Cornwall with the new family (not replacing the old family, more of an additional side. These brackets are for the benefit of Sister 2 who thought I might no longer need my blood family. Hopefully this covers it…)

I went to Cornwall over Easter. I didn’t even mention it, did I?  It was my first extended time with the boys of Himself as a step mum (or whatever we call people who aren’t actually step parents but are still expected to play a role in keeping two children in one piece to return to their mummy).  And his parents.  Because we don’t seem to do things by halves…

(Before we get any further I’d just like to thank the people who offered advice last time I mentioned this topic from a Mum’s perspective on being a step Mum.  Just to be clear though, I am very aware the boys have a Mum (she and I talk.  We are both grown ups), I’m not trying to be a Mum and I neither am I trying to make any decisions about any key aspects of their life – other perhaps than making them wash, dress and get off their blimin’ phone / iPad long enough to hold one conversation a day.  I know my place and the contents of this blog are, as always, just about trying to raise a smile or two…  <steps off soapbox> )

So yes, I went to Cornwall with Himself, two smallish boys and two parents.  There were a few moments unlike any holiday I have ever had:

The Smaller Boy really did start asking ‘how long til we get there?’ exactly 7 minutes after we left home.  And continued to ask roughly every 10 minutes for the entire 5.5 hours were were in the car.

This view from the cottage:

Trail running on the coastal path that involved arms for climbing as well as legs for plodding (and stunning views that you had to stop to admire, or risk falling off the cliff).

Running to Lands’ End.  For those not aware as my colleagues in the US weren’t, Lands’ End is a real place.

The discovery that two boys can keep themselves entertained for hours with a spade and some sand:

The bumble bee that I shared a mint imperial with for over an hour:

Having to explain to Smaller Boy what the poster on duck mating season actually meant.  Exactly what it meant.

The joy of watching Smaller Boy learn to tie his shoe laces.  And promptly ‘practice’ at every possible opportunity:

Going on a course – even on holiday:

And learning to make a pane of stained glass (and in the process discovering that it’s entirely possible to poke your tongue out in concentration for a full day):

Watching Bigger Boy climbing a huge rock to do a bit of flossing* at the top:

*Flossing is a dance thing you do with your arms at speed.  Adults should not attempt this as they will just look like a fool through failure / through trying to be cool.  No, I can’t do it.

There were the gale force winds and driving rain you’d expect in Cornwall.  There were also some short burst of blue skies, which we celebrated with a drink (even if at this point I was wearing a thermal vest, three jumpers, a coat, scarf and gloves).

Top tips for other non parents going away with boys:

Never, ever, ever go out with two boy children without a bag of snacks.  They turn into evil monsters without a constant supply of food.

You can take a huge pack of ham with you, as specified by Smaller Boy for ‘all his sandwiches’  Smaller Boy will then announce at the first sandwich interlude that he hates ham now.

You don’t need to replace the ham with nine tins of tuna.  Three would have been enough.

Kids really do drive you to alcohol.  Even if (especially if?!) they are not actually yours.

But actually, I’d do it again.  Maybe.  One day :o)

Posted in family, fitness, Pog Life, Pog Pictures, Realtionships, running, step mum | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still here!

Hello.  I’m still here – just slightly overwhelmed with work, study and life and not able to find the time to extract words from my fingers at the moment…

But I did want to take a minute to share a smile from earlier in the week:

Little Pea is now five.  I know;  can you believe it?  This year I didn’t have to dress up as SpiderPog and scare the bejeesus out of small children – this year I was miles and miles away doing the step mum thing in Cornwall (but that’s a whole different post).  I honestly couldn’t tell you which is the better option.

Anyway, this year I made Little Pea a birthday card as some of the practice on my Photoshop class.  He still loves dinosaurs so I thought he’d like this:

I asked Sister 1 what he’d thought of it and she said: ‘He loved it.  He just couldn’t understand how he’d done it’.

Being five might make you a big boy, but it’s good to know there is still a fair bit of mystery out there for him :o)

Posted in family, photography | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A ‘relaxing weekend’ Our Towers style

‘Let’s have a relaxing weekend’ we said. ‘We’ll have no small people here, no university, no half marathons….let’s just relax.’  That’s what we said, proving that what we say has no bearing on what we do.

What we did was:

  • Cut down a tree
  • Dug a hole
  • Drove a 100 mile round trip to pick up a rhododendron my parents have been plant sitting for me since I left Pog Towers
  • Had a cuppa with Mum, Dad, Sisters 1 & 2 and cuddles with Little Pea and Little Wisp
  • Got back and planted rhododendron.  Hole too small, made it bigger, hole to big, made it smaller.  Finally got it right
  • Prepared shed area (this is what was left when the shed fire finally went out) for new shed:

  • Found fish.  (No idea):

  • Unpacked brand new pressure washer and washed shed area:

  • And everything else:

  • Himself discovered the depths of my stupidity when ‘everything else’ also included my dirty fingers.  Apparently there is good reason there are warnings not to use the ‘hard setting’ on wood, boots, or near car tyres.  The good news is the swelling has gone down and the feeling is almost back.
  • Added plants and rocks to the pond.  Accidentally evicted 5 frogs
  • Chased 5 frogs around the garden and rehomed in the upgraded pond
  • Covered this up (I know we all have different tastes, but…WHY?!):

  • We couldn’t find the duck tape:

  • Then we couldn’t cook dinner (oops)
  • But it worked:

  • Then we built a shed:

  • And we only had these bits left:

