Is that a thing?

So I’m sat here thinking about life and stuff and how we are all very different. I mean we’ve got men, we’ve got women and we’ve got every shade in between. And while we are all very very different I can guarantee the we all have one thing in common…. We are all afraid of something!

Now I’m sure there are some well ard ones amongst us who deny this but believe me we all have our weaknesses!

Have you ever thought how many fears and phobias are out there, thousands I bet.

You’ve got your common or garden variety phobias; spiders, heights, small spaces, or for those of us wanting to impress, arachnophobia, acrophobia and claustrophobia but there are a massive number of more kooky ones out there. And I have to admit, besides the usual fear of spiders, I suffer with one of them kooky ones.

Imagine this…. Child’s new partner comes to visit for the first time. Now we all know there are certain key questions that this poor victim, I mean visitor has to answer with a suitability good response to be able to pass the test and become “one of the family”.

My welcome chat (read interrogation) would go something like this…

Hi…… (insert victims name)

So, where do you live? …. (allow time to answer!)

Do you work?

What’s your gross salary?

What’s your chances of promotion?

What is your credit rating?

Do you still live at home?

Do you have a criminal record?

Note you may notice these are quite blunt but I would be interjecting these with nice flowery questions and snippets of humour.

You could also bring it the baby photos to give the interrogee a breather if you see they are breaking out in a sweat. Perfect time for a brew and a hob nob too.

So I’d carry on..

What are your hobbies?

Are you a member of any dodgy organisation?

Leaver /remainer? (got to add a bit of political interest)

Do your family live close?

Do they earn lots of money? (thinking about the wedding)

Do you like cats? (now this is important to me but feel free to substitute any pet here or if you don’t have a pet you can ask about any animal you like in general I guess… Just don’t come across as weird)

So the questions continue to we get to the crux of the visit…

Do you love my son /daughter? (delete as applicable)

Will you always look after them?

Are you planning a long life together?

Do you own a cardigan?

Do you think you can spend the rest of your life never wearing one…. ever?

There you have it. I have a complete and utter fear of the c- word things and the b-words (whispers button). I even hate typing the words. They make me feel physically sick and I must wash my hands if I touch one.

I don’t know how it started but my mum tells me I managed to “lose” every one she made me as a child.

I study people close to me and on tele to see if they have them on and I cannot focus on anything else till they have gone. Sounds stupid I know but it has been with me as long as I can remember.

I can’t understand how people can put them on (find an alternative damn you, there are some lovely jumpers and jackets or there) and it beggars belief how many there are out there in the world. If I ruled the world, they would be banned big style!

And why do people buy clothes that have buttons all over them for heavens sake. Have you seen the Tesco clothes range this winter… They’re f***ing every where!

Embrace zips peeps… They’re the way forward!

I have managed my entire life to avoid owning them and my poor family haven’t either. My hubby knows it’s more that his life’s worth to get one and my kids haven’t had one other than my son wanted one years ago when he discovered fashion and owned one briefly until I accidentally ruined it in the wash!

Also my pink one had one but only as she accused me of being cruel and I didn’t want to have to explain to Social Services the reasons why!

“Mrs Bailey, we have had a phone call from your daughter and she says you are being nasty. Can you explain?”

Me “Ummmm”

She finally put her foot down after years of wearing a school sweatshirt and insisting on having one as all her friends did. I had to give in to that but luckily she was old enough to put it on herself. We didn’t cuddle much that year!

This phobia has a name so that must mean there are others out there with the same affliction, saying that my nephew has an issue with this too… I’ve trained him well! It’s called Koumpouniphobia for what it’s worth.

This is a weird one I admit but I’ve looked into other phobias lately and there are some well – wacky ones around.

Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Now I don’t like peanut butter so can’t relate to this but I do get a bit scared when I get a tangy cheese dorito wedged in there so kind of get the idea.

Oikophobia is a fear of kitchen goods. I really don’t get this one as I can’t think of any thing more exciting that getting a new white good in my kitchen, unwrapping it, putting the shelves where you want them, getting a huge whiff of that new plastic smell.

And then if you have bought a new fridge, you get to arrange your cheese, your eggs (that you know shouldn’t really be stored in the fridge but you have a new egg rack which means it must be legal), your Utterly Butterly, and your half drunk bottle of Zinfandel. This is your opportunity to clear out the salad drawer too, scrape off the dried cucumber from the bottom of the drawer and throw out the strawberries that used to be red and lovely but are now growing a new strain of penicillin that could kill all viruses known to man!

