Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Excuse me, you just got my goat

I’m running with one of the Twitter trends today with “Ways to Pee me off”.  I know I’ve blogged about my Room 101’s before (see older post), so I’m venting my spleen purely about overly-used or irritating phrases.  I may be guilty of using some of them myself but there are a few here that I would never use and they just drive me nuts!

I admit that sometimes it’s not necessarily about what’s being said but the tone with which it’s delivered and whether or not it’s coming from the right place with good intentions.

So let’s kick off with …

“Listen …”
Ok, I’m sitting talking to you, what else would I be doing?  Frankly, this word should never be used on anyone but a toddler in need of ‘Super Nanny’.  Please don’t say it to me, unless I appear to be hysterical or having a major temper tantrum.

“I’m not being funny but …”
So if you’re not being funny, why do you need to start the sentence with it?  I just know that I’m not going to enjoy the words which follow and you’ve set me up for a fall.  Think Nessa in ‘Gavin & Stacey’ and it says it all.  This sentence is never followed by a gag, a punch-line or even the hint of a giggle - it’s designed to cause damage.

“To be honest …”
Hmmm?  I would expect you to be honest with me all of the time.  So normally you’re not?

“If I were you …”
Yes, well you’re NOT.  You don’t walk in my shoes and have no right to tell me what you would do if you were me.
This is one of the ones that can be said at the right time to the right person when they are actually looking and asking for advice.  Never without invite.
It should also never be followed by “What you should have done …”  Hindsight is a great thing - don’t we all know that?

“They’ve gone to find themselves”
Hello?  You are where you are.  Running away to a retreat or trekking up Machu Picchu will still mean that you’ve taken the same mixed up person with you.  Deal with what you are, where you are and bloody well get on with it.  Running away means you return to the same ‘you’ - only maybe a bit more relaxed - your circumstances will still be there to overcome.

“We’re going to have a good drink”
So what’s a bad drink?  And why do you feel you need to go out and get absolutely bladdered to enjoy yourself?  It just sounds so pre-meditated and vulgar, as if it’s the be-all and end-all of your evening, rather than the company.

“If I could just stop you there?”
Actually, no, you can’t.  But because you’ve posed it so politely as a question, to make me look churlish if I refuse, I have no choice.  It doesn’t matter that I’m mid-flow with all my thoughts lined up, you’ve lost interest and decided that yours take precedence over mine.

“I did it on accident”
NO!  You did it by accident.  This appears to be a new one that kids have come up with but, I hate to say, it’s filtering into adult lingo.  What on earth is on accident?  I’m sorry it makes no sense to me.

Being a bit of a foodie and addicted to ‘Come Dine With Me’ this one just drives me to distraction.  Let’s put it right once and for all … you make a marinade and you marinate over night.  One is a noun and one is a verb.

Phew!  That feels better.

Oh boy, just heard another one I hate … “What’s for dinner?

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A Week in the Life

Following in the footsteps of the lovely Frances Lewis (motherventing) I’m going to tell you five things that happened last week in the life of a Mummy Misfit.

We collected our son’s GCSE results.  The rain was pelting down and the skies were black (‘pathetic fallacy’, our son told us, remembering this from his English lessons!).  Well, he was right on the money where his English result was concerned - a C grade!  This didn’t really come as a surprise - he may have sprung from the loins of a writer but it’s his least favourite subject - he can spell any word in the English dictionary, has a fantastic vocabulary and the memory of an elephant but, ask him to write a structured essay and it all goes t*ts up!  Anyway, he managed to get 5 As, 3 B’s and 3 C’s.  Considering he took these exams a year early and missed almost two years of schooling due to school phobia (see older post) we were incredibly proud of him.  He achieved the grades he needs to do his chosen A levels - so it all begins again.

We then celebrated with his best friend and his family - a cosy dinner with drinks in the garden to start.  We toasted our boys’ successes with a cool glass of wine whilst the evil mozzies feasted on my deliciously succulent legs.  Gggggrrrr!  What is it with mosquitoes and me?  They just adore my blood and quite simply can’t get enough.  I’ve spent the last few days wriggling about and scratching like a leper. My normally slender ankle turned into a blotchy swollen ‘cankle’ and my calf looked like I had the muscle of a Russian shot-putter.   I HATE THEM … what purpose do they even serve?  I’m thinking of starting a ‘Down with Mozzie’ campaign.  Anyone want to join me or, if not, at least let me know why we have to share the planet with them?

We also had hubbie's sister and brother-in-law over from Australia for a few days.  The British weather was kind to us to begin with but on their last day it delivered what it does best - grey and constant drizzle.  What did we do with our guests who had travelled half way round the world to London?  We went bowling and then returned home to play Guitar Hero!  But then, as another rellie pointed out, I suppose it’s not what you’re doing, it’s who you’re doing it with.  A great time was had by all!  Especially when my sister-in-law decided to be the ‘Granny Go-Go Dancer’ in the mosh pit!  Oh and I also received the most fantastic Mummy Misfit apron from hubbie’s other sister.  It’s just perfect; frills, polka dots, a low cut neckline and even bling on the pocket.

I downloaded and read fellow Indie author Michelle Betham’s eBook, ‘Too Much Trouble in Paradise’.  This confirmed to me that publishers are missing out on a wealth of talent and now ‘sisters are doin’ it for themselves!’ (AKA, collectively with Laurel Mayer, the ‘Fabulous Feisty Indies’).  She whisked me through her plot with sparkling dialogue and the constant niggling question as to who the love-torn heroine would end up with.  Please support this new writer and, if you’re looking for a giggle with some Northern wit in the sunshine, you won’t be disappointed.

The final piece of excellent good news we received this week is that my lovely nephew may finally be well enough to return to his part time job in October after being unable to work since last December.  Let me share this lovely chap with you.  Born prematurely, 38 years ago, he has learning difficulties.  You couldn’t wish to meet a more sociable and lovable guy - the life and soul of any party with a smile that can light a room and some pretty mean dance moves!  Just before Christmas last year he started to have pains in his side with violent bouts of sickness.  He was finally diagnosed with pancreatitis as a gall stone had made its way through the lining of his pancreas.  This could have been life-threatening.  Christmas was a blur for him (and a massive worry for our family) as he was on constant morphine and rigged up to an epidural.  Endless procedures later, he finally left hospital five months later, although still attached to drains and feeding drips.  I don’t know of anyone who could have endured what he went through while still (mainly) managing to keep a smile on his face and a joke for the nurses.  His courage and determination should be a lesson to all of us in our family and I take my hat off to him.  He’s an incredibly special person and a much loved nephew - I hope he knows that - and if my son grows up to be half as decent as him, I’ll be a proud mum.

