Friday, 31 December 2010

I will prepare a list of “happy things” to discuss with her……..So no talking about her life then…!!



Well the Christmas hols are nearly at an end, and I survived as the song goes! I survived it all as well! The holidays have definitely seen my “I need” list growing, at a rate of knots too. I have added to it; a sheep dog, for rounding up the kids, how much easier would it be if I had a dog to do the rounding up? A quick yap, they’d be in the car/at the table before you could say fishwife. It’d save me the trouble of herding, which I do so frequently throughout the day. As I have said before, it is like trying to herd wildebeest with a spoon……..I also have added, out of necessity, a chicken trainer. The routine has reached such absurd levels. Now, with 2 of my girls, Margo and Marjorie, performing, they run around boccing wildly flapping there wings like they’re late for a date or something, they wait for you to open the car door, and they flap inside and squat in the driver’s seat, always the driver’s seat, and quick as you like, pop one out, just like that! Monty was actually in the firing line the other day, and Margo laid an egg on his hand. Good job Alex wasn’t there to see it, it would have sent him over the edge! Egg, sticky mass, even for me it nearly sent me vomiting violently in the corner, but I managed to contain myself, took the egg, sticky and hot (eeewwww) and instructed Monty to get in and wash his hands IMMEDIATELY! Monty does not follow in his dad’s footsteps, and is very confident handling the chickens, as we have seen! He and the girls run out every morning in their pyjamas and wellies to go and look for an egg, all excited! It’s very sweet! But I think even for him he was a little confused about what had just happened! So, back to my list, a chicken trainer is a must, as I cannot have chickens entering my child-mobile, and popping out eggs from their backsides will-nilly. It will not do at all. As I am on the tip, I would like a general sh*t-shoveller too, well why not? I am, and always have been a bit of girly-girl, although being a mum of four little ones does not necessarily permit me to be quite so girly, I still dream of the day I will once again wear heels- dog walking, chicken chasing, school runs I would almost certainly be falling a*se over tit more times than I wipe bums in a day, so no, heels for the moment reside in the dressing up box for the girls!

In a park outing (luckily we have had the most beautiful mild, sunny days mostly this holiday), I bump into Make-up lady. Niceties exchanged, she is still not in a good place she informs me, and is vehemently angry at the fact that the only thing to do here is go to the library to use the internet, and would I believe it, the library has been closed all week? I did believe it, I need to take some over-due books back. In fairness I did forewarn the librarian that although, like a Brownie (no, not a chocolate one), I promised to do my best, but would not be prepared to swear on oath that I would always be in advance of the due-back date. Honestly, library books are the bane of my life (as are car seats/lace up shoes/rainy days/bikes/chickens/reversing the car…….), I try so hard to be organised, keeping the books in the same place, you’d think it was an easy task. But never, ever mistake anything for being an easy task in this house! The books mutate, grow legs in the night, rip their own pages out and hide under beds, jump down toilets (yes it has been known). I therefore occasionally have to weigh up whether it is worth the Friday night trip to the Bibliotech (library) over and above my mental health, as I risk having a mental breakdown every Friday afternoon trying to track down the suicidal, self-harming library books. Any way, I was on about Make-up lady, I am going to her’s for a coffee Monday afternoon, bless her, I suggested we meet for a coffee, and you should have seen her smile (and the tears in her eyes…..), so a coffee date it is then. I will prepare a list of “happy things” to discuss with her……..So no talking about her life then…!!

Happy New Year everyone, here’s to the best year of our lives yet, 2011. See you next year!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Welcome to my world dog!


I am not sure who has done what, but Alex has just roared an almighty roar (at first I did believe we had a stray lion in the garage, he’s extremely adept at animal noises!), upon entering the garage, I then heard something or other “Effing cats” so I assume, it is they who have done something……..Alex tells me that the cat decided it would be fun to see what it would be like to trip him up whilst he was carrying a load of collated leaflets. One nearly broken arm later and a trodden on, cursed cat, he has calmed down a bit…..I am pleased to report.

It has been a lovely calm day today. I say calm, and I am not sure I really know the meaning of this word any more, but I, and I think the kids, thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was mild, the sun was out and the chickens were flappy (!), the cats are chilling in warm retreats, and the dog well, he is being his usual soppy/stupid self! As Monty got a set of football goals for Christmas, we decided to put them into use. Oh yes, more football for the mother who can’t even catch very well, let alone coordinate herself to kick a ball, and aim it all at once! But I give it a go, I could die trying though, I am so hopeless! I have a bread mix in a bowl in my hands at the same time, which does not aid my cause I suppose, but we gotta eat…..! So I am busy stirring my bowl of yeast flour and water, trying to look sporty and all “Jolly hockey sticks” sort of mummy, whilst trying to ignore the smell of pooh, which seems to be frequently wafting in my direction. I am used to that though, and battle on. Lola has placed herself in the middle of the pitch-she had wanted a family game of barbies- but as the sun was out, I insisted on outdoor entertainment. Poor girl. She is now sitting there, head in her hands huffing deliberately and ducking every now and again to avoid the football that is flying past her head at frequent intervals, as the match carries on regardless. Mitzi is busy running around, intermittently having a little boogy and singing her heart out to a few mixed French/English Christmas songs. The well known “jingle bells, jingle bells, papa noels gonna venir”, (father Christmas is gonna come for non-French speakers!). Then insisting on holding my hand to kick the football, still with bread mix in my hand (it takes 20 minutes), suffice to say, it is not the easiest task in hand. She is freakily strong, she is tiny, but built like a little mountain, full of force, and she manages to nearly pull me down with each attempt. Thankfully, I hold my ground, I am stuck quite literally in mud, so the rain has helped with something! Oliver, the dog, does love his football, he, like me, is extremely useless at the sport, but really makes an effort trying. He runs around, barking madly at the ball, and at whoever is attempting to shoot. He guards it and digs his teeth into the ball, helpful. We have lost several balls this way. He is a hindrance to say the least, but so very loveable, all the same!

I was sporting my new top from mum as I went to blitz some food for the sauce I was making, and the flappy bit gets stuck in there and I very nearly die by being sucked into the food processor and blitzed to death. I don’t, I survive, and although the top is now a bit flappier, it is still wearable! In a game of hide-and-seek, Lola’s request, as she had to choose and outdoor friendly activity- I realise, when it is my turn to count that I was doing it exactly like one of kids……I was stood, staring out of the gate onto the road kicking at things, with passers by bidding me ‘Bonjour’ with slightly concerned faces. In all this little Esmie is telling me non-stop to “Watch ME! Watch me, mummy!” at the top of her voice.

We headed down to the beach this evening to watch the sun go down (and proper tire the 4 kids out before bed!). In a quick head count before we return, we are missing one, the dog, we are just in time to see him running off after a single couple…..You see? Stupid, he is following a single couple wnk (with no kids)……He is obviously confused, our four soon get him back, and is reminded in sledge hammer fashion (like me every morning) that this couple are very much wk (with kids). Welcome to my world dog!

Monday, 27 December 2010

They run flapathons in secret and everything…..



Christmas was fabulous this year, there were 10 adults, our 4 kids, 6 dogs a few cats, pygmy sheep and some goats. The kids loved every second of it, as they should do, it’s Christmas after all! It’s so exciting, Christmas, at that age, it rather wears off as one grows up…..! It was the scene often viewed in the car on the way home from Orthez (45 minutes away from us), a tired Alex at the wheel, trying to stay awake after the festivities and late night Christmas eve, kids not sleeping because they are genuinely that excited, that they cannot calm themselves down out of the Christmas frenzy, and hence keeping us up all night, and making sure stockings were opened and undone before 7 am on Christmas morning…….Same story in most houses where there are kids I imagine!! When Alex is tired in the car, I am in charge of keeping him talking and thus awake, however we have numerous “Brink of divorce” heated discussions as a result! This is because, in Alex’s state of tiredness, he says to me “Talk to me, talk about something…” I reply “Talk about what?” as I am too tired myself to be making conversation, Alex tells me to talk about whatever, anything, just to talk, so I commence ramblings about utter nonsense, and await the response, he looks at me and asks me what on earth I am talking about. Replying a little edgily, I tell him that I am doing what he asked me to do, to talk about something. He tells me that although he needs me talk to him, he does not need to be hearing the b*ll*cks that has just parted my lips. It carries on like this for a while…….! It is a fair comment, on his part, and it makes me laugh every time we have this, as it always goes the same way! We arrive home safely and still married, lifting the kids who are all asleep (bless them), into their beds and flicking every heater on in sight. As I come back downstairs, I wonder, as I wander out to the garage and am confronted by a revolting sight, whether it is really ever worth going away? Even though it was just one night, I am now about to have to start to clear up 3 huge piles of cat puke, which has been puked on a chair, over collated leaflets (it’s ok, we will save the folks from receiving puked-on-by-cat leaflets and bin them!), and just in front of the washing machine. Which is in fact how I discovered it, as I trod in something squishy. Foot covered in cat puke, I fetch my marigolds, bleach and commence cat-puke clearing up proceedings. The cats have well and truly made the most of having an empty house for 20 hours, there are muddy cat prints everywhere, over the side in kitchen (I know, rank), evidence of where they have been sleeping, hairy sofa and hairy beds. So the hoover now comes out too. You see, is it really worth it?

