Friday, 30 March 2012

Keep on Running. Week 6. The Final Countdown

What a week!  Where do I start?  I suppose the unseasonably good weather we have been having is an obvious one.  The weekend was fantastic!  I now have two, yes two circuits.  A short one and a long one.  The short one is for school days at lunch time and the long one is for leisure time.  My favourite one I have to admit.  Over the weekend I completed a 5.9k run in under 40 minutes on that glorious Saturday morning, bright and early, out and finished before 8am.   Definitely one of the better times to get out there and run plus a great way to start the weekend.  Sunday was great for another reason.  The sun was still as welcoming so I felt it was necessary to wear sun block.  How about that!  Sunblock in Ireland.  In March.  I left the long sleeves at home and just wore the vest.  It is definitely harder running in the heat but immensely satisfying to return home with lots of sweat patches.  I know, not very ladylike but I never claimed to be a lady.   The Screecher Creatures are even getting in on the act.  They line up and do warm ups with me before I leave the house.  But my muscles have practically cooled down again by the time I finish giving them all hugs and kisses goodbye.     I’m on the final leg now though.    One week left to 5k in The Phoenix Park and I have it on good authority that there is a hill on part of the route.  A hill!  A fekin hill!  My inner bitch and I don’t “do” hills or more to the point our legs refuse to do hills. It may only be 100 metres or so but a hill is a hill.  I will just have to focus that little bit harder, pretty much the same way I concentrate really, really hard when I see my house in the distance at the end of a training run.  I tell myself that I am 9cm dilated and to remember how that felt.  Transition is tough folks.  Tough but it also means the end is near.  I did a little tot up for myself; I will probably train twice over this weekend and on Tuesday so that makes three more runs until Good Friday.  All of this is, wait for it, wait for it…….on the advice of Ruth Field herself aka author of Run Fat B!tch Run.  Yes!!  She contacted me personally with some advice.  (Hah!  Davina.  You never did that!) Read on if you will.

 Q.  From Gwen Loughman: It is two weeks today to my first 5k race!! I am excited and nervous all at once. Can you offer me any advice on the 24 hours before the race – should I take the Thursday as a rest day and what should I eat? The race is at 1pm Good Friday. I am hoping it will be a very Good Friday indeed. Me and my inner bitch cannot wait!!!
Firstly, congratulations!  I can imagine the nerves and excitement.  You are going to be absolutely fine because I am assuming you are more than covering 5k three times a week if you have been following the programme in RFBR so this 5k race is going to be a pleasure from start to finish.  Don’t start too quickly and stick to your normal running style and speed, if you feel you have lots left in the tank towards the end, it always feels great to run the last 1 or 2ks a bit quicker, or even that last few hundred metres.  You probably don’t eat anything special before you go on your training runs and so there is no need to do so on race day, I would stick with your usual diet, although if you are feeling particularly nervous and are worried this may translate into a runny tummy then stick to very plain foods like toast. And make sure you are well hydrated from the previous day and during the morning as you don’t want to have to neck loads of water just before the race and be needing the loo during it!  I would have a huge bowl of pasta (any excuse) the night before, a relaxing bath and a really long good nights sleep.  Definitely rest on thursday and wednesday, make your last run the tuesday and push yourself to do it quicker than usual.  You are going to LOVE your first race.  Please do let me know how you get on.
The Grit Doctor says:
No need to do anything fancy for race day.  Stick to your routine and remember that nerves are good if you let the adrenalin propel you forwards.  Your inner bitch loves a hit of adrenalin.

I thought that was pretty cool!  And both Met Eireann and Ray D’Arcy claim the weather is to be overcast and cooler for next week which suits me just fine.  It ain’t easy running in the heat.  Heat coupled with unfamiliar terrain means I will need all the assistance I can get.  Let the countdown begin!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Nice Day for it

