Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Havin' a Heat Wave, a Tropical Heatwave....

Well, so we arrived in the Sunshine State. What an understatement that was. Having left Manchester on a sunny Tuesday where it was 70 degrees (a rare treat for us Scots) we arrived in Orlando at 8pm at night never expecting the Floridians to be having an Easter heatwave.  96 degrees! The mercury was rocketing on our first day, my white legs were lathered in factor 50 and I donned the obligatory stupid sun hat. Just as well. You should have seen some of the idiots at the hotel pool. Since when did looking like an oversized lobster become attractive? If you tan to a nice biscuit colour good on you, but I will never understand folk who turn themselves ruby red and then think it looks good. It just looks sore......

The first few days of our holiday we were meeting up with our American pals who live in NY state. They had flown down for three days and were staying at the Disney Pop Century resort. What a great place. Having not seen M&A for twelve years it was nice to be reunited. Surrounded by all things Disney we had a great few days, the four kids swam in the pool, we visited the Parks and ate the Disney Food. You soon get sick of that. A bucket lid sized burrito looks fantastic on the first day. It's always an achievement when you manage to negotiate the serving counter and order it yourself with more toppings than you can pack into a pancake however, by the time three days of eating the same sort of stuff passes you are having the dry boak.

On the subject of food, it may seem sad but one of highlights of my holiday has to have been our visits to Walmart.  I have never seen so many varieties of donuts in my life. S dragged me away from the baking counters as I salivated over cinnimon rolls, iced donuts and all sorts of cakes (always my weakness). It's a strange thing. They always say everything is bigger in America and it's true. You can't buy any normal sized shopping. Huge bottles of tomato ketchup, gallon drums of milk and orange juice and bumper packs of hotdogs and cold meats. Goodness knows what folks cooking for one do. No wonder there are so many big folk.

It's amazing it would appear that one thing the USA has in common with Scotland is the fact that bus travel seems to attract eejits. On the road to the Magic Kingdom one night I got harrassed into conversation with someone who fitted the bill nicely. Thirty at least and wearing his Mickey Mouse baseball cap and badges he was off to the park himself. After five minutes it was easy to see why.  I doubt even Mickey would have been able to remain patient with that nutter. Fortunately he got lost in the crowds as we exited the bus but I knew that if I saw a giant mouse sticking it to some guy in a baseball cap it was going to be him....

Friday, 4 May 2012

This is not America...Well Aye Actually it is.....

I have always maintained that is madness to take wee kiddies on a plane unless absolutely necessary, and our eight hour flight to the US of A confirmed it. We boarded a plane that, if I'm honest, had seen better days, after a visit to Virgin Airlines V-Room. (A total waste of cash for anyone considering it.) The in flight tellys refused to work and although I had been looking forward to viewing 'Breaking Dawn Part One' while I dined on my steamed mush, having to watch the first half hour three times in a row becomes a bit wearing. A reasonably quiet and pleasant flight until a poor wee lad of about two decided it would be a good idea to part with his entire stomach contents all over himself, his seat, the aisle (how he did that I will never know as he was sitting in the middle of a row of four seats) and his mother. I will confess had I not been a parent I would have probably thought 'Idiots, for trailing a kid long haul anyway.' Changed days, I felt totally sorry for the whole lot of them. Sitting in a pile of puke for at least two hours is not my idea of a pleasant journey and not one I would want experience. It didn't get any better. We arrived to a two and a half  hour wait at immigration where they took everything but our knicker sizes. I have never seen so many crabbit two year olds and psychotic parents in my life. Back the queue I spotted our wee pukey pal,  clad in only his pants and a too big t-shirt. Poor wee soul.

We finally escaped to find our car after goodness knows how many snarled exchanges. Travelling brings out the best in folk. Got to the car hire desk and S went to sort out our wheels. Looked round and spotted L in floods of tears. Upon asking why I was informed that 'I just want to go back home Mum'.

Good Lord, we hadn't even left the airport. As we did, a large sign read 'Welcome to Orlando' Aye, right, thanks, can we just find the hotel now.......?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Pets, Lies and an American Escape

Well, I am finally back after nearly four months departure from writing. But due to a small minority  ( who obviously enjoy or feel comforted by my ramblings) I am back again.

So what have I done during my absence? Well the main stuff is:

A . Be stupid enough to buy my children a hamster without consulting S.

