Friday, May 29, 2009

we are family

dear readers, the peeps have started their family therapy sessions. they were originally referred for family therapy when things were rather more fraught on the domestic front but as there is quite a waiting list it has only just started. the sessions are held at the clinic for sad, fearful and deranged young people, where my boy goes to see his psychiatrist.

the peeps were slightly nervous at the prospect of family life being put under the microscope. as regular readers will know, the peeps are a little on the eccentric side. but they need not have been concerned. the sessions are with a very nice man called dr roger. as well as him, there are some ladies who sit in the room next door and watch what is going on via a video link. dr roger has a little earpiece which the ladies use to cheer him on. there is a one way mirror as well, through which the ladies can peer into the room.

young dave and i were not allowed to go to family therapy. this is because it is held in part of the hospital and there is a risk of germs. young dave and i are very careful about germs, as regular readers will know. but the peeps were very enthusiastic when they returned, so we very quickly learned what happened.

it seems that it was quite some way into the session before dr roger realised that he was only seeing part of the family. he discovered this when he asked what my boy did when he was stressed about something. my boy said that he came and sat with me and young dave as we were very calming. i am not sure i would concur that young dave is calming but i will gloss over this. dr roger asked my boy to tell him about us.

"well joker is 11 years old and is very wise, a bit like gandalf," he said, "and dave is nearly a year old and is all floppy and chaotic. joker is the sanest member of the family."

dr roger turned to the peeps and asked them if they agreed with my boy's view. both peeps nodded vigorously. herself even went as far as to say that i was the only sane member of the family, a statement which himself and my boy wholeheartedly agreed with. to be frank they could not really fail to concur. dr roger said that he was not sure about the policy of the clinic for sad, fearful and deranged young people as far as dogs coming to family therapy. i think it may have been a first for him.

i think it is probably best if we don't go. once young dave was introduced into the proceedings things would very quickly start to unravel...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

my kingdom for a horse...

dear readers, as you know herself has stolen my boy's therapist. the therapist is called claudia and is a very nice person. i know this because i went to visit her to make sure the peeps were safe in her hands. one question that claudia asks herself on a regular basis is "what are you going to do for yourself?"

herself has been brooding on this for a while. she does quite a lot for herself in some ways, including spending many happy hours laptopping. but i think what claudia has in mind is other things. so herself, in typical fashion, has wholeheartedly leaped into doing things for herself (as it were).

first she had a massage. this was with a lady who does raking. i think this means that as well as pummeling the muscles she also rakes her victims to get rid of all the knots. herself came back looking slightly dazed, having booked more raking for a couple of weeks time.

then she booked a foot overhaul. the feet are well overdue a bit of fuss. an orbital sander would be needed to make them soft and smooth. and the massage lady had commented on their general roughness. which, given how rough herself is, has to be saying something.

then she booked a blood test to see if she has any kolesterol. i would be most surprised if she does not have kolesterol, as it appears to be found in butter and cheese, and herself is largely composed of butter and cheese, with layers of pasta and spinach and red wine. in fact she is a little bit like a lasagne.

then, after a cyberchat about riding horses, herself decided to try and find a horse that needs riding, preferably by a large heavy lady. herself used to ride a horse where we lived before. this was a strong and positive horse, and riding her was like a workout in the gym, but herself loved it and came back glowing. she was sad when it stopped due to the horse's owner getting a new enthusiasm for the saddle.

but help was at hand. the internet is a marvellous place. herself found a local person who wants to find a horse to ride too. through a convoluted chain of events, herself has found a horse that needs to get out more. it appears that this too is a lively sort of horse and may need a firm hand. herself was cheerfully telling my boy and himself of this development. himself was chuffed to bits. this morning herself was looking at adverts for horses that needed a home, which had himself looking very pale. himself clearly felt that just riding one was tame by comparison. i have to agree. we have a very small house. the thought of sharing our sofas with something as large as a horse filled me with dread.

my boy roared with laughter at the prospect of the riding arrangement.