Nice day for it, sez Tony Fenton on Today FM at precisely 2.50pm this afternoon.  I was playing bald vulture with a chicken carcass (more on this anon) and I thought, nice day for what exactly, Tony.  I didn’t pause from ripping pieces of meat from the dead bird, but I did have a little think.    Considering that the sun hasn’t stopped shining (thank you, thank you, oh thank you) since Saturday, that’s a pretty good start.  Today I only had to issue mild threats to lock the doors if the Screecher Creatures didn’t leave the house to play outside.  It was so nice that Mister Husband decided the umbrella for the garden table wouldn’t look out of place so that was erected during lunch time.  When the Screecher Creatures see this flapping in the March wind, they connect it with summer and that to them, means picnic time.  I decided to go with their summer feeling and as it was something I have been meaning to do for a couple of weeks now, pizza was on the cards.  Homemade pizza.  From scratch. To say we, as a family, pissed all over The Walton’s and those on The Little House on the Prairie today, would not be too much of an understatement.  Talk about homey, self-sustaining, telly free and outdoors-y.  But back to the pizza.  Feeling very puritan and virtuous of late, I had already made the sauce for the pizza so the dough was next.  Yes, also from scratch.  I’m telling you, Sophie Dahl, Rachel Allen and their ilk were only in the ha’penny place today.  Listen to this next bit.  Whilst the dough was proving, if you don’t mind, I took it upon myself to fly a kite with the boys.  And I actually had fun.  So much so, petulant cries of “mammy, when is it our turn?” started up.   The Creeper Crawler, since getting his provisional licence (crawling only.  Full license will be issued when he takes his first step) is dead nuts on escaping when he sees a door left open.  I’ve had my work cut out for me the past week keeping tabs on Those Who Like To Leave Doors Open, as it is a real possibility that Creeper Crawler will take a tumble out of either the back or front door. But today I arrived at a nice solution.  I put the old trampoline base on the ground and covered it with a blanket, plonked Creeper Crawler on it and he was in his element.  Snotty nose and all.  The perfect view point from which to watch the kite in the sky and those on the trampoline.  Look, you would be sickened if you had to listen to me much longer so take solace in knowing that after approximately three hours of This Wonderful Life, reality came crashing back down.  Yes, it was a nice day for it and then the pizza arrived.  Out onto the garden table.  The made from scratch one, the one that I tore today’s roast chicken carcass apart for, and different cries started up.  “I’m not eating that!”  “It tastes funny.”  “Is that broccoli?”  Ungrateful little…..         Before I could say “eat the bloody pizza” a row broke out over the Y bike.  At least I was back on familiar territory.  I wondered briefly how Maw Ingalls would have handled this one.   Within the next half hour there was a foot placed none to gently into the throat of another, a row over a different bike, a fracas over the trampoline, a scuffle over a packet of chocolate chip cookies and a couple of mad dashes to scoop some stones out of the Creeper Crawlers eager mouth.  “Mammy, I had a lovely day,” Screecher Creature told me later on and even threw in a quick hug for good measure after I made him hot chocolate.  I was coming over all warm and fuzzy again.  But just to keep me and my feet firmly on the ground, this charming little conversation took place before bedtime.   Screecher Creature No. 1 again. “Mammy, I can do exercises in gym like you.  Look, this one is for my back.”   I agreed that he was very good and doing his exercises well.  He wasn’t finished. ”But you won’t be able to do it, Mammy.  Only children can do it.  And skinny people.”  Oh, thanks a bunch, Con.  Am I not skinny now? Two and a half stone lighter, I hasten to add!   “Ah, you are, Mammy.  You’re getting skinny.” Very gracious of him but then Screecher Creature no. 2 chimes in, “Yeah, you’re getting skinny, Mammy.  But you’re still spotty.”  It was a nice day for it I suppose.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Keep on Running. Week 5. Break Through