Any way back to the phobias…

Anatidaephobia is the fear of somewhere, somehow a duck watching you. Can’t quite figure this one out. I know they say you are always within 5 feet of a rat but what’s the chances of a duck being close by when you are walking through town on your way to Greggs to get your vegan sausage roll. I think this is a part time phobia, invented by a weirdo, or just for the people who live near water.

And finally, triskaidekaphobia which is an irrational fear of the number 13. How would a sufferer manage when they turn 13.

How old are you?








This is the perfect way to lose friends so now this poor child is a triskaidekaphobic, autophobic with an unnatural fixation for Play Your Cards Right!

This list is endless. Google it, I bet you find some phobias you can relate to and you can add them to your CV.

Feel free to call in to chat about your new found phobias. Just do me a favour, wear a jumper……..

It’s just not cricket!

Following on from my previous blog about hobbies, I just remembered that my life is pretty damn full of another past time….I just forgot about it being old and all that!

Every summer from April to September I take on a magical role, a very important role (to some!) A role I have always wanted to do ….. I do tea and I’m proud!

Let me explain. My son has played cricket for many years now and if I say so myself, is a cracking bowler. Apparently he is a left hand spin bowler (for you cricket buffs out there) but to me he just chucks hard swervy balls at men (usually). So after a fair few years of his dad watching and encouraging him and trying to train him, (an impossible task as “Dad doesn’t know anything” but as soon as the coach says the same thing, it’s gospel!), dad decided to join him. Father and son combination – perfect I hear you say,…mmmm, that’s another story!

Anyhow my hubby, let’s call him Kevin cos that’s his name, used to play cricket in his younger years and was pretty good by all accounts. So he was dead chuffed to be back in the whites, which are now a bit grey as my washing machine says it has a whites cycle…it says so on the drawer thingy… but it doesn’t. It has a wool, silk, quick wash, tumble dry, colour, eat your sock and grey cycle but no white cycle that produces the results you see on tele where the presenter stands there holding up the whitest of t-shirts with a smug smile on her face. I have every conceivable whitening product in my cupboard too and they all lie to me. Or it could be that I am just s**t at laundry.

Sorry I’m wandering again. So he was like in a kid in a sweet shop now that he was playing again and soon got a bit too carried away. He wanted to aim for the heady heights of the cricketing world and decided he wanted to captain one of the teams at the cricket club they play at.

He put out some feelers, bribed those who could be bribed and blackmailed those who couldn’t! Hey presto, someone on the committee found it in their heart to nominate him and someone seconded the nomination so it was all above board, agreed, pucker and legal: he became the captain of the 4th’s team.

The 4th’s are a stalwart bunch of men/boys who love a social (and I use the word loosely) game of cricket on a Saturday afternoon. For anyone that thinks that cricket is a gentleman’s game, think on. I have been introduced to the world of sledging, which if happened outside your local nightclub at 3am would result in you having 7 kinds of s**t being kicked out of you but as it is during the game, it’s apparently all just banter!

Back to my story……Here began my new role. You see as captain, he is responsible for feeding the players in the middle of the game, in between the innings (that’s the break in the middle for those less-knowledgeable in the language of cricket). See I’m even learning the lingo!

Like I said, he is responsible for feeding the men: he is married to me: therefore any responsibility falls to me. Bit like his wages: he gets paid and he gives them to me …simples!

Anyway I’ve always wanted to do the teas and I finally get my chance to shine. It’s like as a child, I always wanted to work in a library as you get to stamp the books. Guess what, my dream came true. I work a few hours a week at a library where I not only stamp books, I get to scan them as well and wait for it, I get to use a till too. It’s like I work in a shop as well…bleep, bleep, stamp, kerching – could it get any better?

I thought this food-providing role would be a piece of cake (see what I did there?) but oh no, it is so stressful and my thoughts are with those tea ladies around Britain that have been doing this for years. As Spiderman’s uncle Ben once said “With great power comes great responsibility”… How true is this!

Even from day one, it’s caused derision in the ranks. I did a poll with the family – do I do the usual common or garden variety cricket tea of sandwiches and cake or do I take it up a notch and offer ploughmans? It may sound like a small decision to you but this could change the face of cricket fare as we know it!

