Tag Archives: family

Hearts, flowers and surgical stockings


When couples first get married and have that “no-one has ever been as much in love as we are’ smugness about them, it’s all about hearts and flowers, bedroom gymnastics, and romantic gestures.

God, I used to see it all the time when I was a wedding photographer. “There’ll never be another wedding like ours”, couples would coo as they glanced smugly at each other. It used to take all I had not to say, “Well actually, love, they’re all much of a muchness.” I always thought it would be too cruel to burst their bubble though so I’d just smile sweetly and agree that they were indeed unique. Often at the same time as wondering if they’d still be together when the ink had dried on their marriage certificate. What? Cynical? Me?

I remember it well. Vowing that we’d get old together and taking all that that brings with it but not being able to imagine it. Ah yes. Fast forward thirty three years. When it isn’t so much bedroom gymnastics as a low impact workout while trying to avoid straining the bits that ache, cramp or just don’t move in that direction any more. Flowers are saved for special occasions, a romantic gesture is giving up the tv remote control and love settles into a comfortable companionship.

When I first got married I had no concept of how marriage would change as the years went on. Some days it’s considered a success to have got through the day and not bludgeoned each other to death. Other days we are completely content when we snuggle up on the sofa and watch a bit of telly together, happy just to be.

What am I wittering on about?

Well, dear reader, let me tell you.

Boofuls had his long awaited hip replacement surgery a little over three weeks ago.

His embarrassment at me having to help him to wash. “I’m your wife”, I told him. “This stuff goes with the job description.”  Helping him into and out of the shower while holding a plastic bag over his stitches and using a hand towel like a windscreen wiper to keep any stray drops of water from seeping through. Cutting his toenails, helping him to get dressed and the truest test of love.

Back in the day when I was on my knees in front of him it wasn’t to put his surgical stockings back on.  My God, has there ever been a more difficult task than putting on and taking off surgical stockings? How times have changed.

Aside of the personal hygiene stuff. How did I not know that he has six million cups of tea every day? It wasn’t till I had to make them all that I realised. How is it even possible to imbibe that much liquid?

His frustration at not being able to perform everyday tasks and my poor nursing skills have meant that tempers may have frayed a bit recently. We have both bitten our tongues until they are black and blue but we muddle through.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it isn’t the grand gestures that make for a happy marriage.  Anyone who tells me they have never had a cross word in their marriage is either telling lies or one of the partners has been severely compromising to keep the peace. I think what it boils down to is still being able to love each other when the romance is in short supply and the reality of advancing years and ill health become part of your everyday life.

Mind you, the occasional grand gesture never goes amiss.

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Sing it loud, sing it long!


We had a few of the choir round for a ‘practice’ last night.

You know me well enough now that when I say practice you know I mean drunken singing.

The plan, as we had a quitetish weekend at Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium was to have a bbq with a few choir friends. Of course the weather didn’t play ball so we ended up inside. Quite fortuitous really as rather than have the bbq we planned we managed to use up the box of Indian buffet items that have been logging up the freezer for months. Everyone brought a few snacks and we quite the international buffet going on with bhajis, pakoras, nachos, sausages, pizza and various other items.

It’s amazing really, guests never, ever come into the bar during the day. Ever.

Yesterday of course was different.  The German couple who had just arrived decided to come down for a mid afternoon drink. They walked into the bar and instantly worked out that there was a private party going on. Their faces were a picture but it was too late to back out, they were there. We tried to make them feel welcome but it was a bit difficult as they spoke very little English. Try explaining the English delicacy of mushy peas to a person who hardly speaks English. They practically necked their drinks in one and cleared off.  I did feel sorry for them but I was glad when they left.

Equilibrium, banter and hilarity were restored until, bugger me, the guests from room 1 decided to come into the bar! WHAT?  How do these people know we are having some down time? They must have a bloody alert implanted in them, you know, the one that goes off when we are about to eat our evening meal, go out, go to the loo or have some time with friends. The one that makes guests instantly become demanding and needy of our company? You couldn’t make it up, it works like magic. Every. Single. Time.

