Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blogger's Anonymous

Huge house with huge mortgage for huge family, looks and decidedly is worse than your average bombsite. Plus I have tons of paperwork to sort, some lines to learn for a play, some broadcasting stuff to do and GOODNESS KNOWS what else. As six year old would say: "Mummy's feeling a bit stressed. Don't worry Mummy."

I made a new year's resolution to sort out, to write, to put photos into frames and to lose weight.

So, how am I doing?

You might well ask!

Weight loss is for me, on the better side of average. Just don't look too closely yet at the bits hidden by the things that clothes are supposed to hide. Well isn't that what clothes are for?

Two new photos are framed, which is on target - just!

And the sorting?


The sorting looks as if I have never started, which, other than a little flurry at the beginning of the month, is probably because I haven't really.

And the writing?

Other than the odd note to one of the many teachers that we communicate with, and many cheques for the new term of five children's activities, the only thing that I have written is my blog.

So be not offended by my absence from your blogs this week!

As a self confessed addicted blogger I am in rehab for the week, until I have washed all the paperwork, ironed the dishes, filed the clothes, dishwashed the children and got everything else back to normal.

Normal for me anyhow.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sometimes, I hate the fact that it is 2007.

O.K. I understand the rationale. I understand the logic. It makes a lot of sense having lots of people crowded into one room to answer telephones.

One person writes a script with lots of possible combinations of answers.

Everyone has a computer screen to work from.

Even the numbers are automatically dialled.

It's easy, it's cheap and it's very nearly foolproof.

In fact, if you trained monkeys long enough you could probably use one voice over artist to record the entire script, and then get the trained monkeys to push the right buttons. That would be even cheaper, because instead of a thousand people sitting in a room in outer Mongolia, getting hot and bothered by irate customers that they haven't been trained to deal with properly, it would be a thousand monkeys in London zoo who they wouldn't even have to pay.

This would have many advantages.

Firstly, London Zoo could make it a special attraction for visitors to see the monkeys at work, and could make lots of money from it, which they could give to a nice animal rescue charity or something. Rescuing animals from call centres. That sort of thing.

Secondly, monkeys wouldn't be able to understand that the customers on the other end were irate and wouldn't therefore get upset themselves.

Thirdly, most importantly, it might finally bring the entire call centre system nonsense crashing down.

Yesterday, my sixteen year old daughter received three phone calls from our mobile phone provider, whose name I won't reveal in full, but starts with the letter T and ends in bile. She does have a contract phone with them, but her calls are charged to my bill, and always have been. I set up the contract for her. Have always dealt with them and am the account holder.

The payment was due. A bit overdue really. It's after Christmas and as anyone who reads my blog regularly will know, things are, hopefully temporarily, a bit tight at the moment for a number of reasons.

The company who starts the letter T and ends with bile however don't ring the acount holder for such calls (they clearly have lots of people like me). Instead, they just go by an automated system to dial out to the mobile concerned of any overdue bills. As the account holder, I myself had spoken to them earlier that day to sort out the problem. The system of course wasn't actually as quick as the humans involved on the case, and as such, it automatically dialled my daughter's number to ask for payment.

I was cross.

I was very very very cross.

I rang to tell them. They gave me a full expanation of their very complicated and inadequate computer system, which of course they think is just fine, but no apology. (They just shouted at me to not shout. So I am shouting to you instead.) Now of course, had hubby rang up on my behalf to complain, they wouldn't have spoken to him, because HE is not the acount holder.

Now do remember, that in order to speak to anyone in any call centre you have to give out a hundred security questions which make the word "security" a bit of a nonsense really. I am almost wondering if there is anyone left in England that DOESN'T know my date of birth and my postcode. Maybe next time I'll ask them to guess and then I'll tell them when it's the right one.

NatWest bank it seems have finally cottoned on to the fact that people like people. You can now speak to the branch manager at a moment's notice. We changed bank account last month to them for that reason. What a relief! They are still thieving b**t**s of a bank (I HATE banks), but at least they do it with a smile and some personal contact.

Sadly though, for now at least, NatWest do not provide mobile phones or fridges, or supermarket checkout people.

But perhaps as they have taken the lead in the race against time, to ban the call centre, they will indeed see sense and provide the other things too. One day.

p.s. Momo who comes from Romania, but whose written English is so good that I hadn't realised until her last post, sent a me request to Me Me myself in a different way. The challenge was to identify three of my posts that show my personality. Well, I've given you one those challenges. You know the sort, like that rabbit they hid in the countryside or something, for a rainbow, or a pot of gold. Can't remember the details. Lots of rabbits in the countryside too.

