Monday, 28 April 2008

Woman Management.

I have recently had an animated discussion, with a certain someone, about inappropriate behaviour in the workplace and the responsibilities of a good manager. I spent most of my working life in the Civil Service, where there was a strict code of conduct and most of the behaviour outlined below would not have been tolerated. Ego massaging, for the sad, manopausal middle-aged man would have been allowed, as in question 4, but no favours would have been granted as a result of it!

Anyway, I've been persuaded that I need to 'loosen up'! I suppose I'm just an old fashioned woman! I'm not going into all of the gory details, but the quiz I have devised, below, may give you a light-hearted insight into some of the discrepancies.

A good manager needs to take his responsibilities very seriously. He needs to ensure that his department is productive and runs efficiently. He needs excellent interpersonal skills. He has to set standards and live up to them, showing others how to do the same.
Do you think you might have what it takes? A male manager, supervising female staff, needs to observe a strict code of conduct at all times. Work through our short quiz, which concentrates on a few of the problems he might face, and make a note of which option you find the most appropriate course of action, for each scenario. The questions are based on real life situations.

1. Your new assistant is working through her probationary period. She insists on fetching your newspaper, each day, from the newsagents and buying you a chocolate bar, out of her own money. What would you consider to be the most suitable course of action? Would you

a) thank her for her kindness, but say that you will be picking up your own newspaper, in your lunch break, from now on and that the chocolate bar was a kind thought, but unnecessary, or

b) wait until you have put on 4 lbs, then tell her that she can continue to pick up your newspaper, but that she needn't bother with the chocolate, from now on, or

c) ask her if, while she's picking up your newspaper and buying your chocolate bar, from the shop, could she also buy you a cheese sandwich, a can of beer and a copy of Nuts magazine, and you'll give her the money on payday?

2. Your new, young, female assistant invites you to check out the new underwear she is ordering out of a catalogue. Should you

a) tell her that, as her 57 year old manager, it is inappropriate for you to be aware of what your 20 year old assistant is intending to wear under her skirt and her top, or

b) pour over the pictures and inform the rest of the company, at the earliest opportunity, that you have been looking at your female assistant's underwear, or

c) take your Ann Summers catalogue out of the bottom drawer of your desk and point out that you favour the peephole bra on page 57, in black, and the crotchless panties, on page 64, in red, and ask how she would like you to pay?

3. Your young assistant has bought a new dress and failed to try it on, in the shop. If it doesn't fit, she needs to exchange it today, after work and she won't have much time to get to the shop before it closes. She wants to try the dress on, in working hours, behind the cupboard door, in the office which you share with her. She has not indicated that she expects you to leave the room. Should you

a) tell her that she should have tried on the dress in her own time, but, if it's really important, you will allow her 10 minutes to try the dress on, in the ladies toilet, as long as it never, ever, happens again, or

b) allow her to do as she wishes and remain in the office, as she offers no objection, giving no thought to the fact that the owner of the company calls in regularly, as his office is next door, or to the fact that your young assistant is so overweight that no cupboard door could ever hide her, as you are convinced that there could be no chance of the situation being misconstrued, or

c) tell her that she may try the dress on in the office, in your presence, that there is no need to struggle to hide behind the cupboard door, as long as she will allow you to take a few photos on your mobile to show to your mates in the pub', later?

4. You are having a mid-life crisis and you are depressed by your latest passport photo'. You thrust it under the noses of your 2 young female assistants, seeking reassurance and bemoaning the fact that you look so much older in the latest one. When the 2 young girls inform you that they prefer an older man, with flecks of grey in his hair and a pot belly, do you

a) wonder whether the youngest is pulling out all of the stops to get through her probationary period, whilst the other is softening you up, so that you'll agree to her having a half-day's holiday on Friday afternoon, and resolve to be influenced by neither, or do you

b) run home and inform your wife that your 2 young assistants still think you are hot, even though you are old enough to be their grandfather, or

c) ask if you could make up a threesome, at a cheap hotel in Bognor, during the first weekend in August?

5. You share a small office, with your 2 young, female assistants. They spend a certain amount of time discussing the intimate details of their private lives, in your presence, in office hours. During the course of their current, rather long, conversation, your youngest assistant complains about her lack of boyfriends and the fact that, whenever she has her period, blood keeps leaking onto her knickers, so that she constantly has to carry a spare pair. Do you

a) inform the girls that there's 'too much information' reaching your corner of the office and request that they get on with some work, or

b) pretend that you can't hear and allow them to continue, until they run out of conversation, or

c) pull up a chair and join in their discussion, offering helpful advice, such as suggesting that your youngest assistant loses some weight, offers oral sex on the first date, and tries those new sanitary towels with wings?

