Monday, May 19, 2008

a visitor from other shores...

dear readers, yesterday was a day of great portent. that is to say it was a very importent day. my lady friend and i, and of necessity herself, on account of us needing a driver, met mrs deb! herself has been corresponding with mrs deb for some time. she reads mrs deb's blog avidly, and unlike most other blogs, sometimes goes back and reads it again. so the meeting with mrs deb was eagerly awaited.

we did not get off to that good a start on the navigation front. herself is in the habit of driving to a place near to where she is aiming to end up and then phoning the person to ask to be talked in, rather like a pilot on a runway. this strategy is bound to fail when the person concerned comes from another country and therefore does not actually know where they are, other than that there are a lot of trees. not that herself actually managed to phone mrs deb. so we used google maps on herself's phone. this is a neat little program developed by a colleague of the extreme programmer which has tiny maps and even gives you directions. the downside is that if you need glasses to see your phone and they are not glasses you can drive in you will come unstuck unless you have a passenger to call out where to turn. while my lady friend and i were only too happy to assist, our paws just will not work the keypad.

so we ended up quite some way from our destination. but eventually we found mrs deb. she was walking up the road near the cottage where she and her mum are staying. herself did a double take and jammed on the brakes.

"are you deb?" she asked, hoping that she was right. a wild lady leaping out of a car containing two lurchers on a country road and accosting a passer-by might be cause for concern.

"yes!" replied the wonderful mrs deb. my lady friend and i took to her at once. she has lovely twinkly eyes and a smile that would melt the heart of anyone. here is a picture of her.

herself threw her arms around mrs deb for a hug. in my book this is a risky strategy. if you tried it with my lady friend you would get bitten. but mrs deb has much better manners and returned the hug. we went back to the house where mrs deb and her mum are staying and had a bowl of water and then headed off for an outing.

first stop was a place called battle. it is called battle because it is the site of a battle. luckily this happened some time ago so there were no dead bodies lying around. the plan was to visit an exhibition of photos including some by an internet friend of herselfs called loo. or maybe lou. we wandered along to the place where this was to happen. there did not seem to be anyone around so we went on up to the gallery. my lady friend has a little trouble with stairs and the stairs in question were made of wood. we must have sounded like a herd of elephants. the door was locked so herself and mrs deb decided to go for a coffee until it opened. the coffee turned into a little snack but eventually my lady friend and i were put in the car.

as herself and mrs deb headed off to the gallery, herself had a rare moment of common sense and decided to look at the leaflet. lo, the exhibition was open from tuesday to saturday. unfortunately our visit was on a monday. this is just so like herself. she has had the leaflet for weeks but had failed to read the crucial bit about when they might actually be able to get in.

after a swift tour of the sights of battle the ladies decided to take my lady friend and i for a walk on the beach. unfortunately they first had to get out of the car park. to get the barrier to lift you had to put money into a machine. the machine did not like herself's money. it spat out every coin several times. not to be deterred herself delivered a sound clout in a strategic spot on its front whereupon the barrier lifted obligingly. a passing old lady looked admiringly at herself and her magic fist.

eventually we found ourselves in a place called bexhill. we have been there before as the peeps are in the habit of going round a thing called the ickbillion. this was named by my boy and is a large white building where dogs are not allowed. mrs deb and herself went inside for a cup of hot chocolate. it seems that mrs deb is very similar to herself in her ability to provide blog-fodder at the drop of a hat. the ladies were sitting chatting over their hot chocolate. mrs deb was so engrossed that she failed to notice that she was carefully pouring her hot chocolate all over the table. herself did a bit of mopping up before whipping out the camera, all the while hooting with laughter.

then my lady friend and i were collected from the car and we wandered down to the beach. unfortunately bexhill had got wind of the visit and signs were strategically placed along the seafront, informing us that dogs were not allowed on the beach. it seems this included inflatable dogs.

so we watched while mrs deb had a wander on the stones. then the time came to navigate our way back to where mrs deb was staying. herself instructed mrs deb in the use of the map thing on the phone. it turned out not to be much help as you have to watch it carefully and the ladies were too busy chatting about interesting things like handcuffs. however, eventually we arrived at our destination. mrs deb was dropped off with more hugs.

then it was time to go and fetch my boy. herself told him all about her day and about how much she had liked mrs deb. my boy told her about his day at school. the conversation turned to the time when he had let slip in a spelling test that he had been watching a programme on telly where a person had a nine inch nail bashed through their head (this was in the middle of a spelling test where the children had to think of words which rhymed with snail). herself reminded him yet again that some subjects of conversation were not appropriate for school and that the teachers would think he had neglectful parents and might report them to the authorities.

"well they know i come from a good family so they can just piss off!" said my boy, demonstrating just how well brought up he is.

"are we a good family?" asked herself.