Anyway, the "personality" giver awayers are in this blog as hyperlinks. Go find!

p.p.s. I pass the challenge to Beccy of Minty Tea!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Anti Ageing Device.

A few days ago I wrote about my diet, and in response to that post, Meredic replied that we should all weigh ourselves in Newtons.

Inspirational I thought. In fact it really got me thinking.

People are living longer, retiring later, being active for longer, and yet, on the whole, we still use the traditional way of defining middle age and old age. Not everyone of course. My mother had the longest "middle age" that I know of, and even now, at 80 this year, I think would still probably prefer to call herself middle aged.

The thing is though that given that we live on average a good sixty years after approaching adulthood, then really we need to think about redefining it all.

So, I have taken the initiative. An initiative which will mean that we are all young for much much longer. It's cheap. It doesn't involve any surgery. It lasts forever...

It's a new inspirational device to "de-age" all those of us who would like for it not to be quite so many years since that 18th birthday party.

The system is designed for those of us who don't want botox (too risky, can go wrong), certainly don't want a face lift (too expensive and too risky. Knife under the skin on the face? No thanks!), and those who have already found out that whichever cream you use, the main benefit is to moisturize......

It's a new counting system.

They are called Sally adult years (SAY for short).

Counting starts aged 20 in traditional years. I could have started at 18, but I decided that 20 was better, because it's easier to count up from 20.

This means that those who are 21 traditionally are now aged 1(SAY). Those who are having a crises about their 30th birthday are just approaching double figures (SAY).

Those younger than 20 will be minus years. i.e. My sixteen year old daughter will be minus 4. That means that she still has four years in which to behave like an adolescent if she should wish, be frivolous and answer her parents back. At minus four she has far more licence to do these things.

And those like me in their (shhhh) forties) are once again in their twenties (SAY). Young again!! When I get to 50 I will be celebrating my 30th (SAY), and 60, my 40th (SAY). You can't go wrong.

Middle age will go from 40 (SAY), and people need not be considered elderly at all until they reach 60 (SAY), or 70 (SAY)..........

Whatever suits ....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Rollercoaster

It was all because of that post Christmassy blues phase.

You know the sort?

When the house looks devoid of all character and charm, having taken down the decs. All the Christmas smells have gone, and it all feels a bit empty. You feel a bit full of food. The cupboards are empty. The bank accounts are crying out to be fed.....

So, I bought a nice candle.

It was a very nice candle actually. Came from a local craft centre and was handmade.

I put it in the dining room. That is the dining room that is really a dining room, but is currently pretending to be an office, as the office that was, has taken on the identity of a bedroom in the flat next door. So the dining room, which was the only clear and tidy room in the house, is now hugely untidy, full of papers and has the computer in it. It was once referred to on my blog as the dark room...

We lit it.

It smelt lovely.

The candle.

And, the next morning the smell of essential oils around the house was so strong that it nearly reached burning point. Or hold on, let me rephrase that. It did reach burning point. I realised that when I woke up and smelt ........... essence of ...........burn.

Hubby ran downstairs and just caught the candle as the wax had completely melted away and the flame had ignited. The office desk has a nice designer char mark on it now as a result, but otherwise no damage was done. Fortunately the flames didn't meet their friends, the paper.

This was very fortunate really, as not only did we not smoke or burn out the tenant in the flat, just one room away, we also didn't go up in flames as an entire family. The possible consequences just cannot be thought about.

We can also not think about the fact that last month we changed bank account, and very stupidly. Very very very stupidly forgot to tell our insurance company. As such, they didn't get a direct debit payment in December. They wrote to us of course. In December. Round about 23rd or 24th December. I can't think why we might have missed the importance of the letter. But we did. So their next letter was yesterday, telling us that as they had no payment in December, they had cancelled the policy from 31st December. This VERY VERY large insurance company which has merged with millions of other insurance companies over the last twenty years, and changed its name as often, has been our insurers for 20 years.

Sadly though, they do not appear to have any telephones.

Had the house gone up in flames, and we had survived, we would not have had any money to rebuild it.

Life on the rollercoaster can be quite scary at times.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's all to do with babies really

It has taken me a while to work out how this tagging thing works.

This is my forty fifth post, so maybe because my rate of blogs has finally overtaken my age the dawning has occurred. Something like that. But I have just realised that being tagged is not just something that you are supposed to accept graciously, but something that you are supposed to respond to. And by response they mean telling the world about five things they didn't know about previously.

