Homemaker•Humourist

It's good to share but keep your germs to yourself kids. Parenting, Life & Laughs

Attention Adele Fans!  — September 26, 2016
An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau PM of Canada — September 20, 2016

An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau PM of Canada

Dear Mr Trudeau

Firstly let me just say, I’m a fan.  I’m a fan of your country (I was once a resident), of your government (your ethnically diverse cabinet is awesome), of yourself and gorgeous family (who you clearly adore), the fact you’re a feminist, you marched in Toronto Pride and your knowledge of quantum computing hasn’t escaped me either.  From across the Atlantic, in Scotland, I know and admire all this

BUT

your new Visa system that’s been introduced, in March I believe, leaves a lot to be desired.  In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that it has left my family on both sides of the Atlantic DEVASTATED this week.  That is honestly no understatement.    

You see a quarter of a century (and more) ago, I emigrated to Canada with my Daughter.  She was 4 months old at the time.  We lived there for approx a year and I decided to return to Scotland to be with her Daddy who I deeply loved and realised I couldn’t be without.  

My daughter and I were sponsored by one of my two sisters who lived there (still do) and had residency in that respect.  I obtained my driving licence easily, I had a job, paid my taxes and had an insurance card.  On my return from Canada, I destroyed all of those things, knowing I would never live there again.  I no longer needed them.

Now here’s the thing, Prime Minister, my beautiful, University educated Daughter is now travelling the world, age 26.  Her first stop on leaving the UK with her beau, is Canada, to visit both my sisters for 6 weeks, tour a little and visit my best friend in Vancouver perhaps.   (Then they move onto SE Asia, New Zealand, Australia).  They’ve had this trip booked for an incredibly long time, long before your new visa system came to pass.  I realise rules change and laws must be abided however on discovering the new legislation only very recently, she has, for the past few months been trying, without success to apply for the new Travel Visa.  

Complications arising due to the fact your system shows she still has residency (something she wishes to relinquish obviously) and also bearing in mind the fact that we no longer have our papers, after almost 30 years, this has culminated in a catch 22 situation and she has been refused.


We are all utterly devastated as she is due to travel in 7 days.  My family in Canada and all of us here have done all we can.  She is completely distraught after being advised that this could take 6 weeks to sort out after waiting months for decisions and also having enlisted a private company to act on her behalf, all to no avail! She has even called the airport in Toronto for advice!  My niece, who lives in Toronto is seeking advice at work today if she can.  She works for Canadian Immigration, in a different department, incidentally! 
It’s deeply upsetting that this process seems to have taken so long, especially considering the huge expense they have all gone to and their plans to tour Canada to spend precious, precious time with family that they haven’t seen for many years, are now scuppered.  We are entirely heartbroken to say the least.  

My sister, who has been left with chronic, painful nerve damage after having a tumour removed from her brain a couple of years ago, attends hospital pain clinics on a regular basis and suffers depressive episodes.  She has been particularly, bitterly disappointed by today’s events. Although the tumour was benign, it could return and grow causing damage to her brain yet again.  This is a fact which weighs heavy on my mind, her being so far away.  


Now, I myself, am in the predicament that should, God forbid, something happen to one of my sisters or their family, that I wouldn’t be permitted to enter Canada for the same reason as my Daughter? Do I now have to go through the same procedure to relinquish my residency so I am free to travel to see them? I’ll be looking into that as soon as I can.  It terrifies me to think I may be refused too.

Another few things I don’t understand are:

  • Why weren’t we, or my sister and brother in law who sponsored us, notified we had to relinquish our residency in the past 26 years?
  • We have previously visited Canada on numerous occasions, back and forth, without any consequence from immigration without overstaying our welcome. Don’t your records show this? 
  • I had my insurance card, a job and paid taxes. Surely if we returned to work without permission, this would show up on your system?

We loved Canada. Still do. We lived peacefully there for a short time without breaking rules or laws.  We have no intention of returning to live or work without permission and would gladly hand back our papers if we were still in possession of them.  

Why is Canada now so determined to keep families apart?   To me, that is all this palaver has achieved.  I’m really disappointed Mr President.  I hope by some miracle, you read this, or perhaps one of your employees.  Someone in the right place, who can wave a magic wand for my daughter and her beau and fix this mess.   They so desperately want to visit Canada and Canada desperately wants them to.
So yes, I’m a fan but not of your new Visa system Sir.  Despite this mix up, you’d still get my vote (I may still be allowed to.  Must check up on that seeing as I’m still considered having residency)


I hope anyone who is travelling to Canada soon or in the near or distant future, is aware of this new system and doesn’t fall foul of it as my Daughter has. 

