Category Archives: family

What’s a coopid?


Munki: What does a coopid mean?

Lashes: You’re saying it wrong.

Munki: No I’m not.

Lashes: Yes, it’s a cupid. A little angel that fires arrows and makes people fall in love.

Munki: No. Not that. A coopid. It says it on that door.
Lashes: Oh! Occupied.

Me: Rolling round the floor laughing for the second time yesterday.
The first time was sitting outside our new favourite eat and drinkerie. Munki and I were at the table playing at being Barbie and Rainbow Horse and speaking in ridiculous American accents. I was Rainbow horse.

Munki: Can I ride you?
Me: You sure can.
Munki: Oh great. If you ride you you won’t flip me off will you?

Me: Laughed till I cried and couldn’t even tell her why. Other diners looked at me like I’d gone slightly potty.

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A couple of weeks ago before we moved and the proverbial hit the fan,  we were sitting in our little rented flat all in our jammies watching a bit of rubbish telly.

Munich snuggled up to me for a cuddle. After a minute or two she started surreptitiously sniffing at my dressing gown.  Lashes looked up. “Did you just smell Nanny’s dressing gown?” Munki  blushed and  admitted she had. “Why on earth would you do that?” The answer came back, “Because it smells like custard.”

Lashes looked at me  incredulously for confirmation. “Yup, it does smell like custard. I have no idea why. Come and have a sniff.

That was the start of a five minute sniff fest and discussion about if it actually smelt like custard or vanilla and why it smelt like that.  Conclusion: I have no idea. It did smell rather nice though.

A few days later I washed it and it doesn’t smell like custard any more. That’s a shame I liked my custardy dressing gown.

So. Back to present day: What’s happening on the good old English Riviera and the  Nirvana that Boofuls, Lashes and me were looking for?

We’re all knackered, that’s what.

Twelve hour days of non stop cleaning, internet booking websitey stuff and cable tracing. Honestly, I thought Boofuls liked his wires but he’s a beginner compared to the efforts of the previous owner of this place. Stocking great wodges of wires are trailing and dangling everywhere. He’s made no effort to hide them, they just dangle around all the walls like unsightly bunting.

Let’s not even discuss the cleanliness of the kitchen. Suffice to say a five litre tub of industrial de greaser and no skin left on my hands did the job. Now I’m deep cleaning the bedrooms and the rest of the hotel before we welcome our first paying guests next Monday. It’s a bit of a race against time because it took me four hours to deep clean just one room yesterday. Not that it was disgustedly dirty or anything.  We have fifteen rooms in total and all the public areas to get up to scratch over the weekend. No pressure.

Poor old Douggie the doggie has been so stressed his been biting chunks out of his own tail leaving it red raw and painful. To be honest, if I had a tail I’d probably be biting it as well. I’l be glad when we get into a nice routine and then we can all calm the hell down a bit.  It’s a good job we have the beach on our doorstep to walk the dog and destress on or I’d probably be in the funny farm by now.

Happy days!

WHAAT?!?


Here we all are still in our little flat by the sea. It’s becoming a little bit tedious now to be honest. A couple of weeks of ‘let’s pretend we’re on holiday’ has turned into long and pointless days of ‘Let’s go out and spend more money we can’t afford in order to get out of this flat.’

The property buying process in this country is absolutely ludicrous. It seems to be purposely set up to cause as much stress and distress as possible. For non English readers: did you know that in this country nothing is binding after you have made an offer on a property until the very last minute and contracts have been signed? This process can take anything up to three months and contracts are usually signed the day before you move in? Ludicrous, eh?

In our case that has been two months since we put in the offer. In the interim period we (and by we I mean Boofuls, he’s been amazing getting this all moving forward) have paid for umpteen reports, made a gazillion phone calls, supplied information two or three times over, bought various indemnity insurances against things that everyone knows will never happen and through it al the seller could still say, “I’ve changed my mind” and just walk away.

An example of a recent day goes like this: We reached mortgage contract signing stage last Thursday. Our solicitor is in Lancashire, 300 miles away. Our mortgage provider is in Plymouth, about 30 miles away. Our solicitor wanted us to drive to Lancashire so he could witness us signing the document. WHAT?!?!

“Surely there’s a better way than this?” we wailed.

