Hey You !

You don’t know it yet, but you are in for quite a ride and are going to hit a few bumps but…..

pexels-photo-1028451.jpegI remember it well and to be honest, I wouldn’t want to be there again, it was an awful place to be, for me personally I mean.   You have no choice, you have to go there too and you have to experience it for yourself to know how it will be for you, but let me tell you this.  You will survive it, with the right set of skills, support, resources, stamina and true grit, you will get beyond it!

The first thing you will notice when you get there are the changes in your body,  hairs sprouting out of places where they have no business being, spots appearing like they are in competition with the chicken pox, not to mention hair as greasy as fried chicken.  The real killer, the mood swings.  Anything ranging from sweet Shirley Temple  to Cruella Deville in 0 to 60 seconds and to add insult to injury you  will have no idea of who you are and will irrationally and radically search for your  identity.  A smooth ride it WILL NOT be.    Attitude, Identity theft,  extreme expression through clothes, music, rebellious behaviour, dieting, bingeing, smoking, drinking, sex and drugs, all there for the taking and risking.  ‘Lead me not into temptation’ not for all of them anyway!  It will get messy, it will noisy, it will get confusing, it will get depressing, it will be fun, it will be a complete contradiction and you will think you are IT as some stage and at some stage you will wish you could be a child again, or an adult and want to skip IT.    IT is exhausting…….  IT  is THE TEENAGE YEARS….AHHHHH

Sure, there will be twists and turns, there will be bumps in the road, there will be times of pure exhilaration, there will be LOVE, there will be HEARTACHE, there will be moments of madness and moments of stillness, but you will have to go through it,  so that you can come out the other side of it and find out who you are and what you are made of.   The skills you will learn will be mind boggling.  The skills your parents will  learn will be eye opening…. who knew they could be so mean, strict, sarcastic, fierce BRAVE!

They have been there, seen it, done it, got the T Shirt.  They rocked it.  It was better in their day, simpler, kinder, cooler.  The trouble now is, while they are battling with you and your tantrums, and your mood swings and your cheek and your pushing and prodding of their boundaries, they are most probably fighting their own battle and their own identity crises.   The MENOPAUSE, (male and female).  The changes in their body, the sweats, the forgetfulness – “sorry, who are you” they ask ” I have no idea” you reply.  Mum’s boobs begin to droop causing her distress.  Dads boobs begin to develop in a cruel twist  to make mum feel less distressed.  Muscle turns to flab and  dad’s six pack inflates  so he resembles buddha and mum  has an uncanny resemblance to the michelin man.

While you are on the crest of the wave splishing and splashing and tumbling and flying to a newer fitter more confident version of you, they are well and truly slam dunked into the ocean of ‘What the hell is going on’.    The dawning of realisation that ‘youth’ is soon to be leaving you and ‘youthfulness’ has well and truly over spilleth from them and they are heading towards a newer disturbing version of them!

So, hey you, be kind, be good, be healthy and wise, gather those skills,  they are worth more than any money buys. 

Be kind to your daughters, sons, mum’s and dad’s.  The changes you’re all facing, is just a fad. 

A phase, a lapse of time in space, try get through it, with dignity and grace.  But if you can’t, that’s OK too, after all, it’s just the rebel in you!

 

 

 

 

Two sides ?

Never judge a book by it’s cover is what they say and there are always two sides to a story, right? Or is it that it only begins with two sides ?

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‘You don’t look old enough’ is generally what people say when I tell them I have 4 grand children.  People are kind or say what they think you would like to hear.  We do it all the time, it just trips off the tongue, usually to make the receiver feel good, flattered and the giver feel appreciated, liked.  Sometimes, its just true!

I am certainly not too young to be a grandmother, being a 53 year old, but I do try to keep myself looking as well as possible.  I was married at 23 and had my first child at 24.  That was considerably old, if you compare it to when my own mother got married or indeed my grand mother.  In their day, 18 was a general ‘good age’ to be married by,  and have a baby within the first year.

These days lots of women are having careers before marriage and babies and lots are having babies from age 18, but without the marriage part.  My eldest was almost 19 having her first, not far off my mother’s age, when she had her first.  My mother was married, my daughter was not.  My daughter since married her childhood sweetheart and went on to have two further children with him and they are happy……. most of the time.

