Category Archives: 2014

Your dead!

No. That wasn’t a typo in the title.

A photograph popped up on Facebook and it made me howl with laughter – mostly because I’m a total nerd.

Here’s the very picture:


Now that I’ve wiped the tears from my face I can tell you about the time when I went into our local sandwich emporium, or as they call it round here, the butty shop.

There was a sign on the counter announcing the fact that they were selling Pie’s.

Well, being the nerd that I am it was too good a gift to turn down. When it was my turn to be served I asked nonchalantly as I pointed to the sign;

“So. Who’s Pie? What is it of his that you’re selling and does he even know you’re selling his stuff?

Blank looks all round. The words ‘lead’ and ‘balloon’ spring to mind and that amused me even more.

Kept me tittering like schoolboy all day, that did. I am so easily amused.

Having said that, while I make fun of spelling and grammar mistakes, I am genuinely appalled by the standard of education in this country. It seems that not being able to spell or put a simple sentence together is the norm these days. The standard of the graffiti these days is dreadful!

Bearing in mind that my education was severely disjointed, I attended nine different primary schools, two secondary schools and missed  almost two whole years of schooling entirely due to truancy ( I’m not proud of that by the way) by all of the yardsticks that they use to measure likely academic success or failure I should be totally illiterate.

The fact that I’m not illiterate in spite of my disjointed education but so many of our children these days are teetering on the brink of it tells me that there is something seriously wrong with our education system.

Wow. Where did all that come from? I was only going to post a funny picture of a mis-spelled tattoo.

Manly Barrilow

Manly Barrilow seems to be popping up on our screens a lot lately. Boofuls and I were catching up on some of last weeks tv after we got home from Devon last night. Sure enough, halfway through the Jonathan Ross show, up popped Manly shamelessly promoting his latest album in which he sings songs with dead people.

Now I don’t want to be cruel here but really, Manly, lay off the plastic surgery and/or botox, you’re starting to look plasticised. Obviously I’m not the only one to notice.

Jonathan Ross, in his usual discreet way asked Manly if he’s indulged in a spot of er…enhancement which was vehemently denied. “No, this is just how I look at seventy.”

Oh really?

Clearly Philip Schofield didn’t believe him, if the evidence of his rolling eyes and incredulous expression are to be believed, and quite frankly, Manly, I don’t believe you either. You should be careful about telling porky’s like that, you’ll end up with a great big, long schnoz. Oh no, wait, too late!

A funeral direct friend of ours made the comment that Manly looked like he’d been embalmed. Ha! That’s a good trick, pre death embalmment to preserve your failing looks. I’m sure there’d be a market for it. Maybe there already is and Manly is one of the first people to partake of the treatment.

He hasn’t lost his ability to sing though, unlike some stars of the seventies who have been trotted out for our entertainment recently he did manage to get through a short song without wheezing and puffing all the way through.

I heard him on the radio as well yesterday. He was singing a song that used to be one of my favourites but I can never join in because it just sounds ridiculous if an  English person tries to sing it.  Mnay a karaoke artist would do well to recognise that fact.

Anyway, It goes a bit like this,  join in when you recognise it.

Oh you know I caren’t smile without you

I caren’t smile without you

I caren’t laugh and I caren’t sing

I’m finding it hard to do anything

Because I feel sed when you’re sed

I feel gled when you’re gled

If you only noo

Whad I’m going through

I just kent smiiiiiiiile without you.

Y’see, English people singing American style just doesn’t work. It sounds and feels ridiculous. I just doesn’t work in an English accent either. Oh well, best keep away from that particular Manly song.

Some songs just won’t cross the pond.


That’s Entertainment

In a rare moment of feeling hospitable recently I decided to invite some friends over for dinner. We haven’t had a dinner party for aaaaaaaages. Then I decided to invite another couple over as well because I thought they’d get on well with the first couple as they had a lot in common. Well, all the girlies had something in common anyway. We are all, or have been, photographers and all have dogs. All the two chaps have in common is that they have been lucky enough  to bag themselves beautiful and clever wives many years their juniors.

Both lovely couples, I was looking forward to it not least because it gave me chance to flex my culinary muscles and do some proper cooking for a change. Tricky finding  meal that everyone will eat with a picky, picky, picky eater like Boofuls, a fat fighter like me and a vegetarian to cater for. I didn’t want her to feel like she was difficult by serving her something totally different.