That's quite hard in my case, as for the last three months I have worn my heart on my sleeve and told the world all about me in my blog. I've told you things that I never thought that I would tell anyone, and I have certainly told you things that hubby thought that I would never tell!

So, with thanks to Beccy who tagged me, what don't you know?

Well let's see........

1. Nothern Ireland

We lived in Northern Ireland for four years from 1995 to 1999. I loved it and I still miss my friends from there, and miss living there.

2. Hospital

In December 1998 I spent Christmas day in hospital due to a burst appendix in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. Hubby had shown great concern for me that day when I woke up with stomach pains. "I think you've got a hangover Sal. Bit of wind perhaps?" I walked round Safeways' that afternoon for a few last minute bits and pieces, only to be greeted by my neighbour. "Come and see the fish counter" she squealed. "They have prawns at half price." Very fortunately had done most of shopping the day before, so left supermarket VERY quickly with a few green veg.

Later that day when children were in bed and Christmas had been mostly attended to I thought that I was going to die.

In truth it was the closest that I have come to it.

From first calling, it took four hours to get any sort of medical attention to the house, but then was rushed to the hospital and operated on to save said life at 3 a.m. on Christmas morning. No keyhole surgery for me. Have big battle scar to show for the trouble. Christmas lunch was a glass of water, followed by a stay in The Ulster Hospital until almost new year on mind blowingly awful heavy duty antibiotics. Hubby was very remorseful for not taking my pains too seriously until it was nearly too late.

We then celebrated Christmas again on 8th January, and left the decorations up until then. "Oh, I'm sure that the bad spirits will forgive you" said my sister in law. BIG Mistake. Hence the blog about 12th Night this year.

I really think about it every year,


3. Crash

On January 14th 1999, just three weeks after my appendicectomy, hubby was in a car accident. Broke his sternum and had threatened heart damage so was put into the cardiac ward. Our third child, daughter number two, aged four, sustained internal injuries from the crash. She had to have major abdominal surgery and we very nearly lost her. Hubby was in The Ulster Hospital on one side of Belfast, DNT was in The Royal on the other side. It was a nightmarish ten days. The sort the you don't actually think has actually happened to you after the event. It did though. During that time our friends showed their true colours. So many people came to our rescue and I have never really felt that I have been able to thank them all enough.

4. Breastfeeding

Daughter number three, child number four was six months old at the time of all this. On the night that I went into hospital for my own op, I asked if I could keep her with me. The staff intially said I could, and gave me a side ward. They then realised the seriousness of the damage to my insides, saw what sort of drugs I would need, and changed their minds. So, she went from being an entirely breastfed baby, to hubby going to the maternity wing in the middle of the night to beg some bottles. He then had to scour town for an open chemist on Christmas morning to get some formula.

After coming out of hospital from my appendicectomy I managed to re-establish the breastfeeding. This was partly because I felt that I hadn't finished the job, partly because I enjoyed it, and partly because I WANTED TO CHOOSE when I gave up!

I succeeded.

Then when daughter number two, child number three went into hospital, I was allowed to stay, but the baby, daughter number three, child number four, wasn't. They didn't even allow her onto the ward with us. So she stayed with Grandma who came over to NI to help. I sent bottles of expressed milk home, and got glimpses of her when they came to visit.

When I got home I re-established the breastfeeding again. Probably because I am very stubborn at times!

Ironically the trauma that she suffered by being parted from me twice in quick succession - not that we will ever know how much - was possibly responsible for two molars growing though damaged, we are told. That is why she had to have those teeth removed just before Christmas just past.

5. Miscarriages

As well as having given birth to five children, I miscarried two. One between first and second child, and the other between fourth and firth child. Fifth child was planned, as I had felt devastated by the loss of the previous one, but nevertheless, surprisingly, was conceived very quickly after the miscarriage. I think that I had thought that I would probably not have another chance. But I did. And she's still a joy!

I tag Enid who I have recently come across, and who is very funny. Six Word Short Story which can be found via the Our Albion blogsite, because I think that this is a great mental challenge, and that you should all have a go at writing a six word short story, Meredic, Ignorminious and Nicole.


Monday, January 15, 2007

The DIET!!!!!!!!!!!

It's Monday 15th January. I'm past the 14th deadline that I gave myself to start the new year diet. I pledged to lose 2lb a month in my New Year resolutions list.

So here I am. I've started.