The results were in – my daughter said traditional sandwiches, my hubby said “whatever” and my son said pizza and chicken nuggets! In the end I agreed with my daughter to try one of each, traditional and ploughman’s and check the feedback with the majority winning.

I lied… I went straight in with the ploughman’s because I pulled rank on my daughter! I have to be honest, it’s a pretty damn good spread, beautifully arranged and labelled. I must mention at this point that I do enlist the help of my pink one or a good friend (remember Heidi from a previous blog) to help where possible. Picture this….

Sliced and buttered Tiger bread, sliced cheese – 3 varieties of, sliced meats – 3 varieties of, crisps – 2 types of, mini hot savouries – 2 types of, pasta, salad – cucumber, celery, tomatoes and fruit – grapes, blueberries, strawberries, melons – 3 types, all beautifully displayed on a platter like a Monet vegetarian work of art, followed by a huge selection of cakes and biscuits.

I even provide a small gluten free option for those of a coeliac nature. Plus I also take requests. Just ask the guy who wanted olives. Guess what appeared in the antipasti section the following week?

Although the result is impressive by cold buffet standards, it all comes with a price. The players from both teams help themselves to the veritable feast, plate after plate and enjoy it (I’m basing this comment on feedback received. Ok I lie …. I loiter close by and listen out for the remarks which are normally about the fact that there is sliced roast beef!), but no one knows the misery and suffering that can go on behind the scenes.

They don’t see my living room from Tuesday onwards where I sit there watching my hubby trying to arrange a team by ringing and texting every bloke he can think of whilst not having time to communicate with me for 3 days!

They don’t see my face on a Friday night after a long day at work arriving at Tesco and struggling to find a £1 coin for the trolley.

They don’t see me wandering around Tesco knowing exactly want I need to buy, as I have meticulously worked out how many packets of everything I need, swiftly moving from one chiller to another gathering my raw ingredients.

They don’t see me having to adopt plan B when Tesco have run out of mini beef pasties and I need to find an alternative meaty product with the same satisfaction value as the pasty… No mean feat I can tell you. A sausage roll won’t cut it, it’s got to be so much more.

They don’t see me praying that I don’t receive The Phone Call.

They don’t see my face with The Phone Call comes in: the phone call of doom I call it. This is the call where my hubby tells me, very very gently, that the game is cancelled because of lack of men or lack of forecast sun.

They don’t see me having to retrace my steps around the shop replacing all the items I had gathered trying my hardest to look like I can afford them really. Do you know how long it takes me to slot 12 long tiger baguettes back into their rack without bending them in the middle…..2 minutes and 23 seconds…..2 of the longest minutes known to man.

They don’t see me having to do the walk of shame out of the shop with an empty trolley, like I’ve just had my bank card declined and I’ve had to leave my wine behind.

On a more positive note, when the game goes ahead and it all goes to plan, I get to prepare the lunch and I love it. I’ll set it all out perfectly in the club house, swat away the certain players that like to loiter over the ready salted Pringles and when the first innings is coming to an end, or the rain arrives, whichever comes first, I whip off the clingfilm and allow food wars to commence!

I think the club are happy with the job I do as I stick within budget (always a good thing) and I think hubby is happy as “wifey done good” and I’m quietly pleased with my work, although I’m sure there are plenty of wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, mothers, aunties and nans who do it a whole lot better.

And finally the most important thing is I think the players go away satiated, still happy in the fact they got to build their own sandwich with 6 slices of roast beef, 2 types of salami, 3 pickle onions and a handful of those oh-so-beautiful Pringles between 2 fat wedges of Tiger bread, followed by 1 piece of cucumber (because after all they are on a diet), 3 chocolate mini rolls and a cherry bakewell.

I’ve only had 1 complaint though during the 2 years I’ve been doing this. I’m not going to let it get me down although it did annoy me for a while but after a glass of red and a good talking to from the hubby, I moved on.

The complaint was that there was no Halal meat available. The complainant was a vegetarian. I’ll just leave that there……!

Another shameless plug. My men play for Newport Cricket Club, a fab group of people. Clubhouse available for hire and new players of all ages always welcome. Feel free to look them up.

Join the 4ths and you can get to try my ploughmans….

Womanhood…. Just my opinion! ❤️

After a random, quite funny comment from my hubby about stubble, where he just managed to survive, I’m sat here just thinking about the highs and lows of being a woman and of getting older….the benefits and pitfalls from ageing. The sad thing is, being a glass half empty kind of gal, all I can see is that the pitfalls far outweigh the benefits but I’m very happy to be proven wrong!

