Friday, 24 June 2011

Do you know your cocks from your beavers?

Isn’t one of the greatest pleasures of parenthood teaching your offspring about the world? What plants need to grow, what causes a river to meander, the purpose of bees, how a car engine works…… Imparting knowledge to help them to make sense of this crazy world around them.

With this in mind, I was really looking forward to our trip to the zoo.

First up, we take a wander through the ‘wild’ area. This zoo is a little different from other zoos as a lot of the animals roam free. Just talking about the friendly ones of course. ‘What’s that Mummy?’ enquires The Whirlwind. I mentally flick through my inbuilt animal encyclopedia. Hmmm. I’m struggling to locate this one when The Hubster pipes up ‘It’s a guinea pig.’  Now I do know a bit about guinea pigs. I’m sure they are just balls of fluff with eyes and a nose hidden in there somewhere. Not, like, any neck or anything.  So I dismiss this idea. It then does this.

I’m pretty sure this animal is just doing a meercat impression, and is not actually a meercat. Aren’t meercats black and white? I’m sure I’ve seen them in those adverts. ‘I’ve got it, it’s a ferret!’ says The Hubster. I refer to my mental encyclopedia once again and decide that this can’t be a ferret on the grounds of it’s lack of an unusually long neck. Suddenly I’ve got it. ‘It’s a beaver!’ I shout excitedly. At this point it does this, so I’m feeling pretty confident I’ve got this one right. Phew.


We move on. ‘Oh, look she’s so pretty Mummy,’ The Whirlwind comments as a peacock displays its feathers. ‘Actually, a peacock is a male sweetheart, a ‘him’, not a ‘her’.' I look over to my husband in the hope of catching an impressed look at this little nugget of peacock trivia. It’s there! So when it’s mate comes along I continue ‘and you see this one, without the pretty feathers? This one is a girl peacock’, I announce proudly. ‘Er, that would be a peahen Kelly,’ says Smug Hubster.

However, the smugness is short-lived . As we approach this particular four legged mammal, The Hubster knowledgeably, states ‘And this, children, is a donkey.’


‘A donkey??!!’ I shriek. ‘How can you possibly think this is a donkey?! Look at it’s hair, it’s all shaggy. It’s clearly a sheep.’ Simultaneously we notice the sign that says Alpaca. I’m sure sheep and alpacas must be pals or something though as I’m sure this one was a sheep.

So lesson learned? Do your research before you set off to the zoo. You don’t want to cock it up.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Dear Pops,

Yes it’s just another man-made, money-making date to extract money from consumers, blah, blah, blah. But let’s strip it back: it’s a day to celebrate your Dad. How often these days to we get the opportunity to tell each other just how great they are? So Pops , you haven’t got a present this year (I know this won’t bother you in the slightest, one of the reasons why I love you) so here’s a little bit of writing instead.

On racking that dusty old brain I came up with a big list of great memories. Here’s just a small selection.

Teaching me how to ride my bike: This must be my earliest memory of you. I don’t remember all that much about living at Bulmushe Road in Reading, but I do remember this moment. The moment where you let go. You didn’t mention it until I said, ‘Daddy are you holding on still?’ ‘No, you’re are going all by yourself Kels!’, your voice cracking with pride. (I just made that last bit up, but I’m sure it must have been ;-))

Water fights: These occurred back in the days when we used to have proper, scorching hot, endless summers. These water fights involved super soakers, hoses and measuring jugs full of water. The jugs were poured from the upstairs window on to unsuspecting players down below. It was a sneaky move that got us over and over again. Can you remember the perpetrator?!

Hot dogs: Now you will have to correct me if my memory is failing me here, but as I remember it, when staying with you Dan and I were to expect one of two culinary delights: There were the frankfurters, served straight out of the tin with the obligatory tomato sauce to accompany them. The other was peanut butter on toast. You didn’t bother with plates, we just all ate from the communal tree shaped chopping board. These nutritional meals were always washed down with a healthy sized wedge of Artic Roll. I’m glad your skills in the kitchen have improved somewhat in the last few years.

