scribbles tagged ‘mumzie’


Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

This year Mumsie’s suffered 2 strokes. They have mainly affected her ability to access word meaning. Only slightly, but noticeably so. She’s scared, both her parents and one elder sibling died of strokes. I’m scared. A little example of the minimum longer term impact of the strokes in a conversation with mumsie this weekend:

Mumsie: dad’s bought one of those things like a computer with no keyboard, I don’t know what it’s called, but if you say it I’ll recognise it

wendy: I-pad?

Mumsie: No

wendy: Tablet?

mumsie: Yes! A tablet

Both strokes happened while mum was doing crosswords, she loves crosswords. It was so sad to hear her say that she could see all the words but they didn’t make sense, she could hear dad talking but it didn’t make sense. She’s on all sorts of drugs, fingers crossed there wont be another Stroke soon and the modern drugs will keep her on top of the crosswords.

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Sunday, February 24th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Mum has a Policeman’s heel.

Dad has a Baker’s cyst.

I’m seeking a central heating engineer, Archibald “Harry” Tuttle would do nicely please.

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ginger’s dresses

Saturday, December 29th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

finding images of Ginger Rogersmumsie: have you got some books on film with pictures of Ginger Rogers’ dresses in them?

wendy: Um, possibly, but there’ll be lots of pictures on the internet that are easier to find

I put my laptop and mouse on the dining room table in front of mum. She pulled out her glasses and watched me type in search terms then helped me to change them. Mum learned about searching images while focussed on the actual images. She got very excited about how quick and easy it was to find the sort of thing she wanted. Her natural description of navigating the page focussed on the movement of the images, the focus of her interest, rather than the movement of the generic tool component (browser scroll bar):

mum “make the pictures go up” = wendy “scroll down the page

Later that evening dad put mum’s own, ne’er used, laptop on his personal laptop table.  Mum put on her glasses and sat next to him. They both searched for images of Ginger Rogers dancing. Mum didn’t touch the laptop but she effectively controlled it through conversation with Dad. Her language had changed. Mum had shifted to using directional language that mapped to the movement of the scroll-bar rather than the images. During our conversation she’d picked up a little of how I speak about things and incorporated it into her instructions to dad:

mum “move it down” = wendy “scroll down the page

Mum and Dad were terribly cute discussing the dress design and it’s properties for dancing. They both love to research things….

ginger’s dresses
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nothing electronic

Thursday, December 27th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

tinsel treeDad told me of his cunning Christmas present for mumsie

Mumsie said not to get her anything electronic for Christmas so I’ve got her an e-book for her kindle, and I’ve already put it on her kindle so I can show it to her on Christmas day

Indeed, mum was really pleased with her present once she’d made sure that the new book on her kindle hadn’t replaced the book she was currently reading. Once she’d grasped that 2 books could co-exist on the Kindle an earnest enthusiasm for last year’s present (the kindle) began to show.

The book? A biography of George, Duke of Clarence  (1449-1478).

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mumsie’s murderous streak

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Remember wendums, your mother grew up in the 1950s – when they invented invisible germs. Evil things that must be killed. Sometimes we should clean things that don’t need cleaning because the thought of germs can really upset mumsie

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wearing dad’s jumper

Friday, June 29th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Mumsie: what would you like us to get you for your 18th Birthday present?

Wendy: A motorbike

Mumsie: No

Wendy: I’ll save to buy the protective clothing – Helmet, jacket, trousers, boots

Mumsie: No, nothing electrical for your 18th

Wendy: The Gibson Les Paul you got Bros 62 is an electric guitar

Mumsie: That’s different

Wendy: What if I buy the bike and you can give me a full set of leather gear and a helmet for my 18th?

Mumsie: No

Wendy: Why not?

Mumsie: No clothes for your 18th

Wendy: What can I have?

Mumsie: I thought a nice Diamond and Topaz ring

Wendy: If that’s what I’m allowed, I’ll take it… … can I pawn it for money towards a motorcycle?

