Finally, Getting Somewhere

To my surprise, Bear arranged for a builder to come round and take a look at the bathroom and downstairs toilet to see what work needed doing. He’s also contacted a couple of other builders too. Yesterday, the builder came and said it was basic work and he could do it at the end of October. We await his quote. Also yesterday Bear started and finished painting our bedroom white, which we really should have done a damn sight earlier, as it looks bigger and much better now. Typical.! He’s vetoed doing the kids’ rooms as a good wipe down has dealt with many of the marks and scrapes on the walls. I’m inclined to agree, begrudgingly as it seems he’s just looking to get out of doing anything too strenuous. Something I was expecting.

Meanwhile, I cleaned the hob. Not your straightforward ‘give it a quick wipe over’ job as I’d expected. I had to scrub the little metal cups that hold the gas burners and try to get the spillage that had been baked into the moulding around the igniters out. No mean feat I can tell you. The hob is probably around 23 years old and it wasn’t in the best condition when we moved in nine years ago. The oven’s a little younger as it’s a fan, but even that’s been here 20 years. I’m looking forward to a more modern kitchen when we move.

We’ve decided to try and fix the roller blinds on the outside kitchen window and patio door rather than pull them out. They’ve been here for decades too and the kitchen window blind is cantankerous as all hell, but they’re a good safety measure and great when it gets too hot in the summer, so fixing them would be a good boost to the house price when we sell. Today Bear is cutting the wisteria down. It hasn’t bloomed very much over the past seven years and it likes to invade the house through the bathroom and our bedroom windows, bringing with it birds, bees and all manner of weird and wonderful insect life. The problem is if it flies and buzzes in this house, it’s immediately terminated as I hate flying, buzzy things that quite often bite too. Plus the neighbours get arsey when the wisteria dares to grow over on their side of the dividing fence and bitch like hell about it, so it’s coming down.

By now the neighbours have probably guessed that we’re gearing up to move, but I’m damned if I’m saying anything until the ‘For Sale’ boards go up and I’ve told Bear that if they enquire I’ll assure them that I’ll be letting the new people know what noisy obnoxious bastards they are, so they don’t suffer that shock the way we did three days after we moved in. Bear says it’s mean, but he knows me so well he laughed about it. Of course I wouldn’t tell the new people that. Our neighbours aren’t actually as bad as they have been in the past. Since their eldest daughter moved out last month, there have been no more weekly screaming matches and the partying until 5am three times a year has finally been reduced to once a year until 2.30am instead. Still a pain in the ass, but by no means as infuriating as previous years have been. The guy next door is still an obnoxious asshole, but if you ignore him, it’s all good.

Food Delivery, Time Together & Home Repairs

I do love when I announce that it’s Bear’s turn to cook because after the past three weeks of cooking, baking and cleaning I’ve had quite enough. He looks totally bewildered and reaches for Google to find a local restaurant that does food delivery.

Den Dorstige Tijger and Hop the Builder, two new American IPA’s.

Yesterday we went out together for the first time in 17 months. We biked into town and had a couple of beers at our favourite bar, sat outside obviously because people are disease ridden.! Bear spent a fair amount of the time on his iPhone despite this being the first time we’ve been out together because… Bear, while I surveyed the view (raining) and wondered what the heck I was going to make for dinner, while not really giving a damn. Watching Bear scroll through his FB and Twitter feeds made the decision for me. He could make dinner. He was a little taken aback but then took up the challenge, trying to think what to make. I vetoed his usual choices of spinach pasta and shop bought chips, which left him floundering. The thing is, he’s a pretty good cook when he bothers to make the effort, which is rare although he has to follow a recipe. He can’t cook when he has to figure things out as he goes, as he hates that uncertainty and the self-doubt that rears it’s ugly head on those occasions. He was going to go grocery shopping (which he insists on doing) but we got back just before 6pm and he still had to walk the dog, so he made the executive decision to pay for food delivery.! So we had Thai, which was delicious and again he’s gotten out of cooking. :[

He did manage to leave the bloody Internet alone long enough for us to agree on a strategy re: the house move though. I’ll make a list of things that need doing around the house and he’ll either do them within the next three months or find someone professional who can. I’ll make a list of things I want in a new house and he’ll look at it and tick the things he agrees with and (maybe) add an item or two. He’ll start adding himself to the mailing lists of local estate agents and looking through reasonably priced properties to get some idea of what’s on offer in our price range. For him, this is quite a compromise. Usually it takes him years to get anything done. Meanwhile, I’ll do everything that needs doing that I’m not stupid enough to believe he’ll get around to doing. First thing Monday, I’m starting the re-painting.

