Ghosts, evil squirrels and sacrificial tables

Well, I suspected this house might have a ghost – it’s very old, the backdoor is often open in the morning and the hall way makes funny noises.  Then I realised that Himself and I were just rubbish at remembering to lock the back door and Norman must be exactly the right weight to ‘clunk’ a specific floorboard.

Now I think that perhaps the squirrel that sits in the tree outside and laughs all evening while doing his squirrel dance to tease Norman is actually evil.  You see:

1. A couple of weeks ago I was in the office and Himself worked from home. Norman, who adores Himself bought Him the gift of a dead bird.  Himself has been a dog owner until now and was apparently at a bit of a loss as to what to do, having sent me photographic evidence.  I later found out that he’d discovered the bird was still warm, considered sugared water (he’d seen me reviving a bee this way), but instead decided to smooth the birds feathers down so it ‘looked quite smart’ and pop it on the bird table incase it’s friends wanted to come and get it….  Really, the next day when he told me this, the bird should have still been there, but it had gone.  Norman can’t get up onto the table, so I couldn’t imagine anything else could. It’s a bit of a mystery.

2. Unfortunately, a week or so later, Norman bought me a bird. This was cold and however much I smoothed his feathers, I thought it wasn’t very likely any of his mates would be over to ferry him off, so I threw him in the undergrowth so at least some creature could have a good dinner.

I don’t know if it was the same bird as my gift, but two days later I walked out to the car, past what I now call the sacrificial table:

(It’s actually a rather lovely, very large stone hand..  And no, nobody is sacrificing Little Pea.)

There was a bird on there with a hole right through it’s middle.  Like it had been sacrificed.  By an evil squirrel.  And I bet that squirrel was also responsible for the bird Himself had put on the bird table.  He’d better watch out though;  the last time there was an evil squirrel in the vicinity back at Pog Towers (it bit Norman), Norman got his own back and the squirrel wasn’t around very long.  Evil Squirrel:  You have been warned!

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In Bumpkinsville I had my lovely yoga class, my very happy fitball class, and a fantastic group that I ran with each week.

In Beachville, things have been a bit more tricky.  I joined a yoga class, but the focus seemed to see some sort of breathing competition around ‘that bit’ of When Harry Met Sally and was so crowded that at the last class I went to we had to fold our mats in half to fit everyone in.  So I changed classes and the last two weeks have been amazing.  Any teacher who renames a rather boring pose ‘The flying dragon’, teaches you where your ‘tortoise point’ is, encourages stretching your wingspan and isn’t too enthusiastic about noisy breathing has my vote.

I’ve not been able to find an exercise class that covers what I want and a time and place that works, but I’ve been doing park gym / back garden gym once a week or so, although I think I may have scared a few neighbours walking past as I attempt things with kettle bells that I probably shouldn’t.

And running.  I’ve been running.  I didn’t think I’d done that much until I looked at the bottom of the trainers I’d bought just before I moved here.  Oops.  This is old versus new:

It feels a bit lonely here sometimes.  I’m used to doing some exercise each week with smiley faces I know, but the box my trainers came in made me smile:

I’ve taken them 40km (almost 25 miles) around Beachville this week.  We’ve done skies so dark and rain so soggy I had to borrow a fluorescent t shirt from Himself to be seen.  We’ve done skies so blue and air so warm that people have been swimming in the sea at 7.30am:

And we’ve done ‘just a bit dull’ (there’s nothing like a British summer).

We’ve seen a man being pulled along on a skateboard by two Huskies on their walk and congratulated him on his ingenuity and we’ve nearly been taken out by a shouty man on a bike.

My reward for taking my trainers on their requested adventure is blisters so big that I look like I have two feet on each leg (and that’s with Lanacane).  Today I can only assume I was running funny (down to the blisters maybe?) as people smiled at me.  Lots of people.  It wasn’t quite the same as exercising with friends in Bumpkinsville, but it make me smile right back.

