and a cup of coffee, with plenty of time to be ready for Bible Study at ten. At 8.30, just as I was testing the water and deciding it was still a little too hot, I was struck by a sudden realisation. Last week at Bible Study we’d decided to do a double session this week, starting at 9 a.m.
I had the fastest bath in the world – still too hot so I ended up looking like a lobster and unable to get dry, and disturbed by one phone call and a visitor at the door! Then it was a mad race up to M’s house, forgetting to pick up my Bible and study book and without doing the pre-reading that I was going to sneak in before I went.

It was good, though – lots to discuss and learn, and a chance to talk about CoF too. It really felt as though we were moving forward. We have a clear vision for the ecumenical work in the village and the way we need to change. All we need now is to keep that impetus and move forward. Exciting prospects! I now need to consider the thought that came to me that maybe I’m being prepared to become more involved in this than I might have thought. Sometimes you wonder just what God’s got up His sleeve.

I’d better not mention that we ate out AGAIN today, M and I. Or that we just couldn’t resist having a pudding, despite both of us seriously needing to lose some weight. M pointed out that it was a good way of dieting as, by having such a big late lunch, neither of us really would want any tea. At this rate, I’ll be fading away!


Mu-something-or-other (must look and check the name) Japanese Taiko Drummers.
If you ever get chance to go and see them, go and see them.
It defies description. But…… Wow!


Anyone who knows us fancy sponsoring two Smudgelets to do the Blue Peter Bigbikeathon in June in aid of Leukaemia Research? I can set it up for people to sponsor them online if anyone were willing.

(and yes, parents can take part too, and no, I can’t get at my bike which is sadly hidden away at the back of the shed and totally out of reach. Oh dear.)


Whoever stole Sunday afternoon, would you kindly give it back, please? It’s nearly 4pm and we’ve all just woken up from the half hour nap we decided to have at 1.30! So much for cooking a proper roast dinner for half past four. It looks like tuna pasta bake for Sunday lunch. It wouldn’t be so bad, but I’m still not ready to wake up. Oh for my snug and cosy bed!

I blame it on the swimming this morning. Exercise always makes me tired. OK, so it wasn’t me who was doing the swimming, but all the same…. I mean, it’s hard work silently willing Smudgelet to do frog legs instead of front crawl.

Church was wonderful this morning. How funny that the Church of Fools was mentioned in the sermon and half the congregation looked my way. And fancy being asked to do a reading about trust just at this stage in my life where I’m really finding myself being more able to trust God with my life than ever. The hymns went with plently of go and we raised the roof, which was rather pleasant seeing as I was playing the organ. I think it’s the first time ever when the preacher has picked all hymns that I can play, and not only play but do so confidently enough to sing along too. It was particularly nice that Tiddles decided that he wanted to stay in church in order to take communion, and that he did that at the expense of going into Sunday School which he enjoys.

He’s growing up. A real analogy for life with God came after church when I took him to the local supermarket to meet the manager and discuss being allowed back into the shop after shoplifting a year ago. I had paved the way, of course, by talking to the manager last week and arranging that they would lift the ban, but I insisted that Tiddles should go and introduce himself as a reminder to him of what was being done. Naturally he was very nervous, although he covered it well. He held my hand all the way there. But he responded well to the manager and by the time we came out the two of them were friends! The weight that immediately lifted from his shoulders was a delight to see and he all-but skipped home. Is my response to my forgiveness from God as tangible?

So now they’re out riding their scooters – Smudgelet because he’s so pleased with his birthday present, Tiddles because he thought it would be fun to fasten his bike lock round his bike wheel after having lost the key for so long… and has now lost the key again. Meanwhile I really must get this place a little more presentable before Dad comes to babysit tonight. We are celebrating Tiddles’ growing up by going to a “grown up” concert that’s on quite late. I hope I don’t regret this….. be positive, Smudgie – we won’t regret this.


It caused a lot of amusement last year when, leading a convoy of six cars carrying various people visiting from the Ship of Fools, I managed to set off in the wrong direction for a ten minute drive. Yesterday I said to a visiting friend from the mainland that the good thing about the Isle of Wight is that you can’t get lost – you always eventually end up somewhere you know and you’re never THAT far from your destination.

So why did I spend an hour today driving round in circles in the middle of the Island, totally at a loss as to where we were and how to get from one place to another – a trip that on the way back took us only twenty minutes. And it was something of a surprise to suddenly see the sea… on totally the wrong side of the car!

It was a lovely day. We set out mid-morning and, after a quick reverse down the road to retrieve Dad’s forgotten walking stick, we drove through the beautiful country lanes to Wolverton Manor in Shorwell. We’d never been there before – didn’t even know it existed – but it was the most idyllic place and this was where Tiddles was to spend the day being a Young Archeologist. He loved it – making roman pots and painting them, tracing a medieval moat, digging for flints, and generally having a wonderful time. I was quite jealous. Oh to be eleven again!

From there we set off on our cross country drive to meet Dad’s friend R in Ventnor. He hadn’t seen her for ages as they’ve both become unable to walk or drive far. It was a delight to be able to pick her up and take the two of them to the Botanical Gardens in Ventnor for lunch and to sit and talk in the beautiful surroundings of the gardens. Smudgelet and I went off to have a picnic and play on the play area, finishing off with a lolly by the fishpond before starting the return journey. And we called just for a run round Carisbrooke Castle on our way home, just to crown the day.

We must do that again.