Tuesday, April 29, 2008

bombs away!

this post is a little out of sync, dear readers. in my excitement to tell you about the cupboard i failed to tell you about the trip to the dump. i will have to keep this fairly short as herself is suffering a bit with her car-pull tunnel wrists. nothing to do with laying paving slabs of course. she has finally given up attempting to beat the wrists and is trying to get the wrist-mending op done before himself's transplant. this is because she can't drive for any length of time without her hands going numb and the op will happen in london, a 2 hour drive away.

anyway, back to the matter in hand, as it were. on saturday morning, the diy god needed wood to line the cupboard. as the diy superstore is next door to the dump, herself decided to kill 2 birds with one stone(relax dear readers, its a saying) and loaded up the trailer with a pile of things that have been ejected from the garden. the gypsy, the diy god and herself negotiated the narrow streets fairly successfully and arrived at the dump. at the gate was a policeman. the dump was closed. you could tell because the gates were shut.

"sorry, but the dump is closed," said the policeman, stating the obvious, as only policemen can (apologies to sgt goose, who i know will understand), "someone appears to have inadvertantly thrown away a hand grenade."

"how careless!" said herself, laughing, all the while thanking life for throwing up constant blog-fodder, "why you would have a hand grenade in the first place is puzzling, but how you could throw away your hand grenade by mistake is even more puzzling."

"you couldn't make it up," said the policeman, who obviously draws inspiration for his lines from inspector gadget's blog.

later that day the peeps were out in the town when two bomb disposal vehicles roared by, nee-naws blaring. it seems the policeman had indeed not been making it up...


last night we had our new neighbours round. they are very nice people. they have a little dog called ruby and some children too. there is a girl who is 10 (the same age as me!) and a boy who is 13 - the same age as my boy. ruby is four months old and a bit of a live wire. as a precaution my lady friend had her face basket fitted before the neighbours arrived and i have to say this was a sound move. young ruby went round the room at breakneck speed, pausing only to sit on himself's shoulder like a parrot. glasses of wine splashed everywhere. luckily this was white wine. red wine would have been a problem for the pale carpets. eventually young ruby was taken home to practice her yoga so the peeps and the neighbours could get to know each other.

i do love a pup. they have such a zest for life. i have missed young rokit. i was looking forward to living over the road to him but he has moved to london to live with a greyhound called roland. this is because his peeps are having to move house. they say that this is nothing to do with us moving in over the road. i hope this is true. i know the peeps can be a bit eccentric but their hearts are in the right place.

anyway, back to the neighbours. their boy is mad into computer games too so he and my boy had a whale of a time changing the course of history with their battles. their girl was worried that young ruby would be lonely so she went home with her to watch recordings of crufts, which apparently young ruby likes. i can only assume that she is a little calmer at home as watching tv whilst roaring round the room at 90 mph would be dizzy-making.

the grown-up neighbours are just the right neighbours for the peeps. mr neighbour makes beautiful things with inlayed shells in a shed at the end of the garden. i suppose that it would not work too well trying to do delicate work in the house, what with ruby and all. he also plays the guitar rather well, with a nice bluesy style. mrs neighbour is just finishing her training as a hair slayer. they seemed to get on like a house on fire (relax readers, just a saying!) with the peeps.

you will notice that i have not put a photo of young ruby at the top of this post. she would not sit still long enough...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

cupboard love

the peeps are chuffed to bits - they have somewhere to keep their clothes! the gypsy, her husband the diy god and her son the miracle boy came to visit and left in their wake a wonderful cupboard! more accurately the diy god made the cupboard, whilst herself and the gypsy alternated between planting things in the garden and chatting over cups of tea. the miracle boy and my boy spent many happy hours playing on the computer, my boy discovering new and ever more gory methods of slaughtering digital people and the miracle boy looking up christmas tunes on youtube.

