Thursday, 29 March 2012

Hello? Why are you all queuing for fuel?

I am totally baffled. I went to my local Sainsburys today and I could hardly get into the car park for shopping for the huge queue at their petrol station.

Was the petrol exceedingly cheap? No. Was there a national shortage? No. Why could this be then? Well, apparently some Government Minister opened his mouth and suggested we buy it now quickly, stockpile in fact, in case of action by the tanker drivers. Notice the 'in case of' part of that sentence? They have not gone on strike yet. They are still in talks. In fact, even if they *do* go on strike, they have to give us all 7 days notice before they do. How kind of them.

So, all the people queuing up now desperately filling up their cars are likely to need more petrol before any strike takes place. Now, you lot queuing at the pumps, do you see how silly you are? In fact, you are actually fuelling (pardon the pun) the problem with your manic buying. You are, no doubt, the same people who buy up the whole bread and milk isle at Christmas as heaven knows the shops may run out or you might as they are closed for what? One whole day, maybe two?

Yes, I remember what it was like in 2000 when the blockades took place. I had started a new job and couldn't get to work 3 days later. Mind you, nobody much could unless they walked or lived on a good bus route. It was no big deal. Then, as now, I refused to use a local garage as the franchise owner had put their prices up to some astronomical amount - their forecourt was empty and it served them right! Today, I see our local BP garage has done the same. They have raised the price of unleaded fuel from 140.9 two days ago to 146.9 today. Greedy sods. I was stunned to see a few people in their buying, but nothing like the queue at Sainsburys for the 140.9 stuff. Let me also think about that for a moment. 140.9. Per litre. WTF is happening to this country?

Anyway, I'm not rushing anywhere to buy petrol as I have half a tank and anyway, I can't fit any stockpiled jerry cans into my garage as it's packed already with 1st class stamps and pasties ;-)

Monday, 19 March 2012

This morning I shall mostly be....

I was busy washing up (yes, I know, I should get a dishwasher) and was listening to local radio when they played Adam and the Ants song 'Ant Music'. I've not heard that in a while and it brought back some great memories and made me think about the kids of today. Gosh, that made me sound really old didn't it!

When I was younger than I am now (I may be older in age but still as loopy as I was at 18 I'm pleased to say), as a generation, we had so many options open to us for trying out different identities. Of course I don't mean stealing a passport and going all Bourne, but I travelled down the road of many styles in a period from the 70s through to the end of the 80s (and maybe a tad beyond).

I have been a:

  • Mod - more two-tone I guess with the black and white dresses
  • Punk - bondage trousers so tight I could hardly walk and I positively rattled with chains! I had the best black boots with skull fastenings ever made.
  • Rocker - gotta love some black leather, jeans and a motorbike
  • Ant person - you could pin almost any feather or ribbon to your clothes so long as you had a white stripe across your face. I deserted him when he went all Prince Charming
  • Numanoid - just a big ol' grrrrrrrr for Gazza with the black suit and white hair. I would happily have met him down in the park
  • Goth - all black, my favourite

My hair joined me in my adventures and has gone many different shades of brown through orange (not intentionally - bad use of hair dye), black and blonde. I tried white hair but as close as I could get with all the colour in mine was a white on top, orange in the middle and pink at the bottom - not really what I wanted! Mind you, you would probably be charged a lot if you asked for that in a salon ;-)

I wish I had some photos but there were no digital cameras for us back then and I recall my parents only took photos on holidays or for special occasions as it could be up to a year before the film was full and developed!

I recall my mum telling me she had been quite embarrassed when I walked off down the road for the first time with my boyfriend both dressed in full Adam and the Ants regalia. Ribbons in hair, feather boa sewn down the side of trousers, military jacket, thick make-up - and that was just him! Her friend said we looked fantastic and very colourful. I was surprised it had bothered her as it wasn't the first of my escapades into the dressing up box of teenage years but it possibly was the boldest.

I recall going to our local fair down by the leisure centre. There was always a fight or two between rival groups. However, for some reason, no-one picked one with the Ant People. I suspect they throught the boys all dressed up in feathers and make-up were either hard as nails or likely to run away screaming so they just left us alone :)

My eldest daughter is now 13. I like most of the music she listens to and haven't yet got old enough to even move away from Capital or Kiss to Radio 2 in the car, but the kids of her age seem to have no-one to follow like we did. No-one in the charts has any specific style culture that the girls (and boys) can get into, buy the clothes and walk around like. They simply all look the same. You can see it when you go past any school at the end of the day. A set of monotone clones walking along. No-one stands out.

Do you know, I still miss the days of dressing up (not like that you naughty lot), black make-up, lipstick, nail varnish and the wildest of clothes and tottering off down the street (I almost always had staggeringly high heeled shoes or boots - no DMs for me!).

Roll on my next birthday. Maybe I'll make it a punk/goth/Abba (yeah, I can mix it up) party! :)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mothering Sunday

There is something super special about Mothering Sunday when you have little children. I'm not sure who is more excited about it - me or them!

Us girls have all been unwell lately so unfortunately my morning started rather early at 3.30am with the 1 year old coughing. I joined in the coughing chorus at that point and we continued together until 6am when hubby got up. I had been mostly rocking, cuddling and patting her up until that point. It seemed neither of us could lay down properly without a coughing fit starting again. However, I got to go back to bed until 8am which was as long as hubby could hold the 3 year old off from waking me up with her card and presents.