So that’s a few happy happenings from the past week of a Mummy Misfit.  Who knows what next week will bring, but let’s hope it involves more good news.

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Touch Wood

Are you superstitious?

I like to think that I’m (mostly) a sane and sensible individual, who knows that chucking a smattering of spilt salt over my left shoulder really won’t keep the Devil away … but I still do it!

My best friend always says that, if you light a cigarette from a candle, a sailor somewhere will meet with his peril (weird lot, the Scottish).  If that’s the case, we must be responsible for a boatload of watery deaths by now as we tend to constantly misplace lighters.

My husband, brought up as a good Christian, has no truck with superstitions and will actually defy them just to dismiss them as ‘hocus pocus’.  If there’s a ladder to walk under, he’ll do it with a smile on his face and a spring in his step - makes him look a bit daft but he doesn’t care.

A have a niece who (at about the age of nine) was so obsessed with banging her second elbow if she’d hit the first accidently, I swear she walked around with bruised arms for about a year!  Thankfully she outgrew it as she looked like she was doing some sort of weird hokey-cokey.

In the 80’s I had a lovely Laura Ashley skirt and blouse in matching black floral print (I did say the 80’s - I’m not saying it would be a great look now!).  Whenever I wore this attractive ensemble, something awful would happen: an argument with a friend, a splitting headache or torrential rain to play havoc with my curly perm.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I jumped onto the back of a moving bus (dumb, I know, but I was late) and missed my footing, resulting in me being dragged behind the bus in my floral finery.

I never wore that outfit again!

Going to drama school meant never uttering the word ‘Macbeth’ backstage.  If you should let it slip, you must leave the theatre, spin around three times, spit and then knock to be allowed to re enter.  It’s said that Shakespeare wrote black magic into the witches’ spells and, as the play is so violent and physical, accidents will often happen.  My best friend can vouch for this.  Whilst playing the part of Lady Macbeth at a small theatre in Covent Garden (lunchtime performance, attended mainly by OAP’s) she’d overdone the hairspray to achieve the manic, demented look.  On her final exit with a candle she tripped and her hair began to catch light.  We managed to extinguish her fairly quickly but we heard a couple of biddies leaving the theatre saying, “Oooh, that was so realistic, but I never knew that was how she died, did you?”!

So what are my favourite superstitions?  The ones I just can’t drop, no matter how hard I try?

I’ll never put a new pair of shoes on the table - don’t ask me why, I’ve just had it drummed in to me from a very early age that it’s bad luck and I don’t want to tempt fate.

I won’t pick a flower up from the ground - someone will die!

I make sure I never have crossed knives on the table - an argument will follow.

I won’t burst a crisp packet - someone will lose their job.

I never do washing on New Year’s Day - it washes all your luck away for that year.  (Think this one was made up generations ago, just to give over-worked housewives a day off, but it suits me just fine!)

I always say “Hello Mr Magpie” three times if I see one on his own.  Can get you a few odd looks if you’re alone, but needs must!

I say ‘Bless you with the angels’ to my cats before I leave the house - I believe this keeps them out of harm’s way.

If I put my knickers on inside out, I have to leave them like that for the day despite my husband’s persistent offers to remove them and rectify matters.  Call it laziness, I call it good luck.

Do you have any weird superstitions to add to these - family orientated or otherwise?  Come on, spill the beans.

And, if you’ve been thinking about buying my book but have been putting it off, do it today or bad luck will befall you (only joking!).  Available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Writer's Rant

Dear Publishers       

Today I am hacked off, peed off and miffed.

It’s been a while coming, and I think I’ve done pretty well to hold off to this point, but today it finally hit.

You see, oh Great Ones, you missed out on me.  You let me slip through your net and we’re both losing out as a result.

What’s brought this on, I hear you ask?  Well, on my shopping trip today I saw a ‘proper published’ author signing copies of her books in W H Smith and I just had that little pang of ‘It should have been me’.

An advance from you came so tantalisingly close but, sorry, close is just not good enough anymore.  You backed out on me when the recession started to bite, and I’m going solo with an eBook instead, but now the bitterness is setting in.

I look at my reviews on Amazon and the majority of people who have bought my book say it’s a crime it’s not in paperback.  I also have countless people telling me that they would love to buy my novel if only it was in hard copy.

Doesn’t that tell you something?

It tells me that I have an audience out there who I’m not reaching.  No matter how hard I try, and how much I promote, I’ll always be missing out on a group of readers beyond my grasp.

Had I been a celebrity with a ditzy plot (obviously ghostwritten), I’d be splattered across the shelves before you could say “Jordan”.  But I’m not.  I’m just a little ol’ newbie with a good yarn to tell and (hopefully) the knack of giving readers a giggle.

The fact that I was asked by your top people to start on the sequel to Mummy Misfit (which I dutifully did), and that I’ve also started on my next project, add up to nothing.  The word culls and re-writes I was asked to complete can only have made my book better, but the fact remains I’m an unknown and that’s as far as you can see.

I was told by my agent that you’d given me ‘unprecedented praise for a first time author.’  (I have the emails to prove it!).

But where did it get me?

I’m prepared to spend every single day honing my craft.  There’s nothing I enjoy more than sitting down and working on my next project - I’m a grafter.  How many bloggers do you know who manage to post every day?  At the risk of boasting, I’m also promoting and writing every single one of those days.

Surely I’m worth taking a chance on?

So, publishers, I’m here for the long haul.  This is my dream and you won’t take it away from me.  I’ll keep on with the slog and I WILL make this work.

If you fancy lining your pockets by taking a chance on a newbie, you know where to find me …

… slogging over my laptop and churning out the next book for those who have asked for it.

Where else?

Yours sadly

Mummy Misfit

‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is only available on Amazon for Kindle, PC or iPhone.  Check out my great reviews and if you’re a publisher, get in touch!!  Now also in paperback at Lulu. - because you missed out!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Sound the Trumpets

Today I’m blowing my own trumpet - as an ‘Indie’ author I have no agent or publisher to do my grafting, so I guess it’s down to me.

Selling an ebook is hard work.  Besides promoting and working on my new novel, I blog here every day and try to think of new and innovative ideas to get ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ out there.

One of the things I do is ‘Tweet’ each time I get a new review, so today I’m using my blog platform to show off some of the lovely ones I’ve received in the UK.  Maybe those of you who have considered the book but not yet bought it will be swayed by my happy readers.

Remember this is only a selection, so you can always go to Amazon UK or .Com to check out my others (BTW, I don’t have a bad one yet - hope that’s not tempting fate!)