“Well, you can get a local solicitor to witness it. I’ll have the document sent to me here in Lancashire, I’ll read it, send it to a solicitor in Devon, you can go there and sign it, then it will come back to me in Lancashire and I’ll send it back to Plymouth. That’ll be £600, please.”

Boofuls phoned our mortgage provider in Plymouth: “Can we come direct to your offices and sign it?” “We’ll phone you right back”, they said.

We got an email within five minutes from our solicitor.”Please refrain from contacting the mortgage providers solicitor, it’s upsetting for them.”

Again: WHAAAAT?!?!

By this time my migraine was throbbing away nicely and the tears were falling like a river. Boofuls saved the day.

He phoned our mortgage broker, 5 minutes away: “Pete, we have to drive to Lancashire to sign this contract.”

“WHAAAAT?!?! No you don’t. It doesn’t have to be a solicitor who witnesses it. Just a responsible person. That’ll be me. I’ll phone the mortgage providers solicitor and double check it’s ok.”

Two minutes later: “It’s ok. Pop into my office later today, I’ll have it emailed across and ready for you.”

Our solicitor: “WHAAAAT?!? You can’t do that. I’d have to read it, it’s 20 pages long.  That will take me till tomorrow. DON’T SIGN IT!!”

We signed it. With the caveat that it wasn’t posted back until the solicitor had read it. Guess what? It was fine.

So. Mortgage contract sorted. Next: property contract and completion.

Boofuls phoned the seller: “We’re almost ready, the contracts will be exchanged today, we can complete Friday?

Our seller: “Ooh no, we don’t want to complete Friday. We don’t want to move out till at least Monday, we’ve got a big night out on Friday. The wife’s upset, she’s not ready to move”

WHAAAT?!?

Remember I said at the beginning the seller can change their mind right up to the last minute?

Back on the phone to our solicitor. “Get that contract completed and returned pronto, we have a feeling the seller is going to pull out.”

Then started the tense wait to see what happened first, the seller pulling out or the contracts being exchanged.

I went for a bath to settle my jangling nerves and to avoid flooding the flat with my tears. I mean, the last thing we need is a bill for water damage to the carpet.

Boofuls came to talk to me while I wallowed in warm, bubbly, scented water. Actually, we were arguing but that’s irrelevant. It did kind of negate the benefit of my bath though.

Munki knocked on the door. ” I need a poo.”  Boofuls told her to go upstairs to her own flat and have a poo there.

Half an hour later, Lashes came down to see us, grinning all over her face.

“I see you two are a lot happier.”

Still grinning.

Munki came up and said. Nanny and Grandad are having a secret conversation in the bathroom.  Now half an hour later here I am and you’re both in a much better mood and smiling again. Good ‘conversation’ was it?

Hahaa. Trust Munki to cheer everyone up!

So that was our Thursday, how was yours?

 

What’s in your drawers?


So what have you got in your drawers?

Oo-er, steady on Mrs! I meant literal drawers not yer underpinnings, as my mother would have called them. Good grief woman! I know what you’ve got in those drawers, let’s never discuss that again! *shakes head to get that image out of my mind*

Every house has a drawer of plenty, you know, the place where you keep all the bits and bobs. Bits of string, fuses, hair grips. It’s the first place you look when anyone asks, ‘have you got a ….?’

Now, in our teeny temporary flat  we haven’t really got a drawer of plenty since it’s a holiday let and not a real home but we do have a drawer of’ I’ll not be needing that again.’

It was with a huge amount of pleasure and smugness that I filled this particular drawer with all of my cold weather clothing, the padded trousers, the fluffy hat and thick walking socks. Now we live in ‘The English Riviera’ there’ll be no more need for this stuff, I thought. At worst I’ll be needing a light jumper from now on.

How wrong can you be?

One morning last week  I got up and strolled down to the garden in my dressing gown so the dog could have a wee.  Just so we’re clear, the dressing gown isn’t paramount to the action of the dog weeing, it’s just what I happened to be wearing at the time since it was still stupid o’clock in the a.m. The action of poochie weeing isn’t influenced in the slightest by my clothing choices.