One of my brothers who diets every year in time for his summer holiday has very firm rules on dieting: You don't diet at Christmas, you don't diet at Easter, you don't diet on holiday, you don't diet on your birthday, and losing too little each week is boring. It works for him, it's reasonable advice and he is, unlike me, a successful dieter, so as such he must have something right.

My slimming battle has been less simple, because I can safely say, that other than for a few weeks here and there, Christmas, Easter, birthdays, holidays and pregnancies (I always lost weight when I was pregnant and regained when I was breastfeeding contrary to popular medical beliefs), I have been on a diet for the past twelve years. My venture into the weight battlefield began shortly after second daughter, child number three was born.

I had tried dieting before then of course, but, in your teens and early twenties, you put on a few pounds, take it seriously for a few weeks and it's gone. Even after Eldest Daughter and Eldest Son Only Son was born I lost weight relatively easily. In fact a year after his birth I was thinner than I had ever been in my life, and loved myself. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find a single photo of that era (Summer 1993) to prove that I was actually thin and still looked young.

After second daughter, third child was born, it all changed. I changed. My body changed, and I have been on the fat and slightly less fat rollercoaster ever since.

Of course, many who look at photos of me will not realise that I am now (and it really makes me cringe to say this) three stone more than I was aged thirty. That is because I fortunately still have a relatively slim face and upper body, and after many years experience I am very very good at a: dressing to deceive, and b: putting children in front of me when I have photos taken, or only allowing head and shoulder shots so as to avoid a Princess - or Lady as she was then - Diana moment, when I eventually hit fame and fortune, and have old photos posted in the media.

However, in truth I am frustrated. Healthy eating plans are my second name, I have tried every miracle cure for slimness ever written (and some not written), I have put myself through exercise regimes, healthy eating plans, tried surviving on what could only be described as an adrenalin and water diet for quite long periods of time, tried avoiding certain food groups, tried Atkins, Hay, Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, The Food Type Diet, The GI Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, Weightwatchers, Slimming World, E Diets, and Unislim when I was in Northern Ireland ........... to name but a few. I know all the rules. I know you are not supposed to weigh yourself more than once a week, (but still weigh myself daily - just in case overnight I have dropped three stone. I live in hope.) I know that you are not supposed to refer to any of these things as "diets" and that healthy eating is the thing. Yes of course it is, but the point is to lose weight, and YOU can call it what you like, but we from the fat club know that diet is actually short for: "Eating a sensible diet that keeps control of your eating habits in such a way as to ensure good nutrition, and in turn produce weight loss at a healthy and safe rate." But let's face it, it's a bit of a mouthful to say: "Eating a sensible diet that keeps control of your eating habits in such a way as to ensure good nutrition, and in turn produce weight loss at a healthy and safe rate" every time, so for "diet", please read: "Eating a sensible diet that keeps control of your eating habits in such a way as to ensure good nutrition, and in turn produce weight loss at a healthy and safe rate.".

We wouldn't want any confusion now would we.

In the meantime, I'm going to go for the low carb, GI ish option. I won't call it Atkins because I'll get billions of comments telling me that it is unsafe. Don't worry readers. I will follow an "Eating a sensible diet that keeps control of your eating habits in such a way as to ensure good nutrition, and in turn produce weight loss at a healthy and safe rate" plan, but it will be a low carb version of "Eating a sensible diet that keeps control of your eating habits in such a way as to ensure good nutrition, and in turn produce weight loss at a healthy and safe rate".

The reason for this is because I have decided that my pancreas not only needs a rest, but, as it is clearly shooting out insulin faster than you can say hot dinners, frankly, if I don't do something drastic soon, it might just go pop. Or worse, it could be me that goes pop, once I reach my final balloon size.

So here goes. And, if I haven't lost 24lb by Decmber 24th (because you can't diet at Christmas - oh I know. I KNOW!!. But it's o.k because I'll still follow an "Eating a sensible diet that keeps control of your eating habits in such a way as to ensure good nutrition, and in turn produce weight loss at a healthy and safe rate")plan, version of not dieting at Christmas...........) .............. I'll cry.

And then I'll find a BIGGER child to cover the damage in the Christmas photo.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

True Love

The moment had come. The big date between Aged 8 and her beau had arrived.

He was invited for tea.

Now due our poor children having a mother who has passed the "lazy housewife's guide to survival" test with flying colours, they do not normally have the luxury of eating earlier in the evening as do some of their friends, because THAT would mean my cooking twice. And when you are cooking for seven people daily you don't want to do that. So, they instead have to endure an adult style dinner each night, as that way I can give them reasonably nutritious fodder, without having to cook two meals.