So, lastly, Mr President, I feel it needs your urgent attention, if you don’t mind me saying and I hope you don’t mind my bluntness. 

With best regards from a disgruntled fellow member of  The Commonwealth*

 (*yes, that was a dig)

We are family 🎶 — September 18, 2016

We are family 🎶

Family! You can’t choose them but I got lucky with mine.  This week I’ve not had a second to concentrate on much else except them.  It’s been a whirlwind of visitors culminating in a fabulous family gathering this week, celebrating my aunts 80th birthday party.

I’ve just realised I come from a fantastic gene pool with some extremely spritely octogenarians! They can bust some moves on a dance floor still, putting us youngsters to shame.  Talk about kicking your heels up to Auld Lang Syne!  One handsome old uncle still has a head of dark grey hair at 83 and left with a few younger female admirers.  Old fox!  

The crooner, Michael Buble had nothing on this guy

I found it an incredible tonic meeting up with cousins, aunts and uncles who I grew up with and who live further apart now, spread round the UK.  The family resemblance is strong amongst almost all of us, dark haired and blazing blue eyed for the most part. It’s nice to feel part of that.  That you belong.  We are an incredibly close family despite distance and time apart. 

Some of my old uncles are just natural comedians.  My face actually physically hurt from laughing all night and the old stories of years gone by are so heartwarming.  Treasured memories…..and CAKE!!!

Diet Status : Burst

This week will also see me bid farewell to my eldest daughter who is going to travel the world. Eek!  For 6 whole months. ‘Why don’t you just rip my heart out and trample it’ I say to her as she rolls her eyes….

Bought shares in Kleenex

After leaving home 5 years ago, for a summer in the South of France, she landed a fabulous job for a yachting company and up till now, has worked there since!  She’s been back home for a week until she leaves.  I’ve gotten used to her not living at home, I have 3 other children to keep me busy but there’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about her, worry about her, miss her and wish she was here with me so you perhaps may imagine how I feel now, parting with her again to go travelling the world for 6 months and unable just to pop on a flight to visit!
I have a mixture of emotions going on ranging from elation to dread and worry.  No matter how much I try to control my fears, they always get the better of me!  She’ll start off in Canada with relatives for several weeks (which is great) and then move onto Florida & New York, SE Asia, Bali, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, I think are some of her stops!  New Zealand and Australia are last before home in February.  My stomach is sick as I type! 
Toronto
Bali
Australia
I google images like this regularly to talk myself round. This is what she’s going to see, how lucky she is, how I wished I’d been able when I was her age etc! It settles my nerves a little.  This is the downside of being a Mum.  I remember my own Mum going to pieces when my sister left for Canada 30 years ago and there was no such thing as FaceTime then!  Bless her.
Now my daughter won’t be alone.  She is travelling with her handsome beau (who I hope will be my son in law one day!).  He’s a fantastic guy and together they are very capable and have bags of common sense.  It’s a comfort that they are going together and have each other to rely on. Doesn’t stop my mind from imagining all sorts of horrors however! The world isn’t such a nice place these days sadly. 

So I know I need to 

  • Man up
  • Grow a pair
  • Pull myself together
  • Get a grip 
  • All of the above 

Before tomorrow morning.  I can do this, I can do this…..Wish me luck 😬

Anally retentive? You’ll love this checklist ✔️ — September 13, 2016

Anally retentive? You’ll love this checklist ✔️

  1. Are you a parent who loves to be organised but your kids domestic skills are a disgrace to humanity?
  2. Do you obsess about attention to detail but the house continually looks like it’s been burgled?
  3. Would you at the very least like some ‘me time’ before work and after dinner to bond with your kids, read more than 3 lines of a newspaper/book/glossy mag or any other guilty pleasure?

If you’re exasperated and gone hoarse yelling at the children, fear not, help is at hand in the form of this new routine my friend has put me onto, having discovered it on Twitter. 

It’s the brain child of the busy, talented & super stylish, single Mum of 4, Vonny Moyes (Digital Communications Manager at Forestry Commission and freelance journalist) Oh, and did I mention, she has the cutest Daschund?

 How do you do it??

Well first of all, there’s the weekly family meeting, run by the children.  (I’m opting for a Monday, no rugby/gymnastics/swimming etc etc etc)

 

Lovely, thoughtful answers from Vonny’s children

Then here comes the science: 

A morning checklist:

An Evening checklist:

Something for us to obsess about, complete with colour coding and all. Wool woop! 