So, back to the plot…Imagine my shock and horror when an unexpected icy blast of wind swirled round my ankles. I pulled my dressing gown closer round me and chivvied Douggie the doggie to stop messing about and ‘go pee’. He lifted his leg on command and I could see the shock on his face as the same icy blast caught him round his now exposed nether regions. He was clearly thinking the same as me, ‘What the hell’s going on? We were promised balmy, warm weather, sunny winter days and absolutely no rain’. We’ve been conned!

Totally unimpressed was I as I pulled the thermal trousers and Miss Marple hat, which I’d bought on a previous visit when I’d been caught out by the cold, out of the drawer in readiness for our walk. My Deputy Dawg hat with the earflaps, the one I usually wear for dog walking is still packed up in storage with 95% of our other belongings so MIss Marple saved the day.

It was an eclectic mix of clothing I wore that day, wellies, anorak and Miss Marple knitted hat with a jaunty crocheted flower on the side accented with a little feather. The locals must have thought that we northern folk have no sense of sartorial elegance.

How did they know I was from the north? It was probably because I walk round calling out “Ti reyt cocker? and singing “On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at”

For my non English, and southern, bloggy friends I’l translate for you:

‘Ti reyt cocker’ translates as  ‘How are you this morning?’

‘On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at’ means on Ilkley Moor ( a place in Yorkshire ) without a hat’. 

Once the walk got underway and I’d warmed up a bit I soon recovered from my distress  at the cold weather. Douggie and I yomped  along the coastal path at a rate of knots listening to the sound of the  waves as they crashed against the rocks. It was all very dramatic and invigorating. Worth looking like Miss Marple for.

Ok, I won’t move back up north after all. I still prefer it here.

When you wish upon a star


When you wish upon a star

Makes no difference who you are

When you wish upon a star

Your dreams come true

Well. We’ve only been and gone and done it.

Never under estimate the power of a wish, dream, positive thought and good old blood, sweat, tears and hard graft. Also, never listen to the nay sayers who tell you you’re being unrealistic and to forget your dream and do something ‘normal’.

When Boofuls and I wished upon our star it took a couple of years to come true but it finally happened last week.

We’ve packed up and shipped out.

No longer Lancashire hotpots. Now we are oficially Devon dumplings.

I’d love to say that it’s all been a breeze, however, it’s been anything but.

For non regular readers ( where have you been?! ) who haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, I’ll fill you in.

Boofuls, mon hubby, told me many, many years ago that he’d always wanted to buy a hotel. I’ve always wanted to live by the sea. After years and years of being stuck on the work treadmill a few things happened, most notably the death of a few close family members, that made us re evaluate our lives. If we were ever going to follow our dreams then the time was upon us. It really was a ‘now or never’ situation.

Here is the heavily abridged story:

We finally found a buyer for our house at the end of October. It took until last Friday to get all the legal stuff sorted and get to completion. Straightforward it was not. Apparently we had an open mine shaft on or land! Really? Don’t even start me off about United Utilities. Anyway, before I start to rant…

We found a place we wanted to buy in September of last year. Having gone a long way down the route of buying it, the seller changed his mind.

Oh. Crap.

With the probability of being homeless in a few weeks time, we dashed down to Devon the day after Boofuls had the plaster off his leg in order to go and find a place to rent until we found a place to buy. What we didn’t want to do was rush into buying a place in a panic and it’s far easier to do business in place if you’re already there, hence looking for a short term (hopefully) let while we continued the search for a suitable property.

While we were looking for a rental place we also viewed five hotels for sale.

Four of them were utter rubbish. One of them we had particularly high hopes for had a string of awards. When we got to the place we realised that all these awards were from the 70’s and 80’s and it hadn’t been touched since. It was depressing in the extreme.

We went from one dreary place to another. Poor old Boofuls was walking on a leg that really shouldn’t have been walked on. The only word to describe the swelling is ‘elephantine’. He was in agony but still soldiered on, looking at dreary hotel after dreary hotel.

We’d lost the will to live and were very despondent when…

We walked into one hotel, which, if it didn’t tick all the boxes certainly ticked most of them.

Ooh. We perked up a bit.

We went for a second look the day after. Actually, it was better than we remembered it.

We put in an offer there and then. And it was accepted!

