Tag Archives: zero to hero


Hahaa!! I came across this photograph in the archives earlier.

The idea for this shoot came about during a dinner party in which there may or may not have been alcohol involved. I said, excitedly, “Why don’t we do a shoot where you’re dressed like wonder woman and with your boobs firing jets of flame?”

I knew Lashes wouldn’t need any convincing.

” OH YES!! Let’s do it!!”

It took weeks to get the props together. A couple of days to make the bra and test the fireworks we were using for the flames. The last thing we wanted was for the flames to go awol while they were strapped to her chest. That wasn’t part of the plan at all!  It took all day to get the lighting exactly as I wanted it. An hour for make up and costume. Ten minutes practising poses so once the flames were lit she could move quickly from one pose to the next.  Fifty seconds for the actual shoot. Boofuls was stood just outside the frame with a fire extinguisher at the ready.

It was great fun and Lashes did brilliantly. You can’t tell she was almost paralysed with fear, can you? The things she does for my art!! Hahaaa. I think it’s probably time to do another fun shoot. I have a couple of ideas floating about……..

Why don’t we…..? Wait…. you’ll have to watch this space.


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.





Time is a great healer

My dear brother. Heh. You’d laugh if you read that. Then you’d ask me what I was after.

It’s already been four days since you left us.  Four days in which our lives have been turned upside down. How has that time gone so quickly? It’s going too fast.

I don’t want the time to go by because in no time at all it will be a month since you passed and then year and then ten years.

It’s a really bizarre thing.  Although our hearts are breaking, life is going on as normal. The dog still needs a walk, jobs need to be done, the postman still turns up wanting a banter and because I don’t want to be rude I’ll banter back. It’s an unreal reality, it feels like a dream. Can’t anyone else see that nothing is normal any more?

I want to be back at your bedside, stroking your hair and telling you I love you.  It’s just too hard to let you go yet.  I know that he kindest thing, was to let you go, your life would have been intolerable to you had you survived.

I should gain some comfort from that, but I’m not.  Not yet.

Time just needs to stand still for a while and let I feel every stab of the pain of your loss because  the depth of pain I’m feeling means that you are still close to us.

As time passes,  the  memory of you will fade along with the pain we are feeling right now and I’m not ready for that.  Rick, can you just get someone to  stop the world for a little while? Just for a little while, till I’m ready to move forward again.


My Bruvver

What can I tell you about my brother? Listen to the song, it sums him up perfectly as a child – and indeed as an adult.

When my brother phones and says, “You couldn’t do me a massive favour could you?” your heart sinks because you know it’s going to be something totally unreasonable. After a wail of “OH RICK-EEEE, NOOO!” you usually end up doing what he wants, cringing as you go.

His latest idea was a corker. “You couldn’t do me a massive favour could you?  Can you just …..” (Just!?  Fecking JUST!?!)…………his idea was for me to  just find a nice lady dog to mate his twelve year old, half chihuahua, half King Charles spaniel, completely blind, senile, arthritic dog  with. “Well, he won’t last for ever, I’d love a puppy from him.”

“No. It’s not happening,  he’s not exactly a catch is he? I’m not even sure he could manage it, he’s about 65 years old in dog years. Who’s going to want to breed their pedigree dog with him? No, Rick, no.” *puts the phone down really quickly so he can’t talk me round.*

As a child he was a walking accident. His glasses were always fixed with sellotape. His shoes regularly ended up in the canal after he’d kick a ball of a stone or even just set off at a run. Talking of running, he’s the only child I ever saw kick his own backside as he ran.

How? I have no idea. Spindly legs and knock knees, I suppose.

I could list his exploits for many a post and not run out of tales to tell.

After one of his many accidents he used to stand in front of our mum with a look on his face that would translate as ‘please don’t kill me.’ Of course, we were brought up in the days when it was perfectly acceptable, indeed encouraged, to give your children a good walloping and Ricky had his fair share of them. Mum would flail at him with both hands while he just curled his spindly body into a ball, elbows and knees sticking out everywhere. In the end mum would give up as he was hurting herself more than she was hurting him so she’d just shout as she walked away fuming, “Oh, RICKY, You’d make a fecking saint swear. ”

She wasn’t wrong.

As we grew up Ricky became my best friend. We’d go out together at the weekends, get drunk and then go back to my house with our respective partners and friends, listen to Pink Floyd and contemplate the meaning of life. Other times we rocked out to Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, Deep Purple, ZZ Top or any of the other bands that took us through our teens, twenties and thirties.  We laughed, conversed, played poker and just generally all enjoyed being in each other’s company. Good times.

It was Rick, who when he met Boofuls for the first time, recognised that there was something special going on. I think you’ve met your match there, he said.  A prophesy that was proved to be correct. It was almost exactly  year later when he walked me down the aisle and gave me way at our wedding.