Teaching me how to catch: ‘Now Kels, EYE ON THE BALL. Got it. Are you ready?’ God I can only appreciate how frustrating this must have been now I’m trying to teach The Whirlwind. She has unfortunately inherited my (lack of) ball skills.

Friday Night Discos at Wedgewood Court: There might only have been three guests attending this particular venue, but this was the place to be. We were introduced to all sorts of disco classics here, but for some reason it’s this one that sticks in my mind:

We have got the power
To build the highest tower
Standing with our feet on the ground
We’ve got what it takes
Together we can make it
Together we can blow the house down

Reading: You and me, aged 5,6,7, 8, 9….. on the sofa on the landing, reading. You and Mum instilled a love for reading and books which will always be a part of me.

Holiday journals: All the other kids were out playing. I was sitting at the table in tears being ‘forced’ to finish my journal entry for that day. Do I appreciate it all these years on and do I still have the said journals? Of course. Will I be making my kids do the same? Hell yeah.

These are just a few of my happy memories. Thank you Pops for these and all the other millions I haven’t written about.

Now as I said, no present I’m afraid. But hopefully you received my card. Rest assured I did read your blog on 'ten things not to put up with' and I steered clear of that particular celebratory card company with the orange logo and saved myself about 3 quid!

Loads of love,

Kels xxx

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Listography - Inventions

This week’s listography topic over at Kate Takes 5 is ‘inventions that would make my life easier’.

So, I present to you……

The body maintenance booth: Stagger in first thing bleary eyed and sporting the dragged-through-a-hedge-backwards look and come out looking immaculate. This booth will wash/scrub/polish/moisturise/shave/trim/blowdry and style your hair with optional extras of a manicure and pedicure. The process would take between 1 and 5 minutes.
Zip off boobs: When going to have your baby you would be offered an optional procedure: A simple, painless operation which would allow your boobs to be zipped on and off. Your pair could then be attached to a contraption worn by your husband. Gosh I just had a last read through before publishing and almost forgot an important point- this would be to FEED YOUR BABY, not just for your husband’s enjoyment while you weren’t available. Heaven forbid!

Sleep button: Kid wakes up in the night? Just press the sleep button. Kid having a tantrum in the supermarket? Press the sleep button. Fancy a night out? You won’t even have to fork out to hire babysitters. Press the sleep button and just throw the kids in your handbag and off you trot. (Sorry Kate this is a bit of a rip off of yours, but it had to make the list!)

Automatic bottom wiper: For the children of course. I’m not that lazy. Or posh.

But all these would be redundant if I could invent a…..

Cloning machine: How many times have you wished you could be in two places in once?

I think about ten would suffice:there would be Kelly the Masterchef, Kelly the Stuff Shuffler, Kelly the Bottom and Snot Wiper, Kelly the All-Singing-All-Dancing-Entertainer, Kelly the Masseuse, Kelly the Social Butterfly, Kelly the Successful Career Woman, Kelly the Social Networker, Kelly the Time Manager and finally the one who sits on her butt co-ordinating all the clones (This would obviously be the real me).

So, what have I missed?

I’m going over to Kate's now to check out other peoples’ entries. Join me.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Top five places I'd like to visit

It's that time again, it's Kate's listography and this week she has chosen another passion of mine- travelling.

So in no particular order:

New Zealand. We (or should I say I?!) have already planned a trip to celebrate our 40ths in 2020. I do like to plan ahead. Just me, The Hubster, the two kiddiewinks, a campervan and The Great Outdoors. Can't wait. (Although I'm clearly going to have to, nine and a half years to be precise.)

 The Yasawa Islands, Fiji. I spent a week on the main island, Suva, in 2005. It was paradise but apparently these islands are even more idyllic.

