Archive for August, 2011

I Have Almost Survived Three Teenage Boys!

I considered myself to be a very strong person.  Who wouldn’t, when they were almost at the point that they had survived three teenage boys?

My memory takes me back to when I had only my first two sons and, at the time, they were aged three and four years.  A work colleague (might I add, male) told me that they (children) would get worse, before they got better.  At that time, I was certain that this man hadn’t a clue what he was talking about.  I mean, how could the time that I was having, with a three and a four year old, actually get any worse?  My objection-handling skills reached the dazzling responsibility of confirming that there were an equal number of chips on each of the two plates, my desire to advance set firmly on seeing the next ten years pass, as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

 Who were these two aliens?  One thing of which I was certain was that, bearing in mind the regular hostilities, they were definitely from different planets.  Why else would each take satisfaction from tripping the other up, or fight over trivialities?

 Suicide had not become one of my priorities (indeed, it had not been on my list), until my two creations were aged eight and nine and, yes, a third being of the same gender, had come to continue the annihilation of my own self.  Working full-time was the only break that I got.  Indeed, as hard a worker as I was, I had often stated to my colleagues that I went to work ’for the rest’.  Being at home meant trying to cook a meal for the family, whilst either holding the baby under one arm or, a little later in his life, my having to carefully move around the kitchen, stepping over the pans and pan lids, which he had willfully lifted from the cupboards.

 At the age of two years, my little baby appeared to have a bald patch, on his head.  I was struck with immediate panic!  He and his little friend were adamant that the hair had not been cut.  “O.K, then.  If your hair has not been cut, then I will have to take you to the hospital”.  The truth was quickly revealed and the scissors were retrieved.

 Yes, the years seemed to pass quickly and before long, I realized that that male colleague, all those years before, had been correct in his summing up that the situation would indeed get worse, before it got better.

 The older two needed to get the ‘running away from home’ activities out of the way, whilst I worried myself sick, inwardly knowing that they were not truly too far away.  Their closeness to home was evident, by the ever-emptying biscuit barrel.  Worrying about where they were, took my mind off my earlier worry, a worry which proved to be ill-founded – the garden shed had not been on fire but was simply a meeting of the ‘under-age smokers’ anonymous’ in progress.

 By the age of seven years, the youngest had already started to show his business skills – setting up his own pic ‘n’ mix shop, in one of the kitchen cupboards may have proved profitable, if it had not been ram-raided by his own flesh and blood.  Not to be put off his objective of making money, he swiftly moved into washing car windscreens, at the nearby service station.  Unfortunately, he was soon to be sacked – not because he lacked cleaning skills but because the young work experience boys had complained, that an eight year old was earning more than they were.  Yes, credit to my son regarding money, for he was the only person I knew who could owe me money yet, when the arguing and negotiating had come to a close, I seemed to be writing out a cheque……… .

 Arguing that you will not allow your son to have a motorbike, is a very painful time – it lasts exactly a year (per child, that is), ceasing when the young person reaches the age of seventeen and becomes eligible for a provisional (car) driving licence.  Passing one’s test is a triumph for the individual but not so for the mother, for she now has to protect her own welfare – my own car was certainly NOT going to be used for the macho skills of wheelies or courting, as my job depended on it!

 Will it ever get better?  I am beginning to wonder.  The oldest two are now married and have developed into two beautiful young men.  The youngest still has many phases to go through, to reach manhood.  I await the empty biscuit barrel, the flashing garden shed and the twelve month argument that he cannot have a bike.  Why?  Because I love him – that’s why!!!!!!!

(A Bungee Jump into 1995).

Well, It Made Sense to Me When I Wrote It!


When you write something down, you know exactly what you mean.  But do others?

Complaint Letters to the Local Council:-

  • This is to let you know that there is a smell coming from the man next door.
  •  The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath our children until it is cleared.
  •  This is to let you know that out toilet seat is broken and we cannot get BBC 2.
  •  Our toilet seat has broken in half and is now in three pieces.
  •  I wish to report that tiles are missing from the outside toilet roof.  I think it was bad wind the other night that blew them off.
  •  My lavatory seat is cracked.  Where do I stand?
  •  I want to complain about the farmer across the road; every morning at 6 am his cock wakes me up and it’s now getting too much for me.
  •  I am a single woman living in a downstairs flat and would you please do something about the noise made by the man I have on top of me every night.
  •  Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy my wife.
  •  It’s his excuse about the dog mess that I find hard to swallow.

And I thought I had problems!


Well, It Will Come Out in the Wash.

Money Makes the World Go Round.

