Swimming in Play Doh and Fish Tanks

Howdy folks, another busy day of the six week hols today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed as so far the holiday isn’t going too quickly!

Today, I took my new car swimming for the first time. No, don’t worry, I didn’t actually take it in water! But it had it’s first visit to the leisure centre car park for my swimming session, where I hope (motivation and energy depending) it will have many visits! Yes, I went swimming first thing. I was actually in the pool for 7am – crazy I know. I only do that every so often. I’d like to say I go that early because it is nice and quiet but noooo it’s  absolutely packed! With old people who clearly have it drummed into their retirement schedule, dedicated workers who get a workout in before they start work ( I only ever come this early when I’m off work! Lunatics!) and other crazy people like me I guess!

One girl really annoyed me today. I have no valid reason for this. But she just got in the pool and swam really fast and didn’t stop for a good 40 min. She swam past me a few times making me feel like a slow sea turtle that hadn’t woke up yet! Not only that but she looked perfect! At 7am! In the swimming pool! She had this really long plaited hair and just swam with such grace, I really felt annoyed! I go in with my hair randomly thrown on the top of my head, bright blue goggles on and I swim like a child, thrashing my way along the pool as if I’m rushing to get an ice-cream on holiday! My arms fly out as I attempt front crawl and I end up accidentally swallowing water and every now and then I have to stop to wipe the mist off my goggles just so I don’t bang into the oldies! Who would put the effort into looking and behaving amazing at swimming at 7am? Nobody I guess, which is why it’s so annoying because it probably just comes naturally to her! Boo!

One week, I went swimming in the evening and I saw a pupil from school. He said to me in a surprised voice, ‘Miss you look totally different from school!’ I think I laughed but really I was thinking, ‘Of course I bloody do, I’m wearing bright blue goggles, no make-up, my hair looks like it’s been dragged through a swamp and oh yes I’m wearing a tight fitted lycra costume!’ Kids eh?

Speaking of kids, I saw the Special Needs lad from Friday again today. I ‘babysat’  him for a few hours… I don’t like saying ‘babysat’ because he is 15! But you know what I mean and it does have the joys and downfalls of watching a toddler to be honest! We had lots of fun though, firstly with Play Doh! I made sure I got a bottle of coke and lemonade out so that he could show me if he wanted a drink and more importantly have a choice of drink (remember he doesn’t speak) but we ended up using them to hold up a cupboard door (that I have lying around after decorating the kitchen!) to make a ramp. Which, was obviously, for our Play Doh balls to roll down! I actually used to do this at school with him in Maths for a unit on Shape and looking at ‘Things that Roll’. It was great though to not have the same structure and rules of a classroom and just let him play (within reason… I had to keep a close eye on my pictures on the wall! haha). He was muchly excited and throwing his big splat of brown Play Doh up the slope, which quite frankly I could have played quite a prank on my boyfriend with if it had been left on the floor! I made a perfectly round ball for him to roll and he threw it back at me and then laughed his head off…. (so much that we could have used his head to roll down the ramp!)….he obviously preferred his ‘splat’ and wasn’t impressed with my attempt!

After, we watched Postman Pat. Mum said this was the latest craze that he was into. He was very excited and swaying and rocking about at the bright red van and Jess the cat and all that. So much that I had to swap seats with him because I was getting quite concerned about my corner cabinet swaying, which was full of my boyfriend’s glass rowing trophies!! Who knew Postman Pat was such a hit with teenage boys eh?

After Mum had a good few hours to run errands, we went to meet her for lunch. We went in my car to meet her and he was the first passenger in it, not that he was impressed… it’s no bright red van is it now?! We had a lovely lunch at a garden centre but I don’t think he had quite enough to drink because when we got to the water features (remember I said he loved water?) we couldn’t pull him away and he ended up looking in the one empty stone tank… no fish but plenty of fascinating bubbles! He got so close to the surface of the water that he had a little drink!! Luckily, he didn’t go in further (or we didn’t have to  go in after him!), or he wouldn’t have been the only swimmer today!  Very funny, he obviously wasn’t impressed with the apple juice at lunch! He got very excited looking at the various water features and especially the misted pond that he was swaying and groaning and getting very excited again..Sorry Postie Pat, you’re not the only one who has that effect!

