Monday, January 11, 2010

White Out

One day left until school starts. Spend day sewing name labels into bigger uniform. Tomorrow, will finally be able to get back to work on book. Tomorrow, will no longer be Officer of Morale. Tomorrow, will not have phone call/ shower/ pee interrupted.

School. Hooray. Switch on comp - power cut.
Local overhead line fault, will fix soon. Watched Electricity Company’s helicopter buzz low over house looking for ‘soon fixed’ local overhead line fault.

Used to power cuts out in sticks. Once off for three days over Christmas with all electric cooker and open fire that smoked. If wind in wrong direction, smoke so bad had to keep all doors and windows open, pointless really.
That Christmas cooked turkey in one neighbour’s oven and borrowed small generator from another. Elderly relatives had to choose between cup of tea or telly – Eastenders won.

Now have LPG cooker and wood burning stove. Feel very smug making cup of tea as helicopter buzzes off.
Phone goes – school’s got power cut too - come pick up sprog. After agreeing realise should have said out of county.
Get sprog. During lunch power comes back on.
Heavy snow is predicted so go to churchyard a day early to swap out Christmas wreaths and flowers.

It has dumped in the night. School is closed. No. 1 daughter celebrates.
Build snowman, middle section of snowman too large – looks pregnant.
Pack away decorations. Missing some baubles. Know I will find them now boxes back in attic.

Had new cordless pc keyboard and mouse from better half for Christmas. He rigs them up. New keyboard has many, many new function buttons encased in plastic. Decide to leave plastic on till I know what they are. Mouse excessively fast with intermittent double click. I cannot control it. New mouse is possessed. Wonder if I should call Vatican for exorcist.

Pregnant snowman starting to lean back and to the left. Have christened him Oliver Stone. Better half straightens Oliver then shows me how to reconfigure new possessed mouse – cancel call to Vatican having been assured new settings will only take moments to get used to. Plastic still on new function buttons. Should read manual.

No.1 demanding to go sledging, oblige. No. 2 non-committal. Gargantuan puppy and better half straining at leash. Better half stands on sled to surf downhill. Face plants and is attacked by gargantuan puppy.

Decide not to inform better half he overcompensated on Oliver, the pregnant snowman. Oliver now starting to lean forward dramatically. Looks like he has ignored Government pregnant safety warnings and has been at the gin.

More snow.
School still closed. No.1 has had 2hrs education this week. No doubt too far behind now to ever catch up. Imagine her failing all future exams, no place at college, no university. Will only be able to get job over salting fries or with investment bank.

News says entire country shut. All schools closed – ha! She’s back in the game.

Better half takes clapped out old Land Rover to shops to get food for friends coming with their 2 girls for much anticipated but now doubtful sleepover.
News has also reported dairy farmers having to pour away milk – resulting in immediate ‘panic buying’. Shelves empty. Those with milk now ‘smug buying’ last of bread.

Go sledging again. Takes 25 minutes to get them wrapped up and 15 minutes to get to top of hill
No.2 has to be dragged up. We last 10 minutes. Gargantuan Puppy has to be dragged back.

Mouse still possessed. Plastic still on. Manual lost but find missing baubles.

Friends not coming. Can’t get car out of road. During phone call can hear wailing from their disappointed girls in background, will soon be matched by No. 1. Get in clapped out old Land Rover and go to them. Roads whited out.

Keep wary eye on fat snow falling outside windows as now contented sprogs eye up friends Christmas toys, open a book on how long No. 1 will wait before asking for duplicates. No. 2 not concerned. Too busy throwing herself down their stairs.

During blizzard, go for walk round nearby park. Watch local youfs impressing each other by walking out on frozen pond. While not wishing to be extra in remake of ‘Omen II’, part of me wants to see them up to groin in icy water. Snow getting worse – decide to go home to guarantee of own toothbrush and clean pants.

Mouse still possessed. Better half puts back old mouse with minimal pouting.