6. Human Resources are unsure whether to offer your new assistant a permanent position. They are very concerned about the number of days absence she has had from work, due to illness. Do you

a) suggest that her probationary period is extended, or

b) insist that she is given the permanent position, because you believed her when she said that she was ill, even though the validity of the illness has never been the concern, or

c) gaze into the middle distance, thinking about the long walk to the newsagent, the money you've invested in her underwear, the provacative photos' on your mobile, the weekends away in Bognor and the dirty talk during office hours, and insist that she is offered a permanent position, plus an extra £5,000 per annum, for being an outstanding employee?

Did you answer mostly 'a'? You definitely have management potential.

Did you answer mostly 'b'? Are you a close relation of mine?

Did you answer mostly 'c'? You're already a manager, aren't you?

Monday, 21 April 2008

A Few Of My Favourite Things!!

I hope you don't mind if I ask you a personal question. Are your speakers turned on? This post appeals to more than one of your senses!

I don't remember having favourites of anything, when I was younger. I didn't care which seat I occupied at home, which mug I drank out of, or which spoon I used for dessert. I wore all of my clothes, in turn. I had a choice of jewellery and would wear it all, in rotation. I changed my hairstyle, constantly. One day, I had my hair cut twice. I visited my hairdresser during my lunch break at work and then I went to another salon, after work, because I didn't like the first style! I've never watched a film twice. I think I must be the only woman, in my age group, who saw The Sound of Music just once, when it was first released at the cinema. It was one time too many as far as I was concerned.

Now, I have favourites of everything. I have a favourite comfy seat, in the living room. It's the one my mother-in-law pinches, whenever she visits! If I drink tea out of one of my favourite flowery mugs, it tastes divine, but tea out of one of my husband's favourite wildlife mugs, for example, tastes disgusting. My after-lunch yoghurt takes on a totally different flavour, if I eat it with anything other than my favourite old teaspoon, with the wooden handle.

I feel that I'm wearing someone else's clothes, when my 3 favourite pairs of Per Una dark blue denim jeans are delayed in the wash, and I am forced to wear my Armani pale denims, or worse still, my Dolce and Gabbana black bell-bottom trousers. Every day, I pass over my Tiffany and Cartier earrings, so that I can wear my favourites, which I bought several years ago from my favourite jeweller, Elizabeth Duke. Anyone from the middle or upper classes, who has stumbled upon my site, in error, will need to click here to discover the whereabouts of my favourite jeweller. Did you have to click? Oooh! Get you!

I have finally succeeded in growing my hair back into my favourite style, after the rash decision I made, to have it cut into a 60s style bob, when I bought tickets for a Bootleg Beatles concert, several months ago. Some weeks after the occasion, when my mobile hairdresser next visited, I tried to defend my decision. I explained that I'd wanted to recapture the 60s look, for my special evening out. I'd bought the 60s style 'mod' suit, the long boots and the ecru tights. I was momentarily distracted from my explanation, as my hairdresser stood, in front of me, scissors poised, lips pursed. 'And why didn't you buy the wig?' said her somewhat menacing, but wordless expression.

The film Gosford Park pandered to my obsession for murder and mystery and it was set in my favourite period. It is the only film I have ever seen 4 times over. I am so dangerously close to understanding it, now, that I recently treated myself to my own copy, from my local supermarket, for the princely sum of £4.99. I have no doubt that I will consider it worth every penny, when my moment of enlightenment finally occurs.

Anyway, enough about me! What do you mean, you've never come across that remark before, on my site? There's a first time for everything, isn't there?

How about you? Do you have a favourite chair, or a favourite utensil? Do you favour raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, or bright copper kettles and warm, woollen mittens? Do you have a favourite dress? Is it white with a blue satin sash? Do you have a favourite snowflake that stays on your nose, and your eyelashes? I'm interested! Let me know!

PS I know that I really should apologise for my choice of music, but I'm not going to. You should know me, by now. Enjoy!! You can always click on the far right button. The next track might be better...... or worse, of course!

Friday, 18 April 2008

It's All About Me!

I have been tagged by maggie may.

  1. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
  2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
  3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, which should inform them that they've been tagged and that the details are on the player's blog.

