Vapour Trails

I have neglected you, and I’m highly apologetic. Let me tell you why.

The Christmas cards are all written, with stamps on.

The Christmas pudding is made and steamed, complete with inserted shiny coins. Beware, all ye with loose teeth…which would, in fact, be me.

The Christmas tree has been hubby-hauled downstairs, and wifey-erected.


The tree is 40 years old – at least – and every year requires increasingly intensive reconstructive surgery with BBQ skewers and sticky tape. It is the tree we had all through my childhood, and when  my mother – who can be a ruthless culler when the fit is on her – chucked it out a few years back, I lovingly rescued it. I also pounced, aghast, on most of the decorations that were also being unsentimentally ejected. The lovely light set was so old (1950s?) that the electrics were a hot bet to ignite the house, so I carefully removed the 20 little glass lanterns and wiggled them gently onto a more modern set.


They do dislodge and fall if given sufficient persuasion, so it’s fortuitous that there’s no-one living here whose newly acquired ambition is to knock seven shades of entertainment out of the new twinkly green thing in the corner.  

It’s probably also a good job that Harry’s eye level is low, because perched wonkily atop the tree is an ancient wifey Christmas childhood nightmare treasure.

robin1    robin2

We can’t seem to capture the underlying macabre quality of this avian horror. It has sat on my Christmas trees for over 30 years, however, so it is staying – despite its mildly disturbing appearance.

Continuing with the tree motif, I have baked some tree decorations with nice shiny bits in the middle – melted boiled sweet, in fact.


They taste… exactly like biscuit-and-boiled-sweet when eaten – which is why they are on the tree and not in my belly.

Picking up the belly topic – I am attending the gym, and, now I have sorted my iPod out, not hating it. I actually quite enjoyed the last trip. I have, inexplicably unfortunately, through eating junk, put on two pounds. No-one can get in their own bloody way like I can. I also only went once this week, as the gastro bug is hanging on in there and making itself felt from time to time; the tummy cramps are annoying, but the farts truly are spectacular. Hubby and I are virtually leaving vapour trails, and I can barely make out the TV this evening. Hubby has suffered a relapse today and has actually agreed to visit the GP in the morning.

My bottom was having an unusually quiet day on Wednesday, so I took it to see The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at the beautifully re-vamped Birmingham Town Hall. Now, before you mock (how very British of me to expect you to mock the ukulele, yet not the farts…) I should perhaps say that I do actually own a banjo. I can’t play it frightfully well at all, mind you, but I do rather like little 4 stringed things. I particularly like to hear a big bunch of them playing Anarchy in the UK, Smells like Teen Spirit, Blue Christmas, Wuthering Heights, and the Theme from Shaft, among delightfully diverse others. The hall acoustics were sublime (not even a hint of twang, merely clearly ringing melodies), the musicians patently consummately talented, the set list highly appealing, and the atmosphere beautifully relaxed and jolly. I had the rare pleasure of a night out (ummm… I think, perhaps 2… or 3? since last Christmas) combined with not having the worry of leaving some poor sap to be screamed at by my child, as John had met my offer to take him to hear ukuleles with a level stare. I struck lucky with his refusal here, as my best friend’s kind-of-almost-sort-of-nearly-I-don’t-quite-know-how-to-describe-it-coz-it’s-complicated chap is not only a wondrously lovely bloke, but also eclectic enough to appreciate weird stuff, and was keen enough to cheerfully put up with me for the evening in exchange for Ukuleles. I thoroughly enjoyed my evening, which doesn’t happen often, and came home raving that I Must Go Out More Often For God’s Sake. And I really should. If I say it often enough, it may just happen.

Taking Harry to Bungo’s Barn the next day for a bit of soft play didn’t really qualify as going out. But it did feature the delightful sound of a child emitting a noise like a steam engine at full pressure when it’s mother finally caved after the umpteenth demand for a leg-up into the cab and inserted a 50p piece into Scoop.



To continue with my list of why my evenings have been spent not-blogging excuses: I have spent the last 4 nights wrapping up gifts.


Losing the scissors. Losing the sticky tape. Losing my temper. Losing the end to the sticky tape. Finding the sticky tape, pulling viciously at it, and succeeding only in ripping off a thin streamer of sticky malevolence. I even bought the decent branded stuff – Sellotape, no less! And it’s still shit.

I have made a draught excluder to block off the unholy gust wailing under the living room door. In doing so I was careless with the sewing machine foot, resulting in a shattered needle and a sliced left index finger. The sliced finger meant that constructing my budget festive wreath (with holly liberated from MIL’s garden) was an experience that transcended prickly, as the thin cotton I was using to tie the bastard stuff to the wreath kept finding the cut, from which I had cleverly removed the plaster. Ouchie.


