Drag Queen Trauma, Olly Murs At A Wedding, RIP Raymond & Car Chaos…..

This weekend has been a momentous occasion – for several reasons, some of which I will not bore you with but a couple of the more memorable and adventurous events are about to be jolted down for official recognition in history.

Yeap, since my last musings the entire EIOT posse have relocated back to the UK for a couple of weeks while himself is on leave and the gruesome twosome are preparing, (well-being prepared), for the return back to school.

But as a very welcome distraction and by happy coincidence it was the wedding this weekend of himself’s Goddaughter in deepest Welsh Wales.

Now, I feel it appropriate to explain a little more about himself and his Goddaughter.

You see while he has taken his Godfatherly duties seriously from day one of this role, (which was pre-me I hasten to add), he has never really excelled in demonstrating how seriously he has taken these duties.

In fact it was not until he and I were an item that he actually sent a birthday card.

I am relieved to report that this lack of Godfatherly wisdom and guidance has not held her back and she is a successful lady in her own right.

However, he always took his duties seriously even if he did not particularly demonstrate it.

But as the years ticked by and the young lady grew up she did become much more a part of our lives and we were delighted to be there at her big day yesterday.

However, in typical EIOT fashion the day did not go by without a few hitches – not on the part of the happy couple or their meticulous planning and fantastic day.

No, the hitches were on the part of the EIOT crew.

Firstly I ought to point out that the gruesome twosome have never actually been to a wedding before.

This is no reflection on the fact that we have no friends or that nobody actually wants such a ramshackle bunch at any celebrations, but that we are actually a very small family and everybody got married many years ago. That combined with the fact that we were slightly late to the party in the having children race means that we are well past the stage of everybody getting married and in fact our contemporaries are now in the zone of empty nest syndrome and even the odd grandchild is starting to put in appearances.

So, here we were presenting the gruesome twosome to the world of weddings.

Now considerable preparation had been ongoing for sometime before this adventure with shopping and clothes trying on having been ongoing for sometime.

The Small Testosterone Filled One, (TSTFO), was less than impressed about ‘looking smart’ and I had negotiated a compromise on his attire. Himself was adamant that the small man shoud wear slacks, a tie and smart shoes. This went down like a lead balloon with TSTFO and Mummy skills were required to negotiate a compromise of chinos, open neck shirt and smart trainer type shoes.

While TSTFO was still not massively impressed neural ground was found.

Himself had even bought a new suit having paid a special trip to London in the summer and acquiring a new outfit along with ties etc.

Blimey – a new suit, he was taking it all seriously!

Then of course there was The Strawberry Blond Hand Grenade, (TSBHG).

Now, regular readers will know that the relationship between TSBHG and I can be a bit stormy to say the least and to be honest the whole subject of clothes shopping for the wedding raised its head before I identified the mood detecting system that is The Teenage Weathervane.

So, himself was in the land of sand and I was at EIOT Towers with the gruesome twosome and wedding clothes shopping was required.

All my skills in tact and diplomacy were required and I had to make every effort not to sound like my mum and come out with phrases like, ‘you are not being seen out in public like that’, ‘how short?’ and ‘you would look like a dog’s dinner in that’.

However, we made it and a full outfit was identified, tried on, purchased and hung up ready for the big day.

Now, as part of this shopping extravaganza was the purchase of shoes.

As part of the negotiation into appropriate clothing for the big day, I had to cede to shoes with heels – the first ever major pair.

Now as my ankles are pretty trashed my experience of wearing heels is pretty limited but with TSBHG’s young and injury free ankles then the world is her oyster or let’s say her feet’s oyster.

So, a glittery pair of heels were purchased and duly put away for the big day to be brought out yesterday morning and climbed into with all due pomp and ceremony.

Now I have to say that after an extended period of beautification and preparation TSBHG did look gorgeous, even though there were several ‘I do know that’, ‘I am not stupid you know’ and ‘I have put make up on before you know’ as I tactfully tried to give guidance and words of vague wisdom into getting ready for a great day out. Yes, the delights of getting glammed up did little for the recovery of the Mum – TSBHG – Mother/Daughter relationship.

So, off we went to the wedding, with TSBHG tottering along in high heels like a labrador puppy on a tight rope, TSTFO fidgeting in his smart chinos and muttering about food and himself in his new suit trying to be the model Godfather.

Now I ought to explain that the wedding itself was in the chapel at Pembroke Castle, a small and beautiful setting for the event.

The castle lies about an hour away from the reception venue and so in typical, highly organised fashion a coach was laid on for the guests to be transported backwards and forwards.

TSBHG had decided that in order to pass the time she would take her phone and earphones to listen to music.

So, we arrive at the chapel and are duly asked to switch off all phones and gadgets or at least put them on silent.

No problem and TSBHG duly did as she was asked – not by me I hasten to add as if she had been asked by me then I would have received a strawberry blond hand grenade death stare, some cutting comment and the phone would have been left on just to spite me.

Anyway, the service started and TSBHG sat watching with her phone in hand – with ear phones still plugged in to the gadget, thank goodness!

About halfway through the service himself, TSBHG and I looked at each other quizzically. The row of guests in front of us and behind us looked at each other quizzically.

Yes, we could all hear the faint murmur of Olly Murs in a canned fashion.

Within seconds all eyes fell on TSBHG and her phone as everybody’s ears confirmed that the music was ‘Trouble Maker’ and it was coming out of TSBHG’s earphones.

TSBHG zoomed in on her phone and desperately tried to stop the beats from coming out of the ear plugs, but no, the harder she tried the less responsive her phone was.

TSBHG was flustered to say the least and was desperately trying to activate the touch screen on her phone which was valiantly defying her panicking requests and maintaining its security stance and not allowing access.

Meanwhile Olly Murs was quite happily emitting the words ‘Trouble Maker’ out of the ear pods.

My hissed advice to pull the earphones plug out of the phone was rejected out of hand as then the song would have blurted out of the phone instead and been much louder – good point, well presented.

After what felt like several hours the touch screen suddenly remembered how to work and TSBHG  was able to terminate Mr Murs.

Now, I am sure that although the experience only lasted a matter of seconds, it felt like years and quite frankly the sound of Olly Murs singing Trouble Maker in the small, intimate environment of the castle’s chapel as the bride and groom declare their undying love for each other is really not an ideal scenario.

I did mention it to key members of the wedding later on in the day and was assured that actually nobody at the business end of events had heard any unprescribed music – I wish the same could be said for those sat in our immediate vicinity.

Just as an aside I would like to point out that TSBHG has cleared herself of any responsibility for her phone’s unrequested activity during the ceremony. No, despite it being her phone, in her control the whole incident was apparently my fault.

I am not sure how that works, but some how I was apparently responsible.

Anyway, the teenage weathervane was clearly pointing towards Tropical Storm Harvey in Texas as I could not put a foot right in my non heels as I was even blamed for the sparkly heels sinking deep into the castle’s grass during the photos.

No, the weather vane was not in my favour.

I was however slightly reassured when chatting to the bride’s mum who informed me that she had been in trouble with her daughter, (the bride), that very morning for not providing the right bread for the bacon butties to sustain everybody for the big day.

I guess it never gets any better then…

So, the day progressed beautifully.

The photo shoot was accompanied by champagne and Welsh Cakes – beautifully hand made by the groom’s mum and the bride’s grandmother.

Now, this was the next problem. You see by this point it was about three hours since TSTFO had eaten and while he had never tried a Welsh Cake the sight of them clearly had his mouth watering.