Tonight, the chickens decided to not take themselves to bed, possibly in protest after we left them to their own devices for one night, so I go out, put the car lights on, and stroll over to their house, they flap madly at me, slightly injuring my wrist, which apparently is not capable of maintaining a flapping chicken for long periods of time, I wait, extending the flapping chicken out at arms length, turning my head away so as not to receive a flap in the eye. Instructing the bird to “Calm down at once!” and “Err, excuse me, Molly, we will have none of this, thank you very much.” But they never stop flapping, seriously, they hold personal bests each of them, for their flap ability. They run flapathons in secret and everything…... So I take a heavier tactic, pushing it into a corner, and woman-handling it into its house. This x 3, as presumably Marjorie, is already in. well-done me, job done, I go to switch the car lights off, seeing an orange object on the driver seat, I see the 4th chicken, I lift the last violently flapping bird out and see she has poohed all over the seat, great, more shit shoveling tomorrow then (I am not about to tackle it in the dark, no way). But the good news is, Marjorie has laid an egg! I now have 2 performing chickens! Although I have no idea why they seem to favour the car for laying their eggs? I suppose in this house, anything goes. Even the chickens know this…….

We are still on the holidays, so let’s hope the rain stays away (as it has been away for a few days at a time the last week or so), and I have a “must do” for next week, I promised to ring, yes, Make-up lady. She is expecting a phone call at 10.30 on Wednesday morning, yes I had to be that specific with her….! So I hope I do not forget, but as I will never have “Remembered for her outstanding memory” engraved on my head stone…..We will see….!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Caked in sh*t, absolutely caked in it now.


So it is never gonna be the best look, wandering around in the supermarket with your cardigan buttoned up on the wrong holes, and your flies wide open…..but someone has to do it, and that someone was me…..The awful thing was, at the till, I looked down to see what Mitzi had picked up and was showing me, it was then, that I realised my flies were undone, and the buttons were on the wrong holes. Now the dilemma; do I surreptitiously do up the zip and commence re-buttoning cardigan session? Or do I carry on regardless. I had to carry on regardless, I would have looked extremely odd, what would people have thought, if I had started to zip up my trousers and unbutton my cardy in public? I can only conclude, that this kind of look is fairly understandable for a mother of 4, which is why no-one was kind enough to mention it to me, they just let me carry on as if it were completely normal to be out in public like that!

We were caked in sh*t, absolutely caked in it now. 4pm, and we are all, including me, heading for a huge bath. Please put down any food products before reading any further this blog, and those who have sensitive epiglotis’, please read do not read on……….! It had all begun in the garden, which had been well in order, spending some outdoor time. In the holidays the kids take over, it is absolutely a chicken/dog and child coo that is going on in my house as we speak. We were clearing up the garden, after all the rain, the garden is bog and swamp. So I was on a mission. We cleaned out the chicken house, got covered in pooh, straight to the outside tap and I hose them down, noticing that Esmie has somehow managed to strip herself off from the waist down, bare feet, the lot. I roll my eyes and consider for a few seconds if it is worth getting her re-dressed, or is it mild enough that I can just bloody well get on with what I am doing for once…?! But when in doubt, put your clothes on I say (except when you do not want to draw any more unwanted attention to yourself at supermarket tills)…..So re-dressing session is on. And I am back in action. We gather up all the leaves, scooping up a huge pile, I wonder why it was so squishy, and realize I have just scooped up a load of dog pooh. Wonderful! Thankfully I took the brunt of it, as I was on the brink of hoying them at Mitzi who was having more fun throwing the leaves, than clearing them! A little later on, hand washed 7 times by now, I am still feeling violated by the amount of pooh I have had to deal with today, and I watch Mitzi climb a tree. I go over to help her, put my hand under her boot, smell pooh, and see it is all over her boot (the one I just went at enthusiastically to grab), rendering my hand once more full of shit and round 2 of sterilization procedures commence……Mitzi is stripped, and on our way in she slips, and falls on the top of the sand pit lid and smothers pooh down her face and her hand. Omg, how did we manage it??!

A wee while later, (surprisingly I had not given up on the day!) we head down to the post office to pick up a parcel, which has arrived from England. On the way out, I ran over the stupid dog! He was doing his usual barking, pleading with me not to leave him there “Please don’t leave me, you don’t understand…….” “Take me with you, oh pleaseeeeeeeeee take me with you” and do you know what I did? I looked at him in the rear view mirror, with the indicator on (yes, I am English, and I do use my indicator! (see earlier blog)), and I took pity on him, so I reversed, expecting the dog to back track, he did not, and this where I hear a bump! And the dog runs off his tail between his legs. I am horrified, utterly, utterly horrified, and (thankfully remembering to put the hand brake on), I run out to see what I have broken. Praises be, there was no damage, and the dog lives to bark another day……..But I was not in the most optimal of spirits, and drove like an old, old lady would, the whole way to the shop. This weekend will be Christmas! And the excitement in my house is uncontainable, we will be going up to my husband’s best friend’s parents’ house (did you follow that?!) for a night in Orthez, 45 minutes further inland. I am very excited; the house is a haven for us! With kids around it can’t help make you realise what Christmas is really about, and it is both brilliant, and knackering! Have a very, very Happy Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

“Look over there, there is a badger with a gun!”


It was all going so well, it really was as well, until Esmie nicked off with the apparently “kiddie friendly” scissors, I spilt my tea, got mud all over the freshly clean sheets, I saw the cats had emptied 4 litres of milk by clawing at the bottles and drinking it as it was (look away dad) pissing out milk. No other way to describe the chaotic scene. Oh, and the chickens were stalking out food in the garage, flapping about wildly, and poohing on my clean washing. The holidays are going extremely well, as you can see... I put the kids to bed what seems like bloody hours ago (well 5 seconds peace in this house feels like a lifetime!), and they are still banging around, shouting out things upstairs, and Lola is now calling down asking for glue…….This may require some adult attention, I shall do the motherly bit and get back to the blog in a bit!

I have a friend who has just had a baby, it has made me extremely broody…..Yes I know, 4 kids and still broody. But there you go, it’s a fact! It is about all I can do to stop myself from saying to her, “Look over there, there is a badger with a gun!”, and whilst she is distracted, grabbing the baby, telling all the kids to get in the car quick, I have just got them a new baby in the family! But I realise I would most likely be institutionalized were I to do this, and the baby stays……..! The kids are all at ages now where they can do most things for themselves. It obviously makes things easier for me, but the fact that my 2-year-old daughter can do her buttons up all by herself, is somewhat worrying. As this must surely speak volumes about the fact that the more kids you have, the less they are noticed, the more they have to do from such an early age for themselves….! And I thought I did some good hanging out with Esmie?! It is evidently never enough attention that I give her. This is proved to me today, when after having snuck off with the child-scissors, I hear her calling, “Mummy, I’ve cut hair me, look!” and thereupon I see blond clumps of hair, strewn across the floor, like a scene from a shit hairdresser’s….! I gasp, as I witness the self-haircutted child, who is standing there looking at me, proud as punch,  She has given herself a small Mohican going on on the top, a few clumps are missing from around the ears, and the hair at the back has a big step in. Fandabidosey! I am going to have to put my hairdressing skills into practice in the morning, before making pots and pots of mango and apple chutney for fun, painting another wardrobe “eggshell” white, making Christmas necklaces with kids, Monty has ordered a treasure hunt, oh, and the normal cooking for 6 and housework that never goes away on a daily basis!

As it is the holidays, I am constantly reminded how many children and animals there are in this one little house…..! The chickens were nesting in the giant sandpit, having a bit of a sand bath, the dog was barking at Monty and me, Lola was on the swing (almost fully recovered from her rope burns the other day I am pleased to report!). Lola is not the bravest, and any little thing will send her down. The other day, just before I went to hospital with Mitzi, I hear a blood curdling cry from the garden, like a bat out of hell I was, throwing myself out into the garden, expecting to see a child with broken everything…….This was Lola’s reaction to her rope burns, so you see what I mean?