Barred!, DIY Excuses & Chewable Dog Toys

The boy child is now barred from the kitchen when I’m in it after an incident that could have caused severe injuries, to me mostly. Being the intelligent lad that he is, he thought it would be a clever idea to sit cross-legged on the kitchen floor behind me, while I’m stood at the stove cooking dinner. We were both very lucky that I looked before I took a step towards the sink with a heavy saucepan full of boiling water and pasta, or we’d both have ended up in A&E. As it was, I quite incredulously asked him if he had to sit there while I was cooking.? To which he responded that he did because he was playing ball with the dog.! Bear looked at him in much the same way I was and told him to get out of the kitchen. He’s 15, he may not make 16 at the rate he’s going. He was then told to stay out of the kitchen if I was in it, regardless of what I was doing, as he’s a hazard to my health.

Bear and I went to the DIY store today to look for a connector for our garden hose, so we can empty the pool without washing out the fruit garden. I also wanted to look at paint for the bedrooms I want to get a start on re-doing next week and bathroom tiles, so we can make a start on getting the repairs we’ve needed since it was finished 9 years ago, organised. Trying to get Bear to do anything is like trying to get blood out of a stone, so trying to get him to look at paint when he’s not even bothering to think about the re-painting until next week, after the kids go back to their mother is just next to impossible. Bathroom tiles too.! “We’ll come back next week to have a look.” Why do we need to come back next week to have a look when we’re both here now.?! What he’s hoping is that he can come back to have a look next week but not actually have to do anything… boy, is he ever going to be shocked.

If he doesn’t get his ass in gear and get the painting at least started before the end of next week, he’ll find I’ll have it finished by the time he gets home from work on day one.! I am not fucking around with this. It’s taken me nine years to get him to even consider moving out of this hellhole and now the mortgage advisor and a few local estate agents have also told him now’s a good time to make the move, he’s damned well going to make it.! We’ve hated this neighbourhood since three days after we moved in, so I’m not hanging around any longer than I absolutely have to.

After we left the DIY store, we went to our local Pets Place, to get the dog a squeaky toy. He used to have one when he was a young pup but he ate it and we didn’t replace it because he seemed to prefer his cheesy bone. This morning the old lady next door had visitors who had a young puppy with them. They were squeaking a toy for it and driving our dog nuts.! So Bear decided he should again have one of his own. We have to buy Kong toys because our little fur baby is a major chewer and he’ll eat his way through anything not made from industrial strength rubber in a few minutes. We eventually found a cool toy for him. It’s a huge red Kong Jumbler, it has handles on both sides so you can play tug with it, it squeaks and it has a tennis ball inside to keep him interested and best of all it can’t be chewed through.! Awesome.

We also got him an Orka Flyer, it’s basically a frisbee which, once he learns how to play with it, he’ll love. He’s always racing around, jumping up to catch his ball, so a frisbee should prove to be more fun.

Martian Slavery, Expecting Too Much & The Food Stalker

Sometimes I wonder just how dumb the human race has to become before evolution pulls the plug on us all.? We’ve been devolving for quite some time now and even I’m amazed at the depths of utter stupidity some humans can realise. It’s almost like there’s a competition. “Dumbest motherfucker on the planet gets their name in the Guinness Book of Records” and hopefully sterilised, for free. Martian slavery is apparently the latest ‘conspiracy theory’. NASA have been abducting babies and sending them on a 20 year journey to Mars, so they can be enslaved when they get there. They’ve been doing this for decades apparently and now the jig is up!! No. Seriously. This is a thing… NASA even had to deny that they had been doing this. It’s not even a facepalm moment, it’s a ‘are you really that fucking stupid.?’ moment. Robert David Steele needs to be barred from watching re-runs of The X-Files.

Yesterday, the wireless headphones Bear bought me arrived. After spending two and a half weeks being subjected to the girl child’s high-pitched, staccato cackle I was this close ‘-‘ to a complete meltdown. Irritated beyond comprehension by the lack of Bear’s control over his bloody annoying daughter, both were in the firing line of my damned-near volcanic temper. I’d been wearing my headphones and turning Spotify up louder and louder until my eardrums were vibrating, yet still that high-pitched yowl was getting through and causing my nerves to twang painfully when to top it all off, one side of the headphones stopped working as the cable was frayed and the wires inside had broken. Eventually I went upstairs with a throbbing headache to get some peace… to no avail. The boy child was hovering, as he does whenever there might be something to see or hear and my appearance in my bedroom at 7pm is somewhat unusual, especially since I shut the door and kept the light switched off.

