Monthly Archives: July 2004


…from a hot cross bunny. Well, not so much cross – I kept that bit in because it sounds better! Anyway, you won’t be hearing from me for a while, as I’m heading off for Gallic regions. I was about to say, sunnier climes, but judging by the weather we’ve been having for the last few days (most of which I’ve spent touring the UK’s rail networks :(), we’re about to see a repeat of last year’s heatwave. The resident animals are in kennels, and we’re enjoying the fredom of being able to air the house without fear of them making a bid for freedom!

Needless to say, I lugged far too much luggage with me to summer school, and heaved even more back. And I won’t go into details of the return journey. Suffice it to say it involved a scenic detour courtesy of a certain rail company who shall remain nameless. With a three hour journey stretching into five, I had plenty of time to think beautiful thoughts and put into practice some of the things I’d learnt over the week…or not, as the case may be! Seriously though, the course was worth every penny. Folk there were from a wide range of theological persuasion – such a relief to be able to speak your mind without feeling you’re being judged. There were a few hairy moments, but generally speaking, I’m all revved up (in a quiet, Miffyesque kind of way) and ready to plough on come the autumn. More details later, maybe.

So, off to La Belle France. Our resident interpreter stays at home this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how little M and his friend D, cope with the language. A fortnight cooped up with three males – horrors! Still, we all need the break. The last ten months or so have been exhausting for everyone, Mr M most of all. He’s just heard that his mum is to be moved to a care home for a few weeks, prior to us moving her to a sheltered flat once we come back from holiday. We’d hoped that the first place wouldn’t be necessary and Mrs M certainly isn’t too happy about it – (nor would I be in her situation). Luckily her sister is due to visit next week, and says she and her husband will try and work on her, and help with the move. As Mr M says, it’s maybe a good thing we are away – as she might well behave slightly better with her sister than she’s doing with poor Mr M at the moment. We’ll see.

Anyway. Bye for now. I’ll let you know how I manage with the blue tankini!

Sshh…Don’t tell Flylady

…about the little debacle of the last 48 hours. Panic plus plus on Friday morning when little M’s passport was found not to be in its customary resting place – with mine. After hours of searching and frantic visit to the Post Office, I call the passport office to find that, no, the GPO misinformed me about even the remotest chance of getting a replacement before we set off; the earliest personal appointment they can offer is next Thursday in Newport and even then we’re talking a week for the document to arrive. Aaaagh! There follows frantic phone calls to Mr M (who being in the middle of ongoing ordeal of clearing his mum’s house is not in the best of moods). He refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer (says that if it was the PM in the same situation, he’d lay bets that he wouldn’t hit the same obstacles), and says he’ll call central office himself and see what he can do. Meanwhile, I summon a rightly disgruntled little M and we rush into the photographers. Friday afternoon isn’t the best time to find a countersignatory at short notice, but thank goodness someone at church is able to oblige.

I get back in later to find that Mr M’s efforts have born fruit; I have an appointment at the Peterborough office tomorrow afternoon. Rush off again to sort out train tickets. It turns out later I was lucky. The way things were going for a while it looked as if the only option was going to be flying over to Belfast on Monday! One sleepless night later, I set off. Surprise surprise, what could have been a disastrous day gets better and better. All the trains connect up as if by clockwork. I do NOT get lost on the tube. I do, however, get slightly confused in Peterborough Queensgate shopping centre! I reach the passport office. No long queues – no hassle. A kind lady looks through my forms and 1001 supporting documents, checks out little M’s details, and arranges for a replacement passport to get to us by next Tuesday lunchtime!

I resist the temptation to do a little dance in celebration (we’ll reserve that for when the document is actually in my hot little hands) and emerge into the centre of Peterborough. Ring Mr M with the good news. He’s pleased but says rather enigmatically that he can’t talk now. No prizes for guessing why, poor thing.