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times and then I was in a state of chassis.  I had a personal breakthrough over the St. Patrick’s weekend and hit the ground running.  It was something I had been putting off for a while.   I was managing the circuit really well and I knew it was time I stretched it out a bit but I was digging my heels in.  The Grit Doctor would not have been impressed with the excuses I was coming up with.  (The Grit Doctor is your hard as nails inner self who takes no shit and does not accept any excuse not to get out there and run!) I had fallen into the comfortable state of bombing out the door, running solidly for the 25 minutes (sometimes 23!) it took me to complete the circuit.  A longer lunch time circuit would make it impossible to be back in time for the school run.  That was the first reason/excuse I made not to extend the run.  Plus I wasn’t relishing the thought of starting again, literally running for a distance and having to slow to a walk, building up my stamina again for a longer route.  Second excuse/reason not to go further. But I knew it had to be done so I put the timer on my phone and got going.  Every now and then I surprise myself and this was one of those times.   I discovered that running in the rain is quite enjoyable.  The roundabout, my first oasis in the desert, was just up ahead and I still had plenty of puff left. I was feeling very pleased with myself indeed until someone stopped and asked me for directions.  A small part of me (my inner bitch!) almost directed her to Kilkenny instead.   It took 40 minutes to complete the run, stopping to walk briskly only once.  The buzz was unreal.  A couple of times I was this close to entering the zone the Good Book speaks about.  There was great music in my ears but my mind was clear.  My feet felt light and my breathing was slow and steady.  It was a great feeling.  Like I mentioned; the best of times.  And then I fell off the wagon.  It didn’t take much in the end, a simple bar of chocolate.  Turkish Delight to be exact.  A large bar.  The squared one.  My favourite.  Then I had a Wagon Wheel.  It was a good thing Mister Husband was gone with the car because the secret stash of chocolate in the glove box would have been hunted down and killed next.  I had been vice free for three weeks and I reckon it all got too much for me.  A treat was in order.  A celebratory one, I might add.  I didn’t feel too guilty about it.  My body, after all, has been using up lots of energy over the last couple of months so it was only to be expected that I would have to put more fuel back in the tank.   The fact that the source of said fuel was chocolate is just semantics.  Anyway, I was fully determined to get back up on the wagon the next day.  It should be noted that I made a decent stab at it, but my foot caught on the hitch at the last second and I fell, face first onto four slices of toast liberally spread with Nutella chocolate spread.  I think there is a new addiction coming on.  I’d seriously better get my finger out now and get cracking.  There is precisely two weeks left to the 5k with Ray and Spar in the Phoenix Park.  Gulp!
Foot note.  Literally.  The Good Book (Run Fat B!tch Run, in case you’d forgotten) is not a fan of accessories when you are out running.  Not for the Grit Doctor, those bottles with straws coming out of them, pulse-ometers or whatever they’re called and the like.  But I have found a little gem!!!!  Socks!  Who’d a thunk it?  I happened upon a pile of socks in the sports section of the supermarket (Special offer Thursday in Lidl) They looked fairly innocuous even though they had all sorts of science symbols and pictures displayed on the wrapping.  I needed some new socks and at just 3 quid a pair, they came home with me.  It was like running on air.  Great yokes altogether. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Nit Picking

