Thursday, 24 December 2009

..Tis the season to be jolly...

So we're here at my parents' house here in Northeast England. Present for the holidays are myself and My Son, my parents, my brother, and my sister & her husband and two kids will be joining us tomorrow.
Already my Dad is in a frenzy, cooking everything in sight to within an inch of it's life-whether it needs it or not. When I heard my Mum ask him why he was cooking so much stuff, he was heard to reply that it would save time tomorrow, as they will have enough to do already. So, I guess nobody should expect anything hot to eat round here tomorrow! It seems the concept of just cooking things e.g quiches just before they are due to be eaten, has completely passed him by......oh well...
Already my dear family have been embroiled in several arguments, in that good old Christmas tradition of family bitching. My Son has been berated for spending too much time on his games console, I've been called "She" too many times for my liking, and my depressive brother has been told to "liven up" on several occasions. Also, when questioning why my parents constantly leave the curtains to the room in the house with the most electronic finery, open for all the world to see in (including burglars), my Dad ripped my head off (in the verbal sense, obviously, or I wouldn't be blogging now) Which leads me to a conclusion-OLD PEOPLE ARE NUTS!!
Never mind the -30 temperatures in Northern Scandinavia right now, come next Christmas, I'll be rejoicing in it!!!
For now, though, I have to sit tight and hack it as best I can....
Now where's that chocolate?

Sunday, 29 November 2009

If I had a photograph of you.....

...Anyone remember that song from the eighties? I THINK it was by Flock of Seagulls, who were fronted by that bloke with the ridiculous haircut (look 'em up on Youtube, you'll see what I mean).
Anyway, I'm online, trying to negotiate my way thru the minefield that is choosing a camera for my son's 10th birthday on the 11th of December. After successfully persuading him away from a polaroid camera (I THINK so, anyway!! Have you seen the cost of the films?????), and onto a digital camera (maybe with a printer), I've spent many boring hours (well, it feels like that) looking, and I am now totally and utterly confused! My dad, being the techno-geek of our family, has been asked to help, and keeps emailing me suggestions of various cameras, with varying degress of fabulousness. But it doesn't help when deciding on which one to spend my money on, as I haven't got a clue what most of the jargon means, I'm afraid! Unlike a lot of people, a camera is one of those "big" purchases for me of little means, so I'm also afraid of making a mistake.
A-ha! I thought....let's look at However, it seems that even good ol' Which have got in on the "sign up here to see our full reviews" business, so that's no good either. Hmm, what to do?Think I might have to let Grandad do the deciding, on the basis that if anything hideous goes wrong, it's his fault, cos he chose it :-D
I'm sure it will be sorted in time!
Time is a thing which has been stressing me out lately, actually. There's so little of it towards the end of the year, what with the fact that most of my family seem to have been born in December (including my brother and sister, who are twins. How inconsiderate of them to be two months premature, back in '72), and My Son & The Swede, to name another two!
This is the main reason why I haven't posted much recently, as I've been full of busy, creating Xmas and birthday lists for many people, and trying to be extremely strict with my budget, so I can afford it all. How I used to be able to fit in a full-time job, will never cease to amaze me. I truly was working myself into the ground back then.
I also need to think about the following things:

Try and decide (and get prices) on a carrier to shift all of our worldly goods next summer. I'm very suspicious of the fact that none of these people give prices on their websites. All I want is to find out how much it costs per tea-chest sized box, surely that isn't too hard? So anybody with any recommendations, please fire away. I'd be very grateful!

I need to remember to give my landlord two months' notice at the appropriate time. I'm concerned that they seem to have this thing about leases starting and finishing on the 1st of the month. This could be impossible for us, as My Son doesn't finish his current school year until the 1st of July, so it's likely we would need a few extra days.

I also need to prepare for the fact that my crazy ex-flatmate (who I happen to owe some money to) might drive down the street or check the landlord's website during my 2 months' notice period, see that we're moving, and start harassing me again. To cut a long story short, I found my best friend of 11 years a flat in the same block as me, when she was looking to stay in Edinburgh for the new job she got last summer, and after a few months, it became too financially hard for her. I was also finding it tough managing, and so because we had flat-shared before, we decided that myself and My Son would move in with her and her daughter, and I would take over the lease to help alleviate her financial problems (they were slightly worse than mine). Her flat was also much nicer. The idea was that we would save a lot of money on bills. We came to an agreement whereby the deposit she paid would transfer into my name, and I would pay this off with her month by month until she eventually moved out. However, it quickly became clear after moving in, that she had developed extremely severe emotional, anger, and mental issues. This would result in her regularly screaming and shouting at me and threatening to beat me up because say for instance, she thought I had borrowed a hair product of hers (I hadn't), and she terrified My Son so much that he wouldn't get out of bed one day. I said to him "Why won't you get up?" and his reply was "I'm not coming out til auntie X has stopped shouting". That did it for me. There was also the matter of the fact that a great friend of hers was, charmingly, a drug-addict. I rest my case. I wasn't fond of getting up in the night and finding her junkie friend raiding my food out of the fridge on a binge, or come-down, or whatever they call it.
Hence she was ejected from the flat when the landlords "found out" she was there, however, she naturally blamed me, and got violent, and I now have the dubious honour of knowing some of the police I had to call numerous times (when I was about to get my head kicked in) by their first names.

Phew. Sorry about that. I knew I had to tell that story one day, but 6 months on, it still hurts like hell. Not only what we went through, but also the fact that I lost the best friend I ever had, because she turned into an absolute nutter. I've actually been incredibly lonely since then, as this person was like a sister to me, and believe it or not, we had some brilliant times over the years. I hope I don't sound harsh, but we quickly became so terrified of her, that standing by her, really wasn't an option, and we had to cut her loose. I stand by the fact that she had to go, but, being a good person by nature, I still feel bad about the fact that she had to be chucked out forcibly by the landlord. Naturally, she has tried to harass me since, as she (wrongly) assumes I don't intend to pay her back (I've made it plain she will get what she is owed), and so I'm terrified of what might happen once I give notice on the flat. If she is keeping tabs on things, she will no doubt start her harassment campaign again (for example, bringing the junkie round to shout at me via my door buzzer).

And what job does this person do, I hear you ask? Well, I'm afraid that I'm about to scare the hell out of you by revealing she is a teacher!

Yes, it seems that crazy people do actually fall through the net, and get into the system. I wonder every day what her employers would think if they had heard some of the rants she did in the house, calling the poor kids in her class "thick p*** b*******".

Anyway, moving on, as you'll be getting bored now. Where was I? Oh yeah, things to do, number 3:

Buy NOTHING this week (food? Pah! We can manage on what's in the freezer), and then I can afford to book the tenpin bowling that my son wants to go to with his friends for a birthday treat.
I also need to buy food on the day of the birthday, for the various guests that are coming.

Last but not least, I'm actually get a bit scared and anxious about our move. I think I've mentioned in a previous post, that it's just such a huge thing. We definitely want to go to Sweden to live with The Swede, but I hate moving at the best of times (The last time was bad enough, & I was moving within the same block), but an international move, well, that's a biggie!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

My little monster...

Well, My Son is still behaving badly on a regular basis, and since I broke the news that we are moving to Sweden, it seems this behaviour has come more often. I have talked to him at great length about how everyone needs to move on in their lives, and change does happen (no-one's life ever stays the same all the way through), but I have also tried to reiterate that although it might seem scary, this change is actually going to be for our good and for the future of our family.
Don't get me wrong-he's not against it, I don't think. At times he is extremely positive about it. However, at others, he "hates me", "hates The Swede", and "everybody is an idiot" kind of thing.
I feel like I am living on a knife-edge, just waiting for the day when he does something so horrendous at school that there is no going back.
Today at school, he was kept in at break-time because he fought with one kid, and called him gay. This led to a mortifying discussion with one of the senior members of staff, during which I desperately tried to stress that I promote equality at all times...I am sure you know the kind of cringe-worthy discussion I am talking about. However, his behaviour then apparently improved in the afternoon.
Tonight he was sent to bed after calling me horrible names. However, ten minutes later, what do you know...the apology note came out from under his bedroom door, professing his undying love for me etc etc. My Son is so damned sweet at moments like drives me mad, this constant switching of behaviours, and all the associated worry. You'd think from reading some of this that he was a little devil, complete with horns, but nothing could be further from the truth if you look at the pic.....
Sigh. Well I'm off to watch "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!" to cheer myself up...if I can stay awake that long, that is!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

"If I ruled the world" My Son

Hello everyone, and apologies for not blogging for well over a week, but nothing of note has really happened...until today...

My Son and I often have deep and interesting conversations on the mind (and leg)-numbing walk to school each day. Today, out of nowhere, he decided to tell me how he would put the world to rights, should he be in charge. It was one of those occasions when you really wish you had a pen & paper handy, because what your child said was so profound or funny (or both). So don't expect me to remember all of his nuggets of wisdom, but here goes with the ones I can remember, anyway. Oh by the way, I definitely think My Son comes from the Jeremy Clarkson school of blunt speaking!!

If I ruled the world.....

Prisoners would have satellite tv and playstations removed from prisons, and instead would have a bare cell with only a chair and a hard bench to sleep on.

People who let their dogs crap all over the pavement would get an automatic 10 day jail sentence.