Honda CB100N

Mum and Dad rarely rowed. Later that year they rowed about my getting a motorbike. Dad sided with me, placating mumsie with a promise to make sure that I looked after the bike properly. The morning before Dad took this photograph he carried a comfy chair into the garage while I laid out the large tent groundsheet on the garage floor between my bike and his comfy chair. Dad opened the Haynes manual.

Gradually I deconstructed the engine and lay each piece out in neat chronological order on the groundsheet. When the engine was in pieces we took a break to clean up and eat Sunday lunch.  Then, slowly, peace by piece, I rebuilt the engine. When I got confused, Dad showed me the relevant Haynes manual picture and pushed me to make a decision. He helped listen to the sound quality when adjusting the timer.

I felt so proud of myself once I’d finished.  Dad let me wear my favourite of his jumpers for this celebratory photograph.

The bike lasted just over a year before I sold it on for a profit.

My diamond and topaz ring, worn less than 6 times in 30 years,  reminds me that mum and dad love me and the responsibility and freedom of motorcycling…



wearing dad’s jumper
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help getting dressed

Saturday, May 12th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Mumsie helped with my wedding outfit decisions. What goes with my fabulous new Royal Stewart tartan kilt:

  • Sox or stockings? Stockings – Mumsie didn’t think it was good form to reveal my bare knees to strangers. I take after Dad in the knee department, he once won a nobbly-knees contest
  • Red or Black stockings? Black stockings – Mumsie felt it would be ok to wear black to a wedding nowadays. The colour is no longer reserved for mourning.  Several wedding guests were dressed completely in black. Tiger, who was actually in mourning wore a black shirt. One guest wore a white lace dress, risking a clash with the Bride’s outfit
  • Red or Black shoes? Red shoesCelebratory flatties for lots of jigging on the post-vows disco dancefloor
  • White or Black shirt? White shirt
  • Leather or velvet jacket? Leather jacket
  • Hat or no hat – No hat!!!!!!  No-one at the wedding wore a hat.  4 women were sporting fascinators at the ceremony, but no hats or tiarras. A trend that’s changed dramatically in my wedding-going career
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direct land lines

Monday, April 30th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

Dungeness lighthousewendy: do you have a mobile phone?

mumsie: yes, dad has one

wendy: take it with you, it will help us meet-up, when I get off the train I’ll send you a text so you know I’m on my way


The next evening there’s a message from mum on the landline phone. This phone is now used only as a direct line to mum and dad

mumsie: ….we’ll charge-up the phone overnight on Saturday then switch it on a 8am on Sunday morning….

at this point I realise that using the mobile phone is not part of my parents everyday life.  I’ve probably caused a bit of a kerfuffle, house discussions about how to use the mobile phone…

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family traits

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

KnucklesMy 90 year aunt rubs her distorted, arthritic, hands.  Despite this distortion I find her hands beautiful. Her gently winkled skin doesn’t betray her grand age

Knarled and dapper

Mumsie and her elder sister try to remember the names and professions of their long-past elderly relatives who were mainly females:

Even the married female relatives lived as-if they were unmarried – without their husbands, running thier own businesses:

  • a Milliner – HATS!!!
  • a sweetshop owner

family traits
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candles and vampires (avoid direct sunlight)

Sunday, February 26th, 2012 | tags: ,  |

Night lightsWords of wisdom from  an almost stranger* and Mumsie.  Mumsie passed on this wisdom while we walked between the car park and Bristol Hippodrome

mumsie: don’t put candles on window sills

wendy: because they’ll melt in the sunshine?

mumsie: yes, tealights, those short ones in individual containers are alright because they keep their shape  when they melt

I’ve now placed some tealights in glassware on my new glass window shelves…..

