Category Archives: Life in general

Life is too short not to have a Filing System

How can people live without at least one small filing cabinet in their houses?  How do they access the mountains of paperwork which drop through our letterboxes, into children’s bookbags, handed to you on the doorstep by frightening, burly men …. oh sorry, forget that last bit.  But you get my point.

At any given time, I have a pile of papers on my desk that are waiting to be dealt with by return letter, the filling in of forms, the production of other documents, ‘phone calls at the very least and almost always requiring the handing over of shining piles of cash.

The only way of keeping on top of this lot is to have an accurate, well organised filing cabinet which is regularly scanned and weeded for superfluous and out of date papers.  I have a large filing cabinet that has been travelling with me for the last 20 years.

The top drawer is devoted to The Wartime Housewife (and who isn’t?), the second drawer is for major household categories that require money to change hands eg utilities, car, schools, bank, tax etc, important documents such as medical cards, passports, birth certificates, and instruction leaflets with their receipts and guarantees.  The third drawer is predominantly recreational – Scouts, vet, English Heritage and that sort of thing.

When the car needs insurance or an MOT, I go the Car File and take out the envelope marked ‘Car Docs’ which contains MOT, Insurance policy and the log book.  Today the Inland Revenue needed a copy of a document from several years ago and I was able to go straight to my drawer and retrieve it while the chap was on the ‘phone.

The thing about accurate filing is that it saves so much time.  Having systems for dealing with incoming mail and tasks means that you have infinitely more chance of keeping on top of things and significantly less tasks of letting something critical slip through the net.

I have an In-Tray next to my desk where papers go for sorting.  I then have three magazine holders on the other side of my desk marked ‘Things to be Done Imminently’, ‘School & Scouts Letters and Forms’ and ‘Things to be Kept at Hand’.  The things in the first two holders will also appear on my (typed) Things To Do List which is pinned to my noticeboard and, when completed, the documents are either filed or thrown away.

I also have plastic folders for ongoing issues (in the To Be Kept at Hand), such as the car accident I had last year and every time I make contact with the insurers, I add a note to the file with the details so that I have an accurate record of every step.

The other things I do which I find endlessly useful, is I keep a sheet on the computer which has a list of all my regular income and expenditure on a monthly basis and every time something changes, it is updated and a printout stored in the file.   This not only helps me to keep a tight rein on my finances but I am frequently asked for this information and I save so much time by having the data at my fingertips.

My only problem is that I do have a box of filing which came with me from the old house, but it is only small and if something isn’t in the file, it will be in the box.

Without these systems I would probably be in jail.  I have poor short term memory and too many demands and variables in my daily life.  My brain is, by nature, chaotic and I impose these structures in order to function. Before I realised the value of systems, I lived in chaos and was constantly fire-fighting.  Life is just too short.


Filed under Household Hints, Life in general, Slider

Ill-mannered letters and other people’s whiplash is grinding me down

Angry Bird - like wot I am

In fact, it’s not just the paperwork, it’s the tone of the paperwork.

Having recently become self employed, there is an astonishing amount of paperwork required of me on an almost continual basis, mostly because there are lots of things that I now have to pay for which I didn’t before.  I am also constantly asked to account for myself to various bodies and, whilst I understand that this needs to be done, I come close to getting upset by the hectoring tones of many of these letters.

One letter, asking me for details of the work I have been doing has the penultimate paragraph in large, bold type, some of which is underlined, threatening that if I don’t provide this information within 15 days the payment in question will stop.  This is the first letter of its kind from them and I would mind less if it hadn’t, in fact, been sent to the wrong address.

I have two other ill-mannered letters this week.  The first one regarding Council Tax which is threatening me with court action if I don’t pay £27 which is 7 days overdue.  They informed me that I was  constantly falling into arrears in this financial year and that it simply would not do.  I only received the letter confirming my Council Tax bill three weeks ago.

The second made me want to spit blood with rage at the hypocrisy of it all.  For the first time in a very long while, I was overdrawn at the bank.  Overdrawn by £8 for a grand total of 4 days.  This meant that a direct debit was not paid and for which I was charged £8.  Fair enough.

