Tag Archives: funny

New life, new blog?

25 Sep

images For those of you who have followed my blog in the past my apologies. What a rubbish blogger I’ve been. Surely, if you look up blogging in the dictionary it’ll mention regularity, consistency, keeping in touch, blah, blah, blah. But life got in the way of my blogging. And now life has changed and I’m not sure if my blog should to?

 

Let me fill you in. Very quickly. I have now moved across to the other side of the world to a tiny red dot on the map that you and I know as Singapore. Yep, me, the hubby (who still travels to here, there and everywhere), the three kids and even the mad Labradoodle upped sticks.  About two months ago in fact, we all said our goodbyes – more of that another time – left all we knew and loved behind and came to this mad place to start again. I am now an expat.

We had plenty of time to get used to the idea and make our plans. Pah! We had loads of time to organise ourselves (well actually I did most of the organising). Pah! We had lots of time to get to know about life out here. Pah! We planned, made decisions, chose schools wisely, found somewhere to live without compromising (too much), made contact with fellow expats (my new buzzword it seems), asked dozens of questions. So, we were ready. Pah!
 

How wrong we were. It has been an interesting experience to say the least and one we were not prepared for at all it turns out. I have stories stored in my head to tell you, anecdotes to share, quirks to ponder with you, wonders to wonder over. Shall I though, shall I? Here I am. Still a reluctant housewife. But different. For a start I can’t even say I’m a housewife now as I have help (definitely more of that later). Everything is different. I’m different. But still I need to write. So, tell me. Does the blog stay or should I start a whole new one? I’ve made a start – take a look fivegomad.wordpress.com. Should the blog be brand new and stand alone. Should I combine the two or start anew – and maybe even improve the poetry content?! For now, thank you if you have returned after my intermission. I promise I’ll try to keep in touch. Be lovely if you did too. Please take part in my poll to get the ball rolling. For now, here are a few images to get you in the mood. TRH

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The beautiful shop houses. Hubby said we couldn’t live in one of these. Not practical apparently. Such a killjoy!
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Bishan Park – our local park where Woody and I love to stroll and people watch.

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Preeety! The start of the festival of lights in China Town.
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40 year old teenagers

9 Jun

older-women-dancing2-300x226Has anyone else noticed that more mature adults (when I say mature I’m referring to anyone over 30) are out partying than there used to be? Now either I never noticed them before or – and I suspect this is more the case – it is no longer true that once you have children you don’t set foot outside the door.

I don’t remember my mum and dad going out more than a handful of times when I was growing up. We used to go out as a family, but only to Aunt’s and Uncle’s houses. A highlight would be a family party or wedding. We never went to a pub, restaurant or anywhere like that. I remember family parties where maybe mum was a little tipsy, but again these were few and far between. And as for my Dad, he never drank any way.

But it seems much more acceptable nowadays for parents to leave the kids at home (supervised of course) and let their hair down at the local pub. It’s not alien to see children in pubs anymore. It isn’t uncommon  to see a group of older women partying their hearts out and downing shots at the bar. Which is fine. Isn’t it? It’s great that women – and men – can now bring up a family without losing touch with friends, or themselves.

But, does it go too far when you look around a nightclub and an older gentleman is cutting some shapes on the dance floor whilst a group of mums are necking alcopops at the bar. And the young adults (who we expect to be there) are hiding in the corner wondering if any of their parents friends are there.

I myself have found myself with hangover at the weekend without even planning a night out. What starts out as a quick drink at the local cricket club whilst the boys train, turns into an impromptu late night drinking session with friends. Which is fun at the time. But then I wonder are we setting a good example to the kids? Should they see us all drinking so casually? Does this breed a relaxed attitude to drinking that can prove dangerous later on?

Hopefully we have given them a set of values that includes respecting alcohol.

We seem to live in a much more social society nowadays. All towns and shopping centres are full of cafes and restaurants that are usually packed with families and friends enjoying a meal together. Where going out for dinner used to be treat; something you only did on a special occasion, now it doesn’t seem to be. For most people I know at least, it’s a regular occurrence. We, as a family, often eat out and it’s something we enjoy doing. Obviously I appreciate that this is much to do with our lifestyle and having the funds to do this. But again, I don’t remember there being this option when I was younger.

