Oh My, Where Did May Go?

According to my calendar it’s going to be June tomorrow. How in the bloomin’-ums did that happen?!

Apart from completely missing the chance to make any May the 4th quips, it’s been a good ‘un. Here’s what’s happened, according my phone:

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May Day bank holiday didn’t rain for once, so we all indulged in MASSIVE ice creams.

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Baby Teddy enjoyed many a hearty laugh.

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Noodles enjoyed taking more selfies.

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The nice weather ended abruptly with blue skies replaced with grey.

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We still enjoyed some runs by the river however…

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…And I managed to RUN for 10 minutes straight before wanting to die.

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Noodles set his sights on being the next Jamie Cullum.

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Meanwhile Teddy learnt all about the iPad and probably set up his own blog/Twitter account/Facebook page.

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My friends celebrated their sapphire wedding anniversary! That’s 45 years!!! I tip my hat to them.

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Fireworks over the Bank House.

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Has Husband had a word with my phone? It seems to judge me when I try to shop online!

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My I’ve-Got-a-New-Job dress.

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I exercised my democratic right in the European elections…

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…Although the variety of anti-Europe parties was scary.

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Boo was over the moon with her new Elsa dress. The Frozen obsession continues.

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She also made an incredibly cute fairy at the Fairy Festival in Holt (another miraculously sunny bank holiday).

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Toddler bowling shoes are about the cutest things ever!

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Despite being rubbish (both at bowling and typing in names) I got a strike…but no one was there to see it.

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Boo was over the moon with her first strike too.

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Noodles preferred the slots, however.

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Boo took her best friends for a morning of soft play after winning a school anti-bullying competition.

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Noodles tried to feed the new fish…although I’m not sure they’d have appreciated an entire tub, container and all!

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Toy traffic jams featured heavily everywhere.

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Noodles pinched my lunch, although I couldn’t complain about him wanting to eat something green!

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And Boo and I ended the month where it began: at the seaside, this time with fish and chips and monster milkshakes. So bad, yet sooo good.

A pretty good month by all accounts (for all my grumbling). Now, bring on June!

Rules of Soft Play

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Children must be supervised at all times by a parent/responsible adult.
Supervision: remaining in the same room as your child. You should sporadically check on their whereabouts/well being. Pretend not to notice when said child breaks the rules/another child, but be on the scene quicker than Superman should anything happen to said child, tut-tutting at the irresponsibility of other parents.

You see those age restriction signs? Ignore them. Everyone else does.
Just don’t come running to us when your toddler falls down the 10ft slide or your 11-year-old son gets assaulted by a parent after treading on their baby in the pre-school area.

Please remove shoes and loose articles of clothing.
Please keep pants on at all times however.

Socks must be worn at all times
…although you will lose at least one sock per child in the ball pit.

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Boo also lost her body and legs in ours.

The soft play accepts no responsibility for the loss of any valuables.
Finders keepers, losers weepers.

Dads, please remember that the soft play area is for the benefit of your children, not yourselves.
Keep a lid on your ‘enthusiasm’ for charging around and book a day paint balling with your mates instead.

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Mums, however, are obviously encouraged to fill their boots with fun.

Only slide one at a time down the slide.
And if it looks too big for your backside it probably is. Don’t risk it, fatty.

No climbing up the outside of the play equipment.
We all love a fireman, obviously, but we could do without the bad publicity again.

Please take caution when confronted with any wet patches.
It could be water from our thoroughly ignored cleaning policy. It could be spilt drink. It could be something far worse.

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Well done, them. No kids have peed their pants today.

Ear-splitting shrieking is actively encouraged.
But only from the children. Parents, please take your disagreements outside.

Yes, the coffee is rank.
But they don’t approve of your kids running amok in that nice coffee shop in town, so what’cha gonna do?

Numbers will be limited
…to just past the point where it’s safe/enjoyable. Please ignore all calls that your time is up to ensure this tipping point is met.

All children must cry at least once for a visit to be deemed a success.
Injury, unfair play/bullying and parental demands to go home are all legitimate reasons for tears. Achieve all three and the child will be rewarded with a balloon on their departure.*

*Additional costs applicable. But thanks for getting them to stop that hideous noise.

Please feel free to report any concerns or complaints to management or a member of massively underpaid and disinterested staff.
Please be assured we will do our utmost to ignore them completely.

We hope you enjoy your visit. Good luck!