I am as hard as mothers come.  Nothing freaks or grosses me out any more.  I have caught vomit in my open palm thanks to several gagging incidents with food.  I have scrubbed poo from under my nails.  Wiped all sorts off the floor and off hands.  Put tissues to noses streaming with the vilest stuff imaginable but fascinating all the same.  Just how much snot can one child contain exactly? Currently, I am scooping discharge out of a small ear thanks to an infection.  I have used breast milk, also this week, to clear up sticky, gloopy eyes.   I can wipe a child’s rear end in my sleep.  In fact I think I may have done once.  I opened my eyes to see the said body part inches from my face and a request to wipe it, or was that a dream?  I have looked in the face of fear, which was really wide open mouths displaying chewed up food and laughed.  That poo scene in Bridesmaids?  Hoo hah! Chicken feed!  My favourite scene in the movie is not the “poo scene.”  I like instead where the brash blond one with all the boys (oh God!) is lamenting their sexual development and the resulting state of the bed sheets.  You know the scene I mean.  I think it’s hilarious and at the same time, up there with Nightmare on Elm Street.  Yes, I know, I may well laugh now, it’s all ahead of me.  I can just about handle the body fluids.  But there is one thing that gives me the heebie jeebies; thread worms.  I’m hard but not so hard that I cannot be broken and these little bastards almost broke me.  It was winter.  I was heavily pregnant and they came and visited.  Not me, I hasten to add, although there is no shame in being infested.  The child in question happens to be a thumb sucker so re-infestation was most likely on the cards.  I will take head lice over thread worms any day.  I’m still waiting on these to put in an appearance and so far they haven’t but it is only a small matter of time.  But the other disgusting, god awful little filthers! If I may go into some detail here, I will try to be brief.  Head lice can be eradicated pretty quickly and effectively.  Just get the bottle of stuff, apply it, comb the hair and wash.  Or is it wash and comb?  Job done.  Repeat as necessary I suppose.  Like I said, I haven’t had the pleasure yet, but from childhood experience, this was the course of action.  Thread worms on the other hand are clever little shits.  Excuse the language but I find it hard to be civil when in the company of evil.  These little shits have a life cycle of 6 weeks.  Their eggs can live quite happily on a surface, any surface.  A teddy bear, a duvet, a carpet, a sink, a floor, a couch, play dough, a sand box, any-friggin-where!   Turns out they are not fussy.  But I am when it comes to these horrors.  And thorough.  I scalded the hands off myself that winter, disinfecting the boys’ bedroom.  All of their cuddly toys were black bagged and dumped.  I’m not being a bad mammy, they never played with them, they were merely ornaments, and they weren’t even missed.  Finger nails were cut so close, I almost drew blood.  Bed linen was boiled to the point of being shrunk. I am of the opinion that too clean a house is almost as dangerous as a filthy one, but I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed that day.  I don’t know how I didn’t go into labour.  It really is true what they say, the apple will fall when it’s ready.  I asked the pharmacists advice, especially as I was pregnant and there was another child in the house, too young for dosing.  The pharmacists told me I would know if the smaller boy had them as I would see it in his nappy.  I encounter soiled nappies several times a day, but was never in the habit of inspecting them.  Until then.  Even the Screecher Creatures were momentarily silenced when they saw me looking within.  My head was seriously wrecked.  Boys being boys, they have a fascination with their appendage and now every time I see a hand reaching into a waistband, which can be numerous times a day, my heart stops.  The good old worming solution that tastes slightly of bananas is always in the house.  I make sure of it.  A word of advice here, get the liquid version.  The Cure is also available in tablet form which requires crushing with two spoons. Too much palaver.    The school is great, they are big believers in the expression that to be forewarned is to be forearmed and always inform parents when head lice are in the school.  I practically relish finding one.  They won’t stand a chance!        

