Monthly Archives: August 2006

R is for ‘Results’ and ‘Reading’

I think the latter loomed larger in little Miff and friends minds than collecting their GCSE results ; though only just. So this morning the bathroom rota ran as follows: 3.45-4.15 – Ms Miff who was self-appointed chauffeur of friends’ bits and pieces before they all set off to catch the milk train – the better to get a prime camping spot. She was followed by Yours Truly before setting off for work (whoopee! I DON’T think). On my return the menfolk had been battling it out and little Miff was hovering anxiously in the kitchen; all his equipment: sleeping bags, tent, massive rucksack, a thousand toilet rolls (you can never have too many toilet rolls says his big sister, a Reading veteran) and probably Tesco’s entire stock of baby wipes draped artistically over the hallway.

Then it was Mr Miff’s turn to look pale and interesting until we got the phone call from offspring. Correction – being every thrifty in matters of phone credit, we got the phone call asking us to return the phone call. Then enused a few minutes of chasing each other’s voice mail before young Miff finally appeared to give us the glad news that he’d got 4 B grades, 5 A s and one A* ##! Thrillls all round. By now our front room seems full of huge young men and even huger rucksacks earnestly discussing such important matters as who shares whose tent, whether they have enough toilet rolls, oh…and (nearly forgot!) exam results. Much wondering about train times, and tardy friends from other schools who were inconsideratly releasing the results half an hour later than theirs.

Mum looks up train times. Huge young men subside onto sofa. Decide they have enough time for a quick trip down to the local newsagent to stock up on sweets. Leave Mum mounting guard over the camping equipment so that Miffdog doesn’t eat their toilet rolls.

Finally… and after much adjusting of straps and wondering where to cram extra mugs, bedrolls, pairs of huge wellington boots (another essential) and….toilet paper, they squeeze their way out of our front door and clank their way off towards the station.

All of a sudden the house seems far too quiet…

Aut pax aut bellum

In other words Either Peace or War

Do click on the link to find out more about clan Gunn, which according to my little brother is the one our family claims allegiance to. (Ms Miff had phoned from Edinburgh demanding to know if we had a family tartan). Their history looks a wee bit too colourful for my liking. Still, it’s probably fairly mild by the standards of the day. The motto, in case the link doesn’t work means ‘Either peace or war.’ Well yes, quite… Not exactly the peace- loving ‘Let’s sit down and discuss this over a Nice Cup of Tea,’ tactics used by Yours Truly. Maybe I’m the rogue apple in the barrel?

Come to think of it

It’s been a windy week, in more ways than one.

Cycling and cereal bars excepted, it’s been an ‘interesting’ few days. Poor Miffdog developed yet another of his tummy upsets on Wednesday night and from then until Thursday morning we needed all the Florence Nightingale skills we could muster. (And the ability to function with even less sleep than usual). Even after the vet had treated him, we were still in for a good bout of weeping and wailing (from the dog). The poor scrap was in such a bad state – and the only way he’d even begin to quieten down was with plenty of cuddles and reassurance. So 4.45 on Thursday morning saw me mopping up a pile of foaming green sick of Exorcist hue. (Although I’ve never seen the Exorcist, you understand :)) before leaving for work. You could hear his lamenting from the other side of the road. The poor neighbours must have thought that we were either harbouring a werewolf or that it was time to call in the RSPCA!

The two resident teenagers have been busy getting ready for their annual pilgrimage to the Carling Festival (aka Reading ) next week – so there’s been much gathering of rucksacks, buying of baby wipes (an essential), and dire warnings to little brother by big sister about keeping all your possessions with you. (One year a friend of hers who’d gone back to their tent for a doze was woken up by someone who shoved a sword through the canvas and then proceeded to go through all her things). Oh and even direr warnings about the toilets (state of). The which will probably not bother little Miff one bit, as, to my certain knowledge he has rarely if ever used the boys loos at school; preferring to wait until he gets home. We live 5 mins from the school I should explain. Whether his cast-iron bladder will stay the course at Reading remains to be seen. I suppose the latter will depend on how much he’s drunk, which in turn will depend on what his exam results turn out to be like. Three days to go and counting….

Meantime his sister is up in sunny Edinburgh for a gig and for the festival. We had a call from her this afternoon wanting to know what the family name of her late great Granny was and if we were entitled to a tartan.