I’ve never been very high maintenance as a girl or as a woman. I keep telling my husband how lucky he is… He’s not falling for it!

I think I spent most of my energy on my hair. I’ve been alive for over 444,000 hours, asleep for about 130,000 of those, worked/schooled for maybe 150,000 of those precious hours which leaves 164,000. I reckon I have easily spent 20,000 hours on my hair.

This only leaves 6,000 days left in my life for everything else. Surely that’s not enough time to fit it all in? I’ve grown up, got married and raised two children in those 6,000 days. God I’m good!

My hair has a personality all of it’s own. If my hair were a person it would be Hagrid on a high…. Hairy and hyperactive!

It’s so wayward, when I was a teenager, my hairdresser (who I think was the only gay in the village) used to straighten my hair for me with a sheet of newspaper and an iron. It worked a treat but we looked very odd and I pity anyone walking past the window looking in and seeing a young girl bending over an ironing board while being smothered by the sport section of the Daily Mail!

My mum carried on this tradition until I left home and eventually bought my own very expensive straighteners. They were like a gift from the Gods. My hair felt so soft and flowy and I could swish it around like a Timotei advert!

I never dyed my hair until the greys started to get me down either. I hit the bottle and never looked back and now I have a fab hairdresser who tops me up on a regular basis. I trust her implicitly and regularly go home with different shades in my hair. I’m currently red and I blinking love it.

That’s about the only thing I do as far as maintenance goes except for the odd trip for eyebrow threading and the even more occasional trip for new nails.

In the last ten years I’ve noticed huge changes in myself, in myself and about myself. I’m gong to be brutally honest and hope that you have suffered the same inconvenience and embarrassment that I have otherwise I have totally just exposed myself as a laughing stock!

So first let’s look at the hair versus hormone situation. Why do men get balder as they get older but women sprout hairs in the most weird places? In the summer, you know, when you need to be beach ready, women of a certain age have more hairs on their chin than down below! On one of my trips to get threaded, the lady involved asked if I wanted my chin done too. When I refused she said “Are you sure?”!….Bitch.

Nowadays it’s all Brazilian’s. My foof is lucky if it sees a Bic razor twice a year…Once when summer begins and then a second time when I realised I had missed a bit! As for vajazzles, there are no diamantés within 50ft of my nether region.

I went to have my legs waxed, a few years ago now, and once I got over the initial embarrassment of being told that my leg/hair ratio was one of the worst she had ever seen, I let her start waxing. She started on the lower legs and all was bearable but then she went in at the top end. She plastered the wax on right up to my groin and then, whilst saying “right.. quick tug!” she pulled the strip off. I nearly punched her bl**dy lights out.

I ended up going home with one leg beautifully waxed and smooth and the other still looking like the Amazon rain forest. I finished the job at home and spent the next three weeks shaving the right leg until the hairs on the left leg caught up! I never went back…

Anyway I digress… Another thing I have noticed. We’re so forgetful it’s unreal. I can walk in a room for something and totally forget why I’m there, walk back out, forget why I walked out of the room I was just in, go back in and sit down like nothing happened.

I’ve lost my mobile phone, rang it from the land line three times, found it in the biscuit tin, looked at it and then wondered who’s being trying to ring me!

I’ve booked a holiday flying from Cardiff and booked the airport carpark in Bristol.

I’ve gone to the wrong theatre expecting to see War of the Worlds and got really confused why people were turning up with pink feather boas only to realise they were watching Mamma Mia!

There are so many incidents it’s unreal! My husband despairs.

Body shape is a huge issue for me too. I’ve never been thin and I’m ok ish with that now but my god how can I have changed shape? I used to have a shape, although 6″ too big on either side but now I’m all round in the middle. I put jeans on and look like f**king humpty dumpy!

Some older women can’t cough, or laugh, or sneeze, or run, or jump, or lift, or eat, or walk, or sleep (joking now!) without running the risk of having an oops moment so seeing as it’s not taboo any more (yeah right!), they bring out discreet underwear that makes you feel pretty..apparently!

If I had to wear paper pants, pretty is not a word I would use to describe myself. No amount of bows and butterflies printed on paper grits are going to make me feel pretty!