S was opposed to the idea, sanctimoniously quoting 'a hamster is for life not for Christmas' and warning against buying one.  However, I have had three and the kids are now a good age to understand the responsibilities of looking after one,  so Operation Pet Shop was launched. My sister in law and myself went off to the local pet shop  (she was buying a budgie) and that's where the fun started. They had loads,  but I knew I wanted the Syrian long haired type so plumped for a little ginger and cream one which was very active. Yes,  so damned active that it started to gnaw it's way out of the box on the road back in the car. I watched in horror as a larger and larger hole appeared in the side of the box finally having to cover it with my hand. If you have seen the size of hamster teeth or been on the receiving end of a bite then you will know how much damage they can exert,  but the thing was sticking its head out the hole. We got five minutes along the road and were convinced the budgie had died of shock as there was no noise and not a movement from it's box. Then the s**t really hit the fan. S phoned and asked where I was. I could hardly say 'sitting in your sister's car with a vampire hamster and paralytic budgie on my knee'.  So I told him I was at home doing the housework.  I am ashamed at how easily the lies tripped off my tongue. Anyway he was soon forgotten as the thought of arriving at our destination (in this case where they were being kept until Santa time) with an escaped rodent and paralysed bird was not a good prospect. Especially when the cages had cost a bomb.

Anyway, all worked out fine. The hamster is now much adored - once we all got over the fear of handling him.  Apart from having sussed that if he gnaws the bars he gets out of his house  -  he does it every night.  He might as well just get a sign painted with 'You'll no hear the telly until I get oot o' here'. And the budgie? Well , that's another story I'll save for later.....

B.The second major thing was our visit to Florida. I can honestly say the highlight of the year.( More like the century). It is going to take me a lifetime to write all about our two weeks over the pond.

I love America, for lots of reasons, but mainly because:

1 They are the most sincere people on the planet. If someone in the Co-op told you to 'have a nice day' you would look at them as if they had a screw loose. Not in the USA, they always look like they really mean it, even when they are probably thinking, 'What an a**hole'.

2 They have great shops (I should know, I just got my credit card bill today).

3 No matter were you go, there is always someone fatter than you are.

Aye, more on our American Vacation in my next post.....





Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Welcome Frosty the Hamster......

In the absence of the regular writer who is trying very hard to get into the writing zone again this post was written by the house's newest resident......

I moved in three months ago.  One minute I am safely ensconced in my cage with my brothers, the next my fluffy little jacksie is wheeched out of the cage and crammed into a cardboard box. After a terrifying journey in the dark,  where I nearly managed to escape by eating my way out of my cardboard prison (much to the horror of my abductors),  I landed in a big cage with some old git who wouldn't put the heating on and a feathered thing that got on my wick because it wouldn't shut up. Finally I woke up one morning to find that I had arrived in what seems to be my permanent residence. The digs aren't bad either. Now I have a three  storey mansion in the corner of another big cage and the grubs pretty good. There are four big animals living here.  My new name is 'Frosty' which I can live with. (My posh name is Cinnamon Frost because I am ginger and white and it's sounds Christmassy).  It appears I was brought by someone called Santa.  I know what Santa looks like and he looks nothing like the biggest one  who I'll call 'Baldy' because he is furically challenged. He pretends he doesn't like me but when no one is looking he is always at the cage making this really aggravating clicking noise with his teeth. Heck knows what he thinks that's going to achieve. They don't teach Morse code at hamster school.  Then there's the fat one with the things on her eyes, (she seems to be in charge - the baldy one thinks he is - but boy is he deluded),  she cleans my house out and goes on and on about not giving me too much food. Pot and kettle there.... Then there's the little one, who talks a lot - mainly questions- and who I keep at bay by showing him my teeth every so often. You can almost smell the fear. He will never put so much as a fingernail near my house. The skinny, squeaky one is my favourite, she lets me out to play with her and cuddles me and tells me how much she loves me. I'm nice to her because it means I can run about and leave chocolate chips all over the floor which really winds the fat one up. She's always shoving this noisy, sucking monster round, shrieking about sawdust and droppings -  whatever they are.......


Frosty (Cinnamon Frost) the Hamster

PS Hopefully the boss will get off her over sized butt and type her own stuff. These big keyboards play havoc with the claws.....

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Bring Me Sunshine........

Christmas Cards! If ever there was a flaming awful job, it has to be writing them. Last year I left it to the last minute and spent the week before Christmas frantically writing them and cramming them through folks doors. Why? All you do is write them to three lots of folk. The folk you want to write them to, (invariably the smallest list), then the folk you write them to because you don't want to offend them and thirdly the folk who you feel obliged to because they send you one every year but really you couldn't give a monkeys if they didn't. I bought mine half price on Saturday at BHS and I wrote them while L stuck them into the envelopes. Now they are sitting on the sideboard and as usual I will probably be stuffing them through doors at the last minute!