And in case you think MY rules are scary/ridiculous, check out the tenth rule on the real-life list of soft play rules below:

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‘It is forbidden to…PLAY WITH FIRE within the play area’!!! No shit, Sherlock! But outside the play area is fine, right?

Colour Confusion

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Following on from my discussion with Husband over the blue bowl (that definitely isn’t brown), it seems that Noodles may be following on in his Dad’s footsteps. Dammit.

Boo had (as ever) left my pens scattered all over the floor. I decided I would use the mess to my advantage and test Noodles on his colours.

Me (holding a light blue pen): What colour is this?

Noodles: Blue

Phew. He’s doing better than his dad.

Me (holding a dark blue pen): What about this one?

Noodles: Purple.

Gah! I spoke too soon. Still, at least he didn’t say brown.

Me: Not quite. It’s blue too. Light blue and dark blue, see?

I hold up a purple pen next.

Me: What about this one?

Noodles: Pink.

D’oh. Although the distinction between dark pink and purple can be a fine line. I’m still not sure what colour Barney the Dinosaur is meant to be. And believe me, it’s something I’ve definitely pondered over the years, particularly when the twins had a Barney obsession.

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Even Barney has to think about whether he’s meant to be pink or purple.

I’ll forgive him that one then and move onto the pink pen.

Noodles: Red.

D’oh.

He identified red as red though, knew that both greens were green, even though one was light and one was dark, and orange was orange. It’s not a dead loss.

Then an important one. I held up the brown pen.

Me: What colour’s this, Noodles?

Noodles: Black.

At least he didn’t say blue, but we’ve definitely got some work to do. At least Noodles is only 2. He’s surely got to be more malleable than his 48-year-old father. The next generation of wives/girlfriends can thank me for having been spared the frustration of a colour-incompetent husband/boyfriend.

Although I suppose I should be grateful that he hadn’t just used the pens to draw all over walls. Or did I speak too soon?

Family Days Out Are a Bad Idea #4: The (Aborted) Shopping Trip

Now, contrary to the nature of my ‘Bad Idea’ posts, family days out aren’t always a hideous experience. Yesterday, for example, we had a glorious day out courtesy of the Fairyland Trust, with Boo prancing around as a fairy, particularly vile pirate tales, Noodles getting his groove on to some live music and thanks to a lot of help from some woodsmen we even made a passable fairy den in the woods. And the sun shone. What a day!

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Fairy den construction.

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Fairy house.

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Noodles Bug gets to grip with the ribbons…

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…And, err, plays around the portaloos, because we are the Gluestick family and so can never have a 100% normal day out.

But the the thing is, with nearly 20 years of parenting experience I know when a day out is a VERY BAD IDEA. I knew a shopping trip to Norwich was going to be a bad idea. I even tried to rope Husband in to share the pain. And when that failed, tried to get out of it myself.

What I didn’t predict was how much of an epic fail of a day out today would be. Or how little shopping would be involved in a shopping trip.

My sister needed a dress to wear (as a teacher) to her school’s prom. I had visions of her taking an eternity to find anything and Noodles having his usual allergic reaction to shopping, the symptoms of which manifest themselves in a loud and persistent shriek and a lot of thrashing in the buggy. Still, if I could put up with the dirty looks of total strangers I could justify buying a new lipstick.

My sister has no prom dress and I have no lipstick. Although, fortunately for them, the shoppers of Chapelfield still have their ear drums in tact.

As we headed for Norwich the heavens opened. The rain we avoided yesterday settled in for the journey. On the bright side, my new windscreen wipers work like a charm. But it was a deluge. Driving over the speed bumps in the park and ride car park felt more akin to riding the world’s smallest log flume.

We parked up side by side. Hairy jumped into my car to discuss tactics.

Hairy: I wish we had Walkie-talkies. I’d have aborted our mission and turned around well before here.

Me: I told you it was a bad idea. If I’d stayed at home there’d have only been one car and you’d have been able to turn around whenever you wanted. But what do we do now? I’m wearing Fit Flops.

Hairy: I don’t want to get wet.

Me: Me either. How about we head right into the city, see if we can park at the mall car park? And if we can’t we turn around and get some lunch?

We hadn’t failed. We only needed 2 car parking spaces in the dry of Chapelfield mall. How many people would be out on a miserable day like today? Surely they’d all be at home uploading yesterday’s sunny bank holiday pictures onto Facebook and reminiscing about happier times?

