Can I do this in ten minutes? No? Stuff it then.

Yes, that’s been my motto this week. The Chaos fairies are back and I am clinging on to the hamster wheel of life with my finger tips. Everything that could happen to cause me extra inconvenience and time has happened but on the up side, I’ve been editing, primping and generally adding bits to the books in the new series for ten minutes every morning. And ten minutes is better than sodding nothing. Just.

It’s been one of those weeks when the intervention of unscheduled events has been so bad I’ve been railing and swearing at anything that crosses my path. For example, emptying the bin; while waiting for the plastic liner to slowly eek its way out of the bin in the kitchen so I can take the rubbish out and put a new one in I’ve been shouting.

‘Hurry the fuck up! I’ve got better things to do with my time!’

At a plastic bag.

Yelling at inanimate objects then. Probably not the greatest testament to a stable mind or much in the way of sanity but hey it’s the way I roll.

McCat has caught a bird three mornings running at exactly the same time of day, this morning I was not on the school run and so was monumentally pissed off that I forgot to lock him in for the three quarters of an hour of bird death between eight fifteen and nine am. Although on the upside, at least the last two mornings, while there were feathers to hoover up and blood stains to clean there wasn’t a body. If he has to catch people, I’d rather he ate them. Also, it wasn’t either of our lovely dunnocks (hedge sparrows). Once incredibly common, the dunnock population has declined by 93% since 1970 and they are now on the red endangered list.

McMini has been doing exams, SATS, which seem completely pointless and arbitrary and rather harder work than the o’levels I took aged fifteen/sixteen (the joy of  a June birthday is that it falls right in the middle of your exams). The SATS involve McMini having to be in school for a pre exam breakfast at eight am, which, on the back of two weeks having to be up and dressed and ready for the arrival of the painters at seven thirty in the morning has been hard for me but has clearly been a great help to him so, go school on that one even if it was a bit … bleargh for me.

In addition, I’ve been suffering more knee and heel pain which does knacker me out. I’m sure McOther thinks I’m lazy because I tend to batch getting up to do things. I tried to explain that if he knew he was going to get an electric shock every time he stood up from the chair and went to get something, he would probably wait, until he had several things to go and get before weathering the electric shock. I think he got more of an idea after that. I probably ought to go back to physio because while we think the pain is not necessarily arthritic, I’d like to try and find out what is causing it. Who knows, if we did that, maybe I could make it stop.

SATS involve McMini having even less of an idea of passing time, where he is, what he’s supposed to be doing etc and added to my already disastrously shite levels on this front, we have been well and truly home to Mr Cock up. Lurching from one crisis of our own making to another!

The school, in quite a decent gesture, have done a kind of parable of the talents on the kids. They have been put into groups and given a fiver. They have to use the fiver to buy things so they can make something or sell something and turn it into more. Each group of four is expected to try and aim for £25 minimum. McMini’s group split into two couples, both raised £70 last weekend and the other couple are doing a car boot to raise more this weekend. However, ours went like this.

‘Mum, my friend and I are going to sell lemonade.’



I look out of the window, it’s five to five on a Friday and it’s pissing down.

‘Don’t you think tomorrow would be better?’

Long and the short, I ring friend’s mum who also agrees tomorrow would be better. I then spend an unscheduled two and a half hours making cakes on the Saturday morning and another unscheduled two and a half hours standing behind a table up the street with McMini’s friend’s mum plus McMini and friend, flogging said cakes to unsuspecting members of the general public. It went well and was fun but after two week’s sleep deprivation – that half an hour between six thirty and seven is important to me it seems – I wasn’t hugely endowed with energy for that kind of thing. And all that standing. I did sit on a wall but a sweet man came out and asked me, in the most tactful, kindly way anyone has ever asked me not to do something, if I would mind not sitting on his mother’s garden wall. My leg hurt for about five days afterwards too.

Spool forward to yesterday when I get a text from the school at four thirty reminding me to send McMini in the next day with £2 to spend at the year six cake sale.

‘Cakey what?’ I cry in horror. ‘Am I supposed to be baking something for this?’

Of course I fucking am. Luckily there’s enough ingredients and cake cases from last week’s impromptu cake sale to cobble something together but it’s all a bit shit.