There’s a whole market dedicated to girls weekends away nowadays too. With ‘experiences’ from pole dancing and burlesque to cupcake making and horse riding. Many of them are aimed at ‘hens’ who are looking at ways to celebrate their last “weekend of freedom.” It seems most bride-to-be’s now are no longer satisfied with a simple night out at their local wine bar  and restaurant with a few friends. Whole weeks are now spent with girl friends, drinking, dancing and dressing up, before they commit to the love of their life. And the men are getting in on the act too with just as many stag parties competing for bar space. Apart from the fact it is more than one night partying, another difference I see is that the age range of those going is huge. From the teenage sister to the game for a laugh Nan – they all join in on the fun. And good for them eh?

hen partyI was recently invited on my first hen weekend and went along not really knowing what to expect. We all had a great time and I can now say I’ve gone out dressed as a sailor. The drinking was fairly tame and I spent most of the weekend laughing, which is always a good thing. But you couldn’t walk fifty metres in the pretty seaside town we were staying without bumping in to another hen or stag do. I pitied the poor locals who spend their everyday life dodging men dressed as wonder woman and women wearing neon pink curly wigs.

So whilst I may wonder if it’s all a bit much; over 30’s acting like teenagers, I confess to being part of it every now and then. Maybe it’s just that we didn’t party enough when we were teenagers and are making up for lost time?

If only I’d invented that…

24 Apr

There are certain things in life we all wish we’d invented – the wheel, bread, comfy shoes etc. Things that we know would either have made us a fortune, famous, successful (always very different things!) or just solved an annoying problem.

It occurred to me the other day that bag clips were a genius invention. Recently, when wandering around a famous Swedish store with my friend I saw they had a huge bag of them for sale and pounced on them. My friend didn’t even know what these amazing devices were for! (I did wonder if she was having me on, after all, what planet are you from that you haven’t seen these must-have gadgety gizmos?)

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I gave her a number of uses for them without even blinking. The first time I bought them I actually whooped with joy at finally owning them. Now I know that’s weird, but they are so Goddamn useful. No more frozen veg falling out in the freezer drawers, no more stale half-eaten bags of crisps or popcorn in the cupboard (weeeell, ok, something do the bags up with for a little while in between bowls in the evening). Say goodbye to those fiddly tie things you could use, say hello to clever little clips.

Bags of pasta, sugar, flour, dried fruit, nuts, you name it, I can clip it. Ok, so I’m a fan. But, imagine if I’d invented them? How clever of me!

Zips – they’re quite good too aren’t they. That’s an invention that required some brains, don’t you think? Getting those little teeth to join up – and stay joined up. Many a chest, groin area, bag, tent etc. owe a great deal to the humble inventor of the zip. Keeping things so neatly held together without fear of popping or bulging. And the sound a zip makes – what came first I wonder, the name or the noise?

ZZZZZZIIIP. Brilliant!

Other inventions I wish I’d thought of? Scale filters in kettles. Couldn’t live without them. Nothing I hate more than getting to the end of a good cup of tea and catching a bit of scale – yuk! So many every day things that I would have been happy to invent – kitchen tongs, cotton buds, hooks, notebooks (I LOVE a notebook!). Therefore leaving the light bulb, radio signal, telephone and computer to those inventors who have slightly more time than me.

Talking of which, something I wish I could invent? More time in the day. Not more time in the day every day, just some days. Those days when you get to that time  when you ought to be thinking about cooking dinner and really can’t be bothered or you realise you haven’t got anything sorted at all. When you are in the middle of clearing out that cupboard/room/wardrobe you’ve been putting off for months and you notice you need to go and get the kids from school. Or when you are having such a great day you want it to go on just a little bit longer, when the kids are playing in the garden in the early evening or when you’re out with friends laughing so hard it hurts. I wish I could invent a clock that would let me just put the hands back a couple of hours, or at least stop for a bit.