Of course he thinks he’s being all nonchalant, just going to the bathroom and back to his room, when actually he’s prowling, pausing outside my bedroom door to try to hear something. Bear came up to find out why I’d been gone for more than 40 minutes and got an earful, which of course the boy child was happily listening in on and reporting back to his sister downstairs via WhatsApp. He’s going to be the next recipient of my wrath if he’s not very careful. Bear being Bear, immediately goes downstairs to look up new headphones for me, making them wireless so I can move around the house and snug fitting to ensure the girl child’s ‘murdering-a-cat’ cackle can’t get through. Of course he’s not going to tell his precious child to shut the hell up or go and sit in her room and cackle rather than doing it in the living room. That would be expecting too much.

Every other weekend, when Bear’s two youngest stay over, the boy child spends all day and night in his room. A typical teenage boy he only appears when there’s the potential for food. So much so that the potential for food seems to be whenever he hears me in the kitchen. Suddenly he’ll be behind me, craning his neck over my shoulder to see what I’m doing while pretending he’s only there to get a drink. He’s starting to piss me off.! These past two weeks Bear and the kids have been glued to the Olympics… all day, every day. They’ve only moved when I’ve provided food. Now I’m a sports fan, but I’m not their level of sports fan. So, being bored out of my mind on a daily basis, I’ve baked pretty much everything you can bake with blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and cherries in it. When I made muffins, the boy child ‘needed a drink’ just as I was mixing the batter, and then reported back that I was making cake.

When I made fruit bars, he had to come and wash his hands at the kitchen sink, and was then heard to announce that I was making more cake. When I made blackberry jam, I had to boil it for 10 minutes without the lid on. Suddenly there he was, stood at the fridge door, on tiptoe, craning his neck so far off his shoulders to see over my shoulder and into the saucepan I was stood in front of. He’s vehemently denied that he’s damned nosey, but every time I’m baking something he’ll suddenly appear. I may ban him from the kitchen whenever I’m in it. He’s developed a habit of leaving his bedroom door ajar so he can listen in on whatever’s going on elsewhere in the house. His bedroom is just across the hall from the bathroom and I really don’t like that he’s listening in on people using the bathroom instead of shutting his door and minding his own business.

It’s bothered me for quite some time and when I brought it up he strenuously denied that he listened when people were in the bathroom, so I asked why his earbuds were only ever partially in his ears and not in them properly if he’s listening to music or the audio version of the latest book he’s reading or listening to a Podcast as he says he is.? He said so he can hear if he’s called for dinner. I called him for dinner that night. I stood at the living room door and said his name. I didn’t raise my voice, if anything I lowered it a little just to see if he’d hear. He did, and if he could hear me, he could hear the rest of us using the bathroom. Now whenever I go upstairs, I close his door, loudly.!

Writing My Autobiography & My New Niece

Quite a few years ago, I started writing the story of my life from the age of six, when my parents separated. It was hard going and emotional, and renewed my need for answers. As of this date I have only gotten as far as my mid-twenties. I have even more questions that need answers and the original answers I was seeking still have not been forthcoming. I have been in contact with both my parents, neither of which remember much of anything beyond the last ten years, or so they say. My mother has told so many lies over the years, she can barely remember what it is she’s lied about, so convinced by her own lies that even I had to point out the massive differences in the stories she has told me. Now I am convinced that no matter who I ask and how I ask, I will never get the answers I am looking for. I have a very good memory for the shit that’s been done to me and the people who did it. Unfortunately, they don’t.!

Perhaps when it’s all in print and they are faced with my truth of what they did to me, it might jog a memory or two. Perhaps. Probably not. Although the way I’m going, they’ll probably all be dead by the time I get to the point of printing. It’s taken nearly eight years to get this far. The only person my autobiography may hurt is my younger sister. She thinks her parents are the sun and the moon, while I have a very different recollection. All in all it’s been very therapeutic and I’ve managed to sort through a lot of ill feelings, and place a few more where they should have been all along. They say people are, at their very essence, good. That has not been my experience.

I wrote, back in my 2020 Personal Review that my sister was pregnant. Well, she had a little girl on June 23rd. A full week late but healthy and perfect after a 28 hour labour and a forceps delivery. Olivia Rose looks a lot like her mother and has the family nose.. hahaha.! That thing is never going to be gotten rid of. Even my youngest son’s children have it.! Genetics can be a bitch. 😀


Floodwater, Procrastination, Sports Obsession & Wedding Avoidance

Finally, we are gearing up to find a new home. Sorry… sorry… make that I am gearing up to find a new home. Bear as usual, is plodding along at his usual snail pace, intent on leaving everything to the last second, as per. I meanwhile, am making sure everything of importance down in the cellar is packed away in sturdy cardboard boxes and plastic wheeled, lidded tubs. We had a little flood water last month, thanks to the torrent of rain dumped on us by the northern jet stream and climate change. It was only two inches in the main cellar and a few millimetres elsewhere that seeped up through the concrete along the edges of the walls, but it became standing water as it didn’t go down for more than a week and even then the main room still had puddles for four days after. We were inundated with flies and mosquitoes and following the floods, 28C for a few days.!!