Where the school falls down is a message in the middle. They’re great at warning you something’s coming up an a month or two, but even two weeks is miles away and you’re head down fighting the crises and fires that are blazing right now. They are also brilliant at reminding you about things that are on tomorrow but, unfortunately, they are singularly piss-poor at reminding you on say … Monday … that there’s a cake sale on Friday. McMini was supposed to do that but a) he’s McMini and b) SATS.

At the end of it all, if the kids have made enough cash, their efforts will fund a trip for all of them somewhere. Sounds good. In case there was any chance of a relaxing weekend, McMini has a football tournament today. Of course he does, poor little blighter, because it’s completely bastard freezing again. And it starts at nine so it’s up at the crack of fucking dawn again. I will have to be very careful to ensure I bring one of our fold up chairs or I’ll be walking like an arthritic John Wayne for the rest of next week. Still it’ll hardly make a difference. I look terrible at the moment.

Heaven knows what’s going on, maybe the stress hormones are high, but I’m getting fatter and fatter. It’s as if someone’s shoved a bicycle pump up my arse and they’re filling me with air, except it’s flab. Jeez, I mean, dressing has been like draping camouflage netting over a zeppelin for some time but today’s trousers, which were perfectly comfortable two weeks ago, are positively groaning at the seams. If the button goes, it’ll fly off with such force that it’ll probably kill someone. I’ll be sent to prison for murdering innocent bystanders with a flab powered projectile. Maybe I’ll squeak by with manslaughter and serve a shorter sentence. Here’s hoping.

At the end of next week it’s half term during which we are flying round the country like blue arsed flies, still, at least we’ll get to have a lie in and after that, it’ll be back to school for a chuffing rest.


On the upside, on Friday morning, for the first time in three weeks, I got to set the alarm for seven instead of some varietal of Far Too Fucking Close To Six. I woke up at six thirty, had a wee and retired smugly back to bed for another glorious twenty minutes kip.

Chuffing marvellous.

Do you know, I read somewhere that night owls are more likely to be unhappy or suffer from mental illness than larks. The implication of the article was that if you’re the kind of person who, when left to function naturally, wakes at nine and goes to bed at one am, there’s something fundamentally wrong with you. You’re obviously more likely to end up being mentally ill the article posited because if you struggle to get up early you’ve clearly No Moral Fibre and you don’t fit in with Decent People. At this point, while reading, I was giving the magazine the bird and shouting, ‘Fuck off!’ because it’s bollocks.

If you ask me, it’s blindingly obvious night owls are more likely to struggle. They struggle because the entire fabric of society, of the working day and of completely everything is set up for and favours the kind of smug masochistic bastards who get up at six am, of their own volition, go to bed at eight pm – a few minutes before their children – because they get up too stupidly early to be able to hang out with the Normal Humans for an evening. Not that I mind getting up for the dawn occasionally, it can be very beautiful, but half the joy of it, when I do, is the fact that I don’t have to do it every day.

So yeh, been playing catch up this week even more than usual.

On the up side, the new book came back from the first edit today and in an amazing turn of events, despite bastard Real Life thwarting me at every turn, I managed to go through the edits and make the changes straight away. Those two pictures are the artwork from the covers, the orange and blue one is the cover of the new series, the orange bit will be a different colour on each book. The other one is the cover of a free short I’m going to give away to folks on my mailing list. It’s going to be completely exclusive so no-one else gets a copy, it’s not on sale anywhere else either. Now all I have to do is finish the sequence of hello emails people get on joining.

On the preparing the book front, I’m trying a different editor. She’s more expensive than the ones I’ve used thus far, but she’s local, in fact she goes to my gym and she’s a bit of a word/grammar spud. On the one hand, she charges more, on the other, she charges by the hour so I can ask her to do as much work as I can afford and then stop until I can afford more. Also, she doesn’t have the same kind of waiting list – not for a short story, anyway. Things are looking good so far so I’m quite excited about the work in progress, although I’m sort of frustrated in equal measure because there’s so much homework to do from Real Bastard Life at the same time.

On the Dad front, I had a really good visit this last Wednesday. He was sleepy and didn’t raise his head up but he knew I was there and was pleased to see me because he kept smiling. He smiled and chuckled as I chatted to him. These days, when I see him, I recall things to him that we did as a family when my brother and I were little. He may not remember, I don’t know, but it’s clear that they amuse him. This week it was about being on holiday and finding a field of carrots and how my parents tried to stop my brother and I from pulling up a couple and eating them.

‘It’s stealing!’ Mum told us.

