Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Christmas Club story

Sian has a Christmas Club

She asks for Christmas stories so here's one

Christmas 1980 was different for me and my three children. We had been living with my parentsfor eight years, together with my first husband and then I divorced him for reasons that are irrelevant to this tale. In August 1980 I met Mr M, in October I asked my children what they wanted for Christmas and they said they wanted Mr M to live with us. My father threw a hissy fit and refused to let him through the door so we found an expensive house to rent and the children and I moved out. So we had no money because what we didn't spend on rent we spent on the fuel to get Mr M to work and back.
We asked the children whether they wanted a present or a Christmas dinner because we couldn't afford both. They said they would have a dinner because their father would give them lots of presents.
On Christmas Eve they all went to bed quite late because they had helped to prepare vegetables and make mincepies and do all the things they hadn't been able to do before. Mr M suddenly put on his coat and gave me mine to put on. "Come on" he whispered "this is what my Dad always did"
We went out into the garden very quietly and hid behind a big bush, and from his pocket he produced a string of jingle bells which he shook vigerously. The curtains on the boys' bedroom window shook slightly. Mr M shook the bells again and two little faces appeared.
"I don't care what your name is!" Mr M bellowed "You can't park those reindeer on my roof!"
The curtain dropped, we scurried inside, throwing our coats at the coathooks and kicking off our shoes. We sat ourselves in our chairs as we heard footsteps on the stairs. I carried on with my crocheting and Mr M pretended to be asleep as a little head came around the door.
Nothing was said to us but as they went back upstairs the youngest one asked his brother "How did he do that? How can he be outside shouting and inside asleep?"
If he reads this blog he'll find out won't he?

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Moving day dawns

The weather has been miserable here for the last few days. Foggy, raining and a frost on a couple of mornings. All this is because this week mt youngest son and his partner and family are moving to a new house. New for them, not new built. It is really nice in a quiet location, with what seem to be good neighbours and none of the parking wars that they had in their old house. They have a drive where they can park both cars, the children can still go to the same school and they are much closer to their grandmother so she can collect them from school and take them to their own home to wait for mum rather than have to take them to her house and sometimes keep them until the next day because mum and dad were both working until way past their bedtime.

We decided that we would go to see his new place after we had been to the Dr for our flu jab. As I am a pensioner now and Mr M has diabetes we are both considered 'vulnerable' so we are offered the flu jab. I hate it because my arm always aches for days afterwards and I always have the "flu-like symptoms" that some people experience. This means a week of misery, BUT I had the flu once. The real flu, the one that grabs you by the chest and throws you down then sits on you until you are so weak you just give up. I was three weeks before I had the strength to walk the length of our house and it was a month before I could walk the 100 yards to the corner shop. When people say they had the flu and it lasted 24 hours I laugh because what they have had is a cold. Influenza is totally debilitating and I can see why so many people died from it in the early 20th century.

Anyhoooo, we went to see the new place and it is lovely. I suddenly realised that I had given quilts to the two oldest of my children but had never given one to my youngest so I corrected that today when I gave him two. I should also give quilts to the children but I haven't decided whether to make a couple more for them or to just give them two of the many I have left.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Of Taps and apple muffins and panic dances

You get those sort of days don't you? the ones where you just know that things are conspiring to annoy you. A day when staying in bed would have been a good idea except that so many things would not get done that you can't.

Today was one of those happy days. I had to get up because I take Little Miss to school when her Daddy is on morning shift. On the way to school she stepped into a puddle and splashed me. It was totally accidental because we were talking and we weren't looking where we walked. I came home and there were several things that had to be done before I could do what I wanted to do so I was pottering about. Mr M came downstairs and had his breakfast before going off to see his mum. She has dementia and is in a home now so he goes at least once a week to visit.

I decided to make some apple cake to use up some of the free apples we were given - the bag weighed about 10 pounds so there are a lot. I also made apple muffins. I made them using splenda instead of sugar - for diabetic eating doncha know.

I got them into the oven and then turned my attention to the bowl from the Kenwood, I turned on the hot tap ran sufficient water and turned the tap off - and that's when everything went to hell in a handbasket.

We have lever taps that just need to be pushed gently to turn them off. For weeks the hot tap has been turning itself back on again so we have been pushing it a little harder to turn it off. At one stage we were using an elastic band to hold the tap closed by looping the band oveer the lever onto the cold tap. This worked a treat but I said that we should get it fixed. Mr M muttered about it having to be a complete new tap and as it is a mixer tap it will be expensive.

Instead of stopping when I pushed it to where the limit should have been it just twizzled around (sorry to be so technical) and the tap kept right on running. I tried to fiddle with it, hoping that whatever should have stopped it would miraculously work and turn off the water, but no luck.

I ran around shrieking for a few seconds then remembered my mobile phone had Mr M's mobile in its phone book. I rang him and as soon as he answered a shrieked down the phone "The hot tap! It broke! I can't stop it running!"

He explained about the isolation valve under the sink so I grabbe the tool box and sprayed the contents over the floor in my hurry to get the screwdriver out. I still had Mr M on the phone at this point. I opened the cupboard and swept the contents of the shelf out and onto the floor.

It was dark in there.

I rushed down the ha..... I'll try that again. I struggled up off my knees and rushed down the hall to get the torch, came back to the kitchen got onto my one good knee switched on the torch and peered into the cupboard. Did I mention before that I wear varifocal lensed glasses? Well I do. I could now see the pipe where the valve was, I could see the valve. I could not clearly see the slot in the valve for the screwdriver because the angle of my head meant that I was looking through the top or distance part of the lens and I needed to look through the bottom or detail part. I put the torch onto the shelf, changed hands with the screwdriver, adjusted the phone that was wedged between ear and shoulder - this was part of the cause of the funny angle that I was looking from - moved my glasses so I could see the valve and the slot and realised that I now had to change hands with the screwdriver because the angle I was kneeling at meant that I couldn't stretch my left hand out that far.

All the time Mr M is listening and trying to be encouraging and calming.

I decide that trying to keep the phone under my ear is pointless so I tell him I will ring him back if I can't do it. He says he is coming home NOW and won't answer while driving. I sob but not until after I have disconnected. all the time the water is still running into the sink and down the drain and because money has been so tight lately I can only see the coins wasting away. I rearrange everything so that I am now holding the torch in the left hand and the screwdriver in the right. I adjust the glasses again, wrinkle my nose to try and keep them in place and I put the blade of the screwdriver into the slot and turn.

The water stops and starts again. I realise that it is a valve and therefore I should be turning it just until it is closed. It starts to drip hot water onto the shelf! I fling more stuff out of the cupboard until I find a container that will fit under the leaky valve, then I turn it gently until the water stops running into the sink.

I crawl into the breakfast room and drag myself up onto my feet and as I do Mr M arrives breathless and worried. I sob onto his shirt front and he lets me. He doesn't make me wait until he has checked that I have done everything right, he holds and comforts me until I am calm again and then asks if I am sure it is ok. And that's one of the reasons I love him. He trusts me.

So now we have no hot water in the kitchen sink and we have to live with it until we can afford to get it fixed. It has been a bit expensive this last month or two what with two 18th birthdays and a 21st today and a 16th next week and the car insurance.

So how was your day?