Great.! Nothing like stinking, stagnant water and flying, buzzing, bitey things to contend with while you’re trying to drag sopping wet, old, deteriorating cardboard boxes away from the water, and all the crap you (Bear) were supposed to have gotten rid of down the tip, three years ago while sweating like a turkey at Thanksgiving.! So for some weeks the entire house has stunk of wet cardboard and rubbish. A well placed comment on Monday afternoon had Bear up and moving yesterday to get rid of said cardboard and rubbish, and the cellar door and back door were left open most of the day to air out the smell. Funny, how it takes a guilt trip to get his ass in gear… his excuse is he’s on holiday having finally, a year late, finished the nursing degree he’s been studying for. For the past six months he’s been working with people with Down Syndrome, which I fully understand is stressful and mentally exhausting, but he wouldn’t have had to had he gotten his ass in gear last July and finished his nursing degree like all the other students managed to instead of living on bloody Twitter and procrastinating instead of doing. The man drives me nuts.! Have you noticed.?

Even now, he’s sat on his ass on the sofa, iPad in hand, one eye on the Olympics while he watches some other sport on the iPad. This has been the standard since July 23rd. Actually this has been the standard since he realised he could watch sport on his iPhone, iPad, laptop and TV all at the same time. Also since July 23rd his two youngest children have been with us for their Summer holidays… and in the past 12 days we have done absolutely sweet fuck all.! Bear has a reservation to visit the local Wildlife Park next Wednesday and the kids will be going back to their mother next Sunday. In three weeks of holiday, they’ll have visited the zoo. Wow.! Exciting stuff. Boy, do we know how to have fun in this house. 😦 I however have been so bored out of my mind, I’ve baked cookies, muffins, a tray bake and done a ton of laundry and housework just to keep me from killing him. He’s so obsessed with anything remotely sporty… if Królestwo Dreamlandu had a women’s team competing at marbles, he’d watch them.!

Last month I was invited to my youngest son’s wedding. After four years of whining about his lazy bitch of a fiancée, how she never shifts her ass off the sofa or her iPhone and wouldn’t know housework if it smacked her around the ear, and two children, he’s finally decided to marry her. The wedding is set for September 13th and Bear and I are not going. Now I have to find a viable excuse to give as to why we’re not going. The truth is, I have absolutely no wish to sit through all the bullshit and mutual appreciation drivelling and lies that will be his reception. How his father is his hero and has always been there for him. How his father has stepped up and been the best father a man could have and his father bleating on about what a great son he has and how he’s grown up and become a man and a wonderful father. I’m not sure I could keep a civil tongue in my head being battered with all that hypocritical shit.!

I have however, been sent all kinds of photos that one or other of them has taken and been sent a list of guests. ‘See what you’re missing out on!’ Not much by the look of it. The bride has chosen a c.1900’s white lace summer dress as her wedding outfit and my eldest son is wearing the same suit he wore to his Prom 10 years ago, albeit with a distinct Viking vibe. My youngest will of course be wearing the pale grey pinstripe he wore to his father’s wedding back in 2017, despite the fact he’s gained 70 pounds and had a shave, so he now looks 12. The proud parents will be decked out in all the tasteful finery they can afford I’m sure, all for 15 minutes in a Register office. The guest list is a long list of total strangers and my ex-husband’s military mates, all of whom will have heard only one side of our divorce story and very little of it will have been true. Also a good reason to practice wedding avoidance.

Surgically Unattached, Alternator Issues & Dog Food Desperation

Where to begin… Bear’s in a snit with me because I’m not surgically attached to the Internet as he is. The dog has finally made eating his meals a trend and the car’s probably about to cost us a small fortune.

We had the children for half of the half term holidays, so had them from Wednesday morning until yesterday evening. On Wednesday morning Bear went to pick them up from their home and was just pulling into our street when the battery light went on in the dashboard. Thinking it might have been because his phone was plugged into the cigarette lighter socket the entire journey, he pulled it out and later in the day took the car out on a shopping trip to make sure everything was fine. It seemed to be.