the miracle boy is so called for good reason. he was the first baby herself ever held. he has had a special place in her heart ever since. he has been decidedly unlucky on the medical front and has had more operations than are good for a person, leaving him covered in scars like train tracks. at one point his back had curved so much he was losing the use of his arms and legs and he had to have a metal back brace put in his spine. it looked like he might not walk or even play with his trains ever again. but the miracle boy's spirit was not to be crushed and on the day the gypsy and the diy god got married he twirled herself round on the dancefloor like a true professional, making her glow with pride.

anyway, back to the cupboard. the peeps did not have anywhere to keep their clothes in the new house. herself put up a rail for the hanging up sort of clothes which, while not entirely straight, is not so sloping that things slide down to one end. but the folding clothes have been in plastic boxes since the peeps moved in. the peeps have never been particularly adventurous dressers, but being unable to find anything has moved their sartorial conservatism to new heights. or perhaps depths.

in their bedroom is a cupboard. before it received the attentions of the diy god it was a sad affair, with crumbling walls and no shelves. but the diy god put and end to its misery. during the course of the afternoon my lady friend and i kept an eye on proceedings. my lady friend does not have a very effective reverse gear and can only move forwards, so it was a risky business for her to go into a room with a floor full of tools. each time we popped in for a gander she had to embark on a 37 point turn to get out again. but we lurchers take our duties seriously, and the diy god needed cheering on as he sawed and hammered.

and now the cupboard is a thing of beauty! it is lined with pine and has wonderful slatted shelves. no sooner had the diy god put away his drill than herself was playing with the new cupboard, putting things on the shelves and sniffing the wood. so we can now look forward to more varied messages on the t-shirts. as well as 'i'm blogging this' we may also see 'i never finish anyth'. thank goodness she didn't attempt to sort out the cupboard...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

solid ground

as my regular readers will know, there are two methods of getting things done in our house - 'properly', and 'now'.

to get something done 'properly' you have to get himself to do it. he will um and ah and get out spirit levels and tape measures and draw diagrams, then he will lean on his spade for a while, then it will get dark and the tools will have to be put away. and this is when he is well. now he is ill he can't even summon up the energy to draw the diagram, much less lean on his spade.

to get something done 'now', you have to get herself to do it. if she gets out the spirit level at all it is to prop the door open with. her adhd nature means that she goes at things with great fervour but very little skill. but at least they get done.

at present, 'now' is the only method available. and the back garden at our new house was a bit of an essential task. it has clay soil and gets very waterlogged. the new house has pale carpets. my lady friend and i have yet to master squatting over a lavatory. if the carpets were to remain glorious in their paleness, the mud had to go. both the peeps were agreed that the lawn was not the answer. it had turned from grass to mud within a week. and no-one likes mowing lawns in our house; herself because her dodgy wrists go numb, himself because he thinks the mower is the spawn of the devil. so it was agreed that slabs would be acquired and scattered around among the plants. a brief discussion about how many slabs ensued (in the past himself, with his degree in architecture and his building diploma, had excelled with mis-measuring for slabs and herself, as everyone will know, cannot even count her own toes).

"i reckon about 50", said herself. "just what i was going to say," agreed himself, causing her to sit down in shock. he never agrees with anything she says when diy is involved. when she had recovered, herself got on the phone. slabs were ordered, to be delivered on friday.

"but i'll be at work..." began himself.

"i know," said herself, smugly.

"you won't try laying them will you?" he called plaintively after her retreating figure.

suffice to say that, bright and early on friday morning, herself having waved the boys off like a proper housewife, the slabs arrived. they were lowered into the front patch by a big crane. herself set to work, with the aid of a trolley which she had the forethought to borrow from some kind friends. there were 50 slabs, and since she could only get 2 at a time up the step with the trolley, this meant 25 trips through to the back garden. the pale carpets were covered with cardboard which, given the amount of mud, was a shrewd move. as the slabs arrived at the back, herself laid them down on top of the former lawn. at this point it became clear to me why she wanted to do this job while himself was off the premises. his method of laying slabs involves endless head-scratching over the levels, gentle shuffling of soil or sand backwards and forwards, and a rate of about one slab an hour.

