Friday, 28 August 2009


I try to be green. But on occasion my laziness overrides my green instinct.
This usually means throwing out a baking sheet if it is coated in my disastrous attempt at cookies. After all there is more to life than wasting 30 minutes of my time trying to remove a sticky biscuity mess from a £4.99 baking sheet.

I have binned other household items in the past when the task of cleaning them was overwhelming.

Shouty released some diarrhoea into the bath sometime ago.

It was an underwater cloud of poo.

Successfully removing all the little floaty crumbs of poo from his bath seat was something I wasn’t prepared to do.

So I didn’t and got a new one for £8.

When it comes to muck I’d rather get rid and get new than spending time fixing up.

If I had used the same logic on Monday I would’ve ditched the house.
Yes, I would’ve moved the family on.
Just drawn a proverbial line under the 1920s end of terrace and started again somewhere new.

My reason for this?


Thousands of the little wiggly bastards.

I’m pretty sure their residency in my brown “composting/garden waste” bin was down to me and my cutting corners.

(There’s that Catholic guilt again.)

I had been ignoring some strawberries for a few days and when I finally got round to eating them they’d gone a bit fluffy.

I ate about a ¼ of the huge box before throwing the rest of the rotting fruit straight into the brown garden waster wheelie bin. Chucked in, not in a recycling bag or even wrapped in newspapers or anything.

Not only was I being lazy but I was also being a complete thick.

What did I think was going to happen?

The bin is opened frequently for more food to be added. And the stench of rotting food in warm weather certainly draws an insecty crowd.
Even if the bin is closed the flies can get in through the little fly doors, also known as air vents, at the side of the bins.

And in they went.

The strawberries were rejected and slung in the bin on Wednesday, I think.

By Saturday we had company.

I wasn’t sure at first but as I took another bag of kitchen waste out I kinda knew there would be happy maggoty babies squirming around keen for more putrid food to be dumped on them.

(I just shuddered. It’s not just snakes that trigger it.)

The former strawberries were now greeny/black and had melted into the other bags that were at the bottom of the brown wheelie. And the maggot pups were, as far as I could see, doing their thing on top of the pile. Not loads but enough.

I thought about the maggots and how warm the weather was going to be that day and about all the rotting food that was decomposing outside my nice family home.
I thought about it all for, oooh, moments before I put it to the back of my mind.

Husband and I were going away for the night. Without the babies! See ya!

As an aside, does it interest you to know I am currently working my way through a box of (unfluffy) strawberries? That’s commitment to a fruit isn’t it?

We had a lovely time away and I honestly forgot about the houseguests until Monday morning: I went out to the bins and counted 14 bluebottles on top of the brown one.

Ohhh, so it really happens, I thought. Maggots actually turn into flies. That’s what I’d always, you know, been told, but there I was, living it.

(I am a total cretin.)

I dared myself to (slowly mind) lift the lid and I nearly puked. Oh my giddy aunt, the bags were writhing.
Each compost bag, 4 in total, was moving.

(More shuddering.)

This sounds OTT but it really was like something out of a horror film. Or worse: Total Fishing!

There was only one thing I could do: call my mother in law.

I’ve thought about this a lot and it wasn’t really the flies that worried me. Don’t get me wrong, they are a damned nuisance but the maggots are hideous freaky yukky creatures of nightmares.
In my mind the maggots would get bigger.
And bigger.
And the probably morph into a one giant maggot.
This is a genuine real life thought I had.
Terrifying on so many levels.

Anyway, my amazing mother in law got the call, went to Homebase and came back armed with industrial strength gloves, fly spray and as much Jeyes Fluid as she could carry. She’s a trooper at the best of times but I think the sight of her scooping handful after handful of maggots into a black bin bag without even flinching will stay with me to the end of my days.

I wasn’t able to take a photo of the bin when the maggot population was largest on account of me being a wuss. There stood my mum in law, arm deep in fly foetuses whilst I made ridiculous terrified yelping noises from the security of my living room.

I have uploaded a maggot image I was able to take when most of them had passed.
Some of the stragglers, who hadn’t been popped into a refuse sacks after they were sprayed with Jeyes Fluid, continued to crawl around my front garden for quite some time. Ages actually. And by mid afternoon I wasn’t even disgusted by these survivors.

I accepted them.

But I was glad when it rained and they all died.

Strawberry anyone?

Sunday, 23 August 2009

What a spade is meant to be used for

When you have kids you have to censor yourself for the first few years. You try not to swear and have conversations that are gritty/adult in front of your young.

I think my folks self-censored until I was about 12. It was then that we watched Fatal Attraction together. After we'd all watched Glenn Close and Michael Douglas at it in that lift the occasional swear word seemed lame, even polite.

With my little boys I try my hardest not to swear which can be difficult as frankly I have a bit of a potty mouth.

Also, it is important to look neutral and unmoved by things that scare me cos I don't want my scaredness to be catching. I have to disguise my feelings.

A lot.

Especially when it comes to wildlife.

I’ll be honest: it’s not for me.

You lot though seem pretty keen on fur and feathers and scales. I don't like any of it really but my ferocious frightened hatred is reserved for scales and everything associated.

I am talking about snakes.

Snakes are evil and nasty and should be eliminated. If I had my way we'd all do a St. Patrick and wipe them out. The weapon of choice would be a spade: get chopping!! Line 'em up, arm yourself with a Joseph Bentley Longhandled Old English Spade, tread down and chop! And again! And again! And again!

However, my terrified, murderous inclinations have to be pacified with my babies around.