Yesterday morning, to be 100% sure all was fine Bear hooked the battery up to the charger and left it to charge for the day. He took the children back home after dinner and made it to their house without incident. Thirty minutes from our home the battery light came back on and two seconds later, the car died, stranding Bear in the dark and cold on an unlit section of road, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully he still had an Internet connection, so was able to contact roadside assistance.

He tried to ring me to let me know what had happened but my phone battery was dead. It usually is because I never use my phone. No-one rings me and no-one texts, so I have no use for the thing beyond Bear ringing me once in a blue moon. He sent me a Messenger message, but of course I didn’t get it for ages because I wasn’t on my laptop. By 8pm, I’d turned it off and was sat watching CSI with the dog. By the time 9pm came around I was mildly concerned that Bear wasn’t back, having left just shy of 7pm… the journey doesn’t normally take two hours, so I checked my Facebook and found his message.

Of course it had a tone and he was pissed that I hadn’t picked the phone up, or been online to answer his message. He doesn’t seem to understand that not everyone lives on the Internet 24/7 like he does. We don’t have a landline anymore because we never used it, both having mobiles and I never picked it up anyway without knowing who was calling, which at the time was constantly my ex-, so I rarely went near the thing. We were paying a connection fee and a 20 Euro a month call fee for doing nothing, so we disconnected it. Now he’s in a snit because I’m unreachable.

I am not living on the fucking Internet on the off chance he might call me while he’s out.! I have better things to do with my time than bore myself stupid with the dumb shit that has proven to be today’s society. There seems not to be a single brain cell amongst a large majority of them and I just can’t take that level of stupidity, it gives me homicidal tendencies.

The battery light coming on and the car dying suddenly appears to be the result of the alternator needing replacing. I suppose it’s not too bad, seeing as we haven’t had any real issues with the car in the past few years, although the garage still haven’t given us a price for the job so I hope it’s not going to be a small fortune. Bear takes his bike to work mostly, so if the car’s in the garage for a few days, it’s no biggie, just a pain in the ass with the weekly shop. I just hope this is going to be quick and painless.

Drax has finally decided after almost a year of pissing about, to eat his meals. He has the Royal Canin kibble that he was reared on and we continued the usage after we brought him home giving him three meals a day, six hours apart. He ate them as and when, sometimes limiting himself to one meal a day. When he turned a year old earlier this month, we changed the food to the adult kibble and he became even more fussy about eating, going for 48 hours without eating anything other than his normal daily treats for closing the back door.

In desperation I mixed a little peanut butter in the kibble and he immediately ate it. Refusing to do that for every meal due to the fat content, we investigated a few wet foods to see which he preferred and mixed them in with the kibble. The little toadface licked all the wet food off of the kibble and left the kibble in the bowl. *sigh* Bear thinks the kibble is too hard for him, despite him spending ages chewing on his rock hard cheesy bone. I think he’s damned lazy and anything that means making an effort is a no-no.

Nevertheless 40 minutes before every mealtime, I mix 60g of the kibble with some warm water and leave it to soak. Then mix it with three tablespoons of wet food. Bingo.! He eats the lot. Finally.! Now to get him back up to the weight he should be, having noted that his ribs are showing through the huge amount of fur he’s now covered in…

Furball.!

2020: A Personal Review

The New Year began with a loud bang on the sofa in the front room, Bear and I having no qualms about our neighbours listening in on our sex life. They should be more aghast at forcing us to listen to their weekly screaming rows. By the middle of the month though we were at odds with each other, over his consistent checking out of female Facebook profiles. I don’t have a problem with him checking out other women, I have a problem with him checking out other women in front of me.! Late January saw me being harpooned by a needle-wielding sadist whose ear to ear grin and bouncy joyfulness at stabbing me making me wonder just what kind of psychopath you have to be to get into the medical profession.

In February we went to Maastricht to shop for wedding outfits and I got a new tattoo, having 50’s style stocking seams inked down the backs of both legs that led to a major spat between Bear and I, owing to his over-enthusiastic attempt at being popular with a female ex co-worker who had wronged me badly in 2019.

My younger sister’s wedding in March went ahead without me, after the Netherlands went into National lockdown the day before we were due to sail over to the UK. We’d hoped to make it over before that happened, but upon discovering that had we, we’d have been stuck in the UK for more than three weeks I wasn’t overly concerned at the near miss. Three weeks stuck in the UK with my family is a definite no-no.! The wedding went ahead with 17 guests and a fish and chips lunch on a cold, blustery beach and we were left with two awesome outfits and nowhere to wear them. 😦 On a happier note, I received notification from the local town hall that my appeal for permanent residency had been accepted. 🙂

April 1st brought a puppy we named DraxtheDestroyer into our home. Man, were we dumb giving him a name that he’s happily lived up to.! A Border Collie mix/Toller Retriever cross, he was cute, lovable, bitey and naturally destructive all at the same time. It was like having a newborn baby for the first six weeks and a hyped up Gremlin since. I’m still amazed I’ve made it through intact and even more amazed the house has. My best friend ended up in hospital with the ‘Rona and had to be intubated and ventilated. An otherwise healthy, fit man has become a physical wreck with serious heart, lung and muscular issues thanks to long Covid.