So there you have it, the Christmas holidays, woo hoo! I am hoping next year will bring the mending of my car, as I have been “demoted” to using Alex’s surf mobile…..it is not so much the exhaust falling off, the noise is, well, distinctive! Or the fact that it is a squish for all and sundry to fit in, it’s more the fact that you cannot even touch your feet on the floor, it is such a tip! (He is always flying in and out, so to be fair he does not have any time to do much a bout it, and it is mainly strewn with collated leaflets that fell about too much, got soaked by the torrential rain, that sort of thing…!) In fact, the exhaust has been fixed, so I am exaggerating a little, but it stayed in such a way for a good year…..The times I had to drop the kids off at school with mothers looking out for a steam railway train coming into the school car park, I avoid eye contact, and bundle everyone out, although I know I have been spotted…The shame! It did get to the point that Esmie would exclaim, “OOo Daddy home!” and then roughly 8 minutes later, daddy to pull into the drive…..It was noisy. And so is this house! But I cannot wait till Christmas, and tonight (which I had better go and get on with), we are starting the present wrapping marathon (4 kids= lots of presents!). Alex decided we should make a night of it, and nipped out to get a beer, he has walked back in with the most appropriately named drink for this house “Desperado”. Brilliant, desperado and paper/scissors/scelotape, here I come!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Typical peaceful Sunday then.......


I was in the middle of painting a cupboard “eggshell” white, a wall green, making cheesy omelets X6 people, with our own Margo eggs, nursing a daughter with burns (rope burn, she came down the swing too fast…), a daughter with puss oozing out of her ear, waiting for Alex to get back so I could go to hospital. Typical peaceful Sunday then. I bend down to pick something up, and SMACK! Crack my head on the stairs. Physical injuries galore, Alex gets in so I bellow some finishing off the bread baking instructions in my absence, and head off to hospital with the 3 girls, Monty wanted to stay with his dad. I explain to the nurse on reception at A and E (she has obviously had her mouth sewn together to prevent her from cracking the merest hint of a smile ever again in her entire life….), that Mitzi has not slept a wink all night, agony with ear, puss streaming out with gloggy bits and everything, when she looks at me and says quite curtly “Oh, so not an emergency then?” I am scolded. Wrist slapped well and truly, why didn’t I just slap her back and have over with it?!

In the waiting room in A&E, I am surrounded by vomiting children, A&E with a tummy bug…have you ever heard of such a thing? And the nurse was funny with me bringing Mitzi in?  But the “Gastro” in France is a major OMG! Panic! And get yourself airlifted into hospital.  I often hear mothers going on about the fact that little Olivier/Remi/Mathilde etc have the “Gastro”, almost whispering as they say it, frowning and other mums responding with overly concerned faces and arm rubs like it’s some kind of Taboo disease that no-one has ever had before or since…….A common old garden tummy bug. I shrink down into my jumper and pull the girls close, putting my hands over their mouths, in an attempt to block the airborne germs from these kids. As I suffocate my 3, a mother gets out a pot of baby food, a spoon, a bib, and starts trying to feed her child (who was puking on entry) a pot of fluorescent vegetables….. forcing a spoonful in, as the kid is writhing around avoiding eating it, it finally swallows (it doesn’t really have a choice to be fair), goes crossed eyed and then projectile vomits across the waiting room, all down her mum and dad and herself. “Eeeewwww! That’s rank”, I say, I can’t help myself, it really was. And the parents busy themselves clearing up the puke overhearing “bleughs” and people shuffling well away in their seats. Mitzi will have to see an ear specialist, as this is the 4th time in as many weeks she has had this infection. Bless her. Mitzi (the 3rd child of 4) is always the one getting into scrapes/ear infections/allergic reactions to anything/bumps/burns, you name it, she’s done it. If there is any illness ever in the family, it is usually Mitzi who has it! I don’t know why, I guess these things happen no matter how much you try and be careful/avoid things/wrap them literally in cotton wool (it didn’t work btw).

I reverse out of the drive (trying not to kill the dog, as he runs around frantically barking, desperate for us not to go out and leave him (although we will be back in less than an hour, it visibly hurts the dog every time we leave without him!)) maybe he is saying “Please don’t leave, you don’t know what they’re like, the cats and the chickens when you’re out, they can actually talk, and they hate me…..” Or maybe he’s not…….! Last week we had several eggs from Margo, most of them found in the car, in Esmie’s car seat. One was in the well of the driver’s seat in Alex’s car. He said he was off, to which I told him he might want to remove the egg from beneath the brakes before he goes, and let the chicken out of the car at the same time……Alex is extremely squeamish about chickens, so the chickens are my remit. He is actually, and I quote;  “Proper freaked out by them”! So I physically have to force him to get the egg. It’s good for him to confront his phobias, especially as we will be getting 4 more chicks in the spring (he doesn’t know this yet, he will probably read about it in my blog!). He pulls his scarf up over his mouth, turns his back to the egg, pulls his sleeve over his hand, and reaches in squeezing his eyes shut. This is a grown man, a father of 4. This could be his finest moment, and look at him………! (O.k, I know I am mocking you, honey, but you know you are my hero really!) He grabs the egg and hands it straight to me, “Oooh, it’s still warm, look” and he says he knows and can’t help himself borking a bit. He’s better with hippos, he tells me. So, hippo land here we come, or maybe we should open one in our back garden?......Hmmmmm I think I might be on to something!

Friday, 17 December 2010

I saw red!


Esmie has suddenly gone from singing in the toilet, to screaming, so I go in to see why. Why? She has actually fallen in the toilet, in her zeal to go to the loo, she had forgotten to put on her little special seat shrinking device (for teeny bums!) and she has fallen right in.  So I heave her out. Although I am not super strong, pulling her out was not easy as she was pretty wedged in there! As all this is going on, through my heaving, the phone had been ringing non stop…..I was in demand, I answer, after having retrieved Esmie from the toilet, slightly breathless, and a bit frazzled, trying now to de-clothe a toilet juice covered daughter. “Oui, allo” did alright at not sounding too pissed off! The person on the other end of the phone is the collating, leaflet distributer’s office (the depot where we collect anything up to 2.5 tonnes worth of shops’ publicity, to then put together, and distribute, each week), they ask me if I would be interested in a job. And you are all now looking at the new representative of a particular shop’s (although the name escapes me!) publicity! I am moving up the corporate collating ladder, look at me! I was pleased (well, pleased is maybe a bit strong), and accepted, but at the same time am left wondering, why on earth pick me? If I am the best of the bunch, then my God! Anyway, that’s it, and I now have another job too.

Esmie has been going through a “Look at me, notice me, give me ALL your attention, or I will sneak off and so naughty things” phase, and it has been testing this week….! At any given moment , I am confronted by the aftermath of a deranged Andrex puppy on the loose, and I have toilet rolls that I have painstakingly re-wrapped up, looking completely awful in my toilet. There are absolutely NO chocolates left in 2 of our 4 chocolate Christmas calendars. She snuck off and opened all the doors, I came back in the room, she jumped, and looked at me saying “Oh, mummy, not meeeee”. Oh really?! She unwrapped the presents that I wrapped up for all the teachers and the teaching assistants…..Helpful. I am sure she will grow out of it, I hope before she causes me any more work/ugly looking toilet paper rolls/brokenhearted kids cause there are no more chocolates in their chocolate calendar……

This week, also saw me coming to blows with the “friend” who leaves me her insanely overexcited 40kg dog to look after, gives me puzzles with pieces missing, and lets her son run WILD in my house, when she gets fed-up with him doing it at her’s. My mother-in-law will be proud! She has witnessed several incidences with the aforementioned lady……! It came about at dinnertime, when the phone rang, I answered and she was on the other end. Niceties over, she homes in……Can I look after her dog for a fortnight all over Christmas? She had vaguely hinted at it a while back, but only a for few days, and nothing was arranged. As I tell her it won’t actually be possible as I am going away for a couple of days over Christmas, she lets rip at me! Informing me that I have to do it (er, excuse me?), that I should have told her that I wasn’t going to do it before (because I sit on my arse and make phone calls all day?), I saw red! Unlike me, I now inform her, although she is talking me down, that in actual fact I do have a right to go away for a night over Christmas, that I did not have to ring her because it was never even definite, and that what should she do now? She should not be so god damn rude and expecting and she should ring some other idiot who will look after her dog. So I doubt I’ll be hearing from her soon…..unless she wants something! With my promotion in the dark world of collating, the power has obviously gone to my head!

Well my sister should expect the most hideous looking parcels in the post this week, as after I had wrapped all the presents lovingly, I then had to “sturdify” them, and wrap parcel tape all round the whole thing…..and to top it all off, I could not find any scissors, so ended up gnawing the parcel tape off with my teeth, beaver styley. So here’s to a great weekend, the first few days of the holidays, no more arguments with stupid idiot women (!), and Margo, my chicken getting her own chicken-child seat to lay her eggs in……Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

I have actually been sucking the bogeys out of my 2 ½-year-old’s nose....