Here goes:

Miss Mootastic (North West England) - Wonderful weekend read.
Thoroughly enjoyed Diary of Mummy Misfit, its diary format made it extremely easy to read and would be an ideal holiday read. Some fabulous characters in the book a few of which we can all recognise in our own lives. There are parts in the book (too many to mention in this review) that had me laughing out loud. I am now looking forward to the next instalment of Mummy Misfit. Wouldn't hesitate in recommending this book to friends - in fact I already have!

Mandy McSherry - Brilliant!
What an absolutely brilliant book. I went to a state and private school as a child and as a parent. The book is so true to life. I don't normally read humour books, but every page either had me smiling by what was written, or laughing. The main character in the book I could totally relate to, she never quite fitted in the people who had money, but was so nicer than them. It shows what snobbery is like but with such humour. I could not put the book down and look forward to the next one. Well done Amanda.

Margaret P - What a giggle.
I was introduced to this book through a friend who had just finished it but I was reluctant to sit at the PC for hours on end to read it, not being a Kindle owner. The friend insisted as it was such a laugh so I gave in and gave it a go. Thank goodness I did. It really captures the silliness of monied but classless yummy mummies and made me laugh out loud more times that I can count. I really felt for the heroine as she stumbles her way through her new world and I loved the way the author builds up the jokes. A fab ending too and I'm really hoping that there will be a sequel. A crime that it isn't out in paperback as it would make a great light read for holidays Cheered me up, no end.

Tara L - A Kindle store gem
I discovered this book while browsing for a holiday read and wasn't disappointed.  I hadn't heard of the author, but the storyline appealed and the free download sample was as good as any chick lit I'd read in diary format. Brought plenty of laughs and the author perceptively sums up some very recognisable types you meet in the vulgar monied set. This isn't wealth bashing, but it makes you question who is richer. Something for everyone - chaotic family life, school gate competitiveness, gays, a cultural mix - all wrapped up in witty and well captured observations. A definite recommend!! If you like a diary, it's a grown-up Bridget Jones without the snobbery of Rachel Johnson. Should be in paperback.

C McShane (Belfast)
Apparently I was one of the 1st to download this fantastic book - it was also my 1st ever kindle purchase for my iphone. it was fab - really loved it. You relate to the characters immediately and the interaction between the best friends and the "yummy" mummys at the school was brilliantly done. I chose it after a quick free download of a couple of pages and was so delighted I did - I also was a bit dubious about it not being a "proper book" but to be honest, it was easier than I thought - couldn’t put it down and sat up one morning reading it until 4am. Highly recommend the book (and have done to my friends) and I can’t wait for the next book. I had never heard of the author before - but she is great in my opinion. Also following her blog too - hilarious take on life and I wish I was more like her in her outlook on life Keep up the good work Amanda :-)

C.R Wood (Dorset) - Something special
Amanda Egan has written an engaging, delightful and impacting book. I'd agree with all the other reviewers, adding that the pace of the story is excellent and the diary-viewpoint drifts us along naturally with central character, Libby, who arrives at a watershed moment in her life, when Max, her young son is sent to private schooling. Libby and her husband Ned, are introduced to a new and breath-takingly dislikeable set. One moment the reader is laughing and the next, almost in tears with empathy for this beleaguered, but well-intentioned Mummy Misfit. A perfect title! This book really is cleverly written. Perhaps Amanda has touched on the most unnerving aspects of private schooling, but this is an honest book, written in language we can all understand and relate to, which is why it is so successful. Diary of a Mummy Misfit should be swept up by a publisher and given the support and marketing it truly deserves in traditional publishing. Well done to this talented author!

So there you go, trumpet well and truly blown.

Check it out on the Amazon links above - you’ve got nothing to lose but a giggle!

Now also available in paperback at Lulu. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A Stick of Brighton Rock

How many people have you met in your life who you believe are good, through and through?  The type who don’t seem to have a nasty bone in their body.

You must know who I mean - those who you can’t imagine ever having a bad word to say about anyone, but will always see the good in people.

I bet you can count them on less than one hand.

Let’s be honest, most of us have our bitchy side.  I don’t claim to be perfect (far from it!) and I’m often guilty of making a comment about someone (known or unknown) that should possibly have stayed inside my head and never been voiced.

But then you meet those who you know never think badly of anyone.  What a lovely way to live a life. To find yourself in a place where you always see the best - to never judge, criticise or snipe but just accept others for what they are.

I would say that my lovely husband comes pretty close to one of these types but I’ve heard the comments he’s made on the hugeness of somebody’s bottom or the fact that a particular person should never have worn their chosen outfit.  So, sorry hubbie, not ‘nil point’ but possibly ‘sept points’ for niceness.

If we’re talking ‘dix points’ for perfection, I’ve met two of the species - an aunt and an in-law (who I’m not prepared to give any further description of, for fear of embarrassment!)

My aunt has sadly passed away now but I can’t remember her ever uttering a nasty word.  She glowed with ‘niceness’. She giggled through life, and not in a dippy, girly way - she was just quite simply kind, decent and content with herself and others.

My in-law is a quiet person.  They ooze peace and love.  Their presence is calming and silently wise.  A nod of their head can speak volumes.

Oh, for their inner calm and non-judgmental outlook.

Logically thinking, who are we to judge others?  What gives us the right to comment on another’s life or their choices?  Why should we clutter our brains with others’ decisions - whether that’s something as simple as a dodgy outfit or as complicated as drug or alcohol abuse?

Perhaps we all need to remember the quote from ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’: “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”

Would this make us all more forgiving and tolerant of one another if we took this on board?

I know in my heart that I go through life always doing the best that I can by people (and I still find myself in trouble).  I have the occasional bitch but deep down I believe I’m a kind person with a good heart.

I’d still like to be one of the ‘dix points’ group though and, just like a piece of Brighton Rock, have pure ‘niceness’ running right through the core of me.

Where would you put yourself on the scale and how many of the type do you know?

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mushy Brain Days

As I’ve now started work on my second novel, I realise that there are some days when I sit down to write that I could carry on for hour upon hour.  The storyline has written itself and is desperate to get itself out of my head and on to the laptop.  Some nights I have to force myself to stop and go to bed or I would find myself tippy-tapping into the wee small hours.

These are the days I love.  The days I’ve learnt to nurture and cherish.

Because not every day is like that.

There are the days when my brain feels like treacle, words won’t put themselves in order, characters won’t behave and as for the plot - forget it!

I used to panic when I had these days - what if I’d lost the knack and it never came back to me?  But of course the more you panic the more damage you do - beating yourself up never helps to produce more words.