At least the second lot spoke the language and even decided to have a go on the karaoke, they were good fun but they too cleared off after one drink.

Anyway, the afternoon turned into evening and then late into the night. The singing became more raucous as the day wore on. What a hoot.

Some of our hotelier friends are envious of the fact that we have friends who aren’t hoteliers. Personally, I think that is vital. Can you imagine what it would be like if all we ever had to talk about was occupancy rates compared to last year, gossip about other hoteliers or the merits of various laundries? My eyes are glazing over at the thought of it.

As I’m typing this it has reminded me that recently someone has commented to me that I tend to compartmentalise various sections of my life. I keep personal, hotelier, choir and other sections of my life as separate as possible and really don’t like them to cross over if I can avoid it.

It’s not a new thing, I have always kept various sections of my life separate. Difficult to do when you work from home and harder still ow we own a B&B but I try my best. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What are your thoughts on the subject?

The kid’s way too clever


“Nanny! Nanny! Come here a minute, I want to tell you something.”

I popped my head into Munki’s bedroom with a sigh thinking it was more bedtime procrastinating.

“Yes, what is it? Why aren’t you in bed?”

“I’m doing an experiment but it’s a secret, I can’t tell you what it is yet.”

That was how we left it, I didn’t push for details and she didn’t offer any. In fact, rather than try and keep me talking as she normally does, she hopped straight into bed.

Fast forward to first thing this morning when she greeted me with a big smile telling me that her experiment was now complete.

“Did it work?”

“No Nanny.”

“Oh, ok. You look very happy about it. Can you tell me what it was now?”

“Yes. My tooth finally fell out yesterday and I wanted to find out if the tooth fairy was real or if you grown-ups just made it up so I decided not to tell any grown-ups about it to see if the tooth fairy still came. She didn’t. I proved she’s not real, didn’t I?”

Dammit! The child is too clever. What to reply?

After a moment’s deliberation, I decided that the game was up and trying to brazen it out was probably not the way to go, she’d proved her point.

“Ok you clever little Munki the tooth fairy is nanny shaped and here is a pound for you.”

Her little eyes lit up as she eagerly accepted my gift. “Thanks, Nanny!”

She’s so clever to have worked out a plan and carried it out as she did and I’m really proud of her…and just a little sad that that little piece of childhood magic has ended for her.

Why do they grow up so fast?

Social Whirl and Family Ties


Wow! Our feet haven’t touched the ground in the last week or so.

Visitors from up country have been replaced by more visitors from up country to be replaced by yet more visitors from up country.

Yeah? So? You own a B&B I can hear you saying.

Very true, we do. Paying guests coming and going is one thing. Personal guests coming and going is so much more exhausting!

Don’t think this is a complaint. It’s been absolutely lovely having friends and family coming to stay. Especially my brother who hasn’t been before.

It’s fair to say we have a bit of a precarious relationship with him and his wife so I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect.

I fretted.

Would they like the room? Shall we eat in or eat out? If we eat out what kind of restaurant are they going to want, I didn’t want to insult him by going to the cheapest place in town or put him in a difficult position by going to an expensive restaurant. How much time were we expected to spend with them? Were we supposed to spend all day or just part of the day. I didn’t want him thinking we were hijacking their holiday or ignoring them when they wanted to spend time with us. What about breakfast? Shall I offer them the works or simplify it as they were the only people here. Shall we eat with them or treat them as paying guests and wait on them hand and foot?

You get the idea. There wasn’t a single aspect of their stay I didn’t fret about.

It was very stressful.

They brought their six year old granddaughter with them and she made everything so much easier. She and Munki got on like a house on fire so they had a whale of a time and you know what they say…happy kids = happy adults.

I know you’re dying to ask me, how was it then?

It was brilliant. I suspect we were all a little bit tense, and trying that much harder to make it work. And it worked! We ate out (carvery, wins every time!), we laughed, we chatted we indulged the kids. What we didn’t really do was rake over old ground or bring up our tumultuous past. It went so well that they are talking about coming down again in October!

I haven’t always had the best relationship with my brother and his wife for all sorts of reasons. I have often felt like I have lost both of my brothers, my younger brother died three years ago.