Racism would be punishable by a 10 year jail sentence.

Workmen would be prevented from leaving big messes like roads half-dug up for weeks, with nothing noticeable happening to them.

He would invent a solar-powered water system which would water the crops and give people enough drinking water in hot African countries.

If someone in one of these countries died, we would remove their family to a better country and help them start a new life.

Solve world pollution. How, he isn't currently sure.

We should remove all of our soldiers from Afghanistan.

Then drop a big bomb on Afghanistan.

Ditto Iraq.

All households would be given £10 per week "to help with their shopping and bills". (When I questioned whether this would be enough, he kindly upped it to £20).

I have asked my son to remind me of what else he thought of this morning, but we can't think of any more for now. I like (at the same time as I don't like), how childhood innocence about solving world poverty and pollution is mixed with things like removing our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. Definitely very thought-provoking. Especially from a 9 year old.....

Monday, 26 October 2009

....has been dropped

So my parents arrived early...grr. I don't know about you, but personally I think there's nothing more annoying than visitors arriving early-especially when you have kids. I vividly remember when my son was a baby, people would think nothing of just ruddy turning up 20 minutes before they said they would, when I was trying to squeeze in a quick breastfeed before they came...aargh.
Though clearly that wasn't the situation this time, it's still irritating, as we were only halfway through the chocolate cookies I mentioned in my previous post. So much for the warm Mary Berry atmosphere!
Anyway, we decided after a quick lunch (and finishing the cookies) that we would take my son to a kids' adventure play place-you know, these places with the slides and ball pools etc etc. This one was quite good, and contrary to what it sounded, more than suitable for my soon to be 10 year old-he had a blast. I did notice every kid was running around & sweating so much that their hair was
My stomach was churning pretty much all afternoon-not only with the thought of telling my parents our news, but also with the fact that they never brought me up that well-so I have to say, I really detest sharing news of any importance with them. What does it have to do with them?? Were they interested in how well I might do in life or how bad things would affect me, when they were arguing nonstop when we were kids? No. Was my father interested in my wellbeing when I had to barricade my bedroom door to stop him storming up the stairs to beat me up? No. So really, I tell them the bare minimum (Bitter? Me? Nah!!).
We left the play centre, and went back to my flat, where, after a bit longer, I told them that The Swede wanted us to go live in Sweden with him.
I have to say they were quite pleased for us, and at the chance of us both having a better quality of life over there. My dad said he had always wondered how I managed as a single parent up here on my own, & this was really exciting news. So yes, this post is quite schizophrenic, really. On one hand, they made masses of mistakes when we were kids, & were too quick to smack us, and on the other, they were clearly thrilled at our news. Go figure that one out.....
So news over, the atmosphere was a bit lighter, and we spent most of the rest of the evening chatting about various things such as jobs over in sweden, how I am going to transport all our belongings over there, what to throw out, budget airline flights for them to visit their Grandson etc etc...and we topped it off with a chinese takeaway.
One thing that was prevalent over the weekend was My Son's bad behaviour. I think he is worried about the move-indeed I wouldn't blame him for being so-it must be scary. His behaviour is showing itself in really violent ways, such as him hitting me, or shouting at me & calling me names (or throwing my mobile phone across the room). I have tried to talk to him calmly and explain that although it seems scary, what we are doing, he must try & trust Mummy, because it will work out for the better in the long run. The higher quality of life over there, the fact that he will have a father figure for the first time ever, and lots of other things.
I am also going to enlist the help of his headmistress at his current school in making the transition a bit easier for him. She is really lovely.We're not going til after the school year ends next summer, but I still think there will be tears (from me too!!).
I've also joined a network for English-speaking mums in Sweden, & the advice on there is proving quite useful, what forms I need to fill in when I get there, etc etc.
It's all go :-)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The bombshell.....

I'm preparing for my parents coming up, when I am going to tell them about The Swede & I moving in together. I am quite nervous about it, but I hope they will be happy for me. Let's face it, it took me 40 years to find someone worth making a life with, so I hope they will take that into account.
Of course, they are bound to be worried about the reduced frequency of contact with My Son. However, The Swede has reassured me that we can go "home" to England for long holidays etc, so hopefully their total time spent with My Son in a year will not diminish.
It's weird, but I feel almost like a naughty school girl, admitting I have been doing rude things with a man or something. I guess it's because I'm a very private person, as regards my family-I tell them the bare minimum, always have done, and if I don't have to tell them about a situation at all....then great! Never had the best of childhoods (more about that another day), & so I feel most of the time that they don't deserve a piece of me, I suppose. Hard to explain!
Onto happier things-My Son and I have decided to bake some delicious chocolate cookies from the November issue of "Delicious" magazine, for them coming. It's soooo long since we did anything like that, I can't even remember, but hopefully by the time they arrive, we will be sitting pretty, with a perfect house, and a warm and rosy atmosphere, touched by the fabulous aroma that only fresh cookies can bring (A La Mary Berry).
Wish us luck!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Taking the p***

I am trying to write a blog post while my son stands in the bathroom, complaining that "I need ANOTHER pee!!". Aargh. Poor thing has had a course of antibiotics recently for a suspected urine infection, however, the test results came back negative, so now I'm worried about what could be wrong instead. Hmm. Must try not to worry & chill out more, according to what my son's teacher said at parents' evening last night.
Anyway, onto the "news" that I mentioned in my last post. Yes, The Swede & I finally took the plunge, by jointly deciding that me & My Son are going to move to Sweden to be with him. WOW. It looks scary in
Although I am naturally apprehensive about moving so far (there'd be something wrong if I wasn't, I figure), I am also keen to "get going" with our plan. Lately, there are more & more things which reinforce just what a rough & nasty country I am presently living in. Everything from the boy who has decided to cause trouble for My Son in class by making up stories about supposedly vicious things My Son has done, & getting me into a tizz, then according to the school staff, it's all been bull****, & he was in fact perfectly behaved on those occasions. (There's nothing more demoralising for me than worrying because my child has behavioural issues anyway, without some evil little toad stirring it by making things up!!). To the scene I saw when walking home with some shopping along the local main road today.
Picture this: A woman of about 25yrs old, a "man" of about 18 years old, a child who was clearly old enough to be in school.All standing on the street, scruffily dressed, stuffing their faces with crap & puffing on cigarettes (apart from the child, amazingly enough). The poor boy was crying his eyes out, while the mother screamed at the top of her lungs that it was a "Bad idea to keep him off school because he's a f****** whinging b******". Or something akin to that-it was hard to tell exactly, because the force & speed with which she was screaming actually made it hard to distinguish the words. The "F" & "B" were definitely there though. Meanwhile, "Dad" stood there tutting, & giving the son disparaging looks.
I desperately looked around for the local policeman I often see on his beat round there (Where are they when you need them?). Alas, he was nowhere to be found. I made an on-the-spot judgement to walk away, only for fear that I would get punched in the face (or stabbed) if I challenged the "parents" & told them what a disgrace to humanity they were. God, I felt terrible though, that poor child, & I couldn't do anything for him.
Later, after taking My Son to his Thursday night club, I actually saw the woman & child in the street again. No screaming of abuse this time, but they were stuffing their faces with crap again. Now I can't claim to have always been the healthiest eater, but I wouldn't dream of feeding my child several pasties & more than one bottle of fizzy pop a day.
Or am I just a snob?
Anyway, these two delightful episodes (the viciousness of that horrible brat at school, & the vile mum in the street) have just about made my mind up. And you know what?
I won't miss Britain.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Here I am, sitting at my pc in my pjs, at 16.20 (Yes, I'm doing time the Euro way now-I'm soooo cosmopolitan). There is a good reason for this, though. Today I (and my son) got up at 05.00 so we could take The Swede back to the airport. Boy, I am zonked! I've never been a fan of early starts, & after training My Son far too well (he gives me a good lie-in at the weekends, but unfortunately can't get up Monday to Friday..Oops), figured today might be trouble.However, he finally crawled out of bed, poor little soul, and staggered into the lounge, & up to the table for some breakfast. I, meanwhile, was blearily making a pot of coffee (a must for any Scandinavian, in fact I think it's law that they must all drink copious amounts of black coffee), and some polarbrod/cheese/ham etc for breakie. Never let it be said that I didn't feed my man before seeing him off on the big metal bird!

Anyway, after seeing him off at security, and crying a bit in front of various members of airport staff (who had clearly seen it all before), My Son & I made our lonely way back into Edinburgh, then got off the airport bus for the 15 minute walk home (30 if you allow for the fact that a vulnerably tired mummy stopped off at the shop for chocolate, newspaper & cokes, and was also badgered into sweeties (& bought all of them), then got almost home & remembered she never got toilet roll which we had run out of, & had to go back). After we got home, I put My Son to bed, did the various crappy household tasks that I couldn't go back to bed without doing (or it would irritate me), then went to take my little Sleeping Beauty a luxury Galaxy chocolate drink that I had bought him, and discovered that the damn thing was a whole TWO MONTHS out of date, so had to be returned. Grrr. Eventually, I got to bed for a sleep (if only you could charge your body with a few hours when you need it, a bit like topping up a phone, wouldn't that be great?), accompanied by the raging headache that had developed from the shock of getting up early.