* Past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser.   Lucia the hairdresser, a partying product designer, an Essex girl, an anonymous  manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant, a bus stop philanthropist, a mini salesman, Windows Network Diagnostics, Flat Eric, a girl on a London commuter train, a Redmond based software developer and Reading Police.
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living ghosts

Friday, February 24th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

mumsie: this morning I heard mam talking in the room next door. I heard her clear as day, even though I know she died in 78.   I was listening to you 

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the cupboard has a hangover

Sunday, January 1st, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

The year started well as I rolled out of bed in my warm brushed cotton, red tartan, pyjamma set. Mumsy buys the best christmas pressies with her Marks and Spencers loyalty card. As the teapot brewed I lifted the cupboard‘s lid and logged in.

.Net error messageThe warm, fluffy feeling started fading as Microsoft’s .NET framework announced an ‘unhandled exception‘ in MY ‘application‘.  My cheeky little application had the afrontary to so something without proper handling? Naughty!’

This verbose .NET Framework message appeared to offer me 2 choices in the first paragraph:

  • ignore this error (continue button)
  • force my application to close (quit button)

The second paragraph is written in jargon about turning on functions, configuring, clients, trace-logs and SDKs.  This is 2012, good practice for producing software error messages has been around for decades. Why is Microsoft still showing me outrageously poorly designed dialogs? Especially first thing in the morning of the new year.  pfft. I choose to ignore this message because it didn’t enable me to make an informed decision – which ‘application’ of mine is exceptional?


Firefox crash reportA few moments later I got a BIG clue about the exceptional  ‘application’. Mozilla:

  • raised it’s hand with a message
  • started its conversation with me by  apologising. Nice! This takes ownership for having caused the problem and sets the tone of the conversation with me as one of respect to me
  • tells me firefox will try to fix the problem – doesn’t expect me to fix it
  • politely asks for me to give them diagnostic information. Which I did

I really like the tone of voice, the attitude, of Mozilla when talking to me

As I poured my second mug of tea another potential culprit for the ‘application’ that Microsoft .NET framework found ‘exceptional’ raised it’s hand


The large, ugly, Sony Viao update dialog insisted that I update my netbook software then told me I had to reboot the cupboard.  It’s direct instructional approach feels rather rude. I follow the instructions because I’ve been trained by years of poor software to feel helpless and follow this type of condescending instruction

Viao Update

It’s like being in the 1990’s all over again

Do0-do Doo-do


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Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

In the 1940s mumsie’s family moved into a 3 bedroomed rented red-brick terrace house

Three of the children shared one room, one bed. They slept sideways across the double-bed.  The only married son, a Naval rating, lived with his wife in the 3rd bedroom. The first time my aunt had lived somewhere other than an orphanage, sleeping in a dormatory

The 1890’s house had a luxury modern convenience, a flushing toilet in a brick outbuilding. One of mum’s jobs was to tear the Sunday newspaper into squares, thread the squares onto  string and hang them in the outhouse. Newsprint rubbed off on her hands. The damp air in the outhouse made the paper soggy

Even in this household of 7, there was never a queue to use the one toilet. Every bedroom contained porcelain chamber pots. Mumsie calls a chamber pot a ‘po’. You could do your business in the bedroom, leave the po under the bed then carry it to the toilet to be emptied. Mum and Dad agreed that it was important that no-one saw you carrying the Po to be emptied

Even though toilets were designed to be sat on and peed into, it sounds as if,  that’s not how they were first commonly used. I remember in the 1980’s that my grandparents kept chamber pots, a commode in their bedroom

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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

Saturday, July 9th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

White phone boxMaking sure you got your phone calls was a complicated affair in the days before cell phones and answer machines. Especially for a teenager. This is just one of the problems I encountered – after coming home from a long, fun night practicing with the marching band:

Mumzie: Graham called while you were out

Wendy: Graham! Which Graham? What did he say?

Darn, now mum knows there are several Grahams in my life and he might have told her something personal.