  • Pulled up meters of liner from flower beds
  • Weeded
  • Tipped an entire sack of weeds in my face and down my front while trying to throw it over the fence to the wasteland behind us
  • Tipped an entire sack of weeds including the sack over the fence
  • Discovered that a hoe can be used to retrieve a sack from over the fence – which is a good thing as I’ve never worked out the real use for one…
  • Planted plants in newly unlined and weeded flower bed
  • And a few other bits or organising, tidying, work, study and….falling asleep on the sofa at 8.30pm

Next weekend, …. Actually, I’ll just leave it there for now :o)

Posted in Beachbumpkinsville, DIY, gardening, Pog Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some things that made me smile

Yesterday Himself and I finished out Photoshop course.  I still don’t really know how I feel about it (is it a tool to cheat?), but I have learned how to remove a second head from mine:









And it’s not often you get to turn your mum into the sun from the teletubbies:

And the benefits of making your own certificate is that Himself snuck in a smile in the shape of Norman on my shoulder:

And in a separate set of smiles, I forgot to show you the eggs Sister 2 gave me.  They are delicious – laid by her free range chickens – and really don’t need any extra fancy stuff.  Except she thought differently:

This is me and himself:

These are some instructions: 

And this is the one that made me laugh a lot, but might never get eaten…:

thank you Sister 2.  Mostly.:o)

It’s almost Friday.  Hooray!  :o)


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A weekend of weirdness

What’s the weirdest birthday you’ve ever had?  I think mine was this one just gone – Friday in fact.  While I got to spend quite a bit of it with my family, that was because we were at my uncle’s cremation and wake.  You may have realised if you have been around a while that my family have a slightly alternative sense of humour and pretty much nothing stops that.  It’s probably why, when I arrived at the crematorium after a 60-something mile drive, Sister 1 ushered me into Sister 2’s car and presented me with a muffin complete with candle and a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.

Sister 2 and Little Wisp then serenaded me with ‘When you’re happy and you know it’.  If it’s possible to find a song less appropriate for the setting than ‘happy birthday’, I’m pretty sure that was it.  We think our Uncle probably would have approved though; he’d selected ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ as the final piece of music for the service…

I came home to beautiful blue skies:

,dinner cooked for me, more singing by three boys and another cake with candles:

And felt very lucky, even if it was a bit odd.

And then, I started a new adventure – in the snow – the next morning.  Having rather frantically completed the introduction the previous week, I took my lovely new notebook, student handbook, thermos of coffee and packed lunch (it turns out Himself makes the most amazing sandwiches)…

…and went back to university for the first day of my Diploma in Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy (Because a plan B is always a good thing, right?).

It’s the first time I’ve studied in years.

It’s the first time I’ve seen this sign:

And it’s the first time I’ve come away from something really, truly thinking ‘what the hell am I doing?!’  I’m not sure I have the brain, the confidence or the ability to do this, but I do have a Himself who thinks I can and who did all the washing, cooking, ironing and dealing with small children over the weekend, so all that was left for me to do was go to school and question my sanity.  So, I’m going to have a damn go go at it.  It’s really interesting.  It’s just…well, it’s me.

And in the way that you’d expect something weird to happen, proving the fact that it’s a small world, one of the tutors turned out to be the wife of the choir master of the choir I sang in as a child.  Weird in itself.  More weird that 30 odd years later we worked that out.

Oh, and weirder still:  I did actually hypnotise someone.  He was jet-lagged and practically in a trance already, but he didn’t snore or anything, so that counts, doesn’t it?


Posted in Beachbumpkinsville, hypnotherapy, Pog Life, study | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Demolition at Our Towers

Yesterday, we decided it would be nice to have a relaxing Sunday, so we got out out a hammer and a crow bar and I can confirm with authority that you can get from one very rotten shed:

To a not quite flat rotten shed (including himself doing his Mothers Day phone call in the middle, so just me for part of this):

In 28 minutes.

And in another 29 minutes, you can achieve complete flatness:

However, I can also confirm that this much wood takes a long, long time to burn:

And in fact, gets so hot that the concrete base starts to explode.  Still, it gave me hours to get this huge patch of weeds almost presentable (six, if you’re interested):

Note the red bucket of water which was there ‘in case it all goes a bit wrong’.  Exploding concrete apparently doesn’t count.

And gave himself time to sit down with a beer and the paper (until it was dark and raining hard, if you’re interested):

Last night we were both more creaky than people twice our ages.  My fingernails hurt.  My hands hurt to type.  I think we might need to review our definition of a ‘relaxing Sunday’  :o)

Posted in Beachbumpkinsville, DIY, exercise, gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Correcting noo noos on IWD

Once every week or so I venture into the office. Despite a (very) early start, the fact that I have to miss my run and having to wear grown up clothes, there’s usually at least one thing that makes it worth it.  Today it was this:

I no longer have my own desk, but I usually hover on a spare desk in a large room with about 10 colleagues.  They’ve all sat together for a long time and the conversations that result are sometimes a little…random.  Today one of the ladies was telling everyone (for some reason I didn’t manage to identify) how her son had just discovered that ‘penis’ was correct term for his willy and at 7, had informed her that he would no longer be using the ‘baby’ word.  She asked her daughter (whose age I didn’t get), if she knew the correct term for her noo noo.  The daughter pointed out that was the correct term.  My colleague told us how she had explained things and then demonstrated with gusto how her daughter had repeated, at ‘shout’ volume ‘VAGINA?!  IT’S CALLED A VAGINA?’

And it was at that point we all remembered there was a colleague in the room on a teleconference with some senior leaders in Sub Saharan Africa.

But it is International Women’s Day, and I guess if there is one day you can get away with interrupting a teleconference by shouting about vaginas, today is probably the day.


rainbows 2

Because there isn’t an appropriate photo for this post…

Posted in Pog Life, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment