Sunday, 22 March 2015

Check Out That View

I went over to the garden centre today as it was so lovely and saw these lovely daffodils in the grounds. I took a picture, much to the dismay of the people in the car behind me ( I had pulled over). I thought I would post it for this week's Check Out That View, which you can link to by clicking on the button below.

My hubby and I have spent a busy day outside - watching our son play football and winning through to the final of the cup, then lunch with my father in law, then gardening. I have renewed the cover of my little greenhouse and planted primroses in the front garden. All in all it has been very satisfying!


Monday, 9 March 2015

Allotment, March 2015.

I have had my allotment for a few years now. It started as a piece of wasteland, covered in nettles and couch grass and over the years it has become a proper vegetable patch. Some years it gives us plenty of fruit and veg. Other years it ticks by. Last year was a quiet year. The weather was grim and I wasn't inspired. This year though, is different. Having had a year of keeping the allotment tidy and ticking over I plan on growing lots. The thing with allotments is that they take a lot of work. Little and often is a good idea.

 Since I started with my allotment it has been interesting to see people come and go. Of the 12 plots on our site there are only 5 of us who have kept going. Four of the allotment holders have been there longer than me and the other seven plots have been taken over and given up several times over the last few years.
rhubarb, garlic and fruit bushes
 If you start an allotment you need to realise that its a long term commitment... Once the initial enthusiasm has worn off you need to keep plodding along. You never stop learning and some years are better than others.
I went up there a couple of times last week, planting garlic and onions. I have Charlotte potatoes chitting in my kitchen, ready to plant this week. I love having everything neat and tidy and there's nothing better than having veg fresh from the ground.

When the weather gets warmer I shall plant pak choy, lettuce and beetroot, as well as French beans and cabbages. I shall start reading through my books too, to give me ideas as to what I might fancy trying to grow this year.

At the moment my rhubarb is starting to sprout... All is good!!


Saturday, 7 March 2015

Check Out That View...

Check Out That View ... La Plagne 2015
Joining in with Emma this week and Check Out That View... Last week I couldn't load my photos. This week I've got my Man and one of my Sons in La Plagne. What a beautiful place!!

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Feeling old.

It's my birthday next week. I shall be 51. Blinking Blimey! 51? I've never been that bothered about age or birthdays, but today I am feeling every one of my 50 and quite a bit years. I should really go for a run, or a walk, or go gardening, or hoover. Well... maybe not hoover ... that would be a choice too far... But I really don't like the thought of getting older. I saw an advert the other day which was for some sort of "over 50's" product and at the end it said "Welcome to the fold". Grey haired people were being welcomed in to the group and I realised that I was becoming one of those people. We all become one of those people. The relentless onset of age turns us all from vibrant, slim, healthy people to people who struggle getting up off the sofa.

I am not yet in my dotage, I am glad to say, but I don't like the way my body is changing. I could always run, ski, jump about with very little trouble. As the years go on I am getting creaky. My throat is sagging, my tummy is turning into a bit of a barrel and I can't stop it. I eat healthily, try to keep my mind active and attempt to exercise. The thing is, though, that it gets harder and harder. For the first time ever I begin to understand why really old people just give up and let it all sag, why some older people sit and watch telly all day.

Maybe the grey cold of winter doesn't help... Its miserable. I don't feel warm or healthy. Perhaps when the summer months arrive I will be reinvigorated. I hope so.

Old age is something we don't really talk about ... like death. But when you start to realise that you are getting older... its just not nice. I don't like seeing my body getting flabby and heavy. I don't like getting unfit.

The obvious option is to say "Pull yourself out of it and get on with things. Go for a run. You're not old." And that is true... But right now I am very aware of my lack of vigour, of my wobbling jowls, of my lethargy. I am a tad ashamed to admit to this as I am also very aware of my general health and the very lucky position I am in. But this is my blog and if I feel like a fat old cow I am allowed to moan about it. Hopefully my next post will have me bouncing about with joy again...  

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

My career in Musical Theatre is Over.

I have just returned from singing in my Community Choir. I love the choir and, for someone who spent most of her life miming in any given singing situation, I am singing with all my heart for the first time. We sing a range of music, from musicals to Coldplay and from hymns to African anthems. It is heart warming and confidence giving. Before joining choir I had only ever sung infront of my husband and children, or possibly my neighbours in a 'merry' karaoke session.

So, when our choir mistress told us that we were going to be singing a medley from Les Miserables, my favourite musical, I was thrilled! In my mind I was Fantine, or Eponine... Buoyed up by the other voices in the choir I had the voice of a West End star... well, maybe West End chorus... And then she asked for volunteers for solo parts....