I’ve also noticed that I now wear flat shoes out of need, not out of choice. I have a huge collection of shoes, some of them with heels to die for and all I can do now is put them on and prance about in front of the wardrobe as there is no way I could negotiate the stairs in them, let alone the front path and the world beyond. I look awesome in them and love my shoes immensely but I am trapped in my bedroom when I wear them!

Now this all may sound like doom and gloom and to be honest, it’s s**t but there are positives to getting older too.

I am way more sassier than I have ever been. I always say I’m two kids braver and will say what’s on my mind rather than keep quiet.

I don’t care what people think about me. Well I do but not as much as I used to. I don’t let it bother me for as long as it would have before. Either that or I forget about it! I know some people don’t like me but that is their loss. I also have issues with a few people out there so fair’s fair I guess!

I am the first to make fun of myself now. I never used to. I used to dread being insulted but I’ve learnt that it’s better to get in there first with the insults rather than have someone tease you and upset you. Get in there first and knock yourself and watch the awkwardness on their face…. Great fun!

As I have gotten older I’ve tried to do something as each decade passes.

For my 30th, I had just had my first born so I was feeling very sore, fat, tired beyond belief and depressed so I think the fact that I got up every day and we all survived is enough for that decade!

For my 40th I took the Mensa test and passed it. I joined Mensa thinking it would change me as a person but despite being apparently very logical, I am thick as s**t. You can’t fix stupid can you!

For my 50th I had some lush photos done. It was a daunting experience and I don’t think I could do it again. Having my hair and make up done and seeing the final prints was fantastic and very empowering but the photographer made me pose in positions I never thought humanly possible. It’s 8 months on and I’m still limping!

Any way I have 9 years to come up with something memorable to do for my 60th. I’ve not thought of anything yet except for the usual parachute jump etc so answers on a postcard please….

Fit to drop!

I’ve often wondered what a fifty-something woman is meant to do for a hobby. What do us older ladies like to get up to? I am definitely not someone who will sit at home and knit or crochet (that’s another blog entirely) and I’m not at all talented in the artistic department, the culinary department, the gardening department or any other section of the Good Hobbies Guide.
I had no hobbies other than my children and wine so as middle age loomed, I joined a gym. I only picked this gym as it has a little teeny weeny room upstairs which they called the Ladies Gym and I was quite happy with that as I was too afraid to mix with the bigger boys! I was very dedicated, even sometimes being brave enough to venture downstairs and use the big boy equipment when no one was looking. I realised pretty quickly that it wasn’t such a big deal as the men spent most of their time staring at themselves in those giant mirrored walls, doing the pose where they look like they have lost the boxes they were carrying and pulling macho grrrr faces whilst repeating the mantra “Look at me, I’m an Adonis”.

The girls that were already brave enough to venture downstairs were the sort that wore incredibly small and expensive bits of Lycra with ticks on them, whereas mine had Tesco Value printed on the arse pocket, and spent their time straddling the benches pulling the duck face pouts that we all know and love! The only exercise that happened was the strenuous task of posting selfies. I was very dedicated for a long time but soon realised that just because I went 3 times a week, sitting on the exercise bike for 45 minutes and covering 5km whilst playing WordBrain and Two Dots wasn’t exactly achieving the goddess-like body I hankered after!

I upped my game a bit and joined a Pilates class which I loved alot and would have kept going to but the instructor decided that Yeovil needed pilates more than we did. Any way it was probably a good thing it came to an end as every session I ran the risk of passing wind every time I did the hundred position. My arse muscles had a cracking work out every Wednesday! It did actually happen in class though, not to me I might add but to this man who came with his good lady. We were all trying to balance on our knees on gym balls. Well he let one rip didn’t he. His poor wife was mortified and couldn’t make eye contact with anyone. He just fell off all his ball and led on the floor in hysterics and we all tried to carry on balancing while pretending that nothing had happened. We failed dismally. There were balls everywhere. It was carnage. Yeovil benefited not long after.

Then, after stalking a friend of mine on Facebook, we’ll call her Liz, I discovered a Poundfit class existed near me. I have always wanted to do Poundfit as I thought this would satisfy the inner rock goddess inside me. I never got a drum set as a child but could listen to a drum solo for a looooong time… It makes my insides go gooey, you know the feeling!