In May my ex-husband politely requested an audience with me concerning an important legal matter. He’d been blocked from contacting me on every level, so the request came though our youngest son. I was loathe to bother responding, but knew the boys would hold it against me so replied. It led to a stressful six month legal process to rid myself of a house I’d never wanted and had had no involvement with since it was bought fourteen year ago. My feelings for my ex- died almost two decades ago, but his shitty behaviour towards our boys always triggered a psychopathic rage in me that he’s damned lucky I couldn’t fulfil. After ten years of stress and anxiety with every contact I’d been forced into with him, I suddenly realised I wasn’t feeling it this time. Finally, I was starting to heal.

In June, my father disowned me, not for the first time but definitely for the last. His blatant discrimination and lack of tolerance for anyone not white, straight and religious made me reveal my bi-sexuality and I was instantly banished, being blocked on Facebook and from his email. If I cared even a jot I might have been upset, but I knew that would be the result. His inability to see past his own biases and refusal to acknowledge that his ‘entitled white man’ attitude is the problem has caused a rift I have no inclination to heal. The only thing that caused me a moment’s pain was seeing my siblings rush to his defence and make excuses for him. It made me realise how toxic and truly unnecessary that family is to me.

July saw me get back in contact with my birth mother after years of on-off contact. She and I have spent almost 30 years circling each other warily. She dumped my brother and I when we were 9 and 7 years old, taking our disabled little sister (4) with her and has since feigned her innocence in that event and others. My brother hasn’t had anything to do with her since and I have been very cautious in my dealings with her. I got back in contact having had quite enough of my father’s bullshit and lies, and have finally accepted that answers will never be forthcoming, and those that are can’t be trusted to be the truth.

August was just hot. Too hot, but a new patio pool helped cool us off a little. September saw the mad puppy pass his puppy training course despite dismally failing the last lesson by chewing on the intelligence tests instead of solving them. Hardly his fault, all those treats and enticing puppy smells proved too much for our inquisitive little monster and he ran around chewing grass, games and anything he could get his mouth on rather than proving his superior intellect. He could now however sit, stay, offer a paw, come when called and destroy everything he came within a 20 foot radius of, after he’d covered it in slobber and teeth marks. Most of his training has been done by us and he’s learned quite quickly the behaviour that’s acceptable and the behaviour that’s not, although he likes to pretend he’s in charge every now and again, he knows that as Mummy, I am.!

In mid October a daughter was born to my youngest son, and promptly declared his by my eldest. My eldest would make a great father if his taste in women wasn’t so horrendous. Not that my youngest’s is any better, his fiancee’s a lazy bitch who has no idea what hygiene is. My younger sister discovered she was pregnant, with a due date of next June. I’m hoping it’ll be a few days early and arrive on my birthday. The legal process I started back in May finally drew to a close. It meant being free of all ties with my ex- who would now have no reason to be in contact with me, and you can be damned sure any contact he initiates will be taken as an act of aggression.

In November I gave up on Christmas preparation with the total cock-up of the Christmas pudding that rose in the pan, dried out and ended up half cooked and half raw, dumped in the freezer and left to fend for itself until such time as I could be bothered to do something with it. I gave up on online shopping trying to find a service that would deliver to the UK without it costing a fortune. My stepmother’s best friend stepped in to help and our grandchildren’s Christmas presents were delivered by mid-November.! We celebrated the big guy’s birthday with Thai delivery and beer and our 10th anniversary with Indian delivery and beer.

December arrived with an apologetic expression, bringing with it a final Brexit deal and a new strain of COVID. Not that I needed an excuse to stay the hell away from the UK, but finding out that even though we have an EU Pet passport, we’re still expected to pay £100 for a health certificate when bringing the dog with us, has given me a new incentive to not bother setting foot on British soil. Christmas happened quietly, once the Christmas tree had been reinstated after an altercation with the dog. We tried a new vegetarian bake for dinner, which proved to be spicy and tasty and a damn sight easier to cook than a few kilos of dead animal. Christmas pudding was steamed in a Bundt pan and amazingly it made no difference at all to the flavour.