Promised the kids I would put up the tree on Friday. That means I will have to get S to haul it out of the loft when he comes back from down south. As usual he has taken off this morning and forgotten something.  This time his toilet bag.  I phoned him and he started to whine on about the fact that he had so much to take blah, blah, blah. Aye, along with the crate loads of wine and the calenders and diaries for his customers, he couldn't remember to take the most basic of stuff. Then to cap it all he phones at half past ten and says he has forgotten to book a hotel for that night. Cue me on the Internet like a loony, trying to book a hotel within the company budget. Since when was I employed by them? It would appear I am morphing into a secretary come PA for my own husband and I am not even on the payroll! To further add insult to injury he is meeting Mr Down on his Luck tonight so insisted on a twin room as pal is staying over for the night. Almost wanted to book a double. Visions of Morecambe and Wise spring to mind.......

L got up this morning claiming to have a cold. I will reserve judgement on that one until the end of school as I have a feeling she was trying to pull a fast one.......

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Season of Good Will......

The first of December. Who'd believe it?  I have to confess that Christmas has never been a time that I have enjoyed,  in fact I would confess to cringing at it's arrival every year. I know there are loads of folk who can't wait to deck the halls but sadly if I could afford it,  I would jump on a plane to somewhere warm and pretend that it had never happened. Obviously having the kids has helped things but I don't think that I will ever truly relax at this time of the year. Why? Because Christmas was always a nightmare when I was a kid and a teenager - mainly because my mother could not cope with the stress of entertaining and morphed into an even worse control freak than usual. Christmas day was always a ruddy nightmare because we were not allowed to make a mess or get in the way in anyway. Dressed up in our Sunday best (to sit in the house - what was all that about?!) it was no fun what so ever. Invariably she went so high that a row would ensue between her and my Dad (usually not his fault) and then the atmosphere was thicker than the turkey gravy.  Dinner would arrive along with the guests (always late).  My paternal grandmother, her pal and an aunt of my Dads, a malevolent, bloomer wearing woman who masqueraded as a 'Christian'. Yes,  another one of those folk who went to church and thought because of it she could get away with being nasty. A major disappointment was awaiting her. (Note : putting ten quid in the Sunday School pot once a year doesn't necessarily curry favour either.) We would sit round the table while Gran's pal would polish off a ostrich sized turkey leg after proclaiming that she 'would never eat all that', aye right.  She said that every year.   I would sit in revulsion as Auntie P would chew her food with teeth that looked like she was breaking them in for a race horse.  It was like a scene from Roald Dahl's 'Twits'.  Highlight of the day was 'The Dick Emery Show' and 'The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special'.  No wonder I have had such an aversion to Christmas. No amount of presents was worth the misery.

Until recently S and I have had Christmas on our own with the kids  mainly because I really could not bear the family thing at Christmas. Last year we had his mum, my brother in law and sister in law and the kids.  It was actually nice. Hopefully I have cracked the  curse of Christmas.........

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Sorry Tale of the Penguin Biscuit....

It's that wonderful time of the year...or so the adverts keep telling us. Yep, the school parties and pantos will soon be upon us again. The...school...party.......if you read an earlier post you will be aware that the one I witnessed last year was a ruddy miserable affair with baldy fairy cakes and an overload of tangerines. Our nutcase Council are paranoid about healthy eating to the point that the are no longer to be respected more snickered at for rules which flaunt basic, common sense.  I bet the person who makes them is sitting at their desk, weighing about twenty stone, and stuffing their chops with a bumper sized box of Celebrations.  It got me thinking about the parties I used to go to at school with egg sandwiches and ice cream.  I hate egg sandwiches but in retrospect they seemed preferable to the stuff on last years plates. It reminded me of a time I was sent to the Sunday School party,  held for some reason, at the local masonic hall.  As usual the paper plates were handed out containing amongst other things, sandwiches and Penguin biscuits. That was the day I discovered I didn't like Penguins. I took a bite and put it back on the plate, but couldn't just leave it there. Being the paranoid child I was, I thought I would get a row for wasting food,  so decided to go to the toilet and flush it down the lavvy. WHY DO WE DO THESE STUPID THINGS AS KIDS?  I remember flushing and it not going. There it was, a biscuit shaped turd-a-like twirling in the bowl.  I flushed for all I was worth but still the ruddy thing wouldn't navigate the U-bend. At that point I wished I had just eaten it in the first place and been done with it. I sneaked back to the party and spent the rest of it sweating. I had visions of some old maid Sunday school teacher coming back from the loos, horn rimmed specs askew, with a look of revulsion on her face, demanding that the culprit own up to their sin....


 And for anyone who has forgotten about what a real school party was like, here's a genuine photo of one of mine taken prior to the days of prohibition. (Complete with egg sannies and ice cream).  As you can see we were all enjoying ourselves so much the local press had to come and get a photo......obviously our taste in food was sublime, our taste in clothing....not so much..... Apologies for the newspaper cutting, it's virtually an antique.