Norway - I physically crave to travel. To me it's what life is about. I guess I see myself as reasonably 'well travelled'. When I met The Hubster travelling had not been such a big part of his life as it had mine. He told me he had visited Norway. Norway, I thought? Who goes to Norway? Then he showed me his pictures. Those fjords are a feast for the eyes.

The Maldives - I don't think this one needs any explanation does it? Does anyone not want to go here?

The Galapogas Islands – I remember seeing a nature programme on this amazing island as a child and I have dreamt of going ever since. It's a piece of history isn’t it? To walk in the steps of Charles Darwin. My absolute favourite animal of all time is the tortoise. They are so graceful and wise looking, I could sit and watch them all day.

So if you are reading travel agents, yes of course! I will be happy to write you a review of any of the above in exchange for an all expenses paid trip. Hell, go on then. I'm feeling generous. I'll do all five.

What would yours be? Come on, don't be shy! Make a comment and then go over to Kate Takes 5 and check out some other entries.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Big Move

‘Moving house’ always seems to crop up on those ‘Most stressful things in life’ lists. Now I really would like to be one of these carefree, skip-along-not-worrying-about-a-thing types. But unfortunately I’m not.  I could find one million and two things to stress about whilst lying on a beach somewhere exotic being fed grapes, fanned and having my feet massaged. That’s how much of a stress head I am.

So I was fully expecting the need for copious amounts of red wine and chocolate to see me through the week of The Big Move. And lots of deep breathing. All week people were asking me, ‘How’s the packing going? Are you feeling stressed?’, ‘ Are you coping? Can I help?’, ‘Oh it must be soooo hard, you must be soooo worried and stressed and on the edge!!' I’m telling you, I almost began to feel stressed and worried about not being stressed or worried.

So the day came and went. No extra grey hairs to report, in fact I kind of enjoyed it. I have to say we had a fabulous team of friends and family helping out and we could not have done it without every single one of them.

You know I love a list. So, here are Kelly’s Five Top Tips on Moving House:

1) Minimise. We made a decision at Christmas that we just had too much stuff. We have been thinning it out ever since. By the time of The Big Move, we had gone through every drawer/box/wardrobe in the house and chucked a lot of stuff away. This was undoubtedly the key to our successful move. We were pretty ruthless.  Armchair? Chuck it. Who needs more than two seats in their living room anyway? Twenty seven teaching files? Nope, I fancy a new career, chuck ‘em.

2) Pack off the children. I did try and pack some boxes before the penultimate day of The Big Move. I had limited success however, mainly due to The Giggle Monster's favourite game du jour, which involves reversing everything I do. It goes a little like this: I put toys in the toy box, he takes them out. I put the folded laundry in the basket, he takes it out. I pack a box……You get the picture. My Mum had the kiddiewinks for two whole days while we moved. Wowsers. I’m telling you,  the amount I got done not having to chase these two crazy kids around! I would be dangerous if I didn’t have children.

3) Go to the pub when you get completely fed up of waiting for The Call. As we sat there twiddling out thumbs, having packed up the house we joked about it. ‘Hey I know, why don’t we go to the pub and order some lunch, we’re bound to get the phone call then.’ Yep, you guessed it. It happened.

4) Have at least 17 spare boxes for the stuff under the sofa /beds. I’m not kidding, it’s amazing what we found. It just kept coming. Have you ever wondered just where the partners to all those odd socks are? I have your answer, they are having a little private party all of their own under your bed. One of the bags will be filled with coins which should just about cover the solicitors fees.

5) Keep possible clashes in personality at opposite ends of the house. In our case, The Hubster stuck with the garage and I concentrated on the third floor. This worked well. Perhaps we should consider making it more of a permanent arrangement? Worth considering, on asking him what he loved best about our new gorgeous, family forever home, he replied ‘the garage. *Rolls eyes to the sky and tuts*

So the The Big Move turned out to be not that big at all.  Saying that I’ll be happy not to have to do it again for a while……..