So yes a day of swimming; with perfect women, in a sea of Play Doh and nearly in a garden fish tank!!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Car-ry on Shopping!

Well today people you are now looking at (or reading or viewing at?) a Toyota Yaris owner, wahooo! I have my new car! I’m having much fun with the auto-locking system as it has this device that unlocks the door just as you walk towards the car. Seems this is not a great invention for the paranoid because what I keep doing is clicking lock on the button device thingy and then walk back to the car to test the door handles that it’s locked and then because I’ve walked close to it again, it opens! Haha. The car is a tease… give me some extra exercise I guess!

So this morning I was told the car should be ready for me at lunchtime and I’ve been dying to go clothes shopping because I have a student discount card that runs out in a few days and I wanted to make sure I used it. (I did a high level teaching assistant course, which school paid for and the Uni gave me one… hehe) I’m not sure if this is the best reason to go shopping, or the right way round to do it but I was determined to find holiday clothes whilst I had a 10% discount!! And I did, I got a few bits… some cropped trousers and a new vest top… and a dress (which I really didn’t need but it was only a tenner…..so pretty!) The ironic thing was that since all the bloody autumn stuff is now in  the shops, all the summer stuff has been reduced so they don’t give student discount on sale items, sod’s law! I got a discount on some though…. and in BHS I got something extra for my money. Broken glass and a burnt finger. Always happens to me! I was trying on the top that I just mentioned and as it was just above my head, glass shattered all around me. I am extremely clumsy so I assumed I had broken something as I writhed around inside the top. But I couldn’t see where it came from. I went to pick a piece up and ouch! I burnt my finger. I then realised it must have come from the light since there were no cookers or fires in the little cubicle funnily enough. I assumed I had knocked some fancy light fitting until I remembered I was in BHS….. they only had spotlight things in the ceiling so I had no real explanation for how it smashed. Maybe it was some sort of destiny warning me not to buy the top?? Well sod it, I bought it anyway!

I didn’t try to get compensation or sue [like some would]… I simply reported it to them as I walked out the changing room. Instead of getting reduced clothing for the given ‘accident’, I actually got overcharged! Haha. It was a mistake and I was perfectly reasonable about it, as I used to work in retail (remember Woolworths? I used to work for them and noooo they didn’t go under because I kept overcharging people!) and I know that sometimes the till takes over and does things that can cause mistakes… probably because I’m hopeless at maths and relied on it too much…..but by the by, I was all OK with this and it all got sorted. So do not be put off going to BHS. Burnt fingers and money robbing aside, they were very professional and apologetic about it all!

Since, by this point, I was shopped out and still had an hour to kill until my car was ready, I decided to nip for a cuppa. Costa Coffee is usually packed and in my opinion a little expensive but it has a good view for me to ‘people watch’ and I love their blueberry muffins. So it won over Munchbox, the cheap and cheerful cafe I usually visit with my Gran. I got there and it was empty!! I thought ‘Great, I can sit where I want and it will be nice and quiet if they phone about my car!’ I promptly ordered my cup of tea and blueberry muffin. As I ordered, two more people came in for various lattes, chinos etc (it’s all coffee right?!) and were told the coffee machines were down and so they went away!! I couldn’t believe it as I sat there and watched customer after customer leave the shop because there was no coffee! This isn’t France! We are supposed to be a tea drinking nation! As a true tea gal, I really didn’t understand why people weren’t even accepting tea as a second option……. I guess Munchbox snapped up the extra coffee custom!

In the end, after my new clothes, poorly burnt finger and a belly full of tea and muffin; I got my new car……. and off into to the afternoon sun (and patches of rain) I drove! Wish it was as easy as that….. I had to return to the garage a bit later because the engine was all dirty and my Dad had me convinced that if that was dirty then what else hadn’t they done? Why was the screen wash slightly empty? (I realised later this was because I got ‘button crazy’ on the way home and kept spraying lots of screen wash!) And why hadn’t they changed my tyre when the MOT said it needed it? So after all that was sorted and I stood up for myself like my Dad said to…………. I then drove home in the early evening sun/rain!  The End.

I realise this has not been the best advert for Toyota or indeed BHS… but joking and little mishaps aside, I still recommend both! So there’s my opinion, for what it’s worth!

