Monday, 28 March 2011

The Truth About Hairpins and Snowballs

Parent's evenings can be a very good way to reveal the truth - and I don't mean about how well your child can add or whether or not they can do a forward roll.

When I was about 14, my dad put a lock on our telephone. In those days, the phones had a dial, and the lock was a little metal thing that was attached to the number 1 hole. It stopped you from turning the dial and ringing all your pals. Dad hid the key, and we had to ask him every time we wanted to ring anyone. With no mobile phones, Facebook, Blogger etc, this was the only way you could chat endlessly about trivial crap with your friends, running up a huge phone bill in the process.

He had cut my only means of communication, but had also succeeded in cutting the phone bill, and was very pleased with himself. I, of course, was furious.

When dad was out one afternoon, I decided to try and pick the lock. I found a hairpin, and fiddled about. I'd seen it on the movies - so no reason why it shouldn't work on dad's little phone lock.

Unbelievably, it worked. The hairpin turned the locking mechanism, and hey presto, the lock came off. I couldn't believe my luck, and celebrated with a good hour of yacking to my friends, then told my brother who then spent ages chatting to his girlfriend. Fortunately, the lock went back in place after a little twiddle with the hairpin.

For months, as soon as dad went out, I'd pick the lock, and Mark and I would enjoy chit-chatting away before replacing it again. All my friends knew about my lock-picking skills and thought it was great that I could ring them again. Poor dad was none the wiser....until parents evening.

Whilst waiting to see one of the teachers, he got chatting to one of the other dads about what a nightmare girls were for using the phone.

'Ah well,' said the other dad, 'My daughter's friends's dad has put a lock on the phone.'

Dad was about to say, ' Ah yes, that's me.' But the other dad continued,

'But she's found a way to pick the lock, and she's been ringing everyone without him knowing.'

'Oh, I see,' said my dad. 'Interesting....'

And so, the truth was out, thanks to a parents evening in 1983.....

....meanwhile, on to 2011, and another wicked daughter is caught out at parents evening!....

The 7 year old's teacher was telling me last week how well she was doing. Maths - great, Science - fab and English - apart from the intresting fonetic speling that she duz, is coming along nicely with some lovely imaginative work.

'I know!' I exclaimed, proudly, 'she amazed me with a poem she wrote in the Christmas holidays about the snow.'

I then attempted to recount the wonderful poem she had written for me. I had read it out so many times to doting grandparents, friends and work colleagues, whilst the 7 year old graciously accepted the praise lavished upon her -

'Snow, snow, Shiver and Blow
Icicles, popsicles, drip drip dropsicles
High balling, low balling, everyone's snowballing
and it just keeps going on snowing.'

Miss L let me finish bragging about my talented child, then said quietly - 'You mean this poem.'

She opened the 7 year olds English book, and there was the snow poem, written by Mrs B the headteacher, copied neatly into her exercise book.

'Oh,' I smiled, feeling my face flush a deep shade of crimson. 'She didn't write it then.'

'Well at least she remembered it,' Miss L said. I could see she was smothering a huge laughing fit....

.....Like mother like daughter -
Both caught out, fair and square at parents evening!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Moonwalk Madness

I just wanted to say (after my min-rant in the last post!) that I will be walking 26 miles around London, in the middle of the night, wearing a decorated bra on 14th May this year. I'm trying to raise funds for breast cancer by the way - I'm not just doing it because I fancy making a spectacle of myself!

I'll be pounding the pavements with some lovely friends of mine who have all done the Moonwalk in Edinburgh before. They twisted my arm to join them in London - so here goes!

All the funds will go towards breast cancer research and also to help those with breast cancer now.

At some stage, I will be doing something that raises funds for all cancer research, but for now I'll try and do my bit for boobs.

Obviously, I'd welcome a quid or 2,  (Click in the pink 'sponsor me' box) but you can just post a comment below to cheer me on instead. (I need all the help I can get! This walking lark is MUCH harder than I thought)

For every comment I get for this post, I'll chuck a couple of quid in myself.

Thanks everyone

Shents (aka Lisa!)

Monday, 21 March 2011

On Your Marks....

I've been winding my friends up about how we should try and 'win' the Moonwalk in May.
'It's not a RACE!' they keep telling me. They know I'm one of the most competitive human beings in the world, and I think I've got them a little worried about me making them muscle our way to the front of thousands of bra-clad ladies and gents....