"you might as well write the letter now," he giggled, "it will be just like kinky". (herself has had to give up walking kinky the dalmation as her escaping tendencies were too much for her nerves). "dear mrs bewilderforce, i am sorry but i am not going to be able to ride your horse any more because it keeps running off. yours sincerely, etc."

the peeps found this most amusing. the idea of anyone being called mrs bewilderforce in itself was humorous. conversation turned to the horse that herself used to ride.

"don't you remember," said my boy, "they had that daughter who was going to grow up to be a prostitute."

herself sat open-mouthed.

"why on earth do you think she was going to become a prostitute?" she asked. "she was only 6 years old!"

"she was called samantha." said my boy, as though this explained everything.

dear readers, take care when you name your children...

Monday, May 25, 2009

a lidl of what you fancy

dear readers, himself is a happy man. yesterday he had bacon for breakfast for the first time in ages. there has been a hiatus in the bacon supply. or what the legal profession calls a lacuna. this sorry state of affairs has resulted from herself having been without her big shopping buddy. mr next door generally accompanies herself to lidl, which as regular readers will know is where the peeps do their shopping. he is the perfect shopping buddy. he knows a bargain when he sees one, unlike herself, who is what is known as an inexperienced shopper. this is not from lack of practice but from lack of attention to detail.

in some shops there is a type of special offer called 'buy one, get one free', or bogof'. herself is in the habit of buying only one of such items. this would not be so bad if the one she bought was the free one but she inevitably buys the one you have to pay for and forgets the free one. lidl does not tend to have these sort of offers. i suppose it is so cheap that if they knocked any more off the price they would be paying you to shop there. but they do have great reductions on vegetables and all sorts of other things. i am not a great one for vegetables myself but the peeps seem to enjoy them. the problem with herself is that she has a great fear of numbers. this makes her very poor indeed at noticing the signs that tell you about the bargains.

mr next door has been under the weather lately so herself has had to shop alone. she has missed her big shopping buddy. as she does not eat meat she has no idea what sort of bacon to choose, or indeed what sort of chops or anything fleshy, so she leaves well alone. himself has had to content himself with the vegetarian breakfast option of fried eggs on cheese on toast. this is just as full of calories but without the meaty flavour that himself loves. young dave and i love it too as there tend to be juices that get poured over our grub on bacon days.

mr next door, while still a bit wobbly, is now available for shopping buddy duty. my boy was also roped in to help carry stuff. all went well on the way round the shop. bacon was found, vegetable bargains and all manner of goodies. herself and my boy were just starting to unload things onto the conveyor belt when mr next door was accosted by a man with an unintelligible accent. from what herself could understand he was from south africa and was the owner of a fertiliser company. herself's grandmother was from south africa so you would think that the accent would not have caused a problem, but this man was something else in the incoherence stakes.

herself watched aghast as mr next door was drawn into a very long and convoluted conversation about the state of the world economy, the decay of the british banking system, the gold standard, the history of south africa, how to cook various dishes, the best method of fertiliser manufacture and no doubt much else of great import.

my boy by now was needing to get out of the supermarket. his tolerance for the beeping tills is fairly low at the best of times but the 'being accosted by strangers' thing set off his fear. he started pulling at his hair and generally looking pale. herself decided drastic action was needed and called across to mr next door, while pointing at my boy. the unintelligible stranger saw the expression on herself's face. after letting out a deafening bellow of a laugh he said to mr next door,

"looks like your wife is trying to get your attention!" all the people in all the queues looked around in the hope of having a diversion in the form of a domestic dispute. mr next door is an imposing figure at the best of times and coupled with the unintelligible stranger and an agitated lady the scenario had the makings of a fun time.

"oh, no, she's not my wife," said mr next door, with scant regard for volume control, "my wife's at home. but don't tell anyone!"

herself could see her morals were becoming slightly frayed in the eyes of her fellow shoppers.

"he's my next door neighbour," she explained. the disapproving looks became, if anything, slightly more disapproving.

"let's get out of here," said my boy, through gritted teeth. he was clearly not relishing the idea of the question of his paternity coming up.

in the car my boy said that he thought the unintelligible stranger was making up the bit about owning a fertiliser company.

"he drives too crappy a car to be the owner of a factory. its an old peugot 106."

