Monthly Archives: December 2009


It was wonderful. Doubly wonderful, actually, as there was a second sense of magic which the Smudgelet actually sensed too.

A sort of surreal aura of pleasure at being able to finish work at 2.30 (thank you, dear shift leader, for helping me out by letting me depart slightly early) and by 5.30 be stood in the crowded courtyard of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (OK, in a reproduction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, but the most amazing place to be in under any circumstances. Just google it and see!) in anticipation of an evening of magical entertainment. We got right at the front so the Smudgelet’s nose was actually resting on the edge of the stage 🙂 Did it matter that we were going to be standing for the whole evening? Not a bit of it, even if I was still walking wounded after my adventures of the previous day. Did it matter that it was steadily raining down on us and the Globe theatre is open to the elements? Not in the slightest. In some ways it almost added to it, apart from the persistant drip which performed a sort of water torture by landing on the same tender spot on my left shoulder again and again and again. Once glimpse of the stage and my heart said to me “no matter where we move in the future or what happens, nobody can ever take this experience away from me. It has become part of me. I am in the Globe Theatre, for the second time, and it is pure magic”.

The show was an extravaganza of entertainments in Shakespearean-time style, with lots of exaggerated characters, tightrope walking, humour (including some which quite appealed to the Smudgelet’s schoolboy humour but shocked him that I found it funny too!), bright colours and lots of references to Shakespearean characters which went right over the boy’s head but which were really quite funny. Very visual, very frenetic, great fun. And the perfect end to our Christmassy treats.
As we walked back to the station, we were hard pressed to decide which was our favourite bit as we recalled the entire show bit by bit.

And the Smudgelet turned to me and said “Isn’t it amazing? One minute we were at home, and the next minute we were in the middle of London, in the Globe Theatre”.

Now I have a day off and suddenly it’s down to earth with a bump. My sister and brother-in-law are coming to stay for the weekend and I am suddenly viewing the flat through their eyes. It’s a post-Christmas tip! i could do with some magic – it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get this place habitable by tomorrow!

Injured soldier

My arms ache. My shoulders ache. My back aches. My thighs ache. My calves ache. My ankles ache. My belly aches.
I have a bleeding finger. I have bruised knees. I have bruised arms. I have bruises on my tummy. And I have a rather generous bruise on my rather generous backside.

All in the line of duty, I hasten to add. Work related injuries. Wonder if I could sue. After all, I don’t need to mention that the reason my belly muscles ache is from laughing too much.

Wheelchair ice skating is brilliant fun – especially when you’ve never skated before! And I only fell down .. er… was it really five times? (That despite having a really stable wheelchair to grab onto – in fact, I believe the muscle which ache the most are my biceps and my hand muscles from clinging on so desperately for dear life!)

We won’t mention the sadism of my … hmmm… I nearly said “friend” but perhaps ” colleague” would be a better term… who somehow had hold of my camera and the works camera too and took some detailed footage. Not of my expertise and determination, no. Photos for blackmailing purposes of my legs going in all directions and me sitting on the ice! Ratbag! Strange how only two colleagues went with me but now the entire team – and the Smudgelet – know of my penguin impressions as I waddled precariously across the ice.

Funniest moment just had to be when a man came racing to the rescue as I sat there on the ice and then said “I don’t know why I’m offering to help – I can’t skate either! If I try to help you up, I’ll fall over too!”

That was fantastic fun.

But if I ever go skating with the Smudgelet, I’ll have to bribe one of the kids from work to go with me.


I decided it was time to get back into routine a bit today, seeing as I’m back at work at 7 tomorrow. Break myself in gently, I thought. Set the alarm for 8.

At 8, the alarm went off and, with quite admirable self-control I reckon, I ignored the temptation of the snooze button and leapt into action. Made the breakfast and ran myself a bath while I got the rubbish ready to put out for collection.

Stepping out into the frost-covered world and seeing the sun glistening on the whiteness from the cloudless blue sky, suddenly I felt awake and alive. The day stretched in front of me, full of potential, and I could hardly bear to go back into the dark, central heated flat as my lungs were so happily full of fresh clear air. But going in was rather necessary, seeing as I was in my pyjamas (covered with jogging bottoms and a coat, seeing as I’m in a slightly posher area now!). So I dashed inside and nipped into the bath to freshen up before waking the Smudgelet and making him go out for a walk.

Well, that was the plan.

Still, at least I woke up before the water was tooooooooo cold and I was tooooooooo prune-like. And we still have an hour or two before it goes dark!


It was, I think, one of the nicest Christmases I could have asked for, and for that I am truly grateful. I am sitting here feeling quite contented (though warily contented as this feeling usually precedes yet another crisis). A simple Christmas, a relaxed Christmas, a Christmas of games and companionship and unforced happiness.

It was the first Christmas ever that was spent just the Smudgelet and me. I had been feeling guilty, thinking it was hard on him to have no other company, but then remembered my own childhood Christmases had been spent with my mum, just her and me (I used to think my dad was real hero volunteering to work so that those colleagues with young children could have the holiday off – only later did I realise that he had a young family too and that it was simply that he didn’t like Christmas!) and I didn’t feel hard done by at all. My brother had planned to join us for a few days, but the snow put paid to that.

I was woken at silly-o’clock by a rampaging twelve-year-old bearing the stocking he’d found at the foot of his bed. I knew he wouldn’t have woken me before six. Hmmm…. how come, then, that by by the time he’d finished making sure I was well and truly awake and then had opened every single present out of his stocking, I looked at the clock and found it was still only ten to six!!!

He had far too many presents… but the joy in his face as he opened each one and found a longed-for treat inside was worth every penny, and to be honest, he’s far from spoilt. He is a boy to be proud of.