So I quite simply accepted that there are days when it flows and days when it doesn’t - the ‘Bunged-Up Days’.  Once I’d had my epiphany, I realised the importance of making the most of the ‘Flowing Days’ because I never know when I’ll hit the next blip.

I guess I was lucky writing the Misfit Diary because I rarely had a day that I struggled.  It was written in three months but then, of course, took many months of editing and re-writing - it really felt as if it wrote itself and I was just a channel for it.

My next novel isn’t a diary and is slightly weightier in characters and plot, so there are times when I just find the whole process quite daunting.  A book is a huge amount of work.  How did I ever write one in the first place?  The trouble is, once you’ve been bitten by the bug, there’s no getting away from it.

So when I hit the ‘Bunged-Up Days’ what do I do?  If any of you writers out there can identify with some of these diversionary tactics, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know - I’m sure I’m not the only one.

1.. Sit at laptop and look out of window.  Mmm, nice pigeon.
2  Hover fingers over keyboard and wait for the ‘Writing Fairy’ to visit.
3  Look up to see if pigeon has gone yet.
4  Realise coffee is cold and make way to kettle.
5  Clean work surface - this always makes me feel virtuous.
6  Take coffee back to laptop and hover hands again.
7  Type a line, re-read it, delete.
8  Realise coffee is no good without a bar of chocolate.
9  Go to cupboard to get chocolate and feed cat while there.
10  Talk to cat.
11  Feed other cat.
12  Talk to other cat.
13  Return to laptop and find that ‘Writing Fairy’ is still not visiting.
14  Go to loo for inspiration and change of scenery.
15  Wander the house aimlessly, scratching head and cursing.
16  Decide to put some washing on.
17  Go through notes to see if they deliver any clues as to what the hell I should be doing.
18  Start a very intricate doodle and then realise that half of it covers my notes for chapter three.
19  Check Twitter for messages.  Then Facebook.  Then Amazon sales.  Then Hotmail.
20  Realise that today is just not my day!

Come on writers, please, tell me that you too have days like this and keep me company.  Must dash now as I truly believe that Chapter three is calling - straight after I’ve made a cup of coffee!

‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is a tale of not belonging.  Check it out on Amazon and read my reviews too.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Losing my Connection

I’ve had the same mobile for six years and I love it.

Being a technophobe, once I get used to a piece of equipment I stick with it.  My tiny, battered Samsung fliptop does everything I need it to do so why would I want to upgrade?

My son’s always telling me I should get a new one that has apps but, unless it’s going to cook the dinner and do the cleaning, I’m not interested.

I know people who change their mobiles as regularly as they change their knickers and I just don’t get it.  Why put yourself through all the stress of transferring over all your contacts and learning how to use a new phone when the one you’ve got works perfectly well?

I don’t see a mobile as a fashion statement or believe it tells anyone anything about me.  Perhaps I’m wrong there and it’s actually screaming at everyone “Look, middle-aged fuddy duddy who can’t be bothered to move with the times!”

But we have a history, me and my Samsung.  ‘He’ remembers the time I drove out of a supermarket car park with him on top of the car and he lived to tell the tale.

I remember the time he decided to come in the bath with me and, when hubbie heard me screaming and ran into the bathroom, he was being flipped out of the bubbles like a fish and floated through the air until he landed with a thud on the bath mat.

He remembers an awfully long stint of the hair-dryer blowing onto his little nooks and crannies to dry him out and then an overnight sleep in the airing cupboard to finish the job off.

I remember a sleepless night because he might not survive the trauma and that would mean a new phone buddy for me.

He remembers waking up in the airing cupboard feeling pretty clean and, after a shaky start, springing back into action.

I remember the relief and never allowed him to share my bathtub again.

Yep, it’s a marriage made in heaven.  We click and we’re together until the end of time (his or mine!).

Or so I thought …

We were buying a Blackberry skin for a gift the other day when my son spotted a phone deal which equated to the same deal that I’m on now … except … you got a free Kindle with it!

This was enough to have me contemplating mobile divorce.  A Kindle?  I’m a Kindle writer and a massive reader and yet I don’t own one.  I long for a Kindle.  I looked at my little mobile’s face and thought ‘This is the end.  Got to move on, I’m afraid.  Wooh-hoo, and get myself a Kindle!”

The very nice gentleman talked us through the plan and I listened guiltily, unable to believe what I was contemplating.

All was looking great until he mentioned the fact that I would need to check my contract arrangements with my current phone provider.

That’s when things got messy.  One call later, I found out that it would cost me nigh on four hundred pounds to be released from my current plan.  I could buy nearly four Kindles with that!

Now, as I look at my mobile’s smug little face, I know we’re stuck together for another year and he’s stood in the way of me and my Kindle.

Mobile divorce … messy and expensive!

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Kids say some funny things, don’t they?

Like most parents we can recall the funniest and often have a good giggle at them.

Here is a selection of our best:

When our son was about 18 months he disappeared from the sitting room and then came back stark naked apart from wellington boots and a tie hanging loosely round his neck saying, “Daddy go work now!”  My husband had never gone to work looking like that!

At 20 months I’d spent a couple of weeks telling him that it would be Daddy’s birthday soon.  Imagine our surprise when we woke up on the morning of hubbie’s birthday and our son was there with his arms around his dad’s neck smiling into his face and saying “’appy birday daddy.”  The best present ever.

At his two-year check up with the health visitor, when she asked him to pass her a crayon, he refused until she said ‘Ta’.

His nickname for Father Christmas was ‘Ho-Ho-Ho’ and, when we saw a particularly woolly dog in the park, he said “Look Mummy, got beard like Ho-Ho-Ho!”

At about two he realised that he could be sad if he missed someone.  To him this also meant ‘wanting’ them and he would often substitute the word.  So it was quite logical for him to say, “Miss Nanny, miss Uncle Gerry, miss ice-lolly!”

From about the age of three he’d disappear into the loo, get bits of toilet paper and roll them into a ball with water.  He’d then line them up on the radiator to dry and say “Don’t touch my hard yottles!”  Within a few days they’d dry out like solid pellets and be stored in a bowl.  For what purpose?  Who knows, but ‘yottles’ were such an important part of his life he still talks about them fondly to this day.

We bought my mum a beautiful carriage clock for a special birthday and, when she asked us where we’d bought it, our son piped up “The Pound Shop!”  We hadn’t, it was just that an awful lot of our things did come from there.

Dropping his toys on the floor when he was about three, he bent to pick them up and said “Shit!”  Then added “Oh dear!” as he realised he shouldn’t have said that word.  I’ve never heard him swear since - really!