I still have no idea quite how I did it, but as we have more eggs than we know what to do with (unfortunately not because my girls are performing, although bravo Margo for her 3 (even though she managed to squish one, it still counts!)), grabbing a load for scrambled eggs for breakfast, on walking through the door to the kitchen, I managed to squish a whole egg all over me. Quick change of clothes (although I frequently leave the house covered in pooh, be it animal/ human/Shrek’s (true story) I drew the line at a whole egg), a whole squished egg down my front was just not the best look, and I am ready and on “Take Two” of the day at just 7am this morning.

I am thankful that I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel, as the prescribed medicine treatments are now nearly at an end. I have actually been sucking the bogeys out of my 2 ½-year-old’s nose. In all honesty, the device the Doctor gave me for extracting the bogeys out of children’s noses, you have never before seen such a piece of equipment. I enthusiastically held the right bit up Esmie’s nostril, and began to do my sucking duties through the other connected end. You suck, the bogeys run out screaming, and you are supposed to stop sucking as you see the bogeys fill up the chamber, before you inhale them……. How rank?? I did it somewhat halfheartedly, and I have to say I am struggling to use the contraption, as every time I suck, I begin to bork uncontrollably! It’s not been all that successful, and I am sure Esmie is as freaked out by the whole thing as I am, I mean what on earth must she be understanding from this act by her mother? I tower over her, put something up her nose, sucking through a contraption, and then start nearly puking in her face! I hope she will not be scarred for life!

I managed to get my ironing done today, which is never a small feat. However as I was ironing, folding the ironed items, placing them in named piles, I notice they are not all that “Pressed” looking. I carry on regardless, and then after a good 7 items realize I had forgotten to plug the iron in. There is nothing worse, I can assure you. I had finally, finally got round to tackling the Everest, and I had to double iron. It just makes so much more work when you are actually stupid enough to not realize you have not yet plugged the iron in.

My other 3 chickens have not laid me one single egg, and I am going to have to have talks…….However I am not too sure I would be able to cope with them all if they all behave as Margo has started to since having her eggs. She wanders round like a lunatic. Today I was on my way out, finally out, after the egg squishing scenario, I open the car door and she gaily hops in, not a care in the world, and shuffles over to sit on Lola’s lap. I shoo her out, she is not giving up that easily however, and hurls herself back in the car boccing and pecking me and flapping her wings so fast (you ever tried to catch a chicken?? They flap in the most almighty manner), that she flaps me in the eye and I now have a sore red eye, feathers all over me and I stink of chicken. Bring on the school run and the mother who takes drugs (see earlier blog!) and stinks of chickens and goes out filthy looking, real “coper” that mother of four……!

Maybe it is best that my chickens stay egg-less, I think it would be the end of me if four of them did this to me every morning. I have now put my car seat pillow in Margo’s house, well I’m not sitting on it anymore, she laid an egg on it! Now to wrap some presents, hoover, mop, fold 3 loads of washing, bring the 8th last drinks up to kids still bleating, then sit down…and collate! well, evenings are for chilling....!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Lazy cow!


Goodness me, explaining the ways of the world can be tiring….."No, Alex-this time- Margo has never even seen a cock in her whole life, so no, it can never, ever be a life that egg…..” Explanation over, and egg retrieved, which was enormous if I do say so myself! The only trouble was that this time, Margo had laid the egg in the car. Yes, she had actually got into the car and was under the steering wheel on top of the cushion that I have to sit on to drive, given that I am a bit squat in my proportions, and it was a better solution at the time than attaching a wooden block to my foot or wearing “Special shoes”. That’s gonna need a wash then, the cushion. Well-done Margo!

It was 20 degrees here yesterday (a cold 20 degrees, but still, mild nonetheless), today however the temperatures have backtracked, runaway screaming the mild temperatures have, and left us in -1 frozenness. Alright, peeps in England, I know, not even close to the temperatures you have been suffering! It was so mild yesterday, that after the dog walk, we actually baked a cake outside, well it had to be cooked in the oven, but the rest was done outside, which is fabulous for me, as there was no clearing up needed. Brilliant! As I am a little obsessed with tidiness, and creative sessions with the kids can get me a wee bit edgy…..Well, in fairness, there’s paint flicked on walls, eggs cracked on the floor, clay caked in their hair….It is a hazardess task cooking/playing/walking/feeding/washing young-lings!

Having a rather spiritual conversation on the walk, Monty (my son of 7), announces that he believes both in Jah, and father Christmas, even though his friends don’t…..which was interesting learning! The walk was great fun, even though I did have both Lola (5 ½) and Esmie (2 ½) in the buggy. To top it all, the wheels were flat, and dragging against the road. I was heaving away under the strain, whilst having a one handed light sabre fight with Monty, trying not to let the buggy have it’s way and collapse on it’s side, injuring all and sundry in the process. And in all this, there is Mitzi gaily skipping along beside the buggy singing her heart out to various tunes I have never before heard in my life before, or since! And making the buggy tip from side-to-side as she goes along her merry little way. They have no idea do they?! But I guess the exercise does me good…..There has to be some positive doesn’t there?!

Alex has been collating and delivering leaflets like a Trojan this week, and I have done none. Lazy cow! You may think, but I still have endless ongoing paper sagas throughout France and it’s merry men. Which will take up my entire week too, next week. So here’s to more eggs, no collating and taking Make-Up Lady to the shops tomorrow!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Where there is no cock (!) there will be no chicks….


The dog puking outside our bedroom wakes me up this morning. Fabulous start to the day, dog puke clear up duties…..There are worse things I suppose?! A successful trip to the Doctor’s yesterday (apart from getting myself hopelessly lost, as only I ever seem to be able to) should have forewarned me that, as the Yin Vs the Yang would have it, today was gonna be, trying. Trying it was. Dog puke cleared up, kids down for breakfast, whereupon I find my natural yoghurts have been spontaneously reproducing in the night, and I am bombarded by them all hurling themselves out of the fridge in a bid for freedom, as I go to get the milk for my tea. Yoghurt everywhere, I find myself once again instructing the dog sternly to “Lick it up!” Even though he has obviously just finished being sick. Poor sod. So the kids get natural yoghurts, cinnamon and cornflakes for brekkie.

Well, persevering with my day I had a brief moment to fly back in for a coffee, and see, as I feed the chickens…..an egg!!! Yey! My first egg, the kids later pass it around as though they are touching a weasel or something, wowing and so excited! To be fair, it has been a long time coming. Monty and Lola come over to me, they ask sincerely if we can keep the egg under Lola’s pillow so that we could have a chick. Here is where I explain that in fact, where there is no cock (!) there will be no chicks….All sounds rather inappropriate explaining this to a 7 and a 5 ½ yr old! But, there we go! Later on today, I find my second! Wow, two whole eggs, treats! And as I go to retrieve it, Marjorie runs out in her enthusiasm to see me, and squishes her egg….! As if?! She actually squishes her potential offspring (as I have just explained, actually, it will never be chicken, there is no cock…!) but she didn’t know this…..Well maybe she did, who am I to say differently?! So I am back down to one egg. Boo!

This evening after school, as it is a Friday night (which I LOVE), we go to the Bibliotech (library) after school, and spend ages there reading stories and then borrowing books. We come in, we eat a pizza all together, and watch a DVD. T.V dinner night….the one and only, and the best night! Plus, I have hardly any clearing up to do as the animals hover round and clear up as we go along….! BUT! (And with me, there is usually always a “but”, ask my dad!) At the Library, Makeup Lady is there! Sprung! She, when I ask how she is, tells me, without going into too much detail that she hates life. Dear me, poor girl, but at the same time, come on! Make an effort lady! So I offer to take her to the shops an Monday, as I say this the voices in my head stop singing Kylie Minogue (see earlier blog!), and start chanting “Fool, foolish woman, fool!”. Watch this space!

So that’s it, the weekend beckons, I am cold, and in fact, about to go and have a beer with my husband….how times are changing, I drink, now, too!

sorry all, going to kick my internet provider's ar*e...and hopefully be back blogging, back on line soon!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Time management skills, bollocks to them!


When Esmie woke up this morning, she had no idea what was going on, despite her efforts, her eyes were still shut, she was just crying, pointing at her little eyes saying “Look!” scrunching her nose up and pulling all manner of strange faces to try and dislodge the gunk, thus freeing her eyes……..I bathed them and we were on our way,  Doctor bound, after first dropping 3 out of 4 kids off at school.

