Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Guilt

Feel like I'm on Death Row waiting for a pardon. I'm actually waiting for the phone call. The one that berates me for wrapping up an obviously damaged football trophy in layers of newspaper and hiding it in a bag and handing it over through the coach's car window in a fake hurried kind of way before making a run for it. THAT phone call.

This is after spending hours and hours trying to repair the damn thing - until the dawn chorus had long segued into the general morningy sounds. I got a good colour match with black glass paint and white pigment but it took several experiments with several resin-y glues. None of which worked. Quick drying (which it wasn't) polyfilla was the last mix. And it still looked totally crap. All the time I had a pack of perfect-for-the-job Milliput sitting there but I had convinced myself it would be too rough texturally and not sticky enough. No. Cos of course pollyfilla is perfectly smooth and sticky. NO IT ISN'T. But once I'd started on my journey of no end, I stuck with it. Hunched over the kitchen counter (so confident I didn't even sit at a table), I pressed the Repeat button and replayed my mistake over and over until I could could not stand up straight again. Until I heard the mocking birds. Until I needed to reach the sweetie tin obviously. (Mind over matter that.)

Anyway............The Guilt is now burrowing into my innermost pea of decency. The one I had buried in nonchalant mattress after mattress just to survive this cruel and crazy world. What shall I do now? Like Macbeth I spent all day yesterday scrubbing and scratching at my villainous hands to remove the traces of black stuff but I turn around and it's everywhere I look - the kitchen counter, the tap, the tea towel - The Evidence of my crime! I can't sleep! I can't look into my children's eyes! Eating's not been a problem funnily enough.......

Of course I should just ring him up, apologise and offer to buy a new plinth. That would be the adult thing to do.

But I've left it too late now - the hopeless attempt at mending just shows my true dishonest nature. I couldn't explain that away now I've gone and done it could I. So I am left to suffer the agonies.

But if you could see me now - surrounded in filth and fighting siblings, no hope of ever reclaiming any authority or table space again, not a chance of a quiet moment for the next 20 years, infested with rodents and insects as big - AND slugs, back-ache, head-ache, bum-ache, face-ache.......... AND I have to go to Tesco's in a minute with all 4 brats...... couldn't you find it in your heart to over-look a little tiny teeny itsy bitsy witsy micro nano spot of deceit? Surely this is punishment enough? It's a life's sentence for gods' sake!!!! I'm throwing myself on your mercy............

I don't know. Mitigating circumstances...... What came first? The punishment or the crime? It's a long- running debate.

**Hey I'm depraved on account of I'm deprived!**

Friday, 28 May 2010

Unfettered Rant

I am only starting another post in a pathetic attempt to avoid an urgent and difficult (actually IMPOSSIBLE) task. Don't read this if you are having a nice day. I am on full whinge mode. It's nearly 1.00am and we have to return the football trophy that Monkey Boy was awarded last year for this year's ceremony thing. Football training is at 10.00am. The task is to disguise the bloody great chip in the base of the trophy.

We've had this thing in Monkey Boy's bedroom for a year with no incidents. We brought it downstairs last week to return it but missed training due to Thuglet's floppiness and hot water bottle impersonations. We had also not taken a picture of it with the football superstar in his gear - so that had to be quickly rectified. Bit cross it's taken me a year to do that. I bet he looks so different from a year ago when we should have done the photos. Well, I'm sure there is a picture of him receiving the bloody thing but as there were no announcements at last year's ceremony I didn't have a clue it was happening until he came running over to me by the bouncy bleedin' castle carrying it and yelling 'Look what I got!' I'd been not so patiently waiting for that damned part of the day with 2 loony younger brothers going *boing boing splatt aaaahhhhhh boing boing splatt aaaaahhhh* for 'kin hours in full sun on the only hot day of last summer. The picture that must exist would have been taken by the village's vampire psycho slut pretending to be a professional photographer. I shall not be handing money to that shit-for-brains for a picture of my boy.

At least by missing the whole awards thing (and the whole point of being stuck in that friggin' 'family fun day' in that godforsaken village of hell) I did avoid having to share breathing space with her. And now, just to add to those golden memories, (and that looming sinking feeling of another perfectly delightful Sunday in June spent in the same soul-scrunching way), I have now laid eyes on this fucking chip in the granite-y base of the bloody THING. I can hardly just hand it over in a brown paper bag and run away. His name's engraved on it - albeit misspelled. And that's another thing.....!!!!!!

