Sunday, 29 June 2008

house of straw

Vile day.

Teething, miserable baby. B working, although only a short day. All of us exhausted because of the broken night last night. Phone call from Ma this morning saying that Pa seemed to have taken a turn for the worse last night and she was thinking of asking us to come down.

On the plus side, I have learnt that if I burst in to tears as Leo is crying, he stops and tries to put his hand in my mouth. This is good. Less good is the fact that all he seems to want to do at the moment is wipe his snotty nose in my cleavage. B says who can blame him, but I am not impressed.

Leo and I had an apple-pie bearing visitor this afternoon, which stopped me putting him in his cot and driving off in to the sunset.

We have had an enquiry from someone wanting to rent our spare room - mixed feelings about it - we'd have to share a bathroom until The Magic Builder comes back and finishes all the stuff we've got on the go. But the cash would be handy.

I'm off to put twenty eggs in my new incubator, put the chickens to bed, phone Ma and then collapse in to bed myself. I may end up driving to Somerset tomorrow, whilst B goes to work in Manchester and joins us later in the week.

Oh. And the washing machine is leaking from underneath as it spins.

That was the final straw, really.

Friday, 27 June 2008


Here's a tip. Don't drink half a bottle of heavy and delicious Merlot with an accompanying heavy and delicious lunch, unless you are happy to be wiped out for the rest of the afternoon.

I didn't set out to, of course. You never do, do you? It just kind of happened by increments, once we'd dropped Leo off at nursery at one o'clock and decided to spend my birthday money on treating us to lunch at the previously mentioned Royal Oak Hotel in Welshpool. B was generously parsimonious (if that is possible) with his alcohol intake and drove me home. Where I collapsed in to bed for the afternoon and woke up with a mouth like the inside of a chicken house.

It was very much worth it, though - I have been feeling rather less person-like than usual, and putting my responsibilities on hold for a few hours has made me feel very much more like myself.

Also, it is raining and the spinach is growing like, well, spinach, which is very cheering.

In addition, I have spent the last few days installing 'Ubuntu' as my operating system; which means that I only need to use Windows XP for the accounts software and for Caesar IV. It runs VERY very fast and has very easy to use Open Office and internet software and IS ALL FREE. Free. No money. And you can import all your MS Office stuff in to it and it runs it all, straight away. I am on a mission. Everyone should use Ubuntu rather than spend hundreds of pounds on Microsoft stuff. The very good thing about it, is that there are various different versions, including something called Xbuntu, which is designed to run on low-powered machines. So if you are thinking that you need to upgrade your hardware, instead, have a look and see if Xbuntu will do the job for you. No, it's not Microsoft. But it looks close enough to it to make it very comfortable to use if that's what you are used to.

Sorry about that. Technical interlude over. Honest.

Dad is improving apparently. He was very much better earlier in the week, straight after the antibiotics kicked in; and they were talking about him coming home today. However, he hasn't been quite so good on a day-to-day basis since then and has been getting a lot of relief from the oxygen. Since they don't have an oxygen set-up at home, they are keeping him in until Monday. To be honest, I can see this going on for a bit on a 'yes he can come out, no he can't' basis ... but hopefully, it won't be too long. The only real danger is if the catches a different bug whilst he's in there, as happened last time. As Boy said in the comments on my previous post, MRSA is an issue; and c. Diff, apparently. So fingers crossed.

In the meantime, Ma has had an up-and-downer with the Social Services people. 'Their' Case Worker is off sick and so no-one will make any decisions about whether she can have any more care without doing a whole fresh assessment. She wants a sitter for a few more hours in the afternoons, which you wouldn't think was that difficult - but apparently it is.

For now, that is all. An early bed beckons, since our smiling, two-legged alarm clock will be awake at ten past seven. He's teething again - so much snot, how can it all fit inside one baby's head?

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

hmmm ...

Pa's full of antibiotics via a canula, is on a saline drip and is no longer blue. He wants to go home, which is fair enough - but no-one seems to have confirmed what was wrong. It's probably it's a lung infection caused by the 'slow swallow' problem; but they are still checking stuff out.

In the meantime, he is cranky.

We are plodding on, though.

For now, that is all. Sorry :(.

Monday, 23 June 2008

and again ...

Pa's been rushed in to hospital with what could be either pneumonia or an embolism. Very sudden onset. We are standing by the phone.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

naming ceremony

We had a lovely time. Ma borrowed the awning from the farmer's market and we put it up in the back garden. The weather was a mixture of very warm sun and torrential thundery showers; so it worked well.

Even Pa came out of the living room and sat outside for a while. He was quite interested in what was going on, declined to speak as part of the ceremony ("Say something?! Me?! Of course not!"), interrogated me about our visiting friends ("What profession does SHE follow, then?"), enjoyed the sandwich platter that Sister Natalie had ordered from Sainsbury's ("Sandwiches?! What kind? Can I have ham?") had a glass of cider and then retired when he got tired.