by lunchtime herself looked like a luminous beetroot but all the slabs were in place. and i have to say they were pretty flat. i could not see any appreciable difference between the proper method and the now method. my lady friend and i spent a happy hour placing our signatures around the new slabs. herself sat down on one of the very old and very rotten garden chairs to admire her efforts. a loud crack was heard. i knew she shouldn't have had that second bit of toast for breakfast...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

mother nature

herself is rather overwhelmed today. more accurately she is rather overwhelmed by plants. the day started well. herself drove my boy to meet his taxi, then took my lady friend and i for a lovely romp in the woods. from there things began to unravel. this morning was herself's gardening job, so we pootled along to our friends' house. these are the friends who have been babysitting our fish in a water butt while a pond was constructed at the new house. they have also been babysitting a variety of plants from the old house which are destined for the new garden, and the peeps' trailer. so this morning, before attacking a rather prickly shrub with a saw, herself hitched up the trailer and loaded as many of the plants as she could cram into it.

she turned her attention to the pruning and swiftly created an area that looked like the amazonian rain forest after the lumberjacks had been. my lady friend and i amused ourselves by turning circles at high speed on the rather nice lawn. while my lady friend has longer legs and is much faster on the straight, i am pretty good at a wheelspin, so i tend to outsmart her. after a while herself looked up at the sky. it had got very dark. suddenly rain poured down. my lady friend and i were swiftly bundled into the car and we headed off home, followed very closely by the trailer.

our new house is in a narrow street where you can only park on one side. there were no spaces. herself parked up at the end of the road on the yellow lines and unhitched the trailer. by now the rain was a deluge. she staggered down to our house and unsuccessfully tried to roll the trailer up the kerb. when it is empty the trailer is quite easy to manage. when it is full it is not. herself tried a couple more times. a queue of traffic built up. however, due to the deluge no-one offered to help. my lady friend and i watched helplessly from the back of the car. a truck containing two burly men turned round and went off to find another route. just then a kind neighbour came over and helped herself to pull the trailer up to safety.

a cup of tea and a change of clothes cheered herself up and she went off to work for the afternoon. she does not normally work on a thursday but she had to make up some time from earlier in the week. when she came home, it was to find more chaos. herself has a plastic greenhouse where she plants seeds. last weekend she spent a happy hour or so planting seeds for things to eat later in the year. but mother nature had snatched up the greenhouse and flung it on the floor. earth was everywhere. herself was miffed. but being a positive sort of person she got the dustpan and brush, swept up the earth and put it back into the trays. the greenhouse is now tied to the drainpipe so next time we have a high wind she will have to fix that as well as the greenhouse. and the seeds are all muddled up with each other, so lettuces will be shoulder to shoulder with spinach. at least all the plants in there are edible ones...

Friday, April 18, 2008

home sweet home

dear readers, i expect you have been wondering what i have been up to, with no word from me for days on end. well, the peeps, my boy and my lady friend and i have finally moved house. the new house is lovely! it has carpets! my lady friend and i can be seen above enjoying a patch of sun in the living room. herself says i am like a sundial - you can tell the time by where i am in the house. i follow the sun around from front to back as the day goes on.

it has taken herself quite a bit of effort to get things straight but we are now finally organised. we have broadband which means that herself can look at photos and films and listen to internet radio and all the other nerdy things she does. himself can keep up with the fortunes of portsmouth football club and my boy can play online games and pretend to rule the world. so all is well.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

today's feminist gem

herself despairs of ever educating my boy into the ways of modern life. she cannot understand how she and himself have managed to bring him up without the slightest hint of feminism having entered into his head. our household is not a traditional one. himself is in charge of cooking and shopping. herself is in charge of demolition and matters involving the toolbox. neither of them believes in generalising about any section of the human race. yet my boy persists in coming out with what herself describes as unreconstructed nonsense and himself describes as total rubbish (well in fact not such a polite word as rubbish but i like to keep my blog clean in case children pass by).

today my boy said "do you think the word over-reaction comes from ovaries? you know, because women are the ones with ovaries and they are the ones who over-react?"

to which herself could only reply, once the peeps had stopped gasping, "thats one for the blog!"

