Friday, August 31, 2007


It was time for a declutter.

Now, in our house, this is a relative word.

So when three very large bin bags of, too small, too unfashionable and too disgustingly worn out clothes, finally got to the recycling bank, it wasn't without enormous complaint from Tinkerbell Mushroom and Gymnast.

All summer I have winced as they have got themselves dressed into their favourite togs, not noticing, being 7 and 9, that they made themselves look like children something similar to a pre Victorian orphanage.

It's not helped of course by the fact that people, very kindly, knowing that we have five children, give us all their recycling. It is very kind of them, but, even with five children, there are limits as to how many bin bags full of second hand clothes, not quite the right size or shape, that we can deal with.
"If you don't want them, given them back, or give them to a charity shop" the kind people always say, as they give me another four tons of cast offs.

Never being one for waste, I always accept gratefully, smile and stuff it into already crammed full drawers.

Occasionally, someone gives you something accidentally, and asks for it back, as happened just over a year a go. Fortunately, being the thrifty type, I still had said garment, and although it took some digging to find it, amidst clean and dirty washing, bedding, crisp packets and toys and sweet wrappers, I eventually unearthed the missing item and gave it back to kind benefactor.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want "hand me downs". I am actually always genuinely grateful.
It's just that due to the indelible ink labelled "guilt" mark on my forehead, I am seriously unable to sift through the bags, take what I want from them, and give the rest away. I always feel that if it is given to us, as a kind gesture, we should use it, however ridiculous, large or unfashionable it might be.

And of course, aged 7, the more ridiculous, large and unsuitable it is, the better. which is fine, most of the time. But sometimes, just sometimes, you want your children to look reasonably nice.....
And, you want to be able to see them just so without a huge battle of the wardrobe first.

And then of course there is the problem of the nostalgics.

"Oh, that was her first dress.

That was his first sleep suit."

Or, "That was his first nappy...."

Oh, OK, slight exaggeration.....but you get the gist.

In short we have accumulated clothes for seventeen years, waiting for the next child to fit them. Now, given that fashions probably rotate every twenty or thirty years, if I keep them all long enough, I could probably clothe all of our grandchildren too. And the entire street on which all of them will live.

But really, it was time for a thin down, for, despite my new year promise to reduce items by ten a day, I failed miserably once the first month was over.

And so, I steeled myself. I stuffed it into bags. I was ruthless. Hard. Unmoved and untouched as I rid myself of clothes from mine and the younger children's drawers.
The relief was enormous.

Tinkerbell Mushroom complained to ESOS.

"She's thrown away ALL my clothes.


I have nothing to wear."

The mutterings were faintly reminiscent of someone who should be a good few years older than her, but, I have to say, it did strike a chord.

For, once all the unsuitables were gone. What was left, was tasteful, pretty, suitably sized............. but a little on the ....errr.......minimalist front perhaps.

And so, being the last of the big spenders, and always insufferably broke, we went to the tailors, at Tesco and Tesco and Sons. And for just £30, bought what could only be described as an almost completely new wardrobe.
I am forgiven...

I'm now off to watch yesterday's "What not to wear." And then there might be a few more items that hit the recycling bank before Christmas.......

This time, just mine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Communication is a wonderful thing.

I was just getting to the bottom of my favourite post holiday job.

The mail.

You know how it is. All your favourite people writing to you. Loan sharks, insurance companies, banks. Not to mention the 655 emails offering me things to enhance parts of my body that I didn't even know I had.

Then, the phone rang.

"Can I speak to Mr. Lom-m-max please?"

"I'm sorry, he's not available. Can I help, I'm his wife."

"Is that Mrs. Lom-m-m-ax?"

"Yes, I believe so."

Having established that he was from Talk Talk, he then proceeded to take every piece of available personal information from me needed to rob my bank accounts of their overdrafts, before telling me why he was calling.

He informed me that we had an amount outstanding on our account.

I explained that I had paid the bill in full on 25th July, prior to going away, by internet banking. (I'm beginning to like internet banking. If you get it right, you can nearly get away without talking to call centres. It's not quite as good as my tin pot method, but it's a compromise...)

"But the last direct debit we received on this account Mrs. Lom-m-max was in May."

"Yes, that's because I pay you directly by internet banking."

Communication in these communication companies is a wonderful thing.

"So do you not want to set up a direct debit?"

"No. I prefer to pay you the way I do."

"But there is an outstanding balance."

"I think that you will find, that you are probably sitting on my payment for for the statutory three weeks before processing it. That is how it is shown on the bill every month. I'll go and check my accounts, and if you haven't been paid, I will pay you. If you have, then I'm sure that you will find it just in time for the next bill, as always." (Or perhaps I should have said, "Once you have gained as much as you can from the high interest account that it is currently sitting in...")

"But would you prefer to set up a direct debit anyway?"


.............Thank you."

They had been paid. I checked.

Their days are numbered though I fear, for as I walked over the road to buy some milk, I met a man who was working out where cable networking could be put in our village.

Eat you heart out Talk Talk. We might be able to get cheap telephones and internet connections soon!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Holiday Basics

It was one of those " is this really worth it moments". You know, the sort of moment. One that lasts about three hours.