Can we be happy all of the time?  I think not.  I am married to my second husband for  23 years, love him dearly but at times could  quite happily commit murder.  We have, however, endured our ups and downs, swam rivers, climbed mountains and gotten over every bump in the road to arrive at a happy place together having raised our children.

Why couldn’t I have ‘endured’  my first marriage too? Met him aged 21, married him at 23, baby at 24, separated at 26.  We didn’t even get to a 7  year itch stage.  We had a grand total of 5 years, and did it all the right way round…. Met, bought house, got married, had baby and it all went wrong and no, no one else was involved, we just grew apart.  There was no real good cop bad cop, it just wasn’t ‘right’ and I guess I knew it never would be, so it was best all round, to walk away.

He will have his side, I will have my side, but then my daughter will have her side.  There can not be just two sides, can there?   What we do, as adults, will of course impact on the child, right?  It has to, it can’t but not impact, one way or another.  It will however, be up to the adults on whether that will be a good or bad impact, or a somewhere in between.

With all the best intentions in the world, there were times it was difficult.  Some of the times it was amicable, others, it was a battle of the wills.  I tried to never let it get in the way of her relationship with her father, no matter what I thought about him.  I always encouraged her to have a good relationship with him.     He loved her, as I did,  and she loved him and she loved me.  She was entitled to that.  I reasoned I wished her to grow up with two happy parents living apart, rather than two miserable parents living together.

The worst thing I could ever have said to him was that I was taking her away, to live, in another country.  I knew it would cut him in pieces as it would me if the shoe was on the other foot.    I cried at the thoughts of telling him, knowing how he would feel.  When I actually told him, I cried even more, after he had left my house.  She was 7 years old.  She wanted to ‘move’.  Did she know her mind well enough to know this, you might ask.  I asked myself the same question over and over again.

Of course, he took me to Court to try to stop it, as I knew he would and of course I couldn’t blame him. I would  have done the same if it were the other way round.    The funny thing about that was when I first ‘thought’ about moving to Ireland, I didn’t actually think I would, but because it was a thought,  I felt he ought to know.

Things of course turned fairly nasty, he was understandably upset, hurt and bitter.  I knew and understood that, but that all had an impact on our child and for the first time we found ourselves needing the courts to  ‘intervene’ .  I wanted to have the ‘choice’ to go back to my family in Ireland if I so chose in the future, even if it meant taking my child away from her father, as she too had expressed a wish live in Ireland.

She was 8 and a half when we moved and right up to the day of moving I asked her if she wanted to stay in the UK, so she could see her dad, as always,  I would unpack all the boxes and we would stay.   She said she loved him but wanted to move.

She is 29 now and though it was a very difficult time for her father, and of course I did feel a certain amount of guilt, I knew ultimately,  it was the right thing to do for us as a family.  What further made my mind up to actually move, was the amount of conflict between us that was generated from my first telling him of the ‘thought’ to go to finally being granted consent to go.    I was not trying to stop their relationship, indeed I still encouraged it and did so from the time we came,  in that she saw her father for half of all the holidays, and he could come see her whenever he wished,and ring her whenever he wished, which he did on a daily basis.

The distance between us turned out to be a good thing because the impact on our child was a positive one, in that she did not have to be caught between any crossfire.  She has loved living in Ireland and has had a nice life here.  She has continued to love her father and has never regretted moving here.    We will never know how things would have been had we stayed in the UK, but for our family, this had a positive impact.

The thing is with separation and family break down, even with the best will in the world, it is a very difficult road to navigate and know if you  are doing the right thing.  A child, however, must always be at the center of the situation.  If one or both of the  parents cannot reasonably  agree then of course, the courts will have to decide and in the meantime be very mindful of any impact and upset you are putting on the child in the middle of it all.

What’s your Talent?

Do you ever wonder what you are good at and if you don’t have a talent, does that mean that you are not good at anything? It was a thought that I pondered from a very young age.

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I remember being a small child at school and the teacher talking about having ‘A Talent’. Some people were putting their hands up, naming what they were good at, e.g. football, music, art, singing, dancing etc etc. I just sat there contemplating and wondering and finally, despairing that I didn’t in fact, have a talent.   I couldn’t have been any older than 7  or 8 years of age at the time.