"yes, we're a pretty dysfunctional family, but in a good way." said my boy, emphatically. i suppose this is some sort of a compliment.

when we got home my boy looked at the pictures.

"she does have a lovely face!" he said of mrs deb, "what's her voice like?"

"a sort of soft canadian accent," said herself.

"does she say 'sockerrrrr' for football?"

"funnily enough, we didn't talk about football once," said herself, "we had much more important things to talk about, like blogs and life and stuff."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

a saw point

dear readers, in the midst of all the chaos last night herself was hatching a plan. it involved a table. at our old house we had a large porch. in it was a large table. it had originally been a dining table but herself had cut the legs off it to make a coffee table. or more accurately a table for playing chess and monopoly on and for passing children to sit on the floor and draw at. when the legs had come off himself had been rather scathing and done impressions of a table rocking. but herself used the tape measure and amazingly all the legs were cut off at the same length.

anyway, the new house is a little smaller. a spot was found for the table but it has to be said it was not quite right. when the guests came yesterday the coffee table was brought out. the only trouble was it made it impossible for those of us of a furry persuasion to negotiate the living room. my lady friend found this especially difficult due to her poor reversing skills. i could see herself coming up with a devilish plan even as the dripping guests ate their cheese and biscuits.

no sooner had himself left for the footie than the saw came out. my boy is desperate to earn money to buy some bit of gadgetry so he was instructed to take the table to pieces. then herself set to work with the electric saw, cutting the various bits to size. the table is made of bits of wood glued together and is very hard to saw. herself gave up from one end and started on the other end. as you will see from the photo the ends did not meet up. they can build a tunnel under the english channel and get the ends to meet up but herself managed to arrived at entirely different places over a 3 foot span.

my boy was called. he does a subject called dt at school. this involves sawing, among other things. he set to in the way that only a true adhd person can and within a very short time had evened things out. he then sandpapered the rather wobbly edge until you would not have spotted the wobble unless you were a really picky person. herself then re-assembled the table.

when himself got home my boy and herself were lolling around nonchalantly.

"what have you been up to?" asked himself.

"just chilling out," replied herself, waiting for him to notice the vastly reduced table. quite a long conversation ensued before himself did a double take at the table.

it has to be said that it is reminiscent of the time he went to football when herself couldn't walk and came back to find she had pulled out the whole kitchen ready for the new one...

a big splash

last night the peeps had some friends round for a meal. preparations began with the purchase of a large salmon. poached salmon is one of herself's signature dishes. although given the carnage in the kitchen when herself is let loose it should perhaps be called a graffiti dish. wine was chilled and vegetables washed. himself made some very tasty-looking nibbles for starters. it was a very hot day and having the oven on did nothing for the ambient temperature but i had to station myself in front of the cooker in case of falling morsels.

at four the guests arrived. the man guest works with himself and is a bit of a cook by all accounts. the lady guest works with impatient babies. my boy was an impatient baby. babies are supposed to live in their cosy wombs for 9 months. my boy, in line with family tradition, does not do waiting. he put in an appearance 5 weeks early. it seems this level of impatience in a baby is not unique. the lady guest is in charge of keeping the impatient babies healthy in hospital until they are ready to go home. there was also a young lady guest who wants to be an evil vet when she grows up.

everything got off to a good start. the peeps and the guests sat by the pond, sipping fizzy wine and eating the little nibbles. then everyone went inside for the big fish. it is always interesting to hear herself dishing up a meal. she is full of reasons why the potatoes still have the skin on, why the carrots aren't chopped up, why the strawberries have their leaves on. herself tries to pass this off as in the interests of retaining flavour or some such nonsense. everyone knows it is because she has more interesting things to do than peeling and chopping things.

the evening wore on. much wine was taken. as darkness fell the peeps and the guests went to sit in the garden again. the lady guest sat on the side of the pond, saying how relaxing the fountain sounded. the peeps told the story of the time the pond caught fire. you would think this cautionary tale would have made the guests think twice about being in the same place as a pond and the peeps. but no. they simply laughed and carried on regardless.

at this point proceedings began to unravel. the girl guest came to her mother for a cuddle. nothing wrong with a cuddle in my book. as regular readers will know, i am something of a cuddle-monster myself. but the cuddlee approaching at speed when the cuddler is balanced somewhat precariously on the edge of a pond is not to be recommended. both female guests toppled backwards into the pond with a very loud splash.

when the remaining peeps had composed themselves enough to stand up they hauled the dripping lady guests out and stood them by the pond. both lady guests were drenched. i have no idea what our neighbours made of the hoots of laughter emanating from our garden at such a late hour.

herself took the lady guests up to the bathroom and furnished them with towels and fresh clothes. herself is a fan of large pants, a la bridget jones. in the film ms jones had big pants in order to tame her tummy region. herself tried out some of these tummy-taming pants once but pronounced them far too dominatrix for her liking. so her big pants are just big, rather than controlling. the girl guest was happy to wear a pair of these, although she had to turn the top down to see out. but the lady guest fell about laughing and opted for the t-shirt which said 'i'm blogging this' and some stretchy black trousers, leaving out any lingerie.

after this the peeps decided it was safer to sit inside. cheese and biscuits were brought out and things settled down again. eventually himself began to snore quietly on the sofa, as is his wont, and proceedings came to a close. the guests left and herself and my boy went up to bed, leaving the dishes for the morning. my lady friend and i did the canine pre-wash as best we could and turned in at just past midnight.

this morning my boy and herself were discussing what a hilarious evening it had been.