The doctor is his usual fab self, sorts everything out, heals the sick, gives back the sight to the visually impaired….that sort of thing. Not true stories, but you get the idea how efficient he is! Which is why I drive to St Jean de Luz for every appointment, 25 minutes on the motorway from us, but it’s worth it. Except today, I had a fleeting arrangement with ‘Makeup Lady’ that I would try and take her later on in the week (ie Thursday), although weeks are like dominos, more and more sh*t goes down as the week picks up speed, and there is consequently more piled up at the end of the week, than the start. Or maybe that’s just me? I do try and utilise “Time Management” skills, but fail miserably. For example earlier on I had in my head “Time management, Tamsyn, use your time management skills, go on…” And so begin attempts to put skills into practice. So there I was, on a roll, I put the kettle on first, as by the time that had boiled I would have finished the veg chopping, then I can add that to the stew, clearing up as I go, wiping arses, sweeping raisins up, giving out cuddles, nursing bobos, playing “who am I” (still trying to find myself….!!), making cups of tea, putting washes on, well you get the pic. But then something inevitably happens that restricts me from doing what I need to be focusing my intentions on and I lose it, completely lose it. My head spins, there are usually cats mewing at me, children’s voices (hundreds of them), dogs at my feet, chickens (that are so getting stewed if they don’t start laying soon) pecking at windows……Time management skills, bollocks to them, they’re for those woman who can work and have a family, I am not one of those….! And I am not ashamed at being incompetent! Anyway, I was talking about Makeup Lady. On the way back from the Doctor’s I am redirected. Now this for me, I live in sheer dread of being redirected. Is going to be of HUGE consequence…..and sure enough, it is. I am diverted, one junction too early, off the motorway and down to a place where I have never been before. Well if truth be known, I probably have been there umpteen times before, but I get so hopelessly lost all the time. I have no sense of direction what so ever, and if you blind folded in my own house, spun me round a few times and told me to find my own toilet, I am not sure that I would ever successfully arrive there. In all sincerity, my orientation skills suck. Unfair, but I have to deal with it frequently. I was passed on to roads/roundabouts/ there were cones EVERYWHERE. It looked like someone had sat the coneman down, asked him earnestly to place as many cones as he possibly could, with no necessity to organise them, just put out as many as physically possible…..Willy nilly they were strewn. White knuckles gripping on to the steering wheel sucking myself in, as the road where these cones were, was barely wide enough for me to skate down, let alone drive. I get hopelessly lost, as I knew I would, 45 minutes later I am panicking as I still don’t see anything familiar, although I think now I recognise this cone layout……the Coneman was trying to recreate a rabbit, I think, from this angle. When I see the light….a sign to Bayonne (15 minutes form me) so I follow it, and get stuck behind Barry brum brum in his electric car. Why bother? O.k, for the environment I see his point, but what, does it just run off triple A batteries or what? What makes them so pants? Here’s where Makeup lady comes in, thought I’d forgotten in my ramblings didn’t you?! I am supposed to be taking her shopping. In all this, my desperate bid to get home, I am this stressed because well 1) because I am lost in France, and 2) because I have a date with Makeup Lady. How does that work?! Oh well, when the internet comes back on (so intermittent it is very frustrating) I shall ring her, explain, and I guess, try and do it another day. Sorry Lady…….

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Good god, give me strength.....!


Bedtimes are always fun. They are indubitably too raucous, too long, too stalled, too tiring! The way I try and organize myself is to put the youngest two up first with a story and lights out together, sometimes Esmie, the youngest goes up first, and I stagger them all separately, but the best laid plans aft gan agley (as my sister assures me they say?! though unsure who the '"they"are...!)). The big two then come up: I do a puzzle with Lola and Monty plays under his den with his star wars lego.  I then read them a story, Lola goes down, and Monty reads me a story! Actually, I am helping him to learn English, as living in France, he can read in French, but the French phonetic system is obviously very different to the English one. Anyway, he can read in English too, but practice makes perfect! And it is a precious 20 minutes on my own with each of them, which I never get as frequently as I crave. … I stop halfway up the stairs, stooping to pick up all the crap that they have strewn on their way up, Esmie in my arms clinging onto me like a koala on acid!……She is used to me carting her around, tolerating the various bends/skips (oh yes, I skip at times too, eg when I know they are off to bed!), trips, because I do trip often, rarely on my bottom entirely, but it has been known to happen. Here’s where I hear “Oh, mummy watch out!” Too late, the deed is done, and I now have wee everywhere to clear up. The potty I leave them up there every night so as they do not have to come downstairs to wee in the night, one of them had obviously decided to go for an early wee, and I kick it over spectacularly (all that football practice!) and now have wee dripping through the ceiling, down the stairs and all over my legs. Lovely! Thanks kids.

Dog walking in France. Here goes: to begin with in France, I did as I normally do, and went round conscientiously clearing up after my dog, passers-by regarding me as if I was a lunatic. Four kids: one in the front carrier; one on my back; one in the pushchair; one holding on to the buggy for dear life, having orders spouted at them every second, “Come on, sweetheart, a snail could manage a faster pace, keep up! (not wanting to give them a complex about their walking skills, but really...!). No, no, we musn’t do that! Watch out for the shhh….oh it’s too late! Let’s not skip, because it kinda makes the buggy fall to one side, and mummy can’t push it quite so well at a tilt….”,. Also in tow, a dog and Weetabix the cat who liked to tag a long too at the time. Right sight for sore eyes! But that is not why I had onlookers, rather it was due to the fact I pick up my dog’s pooh. They generally do not practise this behaviour, and I am quite sure they were under the impression I was collecting it up just for laughs. As I bend, I make concerted efforts (well, you’d hope so) not to plunge Esmie’s head in the sh*t, as the front carrier is very practical when one is vertical, not so sturdy on the horizontal tilt. The French could not careless where their dogs do their business, whether it be in front of the Eiffel Tower, in their garden, a pavement, a back yard, the beach, who cares? I didn’t believe this when I first moved here- surely it’s just logical to clear up after your dog, and thoroughly rank for everyone else if you do not? But anyway, my parents-in-law tell me of the time they were stunned to witness a French lady bend down after her dog had done what it wanted to do, reaching to get tissue out of her bag, presumably to pick up and chuck the pooh away. Oh no, not here, not in France, she got the tissue out, bent over, and wiped the dog’s arse….!!!!

I shall be off to the Doctor’s tomorrow, a nasty case of conjunctivitis for Esmie has seen to that, makeup lady is due to call too to find out when I am “free” to take her to the shops…….Good god, give me strength.....

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I could do with a P.A (any offers?!)


I sat down yesterday evening to be interested and “share” a moment with Alex, watching surfing………..the girl presenting had obviously not conquered the art of not moving your eyes when you read from the camera roll, and her eyes went frequently a bit cross eyed in attempts to read without appearing to be reading. Poor girl. But I sat through another surf movie regardless. Big up for the supportive wife! Actually I have to say I do love the fact that my husband surfs. I would rather that, than he was  “oot wi lads” at every verse end! So I cannot whine, well not today I can’t, he hasn’t been!

As I have continually been either pregnant/breast feeding/both since meeting my husband, past times for me are exactly that, a thing of the past! I love to paint, the evenings used to be my time to do a few things like that and to have time with Alex, but now it has come about that collating leaflets is my evenings’ past time…….woopidoop. But as needs must, and the fact that I still get to be around the kids, it doesn’t stop me being with them, or doing the House, school thing, so for that I am extremely grateful. Although this week, I could do with a P.A (any offers?!) I seem to have so much to trawl through. Surely I’ll succeed this week??

The kids are permanently filthy, I strip them when they come in from school, and everything goes straight in the machine. I did this tonight and, without realising, had accidentally managed to get my scarf (I rarely take clothes off when I come in, time and coldness contribute to this) caught in the door of the machine which had clunked and gone on to start it’s duty…..I nearly garrote myself as I stand up to walk away, then dread sets in, I am going to have to press “cancel” then I will be obliged to wait for the cancel to take effect, and two whole minutes later, release my scarf, thus releasing myself……..I was left bent there, flustered and in a wild state of panic, the washing machine is in the garage, no one can hear me shouting……. For a whole ½ minute, I am left there, and then I realise something, I could probably just take my scarf off, and retrieve the scarf later, at my own leisure……….

All day today I have had a chicken (Margo) acting crazy. She hopped into the car with me, every time I got in the car she would do a flappy flying leap splaying herself in the driver seat and later refusing to get out of Esmie’s car seat when I was rushing around trying to pick up kids, I have shooed her out of the house on numerous occasions. She has even been pecking me………nasty b*tch….! My friend at school informed me, when I recounted Margo’s behaviour to her, that she was obviously going to lay an egg, and that by the sounds of it I would have to “induce” it. Uh, uh, nooooo way, nothing and no one is going to make me interfere with a chicken to help it lay an egg………No thank you!

Although extraordinarily proud, I was also astonished to hear Monty (7) ask me tonight, as I tucked him in and gave him his good night kiss, if he could have a maths’ test tomorrow……………and in one fell swoop, right there, I doubted he was my son……..! Swat! Love it.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I really do make an effort..........