Oh I don't know.... I'm no lover of this Saturday morning team. Not so much the people involved - the other mums and dads particularly (the usual stalwarts) are great. It's just that it all happens in the village of hell. The most claustrophobic smug up-its-own-arse irritating bloody village on the planet. With its very own species of mud. The place must have been founded on a bog for gods' sake. And, obviously, it is home to the viper bitch. This alone is reason enough to raze it to the ground. My eyes automatically narrow to cartoon villain slits even driving through the place - which I have to do on Friday's as well as bloody Saturdays.

I don't want to go to training tomorrow. I don't see why they still have to play football when the football season is well and truly over. I don't see why we have to spend so many weekends at bloody football tournaments anyway - especially as the team is crap and usually loses despite all the players being quite good. I don't want to go to another 'fun' awards day when I could be extracting my fingernails instead (infinitely preferable). And I don't want to be told off for breaking the fucking trophy. I just want to burn the whole place down instead. Could I? Come on - who'd miss it?

OK. Rant over. I'll put my toys back in my pram and dig out some black paint and superglue. It's a bit like taking the school hamster home for the holidays and discovering it's lost a leg. I'd probably try superglue then too. Like - what are they gonna do right? Hit me with it? It's bloody heavy actually. Come on girl, time for some invisible mending. You used to be a whizz with the ol fibreglass resin coating stuff and car body filler. Little granite chip should be a piece of piss. Stop sobbing! Get a grip!!

OR - I could hand it over in a spazzy way and sort of drop it and then blame them? Suddenly I see a light........... There's always another way of looking at something. It could work.

Or I could just lob it through the vulture whore's window. Now someone's finally using her noodle. I think I'll end with a song!

***sealions up me skirt....... drools on face still gleaming.....***

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Just Make Sure It's Got A Happy Ending

Get me! 2 blogs in one evening!! Yeah baby I'm on fire!!!

OK so I did drag my bleached orange peely-feely rear off the chair, threw things in the dosh-wisher, hurled more things in the moshing wash-in - no idea what went in what, but I pressed buttons and swirly noises hummed out = achievement enough. Stripey stuff got squirted on tufty things and poked in little gobs. 'If you don't open your mouth you won't get any sweets tomorrow' 'Mm-mmm' 'Or crisps' 'MM-MMM' 'How does a dinosaur go?' 'Raaaaah-ulp-uh-uh-og!' 'Good boy' And I even read stories with up-and-downy voice. 'Cos Ah'm a Wuman - W - O - M - A - N - let me say it again.....'

3 boys down and 1 girl to go.

Time to kick through a path to the settee, scrape off the Moon Sand, cover it in blankets just like the car in Pulp Fiction, boil the kettle and dip biscuits into Angel Delight in front of Sweet Charity with my little fellow girlie flick buddy. Proper parent/child interaction that is.

Cos Ah'm a W - O - M - yeah enough.

It was very nearly Bringing Up Baby, I was making the case for Thoroughly Modern Millie, but Shirl got the nod. We haven't watched it for ages. This time around there were a few more questions along the way. And a slightly thoughtful face at the ending. Now I love the ending. (If you're planning to watch it for the first time tonight look away now - I'm gonna spoil it.) I love the ending. She gets dumped at the Marriage Certificate Office by her dream man, she's left her job after 8 years with no obvious hope of finding another and is also now homeless. She rings her ex-flat/workmates in tears which they mistake for joy and which fills them with joy and hope, so she lets them keep believing she's 'made it' out of the crummy life they're still in and she spends the night sitting on her suitcase in Central Park. Dopey Flower Children wake her up in the morning with a big daisy - and off she goes again swinging her bag. Cue music....

Minx seemed slightly worried about her prospects. Kind and wise Mummy reassures her that she's better off without the boring old git in the suit, that sometimes you just can't get a new job until you've actually walked out of the old one and that her friends were holding her back anyway. Life lessons - sown from Hollywood, watered or trampled on by Mummy?

Is I a bad mutha, or is I a beacon of light to a blossoming W - O - M - A - N ?

Whatever. She went to bed and I finished off her Angel Delight. Who's singing now?

Sweet charity begins at home.........