Friday, 16 March 2012

Keep on Running. Week 4. Starving.

I’d ate the scabby leg of a Christian brother, a bare arse through a hole in the hedge, a child’s leg through the bars of his cot and go back for seconds.  Lads.  I. Am. Starvin! Fookin!  Marvin!!  Due to all the running, my appetite has increased.  Big time.  The only other time I have experienced raging “get out of the Jayzus way or I’ll kill ya” hunger was in the first trimester of pregnancy.  It’s normal by all accounts.  You want to run how by me again?  I wake up hungry and go to bed peckish.  I’ve been told by those in the know that porridge is yer only man for staving off mid-morning hunger pangs.  Sets you up for the day, or so I’ve been told.  But let’s not beat round the Mulberry bush here.  I don’t “do” porridge.  Or Weetabix.  Or any other milky creation.  I would seriously hurl.  Starchy foods such as these are up there on the devil’s food shelf alongside coke and other fizzy drinks. The only difference being I like coke but still do not drink it.  So I reckon I am going to have to come up with another breakfast alternative to a coffee and scone of a morning.  But, and I am not making an excuse here, I do not have time time to be faffing over a kings breakfast.  I’d have to take it into the bathroom with me.  I know, disgusting.  It hasn’t escaped my attention either that all of this training is happening during Lent and I’m sworn off the chocolate stuff.  Once upon a time a fistful of chocolate or a half pack of biscuits washed down with a cup of coffee bought me a half hour or so.  But I’ve been really good and not touched a piece of chocolate in 3 weeks now.  So good in fact that if I’m making a culinary treat for the Screecher Creatures and I get a bit of chocolate on me, I don’t even lick it off.  It goes straight on the cloth.  I do ask myself when the cravings for a sugar rush become intense, have I bitten off more than I can chew.  I tell myself to Rise Above it.  I attended a talk during the week on nutrition in the local health shop.  It was great.  Full of advice on micro and macrobiotics, proteins, good fats and carbs.  The only thing is I left feeling even more confused and clueless than I was going in.  I am a basic, simple creature and sometimes I cannot see the forrest for the trees.  (In other words, a bit dim at times) so a meal plan on paper would have been most helpful for me.  I consulted the Sports and Fitness board on my parenting website (the one I was addicted to before I discovered Facebook) and was told what I already knew.  That a scone for breakfast wouldn’t fill a hole in my tooth (apparently) and also is not good for me.  (But I like them and these ones are freshly made each morning.  Gluten free and everything!) So that was me told.  It’s during times like this I wish I had paid more attention in Home Economics back in the day.  But I think you learn more when you’re interested in a subject and when it actually applies to you.  So I’m off now to learn how to make some decent pasta sauces, a good soup or two and my favourite; some pizza’s.  I’ll let you know how I get on.  For the moment though, I am going to continue to enjoy my scone and coffee at 8.30am seeing as I don’t drink or smoke and chocolate is off limits for the next few weeks. (Two slices of my mothers homemade lemon meringue pie at the weekend and one of my strawberry Pavlova do not count. Right!) Speaking of hunger, I met a battalion of cyclists over the weekend and they all greeted me like a long lost friend.  It was food for the soul.  There is a great sense of camaraderie out there.  And today I got through the last few minutes of my run thinking about what I am going to bring with me to this 5k with Ray and Spar in the Phoenix Park.  Haven’t decided if it’s going to be baked or poached but it will be salmon. With some of that lovely teriyaki stuff on it, a big bag of rocket and spinach leaves with other salad things and some nice lemony and mustard salad dressing.  To be eaten after the fek off chicken baguette or similar that is going to be (had better be) in my goody bag at the end of this race in 3 weeks’ time.  Yikes!  