Back to more practical things. I wish I could invent a machine that could take socks out of the washing machine, find its matching pair – because I can NEVER find that other half – pair them up and pop them away. In my house, with three sets of boys, socks on the go all the time it’s getting more difficult to tell whose is whose. And of course, that sock monster is forever showing up.

From this…..                                    to this.

socks1       socks

Oh, and a device that records what my husband says.

I don’t mean a kind of bunny-boiling, 007 spy type device. Just a little natty something that I can go back to when necessary. To remind him that he DID agree to that extra light outside that the builders have now wired in (in fact, it was his idea), that he DID say he’d put the bins out before coming to bed and that he DIDN’T tell me he was away that particular week. You know, the kind of times men claim women have selective memory.

Perhaps I should give it a go…

Aside

I did it!

31 Mar

For those who were wondering I did it.

I bit the bullet. I decided, as a grown woman I would give myself permission to be completely frivolous.

I plucked up the courage to face that place that can be a little scary.

I parted with my hard-earned cash.

I looked them in the eye and won.

I bought the shoes!

Yes, they are gorgeous, delicious, delectable, beautiful, stunning, sexy, power-inducing.

Are they comfortable?

Are they heck, but who cares!

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Life lessons

29 Mar

Having had my youngest son at home for the past few days (his school has been shut due to fire damage – that’s a whole other story!) it’s made me seriously consider what it would be like home schooling him. Or any child.

BLOODY NIGHTMARE! howeork

I have thought about it in the past and did once threaten the local education authority with it when we were trying to get him a place at a special school. But, when it comes down to it there’s no way I’m cut out for it. Neither is he.

Much to my constant chagrin, he never comes home with homework. His teacher assures us this is because she “doesn’t want to push him as he’s doing so well in class.” However, last week he was set a project to do at home – the Romans.

Now, I’ve got nothing against the Romans. In fact, they were a fascinating part of history. But, really?

Having been born with that extra chromosome my son struggles with learning the most basic of things sometimes. Remembering that the little hand has to be pointing at the 7 –  and not the 5 – before he can start waking the whole house up with his loud ‘singing,’ for example. The concept of our time is hard enough, let alone things that happened to people he has no understanding of in a time he can’t comprehend.

horrible histories

Anyway, I thought I’d make the most of this extra time together and get going on the project. I tried to find some funny, but educational stuff on the I-player. Horrible Histories came up trumps. He especially liked the bit where they showed the Roman throwing up after gorging on food. Oh, and he loved the belching too. We then went to a local museum (a tiny place in a local library-come-theatre that I have NEVER visited in the whole of my life living 5 minutes away) where there were some Roman artefacts on display. A bracelet apparently, and a spoon. He took one look and walked off and started pounding on a ships bell that was ridiculously easy to access.

At home I tried to get him to write down some of the things we saw. But no, he wasn’t having any of it. No matter how I dressed it up, the Romans are boring him. And not because the Romans were boring. Because he cannot work out what the hell I’m talking about.

It makes me wonder why they are trying to teach him this stuff? (More’s the point WHY AM I?)

Is he ever going to use it? Surely there are more important things I could be helping him with? He’d be better learning how to count out his change in a shop. It would be more useful if he was taught how to cross the road safely. How to order what he wants in a restaurant. How to read a tube map or work out where a bus goes.

All of these things will be much more relevant to him than the Romans.

The same goes for all of us though. I often wonder why we weren’t taught how to make the perfect yorkshire puddings at school. Life would be so much better if I could only get this right. No one at school taught me the rules for washing clothes either.  I remember my mum saying darks, lights, colours – that’s it. But what are ‘lights’ exactly? When you’re faced with a pair of Bright Red and white Chicago Bulls shorts – what are you supposed to do then? No, that’s not a lesson at school is it? My husband appears to have attended a different washing lesson to me. His lesson was from the school of ‘chuck it all in and see how it goes.’

Social skills. Here’s something severely lacking for many people. How to greet someone politely, confidently and with ease. How to make conversation. How to look someone in the eye and tell them you don’t actually agree with what they are saying.  Social etiquette can make or break a person. But do they teach this in school? Nope.