I was thrilled a few months ago when I discovered that he quietly follows me on Facebook, he rarely comments on anything but I know he’s there and taking an interest and that is massive. I always thought he really wasn’t interested in my life.  Knowing that, and having had the last few days has rebuilt our relationship a little bit and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Roll on October !

I have wonkers


Lashes, Munki and myself were having one of our deep, emotionally mature and intelligent discussions the other day about growing pains. Oh ok then, we were having a multi generational girly chat about absolutely nothing and having  a lovely time doing it. Boofuls gave up trying to join in and beat a hasty retreat back to the safety of his computer desk so he didn’t have to try and make sense of the flow of consciousness emanating from us.

It seems the Munki, having reached the grand old age of nine, is suffering from growing pains. Blimey, growing pains, that takes me back. When I was a child any ache, pain, twinge or tenderness was put down to growing pains. Basically, unless a limb was hanging off or we were projectile vomiting it was dismissed as growing pains.

Nowadays it’s put down to old age.

Anyway, Munki was describing  a particular pain that she was suffering from  while rubbing her midriff.  I mentioned that she’d had a stitch in her side the previous evening while we were walking the dog, could it be like that? Her reply was, “Oh yeah, it’s like that but now I have one ‘coz”…and then she stopped talking to gather her thoughts.

Lashes and I, at exactly the same time, exclaimed, “Wonkers? You’ve got wonkers?  Well we’d better call an ambulance then. Wonkers can be really dangerous.”

The number of times me and that girl say exactly the same thing at the same time is downright eerie, anyway, I digress.

Poor old Munki  couldn’t catch her breath for laughing.  Then it progressed on to wonkers being a body part and in which part of the body they would be located.

When I told her it had to be down the side she and Lashes both gave me a funny look. “What, Nanny?”

“Well, love. Didn’t you realise that people have two of everything down the side and one of everything down the middle?  So, if you have wonkers, it has to be down the sides.”

It was so funny watching them mentally work their way round their bodies, well Lashes did it mentally, Munki had to touch her ears, eyes, nose and mouth before she got the idea and then  as comprehension dawned their eyes widened and they both said ,  “OHHHHHHH YES!!” at exactly the same time. That’s obviously a family trait being handed down from mothers to daughters.

It’s great living with three generations of us in the same house, we never know what’s going to come out next.

Crazy Golf


A couple of weeks ago I had an itch that I really needed to scratch. As I’m writing this I’ve realised it was substantially more than a couple of weeks but just go with it…Stupid thing, I really, really wanted to go and play crazy golf after dark so the course would be all floodlit. Why? No idea. Crazy golf is nowhere near the top of my list of things I want to do, in fact I’m not sure it’s even on the list but it sure was at this point.

It was just before Christmas, a couple of weeks before Munki was due to go off up country to see her northern family.  The idea of going for a game of crazy golf was floated, “Anyone fancy a game of crazy golf after tea? I’ll be fun.”

Silence all round. “Oh, go on, it’ll be fun.”

“Maybe tomorrow”, Lashes piped up, much to my irritation. “Don’t patronise me or fob me off, I’m not six. That’ll be a no then.”

The itch got stronger and stronger. Every night I walked past the floodlit course with Douggie the doggie and really wanted to go in and play.  It is on our normal evening stroll route, I wasn’t getting all weird and going out of my way to gaze through the railings like Tiny Tim through the sweet shop window. It’s amazing how many people don’t play crazy golf at night and in winter. The course was always deserted.

“Pleeeeeeease can we go and play a game of crazy golf? Pleeeeeeeease?”

Eventually Boofuls caved in and nine year old Munki felt sorry enough for me to tag along because I lured her with the promise of photos with the lions, tigers and monkeys on this jungle themed course.

Off we trotted. It was fun! We had the entire place to ourselves on a  cold, clear and bright evening. Parts of it were a bit tricky as the flood lighting didn’t reach every part of the course. Watching Munki try to retrieve her ball from the water in the pitch black was brilliant, highlight of the evening – well almost but I’m coming to that.