For years it bugged me and nagged at me from somewhere in the back of my mind that I was talent – less!   Don’t get me wrong, I was OK at sport, particularly Hockey and Gymnastics.  I loved the latter but really disliked the former with a vengeance.  I was OK at Netball, but really liked the game and I was rubbish at music and art.  My art teacher in secondary school told me I was rubbish at painting but I did enjoy participating anyway.

Somewhere along the line, however, I had a belief that I could do anything.  I think by now I was much older, maybe in my 30’s or 40’s.  Not only did I believe I could do anything, I believed that everyone could do anything…… if they wanted to, really wanted to and were prepared to work hard for what it was, they wanted to achieve.

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Also as I got older I came to appreciate other things that were of no consequence to me when I was younger, like an appreciation for nice classical music, particularly the sound of the violin and composers like Mozart, Pachelbel, Bach and Vivaldi to name but a few.  When I was young, all I was interested in was Meatloaf, the Police, The Beetles and Elvis, to name but another few!

From one time frame to another something happened to me.  That something was called ‘life’.  Between childhood and adulthood I had experienced many different situations, and been exposed to lots of things, good, bad and indifferent.  The most profound of them all was becoming a mother.  This, after all, is the one thing, since being a child, that I always wanted to be.  This was and has remained, consistent.

Could  this have been my talent?  Was / am I any good at it?  Well my children would have to answer that, but I can confirm that I gave it all the time, all the effort, all the sacrifice, all the fight, all the love, including tough love and all the  part of me, that believed I was doing all the best for them.  I am still doing this and my efforts are looking pretty damn good on the grand scheme of things….. my children are fabulous, flawed, but fabulous and of them, I am proud.  I am proud because I watch them growing and developing and learning and doing and falling and getting up and going again, doing again, learning again, loving, forgiving and moving on and moving forward and succeeding and achieving.

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There are many famous artists out there, footballers, dancers, singers, musicians etc etc, but in my mind this is not what having a talent is.  Yes it is a skill, of course, but just because they are famous for it, doesn’t make our endeavours any less of a ‘talent’ and our eventual success at our ‘Talent’.

So for all those who think they don’t have a talent and wander this world wondering why you don’t have one, I have news for you.  You do have one, just look at what you do everyday, a lot, consistently, persistently and are good at it, even if you don’t really enjoy it, you have a ‘talent’ for sticking with it!

My husband goes to work, every day of his shift, week in week out to provide for us.  He comes home every night and gives me a kiss  and its not an empty kiss, its a kiss that shows he is pleased to see me and he is glad to be home.  His talent is that he is a great husband, father and provider and we are ‘enough’ for him.  Sure he has other interests and hobbies but his real talent is being great at taking care of us.

 

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I do not search for my talent anymore….. I got this far, successfully,  still believing that I can do anything and you too can do anything…….

 

 

Paintings all done by me……. I think even my art teacher wouldn’t be too disappointed!

 

 

A day to celebrate, ponder, reflect?

For some, mothers day is a day to celebrate and is anticipated with great excitement, for others, it may be a different story

I first became a mother (almost) 29 years ago and I remember being so excited and proud on my very first mother’s day. I also happened to have be born on mother’s day, and was a great source of joy to my own parents, having been preceded by two boys, my wonderful brothers. I remember us being excited when we were young and cheerfully doing our best in ensuring she ‘take it easy’ and we would make her breakfast in bed. This often entailed making a right mess in the process, but our intentions were good.

I remember my own children bringing me the same wonders, such as burnt toast, cold tea and a bunch of wonderful smiles to go with their gifts of flowers, chocolates and one time in particular I remember receiving ‘an umbrella’. I gave my husband and a confused glance. He duly explained that when he got to the supermarket the flowers were all gone, and with what money he had in his pocket, he had enough for an umbrella, as they were on offer! Strange gift, but it did of course come in useful with our very showery weather.

The purpose of the day is to celebrate and spend some time, by way of saying thank you and I love you and without you, I wouldn’t be here. It is a gesture of appreciation. Of course, it is not always possible to spend time, as children often do not live near their mothers, once they are grown up and have families of their own, so a card or a phone call or gift will be received to acknowledge the day.