So. I made a roasted tomato, red pepper and garlic soup. That fit the bill for everyone. It was rich and unctuous and contained not a single calorie or ounce of flesh. Then I decided to have beef wellington for the main course. I’d love to say I made them but I didn’t, they were on offer in the supermarket and I was still searching for inspiration so I bought them. I did however make the mushroom and chestnut wellingtons with a red wine jus for me and the vegetarian guest, they were deeeeelishus! Then the important bit. Pudding.

I had two massive pineapples at my disposal so I got googling. Memories of schooldays came flooding back to me when image after image of pineapple upside down cake floated across my screen. Nonononono!! I don’t want a schoolgirl pudding. Pineapple carpaccio? Nah. Not very exciting. Pineapple in a caramel rum sauce? Oh yes!

Good old Anthony Worrall Thompson came up trumps with the best pineapple recipe. I put the sugar in the pan to make the  caramel. Swirl it round the pan, he said. I swirled and watched in delight as the sugar melted and became liquid. Pour in the rum and stir he said, be careful, it might spit. I poured and prepared to stir. unfortunately, the sugar in the pan decided to set solid as soon as the liquid touched it. I ended up waving round a spoon with half a pound of solidified sugar attached to it. I bet that never happens to Wozza!

Eventually, after half an hour of stirring a sugar loaded spoon round the solid  sugar melted down and I got the sweet and sticky run sauce I was after. I lured it over the pineapple and put it all in a slow oven to warm through. It was gorgeous served with vanilla ice cream.  Any other flavour would have been a travesty.

The guests arrived, and as I suspected got on like a house on fire. I love it when a plan comes together. The evening passed in a haze of relaxed chatter and good humour. paying careful attention to which friends to put together paid off as everyone got on really well. I’d forgotten how much I like dinner parties. It’s by far my favourite way of spending an evening.

Now that summer and it’s long, warm,  balmy evenings have gone for a few months I think we might be whiling away the winter months by doing a lot more entertaining.


Adipose Anonymous

It was all a bit lively at my weekly Adipose Anonymous meeting this morning. My newly rediscovered joie do vivre must have been on show because as soon as I walked in up went a shout of “Hey! Our Lesley’s back! We’ve missed you.”

“I’ve been here every week.”

“yeah but now YOU’RE back.”

Heh. That was nice. There was a lot of giggling and silliness going on today. At one point the leader told us that we were being obstreperous. Ha! That was a mistake. Just about every one in the room tried out their own way of saying it and the consensus was that locally it’s pronounced ‘obstrockolous.’ Funny, that’s how my first husband used to say it.

Anyway, you may put your congratulations in the comments box, dear reader. Yours truly is officially no longer a porky bint as I’ve got back to my goal weight. Yay! That’s been hard work. Fair to say I’m feeling very pleased with my little self today. Things are looking up.

On a totally non related note:

I was standing in the kitchen the other day cleaning up the debris that occurs and a ridiculously regular basis when I heard a sound like water pouring.

“What the ………? Oh no!!!”

I’d somehow and without noticing knocked over a jug of water and the whole lot poured off the worktop and straight into a 12 kilo bag of dog food.  Fer Gawd’s sake!! You couldn’t make it up.

Not prepared to throw away £60 of dog food I spread it all out on baking trays and spread them out all over the kitchen to dry out. My God, that stuff stinks when it’s out of the bag! Poo-wee! It took two days to dry it all out. It didn’t cross my mind to put it in the oven to dry out  until I was scooping the last bit back into it’s bag.


Pimpernel Ham

Boofuls went shopping one day last week while I cracked on with the decorating. Wow! Doesn’t that just make us a modern family with the roles reversed?

Well. Kind of.

He’s not a natural shopper, my Boofuls, but he does try. It’s fair to say that having climbed down off my ladder for the second time to answer a query about the shopping I was not best pleased.  I’m pretty sure I managed to disguise my feelings quite well. In the same way that Mount Everest disguises itself as a mole hill.

Terrified to ring me for a third time he bought enough fruit to keep a pack of baboons happy for a month as a nod towards my healthy eating shopping  and then the rest was man shopping.

When I say man shopping what I mean is that he doesn’t think  about shopping in terms of meals but more in terms of snacks. Tiger bread, ham, cheese, wine, pork pies and chocolate. All great stuff for a snack but hardly food creating works of culinary genius. Cleaning materials don’t even enter his consciousness but never mind, who needs a clean house anyway?