Eventually, we got to the end of the course,  I was tired.  At that point I was still post op riding round on my buggy so being on my feet for the best part of an hour was hard work. It’s fair to say I’d got the crazy golf well and truly out of my system.

It was with a great deal of relief that we finally reached the final hole. This is the one where you return your ball by whacking it into a huge shed like construction with a slope and a small hole in the middle. If you manage to get the ball into the hole you win a free game, it’s almost impossible at the best of times. It was pitch black. No chance of getting this in there then I thought to myself. Skill and finesse had no place here.  I gave the ball an almighty whack and sent it flying into the black void. Two seconds later a loud bell rang out! I’d only been and gone and done it!

The chap sitting behind the counter looked up, shocked. Probably half as shocked as the rest of us. If I hadn’t been so tired I’d have done a happy dance. Munki anted to go and do the free game immediately, I told her we’d save it for a post Christmas treat.

Here are just a few photos of the evening. One of those simple and uncomplicated family times that are so precious. Even if I did have to beg, plead and bribe to get it haha.

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Advent


Advent is here! Yay!

That means that is officially Christmas. No. Wait. What?

By the standards of some people we have been posivitely lackadaisical when it comes to getting up our Christmas decorations, I mean, it’s the 2nd December. I know some people who have had them up for a month already.

Lashes made a start on our decorations today. Off I went to a Christmas fair and an event put on by the council celebrating Christmas by the sea. By the time I got back there was a hoofing great Christmas tree in the reception area of Boofuls Towers Lodging Emporium, half decorated and with various bits of tinsel, baubles, beads and innumerable other items of Christmas paraphernalia littered all over the floor, the stairs, the landing, the dining room and the living room. Obviously having got bored with the job half way through, it is still all over the place. She left the reception lights left on as well so all and sundry can admire the glittery detritus and half decorated tree through our humongously large glass doors and floor to ceiling windows. Basically, the front wall is made of glass. Good advert, eh?

Moving on to the dining room, that is in a state of total disarray due to the fact that we are having a new carpet put in there next week and I decided that all the woodwork needed a good coat of fresh paint before the new carpet went down. Boofuls and Lashes got to work moving out all the furniture and pulling back the old, disgusting carpet. Not that that room is big or anything but it was as cheap to buy a whole roll of carpet as it was to get it cut to the room size, so we decided to do the stairs and landing with the offcuts.

Those of you who know me or are have read the blog a few times might have noticed something odd.

What’s that? I can hear you saying. That, dear reader, is the fact that I have allowed another person to get involved in the decorating of the Christmas tree and other decorations. Unbloodyheardof. Lashes had to wait till I went out to make a start without my getting in the way and trying to muscle in on the job.

Why’s that then?

Convalescing, that’s what.

On the one hand, having a major operation in November is brilliant as I have all winter to get back to full strength.  On the negative side, it’s Christmas!  So much to do. So many parties to go to. So much Christmas shopping to do. So much decorating and renovating to do.

God, it’s hard handing it over to other people. It’s just not in my nature to let other people do all the work. If I wasn’t so exhausted I’d put up a hell of a fight. As it is, I just look at it all and go “That’s my job….I’ll just have a little snooze.”

It’ll all be worth it in the end. In the meantime, I have to take a back seat and let the other get on with it all.

Right, I’m going to sign off now, time for another little snooze. With a bit of luck all will be decorated and tidied up by the time I wake up.

Bingo!


It’s official. Munki  now sounds posh. Well, to northern ears she definitely sounds posh. It’s amazing how quickly children can pick up a new accent.

I took her for a riding lesson on Saturday and she referred to the little pony she was riding as a ‘hoarse’ rather than as she would have done a year ago as a ‘hoe-iss’. I love it!!

However, it’s only on a surface level, as I realised recently.

If you live in the UK and have watched tv at any point at all in the last little while then you can’t fail to have seen that irritating advert for Gala Bingo. You know the one:

The one with amply proportioned women  singing Gala la la. Gala la la. Gala la la hey hey hey BINGO!’

Sorry. That will be in your head all day now. Irritating but effective advertising.