One afternoon he spotted a huge spider in the kitchen.  By the time he’d told me it was there, it was too late for me to catch and release it (I’m not a killer).  The next day I also saw a spider in the kitchen and asked my son if he thought it might be the same one.  “What did it look like?” he asked me.  I made a really mean looking face and curled both hands up in to spidery looking legs. “Yep, that was him!” my son shouted.

His first nursery buddy came from a rather well-to-do family with a massive house.  When the child entered our home for the first time he very abruptly said “Your house is very small!”  So what did my four year old son do?  Stored that piece of info in his little brain and, when we were invited back to the ‘mansion’, clearly stated “Your house is very dusty!”

After a week in Reception, he came home and said “If they make me write the letter ‘W’ one more time, I’m not going back.”  They moved him up an academic year soon after that.

At about the age of five he told me that he’d picked me as his mummy when he was floating around on the cloud he lived on before he was born.  He also said that he remembered that his daddy and my sister where there when he was born, waiting for him to come out.  Spooky!

At fifteen he continues to entertain us with his wit and he never fails to find the opportunity for a pun.  Our own little ‘in-house’ comedian.

What funny things have your kids said?

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Story of my Bump

After reflecting on my wedding day it led me to thinking about my pregnancy and giving birth.

I know lots of mums blog about childbirth but I feel it can only be a good thing for other mums-to-be out there.  Had the internet and social networking sites existed when I was pregnant I might not have felt so terrified!

You see, I’m a coward.  And the things I’d heard about giving birth had made me just a little worried.  It hurt, I knew that.  And I don’t like hurty things.

So, anyway.  Hubbie and I married in the August and decided to try for a baby in the December.  First try, baby in place!  Little did I know that this was to be the only ever time for us.

At the time I fell pregnant I was nannying for two girls aged four and one.  This involved lots of walking, lifting and carrying.  When I started bleeding at six weeks, I thought it was all over.  My doctor said to take it easy over the weekend and hope for the best.

That was probably one of the longest weekends of my life but during this time we made the decision that I would give up working.

Weekend over, I set off for a scan and, thank heavens, all was OK.  First lesson learnt, it’s not unusual to bleed early on in a pregnancy.

I waited for the morning sickness to kick in and nothing happened.  Hooray!  I craved oranges and Mars Bars and would eat them in abundance at all hours.  Being pregnant suited me and the only difficulties I encountered were with my nipples.  The start of my pregnancy was in the winter and I would spend many hours walking our dog.  This was when the trouble started.  The discomfort would begin with a tingle of coldness and then go into full blown agonising pain.  The only way I could leave the house was with two huge dollops of Germolene and cotton wool balls on my hooters.  A rather peculiar shape, which my gay neighbour certainly noticed on several occasions. (He also noticed when later I was walking my dog with newborn son in arms and I’d left my top undone, including nursing bra, for all the world to see my milk bottles! - Thank the Lord for honest gays!)

When I went for my final scan the midwife asked me if I wanted to know the sex. “No” I told her.  “Do you have a preference?” she asked.  “Well, I’ve always imagined I’d have a girl” I replied.  At this point she started laughing and, when I asked why, she said “I’ve just seen his testicles!”  I’m sure she acted inappropriately, and nowadays you’d be sued for less, but hey-ho!

So pregnancy passed and baby decided it was time to arrive.  A rather funny episode of ‘The Young Ones’ must have got something moving because I went into labour straight afterwards.  At least we thought I had.  Pains started in the early hours of the Saturday and baby eventually popped out at ‘Coronation Street’ time on the Monday.  In fact they were about to send me home at lunchtime because everything had stopped.  Yippee, I thought, I don’t have to go through the pain after all, and I can go home to my lovely dog.

That was when the labour kicked in properly and it was all systems go.  Had he not been bungeeing up and down my fandango with the umbilical cord around his neck, it would have been a lot quicker but eventually (after an episiotomy) he appeared.  I’d never considered needing to be cut, but by this point they could have done anything to me.  I felt no pain when they did it, although hubbie said when he turned back from preparing a Babygro, the sight that greeted him looked like a car-crash.  Glad he was at that end and I wasn’t.

Apart from a lot of pushing, heaving and murderous looks at hubbie and my sister, it was all quite uneventful.  I didn’t utter one expletive (I’m a good girl I am!) and when I looked into my baby boy’s eyes for the first time (apart from thinking that he looked a bit like an alien) I thought “Yep, I know you!”

Another thing I wish I’d known was the first dodgy nappy full a baby does.  Good grief, it was like trying to remove tar and nothing would budge it.  I remember shuffling around my cubicle in the ward, my stitches now beginning to get sore, thinking “What on earth is this?”  Suddenly a voice in the darkness from the bed next to me said, “You’ve found the first poo, haven’t you?  Don’t worry, it’s normal!”  That voice from the shadows made everything feel better.

And so the learning curve continued and I became a human dummy.  I was lucky that I could feed for Britain and never struggled once and I feel truly grateful for that and those treasured moments.

Now I look at my ‘baby’ about to get his GCSE results and approaching sixteen and I think … we did that!  We made that character and he lived inside my belly for 40 weeks.

Mother Nature, when you work properly, what a wonderful creature you are.

The character of Libby in ‘Diary of Mummy Misfit’ is desperate for a second baby.  A forty, has she left it too late?  Check it out on Amazon.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Anniversary Reflections

It’s our 17th wedding anniversary today so I’ve gone all sentimental and started thinking over my memories of the day.

I decided that there were too many unique ones not to share them with you.  I know we all believe that our day was the best but I can only talk about my day.  So here goes …

I bought two wedding dresses!  I thought I’d found the perfect dress and then I saw the one I really wanted!  The first dress was a classic 1920’s chiffon and lace flapper style, the second full length bias cut 30’s lace, beaded and gorgeous.  I sold the first one.

I had to post one satin shoe only to my Scottish best friend (Maid of Honour) for her to try on her ‘bunioned’ foot.  She couldn’t be trusted with both as we knew she would have decided to wear them hiking across a field of cow dung, just for a laugh.  Trust me, I know what she’s capable of and she would have done it.  This shoe-posting became known as ‘my left foot’ and I was terrified that she’d forget  to bring it to London to join its partner for my wedding.

Our video company turned up too late to film any of our preparations at the house because they said they ‘didn’t realise that the traffic would be so bad on a Saturday’!  Hello?  What day do most weddings take place on?  Their sound system was also so bad that, during our vows, all that can be heard is ‘blah, de , blurb, obey, blah, ring.’

My brother-in-law gave me away and was more nervous than I was.  As we got into our stunning cream Roller to head off to the church, I took his hand and said, “Isn’t this the moment you’re meant to be telling me about sex?”  He felt better after that.