See you tomorrow………

XSXS

Shed some light on the garden……

It’s gone! It’s gone! Not my sanity…. well not just yet anyway (give me a few more weeks without work and it may go). The shed!! The shed has gone!! Oh let me fill you in. Since we moved in our house 2 and 1/2 years ago there has been this big, awful shed right in the middle of the garden, blocking a good foot of land on one side and totally pushing sunlight away from the rest of the garden. And to top it off, it was bright turquoise! (or blue as the blokes were calling it today; men just can’t see in different colours like women can I swear!) I have been yearning and anticipating this moment ever since then.

The problem and also the solution was my boyfriend’s twin brother wanted the shed (yes he has an identical twin brother, which I’m sure will supply us with some funny blogs in the future and no I don’t get them mixed up and no I don’t fancy his brother) . So this was why it had a) not gone to the tip. b) been used as good bonfire material or c) been thrashed by me in a ‘oh I hate my garden’ mood frenzy. He had been looking for a shed that size for his upcoming ready-for-use garden and wanted to do it up. This set of a chain of events because he couldn’t take the shed off our garden giving hands though until his garden was sorted and ready for it. Also, we have a nice, little, brown wooden shed to put up, which is being kept at my Mum and Dad’s, which we couldn’t get until this one was gone. Confused? God me too…..basically a lot of gardening being prevented, which I suppose with all the floods has been no bad thing.

But yes it has now gone and after my 5 min of elation as I hopped around the ma..hu….ssive spiders… I realised that the garden now looks even worse than before. We are left with A. Lot. Of. Crap. I now have no excuse either…. for two years, I’ve been saying ‘We can’t do anything to our garden til that blasted shed has gone!’ Well the time has come. Gloves, weedkiller by the bucketful, spades, wellies and a bottle of vodka at the ready.

Last time we had a weed killing session (around the then standing shed) I found a pair of trousers, two shirts and some shorts buried in the undergrowth. I prepared myself for a dead body (which funnily enough  I also thought may have been under the base of the shed today) but no. Nothing. We clearly had a naked gardener as a previous occupant…. you hear of naked chefs so why not gardeners?

Oh the spiders. I know I just mentioned them but I’ve gone all itchy and twitchy about them…….one thing you should know about me is that I hate them. I detest them.  There is no other creature on earth that I would wish that horrible shed as a home on…. yuk. When my boyfriend and his brother (plus three other lifting companions) were.. well lifting, I very quickly made sure the back door was shut. And all the windows. Eeeek.

Anyway I hope the shed has a very happy life at its new home….. apparently its going to be painted up as a summer house in a coat of blue and white. Very nice. But for now……until we actually do the gardening….. I am happy to have some light in the garden!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Come rain or shine

Evening all! Today’s blog is a little later than usual due to the fact that me and my boyfriend have been rowing all day.  No not rowing as in arguing silly! Rowing as in boats and water and all that malarky. Well, to be precise, I haven’t been rowing (I tried once and that was enough!) but I was supporting. My boyfriend is the captain of our local rowing club you see and I sometimes go to regattas. Not that often, I’ll admit. Mainly because they are such long days.

You girls and ladies out there who have boyfriends or husbands obsessed with football, I have NO sympathy for you……..because even if they are at professional level and are at training all the time then at least you have the lavish WAG lifestyle to compensate! I don’t often say this but let’s do the maths:  A football game is 90 minutes right? They may play or watch one a few times a week. Poor you! That’s only 4 1/2 hours. Rowing, in my boyfriend’s case, takes up two evenings a week from 6-9pm – 4 evenings if he has meetings too! (Which normally go on past 10pm) Two early weekend mornings a week… we are talking 6am – 1pm (later if there is stuff going on at the club), which means we never get a lie in together unless we have a day off together in the week. In the regatta season, which is unfortunately in the summer, he is gone for every other weekend somewhere in the country. At least (friday evening until sunday evening plus sometimes bank holiday Mondays). Want to stick with that 90 min football match? I thought so……

This is why, you see, I opt to go to the one day regattas… because I’m not keen on camping and I can be supportive without it eating into my whole weekend. Today we were there 10-6….. 2 hour drive added on each ways gives you quite a long day. I have kept myself amused though. On the journey there there was much chatter of ‘cox’ ‘oars’ and being [in a] single’ until I remembered it was rowing related and I lost interest slightly. Haha.