I am also a horrible mother in that despite being asked once by the youngest if I could cook nice food, the sort that little girls like to eat, like pizza and fish fingers and chicken nuggets, I instead quite often force feed them with stews, homemade soups and other horrible things like risotto. I also don't let them have squash because of their teeth, I rarely cook puddings, because that would make ME even fatter and I don't let them smother their food with that red stuff either. I'm so mean.

As Jack was coming round however, I made a concession, as I do when friends come, and asked Laura to find out his favourite food.


Now, the next bit is not because I consider it beneath me to buy frozen pizza from the shop. If the fancy takes I DO. I thought though that it would be a nice sort of child oriented activity. I was clearly feeling very benevolent. That is why I decided that we would make our own pizzas.

Youngest daughter also was also entertaining two friends. They were the female variety however, and were not invited to stay to eat with us. Admittedly ED is away on a school exchange this week, but even so, seven people is enough to feed on a week day evening.

So, with dough from the bread maker, grated cheese, pineapple, ham and tomato puree, we made a sort of Lomax version of deep crust pizzas. Considering there were five untrained sous chefs in tow, we did a reaonable job.

And the subsequent rearrangement of ingredients wasn't too demanding.

I served up supper.

Youngest child, aged 6, took one bite and announced that she prefers "proper pizza, made by professionals."

Jack, who is apparently the only boy aged 8 with, it seems, perfect manners, (or maybe it's just that when my boy was 8 years old he didn't bring home very good examples of well mannered friends, or something like that), announced that his Nan was the best pizza cook that he knew, as she cooked Asda pizza.

They all ate it though, and asked for more. Children can be very strange.

Meanwhile the subject of birthdays came up. Now, we we have a strange habit in our family of sharing birthdays: me, having narrowly missed my older brother's birthday by three hours, despite being born three weeks early (first and last time as an early bird. Didn't suit me clearly); my first sister in law who shares my mother's birthday; my youngest child who was born on my second sister in law's birthday; and hubby and me who don't share, but who neverthless are exactly the same age bar six days. (He is the older man of course.)

So when it transpired that Jack's birthday is the same day as mine it seemed that it must be fate.

It's obviously true love amongst the 8 year olds.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Portsmouth? Where's Portsmouth?

We had almost decided that it was definitely to be Portsmouth after all, and were working out where to leave Eldest Daughter sufficiently fed and watered and self sufficient for two years, to finish her sixth form. It all seemed preferable to Hubby being on tea making duty for the rest of his Civil Civil working life.

Then, everything changed.

On 22nd December Hubby, who has never left Government service since going to university through the Royal Navy in 1981, went for an interview. Ironically, the company concerned, although they are not in any way part of the Civil lot, do nevertheless do some work for the said Civil people, and as such knew about Hubby though current stuff, especially when he was went on a course organised by them, to train in the sort of work that they do.

Meanwhile the Civil lot, having trained hubby in the new area of work, which he clearly liked and showed an aptitude for, decided that they wanted him in Portsmouth -
yesterday - but not to do the new stuff that they had just trained him for after all. The new company however did want Hubby, and offered him a job on the same day as the interview.

Now, for many of you non Government types out there, such actions from a recruiter may appear quite normal, but for Hubby, being of the stable where it has taken as much as 18 months to resign (1st Government service job), three months to be approved for service (second Government job), and seven years to decide on a move to a new part of the country (third Government job), this was quite quick.

One hour.

So, in the spirit with which it was given, once the proper letter arrived at the end of last week, he resigned and accepted on the same day.

So, we are not going to Portsmouth.


Where's that?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Weblog Awards 2007 and Portsmouth


I have made some nominations for this!

Have you made yours?

And if anyone thinks me worthy in any way, then mine's: all British; funny when not thinking about it, so I'm told; pretty much unknown and very surprised and delighted when people tell me that they are reading me, especially when I had no idea, as happened today! (Thank you person in question. Was very surprised and very delighted!); and (I am told by my friends) written well enough for people to want to read more of me. (That is apart from the odd little blip here and there, as pointed out occasionally by a certain commenter who shall remain anonymous, as she or she is anonymous to me at least, but since the little blip is clearly one of my best friends after all because he/ she wished me a happy Christmas and I like everyone who wishes me a happy Christmas.) There isn't a category for mad woman with five children I don't think, but if there is, then that would probably fit best.