The kids arrived on the 27th and a Star Wars marathon ensued. The New Year proved to be quiet and was over quickly, the dog only being bothered by the bangs and squeals when he decided he had to go and investigate the garden just as the neighbours let off a volley. He changed his mind pretty quickly and returned to the safety of the sofa and the adventures of Snake Plissken in New York.!

This year we have Corona to thank for uncovering the hidden lack of intelligence in people we thought we knew, who happily shared anti-mask and anti-safety restriction propaganda under the guise of ‘showing two sides of a story’ there are not two sides to. Anyone not wearing a mask, washing their hands and socially distancing to protect themselves and their loved ones is just being deliberately stupid and irresponsible. They were happily relegated to the ‘unfriended’ list of people who have unfortunately surprised us with their lack of basic brain power and common sense.

This year I have been in my element. Self-isolation and the avoidance of everyone who doesn’t live in my home agrees with me no end and having all this ‘me’ time has given me plenty of opportunities to update my blogs, make some progress in online games and bask in my newly discovered vegetarian cooking skills… the downside of all that is the painful lack of mobility, not that there’s much I can do about it until my little sadistic buddy starts using me as a voodoo doll again and the day that happens is nowhere near close yet.!

The Mommy, Christmas Pudding & The Missing Bauble

Yesterday we visited The Mommy, having been summoned because she’d made a whole ton of Chicken Soup and Ragout and didn’t have room to store it all in her freezer and fridge, so she was giving us half of it. What she thinks we’re going to do with it I don’t know. She knows we’ve gone vegetarian and she knows I won’t eat it. What makes her think we’ve even got room for it in our freezer and fridge, which right now is bursting with Christmas ingredients and beer, Bear having received 12 bottles of beer in his secret Santa giftbox that came two days ago, after he’d already been to the beer shop that morning and bought 10.! At least we’ll be okay for New Year. I may have to give the chicken stuff to the kids and make spicier meals for Bear and I that the kids won’t want.

Today I officially reached the ‘fuck this shit.!’ stage of Christmas preparation and decided tradition be damned. Who says I can’t steam a Christmas pudding in a Bundt tin.? Who says I can’t bake Christmas pudding mix like a cake.? Who says I can’t have chocolate fudge mud-pie brownies in place of Christmas cake.? I can and I am.!

Christmas pudding is the only part of the traditional English Christmas fare that Bear likes, so I try to make one every year and have it nicely laced with whisky, brandy or sherry, or all three depending on whether he has to work on Christmas day or not. This year he does, so I laced it with a little sherry and as with all well laid plans, it went to shit and I ended up packing it into little pudding tubs and putting it in the freezer to deal with at a later date.

That date was today. I left both pudding tubs to defrost over night, to steam them today so that I’d only have to re-heat them tomorrow in the microwave. Of course, ten minutes after starting the steaming process I discover the pudding tubs are not heat proof and the damned things are starting to melt… ffs.! So begins a search for heatproof plastic anything that can act as a pudding basin. Of course, no such luck. So I go through the equipment cupboards looking for something metal that would suffice. Nope.

So, in frustration and just a tad stressed, having been through the kitchen cupboards seeing what ingredients I do have, what I don’t and what I can get away without, I re-made the whole pudding again from scratch… omitting the marinating for 24 hours part, obviously. Once re-made, I scraped out the slightly damp puddings from their melting tubs and chucked them in with the new stuff and gave it a good mix and giving up on the ‘glass bowl in a casserole dish’ form of steaming, considering last month’s disaster, packed it into a Bundt cake tin and covered it with the traditional baking paper and aluminium foil before dropping it into a saucepan of boiling water on the hob.

Bear will get Christmas pudding this year… one way or another.! Thankfully, that big beardy angel prepared the sprouts for me, so that’s one less thing for me to get pissed off at. Just the potatoes to peel and cut and the tiramisu to make ready for tomorrow and I’m done. Not that we’ll have tiramisu tomorrow until Bear gets home from work around 11.45pm… can’t have him driving to work after a big bowl of Whisky and Bailey’s Irish Cream soaked tiramisu… but at least it’ll be well soaked if I make it tonight. The fumes alone should keep me happy. 😀

I’ll also be searching out the big bauble we pinched last year because for some reason it’s not where it should be, with the rest of the Christmas decorations and neither Bear nor I know where it went. It’s been a tradition since I moved here to steal a bauble from somewhere to add to our collection. Bear was a bit hesitant at first being an honest upstanding member of society, but soon got into the spirit of the thing for me and whipped a bauble from the same pub I pinched our first from the year before. In the past ten years he’s only swiped three baubles, I’ve done the dirty deed the rest of the time. It would be a shame to lose that one as out of all the baubles I’ve nicked over the years that’s the biggest and best and the most daring, as I nicked it from a public display in the centre of town… which is packed with CCTV.! 😀