Mumzie: there’s more than one Graham? He didn’t say what it was about dear, just said to let you know he’d called

Double darn

Clearly this is a discreat Graham. Can’t pick one out from the rest based on that description. So now I have to work out in which order to phone them back. Then how to start the conversation without giving away that I don’t know if I’m returning a call, or calling them for the first time? Then I have to work out how to advise mumzie on taking future calls from Grahams, to help her work out which one called without saying “which Graham are you?” which would make each of them feel insignificant, and they’re not. They’re all special in different ways

Life’s so complicated!



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run wendy run

Saturday, May 28th, 2011 | tags: , , , , ,  |

4yr tricycleOnce the joy of the tinkling bells had worn off I looked towards the end of the isle. Mum and dad weren’t there

It wasn’t fair, they could walk fast or slow. Slow was the only speed I could walk. Slow or running.  They always walked fast, I had to run, whizzing passed so many fascinating things. I’d only taken a moment to listen to the bells while mum and dad wandered off.

I ran to the end of the isle, glancing both ways then looked down every isle. From a safe distance, I even checked the escalators. No mum, dad or brothers. I hadn’t got lost. I know where I am. They are lost.  Welling tears were barely held by remembering mums’ instructions

‘what to do when you are lost’

  1. stay in the last place that you saw mum, dad, your brothers or school teacher
  2. do not talk to strangers
  3. talk to a policeman and they will help you find mum and dad

Standing by the silent bells, soggy red-faced, I wondered if mum and dad were also staying in the last place they saw me, not talking to strangers. People were watching me and talking to each other. A lady bent down and asked if I was alright. I tried so very hard to follow rule 2, not talking to this stranger. It tooks seconds for me to fail. Mucus spluttered

I’ve lost my mummy!

Why did everyone seem so calm? Why weren’t they crying too? My friends and I always cried together. Maybe these strangers were going to take me away to an orphanage and I’d never see mum and dad again. The lady leant forward to grab me.  I scrambled out of her reach towards the bells, crying louder in the hope that someone would join in.

Wearing her angry face, Mum appeared at the end of the isle to rescue me. When angry, she walks faster. I ran all the way home trying to slow mum by singing  I want to hold your hand.

scribble inspired by Nick’s recent musings on lost children
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recycling confidentiality

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

In my valiant steps to curb my consumerism, mend my waywardness, I partake of old-fashioned passtimes such as darning socks and spurious knitwear. Mumsie taught me how to darn. Darning wasn’t a syllabus item on the compulsory (for females) Home Economics course provided by Chipping Sodbury Comprehensive school. A lot of useful home economics were omitted from my Home Economics education. It wasn’t comprehensive by any stretch of the imagination.

Recently I’ve added ‘Brickette’ making to my many economic home skills. Here’s the recipe

  1. Borrow a brickette maker (I failed at this first step – I bought one)
  2. Use a large (not plastic) bag to collect the shreddings from the confidential document shredder at work.
  3. Empty the shreddings into a large waterpoof container (Bucket!)
  4. fill the bucket with wate
  5. Leave the shreddings to soak for 3 days
  6. Scoop the soggy shredded paper from the bucket into the bricket maker and squish into a brickette
  7. Leave the soggy brickette in the sun tor dry-out. I’ve placed my first brick in my log-store

Three days to make one brick. I only have one bucket. I wonder how many bricks I’ll be able to make this summer? I wonder how well they’ll work as fuel on the woodburner. Apparantly it is possible to make brickettes from tea bags…

soaking shredded confidential papers Brickette squished from soaked paper

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classical conditioning

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Bathroom floorAs a pre-school child one of my absolute favourite games was Wednesday’s washing the bathroom floor. Mumsie would fill up a beach-bucket with warm foamy water, give me a smallhand-size brush and leave me in the bathroom. I was allowed to slop the hot foamy water all over the floor. What FUN! When I’d finished I told mum and she’d come in and finish off the details with her own BIG bucket of soapy water and a towel. I’d help with the towel

During my first week at school, when I got home on Wednesday I asked for my bucket to help wash the bathroom floor, but mum had already done it. I cried

Psychologists call this ‘Classical‘, as oppose to ‘Operant’ conditioning, where a person (originally tested with dogs) learns to associate the co-occurence of an event (bell ringing) with a rewarding experience (enjoyment of food) such that when the event contiunes without the reward the dog behaives as-if the reward is coming.