Mr Miff is off to ‘abroad’ next week. Myself, well, nowhere as exotic as him. The bank holiday weekend sees me hopping in and out of the church’s annual weekend away. Time was it used to be the highlight of my year. Now…let’s just say, I’m older, wiser and by experience (bitter and otherwise) know that if I go there with no expectations whatsoever I may be pleasantly surprised.

Hot air from an elephant

Testing testing – here we go:

There’s nothing like the zeal of the newly converted…to blogs, forums (fora?) and the like. Ah the memories! Would that I could go back to those heady days.

Sadly now when Mr M e-mails me with links (via his blog) to the latest all-consuming discussion on one of the cycle forums 😉 I simply smile and return to my reading on a Theological Anthropology of Health.

How on earth

Did persons unknown manage to link to this blog via a search for ‘the worst plane crash ever?’

Yes, I may have been absent from the blogosphere for nearly a month, but I am still alive and kicking; in a gentle restrained Miffyesque manner. What’s been lacking is energy (not surprising with this heatwave). mixed t with exhaustion in part brought on from family fallout, Mr M being away, and general angst, wobbles and mild depression. Come to think of it, that search string isn’t so surprising, after all.

So, to update. What’s been afoot chez Miffy this summer?

Mr M goes from strength to strength cycle wise and is looking even more like an earnest, brown twiglet. For a retrospective on his grand tour see

where I think, he’s currently in Masstricht.

(OK, what happened to my HTML?!)

Ms M, I think I already mentioned, passed her course with distinction, has packed up her flat, reorganised our loft, found somewhere to live in S London with some friends, and is currently upstairs running up some cushion covers for said house. She and housemates have yet to puzzle out how to alter the shower to accomodate the one tenant who measures 6′ 5″ plus in height. Cutting a hole in the bathroom ceiling is not an option, I gather.

Oh, and inbetween, she managed to fit in a quick trip to Tunisia (suitably kitted out with body enveloping scarves and caftans). She returned with turkish delight, sundry pieces of pottery and a distinctly weird pipey device that gives her more than a passing resemblance to the caterpillar in ‘Alice.’ For pretty obvous reasons, she will NOT be working in Cyprus prior to taking up her college place. London maybe.

Little Miff managed to fit in his GCSEs inbetween sundry social engagements and is anxiously (in a remarkably laid- back sort of way) awaiting results. Since term finished he’s managed to clock up attendance at more parties than his parents managed during their combined time as students way back in the not-so-swinging seventies. He’s passed a pleasant week in Cornwall – returning with a fine collection of T shirts of dubious literary merit, and varying degrees of offensiveness! Whilst he was there, he kindly checked out the hotel where we spent our honeymoon, many years ago, and confirmed that it has not yet fallen off the side of a cliff into the sea. Thus our Silver Wedding holiday venue (in two years time) is assured. Much to our relief, he was not amongst those in the party who were thrown out of their accomodation for possession of sundry dubious substances. In reality rather unfair, as the entire flat was thrown out into outer darkness for the shenanigans of just two members. And you can be sure there was plenty of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth about that one, especially by the poor parents.

Miffdog continues as normal, give or take the odd gippy tummy. Having recently had his coat stripped, he currently resembles nothing so much as a pinkish, slightly worried looking pig. This last being due to the kamikaze exploits of Viking cat,who living up to his name, has turned into the neighbourhood kung-foo champion. Totally unprovoked attacks. I tell you, if you’ve never seen a 15 year old, slightly overweight feline – claws extended, flying through the air and landing on the poor dog’s back, you’ve not seen life. Poor Miffdog has taken to lying in his basket, back turned to the world. Taking the (entirely logical to his mind) view that if the cat can’t see his face, he must therefore be invisible!

In Godivaland, life continues as normal. IOW, not normal.

As for myself, I had not a change, but a break a few weeks back, with the summer school for the course I’m doing. I set out frazzled, and wondering if it was really worth continuing, and returned still tired but ever so slightly less frazzled, and all charged up. (I think with all the recent strain at home, I’d forgotten how to be a grown-up!). My brain is buzzing (again in a restrained…etc etc) I’ve completed another assignment (the fact that it keeps bouncing back from my tutor like a rubber ball is neither here nor there), have moved on to the last third of the current module, and am booked to go back up for a vocations weekend in just over a months time.

(I’m still a grumpy old so and so, mind you. Still what’s new?)

RIGHT!! That’s enough time- wasting. I’m off…