"maybe he keeps the cadillac in america," suggested mr next door. my boy folded his arms and wiggled both hands. herself asked if he was ok. my boy has many nervous twitches, although this was a new one.

"its the international sign for bullshit." said my boy, showing her the horns and the other end.

i suppose that is one sort of fertiliser...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

this is the bbc

here is a picture of my boy doing a passable impression of a 1950s tennis umpire. why, you may ask, did that occur to him? i am not sure. it all started with the smiths lesson, which, as regular readers will recall, is delivered twice a week by mr snake charmer. as the young snake charmer needs an eye kept on her after school she comes along too.

smiths went well. when it was time to go, the young snake charmer wanted to stay a bit longer. she and my boy were in the middle of building some rather odd things out of wood. mrs snake charmer was at the golf course being given an award for hitting a thing called a hole in one a few weeks ago. this is apparently something of a feat in golfing circles. it does not involve hitting the holes but rather hitting a ball down the hole.

mr snake charmer and himself said they were going to pop down to the off licence to buy some beers. something about the look in himself's eye led herself to believe that they may have planned to pop into the pub on the way past. herself was not keen on being the only adult in the house when my boy and the young snake charmer were in full creative flow, particularly if the other adults in question were away for some time, so everyone accompanied them to the off licence, just to be on the safe side. mr snake charmer said that herself was demonstrating a lamentably suspicious streak. herself said that life had made her that way. on the way back herself said that, while they must have cut something of a funny sight, at least the outing made for good blog fodder.

safely back at home, the peeps, or more accurately himself, set about making curry. by now mrs snake charmer had tracked down the missing members of her family and was on her way round, with her golfing trophy. the evening was beginning to turn into something of a celebration. there were a number of things to celebrate. herself has been offered an interview for a job that would help considerably with the peeps' financial ruin. himself has been offered more hours at work. then there was the golf trophy. and last but by no means least, was that herself had finally got the results of the tests on the chew-mer on young dave's elbow. the chew-mer could have been several things, one of which would not have been good. but it is a nice type of chew-mer which should go away on its own. if it doesn't take the hint young dave will have to have a little op. but at least young dave is not poorly.

anyway, due to the air of celebration, my boy decided to get out the ladder and do an impression of a 1950s tennis umpire. i am not sure where this came from but it was very funny. he started to speak in a posh voice, with very clipped tones and began by saying that this was the british broadcasting corporation and that the score was 17 - 7. the main reason for this particular score was that he has a rather amusing way of saying 'seven' which he acquired from a tv programme and which he likes to use wherever humanly possible. it was pointed out that tennis is not scored in this way but has scores that are rounded up to the nearest 10, or 5, but my boy persisted in commentating on the imaginary match with scores that included the number 7 to great amusement all round.

then the young snake charmer took over the ladder and started to do impressions of the angel of the north statue. here is a picture of one of them.

at last it was time to eat. by this time young dave and i were worn out. we were very pleased to see the tools put away too. while young dave is partial to munching a bit of sandpaper, we both find the hammering interferes with our sleep. i just hope the young folk don't get into sculpture...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

a word in your ear

dear readers, here you have an action shot. it is not immediately obvious what the action is but believe me, a lot of action was involved. yesterday, herself was just putting away the hoover, after cleaning up the chaos caused by her re-covering my chair and mending our dogbed again, when the phone rang. it was himself.

"i'm in the pub," he said, "do you want to come and join us?" it appeared that himself and mr snake-charmer had been so exhausted after running after-school football club at the school where they work that they could not quite make it home and had to seek refuge in the local hostelry. with them was the young snake-charmer, still in her school uniform. herself and my boy did not need asking twice. herself had quite a thirst after all her exertions with the dogbed and my boy is great friends with mr snake-charmer, who laughs at his often rather opaque jokes.

the pub in question is one which allows dogs, but young dave is under-age so we agreed to stay home and try out the new furnishings. however, as always, the peeps filled us in when they returned. no sooner had herself and my boys been furnished with drinks than my boy started causing strife.