But my brother and I persisted and my parents tried to pretend they were cross but I suspect they were just delighted that we were eating carrots. That memory made him smile. He was alright, and happy within himself, so I wasn’t as worried as I have been. And to be honest, just blogging about it last week helped.

Oh, it’s been half an hour and now it’s time to collect McMini from Boy’s brigade. Apparently he’s going to be painting a pot, I look forward to seeing what colours he’s used by looking at his shirt.

Onwards and upwards! A bientot!


Filed under General Wittering

13 responses to “Can I do this in ten minutes? No? Stuff it then.

  1. Bless you, this did make me chuckle, especially the bicycle pump and flab-powered projectile, because that’s me at the moment. I swear someone is sneaking in and taking in all my clothes overnight. I have to dress smart for invigilating, instead of my usual leggings and jeans, and I’ve split more than one skirt this week trying to drag it on in a hurry between school run and dog walk and all that gubbins.

    I used to be an owl but a decade of the kids getting up at 5.45am every sodding day means, yes, I’m invariably asleep before they are. In truth I’m neither owl nor lark anymore but a guinea pig: I nap when I can, with one eye open, and I eat constantly (although far less veg than they do). As a result I also look like a fluffy potato. 🤷‍♀️

    • A guinea pig! Mwahahahrgh! That’s genius and definitely what I am too. I’m so glad I’m not the only one, and take heart knowing you’re not alone! 😉

      My lad is not a morning person at all. Even as a microdot, it was not unusual for McMini to sleep until nine or ten am. From the get go, I’ve tried to rear him to wake at a sensible time. Luckily for me, he was happy to lie awake with us until late, so I’d feed him late at night, eleven or twelve and then he and I would go to bed and he’d usually sleep through until six am, at which point McOther who is definitely a lark, would give him a bottle while I slept on until ten! When he got older, I did start putting him to bed at seven, but he would lie and burble in his cot until late, often later than we went to bed but as he was fine, I let him get on with it.

      It’s a mixed blessing, two night owls maketh not for a smooth school morning of course. Indeed our natural schedule probably runs from about eleven pm through to ten am if I’m honest.

      I often wonder what kind of disaster would have ensued if we’d had a second who was an early bird like McOther!



  2. ‘if you’re the kind of person who, when left to function naturally, wakes at nine and goes to bed at one am, there’s something fundamentally wrong with you’

    That explains it: there’s something wrong with me, and it’s fundamental (mental?), so I have no control over it and can stop worrying.

    I’m not getting enough sleep yet, but it’s getting better.

    Unscheduled cake making? And you perform on command? These things only work if they don’t count the time and money spent by the mother, which I never found cheering. If you paid yourself for ingredients, and minimum wage for your hours (should be time-and-a-half or double time for the inconvenience), they would owe you a lot of money. A lot of my mother’s energy went into her five daughters selling Girl Guide cookies in Mexico.

    OTOH, I remember how delicious it was to find a box of the nut cookies which were our only product six months later in the bottom of the bureau drawer.

    As a disabled mother, I found all that stuff a huge energy waste, but made the effort – didn’t want the kids left out.

    • ‘As a disabled mother, I found all that stuff a huge energy waste, but made the effort – didn’t want the kids left out.’

      This! I think I am not legally allowed to call myself disabled – I can walk over 100 yards – but to be even half as active as my friends I have to bite the bullet and put up with a lot of chronic pain, swollen knees and other shenanigans so I can sympathise hugely. Your mother sounds a similar type to mine. Mine spent enough time in Greece as a youngster to have a very Greek attitude to hospitality. Growing up, our door was always open, there were always home made cakes and biscuits to hand and fresh vegetables growing in the garden. There was always a party of ‘waifs and strays’ for Sunday lunch; the boys left in the house on a exeat weekend, stray masters and mistresses who were alone in the holidays, little old dears from church … I would love to be as open-hearted and generous as my Mum but not only do I lack the physical stamina but I lack the open-hearted generosity required to do that kind of entertaining. I need too much time alone.

      Delighted to hear the sleep levels are rising, I hope this continues to improve.



      • Mexican hospitality is the same. At my parents’ house, and still now, at all four of my sisters’ houses, that kind of hospitality is always present (though all five of these women had/have servants).

        Here we can do a similar thing – we make arrangements to eat with different people most nights, and no one has to DO anything but show up at the appropriate venue at the right time.

        Not perfect, but a LOT better than I could manage.