Church, which was really lovely – it had been the biggest reason that’s I’d wanted to stay at home for Christmas as I’d wanted the chance to celebrate in my new home church. Then home to dinner. A success, mostly, apart from the small battle with the electric stove which resulted in a few bits being slightly overcooked, but we managed a three course meal with absolute minimum stress.. and it was ready to eat by 1.30 too! Just as well as we were invited out for supper and games at a new friend’s house in the evening of Christmas Day. (The Smudgelet was particularly relieved when they asked if we’d be terribly offended if they watched Doctor Who before supper!)

It was quite something, being invited to be part of the family celebrations with a new friend. And we arrived back, rather late at night, to find an invitation from another new friend on my answerphone inviting us for supper and games with their family on Boxing Day. We slept in, then spent a couple of blissful hours walking in Richmond Park trying out our new cameras (flickr soon to be added to) before going for another fun evening.

Then today a visit from some of my favourite people, my friend and my Goddaughter, for yet more games, food, videos and nattering.

I miss my eldest son greatly, but it was actually lovely to spend such quality time with the Smudgelet and enjoy the companionship of my growing son without the two of them getting overexcited and competing for attention. Wish I could have spoken to him on Christmas Day, but goodness knows what I would have said, so maybe it’s as well that I couldn’t. It wasn’t an option.

And now I sit here, relaxing on the sofa with no sense of needing to be doing anything at all, while the Smudgelet plays in the bath (perhaps he’s not in too much of a hurry to grow up) and listens to his new CD. (Thank you, God, for a son with relatively decent taste in music).

I hope and pray that your Christmases held at least one simple blessing and a chance to rejoice.

A Christmas Tale

Here is the Christmas story I told to the Smudgelet as he opened a bottle of Lynx shower gel from his Christmas stocking, a story which told the answer to a question he’d asked earlier in the week.

Santa was in the middle of the workshop, surrounded by his elves, and deciding what should go into the Smudgelet’s stocking. Knowing the Smudgelet’s love of spending excessive amounts of time under the shower (i.e. the specific amount of time taken for the hot water tank to go from full to empty) and the Smudgelet’s mother’s liking of the smell of Lynx, he decided to ask his elves what they had created in the way of shower gels, and they presented him with three bottles, one blue, one red and one green.

First Santa opened the lid of the red bottle and sniffed. Yes, this was OK but maybe not the nicest. Then he opened the blue bottle and sniffed and realised it was a far nicer aroma. He was sure the Smudgelet’s mother would approve the choice. But just to be on the safe side, he decided to test the aroma of the green shower gel. He opened the bottle, put his nose over the top and inhaled. Unfortunatly, just at that moment, his fingers accidentally squeezed and a massive fountain of snot-coloured shower gel shot straight up his nostrils. Right there, in the middle of the workshop, he stood with bright green gel running down his face from his nose and a very embarrassed expression on his face.

All of which explains why, when the Smudgelet needed an emergency tissue to blow his nose, the one his mother fished out of her coat pocket looked rather ominously pre-used.


It’s been rather hard to find a Christmas card to send to eldest son, so he’s having to make do with a letter.
I perused all the “son” cards in the shop, but somehow the sentiments were not quite right.
I gave up after finding the one which looked just perfect, opening it up, and then finding the message “Wishing you the Christmas you deserve”. Perhaps it wasn’t very motherly of me to get the giggles!
I can’t send him a gift – the place he’s moved to doesn’t allow anything at all to be sent in – I can only send him a bit of spending money so he can buy himself a CD. Just hope he knows how much I love and miss him.
But I have to admit it’s rather pleasant not to have to cook sprouts this year.

Just the two of us

This is the first Christmas that the Smudgelet and I have spent as a twosome. No family, no visitors, no eldest son, just my fantastic 12-year-old and me… oh, and ten hamsters and one cat and a rather plump turkey.

It was not the original plan – my brother was coming down from Scotland to stay but has been somewhat hindered by the fact that he needs a ski-lift installed on his drive. In fact we debated whether he could make it all the way here from Scotland sitting on a tea tray and using his walking poles as ski poles to help turn corners. (It’s all downhill from Scotland, isn’t it?). So, we’re going for multiple Christmases. My sister visited either side of it, and my brother is coming for a second Christmas at the end of January/beginning of February.

So.. it’s just the Smudgelet and me. Rather nice, really. (And I don’t need to feel guilty about not tidying my bedroom!)

Totally disorganised

Well, actually, not totally. Just partially. After all, it’s rare for me to have finished wrapping the presents before Christmas Eve. But there do seem to be rather a number of Christmas cards which haven’t yet been signed, let alone put into envelopes and posted. I got into the sense of waiting until the Christmas holidays when I would have more time, but unfortunately did not take into account the fact that I don’t actually have the Christmas holidays any more, and by the time I’d finished work it was too late to post them.

So, this is my opportunity to wish a merry Christmas to all and sundry who might be reading this blog. (yes, both of you!)… whether you would have expected a Christmas card from me or not! Just because there’s no folded piece of card bearing my wishes, it does not make them any less sincere or heartfelt. SO I wish you all a Christmas filled with light and love, hope and peace, regardless of your circumstances.

Serves you right….

I had a twinge of conscience as I took the toffee out of the proffered tin. After all, Quality Street are made by Nestle. But the chocolates had already been bought – my boycotting them would affect nobody apart from the child who had brought them in as a gift for the staff. And it was only a toffee. What harm could a single toffee do? (OK, so it wasn’t a single chocolate, but I blame my colleagues setting a bad example in scoffing half a dozen each…. )

So, does anyone happen to know where around here you can get a major filling replaced at the weekend.. and done in ultra-quick time because I squandered my morning off this morning in the comfortable knowledge that I had all weekend to do my jobs?