I have pickled 2 large kilners of onions  (and made onion soup with the outer layers) in a triumph of false economy, due an accidental over-purchase. Lots of people become stressed while hauling a supermarket trolley thrashily occupied by a screaming child down the veg aisle, but only I react by purchasing 3 bags of onions in absent-minded error. Feel free to correct me if you have had an inadvertent vegetable purchase though, I could do with a laugh. As I say, I have pickled them, but very badly, due to the fact that they sat in brine for the 4 days it took me to go out to the supermarket again and buy pickling vinegar. I keep opening the jars and sniffing nervously, whilst John repeatedly enquires with interest if I have ‘eaten one yet?’ Perhaps if we do, it will kill of whatever strain of evil bacteria is currently inhabiting our tummies here at Hairy House. 

And to finish off: here is Harry (16months) wearing a 12-18 month coat that is so enchantingly enormous and furry that it makes him look like a 1980s Russian plutocrat.


Nom nom nom.

13 Responses

  1. I love that Robin. I had one very similar that used to live on our tree for years. One christmas he never reappeared, i blame my mother…

  2. I am sitting here, sniffing pathetically, in puddle of self pity because I am nowhere near as ready for the big Christmas Celebration, present-wise or house cleaning wise. Food is under control though. Love, love, love your tree, the tattered bird (a Robin, OF COURSE) and the retro lanterns. And why wasn’t I asked to attend the Ukulele concert? I am huge fan of massed ukuleles. It would not have taken long for me to get there.

    And how cute is Boris the Lesser? Good thing he’s well out of slurping distance.

  3. Nom nom nom indeed. What a sweet boy, making me smile with his cuteness. 🙂

    I think I am going to bite off of you and blame my Christmas preparations as why I’ve been absent from my blog lately too. Thanks!

  4. Because it made me too curious to live, I had to jump stright over to YouTube and looked up “ukulele shaft” to see if they had any samplings. Oh my goodness, A. That. was. AWESOME! I so wish I could have been there to see it live. Sarge turned from what he was doing at one point to give me a strange look and ask me what in the heck I was listening to. “Shaft!” I chirped happily. “Played by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain! How did I not know this existed?!” He looked at me with deep pity and said “There’s a reason, Flicka.” He would have had a lovely time at home with John and Harry.

    Speaking of whom, Harry is eminently nomable! What a delicious treat. I love the fur coat; any chance you could get him a large beaver hat to go with?

    Your Christmas tree is lovely. Mine is still going up very, very slowly. We have a lot of ornaments and not so much time. It should be done by Orthodox Christmas.

  5. I’m loving Harry in the coat but he looks more pimp to me than russian!

    Love the tree – we have some robins as well that we hide amongst the branches.

    Please tell me how you made that wreath. Husbando is dying for me to make one and I have no idea how!

  6. “We can’t seem to capture the underlying macabre quality of this avian horror.”

    Oh no, I really think you HAVE done.

    As always I am awed by your domestic ambition. And by Harry’s coat. He looks a bit 1920s mobster in it, as if there’s a sawed-off under the left lapel and he’s just about to have a go at the Xmas ornaments with it.

  7. Loving the pimp & mobster motifs… re-thinking his christmas party fancy dress as I type!

  8. Extent of our Christmas decorations so far: one lone card from my brother. With a raindeer on it. Hmmm.

    Does tangerine peel littered all over the frickin’ flat count?

    *envy envy envy envy*

    Harry is so cute. He looks like an escapee from Bugsy Malone.

  9. I better take a photo of the equally macabre Christmas spider topping my tree- it’s the same sort deal, a weird tradition lost in the sands of time over 20 years. I love it, though.

    Botany’s getting the kitchen from John Lewis- in red.

  10. The Ukelele Orchestra is the most hilarious thing in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE.

    I’ve tagged you in a meme, by the way.

  11. The tree is gorgeous and the kid in the coat is hilarious! He looks like a Mafia hitman about to make someone wear cement shoes. 🙂

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  13. That bird scares the be-Jeezus out of me. Be prepared when Harry points at you from across a Trisha audience to say you scarred him – SCARRED HIM – into a life full of therapy thanks to the bird.

    Mine also wear coats sized 9-12 months and somehow disappear in them, however it never occurred to me to think of them as plutocrats. This is why I’m not a good mum. That and I can’t believe I’ve found someone who made stained glass window tree decorations. You’re like Martha Stewart, only without the soul-sucking evil.

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