        Sorry you have a hard time with knees and things – it makes everything so much harder.

        But you still manage cakes! And not sitting on that wall! And selling with the offspring! For which you have my admiration – and hopes it doesn’t hurt too much or wipe you out.

      • Bless you, thanks. Nope I’m good luckily. I’m so glad you have that dinner service and you can be social with a bit less of the hassle! And back at you with the admiration, it must have been really hard. Mine’s just pain, I suspect it’s a lot easier to manage than CFS.



  3. Diana

    I am amused by so much in this post — and amazed by your ability to just drop things and bake. McMini doesn’t know how good he’s got it (or perhaps he really does).
    I am also really amazed at your “half hour” writing results. Really, you wrote all that in half an hour? Wow!
    Your dad story made me smile.
    As did the colourful language you and some of your posters use. I may not know what all those (possibly less-than-polite) words mean, but if someone says they’ve never heard words like that, I can say in future “I have!”

    May your knees — and the rest of your body — be well!

    • Ah well, the first ‘drop things and bake’ was helped, a lot by McOther. He goes shopping on Saturday mornings while McMini and I are still creeping about in our pyjamas. So I did manage to scrabble together the presence of mind to add the ingredients required to the list. It also helped that the cakes in question were basically, sugar, golden syrup and butter or margarine heated up in a saucepan until it boiled with a spoonful of coco added if the cakes were going to be chocolate flavoured. Then I lobbed a load of Rice Krispies in, and when I’d used the catering sized vat he’d bought me of those, cornflakes. Then you just spoon the resultant gloopy mess into cake cases and let the toffee harden! So the rinse and repeat job was a case of using what I had left and was more inconvenient than it was difficult.

      Ah yes, er hem, the swearing. There does seem to be an awful lot of swearing in British, although there’s a fair bit in Australian, too. It always intrigues me how the swear words, and the very British style of humour, seem to have travelled to Australia and sort of partially to Canada but not to the US at all. Using sod as an insult is very British though, I believe a sod is a lawn over the pond, although I don’t know about the US on that one but it was something that caused me huge amusement when we visited family in Canada a while back.

      On the same holiday, McOther was invited to watch an ice hockey game at a neighbour’s house which started at seven PM. Not knowing how sport works in that neck of the woods, I stayed back, and McOther, who grew up in Toronto state, was so used to it that he hadn’t thought to tell me. So when 9pm came and he still wasn’t home, I thought he must just be either dead or having drinks and went to investigate. I got there and was completely gobsmacked to discover that they hadn’t even finished the first half. He had to explain to me that an eighty minute game was going to take at least another two hours! I realise, now, that the money is not made on the sport but on keeping the audience so long in the stadium that, fearing death by starvation, they spend a fortune on food and drink … and probably blankets for winter games. Canny!



      • Diana

        What part of Canada? I am guessing it’s in the east if McOther grew up in Toronto. If you ever decide to come to the west, please let me know.

        I like hockey far better than football (the kind we have here, not the soccer kind), which I find incredibly boring. (ie. Blink, and you miss the action, then have to sit and wait while they set up for the next play — and hope you don’t blink again.)

        Some of the younger generation in my family are VERY much happy to be swearing — but I hear about that on facebook and such, more than in person, since they are also very good at determining their audience and temper their words if they feel it is warranted. Mom was NOT a fan. A couple of nieces would love to learn some British variations (although I suspect they know some already. There is definitely some overlap with the Canadian vernacular.)

        Sod is indeed related to lawns. If it’s in place already, we tend to use the word “lawn” or “grass” — but when it is the stuff being rolled out to make the lawn that’s when we use the term sod (usually). It has been heard here in the context in which you are more likely to use it, as well. I seem to remember that it is almost always followed by “it.”

        And, I might add, there is usually no confusion about the intended meaning.

      • Mwahahahargh! It is often followed by it and off! McOther grew up in a little town not far from Niagra Falls. His parents emigrated to the USA first, NY State, when he was 8 but his father was called up for Vietnam so he went back to Scotland and then he went to Canada on his own to find a job. The family followed when he got settled in. On the swearing front, like your youngsters, I do try to be careful where I swear but tend to do it as much as I like on the internet because this is where I can lay it out, warts and all! 😉



  4. Cynthia Reyes

    What an interesting life you and your menagerie lead! The plastic bag encounter takes the prize but what did the bag reply?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.