"i'm going to count how many words there are on this beer mat," he announced. the beer mat in question had quite a lot of words as it was telling people not to drink and drive. why anyone would think it was a good idea to get behind the wheel of a car after ingesting a substance that makes the room go round is beyond me, but i digress. within minutes everyone round the table (with the exception of herself, who cannot count, so photographed it instead) was arguing about how many words there were on the beer mats. mr snake-charmer is my boy's smiths teacher so he has a certain authority in the field of numbers. but it soon transpired that my boy was playing a prank.

"my devillish plan worked!" he said, triumphantly. you have to admire him. within 30 seconds he had everyone round the table counting the words on the beermats. and this was before drink had been taken.

herself, fearing all-out war, changed the subject by telling the snake-charmers about paneity. this did nothing to calm things down. mr snake-charmer felt that if someone were to find themselves turned into a loaf of bread, the last thing they would be doing would be contemplating the nature of breadness. herself tried to explain that it was a philosophical concept but was drowned out by the assembled crew discussing what they would do if they were suddenly enbreaded. views ranged from accepting the situation with good grace, and embracing one's fate, to finding someone to eat you and put you out of your misery. mr snake-charmer, in spite of his initial scepticism, could not resist contemplating different categories of breadness, and even did a rather wonderful impression of a miserable sweaty white loaf in a plastic bag on the shelf of a happy shopper store.

seeing that discussing breadness was not helping, herself changed the subject again by hooking out her notebook, where she had fortuitously asked the young pirate to write down some other wonderful words.

"how about sesquipedilian?" she asked. it transpires that this is a long word meaning long word. at least i think that is what it means. my lurcher brain was not really designed for abstract thought. my boy seemed to think it meant foot-and-a-half-long.

"or petrichor?" piped up herself. this word i like. it means the smell of the earth after rain. i like this smell. it usually means a walk is in the offing.

alas, a walk was not in the offing when the peeps returned. the rain was so torrential that even young dave and i did not fancy venturing out in it. but today i am looking forward to sniffing a bit of petrichor...

Friday, May 15, 2009

get on your bike

dear readers, herself has taken up cycling to work. the new offices are 5 miles from where we live. herself needs to get fit so she has decided to kill two birds with one stone (a saying, dear readers, no birds were harmed in the making of this post) and get out her bike. yesterday was the big day. the bikes live in a funny tent in the front of the house. herself spent quite some time oiling the chain, fiddling around with levers and strapping her clutter on the rack. when it was finally time to leave, farewells were said. himself was rather concerned about the whole venture.

"what if you fall off, or get a puncture?" he said.

"i'll phone you to come and fetch me." replied herself, confidently.

"but then i'll be late for work!"

herself said it was nice to know he cared.

all went well and herself arrived home glowing. or more accurately melting. some guests were due so she leapt into the shower. she came down smelling fragrant and looking rather damp, only to discover a little accident that young dave had had earlier on the sofa. young dave had helpfully been pruning the bamboo and had accidentally swallowed some. it did not stay down long. bamboo is tickly stuff in the throat. herself was not best pleased at having to deal with the sofa after her shower, but himself was busy cooking curry. he is always cooking something when messy jobs need to be done.

the sofa was thoroughly scrubbed ready for the guests and order was restored. the peeps were very much looking forward to seeing them. they are pirates. they have many pirate costumes and often go to parties dressed in them. there was some debate as to whether they would come dressed as pirates for the meal, but it was a weekday and piratical gear seems to be confined to the weekend. mrs pirate works with himself and comes once a week to do art with my boy. she is very talented at the art thing. they have made some wonderful creations. i think her secret is that she allows my boy little breaks in the art session. these are called 'bullet breaks' and my boy can charge around making gun noises and letting off steam before getting back to the business of creating.

the young pirate is a year older than my boy and is a person of the beefburger persuasion. for some reason this has only been discovered recently, although all 3 peeps had diagnosed him the minute they met him. the problem is that the doctors in charge of diagnosing beefburger people have some sort of test that they use which bears no relation to beefburgerness. it involves things like imagination and empathy, both of which a lot of beefburger people have in large quantities. it does not involve asking parents if they have to cut the labels out of clothes, or buy socks with no seams, or anything that actually helps spot beefburger people. so the young pirate has been in the dark about why he is so clever, and has such a fantastic memory.