No.

First we sat in lakes where the road used to be.

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Then we sat in traffic at roadworks.

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Chapelfield car park was full.

After a quick phonecall (on speaker – no laws being broken here, officer, honest) we agreed to rendezvous at the always salubrious surroundings of KFC on the outskirts of the city. Yes, I know, but we were hungry and desperate. Don’t judge us.

Judge all the people in front of us in the queue. Despite having gone 2 o’clock, it was heaving. Perfect timing then for Noodles to have his obligatory meltdown. Marvellous.

To be fair, if I could have pulled off the streaming nostrils look I would have. I’d pretty much had enough too. We’d just travelled 45 miles (and 2 hours) for cheap chicken that we could have got 10 minutes down the road at home.

Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves silly. Poor Teddy could only look on and watch the carnage.

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And to top it all, only a month after the MOT, the engine warning light is back on and the bulb has gone in the passenger-side headlight.

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And thanks to a packet of chocolate buttons (thanks, Hairy) I now have to clean the inside of the car too.

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Butter wouldn’t melt. But chocolate certainly does.

I swear, next time I’m staying in bed.

A Black and White Argument Over Brown and Blue

A conversation from last night:

Me: Where’s the blue pasta bowl?

Husband: What blue pasta bowl? We don’t have a blue pasta bowl.

Me: Yes we do. Not a big one. An individual one. You use it for cereal.

Husband: I don’t eat cereal.

Me thinking, ‘Yes you do – I have to collect the bowl from beside your bed and you’re the only one insane enough to eat Optivita..’

Me: But it’s the blue pasta bowl. The Denby one. I bought it for your birthday ages ago. It’s cream inside.

Me thinking, ‘Hurry up. Hairy’s paella is getting cold and I want to serve it in the pasta bowl. If it’s next to the bed I’m going to kill you.’

Husband: Oh, you mean the BROWN one.

Me: Noooo. We’ve never had a brown one. Only the blue ones and the white ones we got for our wedding, which were neither blue nor brown.
It’s not bright blue. More a dark grey blue. But definitely BLUE.

I suddenly remember that I used the bowl the day before at dinner and it’s likely to be in the fridge as we speak, vessel of choice for the leftover veg. I go to the fridge and retrieve the BLUE bowl.

Me: This one.

Husband: Yes, the BROWN one.

Me: What?! How can you say that’s brown?! It’s most definitely BLUE.

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OK, here it actually looks more BLACK, thanks to the pitiful light in our dingy kitchen, but trust me, it’s a dark, greyish BLUE.

Me: I mean, it’s called STORM. You do not get BROWN storms, but you do get dark, greyish BLUE ones.

Obviously I’ve won. But how colour blind can a man be? Or how stubborn? I need to make my point with greater emphasis and show Husband how very wrong he is. In front of Husband, I rope Grandy into the debate. This is surely going to bag the argument.

Me: What colour would you say this bowl is?

Grandy: Brown.

Me: Whaaaaat?!?!?! It’s BLUE! How can you two not see that it’s BLUE?! What’s wrong with men.

Indeed, what IS wrong with men? I need a female collaborator. I head up stairs where my sister, Hairy*, and Boo are watching Cinderella.

(*She’s not hairy, by the way. But it’s what Noodles calls her and – because she’s mortified every time – it’s stuck.)

Me: What colour would you say this bowl is?

Hairy: Blue. A dark, navy-greyish blue.

Boo: It’s blue.

Me: EXACTLY. It’s definitely not brown then?

Hairy: No.

Boo: No.

Three to two. By democratic rule, the bowl is BLUE. But not everyone has cast a vote. Besides, is it a boy/girl thing? I head to the top floor to consult Eve and her boyfriend. Their opinion?

Both: BLUE!

Ok, five vs two: the bowl is definitely BLUE. And it’s not a gender thing. It’s just Husband and Grandy being optometric freaks. Or maybe it’s an age thing? Maybe I’ll one day swear blind the bowl is brown and wonder how I ever thought it was blue. Not that I would ever EVER admit that to Husband.

Confused, yet adamant I’m right, I decide to consult the great oracle of the ether: Google. Without fail, ALL of the pictures show Denby Storm as BLUE and cream tableware.

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Not brown, but blue.

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One BLUE and cream bowl, identical to ours.

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How could that ever possibly be considered to be brown?

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Looking bluer by the second.