Since then life has been a bit of a blur. Packing, sorting, throwing stuff away, giving and selling our many and varied belongings has kept me particularly busy. Poor Boofuls on the other hand got the dirty end of the stick. Since he wasn’t able to do any of the physical stuff he copped for doing all the paperwork, organising, phone calls and legal stuff. I wouldn’t have swapped places with him for a gold clock.

Of course we couldn’t get the sale of our home to coincide with the purchase of the hotel so we’ve still ended up in rented accommodation.

All our furniture has gone into storage and we are living temporarily in a holiday apartment we’ve stayed in a couple of times before. Lashes and Munki have an apartment on the floor above us.

Three days before we were due to move Boofuls had a short flirtation with a dvt. It’s fair to say that his poor leg was the size of a tree trunk and very hot and angry looking. That was a tense twenty four hours before the test results came back negative.

Two days before we were due to move, Lashes…well. That’s not my story to tell. All I can say about it is that it was horrendous and she handled it beautifully.

It felt for a while as that as soon as we sorted out a major problem an even bigger problem dropped into it’s place to fill the void. It was a very trying time.

Eventually though, the chaos began to take on some semblance of order.

Most of our big furniture went on a lorry to Devon to be put into storage.

We said goodbye to our family and friends during a particularly emotional party at our old home last Thursday. We were shocked at how many people turned up to wish us well. So many people in fact that our little lane couldn’t cope with the volume of traffic and some people didn’t even make it to the party but instead gave up trying to reach us and went home. We were even more shocked at how emotional people were. We had no idea how much we meant to people. It was very upsetting and extremely humbling. Even the grumpy old farmer down the road cried as he said goodbye.

I want to say at this point a massive and very public thank you to the people who pitched in and helped us over the last few weeks. Boofuls, Lashes and I really couldn’t have done it without you. Anyway, before I cry again…

Last Saturday, 28th February, we loaded up a second lorry with our remaining possessions and The Rev drove it with my sister’s husband as co driver to the far end of the country, as far away as you can get and still be in this country.

Then they unpacked it all in the pouring rain and stowed it safely at the storage unit before driving all the way back home again.

I’m going to gloss over that day. Let’s just say that it was difficult and many tears were shed.

Since then we have been settling into our new temporary home by the sea until we move it our very own hotel. When I say hotel, I mean bed and breakfast.

Yes, we do know it will be hard work, thank you. Many, many, many people have told us so as they purse their lips and intake air. Let’s work on the basis that Boofuls and I aren’t stupid and we are both used to running a business, which included working twelve hour days. Sorry if that sounded aggressive. Refer back to the top to the many nay sayers with massive opinions based   on nothing.

Another rant averted. This sea air must be good for my disposition.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can move in to our very own place. In the meantime, we’re perfecting our Devonshire accents and massively overdoing the clotted cream teas and scrumpy.

So there we are. Who would have thought when Boofuls and I wished upon our star so long ago that eventually our dream would come true.

A nice day out at the Crem


I can’t remember if I’ve posted about this previously but if I have then just ignore me and put it down to senility and tiredness. I’ve been up half the night with Douggie the doggie and I’m so tired I’m feeling  rather spaced out. People pay good money for this feeling and I’ve got it for free courtesy of the dog. I could put all the drug dealers in town out of business by just hiring my dog out to drug users on a night when he’s having one of his ‘episodes’. Three hours of nocturnal running up and down after an epileptic dog in the early hours and trying to work out what to do for the best should do the trick.

So now, while I’m at the start of a busy day and can’t really go back to bed, Douggie is flat out on the floor catching up on his lost zzzzzzz’s. Lucky bugger, I wish I could do the same. I wouldn’t even mind if it was on the floor, anywhere would do.

Anyway,  Back to the title. What’s all this about the crem?

Well. Boofuls and I have a very good friend who just happens to be a funeral director. Funny chap, he has the kind of black humour you’d expect from a man with his job. I took some photos of  some coffins for him a while back and we spent the whole time laughing our socks off. I’ll call him Hugh because that’s his name.

Hugh told us that there was going to be an open day at our local crematorium. There would be a few stands from which various funeral directors would be displaying their wares and you could also have a tour of the facility. Boofuls of course with his love of cemeteries, which I’ve told you about before, thought this would be a bloody marvellous day out.

