My salad dressing days

Purchase-induced paralysis
March 29, 2006, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I contemplate the purchase of a train set.

Nowadays, there is no such thing as a spontaneous purchase on an otherwise mundane mooch around Mothercare. A lengthy and extensive consultation period is required.

So I decide to seek counsel from those fonts of all toy-related wisdom: Other Mums.

‘Oh! A train set, eh? Riiiiiiiiight…’

Yikes, I think.

‘Well, for God’s sake, make sure it’s B-R-I-O C-O-M-P-A-T-I-B-L-E!’

‘Brio Compatible?’ I ask, puzzled.

‘Brio is the best make of train set, but it is more expensive. However, if you’re not actually buying a Brio set – if, for instance, you’re buying an [sharp intake of breath] unbranded train set – if it’s compatible with the Brio make, then you can still buy extra parts from Brio.’

‘Oookay,’ I reply, wondering whether I should be taking notes.

I casually mention to another friend that I have seen a train set on sale in Asda.

She arches an eyebrow: ‘Well, you could get it from Asda, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t Brio compatible. However, the Tesco train set on the other hand is Brio compatible.’


Tesco is not my normal choice of supermarket but I am coming to understand that the purchase of a train set is up there with the purchase of your first car, flat, yacht etc., so I look out my A-Z and draw a ten mile radius around our house before Googling to find all the Tesco stores in the vicinity.

As luck would have it, there is a Tesco not so far from my house, so I head out there at the first opportunity.

The basic set has sold out. The teenager staffer I approach has ‘no idea’ if or when they will be getting any more, so I skulk home, my heart heavy in the knowledge that TS and TD will have to suffer yet more train set-free days (which will probably lead to all sorts of mental health problems in later life).

I check another branch of Tesco, but it is not a Premium store, so there is no toy section.

Despair sets in…


Then one day my mother calls.

‘Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve bought TS and TD’s birthday present. I’ve got them a train set,’ she says, casually.

‘A train set? Oh…’ I mutter.

‘What’s the matter? Do they have one already?’ she inquires.

‘No, no. It’s just that it’s very complicated. It’s got to be a certain type, you see,’ I ramble.

‘Well, it was on offer at Toys R Us…’

‘I don’t suppose you know the make?’

‘Um, not sure…’

Oh God.

‘I think it begins with ‘B’…’

Praise be! The dark cloud of social pariahhood hanging over my childrens’ heads has been lifted!


Premature world weariness
March 23, 2006, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s mid-afternoon and we are in the midst of a banana pancake cookathon of epic proportions.

There is a loud rat-a-tat-tat at the door.

‘Daddy!’, squeal TS and TD in unison.

‘I don’t think it’s Daddy unless he’s bunking off work…’, I reply.

My enthusiastic knocker is a salesman who wants to sell me a broadband connection.

‘Did you receive one of these through the door?’, he asks, waving a leaflet in my face.

‘No…um, maybe, can’t remember…’

I can smell burning bananas.

‘Do you have a computer?’


I can hear the scrambling of little knees on kitchen table.

‘Because with our broadband service…’

‘Sorry! Don’t want it! My kids! The stove! Pancakes! Gotta go! Sorry!’

And off I dash.

Once resettled in their chairs, TD enquires hopefully: ‘Daddy?’

‘No, darling. Not Daddy,’ I respond apologetically.

‘Oh, people,’ she sighs wistfully, casting her eyes heavenwards.

Yes, people.

[How many years did I say until teenagerhood?]

March 22, 2006, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hey! What are you doing here? Yes, you! I told you already that I’m not blogging right now. Okay?

As the much-lauded rural blogger JonnyB is wont to say*, please (continue to) talk amongst yourselves (if you so wish)…

* I’m paraphrasing here – the bits in brackets are my embellishments

Hibernation and migration (from here to here)
March 15, 2006, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The problem with mini-breaks is that they leave you craving a full two-week holiday. Add to that all-time lows of inspiration and the prospect of an imminent move to another country. And what you get is: A Blog On Ice.

Nope, not another reality TV show, but this here blog is going into hibernation whilst UC gets on with the business of migration.

And should you catch me on your blog, please report me to Bela for a slap, because I should without a doubt be doing Something More Useful Instead (like writing endless lists of all the useful things I should be doing).

See you around….

The short road to monosyllabism
March 14, 2006, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Despite being a clear decade away from teenagerhood, The Daughter has already mastered the art of The Minimalist Response To Parental Questioning.