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Three is a Magic Number

So we got over our Incident With The Piece Of Pipe.  (See Manic Monday for more details) and Screecher Creature No. 3 was none the worse for his run in with the Piece of Pipe.  And it has to be said, Screecher Creature No. 2 because jumpy jump jump to conclusions mammy here, blamed him before it transpired (through all the bubbling blood) that it was Screecher Creature No. 3’s fault all by his own self.  These things will happen when you run about with a piece of pipe in your trap.  Once all the bleeding stopped (from his nose and throat.  Sounds worse than it actually was but who wants to read about a paper cut?).  Mister Husband tried to tempt the patient to eat a piece of toast.  Not surprisingly he refused.  Hard to eat such things when the back of your throat has been ripped to shreds.  He settled instead for a big bowl of Weetabix with a generous drizzle of honey.  It obviously played on his mind as he referred more than once to “I hurt me” and pointed into his gob.  And so life went on and Thursday rolled round.  I like Thursdays, don’t you? It’s like a poor man’s Friday.  Kind of helps you to tick over until the real weekend starts.  Back in the day BC (Before Childers) Thursday night wasn’t a bad night to get out for a drink.  But for me, these days, Thursday night means catching up on stuff on the player before going to bed.  I also like to take a trip over to my mother’s on Thursday afternoon, for a coffee and a chat.  The Screecher Creatures love it too as sometimes The Treat Lady is there and she always has a Big Brown Bag of trash and they get to pick out a treat.  Pretty much the same thing I did when I was growing up.   They have the run of the place and weather permitting, head outside so we can chat in peace.  I also call it my Weigh In Day and I hop up on the weighing scales to see what damage was created over the last 7 days.  Or sometimes what good was achieved.  I’m getting there, I’m definitely getting there.  But on this day, Screecher Creature No. 3 had another mishap.  We were all suited and booted and ready to go when Screecher Creature No. 3 pulled open the front door telling me to come and look at the plants, that they were growing.  He caught the top of his welly on the door step and went face first down onto the gravel.  How is it that a bang to the head makes so so much blood?  He gave himself a nice little gash on his forehead, nothing that a steri-strip or two didn’t solve, but the blood!  It frightened the life out of him.  It was on his hands, in his eyes, on my clothes, on the floor and later, when I was leaving the house, on the stones.  It took only a minute or two to staunch the bleed but long enough to soak the cloth I used.  And then he started nodding and swaying and I could not keep him awake.  He was asleep sitting up within 10 minutes of his fall.  These days it is ok to let a child sleep after a fall, unless of course they are vomiting or a bit dazed.  He slept for two hours and was the devil to wake up.  Over the next couple of days he enjoyed telling people that mammy pushed him out the door and that’s how he cut his head.  In all fairness, I was doing pretty well up to now.  The older two Screechers have remained unscathed so far so I reckon my record is still pretty blemish free.  And then the smugness stopped.  I am not superstitious in the least but I have heard that things happen in three’s.  So I held my breath.  Every time Mister Husband fired the baby up into the air to make him laugh, I sucked in my breath and glanced at the ceiling to see if he was close to making contact with it.  Every time one of the Awesome Foursome leapt off the fridge freezer and onto the couch, I let a roar that I wasn’t mopping up blood (again!) or putting Sellotape on broken bones.  I won’t mention their habit of slamming doors or throwing large heavy objects about the place.  We had a couple of nights in a row where Doogie Howser aka Screecher Creature No. 3 aka the boy who almost gave himself a DIY tonsillectomy, woke up a few times and refused to go back to sleep.  He was in ok form, too bloody ok.  Game for a laugh he was.  The first night he stayed up for 5 hours.  Five!  Five!  And the following day he was a bit cranky, a bit clingy and a tad sensitive.  Screecher Creature No. 3 has always been described as an affectionate boy.  He loves to give you a hug and a kiss even you’re only leaving the room. But he took it to a whole different level this week.  There was a major, I’m talking nuclear, disaster one day when Mister Husband absent mindedly left for work after lunch without receiving his obligatory hug n’ kiss.  Screecher creature was inconsolable.    He spent the rest of the afternoon either in my arms or on my lap.  On Tuesday at our group, instead of mooching around and interacting with the other kids there, he super glued himself to my side.  He didn’t even attempt to raid the chocolate biscuits.  He snuggled into me and was gearing up for a snooze when I packed them all back into the car and took them home.  He slept for over 2 hours and I put his night owl activities last night down to that super power nap.    And did I say three is a magic number?  This morning there was a lovely discharge dispensing from his right ear.  Ear infection.  Going to the doctor with a broken child three times in 7 days would have been pushing my luck with the people from social services a bit too much! I’m glad I didn’t bring him to the doctor for the slashed throat.  Because there would have been several raised eyebrows over the hole in his head a couple of days later.  Especially when the child was telling people that his mammy pushed him.  I did feel sorry for him though.  He was miserable and out of sorts.  It all made sense this morning.  But now he’s back to his high jinks self.  And in the same way I’ve managed to get to child number three without needing a plaster cast or stitches for any of them, he was the first one to get his hands on my nail varnish at lunch time today.  Thankfully it was the clear stuff.  So, the spell is broken now, right?  The three big bad’s have happened so I can relax? Here’s hoping!                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Monday, 12 March 2012

Wanna Know a Secret?