Instead we learn Pythagoras’ theorem and the square root of a number I can’t even envisage. Oh, and how to ask someone to “close the window” and “open the door” in french – who? I don’t know, maybe a french butler type person. I can only imagine.

Obviously there are many lessons learnt at school that are invaluable and I would never say it was a waste of time. But, when you are teaching children with special needs, additional needs or any child that doesn’t fit that perfect round hole, surely the curriculum needs to take second place to their actual real needs?

I’m not saying I’d do a better job of teaching my son; I think I’ve proven that over the past day or so. But I do wonder.

In the mean time I’d better get on with finding out about the Romans as the damn project is due in tomorrow.

Shoes…

15 Mar

ImageI’m really not sure what it is about shoes that many women (and men??) find fascinating, alluring and just so fanciable. Obviously they serve a purpose (although some would say an engineered one) – they keep our feet clean and dry.

ImageBut the fact they can also look gorgeous is what makes them so, so, well, so lustable – I’m sorry, there was no other word that would do, so had to make one up.

Continue reading

The Cleaner

12 Mar

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Now I’ve never professed to be the best housewife and never will do, but I do an okay job – albeit reluctantly (do you see what I did there?)

When it comes to cleaning I’m certainly not the most proficient. That’s not to say I’m dirty or that the house is a constant mess of muddy football kits, dog hair, unwashed dishes and piles of festering laundry. 15% of the week it’s fine. No, I do my bit. I just don’t do spend every day cleaning. But, there is one day a week when the house looks spotless.

The problem is that one day a week is when the cleaner has been. Yes, I have a cleaner. There, I’ve said it. “My name is ‘The Reluctant Housewife’ and I have a cleaner.”

It makes me feel sick saying it out loud. My heart is racing at the thought of others discovering I do not work full time and yet I still pay someone else to come and clean my house. I am hanging my head in shame.

You see I was brought up in a house where cleaning was as essential as cooking dinner. My mum loves everything to be clean and tidy, she actually enjoys cleaning, she’s told me so. My sisters take after her. I don’t. It’s a constant puzzlement to the three of them where I came from really.

As a child I remember Saturday mornings used to be particularly frenzied on the cleaning front and at some point in my early teenage years my job was to ‘dust’ – yes, that’s a job apparently! It was a fairly easy job I have to admit, although my mum did have a love of those china ornaments and had a large collection that included tiny animals, village scenes and a rather spiky boy and girl dressed in Oliver style clothes, that you could slice your finger on if you weren’t careful (I wonder if I’d broken them by mistake during one dusting mission and so the china had chipped?)

Anyway, suffice to say I did my duty when I was told when I had to. No wonder I got out and took a Saturday job so young…

Come Saturday afternoon if one of us wanted to use the bathroom my mum would actually say; “Don’t go in there, I’ve just cleaned it.”  In fact, before she started on the bathroom she would shout loudly to everyone to use the bathroom now or forget it. My poor Dad, God forbid he got the call of nature on a Saturday afternoon. Saturday night, you might be lucky – if you were going out – mum might let you use the bath. If you were careful!

So, I obviously missed this part of mum’s genetic make up as I just don’t see the point.  If something is dirty, then yes, clean it, at some point. But dusting? Every day? Why? Wiping down tiles? In what world? Cleaning skirting boards? Who has time for that?
vacuumVacuuming, now there’s a job I quite like. I think it must be the noise. It’s like, look at me, I’m vacuuming. I have a strong, loud machine and I’m doing it. But generally I can bypass a lot of the cleaning and it doesn’t bother me. Luckily (or not, depends who you are) my husband is not a clean freak either so we get by. Although obviously I’m MUCH tidier than he is and do ALL the cleaning.

A close friend of mine put it very well once and said: “so long as the toilet is clean and there are no dirty knickers lying around I’m happy for anyone to come round.”

This is a philosophy I agree with wholeheartedly. In fact, I’m suspicious of people who clean the house from top to bottom daily, just in case someone pops in. I always feel much more at home when I call in on a friend for a cuppa and she (or he) has the remains of breakfast on the table and dirty bowls in the sink. I feel right at home, and safe in the knowledge that she knows me well enough to know that I don’t judge or care.

