Friday, 31 July 2009

I'm on the bra wagon too...

The theme of the week must be the bra or by any other names, brassieres, flooper stoppers, slings, hammocks, instruments of torture, boobie drawers, Shoulder Boulder Holder or Double-barreled slingshots.

This subject has been discussed at House of Lime's and at Powell Power and a while back at Moannie's, I think I even posted a rant upon the subject here somewhere. I cannot be silent amid all this heaving, moaning and venting.

It must be the hotter weather that makes us realise we are uncomfortable or rather our breasts are. I was never well endowed. Being as skinny as a rake until my late 20's, then after giving up smoking I gained a few healthy looking pounds and so a few ounces fleshed out my pancakes or fried eggs. In my late 30's after five years of being either pregnant or breastfeeding, my now larger breasts hung like a pair of beagles' velvety ears. Empty. Sad. Stretched. Yikes. With the onset of middle age, they have actually filled out somewhat and as long as they are supported they can look pretty good clothed, even if I say so myself.

Part of the trouble is that bras never fit well, if they do not for long. he wire cuts into the arm pits leaving bruises, yes actual bruises. If I dare raise my arms above sea level then my boobs half hang out underneath, sorry a bad image that. l have long been able to hold not just one pencil under my boob, but the whole pencil case.

The torture is more in the finding a bra to fit and then buying several of the style. One that isn't all man made fabric. OH! maybe the problem is that they ARE man made. OMG!! DO you think men design them. And we are the 'butt' of this joke.

With machine washing and fluctuating weight. One needs to get replacements every six months. But we don't. We leave it longer and longer. Putting off the inevitable. Until our bras have no support left in them. The heat hits and we are well stuffed. Well you know what I mean. We have to go back to the store and red faced and squirming we ask for help. It's embarrassing and the assistants know it. I need a bra. I'm down to my last one.

There is an opportunity here, a gap in the humongous bra market for some entrepreneur, come you Dragons, to open a store or give house parties to sort out the bra mess. It is the stuffing of legend. We need a saviour. Service. Smiles. Bras for all.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Pockets of sunshine

It may have been pouring for five days now.
Both outside and inside.
Summer may have given up on us. But I have not.
I start my summer hols today
I have nothing planned
I refuse to sit and mope.
And to feel sorry for myself.
So I figured if I posted about my intentions here,
then I have to make an effort to do as many of them as I can
then come back and tell you all about my adventures.

I have some places I want to go...


Shambellie House - Museum of Costume


Things I want to see...

the Royal Academy

Blackwell House- the Arts & Crafts House

The National Gallery

a show perhaps...

Tasks I want to get done.

like trim the hedges, tidy the flower beds

some wallpapering

Books to read...

Films to see...

Some indulgences I hope to accomplish
like this...

and this...

and this...

and something involving this ...

and this...

and this

and er ... me

l'm going to be a busy girl

Photostory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

abc wednesday

B is for ...

Baltic & Bridge
both in Gateshead which to me means Newcastle
but I will be corrected about that l'm sure!

The Baltic is a refurbished flour mill
which is now a Contemporary Art & Exhibiton space
on the riverside
I took these images when Larry and I visited a few years ago

The bridge is the Millienium Bridge over the Tyne
which is right next to the Baltic

the majestic side view

Millenium Bridge view
taken from the top of the Baltic

apparently the footbridge rises to join the top arch
when a tall ship comes through this may or may not be true,
given that Larry told me that the Iron bru drink
is from the girders of the Forth Road Bridge,
or perhaps that reflects sadly, badly on me...

(now follows some techie info for Suldog and BS5)

this bridge was built and then lowered into place in one piece
by a crane called the Asian Hercules II
pictured here for you two boys!

(this image is borrowed from

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Down but not out...

I am all at sea... next thursday I start my summer holidays. A run of 20 days off through to the last third of August. Then I have a grab of days working and days off, I reckon l'm only working 8 days in all in August.

As I mentioned in my last FFF post the kids are home off from school. You know it. I know it. The neighbours know it. Bus drivers, commuters, sweet shop assistants and newsagents, even the off licence chappie knows. A few weeks of calm?