So, one quick nibble as a sample soon turned into a feast of Welsh Cakes.

This pretty much led onto a stampede of guests on the Welsh Cakes as they detected a small man who was intent on emptying the serving plates and quite frankly, and justifiably, wanted their own fair share.

The upshot of this situation is that I have now been briefed by TSTFO that I need to learn how to make Welsh Cakes and pretty damned soon!

So, a request to the bride’s grandmother will be made in the not so distant future for recipe details and an online order will be made for a Welsh Slate that apparently is integral in the preparation of these delicacies.

So, back all the guests clambered onto the bus, (or in the case of TSBHG tottering up the coach steps on her now muddy high heels), and headed back to the reception venue.

All good so far, as far as I was concerned we had had our fair share of excitement and the rest of the day should, if there is any justice in the world), go without anymore EIOT hitches.

Well, on the whole it did. There was a minor problem with TSTFO when as by the time we had got back to the hotel the Welsh Cakes had been well and truly digested and a major lack of food meltdown ensued. This was held off by himsef’s quick thinking by running up to our room, raiding the tea-tray for biscuits and bringing them back downstairs where they were devoured by TSTFO.

There was another issue – for which I will gladly put my hands up and accept responsibility. Yeap, this next one was my fault entirely – and yes TSBHG has not failed to remind me about it ever since.

You see after landing on Friday we were all pretty bog-eyed but needs must and bits of shopping were needed and so a trip to a rather large branch of Tesco’s was essential largely to allow TSBHG to pamper herself pre-wedding.

So TSBHG and I disappeared into Tesco’s somewhere deep in Wales.

Along with the copious amounts of required toiletries, the requirement for a wedding card was high on the list of priorities and I made my way to the appropriate aisle to make a suitable selection.

In my defence TSBHG was nagging to go to the cosmetic aisle and I was pretty bog-eyed but to be honest I should have paid more attention.

So, a card was spotted and placed in the trolley as I was dragged off to the aisle of smells and make up.

I never gave it another thought until it came to signing the card yesterday.

The bride and groom have a house and all the attached bits and pieces so asked for no presents or if anybody really, really wanted to give them money for the honeymoon was appreciated.

The simplicity of this appealed to our rather weary, jet lagged natures and so armed with some cash we set about the family mission of signing the card.

TSBGH started off the process and then stopped and stared at the card.

Aware that something may be amiss I dared to ask what the problem was.

As this point derision appeared in her eyes and the words ‘oh Mum, what are you like?’ crept out.

With much hilarity TSBHG pointed out that in my weary haste in Tesco’s I had actually bought a card for two women in a same sex marriage and it clearly stated this on the card – inside and out.

Now, this presented me with a problem as we had no other card with us.

Much debate ensued and it was decided that we knew the bride more than well enough to give her the card with a bit of doodling and home made alterations – she would see the funny side of it.

However, we had only met the love of her life at the wedding and while he appeared to be an absolute dude, we were not sure how he would react to a vandalised and defaced wedding card to add to their collection and look back lovingly at in many years to come.

No, we could not add it to the growing pile of cards that was piling up at the door.

But what to do? We could always snaffle some paper and highlighter pens from reception but to be honest the days of random cards with random pictures made by the gruesome twosome are well gone and any art works now mean delicate and intricate artwork on the part of TSBHG that can take days and weeks to complete and we did not have that luxury.

In anycase, the look of disdain that she would have given me had I presented her with a pile of A4 printer paper, several highlighter pens and a ballpoint pen would have propelled me further down the slippery slope into the pit of embarrassment in which I seem to swell in the eyes of TSBHG.

No, a homemade card was not an option.

So, what did we have to play with? A now ripped in half female same sex wedding card, an envelope, gift money and a pen on a chain attached to its heavy base that we had ‘borrowed’ from the room for the purposes of card writing.

There was only one thing for it, the happy couple have as a mark of our joy and delight at their nuptials an envelope daubed with signatures and good wishes and containing their gift.

I really do hope that they do not keep the envelope forever and look at it fondly in their twilight years…..

What they may look back at in the future however, may well be the rather unexpected interlude halfway through the reception, involving a drag queen, himself and some rather raucous entertainment.

Now I have to say that I thought there was something a bit unusual about one of the waiters and one of the waitresses serving on the tables at the reception.

However, in my naivety I did not think too much about it – until between the main course and desert.

Suddenly loud music echoed through the room, the lights dimmed a little and everybody except the bride and groom looked distinctly confused.

Then it happened. The slightly dodgy waiter who really did not seem like a waiter broke into song while starting to strip – well he took his tie off. It was an afternoon reception after all with young children present.

At the same time the slightly suspicious waitress appeared with a microphone and was joined by a second waitress who had pretty much passed me by.

What happened next was half an hour of crazy entertainment as the waiter/lead singer turned out to be a rather camp singer backed up by the two girls.

Now the innuendos flowed and various people were targeted for his banter – one of which was himself.

Now for those people who know himself know that he is most comfortable in the background. He does not do dancing and quite frankly would prefer the world to open up and swallow him rather than for him to be targeted by a part-time Drag Queen, (granted he was not in that costume yesterday but as a waiter), at a wedding reception.

The singing waiter clearly rumbled this and spent sometime stroking himself’s beard, announcing to the world in a deep Welsh accent but with strong overtones of campness, (is that a word?), ’he’s gorgeous he is….’ and then making him get up to dance.

I think it is fair to say that himself went paler than the grey patches in his beard and actually those patches gave him a bit of colour…..

That one is going to take some getting over.

Anyway, I have to say that the ‘Flash Mob’ approach to the wedding reception was epic and great fun – not that himself will agree! Nice one

Right, so we managed to make it through the remainder of the celebrations unscathed and more to the point so did the happy couple as far as I am aware.

I am writing today’s post en route from the back of the hire car as we head back from deepest Welsh Wales to deepest Cumbria.

One thing I have learnt from writing the blog is that things have a habit of happening as I write and there has just been a gem!

Yes, TSTFO has just played a blinder but I am not sure that the lady in question, or her dog, would agree.

Yeap, in true small man fashion he looked up from his iPad on the M56 and announced that he needed the toilet and he needed it NOW! There was no room for negotiation, either we found him a toilet within the next 10 seconds or the empty drinks bottle that was in his hand was going to be called into action.

By some stroke of luck we were within spitting distance of a motorway services and we managed to negotiate an extension to his deadline of an extra two minutes.

Anyway, himself threw the car into a parking space, (park it like you stole it has got nothing on us), and the two men in my life legged it into the services.

They reappeared a couple of minutes later, himself getting into the driving seat, putting his seat belt on and starting the engine.

I just assumed that the lack of the TSTFO was just a bout of common sense as himself really had parked it like he had stolen it and he was waiting for the car to be moved out of his rakish angle in the  parking spot.

No. Just as himself turned to ask where TSTFO was, the back door was thrown open with great force and TSTFO threw himself into the back seat at great speed and with a not inconsiderable amount of panic.

You see, it transpired that when the two men in my life came out of the services, the larger one was anxious to get driving again back to deepest Cumbria and the smaller one was, well day – dreaming.

The situation was exacerbated by the fact that the car next door to our was of a similar colour and  size.

So, whereas himself had broken left back to the drivers door of our car, the day dreaming smaller man carried on to the back passenger door of the car next door and got in.

Apparently he was slightly perplexed by the presence of a car seat strapped into the back seat but must still have been day dreaming and continued.