The work that had gone into her card, made at nursery, was impressive and I know it has taken her about a week to do. She even has tried to sign her own name in it :) She went out with daddy yesterday to pick flowers for me too (a quick roadside snatch of daffodils). Well, she wanted to pick the ones we had planted in the garden but that seemed somewhat self defeating ;-)

1 year old had bought a card - very clever of her - and signed with her own handprint. Of course 3 year old had signed it too, just for good measure. A nice box of chocolates came with that one.

It melts my heart having two wonderful little girls beaming at me and so excited. 1 year old has no idea why she is so excited but her sister is and that's good enough for her! :)

The teen remembered this morning too would you believe. A lovely phone call followed by a sweet message on Facebook. So, a fantastic day so far and I'm sure it will carry on. Even the sun is popping out :)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Fairies in the house

I don't know why, but it never occurred to me that my 15 month old would enjoy dressing up with her 3 year old sister. Today, I brought the little dressing up box down from their bedroom and for the past 2 hours, they have been dressed as fairies playing around the house.

If you ask the 15 month old where her magic is, she wanders off and fetches a little wand which she then proceeds to use on toys and me (mainly by bashing me on the head with it). This is totally delightful to her older sister who is running around with a much posher magic wand with silvery strands hanging off it - like those you put on your Christmas tree and find around the carpet for the next 3 months afterwards.

It's made me think that perhaps I need to get some more dressing up things. Who says girls can't dress up as pirates (me hearties). As I've sold quite a few bits and pieces on eBay recently, it feels like a good time to invest in some more fun imaginary play stuff for the two of them. By that I mean things they can use their imagination with not me saying "here, have some imaginary toys" - I'm not that mean!

If only Woolworths were still around in the High Street.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Slapped Cheek Syndrome

My 3 year old has picked up Slapped Cheek Syndrome. Not something I was really aware of until I had a friend, many years ago, whose little boy got it whilst she was pregnant. It has also been around her nursery at Christmas but we thought it had run its course.

She suddenly became quiet on Sunday evening and wanted to go to bed early. Monday came and she wanted to go to school but had quite a red cheek on one side. I suspected she had just laid on one of her multitude of toys in bed! Anyway, she didn't want breakfast and was a little more sedate than usual so I told her teacher this and they would keep an eye on her. An hour later I was called to pick her up as she wasn't very well and had temperature develop. Her other cheek had a king of spidery redness developing too. The school suggested it was Slapped Cheek as they had seen quite a bit of it recently.

As a rule, it's a mild virus which causes, as the name implies, the childs cheeks to go red like they have been slapped and is often accompanied by a rise in temperature for which Calpol is the good old fall back. Of course, as with many of these childhood diseases, you only know your child has got it once the infectious part has gone!

What amazes me about this virus is that so few people are aware of it. This is worrying as it can cause problems in a fetus and you would therefore think that the NHS would raise awareness for pregnant women.

I do appreciate that if they were to list every disease that could affect you when you are pregnant, you could find your booking-in visit lasting 4 hours, but there are some that are very common (even if relatively unknown to most people) that perhaps should be highlighted.

So, we are happily snuggling on the sofa watching various DVDs whilst the end of this virus runs its course.

You can find out some more about the syndrome here.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Just the one stiletto Mr Chan?

I've had a bit of an eBay nightmare this past week. All to do with changing my email address on it and PayPal but the fact that it's wonderfully self-populating fields seem to like to stick in the email of their choice, not mine. It's caused a bit of grief, a lot of emails and some raising and cancelling of invoices but I'm almost there.

It made me think about some of the oddities that you can get with eBay and reminded me of a story.

A few years ago, I decided, for the first (and last) time to buy a pair of shoes on eBay.

I bought this lovely looking pair. Strappy, stilettos for summer in a beautiful light purple. No, clearly they are not the pair in the picture but now I *really* want those!

I was excited about getting them. The one you could see in the picture (which was kind of over the other one that was laying down) looked so pretty.

The box arrived. I opened it and stood back. The left hand one was perfect - brand new - but the right hand one was completely worn out! I mean it, the sole was shredded, straps across the foot totally ripped. Who wore this shoe? Someone with one foot in plaster?

I thought it was a joke or a mix up so I complained to the seller who said, oddly, that I was lying. What? Err....hang on.....why would I lie and make up such a bizarre story? I said I'd send them back so not much point lying was there. A bit of too-ing and fro-ing later and I sent him (yes, it was a bloke doing all the wrangling so don't ask) some photos of said shoes.

Bang to rights huh? It gets stranger.

He emailed me back - and this is where it gets really surreal - and copied in two men from a martial arts organisation! WTF? Had I come across a one-legged, transvestite, taekwondo club?

I replied to his, again, aggressive email and he begrudgingly agreed to refund my money if I paid postage to get the shoes back to him. You have to be kidding me you total loser! At this point, you can well imagine, I'd become bored of the whole matter and for the sake of £6 and a load of hassle, I threw the shoes in the bin.

I did email to ask which of the men had worn the shoe out (and copied some random martial arts organisations that I knew of and a welding company into the email just for good measure - sorry if you got a weird email *cough*) and left it at that. Strangely, I never heard back.

I'm sure there are a lot more odd eBay experiences out there but I think my single shoe must come close to one of the most bizarre.