After being interrupted by My Son a thousand or so times, with everything from "I can't sleep" to "I'm going to play you to sleep with my guitar, Mum", I admitted defeat where he was concerned, & allowedhim to get up again. I'm kinda hoping he will therefore go to bed like a little lamb tonight if he never got any more sleep this morning, so wish me luck!!

As for myself, I eventually got about another hour & a half, but I still have the damned headache, so am going to make dinner shortly, to see if that makes things better.

I will write more next time about the news that The Swede & I broke to My Son, but am off for now, as I need to eat. See you soon!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

So The Swede flew into the UK last week, & broke his journey at Heathrow, so that we could meet down there for my Uncle's funeral. The preceding journey down to the Northeast for myself & my son was a fairly uneventful train journey (apart from sitting like fools for half an hour outside of Newcastle, due to signalling problems), and then the next day we set off in my sister's humongous car to collect The Swede & then proceed to the fantastically cheap & cheerful hotel that I (being the family bargain hunter) had found us all in Kent.
Oh My Lord. As soon as the receptionist handed us room keys (as opposed to swipe cards), we knew we were in trouble. However, the horror that awaited us was so bad it was hard to describe.
Altogether, our party (My mum, dad, sister, son, & The Swede & myself) suffered (deep breath):
Hairs in the bed
Hairs in the bath (different colours)
Somebody's hair band casually tossed on the floor-together with what looked like half a scalp full of their hair
Shabby, peeling paintwork
Yellow stained towels (unfortunately I only discovered this AFTER I had dried my face on one of them)
Shower curtain poles so rusty & corroded they could have fallen down at any time
A bed with a horrendous case of "roll-together" in the middle
The drawers in our room smelt of fish
My sister's room stank of cat pee

...and I'm sure there were others....Oh Jeez.....did I get it in the neck from the rest of the family for picking that one! I have to hand it to the Medway M2 Travelodge tho-they actually managed to achieve the nigh impossible feat of making me think that a mere £35 for one room for one night was too much!!

Anyway, by Friday morning we were suitably soberly dressed & out of the hell-hole, & proceeded to my auntie's house for coffee before the funeral. I thought I was doing ok, composure-wise, however, when I took a look at a photo of my auntie & uncle taken on their 55th wedding anniversary this June, I couldn't speak, & the tears came. It was just too auntie gazing adoringly into the vacant eyes of the shell of a person that my uncle used to be before Alzheimers pulled him under. Bless him, he didn't even know why he was there cuddling this to all intents & purposes, "stranger". Somehow, we all got thru the day, though I had to force my mind elsewhere when all of us famiy members were standing outside the church waiting for the coffin, & then he arrived, and my auntie walked in behind him with her son & daughter (my cousins). Huge gulp.
As for what my auntie wrote on the flowers from her, that is of course, private, but I just hope that I come close someday to the love & companionship that they had for so long.

Onto happier times. Yesterday was my 40th birthday (However I am still in denial & pretending that it's happened to someone else!), & The Swede took me & my son out for dinner at my favourite restaurant. We had an absolutely sublime meal, & a very happy evening indeed. My son also behaved perfectly-well, apart froma few, largely accidental, burps because of the two cokes he guzzled. Earlier in the day, I received a birthday card & a cheque from my auntie, which was a nice surprise, because God knows I wouldn't have expected a card this year after what had just happened, tho when I saw only her signature on the card, & realised how strange it must have been for her to write only her name for the first time, I had a few sad moments too. But it was hugely appreciated, & I bought a nice thank you card today which I am going to write a letter to her in tomorrow. What a brave, lovely lady.
Sometimes I am awfully sad that I don't see huge portions of my family for so long. I am going to make much more effort to keep in touch with my family in future.

Monday, 5 October 2009

I'm sitting here wrapped in a towel, contemplating my last day as a 39 year old. In just a few short hours, I will be joining the over 40 club! I was looking back today at what I always wanted to achieve by the age of 40. Firstly, I wanted to be debt-free, as I truly wanted my life with no financial restrictions to begin. I haven't made it-I'm still up to my ears in debt. Secondly, I wanted to be a glamorous, sylph-like Liz Hurley type. I haven't made that either. I'm more like a chunkier version of that actress that used to be in the comedy series Men behaving badly, with Neil Morrissey & Martin Clunes. She played a know..that one!! (Damn, what's her name?).
Anyway, I was bemoaning my failures to The Swede the other day, complaining that I felt like an elephant.....and he replied "But you're my elephant".
I guess he was trying to be sweet, but somehow, that didn't work for me!!
I'm off now to vegetate in front of the tv & drown my sorrows with a doughnut & said Swede (No, I didn't kill him). Oh, and if anyone can remind me of the name of that darned actress, it will save my sanity. Thanks!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Shock horror.....I actually forgot to post yesterday! I guess I've been so busy with preparations for The Swede's visit, & for our trip down South to attend my uncle's funeral, that it just slipped my mind.
That's the thing when you live away from your family-every supposedly simple event that you all require to go to together, becomes this huge operation. No popping into DVF for a simple but sober black wrap dress to wear, then flying down the country in a smart British Airways jet, while sipping complimentary Kenco Fairtrade coffee all the way, for me. Oh No, I'm the kind of girl who runs through the "George" section at Asda in a blind panic, because I have to pick up my son in half an hour, it takes 25 mins to walk there, and as I have no bus fare, that's what I'm doing. Actually, the clothes section at my "boutique" of choice is surprisingly rubbish lately-has George Davies jumped ship, & I'm just the only one who doesn't know? Despite the fact that a crappy, drizzly October is fast looming on the horizon, I could not get a classic, long-sleeved polo neck jumper for love nor money! Some of the clothes were so horrifically garish looking, that I wondered if they were the Halloween dress-up costumes instead, & I was in the wrong section! Day-glo pink jumper-things, with big rips in them, Tweety-pie t-shirts.....I think I'm getting too old for this.
Anyway, after a hastily purchased pair of smart black trousers, (in a bigger size than normal,damn it) & a pair of black patent pumps, I found the jumper I was looking for at my other "shopping paradise"-Sainsburys, while my son was in his Explore learning session (he wants to quit there, but that's another story). So panic averted. The fact that everything there costs twice as much as the former, well, C'est la vie I suppose (otherwise known as Sod's Law). Then of course, there is the trip-flying? Ha! No, my son and I will be slumming it on a National Express Railways train, which will no doubt smell of pee-pee (depending on where we sit), and charge the equivalent of a small African nation's debt, for a warm can of coke. And that's after we have had the "pleasure" of chucking out whichever numbskulls have sat in our reserved seats.
I might not be on here as frequently as normal in the next few days, as I have the funeral trip, & then a few days up North/down South with my family (depending on your location), and of course The Swede will be accompanying myself & my son on our trip home where we'll have a week before he goes home. During which we will celebrate my upcoming "Big" birthday (put it this way-it's not 30).
See you soon.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Tonight I am very very tired, after ploughing through that most hated of household tasks-ironing. Lord, if I could only afford to pay someone to do it, that would be grand! But sadly, since the days when I could afford to pay someone (and/or actually find someone I trusted enough to enter my home) are long gone, then the buck stops at me.
I have been working my way through various non-enjoyable household tasks today actually, in preparation for The Swede's visit. I always like to make sure the house looks as nice as possible for him coming, I think that's only polite, given the large distances and various stop overs which he has to endure to come over. He might travel for half a day to see me, but at least when he does, he will have a clean pillow to rest his head on :-) The worst tasks I did today, and tomorrow I have reserved for such joys as mopping the floors, shopping, & emptying the hoover!
Boy, am I living La Vida Loca or what?
What household tasks do other people hate doing most? I'd love your comments!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

I have woken up today feeling terribly guilty. Last night I ended up spending over 2 hours on Msn, chatting to Bad Relationship Man. (I only spent about half an hour talking to The Swede last night). Since we met in the flesh almost one year ago, it's been almost impossible to drag any feelings or opinions out of BRM, & that was why I made the decision to move on, even tho I was never really sure of what had happened. However, last night, the conversation took a turn, and at times was actually quite tender. I asked him if he could remember what some of our intimate moments had been like, and he replied saying Yes, and that "There were too few moments like that".
I've felt terrible ever since, as if I am betraying The Swede. I know he would be upset & worried if he knew I had had such conversation with BRM. But at the same time, BRM seems to be so screwed up generally (he has horrendously-low confidence and never believed me when I had said I loved him), that I know the chances that anything could have "properly" happened with him in the end, were remote anyway.
However, the fact that someone is a screw-up & things will never take off with them anyway, isn't really justification in to keep in touch with them (& possibly hurt your loving partner), if you were formerly involved...I know that.
Is it the fact that myself & BRM never had an ending? Is that why I can't seem to stop myself? I'm off to hide under the covers to ponder that question now.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Took my son for his 1st guitar class today. It looked such fun that I decided I didn't mind the early morning after all! (Love my lie-ins on a Saturday & Sunday, but had to get up pretty early today for the class at 10am). At one point the teacher was playing the James Bond theme in a chatty bit of the class, & told us that the disused old school we were sitting in, was actually Sean Connery's school when he was a boy! Quite cool, I thought!
So my son has decided this whole guitar thing is really cool, and is full of enthusiasm about it. Long may it continue!
On a totally different subject, why is it that certain things and people always pop up to remind us of the past when things are going well in the present? The bad relationship I talk about sometimes....I haven't talked to The Man in ages...then lo and behold, here he is tonight on Msn. And like a moth to a flame...I'm straight in there to say Hello, & enquire how things are with him.
In my defence, he just lost his dad, and his mum is very sick also, and maybe I am just being too kind, but I can't stop myself caring how he is coping, even though he broke my heart into a million pieces. What worries me is that maybe I still have feelings for him underneath that veneer of asking how he is coping, because we never had an ending, & I to this day, don't know what went wrong.