So I wanted to say:  spread your smiles around.  Because they might just reach someone who has got so desperate for friends that she’s treating her trainers like they have personalities.  And that person might already look happy – if rather sweaty – but your smile could be the loveliest thing that happens to them today. :o)

PS:  My first yoga class was a bit out there, but didn’t have a patch on these two who we saw on holiday.  It wasn’t a nudist beach and while he quietly meditated, she go up with no warning to do a bit of stretching, and I think it’s fair to say that she surprised the people behind her… ;)


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Reasons number 3289752 – 3289754

So, once again, we should thank our lucky stars that this Pog is only an Auntie rather than a Mummy.  And this is why:

Little Pea came to Beachville for a short stay this weekend. Nanny and Grandad brought him down and they stayed for a day too.  We decided to get the bus into town but the road was closed after a rather bad accident we had to walk past before we could get to the diverted buses.  There were a lot of blue lights and people and Little Pea was rather concerned that ‘people might have died and gone to heaven’.  We talked about the fact that everyone was being looked after very well and that I was sure nobody would have died.  End of story?  No.  After a stroll along the seafront taking in everything from Darth Vader to a smoking rhino to a ride on a carousel we hopped off the bus on the way back for me to show Nanny a rather different looking church (Nanny likes her churches.  We think she’s been to every one on every Greek island she’s ever visited).

I had to tell Little Pea to whisper; not because as he suggested ‘the monsters would hear and come and get him’, but because of the rather uptight looking ladies beadily watching everyone who came in from their official beady eyed table.  Unfortunately it all got a bit chaotic then.  Little Pea asked Nanny about the lady at the front, Nanny explained that was Jesus on the cross and that Jesus died and I panicked that we were about to relive the concern over the accident.  I wanted to remind him that when people die they go to heaven and asked ‘what happens when you die?’

Well, that question was way too literal for a 4 year old and he demonstrated death to us right in front of the alter, to the consternation of the beady eyed ladies.  Because it turns out that dying is very loud and involves throwing your body around a lot while clutching your throat.  We left Nanny, Granddad, the beady eyed ladies and a man who told us to ‘shush’ in the church while we went out to run around in the rain.  And that was example one.

Example two was Sunday morning when I left Little Pea playing downstairs while I had a shower.  I thought that was ok, I really did.  I got out the shower, opened the bathroom door and smelled burning.  There was smoke.  ‘Are you ok?  What happened?’ I shouted as I ran down the stairs, imagining a fire and wondering if I should try to put it out or just dial 999 (nothing like ‘skipping to the end’ as Himself puts it).  ‘I’m ok Auntie Pog.  Just my chameleon died.’ (Chameleon is a much loved rubbery toy).  How did he die?  ‘He jumped on the light, Auntie Pog.’  Yes, Chameleon had indeed ‘jumped’ on the light that Little Pea had turned on, but other than a slightly poorly leg and a singed tummy, he was ok.  He’d just smoked quite a bit…

Phew.  House fire averted.

When I took Little Pea home I got to have dinner with the whole family.  So not only did I get to see my lovely Little Wisp with her eyes open, finally:

(She doesn’t seem terribly impressed by her Auntie Pog)

But I got to hold her the whole way through dinner.  And dropped cabbage all over her.

Yes, thank goodness I am only an auntie and only do part time little person chaos. :o)

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The recognised link between cake and running

Himeslf is a runner.  I am a lolloper.  Before I moved to Beachville we talked about –  once he was all London marathoned out – getting me to a level where I could attempt a half marathon.

Weeellllll…talking and doing are a world apart and as we got closer to the doing (and I just mean the training rather than any actual race) I started to feel a bit panicked.  I finally admitted to myself and Himself that the idea of having to run so far was taking the enjoyment out of any running (and as most of the enjoyment is when I finish, there isn’t that much to take…).  I decided to just go back to running for the ‘fun’ of it.  And to allow me to eat vast quantities of chocolate and biscuits and cake.  Mostly the chocolate and biscuits and cake thing, if I’m honest.