After school, if it does not rain we hang out in the garden, in a desperate bid to tire the kids' endless Duracell energy out. We have a game of football, although I always seem to be at a handicap with Esmie in my arms…..Oh yeah, and my complete ineptitude, much to the frustration of my 7 year-old son, Monty, at the sport too! My lack of football capabilities and my general bit too girliness does not stand me in good stead next to my “come on mum, let’s have a fight and rub mud in each others faces” son of 7. And plus, he has 3 sisters….poor thing! But I really do make an effort, flinging myself on the floor in a halfhearted sort of attempt to look like I have done a running skid across the pitch to impress my son. However this time, Dad is there too…..Girls V Boys, uh oh! The girls in our house may tip the scales, no, not because we have collectively bigger bums, but our sportive qualities are, unfortunately, nothing on the lads. Still, the girls have time to learn, at 5, 4 and 2 ½….for me, however at the ripe old age of 32, I believe everything is now too late. And life has snowballed me up on the way down a never ending, well, one day ending, mountainside, and you do not even have youth on your side……Boooo! Anyway, the football. Alex was not showing me any special treatment, and I was in goal with him pelting footballs at my shins like his life depended on it. I have touched upon the fact that I am a complete whoos when it comes to pain, and therefore I was floored, on several occasions in agonising pain, saving the ball. My pain was obviously hilarious to both Alex and Monty, who turns round to me and says “suck the pain in mum and get on with it.”…..Now where have I heard those words before?? ALEX! (shouting voice necessary here).

Still, suffice to say the boys won. (23:1) Lola mooches around on the pitch, randomnly sprinting at any given moment as if there is a live wolf after her, half laughing, half terrified, with daddy coming after her to get the ball. She is very tall for her age (none of the others is, she is 18 months younger than Monty, and has nearly always been taller than him! But don’t tell him I said that), as she runs she is a little gangly and a wee bit jerky in her running skills, bless, but she makes a concerted effort nonetheless. A typical girl, the minute she is tackled, she bursts into tears. Mitzi joins in a bit, but after a while I think she sensed the competitiveness between mum and dad, and mum and son (!) and looks on from the safety of the swing, in intense horror. Esmie stays clinging for dear life in my arms and I am still unsure as to whether or not she enjoyed the experience……….

I turn my attentions to haircuts, as I have to. Monty has a “pretty” face and with 3 sisters already, I am quite frequently asked if I have 4 girls, (again, do not tell him I mentioned that either!). So out come the clippers. Note to self: get to grips with clippers, before trialling haircuts on the family. That’s how well it went, Monty asks me repeatedly, “mum, MUM! Why are you attacking me?”, he didn’t believe me when I said it was just a haircut. The impression he had of my technique tells a story of how delicate my hand is! I am somewhat disappointed with the results, but I am going to apply myself, practise on the girls' Barbies (I imagine they’ll all come out as Rogers, Bobs and Barrys after…..), and anyway, it’ll grow back right?!

Monday, 6 December 2010

And from here on in, I shall be taking ‘Makeup Lady’ to the shops every week……superb!



With all the complicated paper work that there is endlessly to do….I have enlisted the help of a ‘Social Assistant’, who are people in France that help….wow. She is fab, and has been a huge help, which I have told her on many occasions (trying not to burst into tears as I a little too enthusiastically shake her hand (not a French sport…)), and she looks at me a little weirded out explaining she is just doing her job. Poor girl, didn’t know what had hit her when I walked through her doors! Anyway, she has obviously found her way of sending karma back round my way in the form of ‘Makeup Woman’, which is how I refer to her, although I think she must too, have a name….! The other day I received a call from a slightly desperate woman, informing me of how she had just moved here, how she knew no one (I told her it probably wasn’t worth getting to know me……but she babbles on regardless) and she had no car, no job, a son and couldn’t get to the shops…….O.K, so here’s where I come in, she wants me to take her shopping in Bayonne (15 minutes on a good day from here). I do not shop there, 1, and 2, who the hell is she??? She tells me that the Social Assistant had given here my number……..So I hit her that hard??! None of what she was asking I minded about, it’s good to get out I find…….! And it’d be, different with someone else in the car, rather than the usual 4 little voices…! So I tell her to stop crying, unnecessary to be fair. And from here on in, I shall be taking ‘Makeup Lady’ to the shops every week……superb!

Another week has gone by, still no eggs from me chooks, and I await patiently the day when they will come good…….I can smell the roast coming on………I briefly chatted with the Land Lady the other day who had popped by to check out the chickens, Margo, Meg, Majrorie and Molly, I was saying how I hoped the feathers around their necks would grow back soon, (it's sooo ugly., not a good look to look like one has a disease...sorry girls!) and I learned something; apparently they are bred specifically that way, to have no plumage around their necks, as it makes  it easier to cut their heads off…!!!!! As if?! But it appears to be true! The vegetarian chicken owner has a special breed of chicken that have featherless necks to make chopping their heads off more easy. Fantastic!

We had a lovely family trip to “Planetkidz” on Sunday afternoon, and we came back with the fully tired out kids, whey hey! The dog we have been looking after for a few days, “Pashtoun”, went home today, which I am pleased about, as I had to clean out the gunk from her eyes 6 times a day, which made some work I can tell ya!

The week beckons, and I am sat here freezing my bits off, waiting to find out what this week will bring……..

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Practical it may be, but trendy, it is not……


It was proper cold yesterday morning, although not as cold as England. I hate the cold. I spend my whole time looking stupid (too many clothes, hardly able to move arms, they stick out at my sides, and I look a total wally), shivering and dreaming about summer……….Alex is worrying he will get trench foot from doing his deliveries in the rain…..Yesterday he had holes in his socks, AND the plastic bags on his feet! We have a visitor who comes round at 7pm, perfect, wind down kids bedtime time. But it’s fine, it was brilliant to see our friend, even more so as he is self contained, no not well mannered, he has a caravan (I may rob him in the night and make my escape). As I get the kids upstairs, and finally settled, a huge thunder and lightening storm hits, and the electricity cuts. This sends the kids into panic, and they all start up again, tears, hysterics, the works ‘we can’t see, we are TERRIFIED mummy’. I fumble around in the dark, falling over things, rummaging frantically trying to find where I had ‘tidied’ the candles and the matches. Finally after a lOOOOOOONG ten minutes, bedlam upstairs with panic-stricken kids, believe me even 3 seconds is long, matches and a few stubby candles are found. I feel like the lady with the lamp as I light up the house -no, not set it alight- and walk upstairs (never run with fire, or is that scissors?), to calm the kids I have to put a lantern on the landing, instructing them to go nowhere near it etc etc how important it is not to, how dangerous etc etc, and there is also an alarm on it so mummy WILL know if you’ve gone near it and so forth (it was out of reach, but you never know). I go back downstairs to cook for the guest. Forgetting there is no electricity, bollocks, no dinner tonight. Then he comes in through the front door with one of those head torches on……..my dad has a head torch, the day I have a head torch is the day I know that I finally do not care ANYMORE what others think of me….! Sorry dad…! Practical it may be, but trendy, it is not……it turns out it was his caravan that blew the electrics, and I suddenly smell burning hair…….I hurl myself up the stairs like a bat out of hell (you should have seen me….) fearing the worst, something had actually caught alight, I run up shouting to the kids to check their heads, to make sure their hair is not on fire…! Thankfully, it just turned out to be a weird smell, happens frequently in this house, and all is well.

The kids got the school bus home yesterday, I was out and about doing more French paper work and such like, if they get the bus it gives me ½, an extremely valuable, hour’s worth of time. Much needed at times. The hail is frantic and the size of small snowballs, (it hurts like hell, seriously) so I decide to drive to where the bus stops- the bottom of my garden, just in front of our gate! I throw the little 2 in the car, and back out of the drive trying not to take out the chickens who are seeking shelter, and lost their home, again. I wait at the bottom of the drive, and get out to collect the kids, bundle them in the car with them asking why I had driven 4 yards to pick them up………They’ll understand one day. Job done for one day, well in some ways. I have 7 loads of washing to do tomorrow, the kids asked me to make their beds smell nice, cheeky buggars, I do it  every weekend anyway……..expectations, tut…!