The weather was sunny for the morning at least so I sat by the river in my purple chair with the rowers whilst they waited to race, their parents and other supporters. My boyfriend asked me to write the regatta report that would go in the local newspaper. I protested slightly that I didn’t want to tread on the toes of those who normally do it and he said; ‘Nobody wants to do it.’Well that made the job feel special… but at least writing was something I could do and it would be kind of cool to have something I’d written in the newspaper. Downside was, I couldn’t describe the day in a funny and sarcastic way like I would want to……. so I guess that’s what this blog is for!! No. i would actually have to pay attention to the races. Dammit. I also made a mental note of the how we teach the kids at school of how to write to ‘inform’ so I would write in the correct format. I still made time for reading my book in between the club’s races (The Hunger Games Trilogy if you were wondering….bloody good read!).

As the morning passed, events other than the races occurred. At one point my boyfriend was underneath a blanket of coats with another club member. A male club member. Then I discovered that they were watching the Olympic rowing on their phones and hiding the screen from the sun. I was relieved to say the least! Also, two of the girls after finishing a race, were carrying their boat from the landing stage and shouted to others around, ‘Can you guys please move, my mate needs a wee!’ These rowers are so weird and oh so demanding! 😉 I would have just done the wee in the river myself……..

When it’s sunny at a regatta, I tend to look at the sky a lot and try to read the clouds (as well as my book!). I look to see where the next clouds are and how long the sun will be shining on us until it is engulfed by the fluffy patches. (I should be watching the races yeh yeh.) It is like a battle with the sun winning one minute and the clouds the next. By the afternoon, the clouds had won the battle used their weapons of rain. Lots of it. 😦 But the rowers kept going as they always do all year round for all those training sessions I mentioned; come rain or shine!

The club had some wins and some losses today – all in a day’s rowing I guess. I best get report writing…….

See you tomorrow – hopefully in shine not rain!

XSXS

Never play with animals or children!

Well what a busy day! Started the day with an early morning walk to wake up the system! Was a lovely morning and me and my boyfriend’s Mum and his brother’s girlfriend walked in the countryside with two lovely dogs…..one being Stan the Dog who you may see on another blog! The dogs were more awake than us bounding about and I swear we were meant to be taking them for a walk but the border collie puppy Tom was pulling me along so much that I had to break into a run. At that time of day! But don’t worry, I’m OK……. I may be scarred for life at the bodily fluids and solids that came out the rear of the two little darlings though….. noone needs to see that at breakfast time yuk!

My next stage of the day……………. the reason I call it a stage is because have you ever seen About a Boy? Or should I say as an English enthusiast…have you ever read it? Will the main character in it divides his days into units as if to give the day different stages. Each unit is an hour and so each activity will take up so many units. I like to think of my life like that when I’m not working and it helps to cram a lot into a day. So today, the dog walk took up about 2 and a half units and I then spent 1 unit at home, doing some chores, having something to eat yawn yawn boring stuff. Then I was asked to go to a special needs activity day to help out with the boy I used to be a teaching assistant for. I have now left the school but I’ve stayed in touch with the family. The boy is 15 and has exceptional special needs… he can’t even talk let alone read or write. (He  has Autism spectrum disorder and also Down’s Syndrome) As a big talker myself we seem to complement each other very well! He is the most lovely lad so I jumped at the chance to go and help out. As an added bonus it also gave his Mum a break for 2 units so she could lunch with her friends.

So I sat with him for 3/4 of a unit while he ate his  lunch. He is the funniest person to watch when eating chocolate. It is also torture for me as a chocaholic as he likes to savour every morsel. He also tries to put the bar in his mouth long ways as if he is setting himself a personal chocolate challenge! I watch him with fascination and he grins at me every so often with a brown sticky lip as if to say ‘You’re not getting any!’ The rest of the bar becomes a brown sticky river by the end and I have to rush him to eat it before it all melts. And not one tiny crumb (or drop!) for me! 😦

From one liquid to another we moved onto painting for just over 1 unit! Thank god for the invention of wet wipes! He had much fun stamping various paint sodden stamps onto a black blank canvas. The lady in charge… who is trained to work with Special Needs kids and adults ….kept telling him he had to pick up the stamp after each print and then dip it the paint again. I thought to myself ‘You don’t even exist because he is so engrossed in that red paint!’ There was no way he was going to stop excitedly banging the stamp and dragging the paint across the canvas… I had no problem with this because it’s art right? He was truly expressing himself! We were definitely the rebels of the group!