Looking through piles of saved paper or saved files can be a dangerous thing, as you discover how things were and start to re-evaluate that moment:-


Money makes the world go round and, true enough, if you haven’t got any, you stand still.  In fact, when I come to think about it, I’ve been standing motionless, for quite some time.  I put my money to one side for all my bills and then find that someone (or something!) has increased one of my direct debits and I am no longer catering for my commitments.  So, I re-arrange all of my money and find that, unless I get an instant payrise or find extra earnings, I have become worse off and therefore more static, than I was before.  This is life, as it is.  Buying my ticket to freedom (and the odd scratch card), is becoming severely threatened.  I find a cheaper food shop to survive and fool myself that the baked beans taste no different to the more popular variety.  And, with time, this becomes true, for eating the better stuff is placed firmly into the past and is but a blot in the brain cells.  Things are bad and there seem to be no signs of it getting any better.

 I examine my outgoings and find that there is nowhere that I can cut costs.  The biggest problem is that my son does not yet understand the rules.  At a tender fourteen years of age, maybe I expect too much.  When he was ten years old, I spotted him with his friends, outside a popular ‘cheap’ shop, laughing at those who chose to shop there.  As quick as a wink, I snook into the shop, gathered a few things and left.  “Hi, baby.  Look at the cheap things, that I have just bought in there!”  “Shut up, mam”, he whispered, trying to deny our relationship.  A lesson learnt, or so I thought.  Yes, he didn’t stand outside that shop again but he didn’t learn any lessons about where money comes from, or how far it can be stretched. 

I examine my outgoings and find that there is nowhere that I can cut cost.  Only on him!  Yes, come on, now.  What have I been thinking about?  There’s the five pounds pocket money every week, the Monday night treat of quarter-pounder and chips (sorry, two bags of chips), the regular ‘help yourself’ meals of beefurger, fishfingers, sausage and chips, the fifty pounds per month clothes allowance, over and above the regular clothes that he already gets out of me and the ‘can you lend me fifty pence’, plus the many other one-off, out of the ordinary requests.  But how does one tackle it?  Could my nerves take it – arguing with a mini-adult?  Let’s look elsewhere, first!


That awkward teenager is now a businessman and I’m waiting for him to have children of his own, so that I can see how he handles things … .  Will he do a better job than me, I wonder?


Find the Lost Penny …. If You Can.

I was in a hurry and tired, so when I saw the pic ‘n’ mix counter, I made a beeline, for some of my favourites.  At forty five pence a quarter, I grabbed my comforters – to include something coconutty, of course – with the aim of boosting my blood sugar level. 

Fourth in the queue at the till, I could just about wait.  The young girl was obviously well-known, as each person in turn, seemed to have something to discuss with her.  Eventually, upon reaching the front, the young assistant (she looked only sixteen or seventeen) asked me to place my bag of goodies, onto the scales.

 “Sixty seven pence”, she requested.

 As I was reaching for the exact money, I spotted my favourite toffee lollies on the counter.  At only a penny each, I treated myself to five. “Oh – and I’ll have five of these penny lollies, please”.  “Pop them into the bag”, was her response, followed by “seventy three pence, please”.

 Mathematics had always been my forte and this one, I felt, was pretty easy to work out and therefore explain.  With confidence, I replied, “No, seventy two”.

 “No, seventy three – the scales say seventy three”.

 “Yes but that’s because you asked me to put the lollies, into the bag”.

 “But the scales say seventy three”.

 “Yes, I know that the scales say seventy three but the lollies are one pence each and don’t therefore need to be weighed”.

 Mmm, not as easy to explain, as I had thought.  Well (I thought to myself), I could go down the lines of removing the lollies from the bag and paying sixty seven pence for the sweets, then stating “Oh – and I want five penny lollies” and paying for these, separately.  I could then say, “See what I mean?  I paid sixty seven and now I’ve paid five.  Sixty seven and five make seventy two, yes?”  No, this is a bad idea, I would have to write this down and ask her to add it up and, if she couldn’t see what I meant the first time, this task might be beyond her.  And there’s no calculator, to hand!

 A quick look behind me showed that there was a queue gathering and they were looking on, no doubt thinking I was arguing over a penny!  Giving up on an explanation (and an attempt to educate the young girl), I paid the seventy three pence and ran.

The moral of this story is – you might not need a calculator but, unfortunately, youngsters often  do.

That’s life, I suppose … .



Do You Know What a Phrasal Verb Is?

Well, apparently, the English language is full of these phrasal verbs and I didn’t know what one was until a student of English said that he found the phrasal verbs very difficult.  A real cringe moment.  The next time we met, I plucked up the courage to ask him about the very same and it seems that a phrasal verb is a verb made up of more than one word e.g. to make up, to put up with and to nod off.  Our language is full of these thingamejigs and now, if you gave me one of our common phrasal verbs and asked me for a single word verb meaning the same, it would take some time before I would come up with the original word.

So that’s why English is so hard to learn.  On this point, thank God I’m British, as I would hate having to try to plough through (there’s one for you!) each and every one of them as they turned up (and another!) in everyday speech.

For native English people, that’s life but, for others, it’s a challenge!



In the Face of Adversity …….

Never Give Up!