This pearl of parenting wisdom has come at a perfect time when I feel am losing the grip on my authority, a little, with my kids.

My youngest has just gone to nursery and it’s changed the whole dynamic of my household (and her temperament to: tired/crabbit). My youngest son has just graduated to secondary school and the 7am rise is purgatory for his particular style of not being a morning person at all.  This coincides with my oldest teenage boy/man/Neanderthal (who knows everything) leaving for school at the same time and thus, has developed a newfound proclivity for the F bomb (and every other alphabet bomb you can imagine as well).  If anyone should be F bombing it should be me.
He’s also a door slammer….(testosterone off the scale)


The idea of this parenting routine should help us function better as a family.  All of us. It should take the stress out of mornings, evenings and the mad half hour before bed, (giving me back my voice), teaching the children how to be in control, manage their time and in the end earn some decent pocket money*, on a Friday! 

*there’s always a catch 😊

(I was all for rolling this out tonight but my printer chose tonight to be a dick). So, Monday it is. Meeting scheduled for 6.30pm. Be there. 

Sleep is a many splendoured thing —

Sleep is a many splendoured thing

Having all four of my children and future son in law under one roof this week, I feel I can relate to the Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe. Apart from the ‘whipping them all soundly’ part that is (although I’m recurrently tempted 😁) 

My sleep is also disturbed.  Something which, I increasingly find difficult to cope with.  Sleep is precious.  Extremely precious.  I cannot stress this enough unless I put it in a Bold Italics ok. 

S L E E P   I S    P R E C I O U S 

Anyone out there, who’s feeling kind/drunk enough to fund me an extension on my property please contact me by DM and a great many thanks in advance.  (We have already converted the garage so in hindsight, perhaps just a whole new house would do.  Or a barn.  No one closes doors here anyway so I’d never know the difference….)

Something of this magnitude would suffice

I used to be a fairly deep sleeper but more recently, and unexplainedly, not so much.  Every creak in the floorboard, every time the boiler fires up, my daughters squeaky bed frame, I hear it.  All.  Then there’s the landing light which get flicked on and off during my sons’ habitual bathroom visits with their genetically inherited* weak bladders (their father*). As a child, I hated the dark, I still do but with exception of being in bed and sleeping! 

I’ve realised how precious sleep is, the older I get and the busier my life has become.  I’m not one of those Mums who can function on 5 hours sleep.  (And frankly, anyone that rubs  my nose in that does so at their own peril OK!) Its 8 hours minimum here or I stop making sense and develop the co ordination of a toddler. 


Now, don’t get me wrong,  I love my children and have pretty much sacrificed my entire existence for them (dramatic licence), my size 8 figure, my bank balance my Friday through Sunday party girl phase, my penchant for designer sunglasses, you’ll catch my drift but you cannot take my sleep (Braveheart voice).

Chloe – Jackson (turtledove/brown)

I don’t mind the excess of laundry, the dishwasher being on and emptied twice a day, as well as the kitchen bin.  I don’t mind hoovering muddy footprints from the hall, morning and night, or losing out on the remote control completely. I don’t even mind going for a choccy biccy with my cuppa and there all gone (you bloody locusts) but 

LET ME SLEEP. 

It is beneficial for us all.  That’s all I’m saying.  I’m like David Banner by 5pm if you don’t.  You won’t like me when I’m angry.  Ask my new future son in law who overheard me ask my son to “set…the…fucking…table”, in a low hissing voice  (Ground swallow me up).  In my defence, he had headphones in one ear and I had asked him over 6 times.  

Incidentally, when is there going to be a She Hulk movie?

(*Note to self : Contact Marvel Studios)

Mission Accomplished! — September 11, 2016

Mission Accomplished!

A little while ago I said I’d do my little review for The Lie Tree by France’s Hardinge. I mentioned that I’d bought it for my niece but subsequently was engrossed by it myself, as you see from the following link:

Young Adult Fiction Link



I’m glad to say I wasn’t at all disappointed when I finished this quirky book with all its magic mysteriousness.  I was quite gripped by how stylish and well written it was and I’m looking forward to see how my niece finds it. 

Faith, the 14 year old main protagonist, lives in the shadow of her brilliant father, a natural scientist and on his untimely death on the small island of Vane (where their family have recently settled) she comes upon a secret plant her father has hidden which has supernatural power.  Against the odds, using her own high intellect and daring spirit she inherited from her father, she uses the trees’ power to her own advantage, manipulating people and complex situations to solve the circumstances of her fathers death.  