This promises to be such a boring post, because I've led such a boring life. Do you have any parcel tape? If you do, I suggest you use it, at this point, to tape your eyes open.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I was living in the same place as I am, now, with my husband and 3 sons. I had a highly paid part-time job, as a lap dancer, in a local nightclub.

Name 5 snacks you enjoy.

I never eat snacks.

If you were a billionaire, how would you spend the money?

I am a billionaire. I ensure that the financial needs of my family and friends are met. I don't live in a mansion. I don't wear designer clothes. I live modestly. I give a fair proportion of my wealth to charity, whilst still ensuring that enough money remains to provide for my husband and myself in our old age.

Name 5 jobs you have had.

I was a published author, by the age of 10, and a professional blues singer, by the age of 18. I have also been a fashion designer and a professional artist. My favourite job has been that of mother to my 3 sons.

Name 3 bad habits you have.

I don't have any bad habits, only good ones.

Name 5 places where you have lived.

USA, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Australia.

Did I get you going there, for a moment? Bet you didn't drop off to sleep, did you? When did you suss me out? Sorry? When you got to the bit about me being a published author? Don't spare my feelings, will you? Don't be afraid to speak your mind! You didn't have any problem with the lap dancing, then?

Okay. Leave the parcel tape in place because I'm about to tell the truth.

10 years ago, I was living where I am today, with the same husband and 3 sons. I had 3 part-time jobs and the household tasks remained my responsibility, much to my disgust. My post 'A Woman's Dilemma' stemmed, partly, from my feelings, at that time.

5 snacks I enjoy are Waitrose's cashew nuts and giant pretzels, Nairns cheesy oatcakes, Hovis digestive biscuits and bananas. Any of the aforementioned companies, who are intent on sending me lorry loads of complimentary goods, should send them to my virtual address.

If I were a billionaire, I would pay for my father to have his second pacemaker fitted privately and today. (The first one isn't working.) I would buy my parents a bungalow, or pay for the desperately-needed alterations to their current home, if they didn't want to move again. I would also pay for them to have help with jobs around the house, as I live too far away to be of regular help to them. In addition, I would bribe the manager at their local Mecca bingo hall to let them win something, at least once a week!

I would arrange for my own house and garden to be moved elsewhere, within our country town, but to somewhere with a little more land. I would have new furniture and carpets, plus some new clothes. I would buy my husband a canal boat and ensure that other family and close friends received help with anything they needed. I would buy my sons their own houses in the Outer Hebrides and change the locks at my own house, as soon as they moved out. I might, or I might not, let them have details of our new address. I would try to boost the funds of some of the less popular charities.

5 jobs that I have had are - office assistant in hospital admin, clerical officer in the Civil Service, audio typist/word processor, admin assistant and wife plus mother. You might say that amounts to 6, I suppose. Okay, yes, the first 4 are just 4 different ways of saying that I worked in an office. So?

3 bad habits I have are - blogging, when I should be doing something else (like now), staying up into the early hours to blog and falling into a deep sleep, whilst on the 'phone to my mother, whenever she rings me after 9pm. (In the distance I suddenly hear her saying 'Mean mom, mean mom - are you still there?) I think that the last 2 may be related in some way.

I lived in 2 different locations in the Black Country and a village in Buckinghamshire, before I moved here. I have lived here for about 22 years, so I can't give you details of a fifth location, because there hasn't been one, so far.

The 5 people I would like to know more about are:




swearing mother and


Can I hear someone snoring? It's very rude to fall asleep, whilst I'm still speaking, you know.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

More Awards

Another 2 awards have come my way, one from maggie may:

and one from the mother of this lot:

Maggie may and the mother of this lot are my guests of honour, today, as, without their generosity, this award ceremony would not be taking place. I would just like to say that I was delighted to receive both awards and would like to pass them on to a few people.

If you have just called in, whether you are on the award list or not, please help yourself to a cappuccino and a biscuit.

I originally intended that we would have champagne, accompanied by blini topped with sour cream and smoked salmon, but the current credit crisis is biting rather hard in our household, at the moment. In addition, it would appear that all of my favourite bloggers have seen fit to change their virtual bank account details and virtual pin numbers, without giving me any notice, so I couldn't even run to savoury biscuits and cheese, accompanied by 2 or 3 bottles of Liebfraumilch, on this occasion.