For me this was associating ‘fun’ with washing the floor, the association still exists to this day. As soon as the hot soapy water hits the bathroom floor, I’m thinking ‘YAY Bubbles, SWISH!

Thanks to mumzie for having the insight to let this happy association happen

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magic goats

Sunday, December 26th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Mum and Dad’s house is full of all sorts of good looking Christmas decorations, candle holders, runners, baubles and tinsel.

Amongst the ever growing collection are a few things that I recall from my youth. In my youth Christmas decorations were stored in one, carefully packed, box. Opening the christmas decoration  box was a special time. Out came the red and the blue christmas goats. I always suspected them of being christmas elephants but dad assures me that they are goats. I would make up stories about the Christmas goats and move them around the house. They are magic goats.

Traditional candle holders

PS This is a 100 word post, before the PS

magic goats
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cor anglais and french horns

Monday, November 15th, 2010 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

The opening piece of the evening was Morrow from Gattaca (re-used as a ‘theme’ in the film Atonement). Mistaking the track for Departure, within minutes tears were streaming down my face.

wendy: I first fell in love with Nyman’s music in 1983 when I saw the Draughtsman contract

mumsie: I remember, you’ve been playing Nyman’s music to me ever since

As we talk I realise how each time I purchased a Michael Nyman album I would bring it to mum and dads then play it to mumsie, insisting that she listened. I remember her continuing to do the laundry, prepare dinner, vacuum the house, never seeming to take time out to focus on just listening.

Now, watching the Bournmouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) perform pieces that  I’d only previously heard. I noticed new things; how the lead Violin spoke to the lead Viola in Trysting fields, how the voices of different instruments came from different places. Listneing to music in the car, the instruments seem to be disembodied, the have no place to come from.

After the tuba’s and french horns had made some floor rocking contributions to ‘a watery death’:

mumsie: he does like his brass

wendy: which one is the Cor anglais?

mumsie: next to the Oboe’s, the tall thing that loops to the floor and back

wendy: woodwind?

mumsie: yes

Mumsie was pleased to recognise all the pieces. The closing scheduled piece, Memorial, was Nyman’s tribute to the victims of the 1985 Heysel stadium disaster. They decided to add a lightweight encore before letting us loose on the watery night streets of Bristol. Mum was pleased, evidently the BSO don’t normally do encores.

Michael Nyman wrote ‘Departure

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bored stupid

Friday, November 5th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

By the time I came along mumsie was a skilled child-manipulating propaganda machine. She’d gathered tips and tricks from other parents, Dr. Spock, and refined her practice on my elder brothers

Whenever we left the house mumsie always carried paper and coloured pencils. If I was cheeky enough to declare that I was bored Mumsie would remind me that:

  • only stupid people couldn’t entertain themselves
  • I should have bought something with me to make sure i didn’t get bored
  • she had paper and coloured pencils if I hadn’t bothered to bring anything

Portrait of person at festivalI don’t remember the last time I was bored or even what being bored actually feels like.  Mumsie gave me the lifelong gift of being able to entertain myself, anywhere. 

Alas, along the way I picked up my own intolerance of others that lack this gift.

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forgotten, active, behaviours

Saturday, October 9th, 2010 | tags:  |

Lyle Hotel bedroom and wardrobe doorI’ve picked up lots of little idiosyncrasies from darling mumzie like, for example, dont touch the walls, hold onto doors or doorframes in a house. Such things are so well learned that I dont even know that I have learned them. Until, I see someone else break the unknown rule and a little shiver runs down my spine as I fight the urge to ask them not to do it, just as my mumzie once asked me not to do it.  