Shortly after, he decided to ‘help’ with the washing up of the paint trays, which really meant watching some other poor sod do it. he loves water and got very excited by seeing the swirls of purple, red and yellow mix into the water. Shortly after, Mum returned and my activities with dogs and kids were done for the day.

Never work with animals or kids, people say. But in work environments there are structures and rules… it’s the playing part that gets messy! All good fun though!

I’m now  off to enjoy the rest of my units… which I will confess may include some alcohol units also 😉

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

Tears into my Cotton Wool

Hello people….. well today I have the exciting news that I have bought a new car!!! It was the one that I went for a speedy test drive that I mentioned to you on Monday. It was quite a novelty to actually see the car let alone test drive it before buying it… You see 4 years ago when I bought my very first car I hadn’t even passed my test and I was really not interested and I hated driving lessons. My Dad went car shopping with my sister for a car for her and my Dad just happened to phone me and say, ‘They have another KA, a red one, do you want it?’ I may have asked a few other questions including the cost but other than that I agreed. Dad paid and I then repaid him later. Done deal. A car bought without even seeing it… shows my faith in my Dad if nothing else I guess!

The second novelty of having a new car is the fact that (since I have only ever had a KA) I can take four passengers now…. four! It has three seats in the back! And get this…. it has four doors! (Or five to speak in car lingo but I’ve never got that whole boot as a door thing… can you imagine? ‘Buddy, my shopping is on the back seat so just jump in the boot door!’ Mmmmmm…) It also has electric windows and air con whoooo. Ok stop, I’m either being very old-fashioned as all cars have these now, or I’m being a right show off (sorry current KA drivers!) or I’m being a great advert for thieves… so I’ll shut up.

Brings me onto my old car 😦  I am a very sentimental person about photographs, books, people, places etc but I always said ‘I will never get emotional about a car!’  I even said to my boyfriend last night; ‘It’s men that get sentimental about cars (or is that just mental actually?!) I definitely won’t! It’s just a car!’ Anyway, now I know that I’m trading mine in and it will be gone next week, I’ve got quite sad about it. I keep thinking things like ‘I’ll never fill it with petrol again.’ Yes I’m making that last quarter of a tank lasssssst now. Also I won’t even be filling my new car with petrol because it’s a diesel. It’s a diesel. I must remember this!!! I also think ‘ ahhh that’s that last time this person will have a lift in it’…. or…’that’s the last time I will drive it to this place.’ Funny though I don’t think ‘this is the last time I’ll wash it’ though! Poor, deprived car only received an annual wash. Maybe the new owner will be it bit more generous with the old H2o…. ( we had lots of rain though, so that counts right?) So yes, Monday will be a sad day, saying bye to my little red KA, which I fondly called LadyBug and decorated with flowers…… it’s having a lucky escape! haha.

Talking of sentimental….. the present I received off my Grandad yesterday is not one I will get sentimental over… or even just mental! I know you’re all secretly dying to know really! A few people asked me on facebook and the funny thing was I was talking to my Aussie relative on chat… will call her my aunty for argument’s sake (complicated family tree!) and she was on about my Granadad in general and said ‘Make sure you wrap him in cotton wool until I come in October!’ I burst out laughing (yes an actual LOL) at this because this is exactly what he gave me! Cotton Wool! So yes aunty, I will keep him wrapped in cotton wool because I now have plenty of the stuff! It was funny because when we got back from the dentist my Grandad was asking what he could give me as a thankyou ‘What do you need for your house? I want to treat you!’ I brushed this off and said I didn’t need treating, I wanted to help him etc. Ten minutes later and he returns with cotton wool… he said he had too much and wanted to give me half! Not sure how we got from something for the house to cotton wool… but hey will come in handy when I remove my nail varnish! So yes, I left that day with a food bag full of cotton wool. Lovely.