As for Portsmouth. Looks like it's off. Watch this sapce for how , why and when. Coming soon.....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Which one is the Twelfth Night?

So when is Twelfth Night? My mother has always insisted that it is on 6th January. My eldest brother has always had his decorations down by 5th.

My mother has then acused him of not being able to count.......

If you count twelve days from 25th December, it is indeed 6th January. However, if the first day of Christmas is 25th December which most of us would assume it is, then to me it looks like this:

On the first day (25th December:)
of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day (26th December:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day (27th December:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day (28th December:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day (29th December:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day (30th December:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day (31st December:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day (1st January:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day (2nd January:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day (3rd January:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day (4th January:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day (5th January:)of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

Which makes it 5th January.......

And, on looking up the lyrics for the song, (because I am ashamed to admit that my ageing memory failed me), it talked about the twelfth night being the eve of Epiphany, rather than Epiphany itself. Or, is it that the calendar was changed, during all the Gregorian stuff and as such there didn't used to be a 31st December?

Or is it that you should indeed do as my mother always has done and count up from the 25th. This means though that 25th is not a day of Christmas, which seems a bit daft to me.

In the meantime:

Do I take my decorations down on the 5th for good measure?

Do I wait for the 6th when I will have help because the family is home?

Or indeed, is it bad luck to take them down on 5th, if 6th is officially twelfth night?

Now we really could do with some of the good luck variety this year. So do comment please, and let me know.....


I have done some searching around on the net and found that the song may have originated not in England, but in France and that according to the Snopes Website
January 6th is indeed the twelfth day of Christmas.....

In some church traditions, January 5th is considered the eleventh Day of Christmas, while the evening of January 5th is still counted as the Twelfth Night, the beginning of the Twelfth day of Christmas the following day.

What's more, for the seriously brief period of time that The French Revolutionary Calendar was used, in France, December did in fact have 30 days.

So if these three websites are correct, and if the song was orginally of French origin around about the end of the 18th Century (from whichever calendar you feel like using)then that makes the twelfth night 6th January after all.

But with our calendar, it's still 5th isn't it? Oh I don't know! What do you think?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year!

As we sat around on New Year's Eve with our friends from many many years, all speculated as to what would be written about them in my New Year blog. It amused me somewhat, as, like my children, there was a sort of semi celebrity issue at stake here. But as our yearly new year gathering (which has been almost the same for the last sixteen years bar two, with one or two additions to the guest list on occasion) is one of my favourite occasions of the year, I shall just leave it there, with a certain amount of respectable anonymity and the knowledge that the evening was full of happy contentedness that you feel only with oldest friends.

As for the new year's resolutions, well that's a different matter!

I have four.

First: I intend to discard, dispose of, give away, sell(?) ten items of what can only be described as rubbish from our house, every day of the year, this year.

Now, this may sound drastic to some, but bear in mind that we have over the last sixteen years managed to accumulate one of each, and sometimes two, of the entire contents of the stock of The Early Learning Centre, The Book People, Mothercare, Next children's wear, Ladybird, Tesco, Asda, anyone else that makes children's clothes, plus enough paper to rebuild a rain forest. Many of these items have been kind gifts from friends. Many have been given to us secondhand, and the odd thing has been bought by us.

As a hoarder however, as each new item has arrived in the house, I have failed to throw away anything.

And now we have much too much what can only be described as unusable unrecycleable JUNK!!! So hence the grand throwaway. And for all those that expressed concern at my radical actions, I do promise that if I come across anything that belongs to anyone else in the process I will carefully return it to its rightful owner, and of course if and when there comes a point that throwing away ten items a day starts to leave us devoid of essential stuff, I will stop......

Secondly: I intend to lose 2lb a month. Not a week. That's unachievable. I know, because I have tried that before and lost and regained, a bit like Paradise. So, a month. However I am starting on January 14th, to give us a chance to finish - and enjoy - the last of Christmas. If I don't feel deprived I won't cheat! Well... I might not anyway.

Thirdly: I intend to put two photos a month into frames. We have thousands of photos in several different formats, and many (especially school ones) are simply on the mantelpiece, unframed and ageing. 2007 will be the year of the frame. Not too many at once though, because that would be unachievable. And we wouldn't want that.

Fourthly, I intend to write a readable book by the end of the year. There. I've said it. I can't go back now. I shall just have to start. Otherwise I shall have to admit this time next year that I failed in one of my New Year's resolutions.

So here goes.

2007 here we come...