It is easy to go through life without touching a wall, a door frame or a door.

Strange that it should be so difficult to silently watch someone else touch them.

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plant rescue

Thursday, August 19th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

It’s time for plant rescue.

Plant rescue is just before the perenials begin to die for the winter. The local garden centres sell the dying plants at half price.

All year round I rescue plants from mumzies garden, she just volunteers to pull them up then pots them for me to take home. Honeysuckle, virginia creeper, oriental grasses, small alpines, her garden is gradually reproducing in mine.

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smiley happy people

Sunday, April 4th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

Lots of singing and dancing in the isles at the Bristol Hippodrome production of The Niel Sedaka story “Laughter in the rain“.   Mumzie was jigging and clapping during the substantial encore pastiche of Sedaka songs.  Other than being familiar with the songs I knew nothing about Niel Sedakas life and I fully enjoyed the production.  

3  smiles: Ratings explained

Audience.   Given that the  production could be enjoyed with little knowledge of Niel Sedaka  it was sad to find the Hippodrome less than a quarter full on a Friday night.   Mumsie and I happily moved from our cheap seats to closer seats with a more expensive view.  Judging by the silver hair, short people with warped backs the audience were mainly over 60 years. At 46 I was probably the youngest audience member.

Venue. 1912 building with tiers,  boxes and a huge dome all  decorated in Rococo style gold plasterwork providing a lavish music hall feel. During the production I decided to pick-up a copy of Carol King’s ‘Tapestry’ and some Niel Sedaka music.   Sadly, the Hippodrome didn’t provide the opportunity for the audience to purchase this kind of related merchandise.

Production. Niel’s story moved from song to song, highlighting the personal significance of each song ‘Oh Carol’, ‘breaking up is hard to do’, and  ‘last song together’.   Some songs were cast  with a slightly new significance to move the story forward.   For example, according to album notes ‘the immigrant’ was originally written as a comment of John Lennon’s application for US citizenship being rejected.   In  this production it is sung when Niel leaves the US to come to the UK where he feels  he will be given more creative freedom to develop as an aritst than the US allowed him.   Some of the significant life events were fascinating, for example,  10cc  encouraging Niel to record any song he wanted in anyway, resulting in Solitaire then ay its inception Elton John  asking Niel to be one of Rocket Record’s artists.

The photographs of story-contenporary, buildings, people, places, and record covers projected on the backdrop as Niel’s story unfolded were fascinating social-cultural history.

Production brochure in front of Dr. Who credits


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35yrs since mumzie paid my phone bill

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 | tags: , , , , ,  |

brrrrrrriiiiiiiinnng  brrrrrrriiiiiiiinnng

wendy house:   Hello!

BT operative (BT-OH!):   Hello,   is Mr or Mrs House available

wendy house: my parents don’t live here

BT-OH!: Do you pay the bills?

wendy: Are you selling me something?

BT-OH: this phone number is a BT phone number and we have a special offer on Broadband

Phone sales people often want to talk to my mother, dad or to-be-arranged-husband.   It will be sad when my reply is ‘my parents are dead’ until then it’s mildly comical.

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little goldfish

Friday, October 9th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Dusk in Holy TrinityMumzie:    come next door with me,   to feed the goldfish

Wendy:  yes please,   how is she?

Mumzie: she died last week.  

Her children thought they’d inherit the house,  were planning to move in.   They would have been good neighbours.   But she had a  reverse mortgage which means the bank owns the house and is selling it.

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bread winner

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Shopping For DadMumzie drives to another town to pick-up the only Rye crisp-bread that Dad considers to be like real Finnish Rye bread.

The myriad of  quirky little things my parents do for each other shows they are still in love, 52 years after getting married.

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

flashless felineMatrix starts chasing her tail.    She has never chased her tail before. I stop making the bed to watch her playfulness,   she is bearing her teeth and growling.   She falls over, her bowels open and her body twitches wildly.   After  less than a  minute she stops convulsing and lies still.   I pick her up and carry her to a warm soft bed on the floor by the phone while I call the emergency vet.   Matrix and I cry as I dial.    