For some, it may be a time to ponder. Some mothers do not have their children living with them. Some children may have ‘lost’ their mother and vice versa. I have two children, who on mothers day, buy me gifts and cards and wish me happy mothers day, but I am not their real mum, I am their foster mum. On this day, I always wonder how they must feel. It must be a significant reminder to them and they must wonder about their ‘real’ mum. My heart always breaks a little bit more for them on mothers day and other children in the same position. I wonder about her too, does she think about them on this day? Does she realise what beautiful children they are, how good and well adjusted they are. Sure we have our moments like any parent and child, but does she know what she is missing out on?

Some people would give anything, to be a mother. Sometimes mother nature can be cruel and it just doesn’t happen for some people, through no fault of their own. So I guess, as much as Mothers Day, is a day to acknowledge and celebrate it is also a day that can be a sad reminder, for some.

For my own children and my own mother, I think it is a time to reflect on my position, my role, as I am indeed both a daughter and a mother. Do I deserve to be celebrated? Do I celebrate my mother enough for all her hard work, love and dedication to me over the years? All I can say is that I have endeavoured to be both, a good daughter and a good mother. There have been times that I will have got it wrong, but always for the right reasons. My intentions will have always been good ones and in my failures as both daughter and mother, I always endeavour to be better and continue to try my best, not just on mothers day, but everyday.

For my husband, the year he bought me an umbrella. I returned the favour on Father’s day by buying him a watering can, just so I could stand under my umbrella, while he poured some water over it…… it had been a particularly dry year!!!

International Women’s Day

celebrating women’s achievements……. Acknowledging and aspiring to effect gender equality?

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Today, all over the world women are celebrating ‘International Women’s day’.  It has only been 109 years, since the first one, and at that time it was for better pay and voting rights, more parity with the men of this world.  Indeed there are many many women, celebrating and protesting all over the world about many inequalities or injustices that are still going on.

I, for one, thank god that I was born on this side of the world (in the west), rather than being born in  the East.   Not that injustices only happen in the Eastern part of the world, but the fact that you are born female there, can definitely have a severe disadvantage and detriment to rights and equality, more so than just equal pay.

I am not going to go through individual cases or scenarios of what ‘women, girls, females’ have to ‘put up with’.  We all know, too well the injustices and fights that we have to endure because of the fact that we are indeed ‘female’.

In a previous  blog I have spoken about  Emmeline Pankhurst and her movement, the Suffragettes, Vera Twomey and her quest as a mother to fight for the right for her child to have medicinal cannabis, to reduce her seizures and enhance her quality of life.  There are many great women whom I admire for their sheer determination to overcome the injustices and powers of men.  What about Malalal Yousafzai, the courage that girl had, to fight for the rights of girls to have an education.  Edith Eger, an Auschwitz survivor who held on to the words her mother had said to her,  minutes prior to their separation,  ‘They can never take what is in your mind’.  She chose to use her ‘mind’ to escape from the horrors she was subjected to.

Joan of Arc, a crusader, a woman who was key in turning the tide in the 100 years war and was later canonized as a saint.  Mother Theresa, Erin Brokovich, , Rosa Parks, to name but a few more – strong women who despite adversity, effected change.

I am a mother, and have been to a total of 14 children  (biological and non biological).  Some of them were with me for a short time, others a much longer time.  I have been consistently parenting 5 girls for the past 28 years to the present day.  My message to them, and my parenting to them, has been to try to make them strong independent women.  Why?  Because they have to leave home and go into the world and stand on their own two feet.   They have to form relationships, outside of the home, whether it is at school or at work.  They will meet  partners  and may be become mothers themselves (2 already have).  They will face challenges, up’s,  down’s and injustices along the way and when they do, I want them to be able to face their challenge, to deal with it and to move on from it, whatever it may be.  I also want them to be able to stand up for them selves and for others who are been treated unjustly.  I want them to have a good sense of self and a good sense of right and wrong and fight for it and do whatever it takes, to make a difference.  I want them to value themselves, to demonstrate and role model  that value, that self worth to their own off spring or to others.  Ultimately, I want them to be happy.

At the end of the day there is one thing women can do which men cannot and that is to carry a baby, and no matter what, that primal bond is unique and unbreakable.  Yes we can love equally, care for a child equally, but whether the parenting is good, bad or indifferent, something more is created in the carrying of the child that only a mother can feel, but not adequately explain.  We give birth to both male and female, and me personally, I want them to be equal, in their rights.  No question about it and if they are being treated ‘differently’ I absolutely would want them to stand up and shout out and be proud of the fact that they are doing so.  They need to Relay what they want, Shun and ship what they don’t….  It may not be easy, it may seem impossible, but nothing will be done if you do not try!