Latterly, Rick has settled into a more sedate lifestyle. Not totally of his own choice. A bad accident a few years ago left him less mobile than previously and years of smoking  took their toll. Really, people with asthma and emphysema shouldn’t be smoking but  suggestions that he stop smoking fell on deaf ears as you’d expect.

Last week, Rick was suffering from a particularly bad chest infection. “Rick, get to the doctor’s, this is ridiculous. ” He must have felt gruesome because he did exactly that.

While he was there he collapsed and suffered heart failure. I suppose if you are going to collapse then the best possible place to do it is in a building full of doctors. He’s always been jammy like that, our Rick.

He was given CPR and then taken to our local hospital critical care unit where he was put onto a ventilator, dialysis and all manner of other things I don’t even have names for. Tubes, drains, sensors, clips, bottles seemed to be coming in and out of him  from every angle.

It turned out that Ricky had developed pneumonia which was just too much for his already overworked organs to deal with. He suffered multiple organ failure and sepsis.

For the last few days  the family and a couple of close friends of his have been with him almost constantly, taking it in turns to sit with him, chat to him, stroke his hair and listen to the constant beep beep beep of his life support machines.

Yesterday morning I  got the call we’d all been dreading. “Get the family together and get up to the hospital as soon as possible.”  At the  hospital we were informed gently and sensitively by the doctors that Ricky wasn’t responding to any treatment, in fact his  condition continued to deteriorate  despite massive medical intervention.

The decision was made to turn off his life support.

We  all said our goodbyes individually and then we surrounded his bed, stroking his head and holding his hands as his life support machines were turned off.

It took him less than five minutes to die. He slipped away listening to his favourite song ever, ‘Never Before’ by Deep Purple.

We don’t know if he was aware of what was happening at all, if he knew he was dying. We don’t know if he heard the nurse telling us how it would happen.  We don’t know if he heard or understood that we were going to turn off his machines and kill him by doing so.

We don’t know if he heard us tell him that we love him.

I do know that when I noticed a tear in the corner of his eye as his life left his body I fell apart.

That tear will haunt me until the day I die.

My funny, clumsy, clever, cheeky, irreverent, unreasonable, amazing brother, it has been an honour to be your sister.

I love you.

Copyright Copyright



Life, love and loss

Life has a way of taking over sometimes and just getting in the way of living – if you see what I mean.

No? Ok. let me explain.

Boofuls and I set off to Devon with Douggie the doggie, mostly for a nice end of summer break but also to view a couple more properties for sale. Almost from the moment we set off we were beset with difficulties and odd events. I’m not going to bang on about them – mostly because of a very inspiring post by Vanessa, my Farfetched friend – you can find the very post here.

Remember the cousin who got married earlier this year and then died a few days after? Well, On the way to Devon, although it isn’t really on the way at all, we decided to stop off to see my uncle and surviving cousin in Swindon. Having told them that we’d get a hotel for the night they suggested that we stay in my deceased cousin’s house as her husband was away for the weekend and had said we could have the run of the place. “How very nice of them, that’ll be lovely.”

They seemed a little bit tense when we got there and there seemed to be a bit of an atmosphere but we put it down to the fact that they are very shy and we don’t see them that often. The conversation was a bit hard going at times but we spent a very nice evening with them, going out for a very nice meal in a very nice dog friendly restaurant. All in all very nice. Until……… cousin dropped a major bombshell. BOOM!

What is it with my family and major announcements in public places? For Gawd’s sake! There’s another story there but I’ll save that one for another day.

Cousin’s announcement forced me to release a couple of skeletons from the family closet. I felt like I had the starring role in an Alan Bennet play. It was awful. The news, which I have no choice but to pass on, will reverberate around the family for some time. The more I think about it the further I can envisage the shockwave and repercussions spreading.

It would appear that the cancer that took my cousin’s life is genetically linked.

Eventually it dawned on me that I would be have to tell the rest of the family. Withholding this little nugget of information could cost a family member or two their lives.

It’s no way to start a holiday.

We decided to have an early night.

As I carried out my evening ablutions I realised that my dead cousin’s toothbrush, make up wipes and other womanly paraphernalia were dotted around the bathroom.

As I walked into our bedroom for the evening the first thing my eyes fell on was an urn. Oh no! It can’t be! It was. An urn with my dead cousin’s ashes in it – in front of the urn were the dried flowers from her wedding. Her dressing gown hung on the door and the fan that cooled her as she lay dying was on the bedside table next to her bed, the bed we were about to sleep in. Oh!!! No no no no no no!!

I loved my cousin dearly. I understand what an honour it was that her husband allowed us not only to stay in their house but in their bedroom but OH MY GOD! Boofuls and I were both extremely uncomfortable with the whole situation. I felt like I was desecrating a shrine. Why oh why didn’t we stay in a hotel as we’d planned?

So there we are, dear reader. Our plans for a pleasant evening with family turned into a major life event, the ripples from which will be spreading out far and wide for some time.

A perfect example of life getting in the way of living.

This was only day one of this trip. Tune in later for more tales from the same trip.