I would like to pass both awards on to the following people:


mignon and


I would like to pass on the 'I've got a friend in you' award to
That's it, then folks. The party ends when all of the biscuits have gone. Have they gone, already? You don't hang about, you lot, do you? What about the washing up?

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Party's Over!

Hi! How is everyone? Am I the first one back, then? I have to confess I've got the mother of all headaches. What do you mean? I'm not shouting, I'm whispering!

I had to hitch from the police station, because none of the officers were travelling in this direction. It wasn't difficult, though, in my mini skirt and fishnets. By the time the driver was close enough to see my face, I'd got the door open and my substantial booty parked on the passenger seat. After I'd rabbited on, for 20 minutes or so, about virtual parties and the like, he was more than happy to push me out of the car as we passed the bottom of my road.

Those young policeman know how to party, don't they? I noticed they kicked us out of the station pretty sharpish, though, once the alcohol ran out.

We did have a great time, didn't we? I know I sound a bit unsure, but I can't remember too much about it, to be honest. I do keep recalling snatches of the evening from time to time, however. Hmmm ........

Whose idea was it to set off all of the fireworks at once? Really? Well, it certainly worked. I've never seen so many nice young men in uniforms arrive, en masse, at a party, in that way, before. Firemen; policemen; paramedics.

The fireworks display was truly spectacular. It didn't last very long, but the resulting blaze carried on for hours, I believe. I don't know why the firemen felt the need to zap us all, with those jets of water, just as we asked for a closer look at their hoses. I fell arse over tip down that grassy bank and saw more than a few stars, when I got to the bottom!

Wasn't it a blast playing that game of chase, with those nice young policemen and the police helicopters? They were bound to catch us in the end, though, weren't they? We could hardly walk in those stilettos, never mind run! Those police dogs were a bit unruly, I thought. I hope our wounds heal soon, without leaving a scar.

It was sweet of those nice young policemen to try and preserve the modesty of those of you who had stripped off, with their police helmets. We really needed a considerably larger number of police officers, though, I'm afraid.

I've found some of the tarty clothes, which were cast off with a certain amount of 'wild abandonment', as the evening progressed. They were strewn over the hedge at the side of the house. Who does the peephole bra belong to? Really, she's a bit of a dark horse, isn't she? Is it an Ann Summers?

I'm sorry to say that I rather lost count of those of you who were carried off on stretchers to the ambulance and those who were taken to the police station. As long as you're all okay, now, though, that's all that matters. Sorry? No, you're right. There seems to be a couple who haven't blogged, yet, today. I wonder what's happened to those 2? Just a second my phone's ringing.

It's okay. I know where they are, now. They must have stopped off at the children's playground, when we did the conga, down the High Street, in the early hours. Apparently, one's got her ample posterior stuck in one of the seats on the kiddies' roundabout, and the other's wedged at the top of the slide. I'd better get down there and see what I can do, I suppose. I must get these thigh-length, black suede stiletto boots off first, though. Now, where are my trainers?

Anyway, guys, it was a blast! Thanks, once again, for entering into the spirit of everything and being so entertaining. We must try and have another get together, in the summer. I think we'll need more alcohol, next time, though. Don't get changing those bank details or pin numbers, now.

Oh, I almost forgot! If I don't see you before, I'll see you when our case comes up, next month!

Saturday, 12 April 2008


When I came across the article on the Daily Telegraph website, about 'mumnesia', I was reminded of a few events, which took place in my own life, when I was a younger mother.

The first incident that came to mind took place when I was 8 months pregnant, with my second son. I went into a busy craft shop, with my mother, and we looked through several packets of wool, in a bargain basket. We left the shop without buying anything, but we walked past another 4 shops in the same road, before I realised that I had left the shop with a whole packet of wool tucked under my arm! Panic-stricken, I ran back into the shop and thrust the wool back into the basket. I ran out again, as fast as I possibly could, in my condition, before anyone could make sense of what I had done and give chase!

Only a few days later, I handed over some things I wanted to buy, at the till, in the local newsagent. 'And what about the magazine?' asked the shop assistant.

'What magazine?' I asked, rather bewildered by her question.

'The magazine under your arm!' she replied, somewhat sharply.

One Saturday afternoon, when my middle son was just a couple of weeks old, my husband and I decided that we needed to go into town to do some shopping. I was last out of the house. I slammed the front door behind me and joined my husband in the car. He started the engine, but as he drove onto the road, I realised that we had forgotten something. 'We've forgotten the baby!' I exclaimed. We had left him, in his pram, sleeping in the cool sitting room, at the front of the house, because it was a really hot day. When we pulled up, back on the drive again, we realised that neither of us had brought a front door key and it took my husband 40 minutes to break in, by forcing open the patio doors, at the rear of the house. Fortunately, middle son slept through all of the activity.