What was not fair enough was the letter that I subsequently received from my bank lecturing me on the evils of being in debt, that it was totally unacceptable to overdraw without authority and would I like to see an advisor and go on a debt management course.

Do you know what?  I would like the banks to go on a debt management course.  Added to that, I would like the writers of these letters to think twice before assuming that everyone is a work-shy, backsliding criminal.

I just get angry, but I wonder what an elderly or vulnerable person would feel like if they received letters like these.

And whilst I’m on the subject of getting angry, I would like to share with you my entire morning spent trying to get a quote on my car insurance.  My insurance has gone up by over £250 since last year and that was the cheapest quote I could get.  I was expecting it to go up a little bit because I took someone’s wing mirror off back in July and, apparently foolishly, owned up on the flimsy grounds that it was categorically my fault.

I asked each insurer (I rather quaintly get my quotes from humans on telephones) why premiums had gone up so much.  Each one told me that a large factor was the no win no fee companies urging people to claim for whiplash.  Apparently the new trick is to get your friend to bang into your car from behind, you both claim on your insurance, then get a whopping payout for whiplash – the going rate is currently £2k.

When some stupid tart ran into the side of me a year ago (still not gone to court, incidentally) I was bombarded with calls from claims companies for weeks afterwards asking whether I was getting headaches or back pain. Several of them suggested that I was foolish not to claim as whiplash was virtually impossible to gainsay.  Needless to say, I refused to play the game, again on the frail excuse that I was not actually injured.

Nonetheless, my premiums have gone up by £250.

I am very, very cross.  I probably blame Thatcher.


Filed under Life in general, Transport

I ran out of time…

I believe I may be very cute indeed

I had such a lovely post lined up for you today but the day ran away with my.  I spent all morning working on … well working on something, then I spent an hour doing paperwork, followed by lunch (Boy the Elder is still on half term) then some work on the post.  Except that I have just taken delivery of a new vacuum cleaner which needed building, which BTE did with great skill, so I had to try it out as I haven’t been able to vacuum for two weeks. In the middle of that I got a ‘phone call from a friend who was trying to organise a meeting point for the children to do some Halloween stuff, except that Boy the Younger had Cubs first and I had to sort out some stuff for him so he could get his IT badge and then I remembered that I needed another pumpkin to make a big pot of soup for us all.  But the pumpkins were all gorn so I had to use a butternut squash which took twice as long because Boy the Elder wanted it to make another lantern. I was going to write the article when BTY got home from school and then, while he was at cubs, make the soup.  Except that Cubs was cancelled at the last minute so we had to re-arrange the entertainment and abandon the article in favour of the soup.  By the time we got back it was time for ‘Doc Martin’ and now I have a splitting headache and I’m afraid I shall have to retire to my bed.


However, if you click on the link above, you will find three recipes for pumpkin as you’re bound to have some left or be able to pick up some post-Halloween bargains.


Filed under Children, Food, Leftovers, Life in general, Recipes, Seasonal

Harvest Festival

Foodscape photograph by the wonderful Carl Warner

Aha!  I am back amongst you!

However, I am in such bad humour about so many things today, that it’s hard to know quite where to start.

I will begin with Harvest Festival because I attended the Harvest service at Boy the Younger’s school today.  As we went in, I said to my friend “what do you think the chances are of us singing ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ or ‘Come ye thankful people come’.? “Zero,” she said, laughing.

Well it was worse than zero.  I realise that in some aspects of life, I am an unspeakable old fuddy-duddy, but why does everything that involves children have to be turned into an entertainment?  In a moment of desperation, I fed my programme to the beaming baby in the pew in front so I am unable to delight you with the nauseating detail of the ‘service’.

The children sang several feeble pop songs with the word ‘Jesus’ in them, most of which had stupid actions with which the parents were encouraged to join in.  When we were asked to clap our hand to our heart, I’m sorry to tell you that I quietly intoned “I pledge allegiance to the United States of America…” followed by a hand-jive, which had the parents on the row behind dissolving into nervous giggles.

Then there was a really good bit where it all stopped and young and delightfully handsome young man from the nearby CARE village stood up and thanked us all for the donations of food which would be given to the residents.