.....Of COURSE I know that the Moonwalk isn't really a race, I just enjoy winding them up. But in a way it IS a race - though not in the sense of being first to cross the finish line. Its about raising funds to help scientists find a cure for this awful bloody quickly as we can.

"When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn't plan to revolutionise all medicine by discovering the world's first antibiotic, or bacteria killer," Alexander Fleming said, "But I suppose that was exactly what I did".

'It was a discovery that would change the course of history. The active ingredient in that mould, which Fleming named penicillin, turned out to be an infection-fighting agent of enormous potency. When it was finally recognised for what it was, the most efficacious life-saving drug in the world, penicillin would alter forever the treatment of bacterial infections.'

Time Magazine, 1999

One day, we will read quotes about something that someone discovered that will 'alter forever the treatment of cancer.'

Someone, somewhere, will have a Eureka moment and discover a new method, a new drug a new treatment, ANYthing that rids the world of this disease.

One of the girls on the Cancer Research forum lost her battle with cancer recently. She was 37 and had 4 children. None of us had ever met this lady but she was a friend to many on the forum. We didn't realise just how ill she was. In her posts, she never complained and she always offered support to others.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Cancer Research forum, a debate is raging about how Cancer Research's BIG event, the 'girl's only'  'Race for Life' is sexist. A group of guys are banging their fists on the table, shouting, complaining, raging about how unfair it is that they can't take part. Others try gently to offer alternative points of view, but are promptly lectured and dictated to. 'This is our opinion, and no-one else can have an alternative view...'

Rather than offer my point of view on that particular forum, because they'll just tell me how wrong I am, I'll offer it here instead. I say, - 'Who bloody cares how the money is raised, just as long as people are getting out there and trying to make a difference by taking part in the MANY fundraising events on offer, or by supporting someone who is taking part in one.

That lovely lady was only 37 for goodness sake. 4 children without their mum! Quit complaining about HOW the money is raised, just bloody do it! Come ON, let's race to find a cure!

Whether you're walking the 26 miles through the night in London wearing a decorated bra, wheezing around the 13 miles of the Great North Run, buying tat from jumble sales, attending coffee mornings and jazz picnics...or even, dare I say it taking part in The Race for Life....ALL of these fundraising activities might, just MIGHT help to make a difference.....Maybe the 'Race for Life is Sexist' people would consider doing a sponsored silence...

For now - to all you scientists out there, here's a word from the penicillin maestro himself -

'In our lives, chance may have an astonishing influence and, if I may offer advice to the young laboratory worker, it would be this - never to neglect an extraordinary appearance or sometimes finds what one is not looking for.'

Alexander Fleming.

ONE day, a little lab worker from Cancer Research, funded by the thousands of people who are racing around trying to help find a cure, will exclaim,
'Hey! I think I've found something!'.....

Wouldn't that be great.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Because We're Worth it!

I allowed myself to get a little 'agitated' at work this week - the first time this has happened since I returned in October. I was really cross with myself for letting this happen. Why should I get so upset about colleagues who are rude, disrespectful, non-supportive, condescending and generally badly behaved...are they WORTH worrying about?....NO! Of course not!....I know this, but in our meeting today I had to stop myself from doing this...:-)

But I didn't. Instead, I planned on having a good old rant when I got home.
My poor, long suffering husband stopped me in my tracks, though.

'Why are you so bothered?' he said. 'You're healthy, you have a lovely family, you're home now, they're not WORTH it!...'

He was absolutely right of course, and the next day was so much better. I breezed in, did my job (which I love by the way) and spent time with some of the NICE people. Much better. I came home, bright as a button, to my lovely family.

And today, whilst that lot were slaving away in the office, where was I?
I was out walking with 3 lovely friends, in the glorious spring sunshine in our beautiful countryside. We walked 9 miles then tucked in to delicious sarnies and scones at the Tea and Tipple in Corbridge...

....because we're WORTH it!!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Egg-straordinary! Half price IPads!

We love our 5 hens...Rihanna, Duffy, Fluffy, Henny and Sandi. They have laid us hundreds of eggs over the last couple of years, and they are all delicious! We've had a fair few double-yokers, but we've never had a mini-egg, until now!

Good old Fluffy has just laid a perfectly formed, cute little diddy egg!