After the birth of my third son, I went through a phase of confusing days, dates and times for quite a while, as I remember.

My youngest son was a few months old when a friend rang to ask me, politely, why I wasn't at her house, for a cup of tea and a chat, as we had arranged. I told her that I wasn't supposed to be there until the following day, but, when I checked the calendar, I was stunned to see that she was right!

One Saturday afternoon, not long after that, I asked my husband to take my eldest son to another child's birthday party, but they very quickly returned, my husband somewhat crossly explaining that they'd arrived a week too early! I was so relieved that I hadn't taken eldest son to the party myself!

On another occasion, the whole family was due to go to the dentist and my husband had taken the day off work, especially. We were running a little late and burst into the reception area, at the surgery, in the same way that we tended to enter any room in those days, with the 3 little gremlins who bore an uncanny resemblance to our 3 young sons. The grim reaper manning the reception desk checked the appointment book and, then, to my dismay, began going back through the pages. 'You should have been here yesterday!' she said disapprovingly, glaring over the top of her spectacles.

Another afternoon, I turned up at my local salon (Ooh! Sounds a bit posh! ) to have my legs waxed and was told that I should have been there in the morning. I was positive that the salon had made the mistake, until I arrived home and checked the calendar. I had been so certain that I had the correct appointment time fixed firmly in my mind, that I hadn't even bothered to check the calendar on that particular day.

I think the most embarrassing mistake I ever made, however, was when a going away party had been organised for a family living in our road, because they were emigrating to America. It was a whole family affair, so we all set off down the road, on the appointed evening, dressed in our party clothes. A fair amount of organisation had been necessary in preparing for the event, as I had cooked some food, and the boys were still quite young, so a fair amount of effort had to go into dressing them up, in appropriate party clothes, and keeping them clean and out of mischief etc.

My husband and I each carried a plate of food, whilst the boys chattered excitedly, as we reached the house. We rang the doorbell and waited. My neighbour opened the door and was quite suddenly overwhelmed with laughter, as soon as she caught sight of us. Eventually, she was able to gasp 'The party was last night! We all wondered where you were, but were too polite to come over and ask. We assumed that something must have cropped up to stop you coming along.'

It was months before I could greet my neighbours, without them laughing helplessly at the thought of me turning up for the party 24 hours too late. I don't think I ever lived it down, but at least most of them have moved away, now!

It is fair to say that I still forget things sometimes and I may very occasionally confuse times and dates, but not as consistently as when my sons were young, I don't think. Nowadays, I have 'blonde moments', even though I am not a natural blonde, and, in a few years time, no doubt, I will qualify for 'senior moments'.

How about you? Have you/do you suffer from mumnesia? Do you suffer from it, even though you are not a mum? What sort of 'moments' do you have?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008


I'm not usually a party animal, but I so enjoyed the virtual tea party, which I hosted last Sunday, that I am already thinking about what sort of virtual party to organise next.

Firstly, though, I would like to thank all of those guests who came to my last virtual party and entered into the spirit of it all so whole-heartedly. You were so entertaining and your comments were inspired!

Now, I would like to have a discussion with you about what sort of virtual party we should have, next time.

How about a Tupperware party? What? Why are you all groaning? The last one I went to, about 20 years ago, was most enjoyable. The demonstrator made a rice ring, which tasted delicious. We all bought one of the circular plastic moulds which she used to shape it and I sold mine, still unused, on a well-known auction site, only last week, for £0.99p plus p&p. Between us, at the party, we bought enough Tupperware for the hostess to earn her reward, which consisted of a collection of storage containers, 3 plastic beakers with lids, a spaghetti container and half a dozen ice lolly moulds.

At the end of the party, the demonstrator lunged at one of the guests, held her in a head lock, and pulled out her toe nails one by one, until she reluctantly agreed to book up a party of her own the following month. Awesome! Job done!

Oh, is that right? You can't buy Tupperware through party plan, now? That's a bit of a disappointment.

Right! How about a cheese and wine party, then? Traditional, but still quite popular, I believe. Sorry? That sounds good, but you don't fancy the cheese? Okay, a cheese and wine party, without the cheese. That's one possibility, then!