Bear in mind that this was about three weeks after my brother had been taken to that very crematorium and you’ll understand why I was rather less inclined to see the fun in a backstage tour of the local crem.

The day arrived. “Are we going then?”  Boofuls asked me. “If you like.”  I mean, how bad could it be, it’s not like my brother was still in there, was it?  I have to admit that a little part of me was quite interested. It’s the photographer in me, you see. It makes me very nosy and I just love being allowed to go into places that no one else can. Not really the case with this as the very name ‘Open Day’ kind of implies that it’s not private but hey ho, you get the idea.

Just as we were about to set off Boofuls looked at me like he’d just had a really good idea. “Do you think the girls would like to go?” by ‘girls’ he meant of course our grandchildren aged eleven and fifteen.

I stood and looked at him in amazement. “No love. I don’t think they’d like to go. I can’t imagine anything they’d less like to do and that includes putting pins in their eyes. It’d give them nightmares for the rest of their lives.” I think I should have a chat to Boofuls about what teenage girls consider to be entertainment and what they don’t. maybe I could do it as a flow chart with ‘Is this entertainment?’ at the top.

He looked at me a bit crestfallen but he soon recovered. As the crematorium is just outside one of our nicest parks we thought we’d take Douggie the doggie along for a walk after the tour.

To be fair, it was very interesting. I’m not sure what the chap who worked there was about to say at one point but our friend Hugh jumped in very quickly and cut him off before he said it by stating that my brother had recently been through the process. At this point the chap coughed and changed the subject quickly. I’m curious.

Anyway, moving on. I saw the very burner they put my brother in and also the grinder they put his bones in. See. I didn’t know they did that. I’d always thought that you just ended up as a big pile of ash.

After the tour we stood round chatting for a while with Hugh and his staff as well as a couple of the other funeral directors.Yes, it was THAT busy. I collected Douggie from the car and of course he immediately became the centre of attention. “Make him dance” says Hugh. “Is that appropriate in this environment?” I enquired. “Yeah, make him dance, it’ll cheer us right up.”

So make him dance I did. Before I knew it a small crowd had gathered. It was the busiest it had been all day up there and Hugh took advantage of the extra people by ushering them in to receive his finest sales patter. That man is multi talented.

We went off for our walk and a bacon butty in the park cafe and Hugh managed to do a roaring trade in advance bookings.

So that was it. A day out at the crem. What’s your most unusual day out?

Memories


My new iphone has had a nervous breakdown.

The touch screen won’t work, the screen has gone most peculiar and it thinks it hasn’t got a sim card.

It appears to be water damaged. Ok. It got a few raindrops on it on Friday but it has a screen protector and a cover and it really was only a few raindrops. Dang. This is one sensitive phone. It’s not like I dropped it down the loo or dunked it in a pint of beer during a hissy fit or anything.

It really is most inconvenient not having a phone. Especially since it’s my camera of choice, my music, my photo album, road map and all the other things I use it for on a daily basis, which of course means multiple Facebook visits and checking of the weather between Lancashire and Devon.

My most popular game at the moment is to look at the weather in our location and say ‘Guess what temperature it is here.” Then I flick over to the weather in Devon and say “Guess what temperature it is there” About five nanoseconds after the guessee tells me their answer I squeal  with delight and tell them the difference in degrees. “Ten! It’s ten degrees warmer down there. That’s a lot of degrees. And it’s sunny. It’s not flipping’ sunny here, is it? Do you know what it’s going to be all week? Sunny. Do you know what it’s going to be like here? Shite.”

It’s probably time we had a trip down to Devon to make sure it’s managing without us. I’m obviously having withdrawal symptoms. Mind you, with Boofuls toe to knee in plaster and hobbling round on his crutches it might be tricky. Bezzie’s husband lent Boofuls his wheelchair – he only needs it occasionally. Let’s hope he doesn’t need it while Boofuls has got it as he might struggle to get it back.  He’s been like a kid with a new toy, whizzing round the house in it like Speedy Gonzales. I’m not sure that carrying scalding hot cups of tea between his legs is a good idea though.

So. How’s your weekend been? Exciting? Boring?

Ours has been lovely. We’ve been having a sort out and found all of our old video tapes. We borrowed a video player from a friend and have spent most of the weekend with Lashes and Len watching our old family videos.