While  the vet questions me. Matrix stops crying and starts to walk around.   Yes her breathing is normal,   yes her movement is normal.   She’s not dragging her back legs.   Her pupils are no longer dilated.   The vet advises me to keep her warm,   let her eat and drink and  watch her closely for an hour.   The vet says it is fairly common for aging cats to have seizures.

I called mumzie.   “Oh yes dear,   Jason had a seizure while he was sleeping,   about 4 years before he died.    He hardly noticed it,  I did because he emptied his bowels all over our nice new sofa, what a mess

Peacefully, Matrix watched while I cleaned the mess.

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english teacher excommunication

Sunday, August 16th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |


My plan for choosing ‘A’ level’s was to pick topics where I got the best results.   Unfortunately my selection strategy didn’t work.   My results were the same in all topics.   Straight B grades.   I needed another strategy for deciding what to study for ‘A’ levels.   Mum and dad had clear guidance

Parents:   ‘you can’t go wrong with maths and physics,   you can become an engineer,   you can learn how to solve practical problems and look after yourself and your home properly’

Wendy: but I really enjoy Art, English Literature and History

Parents:  You can study Art, English literature and History  in your spare time,   you’ll be motivated to do it.   You probably wont study maths and physics in your spare time

This made sense to me.  

I talked to my English teacher.   He was furious,   I had a talent  that I should nurture,  he would never speak to me again if I chose Math’s over English.   I chose Maths, Physics and History.   He never spoke to me again.   Complying with emotional blackmail is not a personal strength.     History covered literature (Nietzsche) and art (Futurism, Cubism).    

Since that fateful decision I’ve played with writing, painting, sketching, and plagued you with my laxadaisical spelling and grammar.

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international biddies

Sunday, June 21st, 2009 | tags: ,  |

Wendy email text:  July 3rd, Niel Sedaka at the Colston Hall – can you come if I get tickets?

Mumxie email text:   Cannot come sailing on the Danube   Sorry

This is mumsie’s second email to me.   If I flatter myself,   as I am wont to do,  possibly her second email  to anyone.   I can’t help but be  impressed by both content and style.  

Naturally I followed this revelation with a phone-call to discover Bucharest, Saltzburg, Vienna and butler-service were involved (and a new kitchen but that’s another story),     thus clearly justifying turning down free Neil Sedaka tickets and an evening out with their adorale only daughter.  

Mum saw Niel Sedaka on his last UK tour.  

Darn, foiled again…

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2 bits of fabulous banter »

running out of change

Monday, March 16th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

In the early 1980’s student’s didn’t have mobile phones.  

I lived in downtown Birmingham on the 18th floor of a towerblock full of students.   The towerblock  had one,    ONE,  public phone in the entrance way.   Always a long queue  and no soundproof surround.     I rarely phoned mumsie.   Only when I was near a phone booth that didn’t have half a dozen people queuing  to use it.   Normally this would be  in the early hours of the morning at gig’s.     I would use the change I had saved for the bus home to call mumzie.     She wasn’t always best-pleased by my sense of timing.   The calls went something like

Wendy:   Helllllloooooooo mumsie!

Mumsie: do you know what time it is?

Wendy: It’s TIME to call mumzie!

Mumsie:   Have you been drinking?

Wendy:   could well be!

Mumsie:   Oh Gwendolyn!   Are you eating properly?

Wendy:   Chips and curry sauce fresh, ahem,  from the van,   YUMMY!

Mumsie:   we worry about you darling

Wendy:   ARRRRR!   You’re so sweet,   there’s no need to worry mum,   I’m nearly all grown up but I’m fast running out of change…


Mumsie:   goodnight dear, take care…

One such call happened  after listening to the live version of this little gem…

Spear of Destiny sing They’ll never take me alive

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4 bits of fabulous banter »