We were married by a gay vicar - so appropriate for a fag hag like me.  The funniest moment on our video is when I alight from the car and my lovely Maid of Honour lied to me that my dress was tucked in my knickers.  All you can see and hear is the panic on my face and the vicar cacking himself with laughter.

I walked down the aisle to the love theme from ‘Saint Elmo’s Fire’.  My tiny nephew went first with the rings, then my two nieces and then my Matron of Honour (with both shoes).  Also an ex-actress, she decided to milk her moment for all it was worth and shimmied and sashayed her way to the altar, despite the fact that we’d rehearsed the half-step / feet together routine.  She also decided to have a little boogie to one of our hymns - “Mine eyes have seen the glory”.  There she was singing to her heart’s content, bouquet in hand, bopping away.

The Japanese organist hit a particularly bum note in one of the hymns and hubbie and I got a fit of the giggles.  It was one of those moments when as soon as one stops laughing, the other one starts.

As most of my hubbie’s friends and family are in Australia, his mum was his only attendee.  He didn’t have a best man but had her as his ‘Best Girl’.  When we arrived at the hotel for the reception she slipped on the marble stairs and ended up flat on her bum.  She doesn’t even drink!

My best gay friend (also an actor) did our reading and had people close to tears.  Sadly he’s no longer with us but he did us proud on the day.

My Maid of Honour’s hubbie came in full kilt and when he got talking to some Dutch people in the bar they asked my Dutch mother-in-law to translate their questions to him.  Hubbie overheard and noticed that when they asked “What happens when you get an erection?”, she was too shy to repeat it so she changed it to “Do you get a lot of infections?”!

My ‘something old’ was my watch, ‘something new’ my dress, ‘something borrowed’ was a tiny picture of my dad which I put inside my shoe so that he could be with me on my day and my ‘blue’ was a barely visible blue bead sown into the side of my dress.

Our reception was wonderful.  We had drinks in the gardens (it was sunny) and then a sit down meal.  We then danced the night away and I even got on the floor and did ‘Oops Upside Your Head’.  I didn’t get a mark on my dress either!

I presented my hubbie with a book that I’d put together with photos and memories I’d gathered from his family and friends in Oz in the weeks leading up to the wedding.  It kind of felt like bringing a tiny piece of them there for him.

Our honeymoon consisted of one night in the Bridal Suite of the hotel.  The next night we were back to our teeny-tiny flat with my mother in law in our bed, best friend and husband in the double sofa-bed and hubbie and I on the floor practically underneath them.  All very cosy!

So there are my wedding memories.  It was the most perfect day and I married my soul-mate, so how lucky am I?

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Lady of Lists

I have to tell you, the life of a Mummy Misfit has been a bit chaotic this week.  I was even whisked off to Harrods for my Goddaughter’s birthday piercing (ears only! She’s 13!) and lunch.  No, I’m not complaining, it was lovely but I really should have been doing the thing I hate most - cleaning.

Yes, I know I’ve blogged about it before and I don’t intend to again.  In fact, Juanita (my imaginary cleaner) caused such a stir on Twitter that I believe she must be capitalising on her online success by going out doing cash-in-hand jobs - she certainly hasn’t been seen in our house!

But you see, cleaning and preparing of house had to be done as we have two sets of guests arriving in the next few days.  OK, I know, they’re unlikely to be so rude as to wipe a snooty finger across my surfaces and wrinkle a nose in disdain, but I know the dust is there.

Aside from the cleaning, I have an elderly mother to visit, a teenage son to shout at, a book to promote, a new one to write, and a blog to keep up (you try getting six blogs ahead of yourself when you know you won’t be around because you’ll be doing the London touristy things you’ve done a million times before!)

So what does any self-respecting madwoman do when she knows she’s chasing her tail and getting nowhere?

She sits down with a nice chilled glass of white wine and WRITES A LIST.

Oh, it’s just heaven to look at the list and know what jobs lay ahead of me.  I might inwardly panic when I see them all there in black and white but at least I can feel that they’re not cluttering my head any more and get on and take action. Maybe it’s the writer in me but, if my head’s jam packed with jumbled thoughts, I just can’t function.

For something as simple as a dinner party, I’m afraid I can be so anal it even annoys me.  My list (always written the night before, or possibly days in advance) will include things like:

Prep veg
Make sauce
Coordinate table
Oven on 7pm
Paint nails
Clean loo

See, I told you it was anal!  But the satisfaction of crossing one more thing off my pathetic little list gives me such joy, I can’t even begin to describe it.

I’ve even been known to think of another job, get on and do it and then add it to my list just so that I can cross it off.  I have to say that makes me feel smug and daft in equal measures.

As you can probably imagine, Christmas planning warrants a whole notebook - always gorgeous to begin with and then a mass of scrawls and scribblings by Christmas Eve.  Good grief, you’ve got cards, posting dates, presents, stockings, wrapping days, decoration of house (inside, outside, downstairs, upstairs in the lady’s chamber) food/drink shopping, prep of food, table planning, drinks and present-giving with friends.  Not to mention the fact that my mum and a close friend of ours have birthdays close to the event  - I mean, how inconsiderate!

But if it’s all there on paper, anything seems possible.  Sometimes there might not be enough hours in the day but then all you need to do is delegate - hubbie is a better cleaner than me and son makes a mean cupcake!

I truly believe that the world is divided into three camps - those who can function without a list and breeze through their chores and busy lives without a hair out of place, those chaotic types who would benefit from a piece of paper and a pen to keep stuff in order and those (like me) who couldn’t function without it. I’d be the nutter curled up in a corner, rocking back and forth with my head in my hands mumbling …

Peel potatoes
Water plants
Change bed
Pay council tax
Defrost beef
Have a bath
Blah de blah de blah … cuckoo !  cuckoo! 

In my novel ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ Libby is a great list writer. She even adds ‘Have sex’ but still forgets!  Check out my reviews on Amazon.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Letter to my Son as he Approaches 16

Dear Bub,

These are words that you probably won’t appreciate right now (it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realised how much sense my mum and dad made!) but I just want to get them out there for you.

You’ve already made us so proud.  Sometimes life hasn’t been easy for you but you came through all that ‘stuff’ with your head held high and a smile on your face - try to remember to always do that.  Stay as happy as you are now.

Whatever your exam results are, we’ll stand by you.  We know you did your best and that’s all anyone can expect.  Remember, no one can be good at everything (unless they’re a smart ass!).  Better to have a good heart, than a string of certificates.

You have a fantastic sense of humour - nurture it, but remember there are times when it’s not appropriate!  (You know what I mean).