WHAT!!? calm you say... I don't think so. WHY? you may well ask why have I taken so much time off? Well it's habit you see. I've always had a little part time work of some sort since I stopped real work (indeed life as I knew - and loved- it) after I had the first baby. My work was based in places where I could be flexible and always there to drop them off, pick them up, attend each and every play, concert and activity. I was a dinner lady for 4 years, with play ground duty at the their infants school, which I adored. Then a bookseller with a very understanding boss. Then I joined the Museum 6 years ago and that has worked out fine, indeed I have upped my hours accordingly. Whereby now, they are I guess latch key kids but they are 17 and soon to be 15 years old. So that's ok in my book. I've done my duty by them and been there for them.

This year is palpably different. As I mentioned on FFF. I am not needed. Surplus to requirements. Tall girl has a job and she has been given 3 extra shifts during the week. She has a driving test booked sometime in the last week of August and so she has 3 driving lessons a week booked to prepare. Soon to be 15 son, has band practice and sleepovers 'penciled in Mum'.

I am trying to get everyone synchronised to get down to Kent in next few weeks. Can I organise this one simple thing -please- can l heck. The dog cannot be left. No one can look after her. So Larry has to stay put. Tall girl and son cannot free themselves simultaneously.

Do I take just one of them?
So do I go down by myself?
Shall I claim back 7 of these 25 days holiday I have consumed?
I have some days out pencilled in,but no one wants to come too? It's no fun on my own, but they'd be miserable going to the RA. The Museum of Costume or to Blackwell House in the Lakes?
I have joined the local gym and will go everyday as it's only 150 yards away I have no excuses.

Disappointment, confusion and anticipation. Life is changing as I type. Sigh!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Schools out!

It's started...
I'm telling you this in hushed tones...

It's started....
that time when I have to replenish the food cupboards twice a week

It has begun...
the mountains of dirty clothes on the floor,
that is not school uniform

It has begun...
the dirty plates on top of the dishwasher,
instead of inside...

I leave the house before 9am
they get up before 1pm, maybe

When I get home...
all I want is a cup of Earl or Lady Grey,
they are staring into the fridge deciding on a lunchtime snack.

Tonight I've just got in from the cinema it's 11.30pm
Daughter has gone over to sleep at a girlfriends (I hope)

My son has left lights on in every room and seemingly every orifice in the house,
the street is LIT up with the light

It is just about tea time on his body clock,
I am making a cuppa and deciding whether to watch
a bit of tv or go up and read a while in bed.

This is week one of the school holidays.

I have taken most of August off work,
but they don't need me,
they don't want me,
in any needy way,
in fact they will be asleep most of the day!
They don't want to play.
They don't want to come into town with me,
not in daylight hours, they walk fourteen paces in front,
unless the debit card or cash is in my hand, paying.

What am I going to do with my holidays.
Larry has taken time off too.
What's a girl to do?
Alice doesn't live here anymore...

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow - PSF

Photostory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Early this morning I read the POTD mentioned post Lady of Perpetual Chaos' and it got me thinking about the trials we spend at the hands of hairdressers, stylists and barbers. Everyone has a favourite hair story don't they?

I sympathise wholeheartedly and this happens to me a lot and l am off to the salon later today and I want a change but just know I shall later be moaning about it being too short, too red, too blond, too straight, too thinned out, too...! I have been on both sides of the fence, as I qualified in hairdressing in the late 1970's. I worked in three different salons after my 3 years training. But I haven't practiced professionally since the mid 1980's except on friends and family. The kids and Larry now go to the same salon as I and so I haven't cut anyone's hair (except Moannie's) for 15 years.

Seeing this from both sides, I just wanted to offer up my impressions. That it is about expectations folks and perceptions and as such, it ain't ever gonna meet YOURS or MINE! Everyone involved in this hair raising exchange is different, all have different impressions of what is and what isn't. Our expectations blow it for us.

By all means take an image from a magazine with you, but remember, her hair is not your hair. Your face shape may be similar, but isn't the same. The forehead maybe deeper, wider, your crown maybe higher or lower, hair thickness less or more. Your neck shorter, longer, non existent. You may have a third more hairs on your head, but then her hair may be thicker. And so as a general guide an image is helpful, but it can also heighten expectation unreasonably and to the detriment of the poor, yes poor cos the pay is shite unless you are that one in a million hairdresser, which is why I left , I wasn't.

We all approach the same image differently, and yes l'm taking one too today but of me last year!!

I have had long hair, short hair, a number one razored up the back and sides, spikey topped hair, I had the coup sauvage in the early 80's, I've had afro perms and rollered hair, lacquered hair and backcombed hair, streaked hair, highlighted hair, I've had flying colours hair and block tinted hair, crimped hair, dyed purple, red, black and henna'd hair, I've had shaggy hair, and yes even shagged hair - I know you know what that is.