On a lighter note, The Swede and I were texting and Msn'ing earlier (just so darned expensive to call each other, so we have to make do with other methods), and we have decided we need a game plan as far as The Big Move goes. I broached the subject of our conversation of the other day about it all, & I said that maybe we shouldmake a plan regarding when we are going to do certain things, as there's not just us to think about..there is the flat (which I have to give notice on), and of course we need to work out when would be best to take my son out of school. Especially given the problems he has had lately.It's all got to be handled pretty delicately. Some of the things we have thought of are these:

I need to get a personnummer (kind of a Swedish National Insurance number. Without it it is impossible to open a bank account, or get a job, or anything, basically).

We need to decide re the schooling issue & have meetings with my son's headmistress to see if she can assist.

We need to contact an international movers to see if we can actually afford for me to move all my stuff over there!! (I want my son to keep as many familiar things around him as possible, right down to the few bits of furniture we own in this furnished rented flat at present).

Umm, sure there are a few other things, but I'm so tired, I forget them right now. Time for bed, methinks.

Friday, 25 September 2009

So, this week, The Swede was telling me that he was going to his cousin's for dinner tonight, and that she was bound to ask when we are moving in together, as indeed every one of his relatives asks him whenever they meet (even when I'm there!).
I jokily asked him what he was going to say, and then he came out with it....which was that his cousin & parents weren't the only people who think we should live together. Remembering that his sister is always on about it too, I said "Oh yeah, I forgot your sister". To which he replied "No, I didn't mean her....I meant me!!".
That was the first time he had actually come out and said it, and I was quite taken aback.Thinking that The Big Question might well be on the tip of his tongue turned me all coy. "Well, don't forget, I'm quite old-fashioned-you will have to ask me first" I typed back (we were actually on Msn).
To which he replied "I wasn't thinking straight away, we'd have to think about school arrangements etc etc". Don't quite know why, but that made me feel a little flat. Maybe it was my inner girlie, thinking my suitor might me about to Pop The Question?
Anyway, it's still a great result, & a very very positive thing for any partner to come out with. I know that we are both on the same wavelength regarding where we want things to go. I guess I'm quite often the impatient sort when I want something-especially something like this, when certain things actually have a timebar.
I am thinking, of course, about babies. My good friend (who happens to be The Swede's cousin) thinks that the time issue probably hasn't occurred to The Swede. However, I am, after all, almost hitting the big 4-0.
Don't know why I'm worrying really, as lots of older mums have babies these days without anything going wrong.....don't they??

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Having got sucked in to reading someone's really well-known blog a few weeks ago, I felt compelled to catch up with the whole 5 years of the thing, to get "bang up to date". With the result that having firstly resolved to get a nice early night tonight, I just couldn't resist reading " a bit more", and so here I am at 22.42, actually having finished reading the last posts. (So now I'm up to date, hurry up lady and write some more).
So do you mind if I take my bug-eyed self off to bed now, and write a decent post tomorrow instead? Aw, thanks. Knew you wouldn't.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I meandered up & down the aisles of the local Co-op, selecting a few things I needed (let's face it, a Co-op isn't usually for a full-on shop), and as I passed the end of one of the aisles en route to the till, I did a double-take. OH.MY.GOD. There, on 22nd September, resplendent in all it's purple glory, was a Cadburys. Advent. Calender.
I looked again and again, thinking maybe it was an Easter calender, or worse-still, one of the dreadful Halloween products creeping up everywhere these days (in my local Sainsburys, they have dancing, singing, pumpkins.Enough said). But No, siree. It WAS a Christmas advent calender.
I can't describe the terror this instills in the average,harassed, skint single mum like me. Thinking about Christmas already, folks? Come on!!! It's still 3 months away!!!
Anyway, I'm off to help my son with his reading practise now. He's still doing good at school at the moment, & I had quite a helpful chat with the educational psychologist today, who had thought of a few things they can do in class to help him, too. So it's all pretty positive just now...shhhh. I'm not going to shout too loud, just in case something happens.
Then I am off to bed for a gloriously early night. I just hope when I wake up tomorrow that they haven't put the Christmas lights up yet. 'Nite.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

I'm still hobbling. Darned shoes I bought last week are not yet on a par with the cosy-slipper-like vision I had when I purchased them. Waited in the Sainsburys cafe today while my son was in his Explore learning session in-store, and hobbled out (after sitting for over an hour) like a cross between a 9 months pregnant woman, and somebody who has been up all night doing naughty things. I hasten to add, I've done neither. And I've also just had to explain to The Swede that when we meet next Thursday for the first time in nearly 2 months, he won't be able to lay a finger on me, because we will be sharing a hotel room with my son....aargh....
"Thought he was visiting you in Edinburgh?" I hear you ask, and that was true. However, we have worked out a new arrangement whereby he is breaking his journey into the UK when he lands at Heathrow, and is meeting up with me there, as I have managed to purchase an additional journey down south on the train for a very small price (see yesterday's fiasco), which means I can now attend my uncle's funeral after all.Hoorah! Well...not Hoorah, but you know what I mean. I could not get over the feeling that it was so wrong for me not to attend, and really didnt know what to do as I so badly want to go and show my auntie some support.
I must admit though, that I'm not looking forward to the fact that the first time my boyfriend meets my extended family, it's going to be such a sad/delicate occasion. If he had landed something like that on me when I met his folks...I would have been mortified.
Like my friends say-he must be a keeper.
Time will tell......time will tell....

Monday, 21 September 2009

A big Thank you goes out tonight to National Express East Coast trains, who, having been requested to change my train tickets for Fri 2nd Oct (when me, my son, & The Swede, are meant to be visiting my parents) to earlier in that week, so I could go to my uncle's (obviously unexpected) funeral, informed me that it would cost me the grand total of £60 (yes, SIXTY) to change the tickets. This is more than the actual tickets cost in the first place, and is impossible for me to pay as a single mum. The lady at the other end of the phone told me that they charge £10 each passenger, each way (making £60 for me, my son, & The Swede) to make alterations. What service, huh? So, NXEC trains-Thank You for nothing, you s***s.
So I hope you excuse me if I make it a short post tonight. I'm just so frustrated & upset. I also had the joy of discovering earlier this evening, that my son had forgotten to do his homework which should be handed in tomorrow. I, being in the middle of many family phonecalls to try & sort out the funeral travel arrangements/mess, had not only forgotten to remind my son to do said homework, but had also forgotten to cook vegetables to go with my dinner tonight, so distracted was I at trying to cook with one hand (the other welded to the phone). The upshot of today is that I am now stuck with expensive travel tickets to go down to see my parents soon (when they won't even be there, as they'll be away to the funeral), I can't afford to buy more to actually go myself, I am going to worry about my son getting wrong re the homework matter tomorrow, and I am exhausted after taking ages to eventually cook my dinner tonight.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Today I've managed to avoid going out at all-my excuse being that I am still in a fair bit of pain, owing to the new shoes purchased from that most salubrious of shops (ASDA), last week.
Lordy, it's coming to something when Asda DOES actually feel like luxury!! in "I never get to buy myself anything, so this is fantastic".
Last week I bought both a pair of Skechers-like shoes (the ones with the weird little strap which you pull over the front of your feet and put thru a buckle on the side. Difficult to fasten if you have fat feet like mine, I discovered), and a pair of trainers. Unfortunately, they didn't have any black trainers, so when I wear my new white ones, I probably look like a chav. But hey, I live in a crummy part of town, so if the boot fits and all that...
As a result, I have been in agony, trying to break them in. I've been hobbling around the house wincing all week, and you know what my son said? At his poor sore mummy?
"Why do you have to use all my Star wars plasters?".
There I was, wondering how I am actually going to manage my household and parental duties over the next couple of weeks til my feet toughen up, and that was all he could say. Never mind...what can you expect from a to be fair, his plasters were bought overseas.
Which means I have added yet another item to The Swede's shopping list of stuff to bring us when he comes over in 11 days (and I am also to blame for him now having to check in a case, when previously he was just bringing hand luggage. But he's being very good about it :-D ) The list reads as follows:

3 boxes of chocolate brownies (best I ever tasted, and my mum thinks so too, so he's bringing some especially for her too).

1(or maybe 2) large loaves of polarbrod, which is a gorgeous soft bread that The Swedes eat for breakfast. You can buy a similar kind in Ikea over here.

Two "Taco tub" kits. You know these taco kits you get here, with the awkward-shaped tacos which fall to bits as soon as you bite into them? Well over there, you get little tubs instead, like a little edible dish to put your dinner in. Soooo much more civilised.

2 packets of Star Wars plasters. Please God, let them be in stock or I'm in for it.

I do look forward to seeing The Swede very much, currently it's been about 6 weeks since he last went home, but it feels like forever. Must admit though, I am quite nervous about our trip down to the Northeast for him to meet my sister. She would make Hyacinth Bucket look slovenly, sometimes you daren't breathe in her house....