It was at this stage that he spotted the lady in the drivers seat and her big shaggy dog in the passenger seat……

Hence his obvious hasty exit from that car and his accelerated, super powered entry into ours.

We are not sure who was laughing most as we drove off, us or the lady in the car next door.

But it was not TSTFO who by this point was curled up in an embarrassed heap in the footwell…

So, off we head back to EIOT Towers in deepest Cumbria where I have a million jobs lined up for himself over the next couple of weeks.

Yeap, he may think that a couple of weeks of drinking local beer in the pub are required, but I have news for him.

Yeap, this afternoon we will mainly be moving Raymond The Rayburn – assuming that in our absence the plumber has been and worked his magic on all the attached water pipes.

Yeap, Operation EIOT Cooker is in operation.

Operation EIOT Cooker has come about in light of the fact that Raymond is rather elderly and weary. Nobody seems to know exactly how old Raymond is – not even the local who told us after the septic tank adventure that she could have told us it was there before hand…..

No, Raymond’s age and history remains a mystery. Apart from at some point he has been converted from solid fuel to oil.

Raymond no longer has the air in his lungs or the energy to supply us with hot water or heating and while he did manage to cook and for us it was always a tad haphazard and required lots of encouragement and coaxing.

The downturn in Raymond’s fortunes started when the plumber come round to do some plumbing type work on the house and saw the oil tank.

Now in the past the oil tank had been heavily disguised as an overgrown bush that had not had a short back and sides for many years.

However, in my mission to rediscover the garden I had cleared the bush and chain sawed the base of the plant which quite frankly would have made a 200 year old Oak tree look like an ankle biter.

After a few hours of viciously pulling the bush off the oil tank and untangling his tentacles, the oil tank was highly visible and prominent.

In was at this point that the plumber came and caught sight of the newly visible oil receptacle.

Now, his reaction was of being frozen to the spot, going a bit pale and pointing vaguely.

His opening words were – ‘I am going to pretend I have not seen that’ – pointing at the tank. He then said that it was a good job that he was not doing any work on the tank as he would not be able to and asking how on earth had we found an oil company who would have agreed to fill it.

He them went onto list the issues surrounding Raymond’s food supply.

Leaning against the side of the house, against the wall with Raymond and therefore a naked flame on the other side, balancing precariously on breeze blocks and rotten wooden planks…..the list went on.

In the end he and I agreed that he hadn’t seen it, that it had probably been there since before the rules were made, I was never to ask him to do any work on it and at some point soon bit would be sorted out wouldn’t it?

With all that completely clear it was obvious that something had to be done.

Second to that is the possibility of guests at Christmas. Now, this is very much dependent on the vagaries of various people but it was obvious that Raymond was not up to the task of a Christmas Dinner.

So decisive action had to be taken. I waited for Raymond to run out of oil, but he seemed to take on a will of his own and even though the oil tank kept telling me it was empty, in the end I took the decisive action of turning him off.

So now, we are cookerless and will be depending on the barbecue and the camping Trangia.

I am in the process of project managing various tradesmen and workmen – a bit like herding amiable and talented cats who are all free spirits.

I am optimistic that the plumber will have been in my absence and disconnected the pipework.

This afternoon we will be relegating Raymond to the barn.

I have been doing the rain dance to the Gods so that the builder may arrive on Tuesday to start the plastering behind  where Raymond has stood for many a year as it is a mess.

Rain is not usually a problem in deepest Cumbria and the builder usually welcomes indoor jobs on wet days, but the weather forecast for Tuesday is looking like a dry day! Arrgghhh the one day I actually need rain it looks like it will be sunny!

I will try to bribe him with a bacon butty – well I would if I could cook the bacon….

So, a few days of plastering etc and then getting it dry, sealed and painted.

The experts are coming to take the oil tank away next week – that should keep the plumber happy – and then we will demolish the rather ram-shackled breeze block and rotten wood arrangement.

The new range cooker, (no we have decided against a new Rayburn or Aga at the moment), is being delivered two weeks tomorrow and the electrician is primed and poised to visit anytime after that……

So, best I get on with practising my cat herding skills, will start with herding himself away from the pub this afternoon and towards taking Raymond to pieces……

Laters!!!

 

 

www.Tommys.org

Creature Comforts, Going Wappy & A Bit Of Johnny Morris…….

I think I am going a bit wappy. This may be a shock to some readers as it would appear that actually I achieved this status sometime ago.

However, as with my ongoing status of the ‘World’s Most Embarrassing Mother’, I never actually escape being within the bracket of wappiness, it is purely the depth and severity of my wappiness that varies.

Yes, the weathervane of teenage attitude and the depth of my happiness are in a state of constant fluctuation with no apparent correlation between the two.

The source of my recent descent lower into the pit of wappiness may be related to my sojourn in the land of sand or perhaps as a result of the constant rollercoaster of living with The Strawberry Hand Grenade, (TSBHG), but whatever the reason my level of questionable sanity is beyond argument.

The ongoing arctic temperatures in the house may have some bearing on this matter, as I write I am sat shivering in my Berghaus fleece and wooly socks while himself is sat by my side in a t-shirt and shorts and whinging about the heat.

I am reassured that I am in fact relatively justified in my attire as TSBHG is ruled up under a duvet in close proximity.

I am wondering if my brain has been frozen into a state of senility.

The Small Testosterone Filled One, (TSTFO), is not here to use as a gauge, (although I am sure that as he takes after his father he too would be sat in minimal attire), as he has gone out with a buddy and was last heard of playing with copious amounts of lego at his house.

Now, my state of wappiness could manifest itself via many ways and I could be found to be walking around with a pair of boxers on my head to ward off evil bad hair day spirits, howling at the moon or even arguing with myself about which would be a preferable reason for deportation from the land of sand – camel rustling or driving a car around Riyadh with Metallica blaring out of the stereo and throwing empty vodka bottles out of the window.

But no, despite sitting and drawing up lists of signs and symptoms of insanity to cross check against my own behaviour, (a somewhat loaded practise the results of which could be discounted under the circumstances), the main signs and symptoms of my deterioration have taken other forms.

Some readers may recall previous posts about various extra members of the immediate EIOT family.

Yes, I have in the past made mention of Justin Beaver and Muffy The Marmot.

 

It doesn’t take a lot to work out where Justin’s name comes from.

These small, fluffy creatures are in theory cuddly toys but they have become more than that over the years and are now firmly part of the fixtures and fittings both at EIOT Towers and here in the land of sand.

Now, I am not a big fan of humanising inanimate objects but even I have over the years come to think more of Justin and Muffy as living objects than stuffed toys.

Now, I have managed to keep this apparent animation in perspective and have left any interaction between Muffy, Justin and any other member of the family to a minimum.

However, over recent weeks the posse of animals has grown and we now have several speaking stuffed animals within the family. All with their own particular accents and idiosyncrasies.

We really seem to have become something from an episode of ‘Creature Comforts’

So, the catalogue of animals reads as follows:

Justin Beaver
Muffy The Marmot
BFB – Big Fluffy Beaver, an exact replica of Justin in his younger days, (he is now quite old and moth-eaten), but twice as big.

There are other peripheral characters, but these are the main players.

Now, these animated beings seem to be playing and increasingly large part in our lives and in particular mine.

It could be argued that actually interaction with the trio could be justified when their owner, TSTFO, is in the near vicinity but more recently I have found myself interacting with them in his absence and actually having full on conversations with them.

This could be classed as me talking to myself and answering myself, or I could personally see it as having conversations with three extra additions to our family.

However, whichever opinion I take both options could be seen as indicative of my wappiness.