What do you think about a toga party? They are quite fashionable, with students, at the moment. We would have to dress up in Greek-style robes, wear holly on our heads and get very drunk, apparently. Right, so that sounds great, but you can't be bothered with the Greek-style robes or the holly? Well, it wouldn't be a toga party, then, would it? It would just be a party, where we all get very drunk! Oh, I see what you mean. Yes, okay, that's another possibility.

What about a tarts and vicars party? Hmmm! You're right. I don't have any potential vicars visiting my site. We could still dress up as tarts, though, right? Yay! That's another possibility, then.

How does everyone feel about a swingers party? No, you're right. Let's not go there.!

How about a pyjama party, then? What? Do none of you wear pyjamas? Okay, better not go there, either.

Perhaps we should consider something more modern. How about a rave? There is a green at the side of my house, which would probably be big enough for us. Most of us are taking tablets of some sort, already, so we wouldn't have to concern ourselves with that side of things. I quite like the thought of the party being outside, because, then, there wouldn't be any mess in the house, but what about the music? I don't think that electronic dance music would be suitable for us, so what shall we go for? I'm sorry? What did you say? Party music? Like what, exactly? Things like La Bamba, YMCA, Agadoo and Lambada? You can't be serious! You are? Yes, okay, sounds great!

Should we announce it on someone's social networking site, to make sure we get plenty of guests? Brilliant! I don't want any damage to my house, though. You know that there's often thousands of pounds worth of damage caused, at the venue, when a party is announced on the internet. We'll move into someone else's house, when it gets too cold, on the green? Awesome idea! I do have a neighbour of whom I'm not overly fond.

Now, what shall we do about food? Shall I do some sausage rolls and crisps? No, you'd rather put the money towards more alcohol? Okay, then, agreed!

It would be helpful if you could each make a voluntary contribution towards the cost of the alcohol. Please send a virtual postal order, for as much money as you can spare, to my virtual address. Alternatively, please send your virtual bank details, not forgetting your virtual pin number, to my virtual email address and I will virtually help myself to anything I need.

I think that's just about sorted, then. Please let me know if you have any queries, or requests. Your virtual invitation is below.

LOCATION: The green at the side of my house
and afterwards in the cells of the local police station
TIME: A virtual evening at the virtual weekend
FROM: Mean Mom
Police transport will be provided between venues
NB This blog is tongue in cheek. I do not condone the taking of illegal drugs, the mixing of alcohol and drugs (illegal or otherwise), and I do not personally support rave culture. In fact, in real life, I am no fun, whatsoever.

A Great Award

I have received a great award from working mum, which she has devised herself.
The idea is to pass it on to 5 blogs which make you laugh, cry, think or sigh.
I would like to pass it on to the following people:

Sunday, 6 April 2008

The Mad Bloggers' Virtual Tea Party

Hi! Are you a mad blogger? Are you here by special invitation? All are welcome to my Mad Bloggers' Virtual Tea Party. Come on in! Take a virtual seat! Would you like virtual tea, or virtual coffee? Would you like a virtual piece of cake? It's a virtual pleasure. Have you met the mother of this lot and her daughters? They are my guests of honour, today.
The mother of this lot was kind enough to give me a Good Chat Blog Award, as above, a few days ago, so I thought it would be nice to have a get together, which would give me an opportunity to pass it on. The award was designed by one of her daughters, here by special invitation, known as 'The Fixer', and was given to her, with instructions from her daughter, to pass it on to any of her favourite bloggers, who seemed like they would invite her in for a nice, long chat, if ever she met up with them.
What is that commotion? Is that 2 of my favourite bloggers, fighting in the corner, over there? Bad bloggers! Who is it? I might have guessed! What are you fighting over? The cake crumbs on the floor? You should be ashamed of yourselves! There is plenty of cake. If you settle down, you can have another piece. That's better. Here you are. What do you mean, it's not big enough? Click on it, then. There you are. Is that big enough for you? Now calm down, before I name and shame you.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your support, on my site. Thanks for bothering with me and thanks for your comments. Thanks for sharing your lives, your thoughts, your laughter, and, sometimes, your fears and sadness, with me, when I visit your blogs. Thanks for not taking offence at my, occasionally, inane or inappropriate comments.
Who was rude enough to interrupt me, then? Who said 'Where's the virtual wine?' Typical!
I would like to pass on the award to the people listed below. I know that we would have a good, long chat, if ever we met up. I heard that! Who muttered 'We'd be lucky to get a word in edgeways?' Where was I? Oh, yes. Here's my list:
I know that at least a couple of you already have the award, so you will not want to pick up another one, but I do hope that you have enjoyed the virtual tea party.
Oh, you're all off, now that you've polished off the cake, emptied the tea pot and picked up your awards, are you? Well, thanks for calling by. There's always some tea in the pot. Don't be a stranger!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Crazy Sunday!