The Agony of the Abandoned Wife and the Ecstasy of Neglected Children

I need to sort out so many of things in the house this evening. I cannot see or feel floor. Obviously the first job was to switch on the computer. The next was to scoop a handful of Thuglet's popcorn. Can't possibly read all those blogs on an empty(ish) stomach. I mean dinner was easily 20 minutes ago. Much shouting needed too. Multitasking again. Then I'll need to eat some mint chocolate creams from my secret tin. Well, my baking ingredients tin. So innocent-looking. I'll be needing the energy. It requires at least 3 chocolates to erase all my recent texts in my inbox and sentbox. And after all that I'll need a little sit down. And another couple of chocolates obviously.

Trouble is THEY just won't let me get on. So much to do. But there's always something they think is more urgent - like a purple flattened finger in the bathroom door. Those sobs of agony are so distracting. As is the Diahorrea Song that flings in at top speed from the garden every now and again attached to a puffing 3 foot scarecrow with blue ink all over his face. Apparently he HAD to yank his brother backwards off his feet by the hood because ....oh I'm not actually listening. Crying won't get you any more attention. Can't you see I'm snowed under? Go back outside it's nearly bedtime. Go on.

Daddy's away for 6 more days. That's 6 more days of this interminable slog. Noone's helping me eat this popcorn you know. And I've got a packet of red highlights and a facepack with my name on it too. It never ends. It better not stain my newly painted fingernails. I just won't cope. There's still a whole weekend to get through without the aid of the golf on the telly. That's hours and hours of having to choose my own damn entertainment right there. I tell you - this lone parenting thing is hell. It's not all doughnuts and oven chips you know. There's bloody biscuits too.

I must remember to check his flight arrival time next week. Don't want him coming home to me looking all purdy now. Must kick off the sunglasses, apply chicken grease to those special places, spray liberally with Dettol (my signature fragrance), count to 10 and frown.

'Hi honey. How's it been?'

'Oh you wouldn't believe!'

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Ole to the Man on the Box

I have 4 minutes to produce my thoughts. It's MY turn on the 'poota after a week of inertia due to illnesses (mine, followed by Thuglet's, followed by oh he's up...) Never mind. But this will be a more than usually incoherent spew of tumbling brain-gush.

It's Saturday morning - football training has been avoided and it's MY BLOODY TURN alright? Get your own bleedin' apple juice.

Yesterday was an A - Z of emotions due to the Super-Glued Settee of Hot Boy (not as fun as it may sound) finally bursting into a boiling mass of screaming-for-no-apparent-bloody-reason-child and lid-blown-off-mummy. Lid-blown-off-mummy then sat in the garden with chocolate biscuit and sobbed. Had slightly frightened visitors. 'What's the matter?' No imagination my family. Not even imagination that's required. Just eyes and ears. Surely that would be enough to work it out.

Now, just leaping across my mind contours for a second, I've been a long-time lover of flamenco. I even did classes for a year or so until I moved and couldn't find another place that did it - (was also pregnant by that time and ......... life as I knew it stopped there anyway). I never saw the annual shows at Sadler's Wells cos I was always too skint, never managed to frequent the Spanish bars round the West End where it all flourished (apparently) when I was living up in London as noone else ever wanted to go (and I just never did wander in by myself - being permanently skint), and last year I noticed a flamenco show at the Trinity Theatre in good old Tunbridge Wells but Friday night's are awkward what with football and .....being skint. But this year I see the flyer again and - football or no...... skint or not........ I just went and booked it. And organised Mr GPants' mum and dad to babysit all by myself. Historic.

Been looking forward to it for weeks. Even on holiday I was brewing up as I was reading Victoria Hislop's 'The Return' (which by the way damn near ruined my holiday as parts of it were so harrowing but I had to keep reading). And despite Mr GPants' obvious disinterest I was counting the days. But then I had Hot Boy. The longest temperature in our family's history. All the week's plans daily knocked down like dominoes. Repeat text 'sorry cant make it today.....' And it's Friday and he's STILL BLOODY HOT!!!!! Mr GPants will most likely not get back from a job in Wimbledon in time anyway.

He tries to sound helpful. 'Why don't you take Minx?'

She's not interested.