The latest manifestation of my perilous state of mind has taken place today and has even set alarm bells ringing in my own head – perhaps if I still have a certain level of clarity left then all cannot be lost??

Yes, in the absence of TSTFO I have taken the opportunity to put Muffy and Justin through the washing machine and tumble-dryer.

Perhaps this in itself suggests a level of acknowledgement of their stuffed toy status as if I was firmly of the opinion that they were animated creatures capable of two-way conversation I would never dream of putting them in the washing machine and tumble dryer, would I?

No, BFB did not head into the spinning world of persil and comfort as he is relatively new to the household and had not reached the stinky state of Justin.

So, Justin and Muffy have with the last half hour emerged from the tumble-dryer, smelling sweetly and without a green haze surrounding them.

Now, most people would take them out of the white appliance and simply install them back from whence they came.

No, on opening the tumble dryer door I found myself engaged in a full conversation with Justin who apparently was not at all impressed about being in the washing machine and dryer followed by a conversation with Muffy about how pleased she was that Justin did not smell anymore.

Justin is now firmly placed on the coffee table, with his back to us all, nose against a vase in a strop over his new-found cleanliness.

Muffy is high on fabric softener and glowing in Justin’s misery.

BFB is completely nonplussed and is busy taking in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Price with TSBHG.

So, you can see my dilemma.

Amid my life here in the land of sand I find myself tripping gently down towards questionable levels of sanity. In the past the restrictions placed upon ladies have never bothered me, but perhaps now the limitations are taking their toll and I am hurtling towards vague levels of going around the bend.

Perhaps my mystery trip into Riyadh last week with Borat had more of an impact on me that I thought and simply accelerated my slid down the tubes to insanity.

Anyway, a possible bolt for freedom on the part of my sanity may be on the horizon and not too soon.

Yes, as a family we are all heading out of the land of sand on Friday to head over to Wales for a wedding.

Before you ask, yes Justin, Muffy and BFB will be with us.

However, as my last stab at maintaining some sort of equilibrium I am hoping that a trip out of the land of sand may just reinvent my usual levels of sanity – even if they were a tad questionable in the first place.

Aside from all this TSTFO will be home soon and will be very unimpressed that he cleanliness of two of his buddies and I am sure that more discussion springing forth from the posse.

I will of course endeavour not to get involved and certainly not introduce any animal voices with dodgy accents in the style of Johnny Morris.

Accents have never been my strong point and when combined with animal voices then it just means a fast-track to the madhouse.

Right, now that I have unburdened myself with my fear over my fading sanity in the hope that in doing so the decline may at least slow down, best I go and find something to do to occupy my aching mind…..

Laters!

 

 

 

www.Tommys.com

 

 

 

 

 

A Teenage Weathervane & Frozen In The Desert….???

I have spotted a pattern. Yeap. I have found a way of detecting the mood of The Strawberry Blond Hand Grenade, (TSBHG), first thing in a morning, a teenage weathervane so to speak.

Yeap. if I say to her, as my first words of the day to her, ‘Morning Gorgeous’ or ‘Morning Beautiful’ then the response is indicative of the mood of the day.

If the response is ‘Don’t call me that’ or complete silence then the weather forecast is poor and quite frankly I ought to put on my extreme survival kit and brace myself for a tornado sort of a day.

If the response is ‘Hello’, then the forecast is fair and while there may be the odd shower and maybe an occasional rumble of thunder and flash of lightning.

If the response is ‘Morning Mum, You OK?’, then the forecast is for sunshine, absolute minimal risk of showers or gale force winds – but you can never say never, so better get the flip-flops out and enjoy the weather.

So far today we have had smiles and laughter, but then himself is off work today and when he is around then there is a reversion to ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ and quite frankly butter wouldn’t melt.

So, onto other matters.

Long term readers may well not recall my ramblings in the past about environmental factors here in the land of sand – in particular those inside the house and directly related to temperature.

First of all there is of course the water issue.

Yes, despite what people may assume, water is in plentiful supply here in the land of sand. The fact that it is more expensive than petrol is irrelevant, there is water in plentiful supply.

However, at this time of the year, when the outside temperature is pushing 50℃ then the water in the pipes as it gets to the house gets pretty hot en route.

As a result, at this time of year you go way out of your way to get cold water – at almost any cost.

Now, readers may recall my make shift attempts last year at creating a cold water shower solution which were kiboshed by The Small Testosterone Filled one, (TSTFO).

Well, you will be pleased to hear that this year I have restrained myself and have not attempted such a solution and have instead just decided to take the right hook that is no cold water on the chin in true British fashion.

However, there is of course the other matter which quite frankly makes a hot shower a welcome addition.

Yes, the air-conditioning.

Once again, this has been the subject of a post in the past, (Air-Conditioning Trauma), I feel that at the moment my plight is such that it needs mention again.

You see himself is heat phobic – not good when you live in the land of sand. Any hint of an increase in temperature and panic ensues, only on his part I hasten to add.

So, that means the writing on the wall as regards the ambient temperature in the house.

Now, in the past I have been rescued to a certain extent by the rather dodgy air-conditioning which coughed and spluttered and struggled to maintain himself’s arctic requirements.

However, I now have a problem as the house. (in fact every house on the compound), has had its air-conditioning replaced with new, modern, digital, highly efficient air-conditioning units.

They shine, they hang majestically in each room and other random places.

They work. Well.

So, himself is in heat-phobic heaven.

Finally he can set a freezing temperature and be confident that the ambient temperature of that room will soon match that which shines out from the digital display.

That is bad news for me and TSBHG, (TSTFO takes after himself and is quite happy in arctic conditions).

Yes, we are frozen.

TSBHG now routinely sits with her duvet on her, not that she will blame her beloved Dad for her discomfort, oh no. Somehow, someway, the ambient temperature in the house is my fault.

I have taken to making sure I permanently have thick socks on as well as my fleece jacket.

Now the easily forgotten part about this dilemma is that despite the freezing, baltic temperatures inside the house it is still anywhere between 45 – 50℃.

So, once vaguely warm and wandering around inside in a fleece and woolly socks, you inadvertently go outside for whatever reason.

Firstly, you open the door and are greeted by a blast of hot air from the world’s biggest hair-dryer at full belt and on top temperature.

Next, you wonder outside to find that your body temperature has soared like a mercury thermometer being thrown into a furness.

Your woolly socks become nuclear thermal storage units and the inside of your fleece becomes hotter than Adam Peaty in a hot tub.

You rapidly retreat back indoors to find that your body overcompensates and the heat deserts you, you get colder than ever and usually have to revery to yet another layer.

I have considered putting signs on the inside of the doors to remind myself to remove all extra thermal layers before exiting and to be honest today’s post may well prompt me towards that action.

But whatever action I take it does not alter the fact that it is baltic in our house. My sinuses freeze every time I breath in.

On the occasions that I do remember how hot it is outside I have been known to take off the extra layers and stand outside for a few seconds just to thaw out.

It works – as long as I race to put back on the extra layers when I come back in.

Oh, the issues involved in living in the land of sand.

Right, best I head off and take full benefit of the fact that himself is at home and enjoy the good weather which is predicted by the teenage weathervane.

Laters!

 

 

www.Tommys.org

A Pile Of Poop & Brief Daughter Break Through………

Something quite incredible has just happened, I am more than slightly taken aback.

I just made The Strawberry Blond Hand Grenade, (TSBHG), laugh, yes, the EIOT teenager who on a good day you can elicit a grunt from actually just laughed at my very dry sense of humour and off the cuff remark.