"did you take a picture of them in the pond?" asked my boy.

"no, i thought it would be a little tactless to leave them there with their feet sticking up and their knickers showing while i ran indoors for the camera!"

"you could have taken one in the bathroom of them soaking wet," said my boy.

"but they were both stark naked!" explained herself. it had not occurred to my boy that people might perhaps feel slightly disconcerted at having pictures of themselves in the altogether plastered around the internet. sometimes he forgets how just how worldwide my readership is...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

keeping abreast of things

dear readers, her maamship is down for the weekend. a visit from her maamship often involves an adventure. this visit was no exception. herself has decided it is time she got a bra. a bra is a sort of bosom-bag. this sudden development is because herself has a new job where people dress smartly. while it is not obvious that her ladies prefer to go au natural when wearing a t-shirt which has 'i'm blogging this' written across the relevant area, it is all too obvious in a proper office-type top.

herself last wore a bra on a regular basis when she was a teenager. being a careless sort, she lost the habit fairly quickly. apart from a brief and unsuccessful foray into lingerie in honour of a formal dinner at which she had to wear a strapless dress (dear readers, pinning your strapless dress to your strapless bra will not hold up the dress. it will merely pull down the bra too. as herself found to her cost. she had to eat the posh meal with her elbows clamped to her sides to prevent the ladies falling into the soup...) herself has shunned the brassiere for several decades.

her maamship, however, is an experienced bra-wearer.

"we need to go to marks and spencers," she said, "they have a measuring service there." herself went pale.

"you mean i will have to be measured?" she squeaked.

"well you have probably grown a bit since you last had a bra," said her maamship, firmly. this is undoubtedly true. herself confirmed that her last bra had been a 28 double a. the 28 is how far round it is under the ladies, and by way of some complicated mathematical formula the double a is how big the ladies are.

preparations were made and her maamship and herself headed off in the tt. i was not allowed to go. nor was my boy. in my case it was because they do not allow lurchers, or indeed any dogs, into marks and spencers. in my boy's case it was because he is developing a fascination with breasts. it was felt that this would not be conducive to bra-purchasing as he would almost certainly be taking photographs on his phone of the other shoppers as they tried on bras, or of the life-size dummies wearing bras which are apparently scattered around the lingerie department. he has a photograph of a lady with improbably large breasts as the background on his phone which he snapped from page 3 of his taxi-driver's newspaper.

as it turned out we found out in all too much detail about the bra-buying adventure. it would appear that herself and her maamship caused a bit of a stir. herself started to panic at the sight of the lingerie department. there were acres of bras to choose from. there were bras with little signs on which said 'feel me'. her maamship had to explain that these peeled off before you wore the bra and were not an invitation to local weirdos to have a grope. eventually they found a measuring lady. herself was taken into a cubicle.

"strip down to your bra," said the measuring lady. herself went clammy.

"er, i don't actually have a bra," muttered herself, "can you measure me round my t-shirt?"

"what size do you normally take?" asked the measuring lady.

"i don't know," said herself, curling into an embarrassed ball, "i haven't worn a bra for at least 20 years." eventually the lady ascertained what size herself was and brought a selection of bras for her to try. she plumped for a black one. this is because she never buys any clothing that isn't black.

after paying for the bra herself and her maamship made a swift exit. herself confirmed that this was the most stressful thing she had done in years. given how stressful life has been lately this is saying something. her maamship had to lower the roof on the tt for the drive home to allow herself to cool down. when they got home there were friends visiting so we got the full story in glowing detail. my boy ran off upstairs shrieking that herself was creeping him out.

"but lots of mums have bras," she called after his departing form. this did not stop him from saying that his mum was a flasher for the rest of the day. a hint of double standards, i felt, given his newfound hobby.

later on herself took me and my lady friend for a walk along the river. as we rounded a bend a group of walkers came into view. every single one of them was wearing a t-shirt with a pink bra over the top. as we drew closer it became clear that the t-shirts in fact had pictures of pink bras on them. it seems the walkers were raising money for breast cancer research. herself felt somewhat chastened. while the ladies may not like being incarcerated in their bra when herself goes to work, at least they are healthy. as my lady friend can confirm, not everyone is so lucky.