Please don’t judge me but I have, on occasion, put my bag on the floor in a public loo. This is only ever when the hook on the back of the door is broken though.  I am not a complete scuzz bucket.   I often shout at my kids.  Once they got chocolate Kimberly’s and some other chocolate concoction, badly disguised as a breakfast cereal for their tea. I earned serious brownie points that time, I can reveal.  The fact that the chocolate break outs happen on the days that I have roared at them is no coincidence.  I don’t think I need to give a reason here, do I?  Doesn’t shouting at your offspring come with the territory?  I once answered that question on a parenting website.  “Do you shout at your kids?”  I was the first to reply with “Do you mean on an hourly or a daily basis?” and sat back waiting for the backlash.  None came.  It seems we are all in the same crowded boat and shouting at our kids is a regular event in most of our busy, stressful lives.  Of course, (disclaimer alert), there is no excuse for raising our voices to anyone.  We should all be more disciplined and strive for excellence.  We might be human, people, but that doesn’t mean we cannot be perfect! Dammit!
And, shock, horror, I use the television as an unpaid babysitter sometimes. Years ago when a friend spoke about Ceebeebies, I thought it was a computer game.  Now I know it is the best invention. Ever!  It keeps my Screecher Creatures quiet for up to half an hour at a time so I can tidy up, put on a wash, hang out a wash, change some bed linen or even, on occasion, finish a sandwich and a cup of tea without interruption!
I know we are all supposed to look at the mess and see it as our kids creating memories, but fek that!  You are more than welcome to visit our place and check out the crayoned walls any time you like. And anyway, in the television's defense, it’s a hell of a lot more educational today than it ever was when I was growing up.  My kids are fluent in American-ese and even have the odd word in Spanish or whatever language it is Dora speaks.    Moving on, I couldn’t tell you the first thing about a tracker mortgage.  I should be the wan on the top of that bus.  I now live in slight fear of Mister Husband taking it upon himself to explain it to me which, I can guarantee, will only serve to make me even more confused and none the wiser.  (He knows everything!) A culinary confession now; I can’t make gravy.  There is a special stick with a big nail in it, kept behind the door in my mother’s kitchen.  This comes out if they see me within five feet of the cooker, even glancing in the general direction of the gravy saucepan.    So easy to make. Yes?  You’d think!  A bit of corn flour mixed in with Bisto stuff, some meat juices and a whisk.  Not for me.  The only thing I end up making is lumps. So I am banned from the gravy making in my mother’s house.  I don’t even try in my own!  Right, now that I’ve admitted to plonking my kids down in front of the television let me divulge that I don’t watch too much of it myself.  I’ve never seen an episode of Greys Anatomy.  I don’t watch any of those reality shows, my guilty pleasure is Home and Away.  I like the odd cookery programme and watched the last two series of Raw, but that’s it.  Brace yourselves now, even though I refuse to think I am the only female of this opinion. I’m not gone on David Beckham; in fact I think he’s a bit funny looking.  He’s like a Gary Barlow and a Ronan Keating hybrid.  *shivers* and that voice!  Enough said!  Now, I wouldn’t describe myself as an advertisers dream.  Not by a long shot.  I’ve never bought one of those nappy bucket things, for example.  Nor have I ever been tempted by that Dettol hand wash thingy where you wave your dirty paws in the vicinity of the nozzle and it squirts anti-bacterial soap onto them.  In fact, I do a lot of scoffing at such things.  (And the people that get sucked in, it has to be said).  Every once in a while though, I am tempted by a product on a shiny page. Sometimes I get it wrong and berate myself for getting bamboozled. Like this one time with a massively popular beauty product claiming that one sells every four seconds or something crazy like that. Elizabeth Arden’s notoriety is lost on me. I just don’t get that 8 hour cream.  It’s mingin.  Thick, greasy gloop and the smell is only slightly worse than the taste.  No, I wasn’t eating it but you’re supposed to be able to use it on your lips as well.  Thankfully it was a gift and I didn’t waste my hard earned cash. Incidentally I was given a rather large pot of her moisturising cream lately and my cheap and cheerful €2.99 stuff from Aldi pisses all over it, thank you very much.  Ms. Arden is obviously adverse to nicely scented products.  I am a big fan of Avon though.   And right now, at this very moment in time, (19.08 if you want to be anal about it) Mister Husband and Screecher Creatures numbers one through to three are outside standing around a bonfire.  I think they look like something from a halting site.  I’m sorry; I know that is incredibly politically incorrect of me.  But they do.  You should see them. They are out there having the time of their lives.  It is dark, I can see three little silhouette’s dancing in a cloud of sparks and one of them has a stick.  Doing very important things with it, no doubt.  Mister Husband is keeping guard, letting them have their fun.    The time I mentioned is very important because something strange happens to me at the witching hour; I get lazy and couldn’t give a dam.  If every clock in the house was broken, I would still know it was getting close to bedtime because my body starts to shut down.  I have put in a 13 hour day by this stage.  They will most likely come in smelling like the bonfire and need a shower.  I have nothing left to give at this time of the night so unless Mister Husband takes it upon himself to do the needful, they will retire for the night stinking of smoke.  (19.15) There is what sounds like a herd of elephants upstairs.  They will go to bed smelling of Johnsons shampoo after all. Thanks Mister Husband.  Wanna know another secret?  I think he’s great!  My Awesome Foursome aren’t half bad either.