To all the females out there who are striving to achieve and to ‘do’, keep achieving and keep doing, because  at the end of the day you are absolutely worth it!

 

Sent to Coventry!

There is a term ‘ SENT to Coventry’ which ultimatey means to ostracise, ignore and shun them….

My relationship with Coventry however, is a positive one. Even though I don’t live there anymore, and haven’t for 20 years, I hold it dear in my heart.

Famous people you may have heard of are The specials who sang ghost town, Paul king who sang love and pride, Mo molam grew up here and was an integral part of the good Friday agreement and peace process in northern Ireland and of course good old Lady Godiva who rode around the streets of Coventry, naked on a horse, in protest against an oppressive tax imposed by her husband… what a noble woman she was !

Well I’m here on a visit at the moment as I have a daughter who lives nearby. It was planned months ago, before the beast from the east was a turn of phrase, synonymous with something awful !!

As I boarded my Ryan air flight on Tuesday, it was cold but sunny, no snow. As we landed in Birmingham, it was cold but sunny and no snow…. it’s now Friday and though there is a bit of snow, and it’s still cold, I’m having a great time being served food, including bread, in the comfort of my Hotel.

Back home there is a blizzard. The rest of my family are snowed in. The pipes have froze over. The shops are closed. There is no bread and they are in lockdown!!

I have met up with friends, had some laughs, shopped, swam in the pool and enjoyed the heat of the sauna…..

I have face time with my family snowed in at home and feel awful for them but, I’m also delighted I’m not there in the cold with no water to shower or flush the toilet !! It’s seems the beast of being ‘sent to Coventry’ is no way near as bad as the best from the east that has landed in my home in Ireland…

There it really does look like a ghost town. Here I still have love and pride for my roots…. I’m enjoying the peace but have no intention of riding on a horse naked…… not in this weather anyway !!

Stay warm, stay safe and do yourself a favour….. get sent to Coventry next time 😁😁😁

#coventry #ladygodiva # thespecials # Paulking # beastfromtheeast #bread #snow #peace #momolam #staysafe

The irony of it !

to pee or not to pee…. in the nappy, on the potty. Now that is what you call proper toilet training……..NOOOOOT

I remember the days well when my girls were only little tots and I would be running around like a blue arse fly, the twins usually going in different directions, while the eldest madam would be busy occupying herself away from both of them, seeking her sanctuary!  I would be double jobbing and multitasking at the rate of speedygonzales, only to find it would all need doing again, at the speed of light.  Going to work (outside of the mad house), to the actual office, with actual adults to communicate with, was often my sanctuary.

My husband and I had a fantastic relationship. By that I mean a fantastic telephone relationship.  We were passing ships in the night you see, him working nights and me working days.  Some times he worked days too, (every six weeks, for six weeks) but he was more than often a grump at night and just wanted to watch t.v after his hard days work.   It was very hard for him, going to work and coming home to a cooked dinner, cooked by me.  Coming home to children who if not in bed, were about to be going to bed, by me, having had their bath, done by , you got it, me.  That of course, was my job, after I got in from work.   Sometimes I just wanted to scream with the tiredness as my ‘shift’ never seemed to have a ‘clocking off’ time.

I would get home from work at 5.30 but hubby dearest didn’t get home from work until 7.30, giving me a good two hours with our delightful off spring, to cook, feed, play, wash and put them to bed before settling down to…….. do the washing, drying, ironing and not to forget studying, as I was also at college, trying to get myself educated.

In those days we did not have mobile phones, just land lines and without fail, my darling hubby would ring me every day from work and tell me he loved me and missed me and would see me later.  When later came, I got the cursory kiss on the cheek,  the ‘i’m starving, what’s for dinner’ and after that he would get all nice and comfy to settle down and watch t.v  !

There was many a time I just couldn’t wait to be in my 50’s, having raised my family and spend some good quality time with my fella, while we happily watched our delightful children stepping into the big  world outside of our house for their own crazy adventures.