Note to Self: Don’t bake Christmas pudding mix like cake. It’s dry as dust and tastes like cardboard crumbs. 😦

Drax And The WhatsApp Video Call, Ten Year Anniversary & Vegetarian Food Delivery Menus

On Wednesday morning I had to attend a WhatsApp video call with my Solicitor in England to go over the details of the property transfer with my ex-, so that he could ensure I knew what I was doing and why. The call was arranged for 10.30am so I made sure Drax had been fed, watered and was happily chewing on his cheesy bone on the sofa and that the back door was open so he could go outside should he choose to. At exactly 10.30am, I answer the call, just as Drax decides to start having a mad barking fit because there’s a cat sat on the windowsill across the road that’s just caught his attention.

As with all socially distanced cat encounters he races like a lunatic around the living room and patio, launching himself off of the sofa onto the footstool and onto the floor to race out the back door barking, to run a lap around the patio before rushing back indoors, throwing himself onto the footstool, which carries him to the sofa where he screeches to a halt before he ends up doing a Garfield on the window, barking like crazy, whining and whimpering, before throwing himself off of the sofa onto said footstool, launching himself off again and racing outside to run a lap around the patio… rinse and repeat 12-15 times… by the time he’s done the footstool is over by the door and the sofa is pushed up against the windowsill.. 14 inches from where it should be.! The floor has a slobber trail from door to footstool.

Meanwhile, my Solicitor in England is almost shouting at me through WhatsApp to try to get himself heard through the flurry of barking and claw-on-tile skittering, and of course apologies from me because screaming at the dog to shut the hell up doesn’t work.! Shutting him out in the garden doesn’t work… he’s a 9 month old, 50lb+ ball of over-excitement and slobber and if you try to shut him out, he’ll come through the window… Bear’s already warned the kids not to shut the door on him when he’s got the Zoomies. Eventually, the Solicitor shuts off the video and resorts to messaging. What he must think of me I don’t know, nor do I care, when there’s a cat in visual range, chaos reigns… Of course once the video is off and I’ve stopped attempting to talk, the dog decides to ignore the cat, quietens down and carries on chewing on his cheesy bone on the sofa.! 😕

DRAXtheDestroyer. Socially distanced cat worrier

Wednesday also saw mine and Bear’s 10th Anniversary. We’ve both come a long way and it hasn’t been easy for either of us. I’ve had to work hard to keep my natural flair for sarcasm under control, because he just doesn’t get it and thinks sarcastic people are just mean. He’s had to learn to read my moods, which is no easy task, but he’s managed to develop some early warning alarms and he’s been learning consideration, which is something the Dutch are not. We still make each other laugh and occasionally he surprises me. I’ve finally found some peace and he’s found security, something he desperately needed in order to let the person he is shine after previously being criticised and found fault with because he’s different to other men.

We decided to celebrate with beer and a food delivery, seeing as we couldn’t go out to a restaurant as we normally would. I made carrot cake with lime frosting and the dog got a HUGE dental stick chew through the post from The Mommy. The beer delivery guy turned out to be an old friend from our favourite bar, who’s started a beer company with a few friends and gets the more obscure craft beers for us discerning palettes. The food delivery was hard work… we decided to go with Chinese but only had a choice of two vegetarian meals tucked at the bottom of a huge menu of meat and fish dishes… Bear was not impressed. He checked out the Greek and Indonesian menus and was disgusted at the lack of vegetarian options, only two Greek meals and one Indonesian that was basically a boiled egg in tomato sauce.

He was about to give up when I suggested Indian. There’s only one Indian restaurant in town and they don’t deliver… or rather, they didn’t deliver. Google said they didn’t deliver but when Bear phoned and asked they said they would… and they had eight different vegetarian meals on their menu so we ordered Paneer Tikka Masala and Lauki with Saag, which is spinach, onions and red peppers in a spicy sauce and really tasty. I have a feeling Bear’s going to be pursuing the issue of a lack of support for vegetarians with our local political party.

claytoonz

Nationally Syndicated Editorial Cartoonist

A Family History in Letters

Letters from the women in my family to their mothers from 1910-1980.

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Theatric Food

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The Belfast Belter

The Life and Times of a retired Soldier, Boxer, Pilot, Husband, Father and Grandfather

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tales of untruths

Shine My Way

My memoir. Where I cuss a lot.

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