Sister Natalie and our other two 'sponsors' said some really touching things to Leo - in fact, Natalie's made me cry - and they have also written them down for him and I am going to put them in a scrap book. B said some ad-hoc things at the beginning about our idea of what being a 'sponsor' involves; and I finished off by reading 'On Children' by Khalil Gibran.

Then we ate, drank and chatted until baby-bed-time.

08062008(004)Natalie had ordered fantastic cake shaped like a lion ... it was brilliant, and HUGE - we took it home and I was morally obliged to finish it all by myself during the week, as B has been working.

It was a fantastic day - the only thing that marred it was the because of family reasons, R couldn't be with us. However, we have got him on standby to stand for No. 2 and are prepared to have the ceremony round at his house to make it possible :).

In other news, things are not resolved with B's mother. She has been on the phone again to Ma, saying that she 'has apologised and doesn't see what else she can do'. Apparently she left Ma a message and Ma phoned her back. Again. Ma then phoned me and told me that she didn't want to be involved. Ma has also sent B's dad a birthday card, which hasn't helped our situation at all, as B decided not to - after messages were passed on through the friends that Kate is communicating with AND Ma AND by text that "He would be VERY upset if B didn't mark Father's Day and his birthday". Nothing we have received resembles an apology as far as we can see.

Kate has also sent a 'good wishes in your new home' card to our neighbour, who will be moving some time in the next few weeks. They don't know each other and the neighbour is bewildered and also, gratifyingly, irritated on our behalf. She made me laugh my socks off the other day as I was telling her the saga by saying "I was always quite thankful that my husband's parents died before we met, as I don't think we would have got on".

Such pragmatism is very healthy and I am trying to develop some.

In other, other news, we have had seven chicks hatch, one of which I had to carry around in my bra for an afternoon before managing to repatriate it with it's mother. Long, slightly un-nerving in a 'don't push your elbows together' story, involving confused broodies sharing accommodation.

For now, that is all. Except - despite all the family stress, it's been a good week. B was away for sixteen hours at a time Tuesday to Friday and Leo and I managed very well, although I was knackered by Friday. I kept us and the chickens and cats all fed, watered and clean and kept on top of the washing. So not bad. New Baby is kicking like mad, too.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

briefly ...

Weekend great, all very relaxed, if damp. Full story later in the week. For now, doing accountancy Year End.


Friday, 13 June 2008

oh dear

I feel very bad. I know it's stupid. I am having to work hard to retain my composure - I have a strong urge to cut my arms.

We are off for the weekend now.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

ting, round five

So. Email from Kate this afternoon, responding point by point to B's email, mostly saying 'Ally is in the wrong and is an ungrateful cow'. It also says she is very upset that she had to find out that the Naming was going ahead from 'A Stranger'.

Oh, and she's phoned my mother again, to apologise for not being there this weekend.

My mother told me that she didn't want to get involved when I spoke to her this afternoon.


Shouldn't she have been telling Kate that, rather than me?

We are trying to rise above it all, but it's very hard. She clearly doesn't want to let things ride or make things up, she just wants to be RIGHT.

There's a lot of drama in the email about where they have left their wills, 'because they will be taking ten flights during their world trip'.

B is ill with the stomach bug I had - I am sure it's stress related.

I am so tired. I just want to enjoy our life and Leo and my pregnancy. I feel sick and the baby is so heavy inside me.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008


Oh for goodness sake.

I had a phone call from a very good friend this morning, one of the people who will be coming to Somerset next weekend to stand as sponsor for Leo.

Kate phoned her yesterday. Ostensibly to order some aromatherapy products. But also to have a good chatter about The Situation.

I am not really angry. Just speechless.

They don't know each other - they've only met a couple of times. My friend, of course, is deeply not wanting to get stuck in the middle of our family silliness. Quite rightly. (*waves, apologetically*). She is now in a really invidious situation; and so this has, also of course, had the effect of cutting off one of the people I can talk to about this, who I know would speak good sense..

Actually, strike that about not being angry, please. I am absolutely fucking fuming.

Who the HELL does Kate think she is? She is flailing around, making life harder for B and I, doing a 'poor me I don't know what went on, I'm so upset' to anyone and everyone who will listen to her; and trying to use other people to manipulate us in to doing what she wants - which seems to be continue as if nothing has happened. Instead of doing what B asked her to do when he emailed her; which is think about what happened and what he said to her in response to the letter she sent us; so we can all process the situation and talk about it rationally.

This is my line in the sand.

I am not being pressured, manipulated, pushed around or emotionally blackmailed by ANYONE. The more she pushes, the more I am unable to come forward to meet her half way. I just can't do it.

I was going to email her some photos I'd taken at the weekend of Leo in the garden, as a kind of peace-offering. But I just can't, now. I can't go back to having all those doors open and her walking in and stamping all over our life as if it was okay.

I can't have her approaching my family and friends one by one, trying to get them to act as a mediator for her, or on her side, or whatever it is that she is trying to achieve. I was dealing with this quite well. But I feel that my 'safe' circle of space is being gradually eroded. Because Kate spoke to my mother, every time I have a phone call with Ma, I have a lecture about 'how you should make it up because Kate is so upset'. Is this going to happen gradually with *all* my friends and family?