So remember it’s good to get sentimental over things; it shows that we appreciate them………. and maybe one day you will be lucky enough also to have someone share their cotton wool with you 🙂

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

The Old and the Modern

Afternoon! My week this week has involved helping the elderly out quite a bit. Firstly there was my elderly neighbour who had the BT man come to fix his phone. I agreed to stay in all morning so I could help to make sure he understood everything when the BT man came. His phone was really fuzzy, crackly and you couldn’t hear a thing on it…. which is what I told BT when I rang off my phone to report it. You know how they let him know they were on their way?? By phoning him!! You’ve got to love the logic of the professionals….. and they were also phoning a man hard of hearing, didn’t stand a chance of being understood!! But it all got sorted in the end.

Today, I took my Grandad to the dentist. It got me wondering about age and the fact that there is role reversal after a certain time. They take us places and look after us and after a certain time we have to do that for them. My Grandad was very appreciative of me coming with him and actually gave me a little present… and I bet you can never guess what it is…infact I’m going to tell you tomorrow… so comment below if you have an idea! Clues: It would never be considered a normal gift yet it is useful and it is white. Haha makes me laugh just thinking about it again……….

So yes I’ve done the bit for the elderly bit this week… and normally I work with kids so guess something has to keep me busy in the absence of that. Something I hate to admit to myself is that I have much more patience with kids though. Don’t know about the rest of you? They can both be grumpy, stubborn and awkward but I just feel kids have the optimism an energy to go with it!! But saying that of course I love my Grandad dearly (especially with such fantastic presents that I receive!) and care for my neighbours too…..I definitly admire people who care for the elderly as a job!

Moving onto modern affairs……So the Olympics are starting?…. Do I feel excited? Mmmmm…. I know I should and I really want to. I’m always very open about how I feel about any sporting events and that is that I honestly think I’m missing the ‘sporting/competitive gene’. I’ve never been competitive about anything really and just like to have fun. I have a few mates who make fun of me because of this and they can’t understand that when we go bowling for example, that I can’t say I’ve had a better day if I win (which I rarely do win!). I just don’t get it because as long as I’ve had a laugh with mates and a great big laugh at my bowling skills expense then I’ve had a good day; getting 30 points extra (make that 50!) and thrashing my mates would not end in a better overall day.  So yes the Olympics.. of course I want us to win and I am ever so slightly excited that it’s in our country but you won’t be seeing me jumping up and down in front of the TV, let alone the actual arena. I don’t get that adrenaline thrill and urge to shout and scream…. the noise just doesn’t surface out of my mouth. But on the inside I am secretly hoping they do well. This is how I felt when Euro 2012 was on, I was actually quite excited (for me) when the penalties were occurring…. so I am getting better! I am a silent supporter.

I am more excited by the fact that 2012 seems a fascinating year and a great year to talk about after all our celebrations; something to tell the grandchildren! What with the jubilee, Olympics and er… ah I guess that’s it but exciting stuff and I even wrote a poem about the year. Yes, you may find some poems splashed on the blog pages occasionally. I like to write them and think of myself of a very unexperienced and beginner poet…. and many people don’t know it! So see what you think……..

Twenty Twelve Months

 

…..A new year of my life,

Every month, I swear no strife!

 

No January blues for me,

I’ll save money, lose weight, you’ll see

 

Valentine visit from Cupid

but for me? Oh don’t be stupid!

 

But I don’t mind, I have me,

March is here, I can see

 

the sun! The late winter sun

and April showers, oh what fun!

 

Umbrellas are out on parade,

May Day fun to be played,

 

Jubilee time for the queen,

Time to see and be seen

 

by athletes all over the earth,

July gives Olympics twenty twelve a birth,

 

hot, hot, hot August sun, but

even with rain we still have fun,

 

or if an Indian summer does arise

and takes us by surprise,

 

like when trick or treaters at the end,

of October drive us round the bend,

 

November bring us orange and red

leaves and fashion to be led

 

into the winter, cold and cold,

Merry Christmas, you’ll be told!

 

Another end of year is here

And some will moan but I will cheer,

 

A new year of my life

And this time I really mean no strife!

 

No January blues for me,

I’ll save money, lose weight, you’ll see….

(maybe it is just a normal year after all!)

……and see you tomorrow.

XSXS

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