Saturday, 31 January 2009

Red Sky in the Morning....

Shepherd's Warning
Or just plain beautiful..?
Given the forecast for the next few days across Britain I would say 'warning' is more appropriate, but it is beautiful isn't it.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

In The Blink of a Week!

Is it me, or do the weeks seem to be zooming by?

It's been a full week since I last posted! And what a week!

Emily lost her tooth, which was safely placed under her pillow and replaced by the unseen, unheard "Tooth Fairy" (Me) who left a shiny gold coin and some 'pixie dust' which resembled gold glitter. Needless to say Emily found the whole saga really exciting and promptly found another tooth loosening up - and getting more loose by the minute with all of Emily's frantic waggling! Best get the pound coins and pixie dust ready again soon! (And book a dentists appointment to check that everything's as it should be.)

Lesley has been unwell all week and unable to eat anything (so the food bill has gone down significantly!! lol!!) however, what we saved on food, we more than made up for on toilet rolls, if you catch my drift.

I've had a busy time at work - training course up at Seaham, clients all over the place and project after project to coordinate - hence the lack of posts.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Expecting the Tooth Fairy Tonight!

Emily is growing up fast! The first milk tooth has been wobbling for a few days now and today, during a tactically issued mini-Mars bar, screams, and blood and 'hey presto!'
Trauma over with, Emily soon reverted back to her cheery self, proudly displaying her new gap!!

Friday, 16 January 2009

Why Do They Do It?

"Why, oh why do they do it to themselves?" - that was the question posed to me by a colleague the other day as we observed a young girl standing outside our offices. I had no answer for him other than "Each to their own." 
The young girl in question must've been around seventeen years of age, quite slim and possibly quite pretty (I say 'possibly' because no-one could ever decypher how she really looked for the inch of make-up plastered on her face and neck!) Her earlobes were 'adorned' with two of the biggest gold hoops I've ever seen - they were actually touching her collar bones. Above the hoops, for the full height of each ear and at seemingly non-specific points were a further six or seven hoops and studs. The piercing process had been repeated several times at various locations around her face - eyebrow, nose, cheeks, tongue.  Around her neck hung enough 'gold' chains to keep Mr T happy for a few years, and on each finger of both hands (including thumbs)she wore at least three equally 'gold' rings. Each finger was topped with an enormous sparkling nail at least half as long as the finger from which it protruded. She was standing in a bus queue, raking around in her purse for change for the bus - she dropped the coins and her entire rucksack at one point, the coins were left where they fell.
She was wearing cut-off jeans and a red, sparkly 'boob tube' - this on a day when the temperature hadn't exceeded 5 degrees above freezing. Her feet were dressed in Dr Marten boots - green leather with approximately 16 lace holes - how did she lace them up with those nails???
She had no coat. What was showing of her legs was bright orange, tinged with blue, her chest, shoulders and arms were more a walnut colour, but only on the fronts, the backs of her arms and her shoulders were flesh tinged with blue, her face resembled one who'd been Tango'ed several times.
I always reply "Each to their own!" when posed with a question such as "Why do they do it to themselves?" and it's true, I really do mean each to their own - it would be a pretty awful world if everyone dressed and acted the same, but really, in this instance, in my head at least was the thought that somehow, somewhere, someone had told this young girl that she looked good. She certainly acted confident enough despite the obvious jaw-dropping of passers by.
I admired her bravery.
I was going to say that the youth of today have no respect for conformity, or tradition but then realised that that is what youth is, and has been for many years, a desire to make your mark on the world - the same can be said of Teddy Boys in the fifties, hippies and glam rockers in the sixties and seventies, punks in the eighties - remember how outlandish and ridiculed they were? Life goes on - and gets more and more outlandish with each generation I suppose. It's fun to watch.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Party's Over.

Well, that's it for another year (I do seem to recall saying that very recently!) The birthday girl was suitably impressed with all of the gifts and cards from friends and family, and the well-wishings of bloggers too.
The party took three weeks to organise, the food took two hours to prepare, the presents took two months wages, and it was all over in 120 minutes!! The parcel had been passed, songs had been sung, presents had been opened, lost in wrapping paper, then found again, kisses all round, illuminated cake extinguished (twice - for some reason our family have decided that every child at a party should have the opportunity of blowing out the candles on the cake, so we did Emily first on her own, and then relit them for a group blow!)
Emily had a great time and slept like a log after all the excitement. At the end of it all Emily announced "Oh, that was great, I can't wait until I'm seven!" Ah, happy days.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Birthday Girl - Emily is Six!

Emily loves birthdays. Not just her own, but everybody's. Here she is excitedly posing with my birthday cake from last October. For weeks before it she was building up to the event - little 'secret' conversations with Mum about what she was going to get me, what she was going to write in my card etc. etc. She is the same with everyone - even the cat has to have at least two birthdays a week! And today is her special day as she reaches six.
We have yet to find storage space for the Toys R Us delivery she got for Christmas and today there will be another load!! What joy!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Misery Guts.

