Thursday, 21 August 2008

alone at last

The decorators left today. The scaffolders came to take the scaffolding away. We are, it seems, alone at last. I say alone. We are alone amongst the dust. Dust that has not been accumulated from skin or human hair, this is proper dust, plaster dust, dust that permeates every page in every paperback on every shelf.

Our neighbour has a cleaner. She popped round to quote to clean the house from top to bottom. She costs more per day than the painters. I could buy a very nice pair of shoes as a reward for doing it myself. The temptation to buy her in, though, is strong, stronger than builders' tea.

I have a meeting tomorrow. A meeting about knitting. Those that know me that this is a dream come true. I won't be just ranting and raving about yarn to those that tolerate my funny little hobby. I will be discussing knitting with someone who might, just might, pay me to help others knit. I'm a little excited. I will be more excited if I can find something to wear that hasn't gone a funny dust colour.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

questions of great importance

1. The Olympics - why?

2. The Olympics - have all sporty men lost their body hair in some freak Beijing depilation accident?

3. The Olympics - how many times can we hear the same news about the same medals?

4. The Olympics - am I missing a sport appreciation gene? How did this happen? Should I seek a cure?

5. The Olympics - are we going to have to be relentlessly sportified for the next four years? I will have to emigrate.

6. The weather - why do we have summer at Easter and winter in the summer?

7. The weather - will I ever get my washing dry?

8. The summer holidays - why have my children become agoraphobic? Should I be pleased it's saving the tread on my tyres and revel in this activity? Should I be concerned at their complete lack of interest in days out? Are they understimulated? Will they look back and bemoan their summer slothfulness?

9. The summer holidays - why do packed lunches take twice as long to make in the morning as the night before?

10. The summer holidays - why does five weeks seem like a prehistoric era at the beginning and a gnat's life by the end?

Friday, 15 August 2008

so near....

Can it only be a week since I was sitting looking out across un vallee francais and slowly sleeping off my years of sleep deprivation? Yes, I think it can.

My house still appears to be the epicentre of masculinity although 5 days on I'm slightly more used to it and feel comfortable in the presence of our lovely builders.

We went to the pub last night and had all manner of meals - with chips. Everyone had chips. J had a plate the size of a dartboard and still had sticky toffee pudding for afterwards. If he ever stops playing sport he'll be the size of a sofa.

I've escaped for a few minutes as the beloved appears to be getting stressed on the phone and as him getting stressed makes me more stressed I decided to decamp to my neighbour's house for a wee bit of blogging and some piece and quiet. I suspect he's wondering where I am.

We've decided to get some decorating done next week which is impacting on my usual summer holiday lie-ins. I've worked out that I'm likely to be able to squeeze in four. This may be reduced to three if I can't get school shoes by the end of next week.

I took the small people to Clark's yesterday. I used to love Clark's but I'm not sure what has happened. They make trainers that don't look like trainers and school shoes that look very impractical. It's a mystery. Anyway, J's feet were measured, two pairs of shoes were proffered that weren't actually his size, an insole was offered but only one that I would have to cut down to fit. Now, am I being picky to expect that a shop offering shoe fitting would actually send you out of the shop with shoes that fit or, make them fit? It was also suggested that I could phone head office and order the right sized shoes but would have to pay p&p. I could then make another trip to the shop to make sure they fitted and if they didn't I could return them but not get my p&p refunded. It was like being in a podiatrically parallel universe.

Right, I can't hide any longer. I must return. However, I am armed with some good news - for me anyway.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

time for tea

The optimum gap between two cups of tea is, quite coincidentally, two hours. I have learned this and many other truths from our builders. I was a little shocked by their sheer numbers yesterday but today there are only eight in the house so I feel a little more relaxed.

The beloved and I spent the evening on the sofa watching Dragon's Den. It reminded me of when we first moved in together when we would buy singular pieces of furniture as and when we could afford them. Our house had the required minimalist camping look last night, complete with dust sheets and bare wires.

Progress is being made - we now have a totally tiled shower room and the rain has stopped long enough for our external decs to be decced. Gales are forecast this evening though so I expect to spend the evening worrying about the scaffolding.

The small people are being quite amenable. As long as the day is punctuated by playing supermariokart on the wii, they appear to be able to rub along nicely. It is lunchtime, however, so I need to get them fed before the sugar levels drop.

Monday, 11 August 2008

home sweet home

We've got the builders in. We had the builders in while I was away. I am now back at home. It's been 4 hours since the promptest of electricians arrived and already I have despatched the kids to my friend's house and I have decamped to my neighbour who is currently admiring giraffes and other non-British wildlife.

I wish I'd stayed in France another week. I was almost starting to feel human again after 6 full days of TLC and general lazing about. It was hot, I swam every morning and I didn't have to cook - what's not to like? Nothing, that's what. I don't have to cook here but that's because the Rayburn doesn't appear to be connected to its workings for some reason. It isn't, however, quite the same.

I have become a chronic worrier. I'm worried about the noise, the vans parked outside at jaunty angles, the random crashes and whining saws. I can feel myself fizzing with anxiety. I feel better now I'm in front of a keyboard. I think I need to do a little restorative surfing to steel myself for a return to the kitchen.

Our builders, however, are lovely and charming. Yes, I said charming. They are unfailingly funny and polite. We are blessed with the builders but, from my point of view, decidedly cursed with the building and the decorating and the fixing and the banging. It makes me shudder. I do not know how we did it twice before.

I was unable to enter this year's show despite having 4 photos, a scarf and a pair of socks to show off. We were stuck in traffic around Bristol and I missed the deadline. I was disappointed, especially as there weren't too many entries and I might have got another certificate. The same lady who won the cup last year won it this year. Maybe next year I could give her run for her money.

Since travelling from France we also took a family trip to Londinium. The beloved and the offspring went to Wembley, I went to Tate Modern to see the Cy Twombly exhibition. Now, there's a painter if ever I saw one. I also discovered a discount art shop on my long walk to Leicester Square and managed to get my random, yet good value purchases back up to Queensbury on the Jubilee Line.

I felt like an art bulimic. By the time I'd been around the Tate, had a shop browse, looked at some other stuff at the South Bank and bought supplies, I never wanted to see a paint brush again.