'Or my mum? She'd love it'

Because it's supposed to be a night out for US! And you're always moaning I don't organise anything and even 2 days ago you said I should think up things we can do together and I have and you can't even be bothered to come and I've been looking forward to this and I've been sat on the bloody settee and the house is in ruins around me and he's screaming and I like it when YOU drive and I need to get out of this house and I you like guitars and I still don't know whether to throw the microwave away cos it smells and it's bad and I hate breakfast-lunch-and-dinner and your dad won't be happy having all the kids until you get back and anyway he's still hot and screaming and I didn't take the kids to their things this week so maybe I shouldn't go to my thing either and my coffee's cold and I've hidden my bank statement and I'm wearing tracksuit bottoms for the 6th day in a row and my ant bites are driving me mad and your mum might not like the funny singing and I haven't emptied the dishwasher and my hair is crap and you don't understand me.......

Actually I think I said 'Mmnn'.

Then Minx came out and said 'He's stopped screaming. I'm a genius. His apple juice was in the wrong cup. And he's taken his medicine.'

A new dawn rises.

And I sort of scrape the house back into a liveable pod. Cut myself a new fringe. Layer on extra smoky eye-liner above and below the eye and smother in green shimmery stuff AND feed the little bastards. Mr GPants makes it back in time and OFF WE GO.

He's still obviously uninspired by the whole thing but manages not to snore. I love it. I love the fact that the singer looks like a proper big ol gypsy wailer. I love the 2 guitarists - one sleek-haired, one long and wavy-haired. I love the little chap sitting on a box, batting out his rythmns. And I love the 2 women - not young and pretty and smiley but real and expressive and earthy. If one member of the gang isn't required for a number they get up and bugger off. At one point everyone had gone but the Man on the Box. But then one of the guitarists came back. Of course come the interval it is this moment that had captured Mr GPants' only shred of enthusiasm. 'I was hoping we would just get the Man on the Box' which led to a rambling giggle of ' "And what do you do?" "I sit on a box" "That must be very interesting" ' etc etc

And then we went back in for the 2nd half for more cool (for me) stuff. And at one point I reasise that the Man on the Box isn't there. Where's our Man on the Box? Suddenly we hear Snappety Snappety Snappety Snappety and on comes - The Man off his Box but he's taken off his shirt, put a dandy red bandana on his head and then.......... OMG - the Man with the Castanets is the most jaw-droppingly astounding dancer I have EVER seen. His solo performance went on for about 20 minutes of amazingly powerful beautiful passionate brilliance. At one point his feet were truly a blur. I think my gob was hanging open. He was certainly some secret weapon for the 2nd half. My head is still pulsating with the energy.

Mr GPants' verdict?

'He's gay.'

I googled 'Flamenco Express' this morning. His name is Titi (more guffawing from Mr G). Titi Flores. Look him up.

The brats are really circling now. Drooling. They want blood. My time is up. Actually I've taken the piss a bit I suppose. But I had to share my Titi experience with you.


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Life is big pants, telly is thong

After only 2 weeks of sunshine stuff - 2 w e e k s - not 2 years! - I feel like I have landed back on Planet Ice Age, only without the funny bits. Still going to bed in 15 layers. The slugs have joined in the salsa classes all over every floor. And I really can't be bothered to clean any of the mess up. I have already moved house in my head. The interesting-looking house with the annexe up for grabs nearer the ice-rink but still-in-reachable-distance-of-the-rest-of-our-lives has now got 'Let Agreed' slapped across its picture and I don't fancy anything else on the lists. But this hasn't stopped me from believing that our 'new' house is out there somewhere. My 'belief' may be there, but my enthusiasm for finding it has diminished. Still wondering if England as actually going to provide it. Pie in the sky. As if our brats would let us move anywhere other than... Even 'just for the winter' is sparking blasphemic fireworks. How could we possibly entertain the notion of having a nicer life in a nicer place with nicer weather? 'Our FRIENDS are HERE!'

I'm still confused.

I'm still fucking cold.

I really don't think I could stand another British winter. I really feel now that I've done my fair share. As with the alcohol 'book of tokens' idea - ie: we all get a book of tokens at the start...... some work their way through for the duration of their stable life, others use up all their tokens early on and don't get any more, some nick other people's books etc etc ..... I now believe I have used up all my British winter tokens.

But I'm forgetting - it's May. That's Spring isn't it? Time to unearth short-sleeved things, shove old tights into a bag for stuffing toys, pick the fluff off pretty light-weight cardigans for 'just in case' weather? Insignificant knickers? Bollocks. Where's me big pants. Feel like the ice-rink is a warm haven.