Sadly, you’ll probably get your heart broken - most people do.  At the time it will feel like the end of the world (trust me!) but it passes and you will get better.  It’s a cliché but you’ll look back and laugh when you eventually find the right person.  Oh, and sometimes you’ll convince yourself you’ve found the right person and it might not be - all part of the ‘big plan’ I’m afraid.

Always treat people the way you want to be treated.  Try really hard to never do things you have to say sorry for.  Treasure friendships and always make time for people when they need you.

You can be anything you want to be and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  OK, you’re never gonna be a Prima ballerina or fly without wings (seriously, stop thinking you can!) but, other than that, the world’s your oyster.

You will lose people that you love - you’re a big boy now, it’s called dying!  It hurts like hell and never really goes away.  Remember those you truly love, and who love you, will always be in your heart.  Nothing can take that away from you.

Please don’t get into debt.  Work hard for the things you want and enjoy them without panicking about how you’re going to pay for them.

Enjoy alcohol responsibly if you ever change your mind about it!  Just be careful and don’t ever give in to peer pressure. ‘Be your own person’, as Granddad taught me, and you won’t go far wrong.

One ill-advised or foolish moment out there on the streets or in a nightclub can ruin your life forever.  If you see trouble brewing, walk away as fast as your legs will carry you.  Call the police, do whatever you can to help the situation but don’t get involved.

Never get in a car with someone you know has been drinking or taking drugs.  Walk, run, ring us at 4 o’clock in the morning if you need to, but do not get in that car!

Any problem, small, big or humungous - we’re always there for you.  Don’t bottle things up until you find you can’t talk to us.  We’ll always do whatever we can to help - even if that means listening to stuff you might not want to hear!  Sorry that’s part of being a parent! (and a son).

Try to see the world before you settle down.  If you don’t, no big deal, but never forget it’s out there.

Be a thoughtful partner.  Be kind, romantic, listen, laugh, share everything (chores included) and try to be as happy as your mum and dad.  Trust me, if you find your soul-mate and treat one another well, you can overcome anything.

I love you loads and hope you get the results you deserve and a life filled with joy and opportunity.

Your mum x

PS:  Get lots of sleep, eat your five a day, don’t smoke, clean your teeth, drink lots of water, don’t pick spots, always remember your deodorant and START PICKING YOUR BLOODY SOCKS UP OFF THE FLOOR!

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Inside Me (Part 3)

Today I’ve been tagged by the lovely Emma @dreamingofbeer and asked to reveal ‘10 Things You Don’t Know About Me’ and then to tag four more gorgeous bloggers.

As I’ve done a similar post in the past, I’ll try not to bore my regular readers with the same list and wrack my brains for a few different ones.

  1. I lived in Hollywood for six months.  My boyfriend at the time was at music college there and, on the back of my Grange Hill gig, I went to try my hand at Hollywood stardom!  I nearly became a magician’s assistant but chickened out!  (Had the legs but not the nerve!).  I then spent the rest of the time working in cafes and selling cable TV.  I returned to London a non-star but their top saleswoman!  (The English accent sells anything Stateside).
2.      The tooth next to my front one (on the right) never grew (there’s a medical name for it but I can’t remember) and remained a stump until I was 17 (attractive!) when I was brave enough to have it built up.  It’s now a beautiful crown.
3.      I had a huge mole on my cheek which grew bigger and bigger until I was about 20.  It was bright red and had a tiny baby growing on the side.  When a child asked me why I had a ‘nipple’ on my face, I knew it was time to get it removed!  (Just realised these last two facts don’t paint a very pretty picture of me but I’m not Quasimodo!)
4.      I won a car at Legoland.  Yes, I know I’ve blogged about this before but, hey, how many people do you know who won a car?  Enough said!
5.       I’ve been smiled at by Brian Ferry in a restaurant and kissed by Curtis Stigers (hubbie tagged along to that meeting and told him “I’m just here to make sure no bodily fluids are exchanged!”  That’s right, spoil all my fun!
6.      My ex-boyfriend’s father’s best friend (got that?) was Jack Parnell, the band leader of ‘Sunday Night at the Palladium’ and ‘The Muppets’ fame.  We would spend every summer in France with him.  He sadly died last year.
7.      My best friend suffers from Tourette’s syndrome.  I love her dearly but it can sometimes be exhausting - not least, for her.
8.      I was in Paris airport waiting to check in and realised I was standing next to David Bowie.  At that second, security chose to detonate an unattended suitcase, without warning.  It took a bit of fun out of my swooning!
9.      I fell pregnant as soon as hubbie and I decided to try for a baby.  Due to secondary infertility I never fell pregnant again!
10.  I’ve travelled to France, Spain, the former Yugoslavia, Sweden, Australia, America and Canada.  And yet I haven’t left the UK for thirteen years.  Money’s been tight but hasn’t stopped me having a life.  In fact, it’s taught me to appreciate the little things more.

Ok that’s my 10 done!  I now tag:

Michelle Betham
Laurel Mayer
Betty Bee at The Pamper Box
Evie’s Gran

Good luck, ladies.  What ten things do you want to share with us?

  Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle and now also in paperback at Lulu.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Bedtime Buddies

We were at a family gathering on Saturday night and there was a five year old boy there with his favourite bear.  ‘Bear’ (this was his name) was a pale blue velvet head, about the size of a Satsuma (no remaining facial features) with a floppy unstuffed body, one arm, one full leg and a half amputated one (the result of an accident on a Halogen cooker top!).  And yet, to this child, Bear was the best thing since sliced bread - his friend.  His mum told me he couldn’t sleep without him and, if it was time for Bear’s wash in the machine, her son would sit and watch the cycle until his buddy emerged free from chocolate, ice-cream and snot.

We got talking about kids and their comforters.  Her sister (at 30) still has a silk cuff from a blouse she wore as a child.  An old friend (at 36) still has manky bits of an old satin dressing gown that her grandparents bought her when she was five.  Everyone in the family knows it as ‘Silky.’  My son (15) still checks shirts for ‘nice labels’ and he’ll often offer me a feel of a ‘particularly good one!’

His best ‘friend’ was picked up at a car boot for 50p.  At about 18 months he was obsessed with ‘Pingu’ so, when he spied a felt penguin with enormous white teeth sitting on a trestle table amongst the junk, he knew he had to have him.  ‘Teeth’ (the obvious name) came home with us, had a quick wash and brush up in the washing machine and from then on went everywhere  with our son.

On a trip to Australia, son was not happy to see Teeth disappear through the scanner at the airport.  He was too young to realise that the stuffing provided the ideal storage space for drug trafficking.  Thankfully Teeth came out of it with a clean record and no internal search was necessary.