After this, the Reverend Blodwyn stood up and began the ‘It’s behind you’ section of the service where all the children were encouraged to shout out stuff about vegetables, after which she delivered a lecture about the environment.  Just in case the children hadn’t worked out what rain was, she put up a handy Powerpoint presentation with a character from a ‘Peanuts’ cartoon in which the character gets rained on. Ha bloody ha.

There is absolutely no need for church to be boring.  A good minister can deliver a sermon which will not only uplift and encourage, but will leave the congregation with something to think about for the rest of the week.  Hymns can be joyful and spirit raising, a reading in the hands of a decent reader is a lovely thing to listen to.

But Church, among many other things, is one really good opportunity to teach your children that there are times in life when they have to be quiet and behave with decorum.  There is an unending stream of complaints about how children can never sit still, can’t concentrate, can’t keep quiet.

A large part of the problem is that children are not taught to be quiet and behave with decorum.  Everything they do has to be entertaining.  Well life isn’t always entertaining, in fact, quite large chunks of life can be a bit boring and require us to keep our gobs shut when we’d rather not.  Sometimes we have to be quiet for the comfort of others.

Children need to be taught that there are times to have fun and times to be quiet and still.  How can they learn to think and reason if their minds are being swamped with a constant and unrelenting cacophony of sounds and sights and ‘stimulation’?  How can they learn to appreciate the small and simple things with which they’re surrounded if they never have a moment’s peace in which to do it?

I love Harvest Festival; whatever one’s spiritual pathway, it is completely reasonable to be grateful that we have enough food and that we still have farmers out there producing it.  It is a gratifying experience to share some of that produce with those who have less than us. I personally thanked the farmers in the next pew for growing our milk.  They did the narrowed eyes thing and left.

When I was at school, the Harvest service was a beautiful thing.  The girls doing cookery baked fabulous loaves to look like sheaves of corn, flowers graced every windowsill and the joyful Harvest hymns rocked the rafters as the organ thundered and the choir sang descants that could have lifted the tiles off the roof.

The last ‘hymn’ was called ‘Harvest Hoe Down’ accompanied by a tinny recorded sound track and a bazooka solo from some invisible children – I don’t need to draw you a picture of how awful that was.  I left Boy the Younger’s service with my teeth ground down to powder.   I accosted a teacher in the playground and pleaded that, just once before I BTY leaves, could we sing ‘We plough the fields and scatter’? Just once. “Why?” she answered.

It all makes ‘Cauliflowers fluffy…’ seem positively Wesleyan.


Filed under Behaviour and Etiquette, Children, Education, Life in general, Religion


A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon.  As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.  After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, “I’m sorry madam, but your duck, Cuddles, has passed to the big pond in the sky.”

The distressed woman wailed, “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure.  Your duck is dead,” replied the vet..

“How can you be so sure?” she protested.  “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything.  He might just be in a coma.”

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room.  He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever.  As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom.  He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room.  A few minutes later he returned with a cat.  The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot.  The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.  The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.

The duck’s owner, still in shock, looked at the bill.  “£150!” she cried, “£150 just to tell me my duck is dead!”

The vet shrugged, “I’m sorry.  If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been £20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s now £150.”


Filed under Animals, Jokes

I can live how I like (within reason)

My life is very hectic as I’m sure is the case for many of you; I am constantly running from place to place and the timetable of my day is effectively ruled by my sons’ activities.  I try to sit down for half an hour to have my lunch (whilst watching ‘Doctors’ I’m slightly ashamed to say) and I usually sit down to watch a bit of television or a film for an hour in the evening but then I carry on working, often until around one o’clock in the morning and frequently later.  This does not sit comfortably with a 7am start.

I am a woman who needs my sleep.  Over the years, the only thing that has stood between me and total meltdown is that I fall asleep the moment my light goes out and do not wake until my alarm goes off in the morning.  I lose sleep cumulatively over the week and, at the weekends, I sleep until at least eleven in order to restore my factory settings.

But now, my day is longer, I drive 450 miles a week just going to school, work and clubs and there are things afoot at the Wartime Housewife which are demanding more time and concentration.  I need more sleep and I have decided that whenever possible, I will go to bed for an hour at some point during the day and, most importantly, I will not feel guilty about it because I’m a grown up and I can do what I like.

