Monday 30 April 2012

The aim? To blog often enough to not have to look up the password to said blog, every time I feel compelled to type something of note or no note.

The reality? Motivating myself to write in order to fill in time before the start of real Housewives of Beverley Hills. See, the thing is, real writers don't watch trash TV. Do they? No, they do not. They are busy reading. And writing. And living. And loving. Whereas I am wishing. And washing.

I am sitting on my tidy sofa in my tidy living room. This is a novelty for me since I have struggled to maintain some sort of order in my humble home for many years. I seemed to have turned a corner, after a mammoth chucking session over a week ago, spurred on not by whom I discovered around 10 years ago, but by these brief, sage words of advice from a friend: "Throw it away". That and the visit of an estate agent.

Floordrobe no longer, my clothes are hanging neatly in the cupboard. My dressing table, bedside table and desk are deserts, gleaming surfaces challenging me to blot their landscapes with any random piece of crap. But I will not do it. The house is a miracle to behold. It is something I have never experienced before, without shoving everything in a cupboard before visitors' arrival. I mean, really, it's so tidy and cozy and warm that I almost want to stay and not move.

I have discovered that messinesss was not my impediment to writing.

Next entry: A study of contemporary hocus pocus.

Sunday 29 April 2012

A friend posted this on facebook:

It's really funny.

Mummy on the Edge

May June 2012

It was a long school holiday, after everyone had gone bonkers and the telly said that the petrol pumps had run dry, and I had got into the dangerously comfortable habit of not leaving the house. You may struggle to believe this, but I am exceedingly lazy and have, shall we say, reclusive tendencies. Mini-Me had her bike and the nearby park, not to mention a copious supply of brain-pokeage from maths work printed from the interweb. Although I hadn't been shopping for a week and had a date-sensitive £5 Tesco coupon that was burning a hole somewhere in the footwell of my car, I decided not to venture out into the apocalypse but instead to stay home and make do. Luckily, I am gifted with a special talent (no, not THAT). I am able to produce comestible slop using items from my fridge that others may politely regard as half dead. Listen: a pepper past its prime is no impediment to a perfectly palatable pasta.

By the time I had worked my way through risotto al fridge bottom, frozen pastry, and various shades of lentil, I thought that Mini-Me must be fed up of me and my slop. I was certainly fed up of myself... So it was time to venture out into the open world. I'd been meaning to take Mini-Me to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden for a few years. And now, I thought it would be a fun and educational break from homework and from my mad “it's-a-jungle-out-there” type behaviour. Plus, I thought, it was just up the road from Mill End where I teach Sing and Sign on a Tuesday so it wouldn't take that long to get there. I performed the usual day-out ritual of wasting a silly amount of the day trawling for some sort of exciting lunch/ dinner place near the museum that would offer 50% off or two-for-one on production of my special card. The wonderful thing and paradoxically, also the very, very worst thing about yielding to the magical promise of the Tastecard is that once you are sick to death of Pizza Express, one ends up trying eating places that one wouldn't otherwise try. It's like restaurant Russian roulette. Plus, one is lulled into a false sense of bargainousness – like when we used it for desert at Café Rouge, when it would have been better value to opt for the in-house offer of dessert and coffee for £3.95.

Of course, the museum was a bit further away than I thought, and because of the 4 way single alternate lane traffic light situation at the junction of the M25 it took ages to get there. But never mind, because Mini-Me amused herself by having a really good slow-mo nose at all the huge and beautiful mansions on Chorleywood Road. Which one would we buy when we'd sold as many books as Roald Dahl?

The museum comprises three galleries, a craft room, “Miss Honey's Classroom” for story telling and Café Twit, all arranged around a central courtyard. The “Boy” gallery, based on his book of the same name which Mini-Me had recently read, looked at Dahl's childhood. Mini-Me's said it was her favourite because of the chocolate entrance; details about his mischief with a dead mouse and sweetshop whilst at boarding school; reading Dahl's handwrittten childhood letters to his mother and, heartbreakingly how he used to sleep facing the direction of home in Llandaff, Wales. My favourite was the new “Solo” gallery because they have transported Dahl's actual writing hut with its tobacco stained interior; drawings on the walls; bizarre objets of inspiration and broken anglepoise lamp fixed by a towel and a suspended golf ball, all faithfully reconstructed for posterity.