Snakes feature regularily on kids tv shows. All happy and smiley and neotonised. No vemon or evil vendetta in sight. Just symmetrical patterns and big eyes. It drives me insane.
Voice overs describe snakes as gorgeous looking creatures with kind faces and slender bodies.
WRONG! Snakes, or if we use the correct term, bastards (my friend Keatesy and I renamed the species several years ago) are not pretty. No they are not.

They are evil wanking bastards who should be chopped up with a spade.

Acting normal, or not looking like you are lying gets more commonplace the older your children get.

I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old so I’m pretty Billy Liar these days.

"Snakes? Oh! Aren’t they super? Look how they wiggle and squirm and play! What lovely things they are! Their little eyes are perfectly adequate for their needs and not creepy at all. And that tongue business is fun! I know loads of people, who don’t have scales, who smell things that way. Awesome!"

I genuinely think there is a world conspiracy amongst snakes to wipe me out.
They want me gone. I haven’t actually met a real live snake in the real live world yet but I know they are there, bidding their time.

I usually have to go to the loo in the night. When I toddle into the WC at 3am I always check to see if there is a snake on the bathroom floor. Or coming out of the toilet bowl.

According to the internet they turn up at these locations a lot. Or in holdalls on buses in Preston. (I just shuddered thinking about that.)

My fear means I am prepared. I read about them. This will help me surely? When is education a waste?

About ten years ago I was on the Bakerloo line ingesting a book called “The Snake Bites Survivor Guide”. (A great read, if a little snakey.) So engrossed was I that when someone got on wearing black boots at Regents Park I was SURE it was a black mamba. I jumped. And shuddered (See? They make me do that a lot.)


What a tit.

It doesn’t end there.

The other day I was concentrating on setting up something to record on my Sky Plus (probably a series about anacondas) when I jumped out of my non scaley skin again. Something was moving at my feet. Obviously it was a snake. Er, on second look it was the dog. A 70% Yorkshire terrier type mutt. Not even slightly snakey or venomous or bitey.

I am going to have to lie whenever I see a snake on tv or (good grief, help me) in person until my boys are old enough to realise I have issues which may or may not be Freudian.

If you are wondering, yes I have seen Snakes on a Plane. I saw it at the cinema and screamed properly twice during the showing. That film has a happy ending cos they all die.

Monday, 17 August 2009

a bit lary

I'm an only child.

I don't think I’m an especially typical only child, by that I mean spoilt and selfish, though I’m hardly likely to admit to those personality traits, am I? Very much unlike the typical only child I am very good at sharing and not that keen on attention. Honestly!

A result of my only-child-ness is that I am inexperienced at scrapping. I didn't have to defend my Strawberry Shortcake dolls from an evil older brother. Or lash out at a younger sister when I realised she'd taped over the Neighbours wedding. My childhood was punch-up free, the only physical conflicts were with my Dad when he squeezed my knee, which tickled like mad. That was the worse of it. Pathetic.

I'm not much of an arguer either. I don't like them and am not good at them. I had one argument with my folks when I was a teenager. That's it. (My husband insists I reiterate this point as he says no one who doesn’t actually know you will believe that. It is fact.)

I hardly ever bickered with friends as I was growing up and even now I rarely fall out with my husband. I'm altogether pretty darn placid.

Or rather I was until I had my children.

Prior to my eldest son's arrival, in April 2007, I would always stand aside for people in shops and on pavements.
I would be charming to wrong numbers.
I would give up my seat on public transport.
I’d let people go ahead of me in queues and hold the door open at the library.
I’m not a doormat, just super polite.
All that changed at 5:10am on 15th April in the delivery room. I went from being laid back to lary. I developed the type of maternal aggression you expect in big cats. Everyone and everything was suddenly a potential threat to the health and happiness of my young.
As a result I am more often than not unnecessarily arsey to the degree that it makes my husband uncomfortable and those around me a bit unnerved. I mean, how else should a mum of two react when a rep from the Red Cross interrupts nap time, disturbing dog and boys? If it is wrong to say "My children are sleeping! Get lost!" I don't want to be right.

A teenage girl, collecting for charity knocked at my front door a few months ago I was trying to express breast milk (as fun as it sounds), keep the dog quiet and answer emails all while my sons briefly slept. Even the sound of the doorbell made me furious and by the time I’d got to the door I was ready to lash out.
Did I want to donate a regular sum of money to the soil association she asked?
My response was "Oh for goodness sake, you've made me answer the sodding door for this? Of course I don't want to give you any money!" and with that I shut the door.
But I wasn't finished.
I opened the door again as she began scuttling back to the gate to say:
"And you can take that look off your face now too! How dare you rolls you eyes at me!"
The poor girl was now almost off my land, but not quite so I had one last pop.
"And for goodness sake, shut the gate after yourself. If you can work out how." The poor TEENAGE girl! She muttered something about me being very rude which obviously enraged me further so as she was walking away from my house I shouted at the back of her head: "And don't come back!"

Crikey, who was this intruder who'd taken my good nature and replaced it with fury?

A fully fledged no nonsense kick arse mummy, that's who!

And if you have a problem with that I’m very keen to discuss. Loudly. With fists.

Maybe I’ll calm down, as the boys get older?

Maybe I'll stop sarcastically apologising for being in shops.

Or barking "No, I’m not Clive Jones; do I sound like Clive sodding Jones!" at wrong numbers.

Age will probably mellow me out a bit.

But until that happens I’m going to enjoy it as best I can and hope that waiters don't spit in my soup.