As part of his mammoth shopping session he bought a pack of  nice ham. Douggie the doggie is quite partial to nice ham so I’ve taken to wrapping his tablets in it to make the dosing procedure so much easier than when he chews the capsule and ends up with a mouth full of vile tasting powder which then makes him drool and vom all over my lounge carpet. Wrap it in ham and it’s down without touching the sides. Easy.

Every time I went into the fridge for this ham I couldn’t find it. I’d look on the top shelf where it was supposed to be but nope, no sign of it.  I’d search round the whole fridge I’d find it under something else. I’d put it back in it’s proper place only to find it missing again next time I wanted it. It seemed to have a new hiding place every time.

“What kind of ham is that exactly, Boofuls?”

“I don’t know, why?”

“I think it must be pimpernel ham because I seek it here, I seek it there I seek that ham just everywhere. It’s got more hiding places than the Scarlet Pimpernel!”


I did a good deed

Last week I was forced to go out for a walk with my bezzie. She was  thinking was that she’d cheer me up with her chatter. It didn’t quite work like that but we walked a long way.

Halfway through our walk we stopped at a country cafe for a *ahem* comfort stop. I popped in to use the facilities first leaving bezzie holding Douggie the doggie.

When I got back I noticed her talking to a woman. Nothing unusual in that. If bezzie was stood at a bus stop she’d be talking to people. If there was no one there she’d talk to the bus stop.

I’d already noticed this woman as we approached the cafe.  She seemed to be awfully smiley.  I assumed, correctly as it turned out, she was a fan of golden retrievers. Little did I know.

“This lady just asked me if this is THE douggie from the rescue site?”

“Yes he is.”

The woman’s face lit up. “Really? The famous Douggie? My whole family are fans of his. Every time you post some new photos of him we all come and have a look. We love hearing about his exploits. We loved his two tone dog photos.”

Well, fancy that. Douggie has a fan club.

It turned out that the woman had lost her own golden retriever some time ago and in order to get a ‘goldie fix’ she lurked on the message boards of the golden retriever rescue site.

We chatted for a while as bezzie popped of to the facilities. It was obvious that she missed her goldie greatly.

“Would you not consider getting a rescue goldie?” I asked her.

Although she would have loved to, she didn’t think it fair on her other, fairly elderly dog. I suggested to her that when the time was right she could maybe consider an older dog that wouldn’t be as difficult to integrate into the family. I know at the rescue it is the golden oldies that they really struggle to rehome.

Well, blow me down, she popped up on the message boards last night. After our conversation last week she must have immediately contacted the rescue centre and she’s adopted a fifteen  year old goldie so he can live out the days he has left in a comfortable and loving home.

Isn’t that just bloody fantastic news? I’m so pleased we had our serendipitous meeting.

How nice to have good news.




Feel free to move on right along without reading this post dedicated to self pity and misery. To be honest, it’s not really for your benefit so I’m not even going to try and make it upbeat, grammatically correct or well written. It’s just a self indulgent misery fest.

Really it’s more of an aide memoir so I can look back in a year or two and laugh and laugh at the tough times* she said drily*

That’s it. I’m down. After finding it harder and harder to get up after every punch I’ve had thrown at me recently, the universe has finally beaten me. I am now that woman walking along the street with eyes downcast, shoulders slumped, looking like she’s had the spirit beaten out of her.  You know you’ve had enough when you think you’re washing your hair and suddenly realise you’ve been standing in the shower holding your head and crying for the last five minutes.

Regular readers know that Boofuls and I have become professional funeral goers this year. The death roll is now well into double figures and it saddens me that there have been so many deaths this year that I can’t even instantly recall who they all are.

It started with a friend of over forty years, then it was Boofuls’ brother, followed by my cousin, a few friends and acquaintances, our lovely dance teacher of over fifteen years  and the most recent, my brother.  In another few days/weeks Boofuls’ best man at our wedding will lose his wife.

Our gorgeous daughter has had her own issues this year and all we can do is stand by and watch. It has broken my heart.

Seven years, oh yeah, S.E.V.E.N years after this lovely  house we live in went on the market – almost on the day the housing market crashed, it is still not sold.  Drop the price? Oh yeah, we never thought of that. We’ve dropped the price by £165,000, is that enough for you? Now we find ourselves in a position where …..never mind. Suffice to say I have never felt more like we are living on a knife edge.

I truly don’t know why it isn’t selling. It’s in a gorgeous position, it’s well maintained, it’s got land, barns and stables and planning permission for conversion.  Even now when I come home I look at it and think ‘what a lovely place we live in.’