Anyway, Munki was singing it in the bath. I was listening and chuckling away to myself. The I heard THIS:

“Gala la la. Gala la la. Gala la la hey hey hey BINGAW!”

Haha. Not quite so posh after all then.

She went away on a school trip week last week. Not exactly a safari adventure, they were about half an hour away but they loved it. Trying to make the most of child free time we suggested a grown up meal in a grown up restaurant.

Lashes of course had other ideas. She and her dad, Boofuls are partial to a game of bingo and have been out a few times to our local bingo emporium since we’ve lived here. I have been happy to babysit and get the house to myself. Bingo? I’d rather put pins in my eyes.

“Let’s all have a grown up night at bingo. It’s not often we all get to go out together”.  Not wanting to be a party pooper, I agreed, having been assured that it’s different now and it’s LOADS of fun.

We turned up at the bingo hall. Right mum, we have to get you registered. Me, Boofuls, Lashes and Lashes’ beau, The Prof, all stood at the enrolment desk. Who’s enrolling then, is it you?” the chap on the desk enquired to The Prof. “Actually, it’s me.” I volunteered and then laughed out loud as his eyebrows flew up so high they nearly fell off his head.

“I’m the last one you thought it would be, aren’t I?”

He agreed that I was and enquired as to how had I’d got to my age without going to bingo. Easily, I thought, it’s more painful than pins in my eyes. I didn’t say it out loud as I didn’t want to offend him or upset Lashes who was clearly enjoying having us all there.

It’s changed a bit since I last played bingo many, many years ago when my bezzie forced me to go as birthday treat. Birthday punishment more like! I remember spending the afternoon terrified of speaking too loudly and incurring the wrath of the assembled matriarchs, or calling out ‘house’ at the wrong time, getting all hot and bothered about  keeping up with scanning and marking my tickets quickly enough to keep up with the caller who spoke at a speed I didn’t even think was possible. The whole event was terrifying and not one I’ve been keen to repeat. How on earth could that be called entertainment?

Now they have electronic screens and you don’t have to do anything except watch it and press ‘claim’ when you  win. Exciting, eh? NOPE!

There are the big money games though where you have to tap the screen when a number pops up. Ooh, that must be exciting, eh?

SNORE!!!!

The chicken and chips were quite good though and to be honest, it all became a lot less boring when I won a tenner. Shame I didn’t win the four grand, I might have been persuaded to go back for a second visit.

It’s my birthday this week.  Happy birthday to me. I’ll be 21 and a few months old. How many months. I don’t know – I can’t count that high.

My natural inclination has always been to moan and bitch about getting older but I don’t do that any more as that’s an option my little brother no longer has and it seems a bit crass to complain about being alive when he isn’t.  So now I enjoy life to the full (except for bingo) and make loads of new friends, explore the beaches and learn new skills.  Life is good, enjoy it while you can!

Flop, flump, sigh, fart


Lying in my bed the other night trying to get a bit of shut eye, and failing dismally I might add, I was struck by how much noise and activity there is in our bedroom.

Stop it!! You have such a rude mind! That isn’t what I meant at all. Wash your mind out!

Moving on…

The dog regularly sighs and walks round the room before flopping down with another huge sigh, sometimes stopping for a loud and slurpy drink from his bowl.  Unfortunately, I’m always on epilepsy alert and when he gets restless I’m always watching out for signs of an impending fit. Last night he did one of his nightly rounds of the bedroom and then flopped down on the floor at my side of the bed with his usual massive sigh. Suddenly the most horrendous smell wafted up from the floor. I can’t even begin to describe it. Oh my God! I turned over and put my hand over my mouth and nose in a vain attempt to  keep the sickening stench from assailing my nostrils further. God. It was horrendous.

Boofuls slept on, blissfully unaware of the gas attack going on in our bedroom. As he slept he snored gently like a little lawnmower. Eventually Douggie the doggie stopped farting and flopping round the room and settled down. That was Boofuls’s cue to take the snoring up a gear.

Good Lord! It was like lying next to a pneumatic drill singing a duet with a cow! DDDDDRRRRRRRRRRRRRMOOOOOOOOOOO!!

SHUDDUP AND TURN OVER!

Amazingly he did.