so here it is.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

shaken but not stirred

dear readers, i apologise for my absence from these parts in recent days. life has been full of action, with little time to ponder. the first thing i must tell you is that the peeps have finally exchanged contracts. we are due to move on thursday. there is a palpable feeling of positive energy in our house. a man dropped off a huge number of boxes on friday night and packing is under way in earnest.

friday was a full day in many ways. not only was the magical exchange of contracts achieved, much to the relief not only of the peeps but also herself's erstwhile colleague patrick. this brave man has had the unfortunate honour of dealing with the conveyancing. why the poor chap accepted this mission is beyond me. he has had herself as a client before. dealing with herself is always a roller-coaster ride. when the peeps moved into their last house the poor unfortunate colleague who dealt with the conveyancing on that occasion ended up re-negotiating a clause on the keeping of domestic fowl with a lawyer on the other side who was trying to deal with the insolvency of a company that built motorway service stations. needless to say, the aptly-named "chicken clause" took up far more time than the multi-million pound company. when herself said that she must be the worst client patrick had ever had, he gallantly replied that she was probably only the second-worst client he had ever had. not what you would call a glowing reference. "not quite the worst client patrick ever had" wouldn't look so great on her cv.

as well as matters of the house, the peeps were invited out for the evening to a james bond party. negotiations with my boy resulted in herself being kitted out with sunglasses and a gun which he described as a mini-uzi. her days of mini-skirts are alas, lost in the annals of history, so she must content herself with mini-machine guns instead. my boy was deposited with the friends on the corner.

it would appear that a great evening was had by the peeps. himself tires easily so they left early and the friends on the corner opened a bottle of real champagne (as opposed to lidl's finest cava which passes for fizz chez nous). a toast was raised to the move, the new house and a fresh start. and to good friends. without the friends on the corner the peeps would not have got through the last few months.

my boy came home smelling very interesting. it would appear that this was because he had been holding a little crittur called jim on his lap.

jim is by all accounts a guinea pig. my boy was prompted, by the champagne and the lateness of the hour, to his usual philosophical musings.

"you can tell guinea pigs are prey," he said, "because their eyes are on the side of their heads." a discussion followed about predators and prey and the relative positions eyes needed to be in to look out for hungry tigers or to judge position for a pounce.

"thomas the tank engine is a predator," concluded my boy, pointing at the train track of the younger members of their hosts' family, "his eyes are on the front."

the excitement carried on yesterday, when himself, uncle martin and two friends went to a place called wemberley to see portsmouth play. himself and uncle martin are avid portsmouth fans. at the last home match herself arranged for the announcer to thank uncle martin for being so kind about the kidney, over the tannoy. uncle martin was probably the only person in the crowd who did not hear this. he was probably asleep. but its the thought that counts, as herself always says. anyway, portsmouth won the match and are now going to be in the cup final. so another trip to wemberley is planned in may. hopefully this will not coincide with the kidney op. i fear that neither brother would be up for sitting in a hospital bed watching the cup final on telly...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

a treatise about faeces

herself is enjoying her new job. today she had to go to a meeting about dog poo. she is something of an expert in this field. my lady friend and i produce a fair bit of the old brown stuff. herself has a selection of little purple bags that she carries around with her. every time my lady friend or i feel the urge she whips one out and stands there, tapping her foot in a way that would give a chap constipation, while we do the honours. she then ties the handles into a little knot, says to whoever is listening "this is the worst thing about dog ownership" and hangs our offering from her little finger until we find a bin. she finds it very annoying that some owners are unable to operate the same system and leave little piles of joy around for small children to tread in, or pick up and eat. i seem to remember a story about herself as a small child having tried this delicacy, which may explain a lot.

so when the question of putting laws into place to stop dogs from leaving souvenirs around the place, or more accurately their owners failing to do the right thing with the little bags, herself was up there at the front of the queue. it has nothing to do with the fact that this kind of legal stuff does not involve crack dealers with guns. or that no-one will shout at her that they hope she dies of cancer. or at least that is what she would have us believe...