In the meantime it looks as if my son and I will be taking an earlier trip down "home", in order to meet up with the family trip down to my uncle's funeral in Kent. So a lot of travelling for us in the next couple of weeks, but not as much as The Swede, I guess.

I am also very much looking forward to being taken out for dinner on my 40th birthday by my nice man, as due to a combination of bad timing, bad luck, and meeting horrible men, it is many years since I was actually in a relationship on my birthday...whoo-hoo this year then!! :-)

Maybe this is my luck coming right for once.........let's hope it continues!!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

As I bite into the meatball wrap, I at first think it's quite nice. Then, however, I change my mind, the more mouthfuls I take. What on earth was I thinking?
I just put 10 Swedish meatballs (Still half-price in Sainsburys, bargain hunters!) in a wrap, garnished with not only Felix burger relish (a brand I brought back from holiday), but also Felix Lingonberry jam. Meatballs-yummy on their own. Said burger relish and lingonberry jam-also nice on their own. However, I discovered to my dismay that they don't make a good combination. And because I'm on a diet (super-healthy foods during the week, but relaxing the type of food a bit at weekends and simply calorie-counting instead), I can't have anything else which is properly nice in it's place. Oh well, never mind. Today's diet (compared to the one earlier in the week which sounded like something out of Grazia magazine) was as follows:

Breakfast: None. Yes, I know it's the best meal of the day and all that, but I wasn't hungry.

Lunch: A chicken fajita lattice bake from Greggs the bakers. I know that Greggs food is super-unhealthy, but I figure it's just once in a while, so it doesn't matter.

Snack: A nakd bar (Google them, they're super-healthy AND tasty, plus they fill you up). Sorry, I am a bit of a techno-idiot and don't know how to include a clickable link in my blog post right now :-(

Dinner: Said meatball wrap.

Plus copious glasses of Sainsburys basics cola, which I was happy to discover recently, is now aspartame and other assorted rubbish-free. (It's also happily, virtually calorie-free).

No vegetables or fruit (unless you count the lingonberry jam in my wrap, and also the apple in the Nakd bar, that is). Eek.

Tonight's post is being written rather early, so that myself and my son (who is currently clapping enthusiastically at some guy's luck on "The Cube") can settle down to watch our usual Saturday night freakshow on ITV shortly.

Wonder if anyone would say that I have "The X Factor?" :-D

Friday, 18 September 2009

I've been thinking a lot about family relationships today. Mainly because my uncle, who suffered from Alzheimers, was found dead in bed at the old people's home where he lived, last night.
My uncle and auntie were married for 55 years, in fact my son and I attended their 50th wedding celebrations in the summer of 2004, when bless him, he was beginning to get a little dotty. I had just split up with someone at the time, and really had to force myself to even eat anything, so heartbroken and distraught was I. I sat looking at them celebrating, and thought "Wow, 50 years. I don't think it'll be physically possible for me to achieve that, even if I met my soul-mate tomorrow". So I hope my auntie comforts herself with the fact that they had something very precious together, that some people never find in a lifetime...and they enjoyed a gloriously long and happy marriage. Incidentally, he was in an old people's home because he had recently got very violent in his illness, and it was too dangerous to let him stay at home (which my auntie was adamant she wanted)...but eventually she had to face up to the reality...which was that her life was in danger if he stayed at home any longer...
So I'm waiting now to hear when the funeral will be, following which, I will book my son and I train tickets so we can attend. My son says he wants to be there, but my father expressed his opinion, which was that it will be no place for a 9 year old.However, given that we only rarely meet with the Southern branch of the family (we're all Northerners, and the rest are mainly in Hertfordshire and Kent), I think I will find it very difficult to find a sitter I could trust (or indeed know) when I get down there. Hmm...what to do. Maybe my well-off Southern cousins will have arranged a childminder, and we can tag my son onto the list of her charges.
Does anyone else have an opinion on what is the "right" age (if there can ever be one) for a child to be allowed to attend a funeral? I'd be grateful for your opinions.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Today I've been marvelling at the wonders of a certain Social Networking site. Nowhere did I ever think I would A/Make so many friends, B/Meet my nice man, and C/End up friends with "Frasier" from the (it's true).
Facebook has brought me more than I ever thought, after joining up soon after I left my job last year.For one thing, I've taken a city break to Dublin (where my friend Tom & I sat sipping the most heavenly Irish coffee in The Clarence Hotel, which is owned by U2), and have also visited Sweden 3 times. Don't get me wrong-I'm skint, & I can only ever afford to fly Ryanair, but as a single parent, it's also nice to get away sometimes. I never usually get to go out here, as, with all my family in England, I don't have any babysitters handy. And to hire one....well, I'm sure you all know what that's like...more expensive than the darned night out in the first place......hence I can save up & afford a trip away occasionally...yippee!!
My diet is still going good-I'm really determined this time, I absolutely HAVE to do this properly this time, instead of losing a bit and putting it all back on (plus more). I always said I didn't want to be overweight and 40.....but as I'm 40 in a couple of weeks, I think sadly, it's unavoidable...
Never mind, I'm going to manage it this time, albeit a bit later than I would have liked! I'm already thinking about the shock on my boyfriend's family's faces next time I go over!! Oh, you should see the Scandinavians!!! Some of them are like supermodels!! Nothing like that to make you feel inadequate :-D
Today's post is going to be short & sweet, as I am a little hungry, so I figure the quicker I go to bed, the less chance of me raiding the fridge or...damn it...just remembered I have some gorgeous strawberry & apple viennese tarts from Aldi in the cupboard....aargh. OK STOP. DON'T DO IT!!!!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Another good day at let's move on in case we jinx it...:-)

Today I have had a headache all day-whether this is due to my diet which I am being very good with, or something else, I don't know, but it won't shift..Grr.
I've just been searching online for train tickets, as when my boyfriend visits from Sweden in a couple of weeks' time, we will be heading off down to England for the weekend, so he can be introduced to my sister & her family-what fun. This is the same sister who texted me the other week, asking if it was serious between me and him, "as you're not getting any younger"(it's my 40th birthday on 6th October, just after we visit). Nice comment tho, huh? Talk about making someone feel like a desperate old maid...!!!

So there I was, on the National Express website, looking for train tickets to go mid-afternoon, as if you go any time after about 5pm on a Friday night down to my area of England, you will inevitably find yourself on the Hen Party or Stag Party Express, which, believe me, ain't pretty (train toilets are never nice at the best of times without being "used" by 15 absolutely wasted 20-somethings...eww). I still remember the time my son stood up after a load of tipsy women had done a loud rendition of "Donald, where's your trousers?", and declared "That was RUBBISH!!!"...cue much "Shush"-ing and cringing from me....

Thankfully I found us tickets, and am keeping absolutely everything crossed that they will still be there by this Friday, when I will have the money in my bank account to actually purchase them...eek!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Today my son had a good day at school, which cheered me up no end, and I also had a good friend come over for a glass of wine, some pasta, & a good gossip. Having said that, I couldn't afford a fresh bottle of wine, so we had to make do with the half bottle I'd had in the fridge for ages...cringe (I'm such a good host, huh?). But I don't think she minded. So it was a great day all round! My son behaved, & Mummy got some much-needed adult chit-chat! :-) I hadn't seen my friend since last October, and so it was lovely to see her. We actually both happened to be in Sweden at the same time, back in July, which was quite bizarre, I thought. After all, it's not the most obvious short break destination, but there you I was up North meeting my boyfriend's family, and it turned out that she was going out with a guy whose friend was getting married in Sweden at the same time. However, due to the vast size of the country, we didn't get to meet then, which would have been cool.
Sadly, things haven't worked out with her boyfriend, and so I felt a bit guilty tonight when she was asking me about my relationship, and how it's going etc etc (it's going good). Two reasons really-one that I don't like to boast too much when things are going well with someone in case I jinx it, and two, her and her boyfriend only split up a few days ago,so I didn't really want to go on about how things are good for me (when they're not for her). Am I too sensitive, or just too nice? LOL...maybe both.
I must also report that my diet is going good-I was so horrified at my weight (no, I'm not telling!) on the scales the other day that it really shocked me. Enough is enough, I thought, and that was what I needed to finally get off my butt and start, despite the fact I'd had the food in for a couple of days already.
A typical day has been:
Breakfast: Porridge with raspberries
Lunch: Chicken, mixed bean, avocado, & red pepper wrap
Snack: Greek yoghurt, with honey & almonds
Dinner: Chicken salad
Tasty, fresh & light, which is what my lumpy body needs right now!
Will keep you all posted. I have to go now, as my son is doing his usual evening routine at a snail's pace to delay going to bed, & so I think a little light nagging is in order :-D

Monday, 14 September 2009

Today my son & I attended a meeting at the school with his headmistress, to discuss how we were going to handle him going back to school. She said that several of the bodies she approached for help, are looking to see if they can help us (again), and things sound quite hopeful. The school are also putting several things in place, including having certain staff members around in case he "loses it" etc etc. After the meeting he was taken off to rejoin his class by the head, while I went to the supermarket for a few things (as it wasn't worth going home by this time) and then go back for finishing time, approx one hour and 40 mins later.
Imagine my delight when he bounded out of school cheerfully, and sounding extremely positive about everything. It was wonderful, I'd never seen him like that before!
He then went on, apart from a bit of whinging when I cut short his playstation session (a re-instated treat after his suspension which he couldn't wait to try again) to behave very well all evening, until about 10 minutes ago.
After some 2 hours of messing around instead of going to sleep, and "needing" to get up for drink/toilet/sore random body part on far too many occasions, I had cause to tell him off and tell him firmly to GO TO BED NOW.
Following which he lost it, attacked me, and then called me "Fatso" (Finally started my diet today). And so all the good work is undone....sigh.
On I plough.....