The fact this book touches on feminism and how restrained women’s lives were in the era after Darwin published The Origin of the Species, will be educational for youngsters today to appreciate how far we have come! 

“There was a hunger in her, and girls were not supposed to be hungry. They were supposed to nibble sparingly at table, and their minds were supposed to be satisfied with a slim diet too.” 

I really enjoyed this book.  It’s really well crafted with great descriptive writing and bags of tension.  Adults (like me) will find this as enjoyable as any youngster. 

Doing a thumbs up 👍🏻

#PetPeeveWednesday Here’s a tip 👉🏻 — September 8, 2016

#PetPeeveWednesday Here’s a tip 👉🏻

DON’T!!.  

Today I went for a ‘quick bite to eat’ at lunchtime with my eldest daughter and her boyfriend, which, turned into a waiting game with some professional work dodgers for waiters/waitresses.  They seemed to have expertly developed a way to look extremely busy by quickly mincing past tables and avoiding eye contact with customers (hoping someone else will do the work for them).  I wanted to rugby tackle at least two of them to the floor.  I may have, had my soup not finally arrived. Tepidly warm.


It’s a pet peeve you see. I worked as a waitress when I was younger, for a few years and the tips were good.  Most people usually left about 10% of their bill and more because we worked hard.  There was no shirking and avoiding customers. We just weren’t ‘programmed’ that way. Even a woman whose backless dress I tipped an ice cold tray of drinks down, left me a tip. I offered to have it dry cleaned and didn’t charge her for her meal. You work hard and be kind, people notice and reward you. It’s that simple. 

So is it a generation thing? Are youngsters nowadays (shit I sound old) just becoming less motivated? Have they got it easier than we did?  Perhaps.  For one, they don’t have the witch Thatcher for A Prime Minister.

My best friend, who is a little meaner than me about tipping (she won’t mind me saying) always says I tip too much but when you’ve been on the other side of the table, as it were, you realise what that tip means but today, I refused.  Most unlike me.  She would have been proud, had she been with us but she was at home with a malady of the bowel* shall we say.

(Shitting lava*)

It felt a teeny bit harsh and I was a little embarrassed at myself at that point for leaving nothing, however, my future son in law almost grew a beard in the time it took for his pasta to be served.  We sat half way though our food, parched, before drinks arrived. My daughters food was grossly undercooked David Cameron might have shagged it and they completely forgot our coffee order whilst still managing to charge us twice for it.  

‘a small tip’

I’m fairly sure they gave  us some resentful looks as we left but I didn’t look back and nor will I venture back I don’t think.  The soup was good but not that good and I prefer it warm.  I didn’t effing order gazpacho!

So there you have it.  That’s my Daily Moan done on #PetPeeveWednesday 

“Oh *&!%, not Freddie Mercury!”… — September 5, 2016

“Oh *&!%, not Freddie Mercury!”…

….are usually what you’ll hear me exclaim if I hear the first 3 bars of a Queen song starting in a bar.

Today, on what would have been Freddie’s 70th  birthday, I’m not going to bore you with all the usual drivel that we know about his early years, his incredible successes and failures, his greatest hits. You’ve probably watched numerous documentaries about Queen and Freddie over the years.  This is a tribute of a different kind.

Nails manicured to perfection

I’m going to tell you about what he means to me.  Or, what he means to my Significant Other (S.O), to be precise.

Now, I loved Freddie Mercury for all that he was, in all his genius and all of his music. For me especially, this gem alongside the recently departed David Bowie: 

Under Pressure 


BUT to my S.O. Freddie Mercury’s music was the greatest.  A lifelong fan, knows all the words to all the songs (you get where this is going now…)
He also, on occasion, (usually a karaoke night) likes to hideously embarrass himself (me) with the odd rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody/I Want to Break Free/Don’t Stop Me Now.

Shortly after we first met, I was forewarned by some of his friends and family, that he had some Freddie skills on the karaoke and had subsequently gotten himself barred from his local for smashing a chandelier with a brush he was using as a prop (microphone).  I shrugged it off.  I mean, haven’t we all one time or anther had a wee go at the office party etc?) Nothing, however, prepared me for what was to pass at his Auntie’s big family birthday bash, some time later that year. 