The problem is that we have all been brainwashed by generations of people who say things like “Early to be, early to rise” and who frown on people who get up late.  There is now a culture of never sitting still, never having thinking time or acknowledging when one needs to rest.  My grandmother always had an hour’s rest after lunch and she was much better for it.  A geologist friend of mine used to put a card on his office door saying ‘Do not disturb – I am thinking’ and would put it on his timesheet as Thinking Time.

The difficulty that both my sisters and I have, is that our mother was ill for many years with depression and agoraphobia and would stay in bed all day, every day, not getting dressed or doing anything in the house.  We have spent our lives doing regular checks on ourselves to make sure that we’re not starting to behave like her or slipping into bad habits.  Even though our mother is now better, she still takes to her bed at the drop of a hat and we sub-consciously rail against any behavior that feels similar.

I didn’t get to bed until gone one o’clock this morning and, as I was coming back from the school run, I could feel my eyelids drooping as I drove along the A6.  Not good.  So I went back to bed for an hour and now I feel better.  And what’s more, I shall continue to do this whenever I feel like it, in the interests of sanity.

I am the Wartime Housewife, I am a grown up and I can do what I like (within reason).


Filed under Family and Friends, Life in general, The Wartime Housewife Blog

A Weekend in The City

What a busy weekend I’ve had.  The father of my children picked The Boys up at 9am on Saturday and I shot straight off down to Elephant and Castle in London to… oh no, I can’t tell you that, you’ll find out soon enough, but I did have the pleasure of seeing The Marquis of Barnet and Carlos Fandango.   The traffic was pretty good and I was there by 11.45 which included a stop off for a coffee and a bun at The Gates of London service station because I was in danger of falling asleep.

Sadly not my photograph

I came straight in through the centre of town and was, as ever, completely thrilled by the view as I crossed the river via Tower Bridge.  In the wink of an eye I could see the beauty of Tower Bridge, the ancient Thames itself, the Tower of London, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and behind me The Shard racing skywards like a living mirror straining towards the sun.

London is beginning to feel like an exciting place again.  There is so much regeneration going on; new and beautiful structures going up and old ones being refurbished.  Yet somehow, London absorbs it all; the old bumping elbows with the new, the ancient holding its head high as it welcomes in the modern with open arms.

After I had finished … the thing I was doing … I headed for Walthamstow to visit my old friend Mrs Gnasher whom I have known since I was ten.  Mrs Gnasher hails from Co. Durham and, despite living in London all her adult life, still has her gorgeous accent and will sing ’The Lambton Worm’ at the drop of a hat (whether you asked her to or not).  For a cheerful version of this song, complete with words and chords, see below.  I suspect the singer might actually be a Manxmen by his accent.

The Olympic Stadium is coming on a treat, giant cranes sweeping over the East End like great, lumbering iron men.  The Velodrome resembles a giant version of those little plastic Pringles boxes – all very exciting.

The Skylon at the Festival of Britain in 1951

I left my lovely friend and headed for The Aged Parent who lives near Staines on the edge of Heathrow Airport.  We had chicken and chips for supper and watched an achingly brilliant documentary about the Festival of Britain in 1951.  The FOB is worth a blog in itself, but I found myself fervently wishing that I had been born in time to have seen it for myself.

They should have re-done it as part of the Millennium celebrations or even for next year’s Olympics but I guess at the moment we simply don’t have the money.  The thing is, that after the war they didn’t have the money either, but what the FOB sang out loud and clear is ‘We’re down but not out’ and the architecture and design that went into it heralded a bright and optimistic new world that gave people tremendous hope for the future.

In the morning, I dragged the AP out of bed and packed her little valise so she could come and stay with me for a while.  Sister the First turned up just before we left for a lovely but fleeting visit, then we headed out to Sister the Second to give her belated birthday presents and have lunch.

We arrived back in Desbo at about 4pm, just in time to bake some cakes for Boy the Elder to take to school this morning for his birthday.  He is 14.  It is not possible.  The Boys were collected from their father at 7.30pm.  I unpacked the … results of my trip … , cooked dinner, put The Boys to bed and now I am here telling you all about it.

It was a lot of miles and I am very glad that I have got a couple of days off to get my head down and  learn how to … (hand is clapped firmly over mouth).