The moment when, whilst packing the grips, having had to empty out whatever was being stored in there first, as the ones that you used to use for going on holiday have seemed to have done a Houdini act to other foreign places this year on children's school trips, and those that have come back look as if they have done three rounds in the garden with the dog, and the moment that you realise that whilst it makes for minimalist packing, not liking any of your clothes on your body does mean that what you are about to wear for the next week is not what you would ever choose, in a sane moment, to wear. And then you realise that that is what you always wear, and that 90% of the other stuff sits in your wardrobe, or maybe in the clean washing pile in the spare room. Untouched for most of the year. Which of course is why it's untouched in the spare room. Because you don't ever wear it.

Then there is the moment when you pack up all the food from the cupboards, so as to not have to spend money on all the basics on arrival. The only trouble is that it means that you have to sit amongst said "basics" in the car. And you sort of wish that maybe, just maybe, you were just a little bit better off. Not lottery win better off necessarily. Although, at that moment that would be nice. But, just enough, so that maybe, just maybe, you could eat out on holiday, and not have to sit amongst half used cabbages and lettuces for two and a half hours in the car. You see, basics for us doesn't just mean salt and peper, tea and coffee and a pot of herbs. It means everything and anything that we can transport. Which is quite a lot really.

Amidst all this was the car problem.

It had finally been recovered from the great car graveyard in the sky at 3 p.m. on Saturday. By hubby and me. Earlier that day he had rescued ED's mini from the garage, but needless to say, that was a just a "tad" too small to take six of us on holiday. That is six, not seven, as the seventh member was not present. She is on holiday in Portugal, with friend's family. Eating out and ignoring the supermarket bogofs for two weeks.

I happened to mention to hubby as we got back to the house with second mended car that day, that I really wondered if it was worth the effort. Given that it was quite a lot of effort. Really.

Hubby, being in stiff upper lip military mode, told me not to be so miserable, and that if "you go with that attitude, then you won't have a nice time."

Ok, I felt like saying. We've tried the, "not got enough money for anything remotely luxurious". The "I know, let's eat cous cous again tonight, because we have it in the cupboard from when they were selling it as a "buy one get six free offer." The "let's have our anniversary at home for the first 21 years of wedding anniversaries", and the "let's save a bit of money by using the tea bags off the clothes line." (Oh, ok, slight exaggeration... We do drink loose leaf tea, I know. And they have some very good offers on the cheapest brands most of the time).

And yes Hubby. Sadly, you are right. With this approach to living, I do frequently lose all notion of "sense of humour mode".

Quite a lot of the time.

So in terms of marks out of ten for observation on "how drudge wears you down", it's a straight 10 out of 10.

But..... on the other hand, you haven't tried the:

"Drape her in jewels, take her out for nice meals at the finest restaurants, take her on expensive holidays, and let her go to the supermarket without having to buy the bogof's and the "nearly at the sell by dates", and lingerie that isn't the "buy two pairs , get one free set of granny knickers from Tesco" approach, and seen how that might affect the sense of humour part of the brain now have you?



I didn't say that of course. I just looked moody for a little while and carried on packing and stuff. And besides, to be fair, had it not been for a benevolent brother who has lent us a house by the seaside this summer, for the second summer running, we wouldn't have had a holiday at all this year, even with bogofs.

So thank you BB.....

So, we stufffed all foodstuffs, seven grips, an extra grip for towels and bedding, duvets, sleeping bags, dog bowls, food bags and children into the car.

Then we went to find the dog. Said dog has pathalogical fear of cars and so was hiding, very well indeed, in an upstairs bedroom.

As we finally pulled away from the drive at 6.40, I did feel like going on holiday after all.

And as we turned back to the house at 6.50 to pick up all bits that we had forgotten, buy a lottery ticket (so as to give fate a chance of changing) and some sweets for the journey, it felt even more like a holiday.

Well.... the sort of holidays that the Lomaxes always have.

They always start with a bit of a "trip back to the house" followed by fifteen incidents of sibling friction an hour, and thirty "are we nearly there yets."


By 8 p.m. I could definitely see a good Lomax family holiday coming up.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Award from John G!

In retaliation/ thanks for being called an honorary girl, John G has awarded me an award:

I'm now officially a Rockin' Man Blogger?!!

It has taken a while to get it on my blog, because 'twas awarded whilst on hol, where I had no ability to upload pix.

But here it is....................

Thanks John!

I'm proud to be the holder of such an award!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

They really are people!

I've often wondered.

When you meet people, virtually, so to speak....

Are they really real?

Are they who they say they are?

Or are they really three legged transvestite monsters.

Well they are see. I know. I knew that Headless chicken was real anyway, because she lives near me. But as for Meredic..........

Well, I can now confirm that he exists too. And he can confirm that I exist. And we can both confirm that Headless exists.

And none of us are three legged, transvestite monsters.

We can even confirm all our first names:

Sally, Meredic and......... Headless.......

Thanks for visitng us Meredic.....

Hope to see more of you soon!

(Am now in Portsmouth for a few days.... more on that soon....)