As an aside I’ve always wanted to do Kangoo too but this would involve my bits bouncing up and down and I have yet to find a sports top strong and durable enough to contain my curvy (!) belly and my bad boys! Any way I digress. I signed up for Poundfit and went along to my first class. It was everything I hoped for and more. I was allocated a rubber mat and two drum sticks, or for those in the know, rip stix (get me!). I stood there waiting for the first song full of eagerness and excitement. The music started and the very lovely and very  bendy instructor, we’ll call her Kelly tested her microphone. I started to find my groove and then every one there burst into a fantastically rehearsed routine banging sticks to the left, to the right, up above, down below, double time, and repeat.

Well I tried to keep up, I really did but I know deep down I looked like Steve Martin in The Jerk. I still loved it though and I still go now. I even signed up a good friend, Heidi, to come with me. She has anger issues (personally I think she’s psychopathic but I’m too afraid to ask her!) so now we both stand there, on our allocated mats, pounding our sticks frantically in an attempt to relieve the stresses and strains of the previous day/week/lifetime.

I should add at this point I’m no Jane Fonda and while adrenaline does wondrous things and makes me feel that I look like The Green Goddess (showing my age now!) , I actually look like Mrs Trunchball in lycra but you know what, I actually don’t care! I love Poundfit…. It’s my thang!

I did also try Strong. Bad mistake. I went to my first (and only) class alone, which was very brave of me because I’m actually a very socially awkward person (read wall flower/boring) . The first song came on, I stretched, I jumped, I bounced, I pointed, I planked, I touched the floor, I touched the ceiling, I touched the outer echelons of hell and died a thousand deaths. Then the instructor said, whilst breathing normally, hair immaculate and not even breaking a sweat, “that’s the warm up over ladies”. It was a very long hour but I did win a goody bag which I think was their way of apologising for near – killing me and saying “it’s ok, you don’t have to come back”! I haven’t been back yet….

I had a go at Boxercise too. This was just as  awesome as Poundfit and it was like punching your friend but with permission. Again perfect for those with stressful lives! I can’t listen to a rendition of Jump Around by House of Pain without stopping in my tracks and leaping around like a loony whilst counting 1, 2, 3, 4! I even possess my own boxing gloves which kind of makes me feel really hard despite the fact that they now live under my stairs waiting for their next outing!

Anyway enough about me. No doubt in January 2019, every gym class in Britain will be over subscribed with those fantastically positive people that fully intend to get fit and losing those extra pounds whilst wearing the new Fitbits they had for Christmas which they have synced with their phone, their tablet and their nan’s microwave. Some of the same said people will be gone by March back to eating 3 packets of cheese and onion crisps, 2 slice of leftover cold pizza and a Snickers bar for breakfast after trading their Fitbit in Cex for the DVD box set of Game of Thrones, but good luck to them I say. Do what makes you happy. If exercise doesn’t float your boat, something else will I’m sure.

Now for the shameless plug…. All these fab classes I’ve talked about are run by an awesome bunch of very fit and very friendly people calling themselves Evolve Fit, headed up by  Clare, the Bootcamp queen and her other half Paul the Plank guy… The Romeo and Juliet of the fitness world.  Other health clubs are available! If you live near me look ’em up and join us. I’ll keep you a mat, just in case……

Boxing day buffet blues!

So I had my Christmas food order delivered by a well known supermarket chain today. I do this every year as ‘every little helps’ when it comes to planning Christmas. I made that huge mistake of ticking the box to accept substitutions.

Now before my delivery was made, Judith from the supermarket rang me to check my card details. You’d think she could have checked with me at the time whether I was happy to accept her random selection but no, she chose to leave me sweat.

My food order arrived early, while I was still out but now I know why. They were too afraid to face me knowing that they had ruined my boxing day buffet expectations. They knew if I was home I’d be checking that delivery list and checking it twice!

Somehow they knew that my innocent son was home alone and so naive to that dreaded ticked substitutions box and the race that ensues between you and the delivery driver. You have the time it takes the delivery person to deliver all the crates to your front door, to empty all the bags from the crates singlehandedly and check that list for substitutions and agree to these!

It’s no mean feat because believe me, the delivery gods are highly trained. They’ll throw you off course by making small talk, anything to avert your gaze from the substitute section. This time they won….

I requested a large grown up sharing bag of chive and onion flavour crisps. I was sent a six pack of pickled onion flavour crisps!

I requested a beautiful camembert in the box ready to be baked. They sent me mozzarella!

I requested melt in the mouth chocolate mini puddings for those of us with a sweet tooth. They sent me nacho chicken bites!

Finally I requested cocktail cherries for my lovely retro snowballs. They sent me glacé cherries!