What should I do, then?

Saturday, 7 June 2008


If you have an eight month old baby, are five months pregnant, have a vomiting bug and haven't been doing your pelvic floor exercises, do you KNOW how easy it is to wee in to your own slipper?

Better today, though.

B came back at 4AM and we had a very lazy morning. Then this afternoon we have been up in the garden - I have been sitting on a chair holding Leo and we have been watching B plant spinach and beets. It feels very good indeed to have nice things going in to the raised beds.

Haven't forgotten the Bee Stories - but I want to sort some photos out and haven't had the time/energy/space to do so, yet.

Friday, 6 June 2008

small and less small

This is quite tedious now, actually. Third day in bed. Stopped vomiting, mostly, but still feel rotten and don't want to eat.

B's gone back to work on a local job today and will be back in the early hours. He's left Leo and I tucked up in bed together with enough provisions to get us through the day. Leo is being lovely - he's better, pretty much, and is currently trying to dismantle 'Four Complete Peter Wimsey Novels' by Dorothy L Sayers.

I have felt TOO ROPEY TO PLAY CAESAR 4. That's bad. Very bad. But, I guess, your body tells you what you need and in this case, become Caesar of a continent spanning Empire is possibly not it.

In other news, a small but very good thing is happening. Remember my teeny-tiny foray in to selling eggs and hens? Well it's going very well indeed. I am selling a lot of eggs and I have a couple of people interested in having pullets in the late autumn. I have sold my manual-turn incubator and am investigating upgrading to an auto-turn. Without wishing to be a blatant chicken-pimp, if anyone is at all interested, even vaguely or in an advice-seeking kind of way, don't hesitate to ask, will you?

A large but also very good thing has happened here. Congratulations to La Famille Kitchen Witch on the arrival of Baby KW on 1st June. May their vomit be spongeable and their nappies easily cleaned.

Have to go now. Leo wants to watch some 'In the Night Garden' on BBC iPlayer.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


Now though, both Leo and I have a vomiting bug. I am in bed with a plastic bowl and Leo is on his way home from nursery, courtesy of a very brave and very dear friend who is armed with plastic Landrover seats and a selection of towels. B is on his way home from London, via Leicester, to collect his car.

Dash it, it was all going so well.

It's now confined to retching, so long as I don't have to move above very much; then All Hell officially Breaks Loose again.


Tuesday, 3 June 2008

dreams of empire

Sorry, still no bee stories.

It's been a Rather Peculiar Week. Family-wise.

The dispute with B's mum has escalated in to an exchange of letters (her to him) and emails (him to her). One one side these are hysterical and accusatory and on the other calm and very firm.

We are having a naming ceremony for Leo in the weekend after next at Ma's. Kate and Vic will not be attending. They are off on a round the world trip for nine weeks the weekend after that; and it is doubtful that we will either a) have the time to take him up to Merseyside for them to see him and b) have the good temper and self control to do so anyway.

It's all rather childish - but we don't want any more conflict and we don't want Kate trying to drive a wedge between us. Although outwardly I am quite calm about it all, inside I am icily angry at her, firstly for upsetting B so badly by flouncing around saying they wouldn't bother to come to Somerset if we 'weren't going to have a proper baptism, only a naming ceremony'; and secondly, for telephoning my mother and adding to her stress.

She has behaved really oddly; refusing to leave our house when asked, standing in our lane shouting obscenities at B as she was going; writing him a letter with a list of all the things they have done for us over the course of the last year and saying that we are ungrateful; trying to bully us in to doing things her way; focusing most of the foregoing on me.

Last night I dreamt that she was in bed with me, trying to push me out. My subconscious is obviously a bit concerned.

It has no need to be, as B has made it very clear to everyone where his loyalties lie. But neither of us thrive in an atmosphere of conflict. Also, Kate and Vic have arranged to lend us the money to renovate the house so that we can get a lodger and thus lessen our financial issues. Neither of us want to take the money as it is just going to be something that she can throw in our face; but she has transferred it in to our bank account, regardless.

I hope this makes sense. So much has happened in such a short space of time that I may have missed out huge steps in the turgid and emotional chain of events.


Anyway, on a (very much) happier note - we spent the weekend with the crowd at a small farm just outside Carmarthen. It was great fun and very, very chilled out. About fifty people went, we ate, we talked, we shared skills like shooting; chicken killing and dressing; bender-making; knitting; and bee-keeping. We are going to do it again, next year, hopefully.

For now, that is all. B is away until Friday night. It's the first time that I have been alone with Leo for about four months and I am rather nervous about whether or not I will cope. So far though, we are doing fine. I have food prepared for us, his bottles ready for tomorrow and I am on top of the washing.

Now, I go to bed, to play some Caesar 4.

Edit to say: The very, VERY odd thing about the Kate Saga is that she is not AT ALL religious.