Filed under Children, Family and Friends, History, Life in general, The Wartime Housewife Blog

Horror and achievement in equal quantities

Yesterday was a funny old day.  Despite several urgent administrative matters which reared their heads in the morning, I managed to complete my entire list of things to do, except the shelves.  These were not done because I ran out of red rawl plugs and I was buggered if I was going to drive five miles just to get some more – the TP  round the corner only sells them in batches of 20,000.

After I had done my jobs in the hall, I got the vacuum out to clean the carpets.  Because we are still hauling boxes and moving furniture, I have left a piece of off-cut carpet in the hall so the real carpet doesn’t get dirty.  I vacuumed the top and then lifted it up to vacuum underneath.

To my horror, the underside was absolutely crawling with maggots.  After the shock had worn off,  I tried to work out where they’d come from.  The carpet off-cut was relatively new and I had vacuumed under it recently, so it couldn’t be the carpet.  I checked for any rogue food which the boys might have dropped but there was nothing.

Then it dawned on me.  Last week we had very heavy rain and something organic and dead had been washed out of the gutter and, as I went out of the front door that night, the whole of the front step was covered with maggots.  I had poured boiling water on them and swept them up the next morning, but  clearly, some of them had got inside and snuggled up under my carpet.  Yuk. I would even go so far as to say ‘Eeooow’ in that slightly affected way of the Californian teenage girl.

I cleared up and carried on with my tasks.  Hooks were hung, steps were scrubbed, windows cleaned, ‘phone calls made, Boy the Younger was collected from school. I then went out to pick up Boy the Elder from the bus stop.  It’s only a ten minute drive and the first part is along a narrow road where one has to drive slowly because of parked cars.  20-25mph is about as fast as you can go.

As I came round a wide bend, I saw a group of little girls standing at the side of the road.  I slowed down a bit more, just in case, but they saw me and stepped back from the kerb.  Then, just before I drew level with the girls, two of them suddenly made a dash for it and ran straight out in front of my car.

I slammed on the brakes and literally, and I mean literally, stopped short of  the girl at the back by about four inches.  I stopped the car and got out, shaking.  Both sets of girls were stock still at the side of the road, obviously terrified that I was going to give them a bollocking.

I didn’t shout.  I checked that they were ok and then gave them a very serious but gentle lecture about crossing the road and how important it is to look both ways, twice, before crossing the road, looking and listening all the time.  The girls who didn’t cross were very upset and full of apologies.  The girl who I nearly hit just kept saying “I didn’t see you, I didn’t see you”.  Absolutely horrible.

I had a dear friend once who accidentally killed someone in a car and he never got over it.  He was driving down a main road and he saw a car coming out of a gateway and he slowed down just in case it pulled out.  The other driver saw him and pulled back.  But then, inexplicably, just as my friend was about to drive past, the car pulled out at speed and my friend ploughed into the driver’s side killing him instantly.  Fortunately the little girl who was in the passenger seat was unharmed.  My friend developed a crippling stammer which never left him.

Drive safely all of you.  And clean out your guttering.


Filed under Children, Cleaning, Family and Friends, General DIY, Life in general, Transport

Ticking off jobs on the ‘Things to Do’ list

I’m afraid I can’t provide you with anything devastatingly intellectual or life-changingly useful on the domestic front today because I am too busy.  I have a clear day and I’m going to mop up as many of the little DIY and organizational jobs that are playing on my mind as I can.

My short-term memory is appalling and, unless I have a list, or a Filofax entry, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, when I need to do it or to whom.  I therefore have a paper list, which is updated at least weekly, which has four columns; Priority, Area of Life (ie home, school, Wartime Housewife, other work etc), Item and Date Done.

This keeps me on the straight and narrow and also allows me to cross off ‘X’ amount of jobs before I allow myself to do something nice, like have a tea break or watch ‘Doctors’ at lunch time.  It also means that if I’m really steaming ahead, the jobs that have been wallowing on the list for some time, start to float to the top.  The list is currently 1 ½ sides of A4.  But I did get the table and chairs built for my kitchen yesterday, so no more porridge on the dining room carpet.