Ungrateful little bastard.

Maybe this miserable old hag needs some inspiration, or reminders of what is good about England? Is there anybody out there? I need a good talking to.

(At least the Labour educational 'reforms' have been swerved! I cannot be reformed. Can the whole political system be reformed? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha .............. !!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah - that's a good one Dave..........)

I think I just need a bit of something - my 'I'm so lacking - of skills, brain, ANYTHING!' thoughts keep swimming through my head just when I start to see light at the end of the baby-rearing tunnel (it's a pinprick but we're nearly at the Grand Ceremonial Potty Hurling stage). I thought by this marker that I would have all the answers - or at least a whittled down multiple-choice selection that I would ponder. That vague floaty 'what do I want to be when I grow up?' musings, which turned into the imaginative 'what do I want to be when the kids are all at school?' question, which turned into the desperate 'what could I possibly manage when the kids are old enough to wipe their own bottoms?' puzzle, is now a drier form of Chinese water torture. ie: you are a useless, talentless, lazy, unfocused, unemployable, old, unimaginative, lumpen heap of unsightly wrinkles slumped in nasty clothes that has no hope of ever finding your place in this world. That about sums it up.

Obviously I pretend to the children that this bonny old world is full of boundless opportunities and that I have merely sampled some of them but not settled on anything because I'm so full of life that I need to taste a little everything before I die blah blahh bleughh.... Is it easier to have 'been something' and then had children and forever look back all misty to the good old days? I've never 'been' anything. Not really. If I find myself 'looking back' it's not misty - it's just glossed over. I've covered the lens of my history in Vaseline to obscure the tedious details. I'm a bit of an Impressionist me. Photo-Real does not work here. I really would like to have something to be proud of - other than delightful offspring. God - OTHER than 'delightful offspring'! Mine are definitely 'other' than 'delightful offspring'.

I can only hope that my 'other than' delightful offspring will become delightful adults full of pride in their weird and wonderful achievements. Not miserable old Not Even 'Has Beens' 'cos I never 'Had Been'. Ohhhh stop now!

I know what I need! I need a dose of my new favourite film - Drew Barrymore's directorial debut: 'Whip It'. Yes yes yes.........

Saw a few films while I was away - most of which I couldn't finish because they were so goddamn boring. Such as 'Motherhood' - about a mother who blogs (ohgodohgodohgod-so awful I can't describe, just designed to make anyone who blogs feel like dog poo crumbs that even dogs don't sniff), 'Creation' - the Charles Darwin yawner, 'Nine' - really dire remake of 8 1/2 with shite songs, 'Everybody's Fine' - which I was looking forward to but..zzzzzz.... but amongst all this waste of celuloid Minx discovered 'Whip It' in the folders of DVDs left in the house for our plundering. It's all about Roller Derby - wild girls in fishnets and safety helmets bombing around a raised track on roller skates slamming the shit out of each other. With names like Eva Destruction, Bloody Holly, Princess Slayer etc. Our mission was to all have Roller Derby names by the end of the holiday. I'm still unsure about mine - needs a little tweak. Not obscene enough. Vexin' Vixen? Better than Mr GPants' suggestion tho'. he'd lamely suggested 'something like Foxy Lady' (sweet of him but phrghhhhhh). I'd answered that 'Badgery Woman' would be more apt. After which he came up with 'Battery Hen' and felt very pleased with himself. Minx is 'Dizzy heights' (mixture of her most-used moniker and hint of triple axles to come). Think I have blocked out Mr GPants' new name. Must be a sanity-saving reason........ But this film (and I must get the original book) is now my life's blood. Maybe it can replace the sun I now so crave. It's basically about 'being the real you' which I know sounds buckety - (in the film it's 'Get some skates on and be your own hero') but I'm the sort of saddo who NEEDS to be reminded. I just need to find MY 'Roller Derby' thang. Meanwhile I just need to keep watching other people being cool to make me feel like it might rub off.

I need to get onto Amazon right now.

There we are then. Happiness. It's not all about achieving things with one's life. It's watching telly after all.

I bloody knew it.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow....... skies are green....?

Hey The Bitch Is Back!!!!!!!

And I'm fucking cold.

And everything is small.

Including my mind.

Travel broadens the mind apparently. Boxes full of baclava broadened my arse. Why doesn't my miniscule fridge have a box full of baclava? I don't understand. Why can't I get into my jeans?