Last Sunday morning, when my alarm woke me from my deep and wonderful sleep, I re-set it and snuggled down for an extra half an hour's stolen slumber. My husband and I were supposed to be taking my student son back to uni(versity) after the Easter break, but, when I had gone to bed the previous night, student son still hadn't returned from his evening out, so I suspected that he would remain in a comatose condition for a few more hours, yet.

At 8am, I woke with a start, as I remembered that middle son needed to go to work and he also hadn't been at home, when I had gone to bed last night. I checked his bedroom and the rest of the house, but he was nowhere to be found. My mind wandered, as I considered the difficulties of sharing house and home with a grown up family, who could not yet afford homes of their own. My 2 eldest sons were aged 25 and 23, so they were mostly free to come and go as they pleased and they led their own lives. I didn't wait up for them, if they were late home after an evening out, but they knew that if they spontaneously decided to spend the night elsewhere, they were supposed to text or ring, either the same night, or the next morning. After all, I needed to know when to call out the emergency services, organise the dragging of local rivers and canals, and when to alert the Prime Minister and Interpol.

It was possible, of course, that middle son had told my husband that he hadn't intended to come home last night, but had forgotten to tell me. It was another problem that we sometimes encountered, because, to a certain extent, as an adult family, we tended to resemble 'ships that passed in the night'. I didn't feel that it was any longer fair, or practical, to demand that we all met up for at least one meal a week. There were conflicting working hours, friends, girlfriends and other engagements to be taken into account. We met up whenever it was possible. It had to suffice. Group conversations, involving the whole family, were a rarity, but bewildering conversations between 2 family members were inevitably quite common, such as the one I had with my eldest son during the past week:

'Where's younger brother?' asked eldest son. 'I haven't heard his music for a couple of days.'

'He's on an outward bound course, this week' I replied. 'It's to do with his new job.'

'Has he got a new job? When did he start that, then?' eldest son enquired.

'A couple of weeks ago' I replied.

'Does he not work for the well-known High Street store, where he could get 30% discount off cds, DVDs and video games, any more, then?' asked eldest son, with a hint of rising panic in his voice.

'He's still working there at weekends' I answered.

Eldest son audibly heaved a sigh of relief and said somewhat grumpily as he left the room, 'Nobody tells me anything around here!'

My husband didn't know where middle son was, either, so I considered the possibilities:
  1. He could be lying in the gutter, somewhere.
  2. He could be in hospital.
  3. He could be at the police station.
  4. He could be at a friend's house.

I hoped that he wasn't lying in the gutter anywhere, because it could mean that his mobile 'phone had been stolen and I would have to expend a fair amount of energy, walking the streets in search of him. The nearest A & E departments were actually quite close and would require less effort to reach, than the local police 'lock-up'. Then again, if one of the police officers happened to be driving out in this direction, he/she might be kind enough to drop off middle son, after his night in the cells. I would then be free to indulge in my usual Sunday morning pastime of relaxing in my comfy armchair, enjoying a cup of caffeine and watching BBC 24 hour news, on Sky Tv. I shook myself out of my reverie, guiltily dismissing my uncharitable thoughts.

The most likely scenario was that middle son had stayed at someone's house. He was due to start work at 10am and needed an hour's travelling time. If I texted him at 8.20am, it would serve the dual purpose of waking him and assuring me that he was alright. He would, hopefully, have enough time to walk home, shower and still arrive at work on time. There was also the possibility that he had forgotten to put his watch forward an hour, which served to fully convince me that I definitely needed to text him at 8.20am.

I interrupted my breakfast to text middle son and remind him of the time. He rang almost immediately and told me, in a voice thick with sleep, that he didn't have to be at work until 11am and that he had stayed at his relatively new girlfriend's house the previous night. He thanked me, most politely, in the circumstances, I felt, and said that he would see me shortly. I remembered, rather belatedly, that for the last 12 months, he had regularly started work at 10am on a Saturday and 11am on a Sunday. Oops!