There I was, sitting comfortably, my back to the dance floor, enjoying a glass of fizz with his parents and some close family when suddenly I see his mum’s expression slowly to change to horror.  I hadn’t noticed what the DJ was saying.  It was very loud and a little garbled. “What’s happened? Are you alright?” I leaned over to ask, my hand on her arm.

And then it happened.

I turned, aghast, watching as he started to belt out the first few lines of Bohemian Rhapsody.  I was looking on in astonishment. That’s not who I think it is, is it?!!!!! Nooooo oh please noooo.  What is he doing? Why is he stroking his own chest and strutting? Then it hit me.

 “Oh holy fuck. I’ve just bought a house with this man” I said, inside my own head. 

People around me were whooping and woo hooing to a deafening extent but I thought I was going to choke on my own stomach. Please Jesus let this be a bad dream.  I turned my back to the dance floor.  His Grandad style of dancing and wafting his arms about was stage 10 cringe.  Beam me up Scotty!

Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me

It was the longest few minutes I’ve ever had to endure.  The crowd were screaming and laughing as he skidded on his knees to a halt at the end.  Laughing at not with, as I told him later. 

I held my head in my hands and looked up at his poor mother.  Her face a vision of mortification.  I could scarcely believe what just happened. I could hear jokey comments all around like “so bad it’s good” that sort of thing but NO.  Not to me.  Not ever. It was just appalling and atrocious and I prayed I’d never have to be subjected to that kind of horror ever again.  I told him as much later and he laughed, not actually grasping that I meant it. 

He’s done this to me many times over the years together, despite my protests and threats to his life and anatomy. I’ve literally started to pretend am not with him if people comment to me when he sings. 

My kids were reduced to tears on holiday one beautiful October in the Algarve when he decided it would be fun to perform for them too.  They were affronted and scarred for life. 


The last time he tried it on was a holiday in Belgium!?  The kids and I warned him “If you do a Freddie Mercury, we’re going to walk out and leave you here” and he said “it’s OK, I’m doing Robbie Williams instead”

Me: “Right kids, get your coats……”

Up we all stood in unison and stomped out with him skulking 15 feet behind all the way back to our lodge. 

To this day the kids do impersonations of me in a supremely high pitched voice, squealing “Robbie Williams??” “I mean, Robbie Fucking Williams?” And shaking their heads. 

Thankfully, this all seems to be in the past now and the message has perhaps gotten through but he’s coming up for a big birthday and the thought of a big family bash has me worried…

but Freddie, I still love you

Nicola the Brave  — September 4, 2016

Nicola the Brave 

Holy hell, my blood is boiling this morning!  Waking to read some horribly cruel reaction, on social media, to the news that our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has decided to speak publicly about her miscarriage a few years ago.

Holyrood Article

It’s a massively brave decision for her, in the circumstances, however, the backlash on social media has already begun. It never ceases to amaze me how low people can stoop and on such a tender subject as this. To suggest that she has done so for political gain is abhorrent.


I for one, am glad at these revelations and I hope she achieves what she clearly hopes to by sharing her and her husband’s experience because let’s not forget, this affects both of them, deeply. 

My older sister, waited 13 years and many miscarriages in between, to have her son (now a strapping 20year old).  The loss of 3 much wanted and dreamed of babies, for us all as a family, was a roller coaster of extreme highs and lows.  Having, myself, had my first daughter very young and unplanned, my sister also had to endure the fact that it came easy for me and my other two sisters to conceive. She did so with dignity and unconditional love and never once did she make us feel guilty for it. She idolised her nieces and nephews as they now idolise her. 

The one thing that always sticks with me is, however, my sister having to endure the cold, prodding remarks from people always prying, asking when she was going to have a family? When she was going to put her career aside and finally have a baby? It happened more times than you’d imagine, from people who should have known better, well meaning or not. 

Holding public office and having to endure that kind of pressure is unimaginable. 


So people, don’t feel the urge to ask those kind of personal questions to a woman/a couple, when you don’t know what battle they may be fighting or even if they choose not to have children at all, for whatever reason.  

It’s none of our business.  If a woman wants to share her reasons with you, she will, and if she doesn’t, she doesn’t. Just don’t pry.  

I hope Nicola finds that sharing her experiences is a way for her to heal too.  I am a huge admirer of Nicola as a politician and as a human being. Whether or not she is a mother makes no difference to me as she tries to lead my country to Independence. 

I’d like to just state that my wish for independence for Scotland does not diminish my love for the other countries of the U.K. or my family and friends who live there. 


‘A quickie’ this morning  — September 2, 2016