Len and Lashes stayed over last night and we spent all of yesterday evening and most of today watching them. You have to love a bit of nostalgia.

Snippets from our am dram days and shows we’d forgotten we’d performed in. Family Christmas’s. Holidays. Parties galore. The kids growing up, we had some cute kids! Watching their antics had us laughing out loud. Friends and family now long gone and not so long gone have brought back lots of memories, a ton of laughs and just a few tears. It made me realise that yes, we have struggled over the years but on the whole we have had a brilliant life and shared it with some brilliant people.

Boofuls and his friend used to have a comedy double act. We watched some of their shows as well last night and they are just as funny now as they were then.

Mind you, I was amazed at how much of it I had totally forgotten. Even while I sat watching it there were events that I had absolutely no recollection of. Had I not seen myself in the footage I’d have thought I wasn’t there. That surprised me, I thought I had quite a good memory. Obviously not.

When Lashes was little she used to love watching videos of herself. Nothing has changed in that department. She still loves to watch herself. As for Boofuls and me, I can’t believe how young we looked.

Funny how when the children grow up the camera goes in the cupboard. It’s inspired me to get the camera out and to film much more so we can preserve those precious memories for the future. Hopefully our children and grandchildren will spent a lovely few hours enjoying watching it all back, just like we’ve done this weekend.

He’d kick himself if he had a leg to stand on


Poor old Boofuls, he’d kick himself if he had a leg to stand on. I’ve got one grumpy and angry chappie on my hands, he can’t quite believe that one little slip can cause 3 months of disruption.

He is now the proud owner of a nice metal plate and a few screws in his leg. It’ll be 6 weeks before the cast comes off and then another six weeks recovery.

He’s out of hospital now and struggling to get round on crutches and with strict instructions to put no weight on his broken leg at all for six weeks.  That won’t cause us any issues at all, will it (she said sarcastically). How I wish we’d had a downstairs loo put in when we talked about it instead of shelving the idea as being too expensive.

It was great fun when we were attempting to give him a bath yesterday.  Getting him in was ok, getting him out was so much more difficult, heart stopping and comical at the same time. Boofuls wasn’t seeing the funny side though as he huffed and puffed and heaved while he waved his bad leg, wrapped in  a bin liner,  around in the air. It was quite funny to watch. Mind you, if I’d have laughed I might have got a crutch up the side of my head.

Bionic Boofuls, as he’s now been dubbed, has been reduced to watching daytime tv and wearing fat boy pants. It’s fair to say he’s not impressed. Well. There’s not a lot we can do about it now. All we can do now is crack on and make the best of it.

So, I’m not going to do one of those end of year review jobbies that people are so fond of. I can sum up 2014 quite easily in three words. The. Worst. Ever. I’m so  glad it’s gone.

It hasn’t been quite the start to the new year I was hoping for but I console myself with the fact that Booful’s  accident happened in 2014 so 2015 is still on track to be a great year.

On a different  note, Douggie the doggie has been loving the ice. He has taken to running up to his favourite paddling ditch, smashing the ice by repeatedly jumping up and down on it till it breaks and then running off with huge chunks of it in his mouth. It’s hysterical to watch.  He was distraught this morning when all the ice had melted.

The second of January saw me back at work for my florist friend. She had two weddings booked and had failed to develop the ability to be in two places at once. That,  and an unexpected trip to Heathrow which cost her ten hours saw her at the point of tears so I went along to help, as did another friend of hers. Thank goodness we did. Twenty minutes before we had to set off to our respective destinations to deliver the flowers there were still ten table wreaths to make and four bouquets. You have never seen three people work so fast. Did we manage it?  ‘Course we did.

I was glad of the distraction to be honest as Boofuls was due for his operation and it took my mind off it for a while.

I walked into my bride’s  house with the flowers and was immediately transported back to my wedding photographer days. It’s an atmosphere like no other, the bridal prep and I didn’t realise I missed it till I experienced it again. It was lovely.

At the church a short while later with all the buttonholes for the groom and groomsmen, I watched  the groom paced nervously as he greeted the guests. I saw about twenty thousand photo opportunities and mentally clicked them all.

Yup. It’s official, I miss weddings.