You can imagine my seasonal spread can’t you. Stinky crisps, a soggy ball of cheese sliding off my cheese board, no deserts in sight and Christmas drinks with sticky cherries in the bottom. It’s not the impression I was aiming for!

I thought my substitutes were bad but then I heard today that another supermarket where you can save money and live better, substituted a certain household cleaner (sounds like whiff!) with shoe polish! You couldn’t make it up could you!

So today’s life lesson is if you tick the box, you had better be prepared to face the consequences!

Merry Christmas you beautiful people. Buffet at mine Boxing Day…..!

2018. The highs, the lows and the bits I remembered!

So that’s it 2018 is nearly over and what a year it’s been. We’ve witnessed a catalogue of events, some of which I’ve mentioned below. I am sorry if I missed something you thought important but each to their own eh?

We’ve succumbed to the Siberian Beast from the East where the country ground to a halt because we had more than 1 inch of snow. I personally bought up the entire stock of bread, milk and Galaxy chocolate from Tesco in case of further blizzards, none of which happened but I got to satisfy my chocolate addiction!

Later in the year we sweated disgustingly (well I did anyway) during an incredibly hot summer that reminded me of 1976 except for the fact that I can no longer frolick semi-clad in my orange and brown Woolworth’s swimming cossie as I did back then having water fights with a bowl of water. Well I could have but would be running the risk of being arrested for indecent exposure!

The Royal family has given us a wedding (or is it 2?), another sproglet and a rather cute family photograph. I’m no royalist but they do have cute kids!

The football fans were ‘lucky’ enough to have a World Cup to watch, that we apparently lost. Rugby fans will have to wait till next year for theirs. Cycling fans got to enjoy Geraint Thomas getting to wear a yellow vest whilst getting lost in France!

GDPR came into being and everyone stressed about the data they had saved on floppy disks that hadn’t seen daylight for 15 years and could never be viewed anyway as no one’s laptop has a floppy drive anymore, and every company’s HR officer had to do a ‘find’ and ‘replace’ on their Data Protection Policy changing Data Protection Directive with GDPR!

But this was soon forgotten as Salisbury hit the headlines when we all watched the sad Novichock news and decided we were never going to touch door handles again or tour the city despite the Cathedral having a 123 metre high steeple and a special clock!

We went from the retail atrocity of losing more high street stores like Toys R Us to the magnificent high of watching a junior football team being rescued from the Thai caves, led by two British men…Oh the kudos!

We also watched Kim John-Un finally climb over the step to shake President Moon Jae-in’s hand. Now I know Kim’s a short man but surely he could have done this a bit quicker than waiting 7 years but then they do say growth spurts happen every 7 years and maybe he just wasn’t tall enough till then? I just hope it was worth the wait!

But I think the absolute highlight of 2018 was the Toblerone saga where they eventually saw sense and reduced the gaps between the triangles back to what they were after causing a chocolate scandal of epic proportions!

Finally it’s been another year of Brexit bedlam. Now to digress a bit but bear with me. I’m an anxious sort who has always had my snow box which is basically a huge plastic crate that I fill with extra dried and tinned food and toilet rolls so we can survive if we are ever snowed in or Tesco sell out of absolutely everything in the store. There is also the option to sell said goods at a profit if I get the urge and someone pleads enough that they really need a tin of beans for their tea but can’t get to the Spar due to the treacherous conditions of 3 inches of slush!

Well this box has now been replaced by a chest freezer which makes the toilet rolls a bit crispy but is a godsend for the food and my paranoia. The crate is now my Brexit box and I am beginning to stockpile certain foods not made in the UK, ready for the day when we are cast out of the European Union, left on our own to survive! You may tut but who will be the one eating Spaghetti Bolognese when everyone else can’t get passata for love nor money as the only trade being carried out is the dodgy dealings at the local Happy Shopper! Now who’s laughing!

As Brexit Day looms I do wonder about my up and coming holiday to Greece next May. Will we be allowed in as we’re British? Will they let us trade with them? Will we be given the worst hotel rooms possible because we defected? Will we be classed as illegal immigrants? But more importantly, what colour will my passport be and will it match the passport holder I’ve been using for years?