Anyway, that was before we went on holiday and I suggested that Himself read a book some of my lovely running friends bought me when I moved.  It is a book of stories from a runner who doesn’t take herself seriously.  My plan was to help him appreciate running for the sake of running rather than to complete a marathon in a stupid time that requires months and months of training.  What actually happened was he discovered the 100 Marathon Club and decided he’d quite like to join that.  So that plan worked well then.

Somewhere a compromise was reached which means Himself will not be training every available hour and I wont be standing at the side of a race every other weekend carrying a bag of clean clothes and wet wipes (runners are, not surprisingly, VERY stinky after a marathon).  We are trying out this compromise next month when Himself will be running a relaxed marathon and at the same time, in the same place, I may or may not manage a half marathon, but neither of us will be taking things too seriously, because we are signed up for:

The cakeathon

It’s genius:  ‘The loop we have developed for this event will be about 4.37 miles, so each loop will burn up around 500 calories. A modest sized bit of cake we are thinking per lap! The event will have an eight hour time limit for you to run as many, or as few laps as you wish.’

If I make three loops, that’s great, but if I don’t it really wont matter.  Himself can go for a full marathon number of loops, and hopefully get to enjoy it a bit more than his previous big runs.  We’ll probably finish at the same time…  And we both get cake on every lap we do.  And the training for this one?  Well, it will mostly involve cake, I think :o)

(There are still spaces if this appeals to you.  There are heaps of others they organise too.  For the record, I’m nothing to do with the organisation – just quite excited about the direct link between cake and running :o) )

Norman is not terribly taken with the whole idea…



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Smiley signs

As well as quietness and  loveliness, Ibiza does signs that made us smile lots.  It seemed wrong not to share these, so here you go:

At this beach, only red trunks or teeny tiny bikinis are allowed:

And definitely no very pert, very circular red boobs:

The male and female toilet signs that work in the rest of the world clearly don’t express the level of discomfort felt by those caught at Ibiza airport:

At first glance there is nothing wrong with this, but Himself spotted what the model failed to mention, the photographer never noticed and presumably a heap of people signed off on before the image was plastered all over the side of drinks machines.  The image of a model holding a cup of coffee…

….with a manky plaster on the finger that’s the focus of the image:

With this one the obvious question is ‘It’s ok to drink everyone else’s though, right?’

And our personal favourite.  There were about five of these on a stretch of road that took around 10 minutes to walk.  There was no sign of any animal that required a warning.  Other than cicadas and seagulls, there weren’t actually any animals.  It wasn’t really obvious what animal the sign was supposed to be, but it was apparently quite small based on the size on the sign.  We decided it was obviously warning of pygmy donkies.  With udders:

We also decided the pygmy donkies were parachuted in at night from China.  I have no idea why we decided that.  I suspect a glass or two of wine may have been involved…


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Idyllic Ibiza. Mostly without, you know: people.

A quiet holiday with no Pog moments is what I desperately wanted this year after the mishaps of the last few.  Especially as I quite liked the idea of Himself thinking I am a grown up, just occasionally, and this was our first holiday together.

It didn’t go quite to plan initially.  I thought I’d be helpful and get us coffee’s while Himself sorted the hire car after landing.  I promptly dropped the scalding cafe solo down my left boob and had to run to the toilet to strip off my brand new white vest top and bra (neither of which will never be white again) much to the discombobulation of the real grown up ladies that were looking all smart in, well… clothes.

But then things started looking up.  We found the place we were staying (after a few Sat Nav issues which resulted in some reversing back down precarious mountain tracks) and were met by a kind of Spanish Barbara Cartland.  She swept us into her utterly chaotic farm house informing us that ‘Jose speaks English.  Jose not here.  But I have wine.’ and her maid (!) poured us a huge glass each while Barbara lit up a very smokey cigarette and the dog indicated he wanted his bottom scratched.  Alot.