It is a terrible trait of mine that I have an itchy arm. If anyone asks for a volunteer I am there. Need a secretary for your PTFA? I'm your woman. Need someone to go first or sit in the front row of a meeting? Yup. I'll be there. Need someone to sing solo? Yup. I can do that... Idiot.

I volunteered to sing "On My Own". What on earth was I thinking?? Mary, Mother of God...

Samantha Barks photo courtesy of
I have avoided my solo for weeks now as we have worked on other songs, worked our way through Les Mis. And tonight was the night I had to do it. As I write this my stomach is churning with the total gut wrenching embarrassment of having sung, badly, very badly infront of 40 other people - some of whom are very good singers indeed.

I was overcome with nerves and was truly awful.

Part of me is very proud that at least I had the guts to stand up and sing, but a much bigger part of me never wants to do it again. If I do things I want to do them well and I think I can honestly say that I do not have a solo voice. It was excruciating. Although I think I can safely say that if any theatre group is looking for a woman who can sing not only out of tune, but out of time as well... I am their woman.

I couldn't look at anyone when I was done and there was only a polite silence. My two friends were very very kind, giving me hugs afterwards and telling me my voice had a lovely tone, but oh dear... 

I think I need to get out of this. I have given it a shot, failed and now need to make a quick exit. For me, a career in musical theatre is over. I am not pretending I was bad in order to get compliments... I seriously was bad. Only a decline into extensive drug use that rendered me insensible to my abilities or lack of ability can change my decision to back out of this. Call me a coward if you like, but I cannot put myself or the other choir members through that again.

Right. I'm off to pour myself a gin.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Warning!! Before you buy an XBox ...

Do you have teenage boys? I do. I have 2 teenage boys who are, frankly, lovely. Most of the time. They have learnt how to make cups of tea and bacon sandwiches. My work as a mother is done. The one thing that drives me bananas is their addiction to consoles. I say the one thing... I mean the main thing. There are other idiosyncrasies that push my buttons, but on the whole I can cope with them. The whole question of XBox and PS4 however is enough to turn me from mild mannered, yoga loving mother to sledge hammer wielding maniac.

photo courtesy of

Gone are the days of young men sitting quietly in their rooms reading novels... Actually I'm not sure that ever happened. Gone are the days of boys heading off into the woods to make camps with their friends. These days they sit in their rooms wearing head phones, living vicariously through screens.

My sons alternate between being Ultimate Team footballers, worshiped by millions and paid fortunes, and being Ultimate Killing machines, armed to the teeth with automatic weapons, stalking around virtual battle grounds. They join their friends online, all slumped in their darkened bedrooms for hours on end, communicating through microphones like futuristic Ultimate Call Centre Workers.

I don't understand what they enjoy about this. It is the main source of arguments in our house because they want to play all the time. I only let them play at weekends, for a limited time. I hate the way it changes them. They become surly, angry unreasonable and they don't understand why I am so mean. If I could go back in time I would never have bought the damn things.

They say that its their social life - bantering with their friends through head sets and playing games together. They tell me that they revise together on group chat... *tumble weed rolls by...yeah* It worries me that they will turn into fat, smelly, unshaved men in their 30's who are surgically attached to a gaming chair, kept alive through a system of intravenous Dominos.

The only thing that keeps the light of hope alive in me is the fact that they do sometimes venture out into the light. They have not crossed completely to the dark side yet... They still arrange to play real life football with their mates and sometimes they go on a bike ride. Perhaps this is the way of the future? Perhaps I have to accept that the teenage boy of today needs to sit, bathed in the blue light of his console for what seems like endless hours? I suppose this is better than being on the street corner drinking cider. Yes, of course it is.

But if I was the mum of young boys now, facing for the first time the question of whether I should buy some variant of console game.... I would delay, delay, delay!!! I would encourage outdoor pursuits and building of relationships. I would encourage the reading of books!! Hindsight is a tricky thing. At the time we bought them their first Game Boy we thought it was a bit of fun, that we were being lovely parents. But now I look back and I wish we had waited. I hate these things now. I hate that they spend their money on points to buy new players. I hate that we argue over the time spent on them. I spend my time negotiating usage based on completion of homework and household chores.

I have become a Master at Hide the Controller. My house is full of secret places where the little black plastic controls nestle during the week. We have pitched skills, child against mother in the quest to be the Ultimate Controller of the Game. At the moment I think I am winning... but this could just be a figment of my imagination.

As a mother, speaking to you as a parent ... Beware!! Beware the Peril of the XBox and the PS4. Treat them with caution and hold your children close to you. Be the one who is in control. Have rules. These games are insidious. Before you know it your clean, golden child will become a hairy teenager with oversize thumb muscles and an encyclopedic knowledge of automatic weapons and players from La Liga. You have been warned...