Wander off in search of peace , caffeine and a toilet,in no particular order, and discover an oasis of calm off the busy shopping centre – Peterborough cathedral. Have a happy half hour wander around the place – all the more happy because it was unexpected. Another surprise. After a recent labyrinth weekend, someone had e-mailed me and mentioned that one of the cathedrals was doing the Chartres labyrinth periodically over the summer. ?Turns out Peterborough was it! Although sadly, it wasn’t on when I visited. Otherwise, it couldn’t have been better – light, airy, not clogged up with visitors, and with a choir practice in progress as I was looking round. A perfect way to unwind. Three cheers for our cathedrals, their shops, and their coffee! And not a few more coincidences here also – which I might explain later when I’ve more time.

So, I’ll be signing off for now – as I’ll be braving the rail network again in an hour or so – en route for summer school. Travelling light, I am not. This in part due to the late night incident of the diarrhoeitic cat and the ironing board yesterday! I’ll fill you in on the gory details later…maybe.

What do you think of Marx?

‘…well, I think their pants have dropped off!’ (Thank- you Victoria Wood and Patricia Routledge :D) The sentiment rings true more and more nowadays as I approach (ok, I admit it, I’m already there), middle-aged decrepitude. Policemen are getting younger – as are bishops, and good old St Michael’s lingerie is not what it once was. Nor are any other of their clothes, as I was reminded yet again on Tuesday during my trip to what I’ll refer to enigmatically as the ‘other town.’ Why oh why is it that most stockists assume that you’re just dying to flaunt six inches of naked bulging tummy and your top 6 inches of knicker. Failing that, you’re relegated to the old lady ‘upholstered sofa’ department. There is no middle ground. And as for swimwear!! Do I really want to pay the earth for a tiddly piece of lycra that leaves uncovered bits of me that only Mr M should see, or at the other end of the range, fork out for some delightful creation that a) makes me look like a beached whale and b) has been clearly designed by someone with all the artistic ability ‘of a colour blind hedgehog…in a bag.’ (thank you Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis :D).

Anyway, after trailing round every shop in town, I ended up in the patron Saint of the High Street’s emporium, where after much shoving and pushing in the pic ‘n mix swimwear department (the trouble with them selling different sized tops and bottoms is that a thousand ladies exactly your size will have been in half a hour before and cleared the shelves, and all you’re left with is a skimpy size 8 bottom and a size 99 whaleboned and ruched bikini top) I found a reasonably ok, tankini in bright blue with luminous green and white trim. This changed to instantly desirable when I got to the till to discover that the whole ensemble had been reduced to £6!

And after that, I just had to pop into Monsoon to window shop, (for that read buy floaty cotton flowery top and luminous flowery skirt -so much for good taste!). Quite funny really. Shades of last Sunday and our rector’s sermon on Christians and work; the reading was the tale of Mary and Martha, and as he put it – ‘Are you Marks and Spencer or Monsoon?’ I’d excuse poor Martha any tantrums she might care to throw if she had to cope with this year’s offerings. (Although I bet you she didn’t have to squeeze herself into a lycra tankini!) No, I’ve not tried it on…yet…..

Oh help!

The cat’s kidney pills are working only too well! So far this evening we’ve prised him out from behind the TV and from a space in the dresser we’d never realised he’d fit into. This isn’t the model moggie we know and love. Then he made for the untility room at top speed when he realised it was medication time retching even before I picked him up. Five attempts, several scratches and one pill behind the washing machine later and he’s retired offended. Now I’ll need to sort out the repeat prescription with the vets asap, otherwise the cattery’ll run out before we’re back from holiday.

Rang D in France this afternoon, trying to shed light on the mystery of the worship tape which came through the post this morning. No paperwork with it – and I know I didn’t amazon it in an absent moment. So, if anyone knows whence came a New Horizons 2002 (recorded at the Uni of Ulster, Coleraine),many thanks. Come to think of it – if you’re taking requests, any celtic type worship, medidative, chill-out stuff would do nicely as well, (but please, not too much on the ‘Jesus is my boyfriend,’ genre, please! You can have too much of a good thing.