Anyway I wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas and a blessed New Year. I hope it brings you everything you wish for whether that’s lots of presents, sprouts, a hangover, no hangover, a long visit from Auntie Doris, a short visit from Auntie Doris, argument – free family time, enough batteries to do all the kids presents plus the foot spa you bought for your other half, no food poisoning from trying to defrost the turkey in warm water because you forgot to take it out of the freezer in time or, more importantly, a successfully completed game of Monopoly where no one has a hissy fit and no one is lucky enough to buy both Park Lane and Mayfair and bankrupt you time after time before you pass go and before you can collect your £200!

I do wonder what 2019 will bring us? Good and bad I guess. All I can hope for is that Theresa May gets some time off, Donald Trump gets put in time out and nothing bad happens to David Attenborough!

It wouldn’t have happened in James Stewart’s day!

So, let me set the scene.  Me and hubby were still discovering “going out” as mentioned before and so I’d bought concert tickets for a concert in Bath.  We set out with smiles on our faces and cheer in our hearts! I was driving and I know the way to Bath but not how to drive around it but figured it would all be ok when we got there.

The long and the short of it is that it wasn’t! Well it was to begin with but a few days later it turned out I had been caught and had to pay the price for my criminality! I received a Penalty Charge Notice from a certain council (it’s not hard to work out if you refer to where the concert was being held!) Anyway I’d been caught redhanded at something I had no idea I’d done at the time!

Anyway I paid the fee because I’m a law abiding citizen and being a cheerful soul I thought I’d email the council to point out a few things. I’ve attached my email below as it is easier than explaining it all to you! Read on….



I’ve received this notice as I apparently drove in your bus lane. I have paid it but can honestly say I have no recollection whatsoever of doing so. I can see my lovely car on the picture and my headlights (one that looks a bit dodgy but I’ll get that looked at I promise!) so I know I was there. I’m also pretty impressed that you picked up my car registration as it is water damaged and I have trouble every day getting into work as Security insist it looks like KD09!  

I hate anyone else driving my car so hands up…it was me but I need to have a moan…

I have never driven through Bath (only round the edges on the way to Bournemouth – lovely place) and never planned on doing so either but I was going to a concert that night in the Pavilion. I love the Overtones and they were playing that night. I usually go to Cardiff or Bristol but this year, for some reason, they weren’t gigging there so Bath was the nearest. I had seats in row E so was deliciously close to the front so it was perfect.  Just to add to the story a bit more, me and hubby stopped in the Morrison’s on the way for food as we were early, and had a lush tea  dead cheap. I had scampi and hubby had fish. Very nice indeed and a complete bargain!

Anyway I left there and drove to the Pavilion following my carefully printed out map (in colour) which took me to Pulteney Road. I have to say this road is very dark indeed and I couldn’t see a thing. Couldn’t you put some brighter bulbs in? So I turned into North Parade Road I think it was called but was so intent on looking for the Pavilion I missed the turning for the Cricket Club where my map had said to park. So thinking quickly as I was panicking, hubby turned on his phone’s sat nav to show us how to get back to the car park. Anyway I don’t normally like to pass the buck but I am going to as his stupid Samsung sat nav sent us down what turned out to be Pulteney Bridge which is, as I know now, only for buses.

All I can say is it was very very dark, I had no idea where I was and was studying the sat nav screen trying to find the right turn to take, while she talked to me in her stupid computerised English voice, so I wasn’t looking for road signs and obviously missed them. Just for the record I’m not being racist. I am English but get fed up with her nagging voice. Personally I’d have James Stewart talking on my sat nav but he’s not with us anymore.

So I’m sorry and I have paid but I do think it’s a bit unfair. I did also google bus lanes in Bath and this does seem to happen an awful lot doesn’t it according to Trip Advisor so could you possibly make your signs bigger, your street lights brighter and maybe tell the sat nav’s that this is a no entry road.   

Anyway, not one to hold grudges I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Feel free to send me a Christmas card, especially if you wanted to enclose a £30 cheque inside. After all it is the season of good will and all that……

Yours, sorry and £30 poorer but we still had a cracking night at the concert!


As you can see I was the epitomy of politeness with hopefully an element of humour that I thought would surely make someone break in to smile. How wrong could I be!

A few days later I got a reply from the council, from the Team Manager – Parking to be precise.   The letter was 4 pages long and they had included some lovely library pictures, taken in daylight I might add, of the bus lane in question. The upshot of the letter was to tell me that my appeal had been rejected and that I should not rely on directional guidance and that as I had paid the fee, the matter was now closed!

So my message to you is don’t rely on your satellite navigation device, it will get you into trouble.

I’m still waiting for the Christmas card….