Friday, 3 December 2010

I will be putting a nappy on a dog


It is that time of year now when the butter does not spread, it comes off like chunks of cheese, you’re in your thermals (well I damn well am, and proud of it!) and 2 pairs of socks do not even take the edge off the chilblains……. But we are all expected to persevere nonetheless, and this is what we do. It is funny, in summer I just have to be outside. Everyone who knows me will vouch for the fact that summertime for me is living in the garden time. As a child I was dragged around on family walks ‘fresh air will do you good’ I heard, lots…! And now, it has come to play, that I say and I do exactly the same to my lot. Yesterday, it was raining, and I actually kicked them all out into the garden, I didn’t care anymore. They were going stir crazy in the house, the gluing and pasting had obviously run its course, and they needed to run, like they have never run before. I accompanied them for the most part, but I still had to collate, and darted back in frequently for shelter, cups of tea, and to collate…….Then all hell broke loose, I have no idea how, but they had been ‘that way out’ all day (bored no doubt, pushes anyone to the edge) finally I yell (to combat the noise of 4 young-lings and 'firm voice' just wasn't cutting it), “Right, that’s it, everyone, in the car now”, they look at me and ask ‘Why?’ Whereupon I explain to them that I have had it, we are going to ‘Mummysrus’ shop to buy a new mummy. All the time I feel horrendously guilty, but to my mind, they need to appreciate the fact they cannot be as unruly as they just have been for the entire day. They look at me astonished, aha, they had been previously unaware of this shop! I bundle them all in the car and set off…..silence….then Monty, my eldest pipes up ‘Er, mum, where is the shop? And do we really need to buy a new mummy?' Then the calm breaks, and they all burst into tears with; we’re sorry mummies, we will be good mummy, we will eat all our tea, mummies, and I regain a bit of parental power…..woooohoooo! Mummysrus shop outing success. Thank goodness I did not have to follow through with it….How can you follow through with that? thankfully, I was not busted. I could have taken them to a women's wrestling competition, that would have shut them up!

Another job we do, although it is very sporadic, is to look after other people’s animals when they are away, we ‘anisit’…..I did not come up with that, just for the record! This is fine, usually, apart from the fact that our dog is gay, not in the old fashioned sense of the word either, but quite literally bats for the other doggy side.. We have had bitches on heat, and he shows not a blind bit of interest. A dog comes through the gate on the other hand, well you’ve never seen anything quite like it, he is trying to hump them before you can say Dale Winton. It’s really quite embarrassing at times, without going into too much detail! We have another dog coming in a few weeks, a 17 year old husky who actually wears a nappy at night. I will be putting a nappy on a dog, I am hoping the owner does not pack terry nappies for him…..eeeeewwwwww. Bad enough using terry nappies with kids, I think this is the reason my washing machine keeps committing suicide. Electrical appliances do not last long in this house, I quite frequently do up to 5 washes a day, so I guess they get tired quickly, and give up…..if only I were an electrical appliance….!

I now must go and see to the floor covered in multicoloured dots, it looks ever so pretty, but I must teach Esmie (2) that paper is for painting on, not floors………

Thursday, 2 December 2010

I did something awful today..........


My the kids grow quick…….blink and you’ve missed it. Mitzi, my 4 year old is pretty small for her age, bless her, but even she is growing (!), as I keep elbowing her in the head. She is obviously at that right height! As there is no school on Wednesdays in France, which is extremely cruel when there is rain, rain, and more bloody rain, indoor activities are endless, and I try to (although not that successfully I imagine) entertain the kids whilst collating shops’ publicity at the same time. Never an easy one, and I usually end up burning things; I heat milk up for coffee, always burn it, forget about my rising bread and leave it for hours, rather than just a half, I forget where I’ve put things- I found my car keys in the fridge after an hour and a half of looking for them- what a waste…..! And on opening the bin, I found I had also thrown away 4 socks and a pair of knickers. Lucky I chuck bits of stuff away 5 thousand times a day……..

I did something awful today, I left pooh on the shopping trolley. To be fair, I had no choice. One of the kids was on the rail that goes round underneath, and had obviously trodden in pooh. I noticed as I was putting the trolley back, my dilemma was that, short of using my coat or my bare hand to wipe it off, I had nothing to wipe it with, and I do draw the line somewhere. I rammed the trolley in, grabbed the token thingy and with my head down, which is my posture anyway at the moment with the rain that is endless, I sprint back to the car. Sorry next shopper……. The next time you find pooh on the bottom of your trolley, think of mums like me, and forgive us!!

As we get back to the house, I realize 2 things, 1. I left the oven on, (how bad? luckily there were just burned potatoes in there.....could have been worse) and 2. I locked Alex out in the rain. He was in the house however, I reckon he has a secret tunnel in the garden, he has possibly been digging this for months without me knowing, as one day…one day, he will be able to make his escape………(lucky b*stard)! Well I cannot, there is no return for me (I try not to take up position in the corner rocking forwards and backwards, forwards and backwards…….). This rain, were it to go away, would definitely make my life a whole lot easier. I was cheered up though today, as first thing this morning the kids come down the stairs shhhhhhhsing each other, Monty comes in first and announces he has something for Alex and me, and for the girls, whereupon he pulls out an envelope, takes out the card he has made, one for us, one for the girls, and proceeds to read what he has written. One of the sweetest things I have ever witnessed as he addresses the girls, ‘dear girls’ and tells us all he loves us so, so much …..! He is potentially prepping us for a list of Christmas presents he wants, but even still, how cute!!!

Well Monty is learning Spanish at school too at the moment, and I find it all rather worrying, he was coming out with phrases at the table, teaching the girls, and I was lost……not a good thing your own child being able to speak a language you can’t, not that I am a control freak or anything (?!)…..but it definitely is a handy starting point to understand the words coming out of your child’s mouth…….!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Oh the shame........


Started off quite well this morning (surprisingly), had put a wash on, one out to dry, fed the chooks, unleashed the balrog (our soppy, gay dog’s nick name, comical), got 4 kids dressed, teeth brushed, hair brushed (through screams and tears and taunts of you are mean mummy, and such like), all in the car, full tummies, unburned porridge! And ready for the off, finally strapped in their seats (strapping them in their various seats is like crystal maze some mornings, and it invariably tips me over the edge frequently). For all my trying I cannot just plug the little bit in the right little other bit and no amount of huffing and puffing and expletives and deep breaths/counts to 10 save me. Then I climb into my seat, we have a car which does not lock at the moment, and sometimes the only way to get to my seat if the unlock button in the car does not work, it’s temperamental, is to contort my body into positions previously unknown to gymnasts, let alone a mother of 4, to get into my seat, trying not to kick kids in the face as I do it. Finally, all in? Good. I start the car……which does not start, 5 minutes later, and now late for school, it is still going nowhere. ‘Right everyone out!’ I try not to scream it…… (this ‘everyone out’ also includes the dog, as when I leave the house he looks so wan, that I have to get everyone in the car, then him. And he doesn’t jump in on his own either, oh no, I am obliged to lift him, trying not to touch his bits (eeeewwww) as I do it). I now have to swap all car seats in to the other car (thank god it is not raining too, for once) swap all children, transfer nearly safely made, I carry Esmie still strapped in to her seat and nearly slip in the mud, going a*se over tit, all that is left of the garden these days is bog and mud. Finally everyone is in, but the strap for Esmie’s seat is not working, so I have no choice but to abandon her, throwing her at Alex, opening the front door yelling through the door with a brief explanation as to why Esmie cannot come this morning. The ironic thing is, I was going down to the garage with the car this morning anyway, to try and establish and sort out the car’s weird noise.

Then I get in, I quickly check in the mirror (note to self: do this BEFORE you set off in future), what I see is white stuff under my nose, around my nostrils and on the top of my lips. Fantastic, I have just taken the kids to school and looked as though I had been snorting drugs for breakfast. Great! My lips get awfully dry in the winter and the nivea cream I had obviously applied in a somewhat too slaphappy way, I had gone to some extent, overboard. No time to really address the implications, as It is time to organise however, then, yes you guessed it, collate. I have a doctor’s appointment to make with my doctor who is rarely there, I have to go and see the doctor just to make him do some paper work for me. The French authorities have informed me it is not good enough that I tell them on a signed document with a blood seal, who my doctor is, oh no, HE has to date/sign/attest to the fact that he is indeed my doctor, and that I am not making it up for fun. Oh, and another thing, the woman in the pharmacy (who has an intense dislike of me …) would not sell me Vaseline today, when asked what I intended to do with it, I replied I wanted it for putting on my lips in the winter season. She tuts at me, and replies that it is ‘too greasy’ and she wouldn’t get me any…..! I ended up pleading with her, she finally consented and flung it at me, rolling her eyes and looking in the opposite direction holding out her hand for the money. How rude……! But I think I probably still had a white line under my nose and now she too thinks I breakfast on drugs……..