But it does also make me appreciate my lovely cleaning lady even more when I do have someone coming I want to impress and she works her magic…

Too old for teenage crush?

7 Mar

I was just wondering at what age do we stop having a crush on our teenage idols?

I know there have been times when, on some flashback to the 80’s programme, I have caught site of a previously swooned-over singer and felt physically ill. I mean, we all let ourselves go a bit, but Cliff, what were you thinking? (Ok, so I was the odd teenager in the late 80’s that liked Cliff Richard, get over it!)

But then, there are times when you may see another of the crushes from your youth and still you swoon. A small sigh may escape your lips. There is still that naeive teenage girl belief that there really is a slight chance you may end up together, even now. Even more so now – after all, not many swooners after him now are there? The odds are on your side surely?

And then you prattle on to your teenage son about the time you saw them live at blah, blah and how their music was sooo amazing. Your son meanwhile is giving you ‘that look.’ The one that says “get a life, and get one away from me.”

This look may be followed by a comical quip about your idol. Or a cutting remark about their music, taste in clothes, paunch, whatever.

But still, in your eyes, that now aged pop star, he’s still the one…♥

psb

Let them eat bread.

6 Mar

Iphone 655

When I decided to go all Martha Stewart and bake some bread the other night, little did I know how much it would end up costing me.

After scrabbling around the nether regions of the cupboard I dig out the neglected bread maker (What? Did you really think I’d be doing it properly?!) and start the fairly simple process of making the bread. I go to bed feeling very smug that my children would wake to the pleasant smell of home-made bread and I could hop out of bed safe in the knowledge that they would go to school with their bellies full of delicious goodness provided by me, their ever-wonderful mother.

And this is pretty much what happened. My eldest son, always grateful for food that’s in date, freshly made and plentiful, nodded his appreciation, son number two devoured as much as I would allow him and my youngest turned her nose up and had a bowl of Cheerios as usual.

It was when the dog got involved that it all went wrong.

Now being a Labradoodle he is renowned for eating absolutely anything. So, obviously the smell of my delicious offering was too much to resist. Following a shout from my daughter I dash to the kitchen to catch him with half a loaf hanging out of his mouth and a look that dares me to challenge his right to a piece of the action. I bellow at him, realise there’s no chance of taking the bread alive and shoo him out in the garden more concerned about the mess he could make with half of a 2 lb loaf!
Furious, I bundle the kids out the door to school, swearing at the dog under my breath. When I return half an hour later it seems Woody didn’t appreciate the bread as much as he should have.

Piles of sick everywhere.

I admit, a part of me smugly thought “ha, that’ll teach you, you greedy so and so.”

I have to go out so leave him to it. On my return there are more piles of sick and I feel slightly guilty that I’d left him alone.

By the time the kids are home from school I’m pretty much on sick clear up duty every 10 minutes.

I eventually call the vets who talk about yeast poisoning. I rush him over to them and he’s checked over. No, not poisoning, no, nothing stuck in his throat. Just a greedy bugger who ate it too quickly. 3 injections, packet of tablets and over £60 later we leave.

That night I have a meeting of the school PTA so my parents are babysitting. I explain to my Mum what has happened and leave her with the mop and bucket.

When I get back two hours later she looks exactly the same as when I left. Standing in the kitchen emptying the bucket. Apparently he has been sick a few more times.
At quarter to two in the morning I’m still there clearing up sick. At 9am the next day I’m back at the vets.

This time the vet seems more concerned and keeps him in for an endoscopy. They want to check nothing is stuck.

A few anxious hours later the vets call me and say he’s fine. They think he did have a lump of bread stuck somewhere, but it’s cleared now. His throat/windpipe has been scratched, probably because he ate it so quickly! He comes home looking very sorry for himself.

The final bill? Nearly £700. Thank the lord we have pet insurance. There was a slight panic in the early hours of the morning when I recalled a conversation between myself and hubby about cancelling the direct debit by mistake. But, having called the insurers, it seems he reinstated it – phew!

So, the moral of this story? Bread only costs £1 in Asda. It’s a lot less hassle and is probably a lot easier on the throat.

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