It wasn’t long before Jose arrived back, showed up around the gorgeous place we were to stay and talked us through a map of places to go.  Or more precisely, places not to go.  Jose was even more enthusiastic about peace and quiet than were were.  He drew brackets around groups of beaches on the map and informed me ‘not go here’.

‘Why not?’

‘Ah.  You know.  People.’

More brackets.  More People.  And so on.  There were a few places he approved of ‘This beach.  No services, few people.  Is good.’  I liked his style.

Mostly all we heard for the whole week was cicadas.  Apart from one trip to Ibiza Town (which I don’t think Jose would have approved of, but quite rightly – I managed to bump into a colleague from the office!) and one to watch a sunset which didn’t happen, but people and some…um, lets’s call it ‘interpretive’ dance did.  It was amazing.  I’m not sure I pulled off the grown up part, but at least Himself came back with me.  We survived our first holiday together.  And to my surprise, I survived with no real disasters :o)

Here’s a few photos without, you know…: people.

breakfast under the fig tree

A 10km morning run up a mountain (we started off the photo on the far right)

…and we were running on paths like this…

…but got to stop here for a paddle on the way back.

It wasn’t all blue skies…


…but the sun always came out at some point

The lizards were very friendly – they helped themselves to our cookies, licked up anything on the kitchen work surfaces and tried to hitch a ride with our clothes when we packed

The praying mantis was a bit more shy

The sorbets were pretty (and the outside one was lime and basil: so good!)…

…so were the lights

There were posh places to have pre dinner drinks at this restaurant…

…but when the couple one side of us spent their dinner discussing every meal they’d eaten so far on holiday (and nothing else), and the couple on the other side got engaged and then he spent an hour telling her how much her ring cost (and nothing else), I felt the need to lighten the situation (with the help of three glasses of wine and a cocktail – about one cocktail and 2.5 glasses more than I should drink in public). This is me being a tiger. (There was a jungle sort of flower arrangement, there was some context…)

The sun might have set on a brilliant holiday, but at least now I know I can almost do it disaster free now :o)

And here’s that interpretive dance, should you be interested:




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When you…

…have started muttering ‘people are f*cking stupid’ under your breath more than a few times a day (and sometimes a little louder than at muttering level)

…have finally got around to filing those 1K plus emails in your inbox and end up creating a ‘wtf’ folder because, well, because people are f*cking stupid, but that’s too long for a folder name

…have fallen asleep in yoga two weeks in a  row – and I don’t mean a 2 second doze – I mean rolling onto your side and having a nap long enough that the rest of the class have moved on to another part of the body when you manage to re join them

…have spent another night rushing around with a pyrex mixing bowl and magazine trying to rescue Norman’s newest playmate

…have met the parents of Himself AND his ex AND her new partner in the space of 4 days

…have made subtle inquiries about the size of trunks Himself wears, just to prepare yourself in case he is a budgie smuggler type of man

….have spent a good few minutes deleting and retyping the ‘ ‘ around ‘wtf’ in the second thingy above because it doesn’t look right, only to realise it’s because there is a black mark on the laptop screen which may or may not be some of the weetabix you had for breakfast…

When all that is the case, a holiday is required.  And yay!  That is exactly where I will be going in the early hours of Saturday morning (really, really early as Himself seems to have realised it will be easier to get to the airport three hours earlier than we need to be there, than to have me panicking from this point until we arrive.  He’s good, this one :o)

I’m crossing my fingers that going away with himself will reduce the disastrous aspects which seem to have followed me on recent holidays (accidental wisdom teeth surgery stitch removal followed by nearly breaking myself with exercise, typhoons, panic attacks 12 meters under water…you know the sort of thing I mean).  I’ll let you know :o)

That’s one bag packed…

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