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Today I'm doing my post fairly early, as I don't feel that great. Yesterday I wrote about our mysterious, and sudden fly problem. Well today the little blighters reappeared...I got to number 5 before bringing out the big guns of the fly spray that my son reminded me about. "Why didn't you use that yesterday?", I hear you say, but basically I actually forgot we had it (I never need to use it normally!), and secondly, I hate the thought of all that toxic chemical floating around my home afterwards.
However, I had no choice but to do it today...with the result that I now have a headache that a sledgehammer would be proud of inflicting :-(
I blasted the first 3 or 4 with a load of white stuff before scarpering from the room and hoping that was it, but on seeing another somewhere else, I read the instructions (ha!) and realised that it is possible to treat a whole room by shutting all the doors and windows, then giving a huge general blast into the air of the affected room, & running out and not going back in for 15 minutes. I noted the can said "ventilate the room thoroughly before re-entering", but as this is technically impossible (Who's gonna do that? The robot I keep specially for the purpose??? Huh?), I of course had to go in myself and open said windows. Now I feel bleurgh.....but my son, who I made stay out of the rooms concerned when I was doing this,is fine, which is all I really care about.
Aargh...never thought I would say this, but I can't wait for winter to come, and for flies to be a thing of the past for a few months!!
P.S It's 5 past 3 in the afternoon in the UK, but I am committing the cardinal sin of still being in my pjs at this hour, on a beautiful, sunny day, when, as every British person knows, it is a legal requirement that you hot-foot it to the nearest piece of grass, roll up your trouser legs, place a handkerchief on your head (Ok, so I don't think we do that anymore), and eat the ham sandwich you have taken with you from home.
Oh but what the heck....I always was a rebel.... ;-)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

My reindeer lost 2 legs today. It lost the same ones a few months back too, but my dad kindly re-attached them for me shortly after. Only last month it also lost it's antlers, and so it now looks like a 2-legged donkey.
I am, of course, talking about my cute little wooden reindeer keyring which I bought myself on a Scandinavian city break, back in April (the one thing I could afford to buy myself ha ha)-OBVIOUSLY I don't keep a real reindeer here in my flat, and my dad isn't some sort of super pioneering reindeer-limb re-attachment guy.
You know, maybe it's some kind of weird karma because I ate some of it's pals back in July when I was in Swedish Lapland to meet my boyfriend's parents? I'm normally quite squeamish when it comes to Game, but it was cooked in honour of my visit, so it would have looked awful if I hadn't at least tried it (a bit like gristly beef, but The Swede reckoned I just picked a dodgy end bit). Of course, British kids being what they are sometimes, my very fussy son could not be persuaded to try it, and my poor hosts obviously couldn't understand what I was playing at when I declared loudly at the dinner table "Mm! This STEAK is lovely!! Try some?" to my son, while at the same time winking furiously to the adults around.
My boyfriend's dad, bless him, then turned to my son with the plate and said "Would you like to try some reindeer meat?" crafty mummy was rumbled, and so no reindeer was eaten by said son!! Fussy kids clearly aren't a problem over there, as it never occurred to them to play the ridiculous games that I sometimes resort to, to get things eaten!!
Well, let's did today's diet day go? Suffice to say, that the black beans are still in their can, and the avocado also escaped being chopped up and mashed up with cumin & lime juice to pile into a wrap. Don't get me wrong.....I am looking forward to it...but maybe Monday is a better day to start "Properly"?
Oh God....I know.....I'm employing delaying tactics like you wouldn't believe, aren't I? Ok, I PROMISE-Monday is THE day!!
My excuse for today is that we seem to have some kind of strange fly problem round here, as I ahem, "removed" 14 flies from various windows around my flat today (with the help of several rolled-up magazines, that is). I don't think I have actually ever had 14 flies in all of my time in this block of flats (8 years on the 14th Sept), and so it's been freaking me out a bit, wondering if we have something rotting somewhere that I don't know about..hence said fly party. They seem to go away when it got dark tonight, so I'm thinking it could also be a problem with my window frames, and they're getting in a hole somewhere.
This time tomorrow I will probab ly be found staggering around my home, wild-eyed from lack of sleep (thru dreams of maggots et al), manically stalking anything that moves with a rolled-up "Reveal" magazine.
Oh well....better go and cheer myself up by watching one of my baby programmes...altogether now..."Awwwwwwwwwwww!!!!".

Friday, 11 September 2009

Today I did the big "healthy" shop that I've been mentioning for a few days now...well, me and my son did it....what a nightmare!! It's rare that I have to shop with my son in tow-it's one of the perks about not currently having a job-it means I get to do all the things like shopping, dentist etc without my son being there too.....soooo much easier!! However, as he is currently suspended from school (cringe) , he is also my little shadow the past couple of days...

Today I thought I was going very well prepared-I figured out that if I took my travelling rucksack instead of just a few plastic carrier bags shoved in my handbag, I could carry everything on my back, and would therefore be skipping home gaily, hands-free.
Ha!! Shows what I knew! The reality was very different! I actually staggered home, with my backpack stuffed to capacity, carrying my handbag, and 5 (yes, FIVE) carrier bags! Not only that, but my son had a few things in his school bag which he had on his back too! How the HECK did we buy that much?

To be honest, I think part of it was that we split the shop between two supermarkets-we got a lot of stuff in the cheap shop, and then went over the road to the slightly more sophisticated supermarket for the exotic stuff we couldn't find previously. As the first shop was so cheap (they have a perfectly drinkable version of my favourite diet drink for about a 3rd of the price of "real" diet coke) in went two x 2 litre bottles to my backpack...and it all kind of snowballed from there!

By the time we finally got home, I thought I was going to die. I had gone out, wearing a fleece jacket as it looked so crappy, windy and rainy, that I figured I needed it. However, this being Scotland, as soon as we had dressed for that kind of weather, it was immediately like a beach in Florida. The weather here likes to play tricks on you, you see....if we'd dressed for the Florida beach, it goes without saying that the weather would have been like we were 1500 feet up K2. So you can never win.

Ok so if you've been reading all week, you will know that I am planning a new healthy eating regime. Out with the baked spuds and in with things like greek yoghurt, black beans, and avocados! As I predicted, however, the first day didn't quite run to plan, saying as we didnt go shopping til almost lunchtime. So I improvised. These were today's meals:

Breakfast: A 70-calorie Alpen bar. Pretty much like flavoured cardboard, but never mind.

Lunch: was the first day I have had money for weeks now, so I treated my son (and er, myself) to a McDonalds (But in my defence I had small fries!).

Dinner: Swedish meatballs (they were half-price in Sainsburys, what's a girl to do?), potatoes, brown sauce (not HP, but the Swedish kind, that they sell in Ikea. It's like a creamy steak sauce), peas, and lingonberry jam, the latter of which was fetched all the way from Sweden by my beloved.

This was followed by a flat Scottish crumpet with butter and jam.

So there. You can see I have pretty much failed, having said that, it's probably not practical to expect to start a diet on the day you go out for the shopping, because I had to buy so darned much, we were out for HOURS!!

At the very least, I can probably console myself with the fact that anything I have eaten today was probably all pre-burned off by the physical torture I went thru to get the food home in the first place! Mm....I wonder if there's a few calories left for a square of chocolate?

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Today I have been going slightly mad....well...madder than I already am ;-)
As my son has been suspended from school, I have had the task of looking after him all day when I am already stressed out from what has happened this week. Don't get me wrong-I'm a single mum, so I have him all of the time when he's not in school anyway, but during the weekdays I have got quite used to my little routine...a little cosy safeguard I suppose, after the awful days I used to have in my last job. It's very tame, but I reckon I'm due my tame moments after what they put me So to have my (dearly-loved by the way) son around during this time, can be a little unsettling. Anyway-this is my normal weekday routine when alone:
7.3o The latest we can get up without my son being late for school. Why, oh why is my bed always at it's most comfortable at this time??
8.20 Leave house to walk to school
8.45-ish Get to school knackered (it's a long way) and stand lurking while my son stands in the class line-up, scowling at me for being there to embarrass him
8.50 The bell goes but it's often another 5-10 minutes until the teachers drag themselves out to collect the kids.
I then walk home again, via Greggs the bakers (if I have money) for a nice fat bran scone with butter for my breakfast and once I get home I slather on lots of lovely strawberry jam...mmmmmmmm.I buy Tiptree jam when finances are good, but at the moment we are using the free jar of jam we got from the staff of the local Lidl store on the day that their rivals, Aldi, opened along the road. Ha ha...the customer always wins in these situations...
Any housework to be done comes next. Then, depending on how well getting my son up and out of bed went, I have a shower if I didn't have time before, and collapse on my lovely leather sofa (well, the landlord's lovely leather sofa, but you get my drift), and turn on the Sky + for some laughs in the form of Frasier, and some "Awwwww" moments in the form of the numerous baby programmes on offer on satellite tv these days. (Yes, I'm worryingly into these programmes lately, but more of that in later posts).
Granted-this might not seem like the most exciting or stimulating of days, but after working for 20+ years solid before wandering into the short-lived job from hell (see other posts) before walking out one fine day, I figure while I regroup and decide where I want to go next (I'm worried I can't quite figure that out yet), I've earned my right to have mummy's lazy days sometimes. A period of rest and calm and reflection, if you like.
I should also that I DO actually also keep my house spanking-clean, by the way-just in case you have visions of a "Waynetta-slob" type character from the good old Harry Enfield days. I'm more like a young-ish Hyacinth Bucket, I will have you know.....
Now I'm off to clean the toilet. Again.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