Her instructions to me today went like this:

[In bed.]
Me: Hello, darling! Did you sleep OK? Do you want to get up?
Her: Milky.

Me: OK. You stay there. I’ll go and get your milky and bring it up here.
Her: Downstairs!

[In kitchen.]
Me: Right, let’s get your milky.
Her: Nice’n’warm.

Me: There you go! Milky – nice and warm!
Her: Living room.

[In living room.]
Me: Do you want to sit on the sofa and watch Cbeebies?
Her: Blanket!

Yep, positively relishing the prospect of the teenage years.

A pretty pass
March 12, 2006, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Long gone are the days when I had three or four posts written up in advance of uploading them. So, in a last ditch attempt to keep the three of you entertained of an otherwise dull Sunday evening, I found myself Googling the words ‘inspiration for writing’. Sad, innit? Yep, nothing short of a Shakespearean tragedy.

Anyhoo, a quick tap-tap on the fingerpad and I found myself at Creativity Portal’s Imagination Prompt Generator.


What was my favourite grade at school?
Ummmm, ‘A’.

What foods do you keep out of sight?
Stuff that requires a stay in the deep freeze, e.g. Mackie’s (super creamy) honeycomb ice cream.

In the next year I’m going to…
be older. Again. *sighs*

On a typical day I…
cannot for the life of me think what to blog about so I just search Google images and post a random picture instead.


Imagination Prompt Generator needs a nap.



What are your limitations and are they self-imposed?
Hmmmm, tricky. My Ego says ‘you are not allowed to eat the Mackie’s bring-on-that-myocardial-infarction-twenty-years-prematurely honeycomb ice cream we bought for the chicklets’ and my Id says ‘you do what you damn well like – have an extra scoop for me!’.

Brainstorm 10 reasons why you feel the need to write now.
Now, see. This is why I called upon your services.

What did you do before we had the Internet?
Goodness. I have absolutely no idea. (Of course, you mean ‘the interweb’, right? Because that’s what we coolsters call it in a bid to confuse the uncoolsters. Heh.)

What are you welcoming into your life?
Mackie’s honeycomb ice cream. With open arms.


Prompt Generator is getting tired.


When was the first time you got hurt?
Snagging my left elbow in the birth canal.

How old would you be if you didn’t know your real age?
Very old and possibly suffering from Alzheimers and hopefully adequately medicated and able to enjoy daytime television without the guilt.

Describe one of your spouses (significant other, best friend, etc.).
I have reproduced the sentence as it appeared, lacking, as it was, in helpful apostrophes. I conclude that I have unwittingly stumbled upon the Salt Lake City Polygamists’ Portal Imagination Prompt Generator.

If your tears could speak to you, what would they say?
Hello! We’re hot, wet and liable to run down your cheek.


Why do you think nobody understands you?
Whadya mean? Mr Chick understands me. Well, I think he does anyway…

Name three reasons why you should get out of bed tomorrow…
‘Cause I’m a nice person. ‘Cause there’ll always be Mackie’s honeycomb ice cream. ‘Cause I’m a nice person…??

Do you hear yourself when you are speaking and really listen to what you are saying?
Um, yes. Or, maybe, no? Which is the right answer? Help!

Why do you write?
I dunno. Not sure why I exist now.

What would have happened if you didn’t leave the house this morning?
Ha! Caught you out. I didn’t leave the house this morning. Ha!

How do you feel when you are by yourself?
Scared of the human-like qualities of modern computer programmes.

What if you were never born?
Mackie’s would have trouble shifting 5% of the stock levels of their honeycomb ice cream which would in turn lead to a national decline in traditional ice cream making techniques which would be a SCANDAL necessitating a brief but high profile awareness-raising campaign involving a ten-person-strong march down Whitehall dressed as ice cream tubs and a photocall with a grinning Minister for the Promotion of Dairy Products.

So you’re angry. What now?
Enough of your sarcasm, my lady. Now go and say sorry to your sister.*


Write about a question that looms large in your mind right now.
Why didn’t I just copy Great She Elephant and ask my remaining three readers if they had any questions they’d like me to answer?

Like these prompts? Tell your friends about it!
No, and no.

The next prompt is yours!
Well, whoop-dee-doo.


* no idea where that came from

Today I parted company with my
March 10, 2006, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Pump In Style Traveler. And you know what? I feel a little sad.