Turning down a buyer for the business after trying so hard to find one wasn’t feasible but who would have thought all this time later we’d still be here and not in Devon?  Retirement was great when I thought it was only for a couple of months. If we don’t sell the house  soon I’ll have to get a job working on a checkout in Netto.

Then to cap it all, Boofuls, me and Douggie set off to Wales for a heel work competition this weekend. We checked into a lovely hotel yesterday, met some friends who were competing as well and had a great time, we were really starting to relax and unwind and I realised I was actually having fun for the first time in, well, ages.

Until….Douggie woke us up to four o’clock this morning to let us know he was going to have  a seizure. He paced the floor, whined, barked, let out an almighty howl and eventually jumped onto the bed. The trouble with having a five stone dog is that if he decided that’s where he’s going to have his seizure, that’s where he’ll have it and there ain’t nothing to be done about it.  So, he had his seizure on the hotel  bed, weeing all over it as he did it.

Then, just as he began to come round from his seizure he went straight into another seizure and then another. I really thought he had gone into status epilepticus and we were going to lose him. It was terrifying.  When he eventually came round he was hyperventilating and very distressed. He needed to be cooled down and calmed down. FAST.

The other hotel guests must have thought there was a major domestic going on as they heard all the scuffling going on in our room.  Douggie also managed to knock everything off the bedside table,  when he fell off the bed, what a commotion.

We spent the next hour and a half walking a whining, barking, distressed dog round a hotel car park in the early hours of the morning  in the pouring rain while Boofuls tried to get hold of a vet.

Curtains twitched, lights went on and voices were heard. Great. We’ve woken the whole hotel.

When the staff arrived for duty around 6.30 a.m. I explained and apologised profusely to the hotel management about the whole sorry incident, obviously paying for the extra night we decided not to stay for and ensuring that they checked the room  before we left so we could pay for anything Douggie may have damaged. Luckily, I’d had the presence of mind to strip the bed after he weed on it so the mattress was ok, that would have been pricey.

Needless to say we didn’t compete. Shame, his rehearsal the day before was brilliant. Damn me for saying to Boofuls, “I hope this isn’t a  case of good dress rehearsal, bad performance”, or as it turned out, no performance.

Instead we have come home.  Douggie has been restless and difficult.  Boofuls and I are both punch drunk, physically and mentally at the end of our tether.

If you believe in karma then Boofuls and I  must have been some proper bad bastards in a previous life. I know life isn’t a bed of roses but come on, this is way beyond a joke now.





Light the blue touch paper and stand well back

It’s fair to say that I’m not a woman best known for my patience.  Neither do I tolerate fools easily. In fact, when they gave out tolerance and patience I’m not even sure I was in the queue.

Bearing in mind recent events, my tolerance level has dropped even lower; to that of a wasp suffering PMT on a low bio rhythm day.

Thinking that I’d feel better if I blew off some energy  instead of moping around and feeling miserable I went to our local leisure centre for the geriatrics zumba class. You can’t beat zumba for getting the heart thumping, the hips wiggling and the endorphins pumping.

Zumba = energy, latin music, elements of dance, perfect work out.

Now there aren’t  many  advantages to being over fifty but cheap entrance to the leisure centre fitness classes is one of them. I stood around in my lycra pants and pristine white, brand spanking new trainers and waited with anticipation  for the instructor to arrive and to getting stuck in to some hard core zumba.

The instructor walked in.

Uh? That’s not who I was expecting.

The usual trainer completely ignores the fact that she has a group with a combined age of about 3000 in front of her and carries out a normal zumba class.  By the time it’s finished you think you’re going to die. I like that.

Today’s trainer walked in and spoke to us with that patronising, head tilted to one side, high pitched and slow voice that made me think she thought we were thick in the head as well as thick in the waist. “We’ll start with some warm ups. Rooollllllllll those shoulders. There we are. Doesn’t that feel better?”

I felt my blood starting to boil. Get to the zumba, woman.

Her music was straight from the ’80’s – the 1880’s. Ok, slight exaggeration but it was rubbish. Lilting, gentle and yawn inducing. Where’s my latin music?

” Now then, lift those arms and claaaap. There we go.”

It started to dawn on me that there was no zumba imminent. I hate aerobics.

“Slide and claaaaap. Rest if you need to or hold on to the wall.”

Fer fudge sake!!

I tried, to enjoy it I really did.  All the time I was swinging my arms gently from side to side and feeling like a dweeb I was thinking, don’t be churlish, it’s all exercise, it’s all good, finish the class, don’t be rude, you can’t just leave.

Fudge it. I left.