Yes! Every picture tells a story.
In one I am 18, in another pregnant with baby#1 and one I have just had baby #2,
one I have just returned from Greece, in another is for my NUS student card -mature art student 1990...
all are taken between 1977 & 1994

I have my hair coloured to enhance my own very dark brown hair, because I have silver at the temples and apparently only a few through the body of my hair. I have this done every 3-4 months for the last few years. I haven't the patience to grow it long, even though my mind tells me I will look fab. I know l won't and Ange tells me emphatically NO! A few of us who are regulars at Ange's always have a laugh together because we know when we go in and she says,

'What are we having done today?' that she is just being polite! We all now reply with,

'What are we allowed to have today?'

A case in point is my last colour session 3 months ago. She asked the what? and I replied as described. Ange said 'Okay then what do you really, really want.' I said (foolishly) 'Well I have always hankered after a tarty blonde flash across the front,' as this is the game we play, so laughing I knew that she would scowl and defy me with her hairdressers logic. And I DO GET IT. I too have this logic, but I also want to be able to run free, along the crashing shoreline, hair flowing, all in slo mo and I look Fab. Miraculously this styling would do it, you and I know that but Ange knows better. That this may help me feel like I can get up out of bed tomorrow. Ange says,

'Okay, ok, will do it, but don't, DON'T tell me I told you so!'

She gave me dark blonde streaks. And three months on, I have not danced like no one can see me, nor sung like no one can hear me. I have had unmanageable hair. Dry, so dry and greasy roots. The blonde has gone blonder and completely washed out my sallow completion and dark eyes. The dark rings that l can do nothing to shift under them, appear darker too. I've even hacked off the back with my 30 year old Gotta scissors. Ange told Larry last week and she told my tall girl on Friday that she will refrain from the I told you so's...
So late this afternoon, I walked in with a white piece of paper attached to the end of a stick which passed shaking through the door ahead of me. All was well. The cream & strawberry cake helped.

Am I happy with today's result?
I've returned to my dark brown with plummy shocks, and actually yes I am, very happy.

When I was hairdressing we used to say, though not to the clients obviously, 'The difference between a good haircut and bad haircut is ......two weeks.' think about it, it's usually true
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

abc Wednesday

Z is for Zakynthos (Zante)

in the late 1980's whilst Larry & I were still in the Dinky phase (double income no kids yet)
we would have several holdiays a year. I would visit my girlfriend in the States in late January
and we would take a weekend city break at Easter to Paris or Edinburgh

We started visiting Zaknythos in Greece in June 1986, an Ionian Island.
Before the high summer period when it was the time that mainland Greeks families took their holidays on the less commercialised islands. We would go for two weeks in June and another two weeks in late September just before the end of season when the wind the rains came suddenly.

We became very friendly with a group of people who ran establishments in Kalamaki
Then a hamlet with only 4 groups of rooms and one Hotel the Crystal. One disco on the hilltop, Its heart beating all night long above the crickets. One restaurant owned by Dionis and his lizardlike father. The gentle one eyed giant owned the one cafe and market with his brothers.There was also The Cave bar, owned by Nico, Petros and John 'yannis' a brit and an old friend of ours from England. It was to see him we first went there. John would spend the winter months in UK with us and Nico even visited once, he didn't stay long. We would return for several years, introducing friends to the area. Our last year there was September 1990 when we went with two friends.

a break from the long climb up, two on a moped,
the view with Laganas bay in the distance, Kalamaki to the left under the hills

The place back then was unspoilt. We were spoiled there. The sunsets, The beaches. The secret beaches around island where we spent time, swimming, eating over beach fires. Watching the turtles. The people were full of humour and generosity.

on the way to Agios Nicolais

see the sign/graffiti on the brickwork

Heady days and nights.

We hear now that the 3 mile road connecting Kalamaki and Laganas is now edged with apartments, pools and hotels. Laganas was always the lively fun spot, which we only dipped into for a pizza or to pass through on our way to Keri.

-Keri cliffs before sunset-

To watch the sunsets, which are now famously captured.

worth the wait

apologies for image quality these are scanned from holiday snaps
I can't say with hand on heart whether Larry or I took the images
For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Happy Mondays!