So did I.

CAWCAWSKREEEEEEEE!!

What the …?

Someone forgot to tell that screeching seagull that it’s called a dawn chorus because it happens at dawn, not the middle of the bloody night.  It’s no wonder I’m always exhausted. What I wouldn’t give for a peaceful nights sleep!

Munki on the other hand…

was in the bath and Lashes was putting clothes away in the next room. As usual, the telly on and she was watching hoarders. Munki shouted for her  to turn it off as she didn’t like it, “I don’t like ghost stories,  I’ll have nightmares”. “It’s not about ghosts, its about hoarders.” ” Oh right. Are they nobs?”

Lashes, shocked and trying to keep a straight face asked her to repeat what she’d said, Munki duly obliged: “Those people, the hoarder, are they nobs?”

Poor old Lashes  was shaking with the effort of trying not to laugh.

“Where did you hear that? From Youtube?  Nob is a swear word, it means you’re and idiot, don’t say it again and don’t watch that you tube channel again.”

Munki: “How many ‘o’s does it have in it?”

“One.”

” Oh. Then it’s not the same word.  I meant noob.”

Lashes collapsed on the floor laughing.

I’d forgotten how unwittingly entertaining a young child can be.

Joke of the day


Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl have a wee?
Because the p is silent!!
Hooohoohoo, heeheeheee. Made me laugh for ages, that one!
That was one of Munki’s jokes. Not bad for a seven year old, eh?

Dougie the doggie and I managed to while away almost three hours on the beach today. When I realised it was starting to dark I hurried home thinking that Boofuls would think I’d been carried off by the circus or something.

How did I manage to spend almost three hours on a beach in the middle of winter?

Easy.

The tide was out so Douggie and I paddled all the way round the coast, clambering over rocks, marvelling at hermit crabs scuttling around with their homes on their backs, searching for sea glass and pebbles shaped like penguins. We found a baby starfish! It only had two arms, the others were little nubbly bits just starting to grow. It didn’t look so much like a star fish as a propellor. I put it under a piece of seaweed for safe keeping hoping that it wouldn’t get trampled to death by one of the many galloping hounds on the beach today. Dougie of course tried his best to get to it so I distracted him by throwing stones into the water for him to chase. I have to throw stones because if I throw a ball he won’t bring it back. As a retriever he’s pretty rubbish. I should probably explain to him again that he’s a golden RETRIEVER the clue’s in the name, really.

The sun shone onto the ripples in the sand making the beach glint and shine. I spent far too much time moving around trying to find which way the light gave the best effect. Some of the other beach walkers must have though I was doing some weird yoga exercise in my wellies and waterproofs and I crouched low and moved left and right, bobbing and weaving while I stared at the ground. The buildings high up on the hill were reflected in the puddles on the sand. Again, I moved this way and that trying to get the best image. I would have taken a photo but my phone died a watery death a couple of weeks ago and I don’t want to lug a big, professional camera around with me…

Wait…what…did I say my phone died a watery death a few weeks ago? Why, yes, dear reader, I did.

But…didn’t your phone die a watery death just a few months ago? Why, yes again, dear reader. My, what a good memory you have.

This time it was somewhat more dignified than last time when it fell out of my back pocket and into the loo. This time it fell out of my coat pocket and into the sea. Nonetheless, the ed result was the same. Instant death.

Still, let’s not dwell on that. Let’s return to our afternoon on the beach.

The sun cast warm, long shadows, the clouds turned pink and the sea lapped gently on the shore shining blue, pink or green depending on how the light hit it. I stood fascinated by it all while Doggie found himself a nice little spaniel to flirt with. people strolled up and down. As I so often am, I was stuck by how many people wear black. It look like a funeral director’s day out. The dark clothes looked at odds with the beautiful, dancing, ever changing light that the elements had treated us too but it seemed like I was the only person to notice.

Eventually the sun dropped down behind the hill and the gorgeous light changed to a soft, violet grey. At that point I shivered and realised I must have been out for hours.

So there you are. That’s how easy it is to spend a whole,afternoon on a beach. A bit of imagination, the company of a dog and some lovely weather. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.