Therefore, when I have dropped the boys off at school, my jobs will be as follows:-

  • Put up hat racks in the hall so I can empty the bag of hats that is sitting in the dining room
  • Put up a key rack in the hall so I stop screaming for my keys every time I go out
  • Put up a shelf in Boy the Elder’s room so that he doesn’t leave his schoolbooks in tottering piles in the sitting room
  • Put up a bracket for the ironing board  in The Bunker(after all it’s rarely going to be used)
  • Buy a curtain pole and put it up at the dining room window so that the curtains are no longer sitting in a pile in the dining room
  • Clean the window in The Bunker as it’s half underground and covered in crap
  • Make a hair appointment as I haven’t been to the hairdressers for nearly two years.
  • Take the new ‘British Pigs’ review to my local bookshop for a bit of mutual PR

And by the by, what bastard thought putting ‘Downton Abbey’ on at the same time as ‘Spooks’ on a Sunday night was a good idea?  Luckily, ‘Spooks’ is going to be repeated tonight at 11.10pm.  And wasn’t Downton Abbey a cracker last night – talk about starting the series with a bang.


Filed under General DIY, Life in general, The Wartime Housewife Blog


In this age of political correctness, it is no longer acceptable to tell jokes that begin “There was an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman” or similar as it’s not very nice to perpetrate national stereotypes.  It is with this in mind that I tell you the following joke.

There was an Englishman, an Irishman, a Welshman, a Frenchman, a German, a Russian, a Pakistani, a Kiwi, an American, a Canadian, a Spaniard, an Italian, a Malay, a Chinese, a Japanese, a Czech, an Afghan, an Israeli, a Palestinian, a Swede, an Icelander, a Belgian, an Iranian, a Mexican and a Australian.

They all went to a nightclub.

The doorman said,

“You can’t come in here without a Thai.”


Filed under Jokes

Social Stereotypes: The Mothers who Cannot Win

The Telegraph Saturday magazine always has a Social Stereotype piece by Victoria Mather with an illustration by Sue Macartney-Snape.  This feature has been going for some years now and is becoming increasingly un-funny as, I suspect, she’s running out of ideas.

Last Saturday, the stereotype was ‘The Mother Hen’ and the description was of a dowdy woman who had let herself go and was neglecting her husband because she put all her energy into her children.

I know it was a tongue in cheek look at an extreme person, but for some reason my hackles went up.

Mothers really don’t seem to be able to win on any level.  If they go out to work and leave their children with child-minders, they’re vilified for not putting the work in with their children.  Even if no-one actually says anything, they still feel guilty because they want a career and a family.

If they manage to look glamorous, there is an assumption that they probably have no interests or hobbies if they manage to find that much time for personal grooming.

If they don’t look glamorous, then they’ve let themselves go, are almost certainly ignoring their husband’s needs and are clearly three types of hippy.

If they feed the family on ready meals they’re accused of  handing out a death sentence through heart disease, obesity, diabetes and probably St Vitus Dance and elephantiasis of the bollocks to boot.

But if they cook everything from scratch then they must be a crank and an obsessive who wouldn’t even let a fish finger or a French Fancy into the house without fainting.

Now.  I know that there are women out there who do take ‘parenting’ to extremes and who do ignore their partners and hover round their children, monitoring their every move, intervening at every turn and refusing to allow them any opportunity to take risks or develop independence.  Helicopter Parents I believe is the current expression.

But I’m sick to death of women who choose a more traditional template for raising their families being somehow looked down upon and having the piss taken out of them.

I could rant on for several hundred pages about how feminism has turned round and bitten women on the bum, but I will only say this.  The point of the feminist movement was to give women choices; choices about how they lived, worked, raised children, conducted relationships, to bake or not to bake.

What has actually happened is that they now feel they have to do everything and often end up not doing anything very well.  I did have a period  as a full time, stay at home mother and I loved every minute of it.  Now that I’m a single parent, I no longer have that luxury but at least, most of the time, I work from home.  That’s my choice  and I couldn’t afford childcare in the holidays even if I wanted it.

Of course the woman in the piece is over the top and we all know women who, once they have their children, no longer require the services of a husband.  But I can’t help feeling that this is yet another mealy-mouthed attack on the mothers who believe that raising children is a full time job.