Well the trials and tribs continue, I am nowhere nearer a DR appointment (his holiday week) and I now am going to be ‘tssssst’ at and a motherly outcast, due to the fact that I look as though I take drugs for breakfast……..let’s hope they can see the funny side……!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

‘Stop it now mummy, you’re scaring us’

when there were 3.....
another little one came along....
and then there were 4....(2009)



Last night, there was an almighty storm. The dog, terrified, curls up on the sofa in our room to sleep, the cats are hidden in cupboards (that is when they are not on the stake out for corners to pooh in), the chickens quite literally going boc wild (sorry, had to get that in!), and the kids waking/sleeping intermittently.  My eldest daughter, Lola, 5, informed me this morning that at one point she had come down the stairs, couldn’t rouse Alex or me, so took herself off to get a drink (still unsure what she drunk….), to find some socks and a jumper all by her little self and get herself tucked in and back off to sleep. This would be extremely cute and very self sufficient, which it is, but at the same time it is also a wee worrying. My 5 year old gets up, dressed and serves herself to a drink, potters around, then goes back to bed, without me stirring……this is not good. I will now vow to taking a thermos of coffee to bed with me, and lie awake all night, couple of espressos as stimulant, just in case……..One normally thinks, ‘ooooh wouldn’t it be nice if every time they wanted something in the night, they could just not wake us up and make us do it, they could do it all for themselves’ and then the minute they actually do that, now, there is noooooo way you are going to sleep ever again, for fear of the house catching light as they get midnight munchies and try to cook themselves something…….! The mind races.

I occasionally feel the need to hover above my life, look down and get a perspective back……(I do not actually suspend myself from the ceiling, I am speaking metaphorically). There are moments when I am so completely drowned out by noise, children, dogs, cats, chickens, rain…….! That I definitely feel that were I to rise above it all, I will then be able to regain my mental strength….! My ritual when the house reaches this level of turning even Florence and her knightingale (!) mental- seriously, a saint would flip- is to turn to the computer. No not to strap them all in seats to watch a DVD (although it has been known…..!), it is my intention to drown out the noise and settle the equilibrium by putting Stevie on, or reggae/bit of Bob, Jack Johnson/Jackson five- we like rocky robin a lot!- also often feature in my DJ sets…! Where there is music, there is a volume control, and I set it to max and sing, I imagine, somewhat scarily and dance even more scarily, to little kids who watch me in stupor with occasional pleas to ‘stop it now mummy, you’re scaring us’. But you see, it worked! They stopped their noise! There was a song on the radio for ages that Monty sang his heart out to. He was under the impression that the songwriter had written a song about socks. Well, they write songs about chickens, a boc boc boooo…..! (see earlier blog if you need an explanation, I am not being that random!) So Monty used to sing  “maybe there’s a sock in the water……”, which does not have quite the same ring as the actual lyrics “maybe there’s a shock in the water….”. Close, but it entirely changes the song’s meaning. There are some songs which are played that are highly inappropriate for my little ones’ ears, but the French gaily play them anyhoo. There is no restriction on language or of content. Thus my adapting lyrics, Gnarles Berkley sings about boccing chickens, Lily Allen is very grateful to her ex-boyf, ‘thank you, thank you very, very muuuuuuuch’, replacing, cleverly, the f yous with thank yous. But the favourite song of Mitzi (4) is entitled ‘she wants it’ she loves the song and sings enthusiastically ‘she wants it, she wants it ooo, she wants it, you’ve got to give it to her’ and my jaw drops. Radio channel switched, to a news station…..!

Hovering finished (note hovering, not hoovering, still got that to do!) I am well and truly placed firmly back in reality as a poorly Esmie is starting to cry upstairs, ‘twill be a looong night me thinks……..

Monday, 29 November 2010

Maybe I could exchange my kids for a small monkey farm??? I am well equipped!


Saturday lunchtime, using up stale bread time, I was on eggy bread duty for hours. It seemed endless. But in this house, the kids eat as if they were locusts. The second I set the zillion pieces of eggy bread down at the table, they are marmited up and scoffed, in one fell swoop. Futile task cooking for these lot, it goes unnoticed, it is so quickly eaten. That is apart from Lola Grace (5). I have literally spent HOURS of my life waiting for Lola to finish. She is a real dreamer, always a huge smile on her face, happy with everything and every one generally, but soooooo slow when it comes to eating, but how can I be cross? It’s not deliberate; it’s just a pain, when I still have to get on with my life! Esmie, at 2, is too big for a high chair, but too little for the table, she has one of those in-between seats, but as I got it form the Brocante (France’s equivalent to second hand shops) it is missing the strap, so it is honestly like trying to train a chimpanzee at mealtimes with her. In fact I reckon that’d be simpler, they can not answer back with ‘don’t like it’, ‘want no more’….. Maybe I could exchange my kids for a small monkey farm??? I am well equipped!

I have spent the most part of this weekend, making 6 loaves of bread, cooking lots, tidying NON STOP, cleaning, washing, moaning, collating, collating, whilst trying to entertain the masses (animals and children included in that) and braving the outside only for seconds as the rain is still a pouring. Some days I really get the impression that were I to be picking up ants on a knife and placing them in half walnuts and teaching them to row, that I would have an easier task! My weekends and Wednesdays (there is no school here on a Wednesday in France), my good friend Jennie O’ Grady remarked that only a man could have made up that rule!! Are never boring.

Still in nappies at night, (noooo, not me, Esmie!) I am responsible for sloshing the rehydrated raisins, and the many, many satsuma pips (like a fruit farm in her tummy), down the loo before I wash the nappies. I have not lost it that much that I wash disposable nappies; they are the nappies that are meant to be washed. Although now, my toilet poses a problem, we are no longer able to do what normal people do and flush loo roll down the toilet, as after having to have the septic tank  pumped twice already in the 6 months we have lived here, we had to take measures. It got a little much having to bundle everyone in the car for number 2 trips to the local public toilets……..We have survived the tale, even though an adaptation to our living style had to be addressed, no more loo roll down the toilet………worse things happen at sea, or so I am lead to believe. Sh*t happens, as they say!

As I am now aware of being nearly suffocated by the overwhelming smell of cat pooh, I am back in reality and off on my umpteenth cat pooh sniff out hunt of the day, Lucky me…………I should get myself sponsored for doing it……..

Saturday, 27 November 2010

I am now akin to She-ra, with the powers of grey skull. Fantastic. Super handy!


This week, late Friday night, when the rain was still raining, it was dark, the chooks had been fed and bedded, the cats mewing for their turn to be fed, the dog trying to catch his tail proving his party trick was worth dinner, the kids still in the needing their 10th last wees/kisses/cuddles/drinks/feet tucked in etc etc, my husband, Alex returned home after having delivered 2.5 tonnes of publicity (yes I am still going on about it). I now, quite literally have the incredible hulk for a husband; the green will grow on me I’m sure, but the anger…man he needs to get that in check. … It has been a tough week, both mentally and physically. I am a bit of a weed, and have not a very good tolerance of pain, and even though I have given birth to 4 kids, one of them with no pain relief at all (and the others gas and air, which was just fun really, few hallucinations, bit sick, but generally really fun), I really am a whoos. So helping Alex load the car/unstuck it was quite a feat for me, and I now feel as though I have toughened up, I am now akin to She-ra, with the powers of grey skull. Fantastic. Super handy!

Scrunchy scrunchy, goes the noise…..I wasn’t worried, funny noises are a given in this house, it is Alex wandering around, he has been wearing plastic bags on his feet due to the torrential rain that began weeks and weeks and weeks ago, and has clung on wholeheartedly to the skies ever since. He got in 3 hours ago, but his coat and plastic bags are still firmly holding place around the house, I reckon he thinks in his head that there are minutes till the rain pours in through the roof, hence the protection….With the kids at home, raining (as mentioned), hide and seek is on the cards, so I send the kids off to hide and start to count at the same time I put the oven on to heat up to cook the bread we have just made into the most unlikely bread shapes ever (these will be interesting, these creations), the oven warm enough for the bread, I wonder why it has been so quiet for a while, but think nothing of it (fool) I should have thought something of it as I got on with other things, because minutes later (although it had been a good 10 minutes in reality) 4 sad little dejected faces, come in, a few crying….why had I forgotten them? They asked through sobs….omg I actually forgot about the game of hide and seek, how cruel did I feel?! And how will I ever live this on down?? For a full 10 minutes I genuinely forgot about my own kids who were waiting so patiently for me to finish counting and to come out and find them…………dreadful moment, truly heartbreaking! It has put me on a guilt trip ever since, and I have been overcompensating in motherly cooings and ‘of course you can my gorgeous little angel’ with rubs on the head, ever since! Although I know I am going to have to watch it and get tough, as when Monty Buster turned round to me earlier on and replied to my question ‘when mummy tells you to do something, what do you do?’ (Expecting to hear the response he should do it on the 1st time of my asking, I am nearly stupefied to hear his) ‘Well it means I have to do it on the third time of asking’ Oh, really???? Rubbish mum. I think I should book myself in for some parent classes…….! I did correct him, but he probably only listens on the 3rd time too of my saying something….!

I imagine this nicey, nicey behaviour won’t last long though, as today I went down to the depot to pick up the next round of shop publicity to collate………..cover your ears ….they covered? (SCREEEEEEAAAAAAAAMMMMMMM)…………..!