I showered and dressed, then remembered that student son had brought home his bedclothes, from his room, to be washed. I had washed them with the rest of our bedclothes and now they were all mixed up together, in the airing cupboard. With sinking heart, I realised, that I needed to try and recover them. I tentatively opened the cupboard door and, the speed with which the contents leapt out and overpowered me, took my breath away. A fitted sheet adorned my head, draped at a rather rakish angle over my right eye, whilst pillowcases and duvet covers clung around my ankles. It was glaringly obvious that I'd been blessed with none of the organisational skills of Anthea Turner.

I picked up a duvet cover and clutched it to my chest, gazing, eyes unfocused, as I inwardly bemoaned the fact that there were no decent cupboards in our house. The previous occupants had knocked out the one under the stairs. We had small kitchen cupboards, a few fitted wardrobes and 2 double beds with drawers, but that was the limit. At one time, I had kept the bedclothes in the drawers under the beds, but I had now filled up the drawers with other crap, so the bedclothes had to be stuffed into the airing cupboard.

I thought enviously of the 2 bedroomed house into which my parents had moved a few years ago. It had 3 walk-in double cupboards and 4 walk-in single cupboards. It must have been designed by a woman. When they moved, after 50 years of living in the same house, my parents got rid of possessions, which they later wished they had kept and kept things for which they had no need. They resolved never, to collect and store crap, ever again, but 5 years later, they have been 100% successful in filling their precious, enviable and significantly spacious cupboards with more crap. I definitely needed more cupboards, so that I could store more crap!

I forced my self to concentrate on the matter in hand and began sorting through the fitted sheets. I couldn't tell the doubles from the singles, as usual. The pale blue singles wouldn't fit student son's extra deep mattress, so he needed the darker blue, or perhaps it was the other way around? Sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers flew through the air in all directions, as I resolved to buy all of my bedclothes from John Lewis in future. They pandered to their spatially-challenged, or disorganised customers, in the most delightful way, by labelling their fitted sheets 'double' and 'single'. Awesome! I wondered whether they labelled their socks 'left' and 'right'.

I finally found student son's bedclothes and put them in his bedroom, ready for him to pack. I kicked his bed and shook the headboard, but he still didn't stir. We would be late leaving if he didn't wake up soon. After a long week of deliberation, we had decided that we would leave the house at 10am to take student son back to uni(versity). I had excelled all previous efforts by being ready to leave at 10.30am, but student son was still nowhere near ready. He had been out until 4am, apparently and didn't seem to be in any hurry to pack and leave the house.

When I reminded him that we'd originally intended to leave at 10am, he claimed that we'd never told him we intended to leave at that time and, when I thought back, I realised that he was right! My husband and I had agreed the time between ourselves, completely forgetting that he hadn't been present at the time!

We had some lunch and finally left home at about 3.30pm, after agreeing that we would have a pub' meal, before returning home. The journey was uneventful, but when we arrived at student son's accommodation, I remarked upon the peace and quiet. There were hardly any cars in the car park. No-one was wandering around with 2 months' dirty washing, trying to remember the exact location of the launderette, or staggering around, arms piled high with lager and crisps, trying to recall the exact location of last night's party. 'Everyone else has another 2 weeks' holiday' explained student son. 'It's only the students on my course, who had to return, today.

There are about 10 blocks of student flats on the site where student son lives. We were surprised to discover that he would be virtually alone in his block for the next 2 weeks. There would inevitably be a few international students scattered around the site and there would be some other students, from his learning group, in the neighbouring block, but he would remain alone on his floor, as far as we could tell. Apparently, student son had told his brother that he would be alone for 2 weeks, but had forgotten to mention it to us and, suddenly, we understood why he'd been in no particular hurry to return!

I've spoken with him, on a few occasions, during the past week and he has had no problems with his isolation, except for a few odd noises now and again, which could always be blamed on other students, when there were other students in the neighbouring rooms.

A narrow corridor runs outside his room and leading off it, there are 6 other student rooms, a kitchen, sluice, 2 toilets and a shower room. There are locked doors at both ends of the corridor, for which each student has a key. Student son informed me, during one of our telephone conversations, that he had been enjoying the freedom of wandering naked between the shower and his bedroom, whilst there was no-one else around. I opened my mouth with the intention of pointing out that he should be careful of the cleaners, who continued to work throughout the holidays, albeit in a limited capacity. I suddenly changed my mind, however, and clamped my mouth firmly shut. After all, it would be a grave error of judgement on my part, to risk depriving myself of potentially amusing material for any future blogs!