AND, as well as actually breaking into a laugh I swear there was a vague look of affection on her face towards me. It was fleeting and over pretty much before it started but I swear it was there.

Now, lets keep this in perspective as the whole episode was so brief that it could easily have been missed and in the blink of an eye normal service of resumed. Yeap, the eyes were rolling and indistinct noises were editing from her mouth, but for a few small seconds she forgot her policy of being a teenager and reverted back to being a human.

Right, now that I have started to come to terms with this event I will turn my attention to todays blog.

Well, in line with my policy of regaling you with the various twists and turns at EIOT Towers over the last few weeks I suppose I ought to tell you about our mystery find.

You see in the whole torrid process of purchasing EIOT Towers, (For more details of the trauma of expat mortgages please refer back to the posts of August last year), we studied every document carefully and felt we were familiar with the location of all important facilities to do with the establishment.

This included the site of the septic tank.

Now in theory we were right, the deeds did in fact show a septic tank there.

So, onto the background information.

One of the first jobs that had to be done at EIOT Towers was to sort out the cellar.

When we bought the house the cellar was packed with junk and rubbish and many, many trips to the local tip were required.

It then became apparent that one room was wet, not just damp, but wet – soaked.

There was a pile of carpet in a corner that quite frankly was soaked, stinky and mouldy, the various layers of grot were more than slightly disgusting to move.

Anyway, we assumed that the water had come from the previous incumbent’s washing machine and assumed that all was resolved with our shiny, new Hotpoint number that most certainly did not leak.

WRONG!

In moved the builders to sort out the cellar, with its lack of ceiling, massive holes in walls and peeling plaster……

Now I know what you are thinking, septic tanks and wet cellars – well not quite but keep reading…..

So, in moved the builders.

It was about this time that deepest darkest Cumbria and its own micro-climate kicked in and the heavens opened and the true source of the water was found.

Yeap, in true gash DIY fashion there was a drain-pipe that led into a water-butt on the outside of the wall.

All good so far, except that the water-butt leaked more water than it held and the drain pipe ended at the water-butt.

So basically the water-butt was just a receptacle for stalling the descent of the water, all of which left the water-butt and headed into the cellar.

So, decisive action was needed.

Welcome on stage again the local hero that is the local water expert.

Yes, long-term readers may well recall my ramblings about the heroic husband of my friend at the bottom of the hill who has diversified from being a farmer, (although he still keeps several hundred sheep, cows and acres of land ‘more as a hobby than anything else’), to being the local expert on spring fed water systems, drainage systems and pulls it all together under the umbrella of a ground works company.

Yes, he and his sons, (with whom he works), have spent many hours with heads bent over our water spring and holding tank, talking in deepest Cumbrian accents, (that ‘incomers’ like us need an interpreter to understand), trying to solve the mysteries of our water supply.

So, like knights in shining armour they arrived with diggers with the ultimate aim of creating a soak away at the bottom of the garden with all the associated pipework to stop the damned water from heading southwards into our cellar.

I ought to point out that on the same day everybody descended.

The builders decided that this was the day to knock a hole in the side of the house that could easily have been created by a wrecking ball, the landscaper appeared to build the fence and then of course there were the ground works guys.

The only people missing were the plumbers, carpenters and electrician who thank fully had other things to do that day or that may just send me over the edge.

So, the garden was full of diggers, stone cutters, bits of fence and concrete mixers. And oh yes, several big burly men.

We knew that there was a waste pipe that led out from the house into the garden, but naively assumed that this turned 90° and headed towards the septic tank listed on the deeds.

We briefed the guys in their diggers on this and left them to their own devices.

Cups of tea were made, chocolate biscuits dispensed and they all got on with what they were doing.

The beauty of using local tradesmen and craftsmen is on the one hand they all know each other and when needed lend a hand to each other. On the other hand they all know each other and when one stops work to scratch his chin, they all stop and scratch their chins. They all speak deepest, darkest Cumbrian so if there is any hint of a problem you do have to ask for a translation to get a grasp on what the latest situation is.

At this point I decided the best thing I could do would be to go out. Himself was at home and quite frankly as I spend a considerable amount of my time working with tradesmen when he is in the land of sand, I felt quite justified in going out and leaving him to shoulder the responsibility.

I came back a couple of hours later and knew something was amiss when himself met me as I got out of the car.

He was vaguely green about the gills and to be honest as I breathed in I too started to fill a bit queasy.

Now, I ought to explain that where we park the car is near our barn, across the track from EIOT Towers and about 50 yards from the garden.

Yes, there was an aroma in the air.

The story behind the aroma was that the same as us the hero of the ground works business had assumed a 90° bend in the waste pipe and had been happily digging a hole for the soak away at the bottom of the garden – with their digger.

Apparently they had hit something hard, but thinking that it was just fine Cumbrian stone had persevered……..

Apparently it was at this point that there was a loud crack as the final grains of soil were scrapped away from a concrete slab and it split in half.

As it split in half it caved in at the middle and sunk, with full ceremonial honours, gurgles and bubbles to the bottom of a full septic tank.

At this point everybody had downed tools and had congregated around the new discovery – but not for long.

No, the fact that this septic tank had lain untouched for at least 40 years but functioning quite happily was testament to the quality of its construction, but that did not make it any more pleasant on its discovery and everywhere within a radius of around a mile knew that it had been found.

Yes, 40+ years of congealed poo smells.

So, I returned home shortly after the grim discovery, just as all the tradesmen decided that it was time to take early lunches or any other reason to vacate the garden  – all except the heroic ground works guys I hasten to add who barely batted an eyelid.

Another look at the deeds confirmed that our second septic tank was not listed anywhere and was indeed another curved ball that the house had thrown at us.

So, at this point I decided I had better go out again.

I came back to find a very different scenario.

The tank had been emptied and the ground works guys had drawn straws about who was going in to rescue the broken concrete slab, which was by now lying majestically on the ground glowing gently with a strong coat of congealed poop and drying in the sunlight.

A new slab had been placed over the secret septic tank, the soak away was under construction at another site in the garden, the pipework was in situ and as far as the ground works guys were concerned it was just another day at the office.

By the end of the day you would never have known of any trauma in the garden that day.

By the way, the new drain pipe system works perfectly, the cellar has dried out and quite frankly is starting to look fab.

Oh yes, as an aside, that evening as I was into garden, planning the next stage of development when one of the locals popped her nose over the wall and commented that we had had quite a day hadn’t we?

I replied in the positive and explained about our new, stinky discovery.

At which point she muttered the immortal words, ‘oh yes, I knew that was there, been there many a year or two. I could ‘ave told you about that’, and then wondered off.

Aaaaarrgghhh……………….is it me?

Laters!

www.Tommys.org

 

Driven By Borat & My Descent Into the Abyss Of Teenage Embarrassment…..???

So, when I came back to the land of sand with the gruesome twosome for a few weeks I was anticipating a quiet time, relaxation, no adventures and the chance to regale you all with the crazy adventures, incidents and discoveries at EIOT Towers.

But no, a matter of days in and the first land of sand adventure has befallen me and to be honest has broken me very unceremoniously back into life among the camels.

Now, I will go on to unburden myself later in today’s post with my slide down the slippery slope into the mire of being the world’s most embarrassing mother with The Strawberry Blond Hand Grenade, (TSBHG), but first I feel I must cleanse my traumatised soul with the events of this morning.

You see, as part of my endless, self-extending and potentially endless quest to leave the land of sand there is a necessity to acquire a security or police check.