Fluffy's mini-egg!
 For 2 years, the kids have sold all the surplus eggs around the village - a pound for a half dozen. They've managed to build up quite a business, and a reputation for quality produce!
Just before Christmas, they counted all the egg-money, and it amounted to over £400!

They took their tin full of cash and bought themselves an IPad with their savings....just wait til I tell them they could have got one for HALF THE PRICE!

My dad has just sent me an email saying that the NHS are selling a load off at half price from a cancelled contract due to the cutbacks. There are still a few left, so...
If you're interested in buying a HALF PRICE IPAD, CLICK HERE!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Happy Birthday 10 Year Old!

Blimey! My eleven pound baby boy is 10 years old today! (That's eleven pounds in weight, by the way - not money!)
Happy Birthday 10 year old!

I can't believe its 10 years since the midwife exclaimed 'Oh My word - he's HUGE!' then passed me this enormous new born baby!
HU-U-UGE Baby! March 7th 2001
So, double figures then. My gorgeous boy. Growing up, and growing into a lovely young lad.
I've just returned from his parents evening where his Middle School teachers have told me what a canny lad he is - 'sensible, mature and caring' said his form teacher, 'amazing,' said his English teacher, and the science teacher (the headteacher) said, 'he's a very bright boy, but he fidgets and he's not very good working in a group...'

When I got home, I told him all the fab things that his teachers had said, then told him about Mrs H, the head's comments.

 'Hmmm,' he considered, 'Yes, I do fidget a bit.....but she's completely wrong - I do work well with everyone, they just don't work well with me!'

Wasn't quite sure what to say to that!!!!

Happy Birthday Tom!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Mischief Makers

We crouched behind the hedge in a ditch quietly, barely breathing.

My dad peered over the top carefully, and waited for the pot-bellied man to line up his drive from the tee. All around was silent as the man prepared to take his shot.

He eased his golf club back gently, and just as he brought the club swinging down on the little white ball, my dad whistled. Not just a little 'peep' but an almighty great shrieking, eardrum-piercing sound that scared the life out of the golf man. He grazed the top of the little white ball with his club, and it plopped off the tee, rolling forwards a couple of inches. The man and his golfing buddy looked around angrily to see what and who had caused him to fluff this important shot.

Dad and I tried desperately to stifle our laughter as we quickly ducked down into our hiding place. The men muttered and grumbled, and the man took his shot again. When they moved on, we clambered out of the ditch and had a bloody good laugh out loud.

My dad has always been full of mischief, so it's inevitable that one of his children should inherit his devilment.

Last week, we visited Cambridge. I'd never been before. What a stunning place - beautiful buildings, and such a lovely feel to the place. My sister-in-law grew up there, so she took us to all the lovely spots and we had a great time. I kept going on about the fabulous architecture, so my sister-in-law took us into a church where you could climb to the top of the tower to get a great 360 view of the city.

We spiralled up the 4 million steps and were rewarded with a stunning view at the top. On one side, you could look right down on Cambridge's bustling market. Hoards of tiny people browsing the stalls. My two kids and 2 of their cousins were peering down, observing the scene below.

'Why don't you shout some random names out,' I suggested. 'See if you can get anyone to look up?'

They thought this was a great idea.

'STEVE!' yelled my 9 year old, 'STEVE!.....ALAN!......ALAN!'

'LUCY!' yelled my 7 year old, 'LUCY!.....GRANDMA BETTY!'

I have absolutely no idea who Grandma Betty is or where the hell she dreamed up that name, but we all had a damned good laugh trying to make people look up. Sadly no-one did.

I got back to the bottom of the stairs first and noticed that there were 2 policemen standing at the doors of the church. When my 7 year old got to the bottom I pointed the policemen out, then quickly told her to hide around the corner. I told her that they were looking for a little girl in a spotty coat that had been yelling 'Grandma Betty' from the top of the tower. She hid for ages, convinced she was going to be arrested.
When the police moved on, she emerged from her hiding place and asked if they really were looking for her. I kidded her for a little while longer, then owned up that it was just a trick.

She didn't look too convinced, and despite my reassurances that I'd made it all up, she spent the rest of the afternoon ducking and diving around Cambridge like a little artful dodger. She even took her spotty coat off, just to be sure....

What a wicked mother she has. And its all your fault, dad!