Thanks, Google. You’ve shown that I am definitely right on this matter…and therefore more likely to be in the right in ALL marital disputes. Of which there are many. But then, if I’ve got a husband who will so adamantly argue blue is brown, can you imagine what he’s like over other, less black-and-white areas of ‘debate’?

Besides (and this I will NEVER tell Husband)…it turns out we were ALL wrong. Because Denby Storm tableware is neither blue nor brown…but PLUM!!!

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Gah!

Luckily, Microwave Meal For One (surely the saddest business name ever?) rescues me. Yes, the bowl in question is PLUM, but …blue, plum and beige merge to create the moody BLUE gray of the DISTICTIVE glaze of Denby Storm.

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Boom!

Microwave Meals For One, I thank you. Not only am I right, but the colour is ‘distinctive’, ie Husband, it’s OBVIOUSLY blue and I am not just right, but so incredibly right. Indeed, Husband, you should watch out, because if you argue with me much more, ignoring my innate ability to be right, you shall be eating your own microwave meals for one.

Do you think that’s how the business got its name? Through the splitting of couples who argued their way to the divorce courts over the colour of Denby tableware? Scary! Yet completely understandable.

Have you ever had to argue black is white, or brown is blue? What’s the most ridiculous argument you’ve ever had with someone? Obviously you were right as you have sublime taste and sense of judgement to be reading my blog. How wrong can another person be?

Dream Home #1: If I Lived Alone

God, I love my job! Lovely people, really friendly clients and books chock full of amazing properties. I am easily won over by a character property (which is just as well as my own house wouldn’t know a right angle if a set square were to introduce itself) and I could picture myself in just about any property on our books.

And so I introduce to you my very own Property of the Fortnight. I’ll have you wanting to live in Norfolk by the end of the year.

Hampton Court

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Living in a house teaming with people and their stuff and stuff inherited from people now dead so attached with feelings of guilt if chucked out and then more stuff for good measure, I have a dream of living alone. Obviously not until Boo and Noodles are all grown up and have gone off to university or whatever makes grown-up kids move out. Husband is more of a contentious issue. I could probably cope quite well without him and would relish being master of both the remote and the duvet. He wants to retire to France anyway. My French is rubbish and I’d just get fat(ter) on all the croissants and baguettes, so maybe it would be best if we split up amicably/stayed married but lived in different countries (is that a thing people do? It should be!) and I could just go and visit when I wanted a tan.

And so, into dotage, I would like to live here:

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Just look at all that white. With plenty of sticky fingers around the house at the moment it’s not a look I could get away with right now, but I would love to. It’d be a cinch to clean and could look so feminine and full of vintage finds without anything nice instantly being broken by the unappreciative, clumsies of my family. And as it’s small and cute obviously I would have to visit them rather than them coming to me for things like Christmas (meaning that I could sit in front of the telly with a selection box rather than doing the cooking – see, I’ve thought it through).

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Not big enough for family events, but perfect just for me.

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Oh, to have sole use of the roll-top bath. No plastic toys here.

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But then I wouldn’t have to worry about being lonely either. There’s a communal secret garden – ok, no nude sunbathing, but that’s not my thing anyway – perfect for catching up with the neighbours.

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And it’s right close to where all the town’s best restaurants are situated.

I’d just have to hope the polar ice caps don’t melt as it’s right on the quay. Although, to be fair, if that happens all of us in Norfolk are literally sunk.

Oh my God, never before have I looked forward to zipping through the next 16 years. Definitely a dream home. I’m sold.

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Boys & Girls #1: Jam

Is there an inherent difference between girls and boys? For all the gender neutralising – and the fact that Noodles has the girliest at scream of anyone I know – I think there is.

For example:

If you asked Boo if she wanted to make a jam she’d have her pinny on and be boiling fruit quicker than you could say ‘Robinsons.’

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Ask Noodles if he’d like to make a jam, however, and he’d have his box of toy cars out faster than you could say ‘Jeremy Clarkson’ and have them lined up along the floor.

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The cause of this living room traffic jam is clearly the monkey at the helm of the pirate ship. Never let a monkey steer a ship!

We have so many of these lines of toy cars around the house I’m surprised we don’t get a mention on the traffic report. Especially as some of these vehicles remain gridlocked for days on end.

Mind you, I’d dread to think of the mess were we to let Noodles loose on crushing strawberries, so maybe it’s for the best.