This works along the same lines as a DBS, (or previous CRB check), and basically confirms that in my time in Kingdom I have behaved myself and have not been arrested or convicted of anything.

The truth of the matter is that if I had committed some heinous crime I would either have ended up in the renowned ‘Chop-Chop Square’ or deported, not running around trying to get a certificate in Arabic that says I behaved myself.

But no, in order to be squeaky clean in the employment bunfight of the UK it is a good piece of paper to have.

So, while here the plan involved getting hold of the said piece of paper.

In order to achieve this there are several hoops to be jumped through and as I am a woman in Saudi, these were initially best completed by himself.

So, on arrival the initial hoops had been well and truly jumped through, a certificate from the British Embassy was waiting for me and I was informed that I had to be in an admin office at 0730 this morning to be transported to somewhere to do something that equated to jumping through the next hoop.

Now, there are a few points here which are pertinent.

Firstly the certificate from the British Embassy. This was quite an imposing document and I have to say that with its large wax stamp on it and almost parchment feel it would have been more at home as a prop in the set of Poldark than in the 21st Century as a tool to confirm my upstanding character and clean slate.

Next there was the requirement to be in the admin office at 0730 this morning.

I do not do mornings, but I made the effort and got myself there on time, grumpily.

Thirdly, the admin office in question is a relatively long way away, beyond the first security gate therefore necessitating the need for a black abaya. The outside temperature at 0715 this morning was already 30℃ plus and in order not to cook too much cycling was much more favourable than walking.

Don’t forget that women are still not allowed to drive in the land of sand – the reasons stated include driving causing misalignment of the pelvis which then results in infertility, the vibrations of the engine may mean that the female drivers may enjoy it a little too much and finally that women driving would increase levels of female homosexuality.

So, independent travel around the compound is either on foot on on a bike.

So, cycling in an Abaya. I have done it before but for obvious reasons not very often.

Climbing onto a bike with a crossbar is not a ladylike mission in the first place but with an abaya on it is akin to a suicide mission. Get the fabric in the wrong place and you either choke as you sit down or it gets caught in the chain and the whole ensemble disintegrates.

Whichever way once you start peddling some part of it invariably gets caught somewhere and you are lucky to make it to your destination without falling off at least once.

They then billow and blow and quite frankly the whole philosophy of abayas goes out of the window and the object of the exercise is neutralised.

Anyway, I made it out of the first check point and to the bike rack miraculously unscathed, climbed off my bike as ungraciously as I got on and went to the office where I was told a driver, (or broker), would meet me.

Problem number one, the powers that be had not booked the driver.

One was hastily summoned and 45 minutes later in he strolled.

Now, I ought to point out that when himself informed me that I had to go somewhere to do something as the next stage of the process I assumed that he would take me.

That idea was quickly dispelled as I was informed by himself that I would be going with a driver and he would be at work.

Now, this did not go down well. The whole concept of me getting into a car with an unknown local with minimal english, going to a thus far unknown destination in the middle of Riyadh was a little hard to take.

But that was the case and no amount of kicking and screaming on my part was going to change it.

So, there he stood – my driver.

Now, I am trying to find a way of describing him. Firstly I feel I ought to say that I am sure that the gentleman in question was a very nice, friendly chap – but as he spoke about as much english as I speak arabic then it was hard to confirm that theory.

So, there he stood in his immaculate, white thobe with pristinely ironed keffiyah, (traditional Saudi male headwear as per the camel at the start of the post), fashioned to fall gracefully across his shoulders as all local chaps tend to do.

Lots of the local chaps have black beards and moustaches, but his goaty and tash were jet black – Grecian 2000 jet black.

His sunglasses were impressive and were the sort that underworld types in New York wear.

Yes, the truth dawned on me, I was to be driven to an undisclosed location somewhere in Riyadh by Borat.

He was chewing on his gum as we walked out of the building, me very aware that I was getting into a car with a man resembling Borat, who I didn’t know, couldn’t communicate with, in Riyadh, to an unknown destination with nobody else around.

So, off we set on our magical mystery tour, complete silence in the car except for the sound of his chomping on chewing gum and the usual sounds of travel in Riyadh, screeching brakes, yelling tyres, police sirens, prolonged use of car horns and what can only be guessed as being arabic swearing being projected out of car windows.

Now, I have to say at this point that Borat did not fall into this category and I actually felt very safe with his driving. The only occasion where he did take evasive action was unfortunately just as a took a swig out of my water bottle which resulted in an eye full of water and an almost lost contact lens – but almost is not quite and the lens stayed where it should be.

Which is quite a good job as I was desperately trying to make mental notes of our route just in case I was heading anywhere other than the location of the next security check hoop.

Today, I went to places in Riyadh that I have never been to before and quite frankly do not want to go to again and it was all a tad disconcerting.

Now, it was at this point that I iMessaged himself as I was convinced that in my best interests and safety he would be stalking me on ‘Find My iPhone’.

The text message ran as follows:

So, as you can see I really was on my own.

Anyway, after Borat stopped to ask a taxi driver where the still undisclosed destination was, we eventually made it to a building that was surprisingly bedecked with a big sign saying ‘Police Check Department’.

Borat guided me into a door and I knew that we had a problem as the sign said ‘Men Only’, but several years in the land of sand have taught me not to question the locals – especially male ones – so I was not at all surprised when a holy furore broke out when I walked in.

Yes, the frantic arm waving, gesticulation and rapid speech was reminiscent of when I innocently walked into a male only mobile phone store a few years ago.

That is another story for another day.

Anyway, Borat rapidly steered me back out with all due haste and we soon found the ‘Women’s Only’ section.

I was quite relieved when he handed me my passport and residency permit and waved me in alone.

At least if I didn’t make it home it could be evidenced that I had been there if there had been a search for me.

The next few minutes of the process were quite routine and I came back out to find Borat chilling in the car.

We set off home – this time I didn’t assume that himself was tracking me for my own good and instead followed the route on my phone as we homed in on the compound.

Relief slowly overtook me as we pulled into the first check point and then back to the admin building.

I was back.

The return journey on my bike was as tricky but uneventful as the first and I finally stumbled back into the house, sweaty and flustered not to welcome greetings from the gruesome twosome but to the question, ‘have you brought anything in to eat?…….’

I feel that I ought to say that I was clearly correct in my impression of Borat being a thoroughly good man and his driving was immaculate.

Thank you!

So, onto the acquisition of my position of ‘World’s Most Embarrassing Mother’

Well, what can I say, other than to a large extent I did deserve it but I do not deserve to be reminded of it on a daily basis.

I hasten to point out that this mantle is only in the eyes of TSBHG, The Small Testosterone Filled One, (TSTFO), is still in the phase where his old Mum can do no wrong and she is there to be protected and cuddled.

But yes, back to TSBHG.

Before I go any further I ought to point out that even without the enormous bloomer that I dropped, TSBHG is at ‘that’ age. Yes ‘that’ age where it is not cool to be excited, happy or any other emotional state that shows any element of positivity.

I spend my life being viewed with derision and disgust by TSBHG – something that I am told is completely normal.

We fight tooth and nail, not only because of her age but also because she is of course, a ‘mini-me’.

 

When I sing or dance I am abruptly told to stop – something which just makes me do it even more.

I actually think she is embarrassed by my breathing and existing on a regular basis.

Yes, she is a teenager.


So, onto my bloomer.

In true, fine educational fashion the gruesome twosome’s school puts on annual displays of thespian activity with pomp and ceremony.