In my teens (and even before then) I was always an optimist. Always considered every angle and always looked on the bright side of things wherever possible.
As I grew up, and the world enveloped me, my cynical side began to grow to the point it is at today - "Grumpy Old Man!" Negative thoughts abound on the state of the world, how different it is now to how things 'used to be', how much better things are today in terms of technology - but how that negatively impacts on things like schooling and social development - the list can go on and on.  I wear my grumpy old man label with pride at times and yet, occasionally, my more relaxed and open minded younger self will rear his head and try to counter the negativity. It is a welcome break and I enjoy seeing my old self every now and then.
But, there is one person in my life who positively exudes negativity - and as far as I can see always has. I'm talking about my Mother in Law - I call her "the Portender of Doom!"
The PoD is my wife's mother and she loves her dearly - but I can see how Lesley has been strongly influenced by the negativity of her mother over the years. I myself have been affected by her in the twenty or so years I've known her - to the point of depression.
A typical conversation with her goes like this:
Me: "Hello, isn't it a lovely day?"
PoD: "They've got snow in Cumbria. It's heading this way."
Me: "Well it's not here yet, lets enjoy the sunshine, catch some rays."
PoD: "It was on the telly about all the skin cancer. It's rife."
Me: "Pass me that razor blade, would you!"
Lesley suffers so badly with anxiety and panic attacks and we've been looking for a cause - her father's death when she was eleven? Being bullied at school? Well, yes, to an extent, but since these events she has lived with her mother and all the doom and gloom that seems to emanate from her - it's no wonder she's anxious. Even now, married for fifteen years and with a young daughter of her own, she is dominated to the point of being scared of her mother.
It's a very true story in a lot of households up and down the country - 'your parents screw you up!"  My own Mother domineered me to the point of physically abusing me. She was a bully, still is no doubt but thankfully I broke free when I was sixteen - with my mother's blessing I might add. Unfortunately Lesley did not, and has not yet.  What gets all of us, as offspring of crazy people, is that they often quote the biblical saying that you must "honour thy father and mother." and we try so hard to live up to this edict, that we end up being miserable old gits and hating them for it.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

I had my first 'meeting' of the year today. It was only a 1-to-1 with my team leader, but I thought I'd pick out a nice shirt from the ironing basket for the occasion.
So, I'm stood in the kitchen three quarters of the way through ironing my 'nice' shirt and Emily walks in.
"Hello Pet." I say
"Yes pet?"
"Isn't that the shirt you sometimes always wear for work?"
And do you know something? It was!
Needless to say, a fresh shirt was hurriedly selected from the ironing basket.

Monday, 5 January 2009

The Origins of "Where the Birdies Is"

I heard this little ditty a good few years back and decided it might go well as a post title about my 'missing' birds (I Wonder Where the Birdies Is?) but it has always stumped me as to where it originates. Here's the ditty in full (as far as I can discover):-
Spring has sprung;
The grass has ris.
I wonder where
The birdie is?

There he is
In the sky.
He dropped some
Whitewash in my eye!
I am no sissy;
I won't cry.
I'm just glad
That cows can't fly!

My Googling has revealed that it was probably made up by either W.C Fields or Groucho Marx but most results show "origin lost" If anyone knows any different please let me know - it's driving me mad!!! (Or madder!)

I Know Where (Some of) The Birdies Is!!

BBC TV gave me the answer to the mystery of the  missing birds (well the missing starlings at least) - apparently they're all off on their jollies in Rome - making beautiful cloud formations in the sky over the city before finding a place to roost for the night!
They also create a delightful 'carpet' over the streets below them - how charming!
Back to work today - hence the short post!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Some New Beginning!

Four days into the New Year and it's back in with the old!
Needless to say I have started myself back on a dose of 20mg Prednisolone steroids! So much for a new beginning!
Any road up - I thought I might solve the mystery of "where the birdies is" (See yesterdays post) by visiting my local park today. Sadly not. No sign of a spuggie anywhere, plenty of bigger birds but not one smaller than a crow. The plot thickens!
In answer to Crystal Jigsaw - yes, we do have a cat but I'm sure not even her presence could scare ALL of the (smaller) birds from the whole town of Middlesbrough!! I expect to hear a news item any day soon stating how Alfred Hitchcocks "The Birds" has been re-enacted by swarms of sparrows, tits and blackbirds in a town nearby!  In the meantime my breadcrumbs, seeds and nuts will remain untouched.
Curiouser and curiouser!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

I Wonder Where the Birdies Is...?

Just had a strange thought. (It's not uncommon for me to have strange thoughts!)
I put some bird seeds and nuts out on New Years Eve for the feathered friends who visit our garden in abundance at this time of year.
They're still there - untouched by birdy beaks. And now I come to think of it, I haven't seen a single bird since before New Year. Not one.
There aren't any today either - oh, I tell a lie, a seagull has just flown by, but where are all the sparrows, and starlings, and robins, and tits, and finches????
I mentioned this to her indoors who said she'd just heard on the radio that a warning has been issued to visitors to Seaton Carew (a coastal resort thirty or so miles away) to take care as "the birds have gone a bit mental!"
So that's where they all are. Typical Brits on holiday - causing mayhem as usual and frightening all the Seagulls inland! Bless 'em!

Friday, 2 January 2009


We all think about what we can do to alter our lives in some way at this time of year - be it giving up a bad habit, taking up a new sport or hobby, eating less, doing more in the community or just being a more considerate person - and I am no different. I begin thinking about what I can do to change my life in the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year and then BANG! here we are, and I haven't decided yet.

I could resume my favourite hobby of drawing and sketching - but work and family commitments will get in the way.

I could return to the gym and get fitter - but work and family commitments and my current state of health will get in the way.

I could be a nicer person, helping out at my local down-and-out centre - but work and family commitments will get in the way.

I could stop smoking (for the fortieth time in five years) - but the stresses of work and family commitments will get in the way.

I could read more - I love a good horror story - but my work covers long hours and family commitments will get in the way.

I could stop all medication and start thinking positively - but that would impact upon both my work and family commitments.

So much hope. So many choices. So much I can do to become a better person, but so little time. There's always something else to do, always something that gets in the way.

I'm not going to choose a single one of the above potentials. I'm going to do a little of it all.

My New Years Resolution is to:

Give up procrastination.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2009.
We can't do anything about the economic storm ahead,  or the weather - but with a little patience and respect and love we can weather any storm.
Best wishes to you and yours from me and mine.