My son was suspended from school today. I am mortified-more so when I see it in black and white. I told the headmistress I wasn't going to even read the letter-not because I am rebelling against the situation or anything (he deserved it, sadly), but because my son has had so many problems at school over the years, that I now know what the exclusion letter says why rub it in by seeing it again. Strange logic, I know...but it hurts too much.
My 9 year old boy has suffered from problems with his temper ever since around the 2nd year of primary school. I have lost count of the number of exclusions, meetings, and so on that I have had to attend over the last few years. He was expelled from his first primary school-though I have to say that that place was a hell-hole. One of the teachers actually told me once "We don't have enough time to give your son because so many of the class don't speak English". Clearly a case of a school so overloaded with kids that need extra attention-be it little ones who need help with the language because they are from another country, or kids with behavioural problems like mine. So after a few exclusions, the first school I think couldn't wait to shunt him out and get him off their hands. I will never forget the day me and him stood crying in the street after he had just been expelled. I guess over the past couple of years since he has been at the new school, we had slowly started to heal, and came to realise that leaving the first school (whether he jumped or was pushed), was the best thing that ever happened to him, because the difference in the effort that the staff make to help him is like night and day, compared with the first school. This and the fact that my former flatmate (who was a teacher), once told me that she had looked into the performance reports for both schools, and told me that the first got terrible results and the second school was very good.
However-here we are in serious danger of him being out on his ear again-this time for thumping a boy in class yesterday over a silly disagreement. I am very very worried-more so because it's such a good school. I think we would both be devastated for a very long time if he lost his place there.
We have a meeting with the headmistress on Monday, who has told us that she is re-contacting all of the agencies that used to help him (an outreach worker from the local special school, plus the behavioural programme that he attended once, and an inclusion-in-school specialist, to name but a few). We are lucky that she bends over backwards for us. Wish me luck. Apologies that today's subject is a little miserable, too...normal service will be resumed very soon!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Ok so I've been trying to work out a diet plan. I should explain that for the past few weeks, I have been so badly off for money that I had to just utilise whatever I had in my cupboards and freezer, so that I spent as little as possible. This Friday, however, will herald the arrival of my weekly income, and not as many bills to pay-which means we can afford to go grocery shopping!! Whoopee!!! Now I have been perusing various magazines, with a view to deciding what kind of route I'm going to go down (with a view to still keeping an eye on the cost, as even when there is money to go food shopping, it's never so much that I can buy what I want without thinking). In my ideal world, my daily diet would go something like this:
Breakfast: Organic porridge with mixed berries
Lunch: Avocado, salsa, & black bean wrap
Dinner: Edamame beans, ginger, garlic & red pepper stir-fry with brown rice
Snack 1: Greek style yoghurt with honey
Snack 2: Tablespoon of houmous with chopped vegetables.
Now I should state here that I'm not a vegetarian-I just enjoy lots of vegetarian foods, but I am still partial to deep fried shredded chicken in chilli sauce from the Chinese takeaway-strangely enough a takeaway which I can only ever get here in Scotland...not when I go home to England to visit.
The reason I picked that diet day out of the many that I have looked at is that it sounds so full of flavour and so exciting, that I don't think it would feel like really going on a diet. Maybe this is where I am going wrong, as my typical diet day would in reality go something like this:
Breakfast: Buttered bran scone from Greggs (I add jam when I get home...naughty)
Snack: Pack of snack-a-jacks (sour cream flavour, usually)
Lunch: Weight watchers ready meal
Dinner: Depending on the calories I have left, either flavoured chicken with salad and potatoes, or a baked potato with either tuna or cheese filling, plus salad.
Followed by a blowout on chocolate because I am both hungry and BORED!!
So I have decided that I'm going to make a lot more effort in future. I guess part of the reason that I've let exciting flavours and cooking pass me by these last few years is that my son is an extremely fussy eater. and feeding him has been such a struggle that it's knocked my enthusiasm for cooking out of me somewhat. This coming from the woman who once competed in Masterchef!! (I did, honest).
So I am planning on going shopping Friday morning,all being well with my finances, and I will post here how I get on with my new flavoursome regime!!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Dear God, Please. PLEASE. Pretty please....may I be allowed to visit the toilet in peace? Lately I have been interrupted in the middle of my morning routine by my son, at least 3 times, with such terrible emergencies as "Mum, I can't decide whether I want the Nintendo DSI for Christmas, or the PSP", and "Mum, you HAVE to come and see what just happened on my Star Wars game!".
Grr. I explained as calmly as I could (it's difficult to appear dignified when you are sitting on the toilet) that this wasn't an emergency, and that when I am in the bathroom, the only things I should be disturbed for, are if he hurts himself, there is somebody at the door, or the dinner is burning. I THINK he has taken it on board, as I haven't been disturbed in the middle of anything for at least 24 hours now.
I live in terror of being interrupted in the middle of even more private moments, every time my boyfriend visits.I have no idea how I will handle THAT if it ever happened. You can wait til kids are asleep, and even agree to be quiet....but I am sure kids have a sixth sense, as there have been a couple of close shaves.
Ok, so it's not even 8pm BST and I am already in my pyjamas, (actually I've had them on for over an hour!). My son is 10 years old on his next birthday, and I am wondering "Does the tiredness EVER stop?".
Of course, it's all worth itwhen he comes running out of school, gives me a huge smile, and says simply "Love you Mum"...

Sunday, 6 September 2009

So we're not long back from the kids party that we had been preparing for with hippy costumes etc. My son really enjoyed himself. It basically consisted of a 60's disco in a little recreation hall, where the boys and girls had separated themselves into two groups. . One group was getting really into the dancing, and the others stood around talking to their friends. Guess which group was which? WRONG!! The boys were actually the ones who were doing the dancing, while the girls stood tossing their hair and pouting! And no-they're not teenagers-these kids were 9 and 10!!
Having said that, the boys didn't take a blind bit of notice, and spent all their time running round like maniacs :-D
Somebody was smiling down on us today, as it didn't rain, which would have made the walk there & back absolutely horrendous (had no money for the bus), but as it was, we made it back tired but dry. I have to say tho, that my son got a few odd looks along the way, as he completely forgot about being shy on the way back, and walked along happily, with his Peace pendant and hippy clothes!! On the way there, it had been a different story-he had "proper" clothes on top of his costume!
Mummy was planning on finishing up last night's tacos in front of some tv tonight, but I'm not feeling too good..hmm....hope it's nothing to do with the 1 day out of date tuna filling I had in my baked potato for lunch..eek!
You know, since I started this blog recently, I've also joined some single parent websites, and boy I wished I'd done it sooner...the people are so nice and friendly and feels like a little community. Yes...maybe that's what I should do tonight instead of playing with fire by re-heating more food. I will be nice to my tummy and just spend the evening talking to my new friends instead. Aah...much better!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Tonight my son and I sat down for our weekly dose of The Freak Show...otherwise known as the X-factor. The Mariah Carey fan who squeaked his way through "Hero" was the best laugh we had in ages....ooh, and I have it on my Sky+, so we can have a repeat performance if we fancy it-I know, I know...cruel...but so funny!
Well tomorrow my son is going to a birthday party, and get this-it's not just any old kids's a joint party for two of his classmates-very thoughtful of the parents involved to have a joint party in the first week of the month, don't you think? They get to halve their costs.....while we get to double ours....crafty. But as my parents said, it probably didnt even occur to both (two-parent) families how much strain it would put on some of the guests' families to have to buy two presents etc.
Not only that, but there's a theme-Hippies. So last week I found myself ordering a kid's hippy costume online from a fancy dress store, at a cost of £20.51-believe it or not, it was the cheapest one I could find. As were the presents-they were courtesy of the Sainsburys sale. So my son will be attending dressed in a floaty cream shirt, topped with a tasselled waistcoat (complete with beads hanging from the tassles), together with psychedelic patterned trousers, a peace pendant, little round John Lennon glasses (blue), and a frizzy wig....LOL. I must admit-he looks good!
Walking 45 mins to the venue in that get-up should be good for a laugh.....
Ok, so it's 12.31 on a Saturday afternoon, and I am both exhausted, and still in my pjs at this hour. Why, I hear you ask? Well I was woken at 3.30 by some young guys ever so thoughtfully having an extremely loud conversation in the stairwell of my block of flats...grrrr!!! The darlings!! (Not).
But what the heck...if I can't chill out and be lazy after a busy week of housework, school runs, and the like, when can I?
So here I am, me at my pc, while my son blasts everybody into oblivion on his Star Wars Lego PS2 game, and I'm trying to work up the energy to shower, having peeled myself away from the StarWars scene which my son insisted I just HAD to watch! I can feel my eyelids it just me, or do other single parents have zero energy too?Believe it or not, before March 2008, I also found time to fit in a full-time job, and now i just think "How did I do that without killing myself?". Ok, so we have no money now, but at the same time, I'm not beavering away on a pile of work which only ever gets bigger, and watching my extremely cliquey team "mates" going out for lunch without me (which they did regularly by the way).
Often I look back on the high-powered world I used to inhabit and it seems completely alien to me now. Yes, I may have swapped having a cleaner and actually having money (sometimes) for sainsburys basics range and scrubbing my own house, but God, it's nice to be able to be a more relaxed mummy, who actually gets dinner on the table before bedtime.
Well, I think I may actually drag myself into the shower now, then put some clothes on. Then I have promised to play with lego with my son, and tonight I am going to make tacos while we sit down and laugh at The X-Factor. Rock and roll!!!