These are no humorous productions on minimal budgets here, such as we had each Christmas at our school with tea-towels on heads, Grandma’s old coat as a dress and an old rug covering a bent over pupil and a papermache donkey’s head on another.

Oh no, these are grand affairs, put together by the drama teacher and to a standard that the highest level drama schools would be proud of.

So, when TSBHG auditioned for a production and was given a leading role we were delighted and proud. Needless to say we supported her and encouraged her as much as was humanly possible – even if all our efforts were greeted with a grunt and roll of the eyes.

We persevered.

The production was on a Monday and Tuesday evening and on the Sunday before we were informed that there was a mandatory dress rehearsal. Miss it at your peril.

Needless to say that this went down like a lead balloon with our teenage prodigy who was more than slightly miffed that her one day off of the week was to be sacrificed but tough, we had had a three line whip and she was going.

So, I dropped her off at 1200, telling her as she slammed the car door and rolled her eyes that I would be back at 1700 to collect her.

At 1650 I walked into the auditorium to be greeted by about 30 teenagers who had clearly been confined to the zone for the afternoon and were bouncing off the walls.

As I walked through the door the rather beleaguered and stressed drama teacher made a beeline for me. The conversation went along the lines of:

Beleaguered teacher: ‘Oh Mrs EIOT, I am so worried. TSBHG does not know her lines and tomorrow is the first night’

Now, it takes a bit more than that to make me panic so I calmly said that it was no problem, we would make sure all the lines were learnt that evening and all would be well.

At this point I glanced around to see TSBHG on the stage, casually kick and punch a fellow student.

That sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable in our household and I bellowed across the busy auditorium:

‘TSBHG!!!! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING????’

There was nothing subtle about this. The whole auditorium fell silent. The technician took his finger off the ON button and the music stopped. Everybody turned around and looked at me.

After what seemed an eternity of me, (the wrong person), being in the spotlight, the slightly harassed, (now even more harassed), drama teacher tapped me on the shoulder and muttered the words that will rattle around in my head forever:

‘Mrs EIOT – it is part of the play’……..

Oh no, oh dear, what a bloomer. The usual level of derision in which I am held by TSBHG was clearly sinking to a new low.

At this point the auditorium started to whirring back into life as TSBHG stomped over to me with the words, ‘we are leaving, now’

Well, to say that the journey home was frosty is an understatement.

We got back to EIOT Towers and she regaled the story to himself who actually did very well to keep a straight face and soothe her wounded pride, well to her face anyway. Away from her he rolled around on the floor laughing.

Needless to say I was not the person to go through her lines with her that evening and himself and TSBHG made a fine job of perfecting every last sentance.

My discomfort at the situation was just augmented the following night at the performance when chatting to the headmaster’s wife about my small error of judgement when she casually said, ‘oh yes, I heard about that’.

A few days later a parent made pretty much the same comment.

My descent into the dark and lonely world of parental ostracism has continued ever since with the whole seedy experience being thrown back at me on regular occasions.

Oh well, best make myself comfortable in my embarrassing mum zone, think I might be here for some time.

So, I seem to have smashed to smithereens my new principle of no extra long posts, but in my defence I was not expecting the excitement of this mornings mystery tour with Borat.

So, best I go off and attempt to instigate a conversation with TSBHG, keep an ear open for the sound of tutting, eye rolling and door slamming from the land of sand – I am sure it will be perfectly audible from wherever you happen to be in the world.

Laters!

 

 

 

www.Tommys.org

 

 

Dry Stone Walls, Flip Flops, Helicopters & Usain Bolt’s Thighs……???

All is not lost! I am here, I live, (only just – but more of that later), and I am here to report on more exploits, excitement and general chaos in the land of Every Inch of Tarmac.

First and foremost I apologise for my absence from your lives for a prolonged period. Yes, I know, acknowledge and appreciate that many of you may not have even noticed my absence let alone felt bereft at the great glaring whole in your literary reading, but in my mind a naive belief that such appreciation is felt is integral to maintaining a stable state and general well-being.

So, I hear you ask, what provoked such an abrupt and unannounced departure from my usual ramblings?

Well I could bore you to tears with tales of bouncing backwards and forwards between the land of sand and deepest, darkest Cumbria, trying to keep the Strawberry Blond Hand Grenade (SBHG), on an even keel, the endless and relentless task of keeping The Small Testosterone Filled One, (TSTFO), fed and watered, trying to sort out my career, house renovations, project managing numerous tradesmen and craftsmen and last but not least discussing very patiently and politely with the corporate monster that is BT why the phone and Internet has gone off, but that would be boring as much for me as for you.

So, instead I have whittled down the events of the last few months as much as possible and will keep the various tales of woe, hilarity, despair and pain as humorous and entertaining as I possibly can.

So much has happened that I feel listing it all in one post would make War & Peace look like a magazine article so I will space out my ramblings over the next few posts to keep you in suspense.

1

You see it has been a varied and entertaining few months which on the face of it may sound exciting, exotic and extravagant with international travel, challenging but progressive career prospects and of course the many, many curved balls which EIOT Towers continues to thrust in our direction.

The international travel aspect has been nothing more exciting than me bouncing backwards and forwards between the land of sand and deepest, darkest Cumbria like the proverbial British Airways beach ball on a set course and not to be deterred. Yes, I have been trying to keep everybody happy. On the one hand the gruesome twosome with their many and varied school plays, concerts, sports events, (I did manage to duck out of the Mum’s race at Sports Day much to their disgust), Speech Day and holiday sports courses. On the other hand there is of course himself’s employer who sets strict guidelines of time in the land of sand in direct proportion to various factors which make up part of his package and step over those boundaries at your peril.

So yes, I have bust a gut of late to keep everybody happy .

Then of course there is the not so international travel portion of my adventures, but aeronautical travel none the less.

 

Yes, I was a berk, yes I was stupid, yes I had an accident and yes I am more than a little lucky that it was not a heck of a lot worse. Finally, yes I have had dressing down from everybody from Air Ambulance Drs to the old farmer up the Dale who saw the excitement unfold.

It was the weekend of the last week of school so I was at EIOT Towers priming myself for the latest onslaught of concerts and sports events. The sun was shining and as there was a lull in events that day I busied myself with starting the mammoth task of painting the back of the house.

The day was spent climbing 20ft ladders with health and safety at the forefront of my mind. Ladders were checked and double checked to make sure of symmetry, angles and safety catches and a productive afternoon was spent with a paintbrush and can of masonry paint. This is the supreme irony of the situation – safety had been paramount.

Later afternoon arrived, TSTFO had not eaten for 10 minutes, was wasting away and was in imminent danger of starvation so I cleared away, showered and set about preparing a hearty meal to try to fill him up.

This meal consisted of jacket potatoes and several types of meat – a smorgasbord of carnivorous delights to feed the starving small man.

As the sun was still shining I elected to barbecue the meaty delights, made my way outside and proceeded to turn the delights into charcoal.

Now I know what you are thinking here, a barbecue incident occurred and various parts of my anatomy were cooked rather than the meaty treats. Sorry, wrong. If only it had been and then I wouldn’t have looked such a wally.

No, the cooking proceeded well and with just a couple more minutes needed I was wondering around our developing garden trying to kill time – not myself I hasten to add.

At this point I spotted a hanging basket that during recent work had been taken down and not rehung. Well, in my wisdom I decided that such a simple task would fill the hiatus while I waited for the meat to get really charcoaly.