I got to thinking urghhhh!*?*"
it's that monday morning feeling after a great relaxing weekend
andwe all need our shot our drugs of choice
to set us up for the week ahead,
be it caffiene, tea, croissants, slathered toast, a fry up or wotnot...

So I have brought you the best of this weekends treasures from my own inbox...

If these don't put you in a better frame of mind, there is little hope for you frankly!

and this one courtesy of Familyaffairs
which is entitled, 'Are women born this way?'

this one is perpetually being sent to me!
'Man flu' or as I now call it, 'Are men born this way?'

and finally need I say more?

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

A Pillow of Contentment

This place where I write. This place where I think. Is a place where my thoughts run freely. A place where they mingle. Where they congeal. And harden only to be picked over and reopened. In real time. My life in its sticky, chipped state. This is a place where I feel safe. My cave. A sanctuary.

This is a place where I first began to write my whimsical thoughts. Trite and funny anecdotes. I wanted to find a place to try to write. To write me. Find me. Write down in words this deep down voice. My feelings.

As an errant list maker. I often write things down. As is my want. List fashion. On post it's. A Swot analysis of my life stages. So far. What I feel now. Isn't what I felt then. This place helps get me through. To accept how I feel as I do. Now. Certainly stronger. More measured. I take time to think things through. Before I say them out loud. Most often.

I have always been in awe of how others write. Are able to write. Effortlessly. In the shadow of writings and art of my Mum. In this place there are Big footsteps to follow. Women in windows. Women in suburbia. Women of much importance. To place my feet upon theirs in the sand. To walk. Writing stories. Recreate my own. In words.

Caught in the gravity of life
Tendrils wrap around my ankles and hold me back.
A space of timeless insecurities,
Cling to the sharp edges of hope.
Bite into my fingers
the pain casts a light on a memory in the black
and l follow mournfully.
Upon the cake crumbs of tomorrow
my spine unfurls with each new breath.

My residency here began on 8th July 2008

I wasn't having a great year. Emotionally and personally. I was feeling crushed by the impending fifth decade. The walls were definitely getting nearer to each other. To say I was hemmed in would be an understatement. I knew that then. I know that now. Though if I do feel it now. I don't need to say so to the same degree. In my book that's progress. It is cathartic to write it down. I believe. It isn't all inside. Sitting still. Rotting. Causing damage. Once out there. It is being processed. Being dealt with.

Today is FFF's blog birthday. I haven't marked my other older blogs in the same way. I guess that's because they have a completely different function. They are not a personal journey in the same way. They are another slice of my life. This part of my life. Has become a life blood. Ritual.

Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Your light shining your inspiration. Upon me. For your wisdom. I thank you all. For your courage. Your talents. Your support. Your time. Your diverse interests and viewpoints. Your friendship. your words. Your inspiring stories.
We all have are our stories. We are our stories. Stories. Life.

First FFF post here

Monday, 6 July 2009

North & South

I'm sorry if you were expecting a review of the wonderful Elizabeth Gaskell novel or the also wonderful bbc adaptation - with the gorgeous Richard Armitage- this post is not about either. But here is an image to salve the torrent of disappointment.

But I have to get this off my chest. What is it about some bloggers, admittedly a tiny minority of those that have relocated. Mostly southerners that have moved up north. I mean specifically the blogs that people start up when they move to a new place. Willingly or no. They move lock, stock and several smoking barrels. 400 miles north. I find that some of them just moan and moan and moan.

Instead of getting out there into the community, they seemingly spend time, sitting in a darkened room huddled over a laptop. Not an ideal way to meet people. To ingratiate oneself with the locals. By southerners I also mean some Londoners or the counties in the general catchment area. To boot they also make the move not only from down south to oop north. They also make the change from career concrete high street designer label urbanity, to a far northern rural, remote, unsophisticated, in the main, (nought wrong with this, to me it is an added bonus) and probably a farming locale.

And l'm sorry but their blogs drive me mad. Taking the piss out of ooh aarhh farmers, mixing it with the shock horror- stay at home mother and toddlers; and oomm paa paaing their previous celeb' style sycophantic driven career existences, over the baa lambing moment of wonder.

Occasionally I read these and think well bugger off back to urban smogland then and take your blog, your designer wellies and Bodenite dressed toddlers with you.