Oliver the pregnant snowman is now kowtowing to setting sun.


News informs 8 inches of snow expected.

School informs closed again tomorrow.

I am just going outside and may be sometime.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Where did that decade go?

It only seems five minutes since the millennium was going to take out every computer on the planet…
Ten years ago I was on a beach in Lanzarote - toasting in 2000 by the glow of a burning surfboard… hang ten dudes.

Not my most memorable New Year - that goes to the time I was doing ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ in the West End, Darlings. Screaming Happy New Year to the rest of the cast I legged it for the station and caught the last train home. As midnight chimed, the British Rail guard came over the tannoy and intoned (in a voice that would have you dialling the Samaritans) “Myself and Derek the driver would like to wish both of our passengers a very happy new year…so…. er…. Happy New Year then…the next station stop is Tonbridge. Tonbridge is the next stop… Thank you.”

Oh the glamour…

Fast forwarding on warp speed, last night I said goodbye to the noughties and hello to the teenies watching Big Ben on tv. As fireworks lit up the London Eye the gargantuan puppy went barking mad at the sound of the more localised explosions. The better half rugby tackled her and I went to check on the sprogs. They had slept through it. Thankfully.

The kids are finally reaching the end of the post Christmas comedown. Not made any easier by the relatives departure. As the in-laws left the building, Christmas was truly over, leaving just piles of bed linen and empty toy packaging to remember it by.

I hate toy packaging.

Not because it overflows our Council micro bin – Living in the country we don’t have that problem. We have a bonfire. Well it used to be, thanks to the wet weather it is starting to resemble more of a compost heap. If it ever dries out I’m wondering if we should actually put a match to it. Any trapped methane could see it explode flatulently over the Sussex Weald. An extremely embarrassing way to check out, one that would no doubt make it into the ‘…and finally…’ section of the local tv news – which is not how I would wish to be remembered.

No, I hate toy packaging because on the one day of the year when you might just get away with a bit of a lie-in, safe in the knowledge your kids are too busy ripping apart packages left by Santa to bother you, they have to come in and blast on the light so they can get you to get the damn toy out of the box. An operation that needs scissors, Stanley knife, pliers, Phillips screwdriver, batteries and the ability to focus - all in short supply in the pre dawn Christmas morning after 4 hours kip.

It never used to be like this. Once upon a time Santa’s elves would make the toys easily accessible to all but the permanently bewildered… That was before the incident at the grotto.

It all started one Christmas morning some years ago. While Santa was luckily enjoying a well deserved lie in, one of the elves took Rudolph and the sleigh for a joy ride and got done for speeding by a belligerent copper who had drawn the short ‘on duty’ straw.

Santa had to pay a fine for having a modified reindeer and the elf was sent on a speed awareness course where he met a union shop steward who insisted upon coming back to the grotto to check out the elf’s working conditions. While the union rep agreed that Santa’s ability to bend the space time continuum did get around going over the 48 hr week, he would only leave if Santa installed CCTV so that random checks could be made on the elf tea breaks.

When the man came to install the cameras he was given the wrong ladder - a candy cane one. He fell, badly injuring his shoulder. At first he was frightened of making a claim but Lawyers for Yule got him compensation and made sure that Santa employed a safety officer - Elf Ensafety. The power went to Ensafety’s head and he is now quite, quite mad.

By Christmas morning, when he gets back from the round, so is Santa. Which is why these days he sees the New Year in on Easter Island, it being the last place Elf Ensafety, and irate parents sick of packaging, would think to look for him.

But, after a break, Santa will be back for more of the magic and so will we. After all, it’s the time of year to celebrate birth and like any birth; the pain of it soon fades leaving only the joy. In 9 months time we’ll start to think that doing it again would be a really good idea, conveniently erasing all memories of sleepless nights and dirty washing.

Happy New Year - There are only 358 days to go till Christmas.