My first instinct was to go and fetch the ladders from the back of the house but a moment of stupidity took over as I decided it would be quicker and easier to climb onto the dry stone wall and reach across to the bracket.

At this point I should sheepishly point out that I was wearing flip flops.

Well, I probably do not need to fill in the gaps, suffice to say that I fell from around 8ft with a loud crack onto my head and elbow.

I am not sure about the following course of events, apart from shouting the gruesome twosome who fetched our nearest neighbours.

My next recollection is sitting with various tea-towels and ice being pressed against various parts of my anatomy with one of my neighbours trying to keep me focused.

At this point we heard a helicopter in the distance. Thinking it was just a rich weekender out for a spin on a beautiful summer’s evening we thought nothing of it.

Then it got closer and a shiver of panic overtook me, not because of the torrent of blood gushing out of the back of head or the fact that my arm looked similar to a prize marrow in the village show, but because the realisation that the Air Ambulance had been sent to a stupid woman who should have know better had decided to climb up onto a dry stone wall in her flip flops.

Yes, we live in the middle of nowhere and to a certain extent the Air Ambulance is sent out to all incidents as routine, but how embarrassing.

Yeap, they landed in the sheep field and I was suddenly greeted by the whole crew – Dr, pilots, observer and to add insult to injury a first responder and regular ambulance then appeared.

Yeap, I had a sizeable proportion of the local NHS stood in my garden.

Once they confirmed that I was stupid for doing what I had done the decision was taken to assess me in the ambulance and after that I was driven the 50 yards or so to the sheep field where I was loaded into the helicopter and transported to the trauma unit some 30 miles away.

It was about this time that I had my first ever dose of morphine……….

Aside from the medicinal effects of the morphine, I did comment that I was sure that they all had better things to do than deal with a stupid woman who should have know better and I did ask if my neighbour could drive me to hospital to free them all up for much needier cases – but that idea was soon shot down with some comment about head injuries and I was very unceremoniously loaded into the helicopter and taken like an Amazon parcel on a drone to an expectant customer waiting for their goodies.

Yes, there my self-inflicted humiliation continued. You see the hospital had got the message to expect a middle-aged woman who had fallen off a ladder from a great height onto her head.

Partly true I know.

So, I was wheeled into resus to be greeted by what seemed to be rest of the NHS who had been dragged off wards, probably out of theatre and off breaks to deal with a skull in a thousand pieces and bits of cerebellum leaking out of ears.

Instead they were greeted by me.

Yes, I was a blood soaked, dishevelled mess, yes every part of my ached and yes by this point my arm resembled Usain Bolt’s thigh, not as delicious to touch or as sculpted but the same sort of size.

(At this point I feel I ought to point out that I have never been fortunate enough to touch Usain Bolt’s thighs – only in my dreams – but imagination is a powerful tool).

At this point I swear I heard sighs of disappointment as I apologised for my relatively minor injuries and the posse of surgeons, anaesthetists, consultants, trauma nurses and other added professionals dispersed.

A long evening of CT scans, x-Ray’s and Glasgow Coma Scales proved that I was one of the luckiest people around and every member of staff made sure I knew it. Finally a row of surgical staples pieced my scalp back together and I was packed off home at midnight.

Yeap, my arm was a mess but to everybody’s ongoing astonishment it was not broken – bones of iron in our family.

But yes, it was, (and still is), damned painful.

But it wasn’t broken and so that wasn’t my immediate problem.

You see as is well know we live in the middle of nowhere. There is one bus a week to the local town and if you miss that you are scuppered.

Now, thanks to The Great North Air Ambulance Service I had been chauffeured some 40 miles away from home on a beautiful summers evening over some of the most breath taking countryside to the nearest trauma unit. Despite seeing stars and the world spinning I had had a birds eye view of the splendour.

But that did not help me to get home, to deepest darkest Cumbria at midnight on a Sunday night/Monday morning.

I didn’t think the Air Ambulance would appreciate a request for a lift home or that the sheep in the field would fancy being disturbed once more, so I was on my own.

Hence a taxi ride and second mortgage to pay for it.

The taxi ride was not without its challenges. I was greeted with world’s most talkative taxi driver who once he told me about all his ailments then insisted on going to the McDonald’s drive thru for a dose of caffeine to keep him awake all the way back to my house.

I seem to recall saying a silent prayer, (and don’t forget that I am one of the most unreligious people around so I must have been worried), explaining my concerns that if I pitched back up in A&E again tonight then they would be completely justified in ignoring me and leaving me on a trolley in a corridor.

Anyway, we made it back in one piece and I assume he made the return journey quite safely as well, but he would have been disappointed if he had expected a McDonald’s drive thru anywhere near EIOT Towers. We could probably have mustered the milk from a random cow in a field and a few nettles for nettle tea, but anything further would have been too much to expect.

So, I was home. Concussed and not on top form but I was home. The gruesome twosome had been taken in like homeless strays for the night by the heroic neighbours and I busied myself for the next hour in the shower unmatting my blood soaked hair with my one good hand while trying to remain motionless to avoid the aching that was ricocheting through every part of my body.

Now I ought to point out that it was only at this point that I let himself know about events as I knew that communication with the land of sand before being given the all clear would result in worry and panic several thousand miles away and that was to be avoided at all costs.

So, I fessed up with a torrent of iMessages that would be waiting for when we woke the next day.

But there was another problem.

Yes, our heroic neighbours had stepped in with the gruesome twosome and they were tucked up in hastily put up beds fast asleep and they were heroically offered to take them to school next morning, but what then?

There was no way I could drive, between my head spinning and Usain Bolt’s thigh getting behind the wheel was a no-no.

It seemed massively over dramatic to send for himself as I knew that in a matter of days I would be functioning again – at some level.

No, there was only one thing for it.

Call in the Godfather.

Yes, now you may recall the heroic virtues of the kids’ Godfather who also happens to be one of our oldest friends.

For those of you unaware of his heroic tendencies, I will refer you to the post The Godfather……A Hero In A Trump Type Word….. There are other posts that refer to the legend of The Godfather but this will give you a good insight.

Now I called The Godfather from the hospital to ask for his help which he readily agreed to, with the caveat that he would come over the following day as he had already enjoyed a couple of Pimms  on the lawn and couldn’t possibly drive.

So, in true knight in shining fashion The Godfather appeared the next day to find a slightly dishevelled heap on the sofa.

He immediately took over the reins, donned an apron and set about creating culinary masterpieces to fill the gruesome twosome.

Yes, the day, and week for that matter, was saved by The Godfather and once again we are indebted to him for his services.

Within five days I was able to take over the vaguest of responsibilities again, although at a very slow pace and with aches and pains and the legend that is The Godfather disappeared from whence he came.

The recovery has been slow and to be honest I am still wincing at times, but hey ho, that will teach me to climb onto a dry stone wall in my flip flops…..

Right, while I am being vaguely serious I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everybody who played a part in piecing me back tog

ether again after I nearly did myself in.

Thanks got to the neighbours, the ambulance service, the Air Ambulance Service, the local farmer for not getting grumpy about a helicopter landing in his sheep field, the much bemoaned NHS and The Godfather. Last but not least thanks go to the McDonalds Drive Thru for still being open and selling a coffee to my talkative taxi driver and giving him a much-needed caffeine boost to get me home and not back into A&E.

So, the next instalment of chaos will be posted imminently, but what will it be about? Perhaps the stinky surprise at the house, or my moment of glory in court or maybe the evidence behind my status as the world’s most embarrassing mother?

Oh there is so much to choose from…..

Laters!

www.Tommys.org