Fast forward 28 years………  I don’t work at the moment.   I ‘volunteer’ in a charity shop two days a week ) but that is not work (right?) just a slight hint of sarcasm there!     I still have 2 teenagers at home, so if any of you have teenagers, you can feel my pain!  I do get to spend some quality time with my fella, as he is on a much better shift,  4 days on 4 days off.  Plenty of time for us to do things together, right….. wrong!

Sometimes we are lucky if we get to have lunch together in this hectic mad house of ours.  Yes, the big ones are grown up and don’t live here in the house, but they are never far away…….  One lives around the corner, the other lives a few miles away and another lives in the UK,  but comes home frequently.   Then of course, there is always the mobile phone, and by that I mean social media, messenger,  face time etc.  There is no escaping them, and their requests for ‘help’ and ‘support’, but does it really have to be so often!

This morning I had to take severe action…….. You see,  1 of the teenagers is away with the school on a lovely trip to Prague, so of course, that doesn’t just ‘happen’, things need to be organised, which they were, by yours truly.  The other teenager has gone to visit with an aunt for a few days.  Hubby had a training course to do in work.  Two daughters, with their children  came to visit…… in fact one daughter and her son have been here ‘visiting’ for 2 weeks (in fairness she had been ill and in hospital for nearly a week, while I looked after her wonderful son).  The other daughter came with only two of her children as the other was in school.  She too was wrecked (just as I used to be when she was little)…… as any mother is with 3 small children.  He tales of woe, were very similar to my tales of woe, at her age.  I feel her pain.  But when I was actually ‘living and feeling’ that pain, I couldn’t wait to not be feeling that pain, if you get my drift.   What I am saying is, it doesn’t end, it doesn’t end because, they don’t really leave.  They keep coming back with their children (whom I adore), but sometimes, there are days, when I still want to scream!

Yes I have a nice husband, nice home and nice kids, everything I ever wanted, but is it too much to ask for some peace and quiet in my own house, with no one else in it, just occasionally?   So just as daughter with the two children said she would soon be leaving, I shot a look at the other daughter, waiting for her response that hopefully she too would be leaving….. but no, nothing, not a squeak…..   Children shouting and roaring in the back ground, t.v blaring out BLAZE  for the millionth time this week and my house beginning to look like it had been ransacked by burglars, again for the 100th time this week, washing machine squeeling as it spun it’s best, vibrating as it went, due to its over use no doubt over the last two weeks, and the dark barking at anyone or anything that moved, as he too, appeared to be going mad with the constant flow of people, big and small, in and out, up and down stairs, doors slamming, bickering, food throwing, drink spilling, toast popping……..  What could I do but the only thing left to do, I asserted my rights!!!!

‘Ok, Ok, that is it’ I began.  ‘You go get yourself and himself dressed and head off, its time now you went back to your own house and left me in peace.  I have work to do and just cannot do it with anyone in the house.  I need to hear nothing…. no  thing….. .  No children, no chatter, no t.v, nothing  I want to hear silence, I want to hear my thoughts, I want to get on with my housework, in peace, just me and the dog, in the house, doing some work, or doing nothing, if I so choose, but whatever I choose, I want to do it without you being here!    It’s a beautiful day, maybe for a walk, or go to the park but whatever,  spit spot,  off you go’!!  I finally blurted out, trying to keep my composure before the top of  my head actually did blow off!

I wouldn’t change any of them for the world, but sometimes all a girl wants to do, is to be able to to get ‘stuck in’ even if it means ‘chucking them out’.  I must let you know a great deal was in fact achieved today and the amount of rubbish I ‘chucked out’ by getting stuck in was amazing and made me feel good.  I don’t imagine that is how Cinderella felt on a daily basis, but for this Cinderella, today was a good day!

Tonight, it is just my husband and me in the house.  I cannot remember the last time it was just the two of us at night in the house.  What a treat!  To celebrate we treated ourselves to a chinese take away and himself supping on a can of lager to wash it down.  When he was finished, off with his plate he went, to the direction of the sink and duly plonked it there, BESIDE the sink for the sink fairy to wash it, while he retreated to the sitting room, yes, you got it, to watch t.v!      I eventually went in to join him, as  I have had a rather hectic day, cleaning and sorting and chucking out, only to find him blissfully snoring in the chair!

I wonder what I will be doing in another 28 years from now!