Guess what?  It is – however you choose to do it.

Reproduced without the permission of The Telegraph


Filed under Children, Family and Friends, Hair, make up and stuff like that, Life in general

A West Country Visitor

Forgive the no post situation – Lady Somerset is up.  Nuff said.

1 Comment

Filed under Life in general

Today Boy the Elder starts at his new school

This morning we will be taking Boy the Elder for his first day at his new school.  This is the culmination of a year and a half of tutoring, swotting, entrance exams, begging, pleading, writing letters and finally getting a place at what I hope will be absolutely the right school.

Boy the Elder is a very natural mixture of excited and anxious; what if no-one likes him, what if they discover in the first week that he’s thick, what if he gets expelled?  None of this will happen but, as any other mother would be, I am anxious myself but naturally I don’t show it.   His uniform is all labeled and hanging up ready to go.  Two and a half thousand items of sports kits are bagged up and waiting to be launched by a skinny boy onto the rugby field.  Pencil cases are filled, his schoolbag is packed and we are ready to rock and roll.

Yesterday I knocked off work early and we went to Pizza Express for lunch and spent a couple of happy hours talking and laughing and eating too much pudding. Afterwards we wandered around the garden centre and chose some flowers for the hanging baskets, and then slid into Argos and bought a bumper pack of Nerf gun cartridges so that he and Boy the Younger could have a battle when we got home.

This is a new and significant phase in the life of the whole family; routines will change, expectations will change as Boy the Younger will go there as well and the goal posts have been well and truly shifted.  Phew.


Filed under Children, Education, Family and Friends, Life in general

Mistaken Identity

On Thursday mornings, I am in the fortunate position of being able to listen to Radio 4 for a few hours whilst otherwise employed.  I switched on at about 9.30am in anticipation of the programmes to come.

My attention was caught by a trailer for a programme about people who had no control of their bowels or bladder and were pretty angry about it.

Just before 11am, I made a coffee, grabbed a couple of Ginger Crunch and turned my ear to the radio.  I was somewhat bewildered to discover that the presenter was talking about the disappearance of a Palestinian engineer called Dirar Abu Sisi with no mention of the Tena Pants Brigade.

Googled it. Programme name? ‘Crossing Continents’.

I’ve been the Wartime House, thank you and goodnight.


Filed under Jokes, Poetry, Literature, Music and Art

Heartily sick of DIY (or how sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a relentless Black & Decker)

Tool Academy

The Wartime Housewife?  Tired of Doing it Herself?  This can’t possibly be true!

But, friends, Romans and countrymen, it is true.  For the last five years, all I have done is put up curtain rails, shelves, cabinets and racks, assembled furniture and applied locks and bolts to various doors.

This has been closely followed by taking down curtain rails, shelves, cabinets and racks, disassembled furniture, and the buying and fitting of new locks and bolts.

Not long afterwards I begin putting up more curtain rails, shelves … you get the picture.

I have always been grateful that I not only have the skill and the will to do these things but that I also have decent tools – to say nothing of the finest set of chisels that money can buy (one of my best birthday presents ever) – but, as of today, the novelty has absolutely, categorically worn off.

Today I have:
put up two curtain rails and put up curtains
applied a bolt to the bathroom door
sorted through and relinquished the entire contents of the airing cupboard and relocated them
sorted through all my tools and DIY accoutrements, put them into labelled baskets &  thence into the shed
sorted through all my curtains and packed away the ones that can’t be used
changed the beds
put some things in the loft (I have a huge loft – hurrah!)
done two loads of washing

… and in between that, cooked meals, been to work, tidied the sitting room, sewn half a dozen name tags and broken up two fights.  And the bloody cat ate all the ham out of our sandwiches at lunchtime.

If I never see my tool box again, it will be too soon….

Oh my lore my blimey; I haven’t put any pictures up yet. Now where did I put that hammer….

The Wartime Housewife falls forward onto the kitchen table, a single lightbulb illuminating her floral pinny damp with pitiful tears as the tumble-dryer provides a fitting Bennett-esque musical motif.  She blows wind and cracks her cheeks.  Exeunt all pursued by a bear etc etc.  The curtain falls.


Filed under General DIY, Life in general