And whilst we’re on the subject – I’m praying that there’ll be as little ‘Jesus is my boyfriend,’ stuff as possible at next week’s summer school. Small chance, I suppose, considering that the college’s ethos is evangelical, albeit ‘open.’ Oh yes, and while I’m at it, a total ban on the terms ‘sound,’ ‘scriptural,’ and ‘bible-based,’ would make me a very happy bunny indeed. Not for nothing is my new bedtime reading Gordon Lynch’s ‘Losing my religion – moving on from the evangelical faith!’ I simply don’t think I can hack five days with a rictus SSEG stuck on my face. I’m likely to blow a gasket at the first ‘just!’

Right. Mr M is calling me – so I’ll spare you the epic tale of my search for the ultimate tankini until another day. Sleep well all. 🙂


They don’t call me technically challenged for nothing! Only I could manage to archive myself before I even get started properly. I wondered why the world wasn’t beating a path to my door.

OK, here we go – deep breath and ….

Testing testing

…whilst I’ve got some P and Q. Theoretically speaking today is a ‘study day’ for the little Miffs. (As if anyone can be bothered with that when school finishes on Wednesday anyway.!) In theory, you meet offspring’s form tutor in a calm, relaxed atmosphere to discuss progress and fix ‘achievement targets.’ In practice, if one is lucky enough to have had an early appointment, junior offspring catches the train into the town with his little friends to catch ‘Spiderman 2′ at the Vue complex. In contrast, his sister’s (and soon to be house captain’s) responsibilities weigh heavily on her. She’s stuck in school til mid evening, when all the shenanigans finish, trying to catch little people as they scuttle past and bully them into voting for next year’s school council reps. Or was it Young Persons’ Council, or maybe both?

They do release them to eat, thankfully. We bumped into each other in town earlier, and had a sneaky Costas. That school keeps them in business. Not to mention ‘the other place,’ whose name must never be mentioned in town, since they ripped off the picturesque old frontage (for picturesque read dark green tiles of the type you used to find in public toilets) without first seeking planning permission. Knowing this gives a slight frisson whenever we go in as I’m convinced that if anyone from churchy circles was to catch me, ex-communication would surely follow! Mind you, we did catch our youth leader in there last week. Hmmm….

Ms Miff is still not quite herself after Saturday’s accident at work, when she slipped on a pool of grease, and hit her head on a stack of heavy metal trays. Why do they always do these sort of things to themselves when you’re 80 miles away? She sensibly got herself checked out by a friend’s mum who’s a nurse, who didn’t think any lasting damage had been done. This didn’t stop her worrying about concussion though – spending Saturday night dozing downstairs in my recliner, with two hourly checks to see that she’d not expired meantime. Seems fine to me, if a little tired, as are we all, after the 1 a.m prank phonecall from one of her brother’s delightful classmates. ‘It’ had a very childish tone- either one of the girls or one of the few boys whose voice hasn’t broken yet. We reckon we’ve narrowed the suspects down, so *ahem* *ahem,* if you dare show yourself within sniffing distance of our abode, vengeance is mine!!!! Ms Miffs cancelled today’s driving lesson, just to be on the safe side.

So…on with the countdown to the female Miffs’ summerschools – art and theology respectively. Not that you’ll be reading profound spiritual truths here, (as folk who’ve suffered my confused ramblings on shipoffools will be relieved to learn!). I’m not terribly sure what you’ll be learning from my outpourings, dear readers.

Right! Next job, phone the art college. So much to do, so little time. At this rate I might even get round to using all those Flylady e-mails. ‘WHERE IS YOUR LAUNDRY?’ ‘GRAB YOUR CONTROL JOURNAL, NOW!!’ ‘RELAX – WITH BOX OF CHOCOLATES, FLUFFY NOVEL AND TALL DARK HANDSOME…’ Dream on.