The most obvious place for Teeth to tag-along was on son’s twice yearly dental checks.  Son and Teeth would always be met with a smile and a giggle from the dentist and the nurse and then settle in the chair for investigations.  However, when I bumped into the dental nurse at a place we wouldn’t usually expect to meet, she looked at me, brain whirring to try to come up with a name, and simply said “Teeth!” as she burst out laughing!

So concerned were we that we might lose Teeth and have a distraught child on our hands that, when hubbie spotted a tramp with an exact replica of the stuffed toy tied to a lamp-post for decoration, he asked his price.  For the cost of a few cups of coffee we had a twin.  One resewn floppy arm (flipper?) and a boil wash later, ‘Gums’ joined Teeth!

Our son also had a friend whose parents were so concerned that he might lose his bear (let’s call him Arthur) that they stocked up on a ‘box-full of Arthurs’ in case of emergencies.  Clever thinking!

My best friend’s son has two favourites.  A fur collar from granny’s old coat called Puss-Puss and a manky bear in insipid beige, pink and white (as gutless and flattened as you can imagine) called Neapolitan (after the ice cream).  If Puss-Puss or Neapolitan aren’t around, no one sleeps!

Now I have to come clean about my ‘comforter’.  I was a thumb sucker.  My sister did second and fourth fingers, but for me the thumb was the digit of choice.  Along with this habit, I had a … wait for it … gollywog.  I know people have an issue with these but, believe me; no gollywog has ever been loved more.  He’s had to have his jolly little face replaced about five times - too much ‘good lovin'’ - and he has very little afro left now he’s approaching 50, but he still looks gorgeous to me.

Go on, shoot me down but I love that golly and I don’t see how that can be a bad thing.  I understand that the name may not be so appropriate in this day and age but this was obviously something I never considered when I was a youngster.  All I knew was that he was always there for me and he listened to all my troubles.

Might have a bit of a chat with him tonight, in fact.

So what was your comforter?  Or what do you dread your kids losing?  Have you ever driven miles to get Binky or Bobo, (or a stinking piece of fabric) just for a peaceful night’s sleep?

My debut novel ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is available to buy on Amazon for Kindle or PC.  Check out my reviews.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Monday, 15 August 2011

With Two Cats in the Yard ...

Names have been changed to protect cats’ identities.  They aren’t really called Black Puss and Ginger One but have asked that they stay out of the limelight and I must respect their wishes.

In 2005 we were a happy little family of Mum, Dad, son, one black puss and two stinking fish (read older post).

Black Puss was about six and convinced she was a princess (She still is!  She struts like a catwalk model and has retained her looks so well that even at twelve she looks like a kitten).

Son then decided that one cat in the house wasn’t enough so he started ‘Operation Cat’.  I must admit I was more than happy to add to our little household, so I became a supporter of his mission.

Hubbie wasn’t over keen on the idea, stating “Think of the food and vet bills!”  So he decided to take a ‘safe’ punt to buy some time …

The Ashes were in full swing and, being a full blooded and patriotic Aussie, he told us “If England win the Ashes, we’ll get another cat.”


£125 later we had the new addition to our house.  Now I know you might be saying why didn’t you just get a rescue cat?  (Indeed Black Puss was).  But you see, son and I had sneakily been looking and fallen in love with a pathetic ginger fur ball in the local pet shop - he was the one for us.

So the Ginger One came home with us and hubbie’s first words were “He’s a bit odd-looking isn’t he?”  I think he was still smarting from the fact that he’d had to put his hand in his pocket after losing the bet but money wasn’t a problem at the time and he’d been the one to lay down the terms for the deal.  Son and I had won, fair and square.  We even gave him a cricket-related name to totally rub hubbie’s nose in it but I can’t reveal it for the reasons stated above.

Ginger One could sit in the palm of your hands. He was so tiny and timid.  He piddled on our bed on the first night but that was his only ever mishap.  I always marvel at how clever mummy cats are to teach their young so much in such a short time.  The washing and grooming never ceases to amaze me and I can watch a bathing cat for hours.  That’s all been taught to them by their mums before they’re ready to leave the nest … cardboard box … basket or whatever.  My son still struggles with picking up a plate or putting the bath towels back on the rail!

As the months went on Ginger One began to grow.  He soon outgrew Black Puss (who hates him, to this day - how dare he think he can share her space!) and his personality grew with him.  The thing which grew the most though was his tail.  It now resembles a fox’s brush and quite literally drags along the floor behind him.  Most mornings we’ll wake up to leaves, sticks and half branches he’s managed to drag through the cat flap attached to his back end.  He’s known in the neighbourhood for this magnificent appendage and also for the way he fearlessly patrols the streets; no sign of the timid kitten remains.

Before we had his ‘Ginger Nuts’ removed, he had a bit of an obsession with a fluffy snake toy belonging to our son.  Said snake was the object of Ginger One’s desire and he’d often ‘make happy time’ with it.  We remember with fondness the Christmas morning when Ginger One decided to ‘have knowledge’ of Mrs Snakey (as the toy had now been named) on the black plastic sack we were using for the discarded wrapping.  Our son became less and less interested in his presents and more entertained by the live sex education lesson that was playing out before his very eyes.  Hubbie and I were just slightly concerned about the use of black plastic for gratification, especially on the day of our Lord’s birth!

Ginger One is most definitely a Cat of Little Brain and I worry constantly about his whereabouts.  Black Puss is a clever girl and rarely ventures further than the ‘ladies powder room’ - I told you she was posh!  Ginger One will quite happily lie in the middle of our road defying cars to move - thankfully we’re in a cul de sac and everyone knows him and his odd ways.

Thankfully we’ve only ever had one real scare with him.  A couple of summers ago he was missing for breakfast in the morning - very odd, we’re talking Garfield proportions here.  When he still failed to show at lunchtime, we were distraught. Many trips around the neighbourhood, phone calls to the vet and yet more walking around the area revealed nothing.  Then, at about 5pm, the local mini bus filled with elderly folk from the sheltered housing close to us, returned from a trip to the seaside.  And into our kitchen sauntered a dehydrated Ginger One, covered in brake oil and burnt on his paws and down one side.

To this day, we have no idea if he had a day trip to Brighton curled up in the engine well of the OAP’s mini bus, but we don’t think he’ll be making the same mistake any time soon.

So that’s how our family became the way it is now.  And, in case you’re wondering if hubbie still thinks that Ginger One is a ‘bit odd-looking,’ he can often be heard saying, “You coming up for a cuddle?  Oh yes, he’s my big boy …  yes he is, yes he is!”

In my novel ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit” there are no cats but a dog of dubious sexuality and a budgie named after Barry Manilow.  Go on, give it a go!  On Amazon for Kindle or PC.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.