We enjoyed a free storytelling of Cinderella from Revolting Rhymes with audience participation, (bumping into a Sing and Sign family I taught 7 years ago!) Lucky for Mini-Me I didn't volunteer myself as an ugly sister. The thing we didn't do, which we should have and would have, had I not been worried about getting stuck in traffic on the way back, was stop in at Café Twit for a slice of Bogtrotter cake and cup of Whizpopper hot chocolate.

We came home and Mini-Me explained how she was inspired by the advice of Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, and J. K. Rowling, that appeared around the museum; whilst I prepared end-of-the-world slopperdooperoney, with a side of whizzcracking flangdroppers... Mmm, dewishus!

For more Life on the Edge and Angelina's recipe for slopperdooperoney, visit Angelina runs award winning Sing and Sign baby signing classes. More info at

Wednesday 18 April 2012

I found another email hidden away on my facebook page under the mysterious heading of "other" from a fan of this, here, blog. Well, I say a fan. It was January when she sent the email but I don't think I've contributed much since then, so she may not be a fan any more. But anyway. It was really nice to know that someone enjoys it.

So I have joined another website called Red Room ( It is a site for writers of anything and readers of books. I found it when I was "asking the google" as my parents put it, if Amy Tan has a blog. To join Red Room as a writer, (which I was sufficiently wannabe enough to want to do, that late stormy night after I had stayed up watching Dorian Grey on the telly while the rose thorns screeched and scraped against the window) one has to upload a picture, so I uploaded the one picture I have of me looking vaguely presentable and smiling demurely, taken on a happy evening out. That was my facebook picture recently, but I couldn't stand looking at it everytime I was on fb so I doodled it with black moustache and glasses and eyebrows on top to make it more realistic. Some friends found it offensive and I didn't care because it made me happy. But after a few months I yielded to pressure. Now my facebook picture is one of "Daria" which I recently found they are re-showing on MTV. I think I might be grown-up Daria in a parallel cartooniverse...  If Daria divorced a psychopath and became a neurotic single mother. No, she's probably a neurologist. Anyway, see how I digress? I've started another blog on Red Room but they have to moderate everything; whatever dross I wrote when I was feeling the vague frisson of motivation that caused me to type my first blogpost there has not been approved yet. My guess (as I cannot actually remember what I wrote) is it's too introspective and too crap.


I am on a break at the moment in between terms of doing what I do for a living which I was adamant that I didn't want to talk about on here but I might as well bloody say because it is getting tedious dancing around it all the time. So I teach a successful (!) baby signing class to parents. Except if you are reading this, you already know it because that's probably how you ended up reading this. Well, I say on a break but it's not really a break actually because there is lots of admin to catch up on and classes to fill. Also, I am trying to do extra work with Mini-Me in the run up to the 11 plus exams this September. The school does nothing. I really must not complain about the school. Someone might read this and she still goes there. Actually she might read this and be really cross because she LOVES her school. I really must go and write some horribly rude swearwords in the intro to the blog so that her firewall or whatever it's called does a parental block on it.

I really wish I had started working with her earlier - like actually years earlier, but as my dad always says, if wishes were horses, then beggars something something. Y'know I never understood what he was talking about with that one and I don't remember how he finished the expression. I'm going to ask the google now and find out what it's meant to be....

"If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride."

What? I have no idea. I'm sure I could eke out some sort of analysis if I could be arsed but I cannot (because it is now after 1AM and I'm typing while being asphixiated by a fog of dread wondering how I'm going to scrape myself out of bed in the morning to see Mini-Me across the road to A who takes her to school). I don't think that's what he said and if he did, I still wouldn't have understood it. My dad has his own understanding of the world and you cannot argue with him because he will obstinately refuse to budge from his obviously skewed and, some might argue, mentalist point of view. Or, he will tell you that he doesn't want to argue and that "Alright darling, don't get upset. You are right." Either way, you can NEVER win.

I know this from experience. From the time I could talk I was begging him to stop smoking because it was dangerous and carcinogenic. His carefully constructed, near-scientific ripost?

"Aah, that's all bullshit."

I tell you what is bullshit. This blog. There was a point, honestly, but it got lost along the sideroads and now I must bross les dents and go to bed to suffer more nightmares about driving uphill in a car that rolls backwards. 

Newsnight was funny tonight, with whassisname (not Paxman) interviewing EL thingumybob who has become the latest literary sensation after writing those saucy novels, 50 Shades of Grey etc. Maybe I should write a saucy novel. No, I've led a sheltered life and know nothing of these things. I can only write about how to deal with despicable narcissists. I have met a few of those along the way.

The next entry will be better. Or maybe it won't. You'll have to check in to find out.


p.s. I'm too tired to spell check. Sorry.