Now as some of you know I'm from down south too and Larry (though Scottish) and I moved here cos we LIKE it, we LIKE the people, we LIKE the county, the climate? -ah well mostly, we like the ability to go out to the corner shop, yeah they have a few still oop here eh? I can go out without my eyebrows and lippy, well sometimes I can. I often wear a luminescent cagoule and elasticated trousers by day and I not feel the fashion police would be falling about as I went about my business.

I like buying from the town and farm markets From local producers. Supporting local business. I like this. I LIKE the county, the countryside, the city that really isn't a city by southern standards. I mean I can drive 3 miles in 3 minutes, unlike my former southern world which my 3 miles drive would take 50 minutes! I like the ease of life, the integrity, the shirt off your back friends, that are friends whatever. And so I don't feel the need to work on having handfuls of them. I find these bloggers to be disingenuous. I don't often see them commenting on other blogs, in fact rarely and in one case never, so consumed with I, me, myself, is she. I have even read some posts that are rants because one now 'famous' published blogger was dissed on the net. Oh dear what will happen to me now? Well if you will go looking. I have removed these bloggers from my reading list. I cannot heartily recommend them.

No doubt someone will come to their defense. But I am only speaking the truth as I read it.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Take 5 or 8

Another stolen meme from House of Lime, but go read hers they are always hilarious and mine are to real, the truth gets in the way! And i must do Fhina's or she will hunt me down...

5 Obsessions (currently speaking)
Gerard Butler or sloppy seconds from the lovely Lime
Artwork- art, sculpture, photography & its histories
1970's - yes I know that makes me an uber sad person in an orange nylon anorack and brown slacks with an elsaticated waist, but I had fun
Listening to music, I love my soundDock and ipods
Books, reading, holding, smelling, I don't leave home without one or three
5 Dislikes
Able people who save tables whilst their pal joins a long line in a full bistro/cafe...
Horror flicks, chick flicks, gross teen flicks, any with a diddly diddly C&W soundtrack
Teenagers messy bedrooms that smell of feet, for example
Automated telephone menus and call centres
5 things better than a head on collision
a 3 day labour which climax's (?) with an epidural that only works down one side, head to toe.. arrgghhhh. I was feeling full labour down one side whilst feeling and looking like l had a severe stroke down the other side.
A wet, windy holiday in a tent
Regular visits to a Gym
Influenza - the female type not the male version
5 things worse than a head on collision
Losing my eyesight
Anything bad happening to my kids
Losing a friend or family member
Afloat in a life boat in the middle of the Atlantic, well any boat really
5 wishes
Health & Happiness for my family. I guess that's two
Exhibit at the RA Summer Exhibition one day
Financial security for my family
5 more wishes, yeah l'm a cliche
8 things I wish I could do
Exhibit at The RA Summer Exhibition one year
Sing in tune
Dance - waltz, Rumba etc
be happier
Go to Art College
take a painting holiday in France, Itay or
eating EVERYTHING & ANYTHING and not put on an ounce as was before age 33
live forever
8 shows I watch
Without a Trace
Antiques Roadshow
The Book Quiz
8 things I am looking forward to
Singing in tune
More free time to make art, sculpt, draw...
exhibiting at the RA
having a bijoux place in France or Italy
travelling MORE
Understanding a Digital SLR camera
eating a meal enfamille without anyone getting hizzy, fizzy or dizzy. MMM's know what I mean
Reaching the grande olde age of 94
8 things I am grateful for
The good health of my nearest and dearest
My friends (yes that includes YOU!)
My Family
A roof over my head
Food in my stomach
the Mexican nation for bringing us chocolate (well not in its present form but for starting the ball rolling)
my mum & dad

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Photostory Friday - Early Summer Flowers

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Here in Cumbria we are usually between 2 and 4 weeks
behind the rest of the mid and southern counties.
And I am referring to blooms here in case I hear any smart comments!

I spent a lunch time trying to get some images
of the blooms around the garden home and at work.
Not sure I know what their specific botanical names are
maybe someone will know and tell me....

am not fmailiar with this one...

variegated rose bush

dogwood blossom

honeybee on a lunch break

lilac foxglove

pretty lilac bloom

another variegated rose?

my luncheon companion
running away when I moved as I picked up my camera
he came very close to me


just a pretty garden scene in front of a Jacobean window

I can't wait to see what a new camera
a digital SLR will do for me
when we get it!!

Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

just dropped by... visit Mum's blog and to say Hi to a few friends... I hope you know, you are all never very far from my thoughts. Many of whom I...