the pirates kept the peeps entertained all evening. the young pirate has some brilliant words which he is teaching the peeps. he has a book at home full of words that no-one has ever heard of. my boy is enthralled at some of the things that words have been made up about. for example, there is a word for the quality of being bread. this word is paneity. so, dear readers, if you suddenly find yourself turned into a loaf of bread, you can say to yourself "i am just encountering a spot of paneity, it will soon pass."

another brilliant word is haeccity. this means "thingness". i will not try to explain what thingness is. the very idea of it makes my head hurt.

the peeps also learned of the medievel practice of corsned. this was used to test whether a person was innocent or guilty. the person was given a piece of bread, or mouldy cheese. if they could swallow it they were innocent. if they choked, they were guilty. herself was interested in this from a lawyerly point of view, no doubt with a view to short-circuiting the problem of the wheels of justice grinding slowly.

young dave has clearly developed his own version of corsned. i fear he is doomed to perpetual guilt. even young dave cannot keep down a mouthful of bamboo...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

its official

dear readers, herself has moved offices. she was not thrilled with this as it meant that rather than walking to work, she now has to drive, cycle or get a train, all of which take quite a bit longer. but the new offices make up in humour what they lack in proximity to home. someone in the new building is a bit of a wit. or maybe not - it is possible that they are deadly serious, which is rather worrying. the new office has some very funny signs. while herself's colleagues have been getting rather hot under the collar with all the pettiness that the existing residents exhibit, herself has been photographing the various manifestations of oddness. so without further ado i give you - the new offices!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

a big girl's blouse

dear readers, yet again i must apologise for my delay in letting you know how things are in our neck of the woods. this is not for want of trying. i am at the mercy of my peeps when it comes to typing.

in the picture you can see hattie. hattie is a camper van owned by her maamship. hattie has a little problem with rust round her rear so her maamship has brought her down to get welded by the people who sold her, who are near where we live. her maamship is not someone to pass off a dodgy welding job on. not only is she a lorry driver's daughter, and hence knows her rust, but she is also a member of the judiciary.

on the first night her maamship and the prof slept on the sofa. young dave would have liked to join them but could not figure out how to jump over some rather small obstacles placed in his way. they do not make lurchers like they used to in terms of jumping. so instead, young dave resorted to clicking around the floor wailing all night. i was so fed up i nearly lifted him over myself. so the day dawned with a tired pair of guests.

my boy, as regular readers will be aware, has been less than adventurous lately. his fear was very much quashed by the prospect of playing in hattie. my boy loves the doors, and cupboards and general tidyness of a campervan (herself offered to kit his bedroom out in a copy of a campervan interior but this was not quite the same). so a picnic was planned, to a location some way from our house. the picnic was a success, with lovely nosh and fun and games for young dave and i. we were not allowed inside hattie but that may have been due to the food. or the smell of young dave.

by bedtime, her maamship and the prof were shattered, partly due to their sleepless night but also due to their advancing age. because of young dave's attentions, her maamship decided to sleep in hattie in the street. therefore what you can see in the photo is a judge sleeping in a campervan in a very humble street. the peeps are such poor hosts their guests resort to sleeping in their vehicles...

today young dave had to go to the vets. he has a new evil vet who is only a couple of doors down from our house. young dave has a funny lump on his elbow. it might be nothing or it might be something a bit icky. so a sample had to be taken with a syringe. but first he had to have his claws clipped. young dave has not learned to bite his nails so this was something of a fiddle. anyway, after the claws were done herself pinned young dave down and gripped his head between her legs so the evil vet could get at his elbow. young dave did not like this one little bit. his screams could be heard from our house. herself came back lacerated all over from the injuries caused by the newly sharpened claws. only to rush off 10 minutes later to see the lovely claudia, who is vacuuming out the fear from her head so it doesn't rush into my boy's head. herself tried to hide the injuries by wearing a cardie but it was too hot.

which brings me to her other injuries this week. no sooner had the seagull bite healed when herself had cut her hand on a book. the book in question was called "cbt for dummies". cbt is how you deal with fear. herself said to himself about having just healed up from the seagull bite when she got cut by the book.

"do they do one called ' self-harm for dummies' ? he asked...