Friday, 4 September 2009

This morning i got soaked. Absolutely bloody drenched!! Aargh! It's been raining non-stop here in Edinburgh for 2 days now, but as my son sometimes says when the weather is this bad "Never mind mum, at least it washes the dog poo off the pavements". And that's true. But really-why should it be any there anyway? The area where we live, is quite bad, and every day I see people wandering along, stepping in it, & treading it everywhere, & most of them not even caring. Because it's the norm. And that surely, can't be right?
I am becoming more & more disillusioned with Britain. Despite being born and bred here, & living here all my life (first in the Northeast of England where I come from, & then Scotland), I feel this country is becoming more and more dirty and shabby, and the people have no consideration or respect. I know I sound like an old granny, rambling on about "young people these days", but it's true!! I'll give you an example. Last October, I went to sweden for the first time-to meet someone I had met on the internet (Facebook, as it happens), and this is the bad relationship I sometimes refer to. Now, the relationship may not have worked out, but WOW, what a beautiful country they have there. Clean streets where you don't have to walk thru animal mess, takeaway wrappings, & vomit. Sorry by the way, I know today's subject is rather gross, but I'm on a roll
Even the people look healthy and happy, and the amount of happy dads pushing prams was WAY more than you see here.It's just a different life.
Anyway, after a few blissful days in Stockholm, I came back here, and got on a bus the day after, to pick my son up from school. As I got on the bus, 4 teenagers got on-two girls and two boys. Almost all of them had big gold earrings in, and checked caps, and were swearing as if they had Tourette's syndrome or something! One of the girls also had the obligatory baby with her (the other must have left hers at home).
I sat there and looked around at all the people sitting there with their faces turned away, not saying anything to the group for fear of getting stabbed, and I just thought "Welcome home Julie".
And I can't say it's got any better since then. Nobody seems bothered here any more...they're all content to live in squalor, have a rudimentary (at best) grasp of the English language all their lives, and doss their way thru life. Not me-I've had enough, and I have decided-if The Swede (my second Scandinavian, lol) ever asks me to move over there, me & my son are off!!!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Last night, I bit The Swede's head off, bless him. Being the so-called organised woman that I claim to be, I had put a note on my Msn beside my photo, which said that I was taking my son to Taekwon-Do, and would not be back til after 8pm. However-being the disorganised chump that I actually am some of the time....I had failed to save said message properly, and so instead of paying full attention to the various drop-kicks, running side-kick-jump thingies and so-on, that all the kids were doing in the class, I had The Swede texting me every two minutes, saying he was worried about me because I wasn't online at our usual time, and was I ok? etc etc...
I couldn't even reply, because since we got together, my phone bills have been so humongous, that I have had to take a vow to text him once & only once per day (and I always save that for goodnight)...and if I broke that, it would no doubt open the floodgates to my usual extravagance. A bit like when I open a Choxi bar (my current favourite chocolate because it claims to actually be good for you), and I know as soon as I take a bite, that that sucker ain't gonna see the inside of the packet ever again!
So anyway, my son and I got in the house, and I was simultaneously trying to boot up my p.c (which is super-slow because I only have mobile internet due to not having a landline), & at the same time trying to hurry a 9 year old who thought he was Jackie Chan into bed, via the shower...aargh! And so when I finally managed to get online, unfortunately I let rip at The Poor Swede...eek! I quickly realised it was my fault for somehow not saving the message on Msn properly, but I felt so bad that I took the coward's way out, and hurriedly put the message back on, and told him he must have missed it. Now I feel like a heel......where's that Choxi bar?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

I have a confession to make......I'm a little plump...well, maybe the correct phrase is a little overweight.
Oh God, who am I kidding? I'm FAT!! Well there, I said it.....cringe. S'pose there's no point being in denial....since I went thru a load of crap this past year, with the failure of what I thought could be a big relationship, and walking out on my job (not to mention the best friend/flatmate who turned into a violent psychopath), my solution has been to feed my face...with everything I can lay my hands on!
I actually did staggeringly well on a diet called the lemon detox diet late last year, & felt (and looked) fantastic...however, instead of following their healthy eating recommendations when I came off the diet (by this time I was involved in the relationship which went bad), I started eating my own weight in chocolate on a regular basis because I was depressed!!
Now, although I have someone who seems nice and stable in my life, I'm still left with all this accumulated weight, and guess what? I also eat because I'm happy!! Aargh! Something's going to have to change...because I don't want to be fat and 40. Here goes :-)

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

This morning I was woken by a text from my man, telling me he loved me, which lifted my spirits somewhat, even though it woke me up, due to the time difference. I've been feeling a bit down because of the money situation, and because if my son wants to do something new, I can never just say "Yes" without having to write my budget down and go over everything with a fine-toothed comb (see yesterday's entry). Whoever thought they would end up having to work out if they could afford toilet roll this week? (We can, thankfully).
When my boyfriend visits, it's like he's a different species from me-every time we go somewhere, I check the cost and fret about what he spends because I've become so conditioned to doing that myself. It's like I can't just chil out and enjoy it like he tells me to. He actually has a really good job, and lots more money than me, but to me when he/we spend a lot of money, it feels so decadent...wrong, almost.
It makes me feel like a freak, & I wonder if I'm the only person in the world who stands sweating in the checkout line at Sainsburys (or even Aldi), waiting to see if I've added everything up correctly, because I've only got a couple of quid in my purse..
Anyway, this morning I got back from the school run with my paper (I could afford one today, whoo-hoo!), and sat down to read it with some toast, and there was a story about a woman who was suffering from a dreadful lung disease. This was because she used to hug her dad when he came in from work when she was a small child, and he had been working with asbestos and contracted something called Mesothelioma, which eventually killed him. Well, now she has the same thing, and she was just 41, with two young kids, one only 9 months old......the story was so sad, it made me cry.....
It made me realise what was really important, and that if we have a roof over our heads, enough food to eat (most of the time), clothes to wear, and most importantly of all, our health....then we're doing pretty darn good...

Monday, 31 August 2009

Taekwon-Do, Explore learning tuition, violin classes, art club, and church youth it just me, or do other mums sometimes feel like a glorified PA, scheduling busier and more complicated weeks for their child, while at the same time, trying to crowbar in the "boring" things, such as meals and sleep?
Last Friday, my son brought home a leaflet about Taekwon-Do classes which are being held in the local school every Wednesday, and begged me to join him up immediately, as if the world would end if I didn't! "Hang on" I said..."You've also joined up to Explore learning classes, and you know that art club and youth club will soon be starting up again as the holidays are finished...are you sure you want to do yet more? You're going to be very busy. Also, you know I'm not working at the moment, & these things can be very expensive, I'll have to see about this"...
Well, what can I say? As well as feeling like a glorified PA, I suspect other mums, like me, also feel bad if they deny their child the chance to learn a new skill and/or make friends too. SO....I had my think about it.....and er..he starts this Wednesday... ;-) Let's hope I don't end up living off beans on toast!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

I sat watching the yoghurt drip slowly down my clothes onto my feet..."What on earth did you do that for?" I asked my 9 year old son in exasperation. "I didn't know how to open it properly myself" he replied with a sly grin. "Yeah right, I thought!"
You see...the frustrating thing about being a mum on your own, is the way that your kids seem to think they can push the boundaries & treat you like some kind of slave because you're just too busy too care or argue otherwise, & so it's easier just to comply..."Yeah sure son, I'll take your dishes away for you because to try to get you to do it when you're watching Spongebob just isn't worth the hassle", or "Of course I enjoy picking up wet soggy towels from the floor sweetheart...don't worry about it"...
I'm Julie, I'm (almost) 40, and have been a single mum ever since my son was born in December 1999. For the past 6 months, I've been in a relationship with a kind, sweet man, who lives in Sweden (handy that he's Swedish then) that I really think might be the guy for me, and this blog is going to log my life as it starts to change...hopefully into something a bit less frenetic!
I walked out of my job a year ago when my (rich landowner) solicitor boss made nasty comments about some (unpaid) time off I was taking because my son Ben was suffering behavioural issues, and I have never regretted it for a second, although I have to say, I miss the money I earned as a busy paralegal.
Anyway...I have to go....I have to clean up all the yoghurt! ;-)