Why are these apples the size of peas? 'Is this our biggest saucepan?' asked Mr GPants yesterday. And when did the A22 shrink? Were our stairs always so bloody narrow? How do I get a shower in this midget house without the curtain sticking to me?


..............a two-hand tall mug of coffee? More than three sips? I need to sit down for this.

And who painted the whole world green? It's so green. It's SO green!

But yes I'm back. I wanted to be back. Until it was nearly time to come back. I was just kind of getting used to it. And now I'm here. And I want to go away again. The grass was greener over there. No that doesn't work - well there was patches of green stuff which made me stare and made me think 'how much does that cost to keep?' and 'I miss green' and then we got back and it's unbelievably green. Beautiful. Like quenching a thirst. And now I'm thinking 'I miss beige'. I think I am what's known as a ungrateful little bastard. A much-used phrase in our house. I have 4 ungrateful little bastards that have sucked my soul to a sharp diminishing 'blip' like the end of telly in the old days. The 'blip' of oblivion.

The youngest 2 were OK - adapted to their new chimp compound with simian ease. There is floor - lots of it. There is garden - we know this. There is pool - ooohhhh - We can do pool. There is sand - oh yes. There is sea - that does splashhhh too. We know this. We can do holiday. We is holiday. Holiday R Us.

The older 2 however..........

'I'm bored. I miss my friends. How many more days til we can go home? You haven't got any more credit on your phone and I want to text my friends. I'm already packed. When can we go to MacDonalds? .....................'

'You've got a 9 bathroomed marble-floored palace on the beach with a pool and a killer view across the sea of cartoon-crazy Metropolis and it's gloriously hot and all you can do is moan about going home! You ungrateful little bastards!'


All of which proves that they don't have a bad life now do they if they couldn't wait to get back to it?

Mr GPants LOVED it big time. Keeps talking about the light, the sun, the skyscape, the space, the business loans.......... There's gold in them thar hills. There's WORK. Not just for the winters - we could try it for a year.....

I spent most of these conversations smiling like the groom's mother, staring out to a mythical saviour, quaking inside, thinking about ruined castles, shadowy museums, big old oak trees, rolling hills and Mr Whippy.

Saying 'mmmmm....'

Small minded you see?

But maybe travel broadens the imagination. If apples are bigger over there, they might be bigger over ....... there, or there, or even there.............

Ohhhhh! Im all confused see...... I like my green. But I like big apples. I like my bluebells. But I like the warmth. I like my hefty mugs. But I like the enthusiasm of 'not England'.

I like my tortoise shell. But I am just beginning to poke my head out. I don't know what to think: Adventure or ............ Green?

But the biggest factor is - the ungrateful little bastards. In this case the question is really: Money or Friends? Over there = most likely a better 'quality of life'. But......we have definitely chosen a Home Ed way of life. This doesn't always transfer. I know people who moved to warmer, more wonderful places - and found a barren social scene for non-schoolers which sent them back to grimy cold old England. How do you value educational wildness?

For me - pretty high.

SO - why did you bastards still vote for Ed fucking Balls??????

It is not me who is the ungrateful little bastard. Mr GPants is lamenting so many of his well-heeled friends still ranting about Labour's misfortune. OPEN YOUR FUCKING EYES PEOPLE!!!! We can't do much about England's shitty weather but you CAN change the fucking strangling government. We don't have to wear sleeves in the presence of men. We can kiss our beloveds in public. We are not being bombed every day. The doctor's might just see you before you die. The water will not kill you. We don't live under a volcano or on an especially dodgy fault line. You don't have to go to church. You can marry or divorce whoever you damn like. And, for as long as we can keep Ed Balls restrained, you can take responsibility for your own children.

But it is fucking cold.

It's not just the weather that is making me think of distant shores. I am tired of our supposedly creative and individual quirky country (yeah?) being so small-minded. If I can pin down somewhere with castles and ice-cream, art, decent music-makers, money I can understand, English speaking (sorry but...), bonkers experts on bonkers subjects happy to bend your ears for an afternoon, property we can afford, tax we can afford, drugs and guns free, football and ice-skating a spit away, second-hand shops, child-welcoming cafes, and gangs of wild children free from educational strait-jackets - and THE SUN - and GREEN!!!!!! - then I will skip off happily.

Any suggestions?