I went into the GPs surgery this afternoon to pick up my referral paperwork, only to find that A Mistake had occurred. Apparently my referral was too complicated to let me choose my own gynae after all, and my letter has gone direct to Warwick. I was, admittedly, listening to the conversation through two half-open doors, but it sounded horribly like I have been referred to a Mr Savonarola. This seems ominous: Savonarola was a rather misogynistic-sounding Dominican monk, circa late 1400s. I’m really rather hoping this chap isn’t a direct descendant.

Updated to add:

Ahhhhhhh! Mr Steven Olah!

God, I love the internet.


I had an encounter with a speculum-wielding doctor last Monday, who called loudly across the waiting room to the nurse, enquiring if she had any KY in her room, as he was completely out. Joy.

I went in complaining of ongoing problems post partum: I struggle to hold onto a full-ish bladder; coughing, laughing, sneezing and toddler-wrangling have all caused me minor accidents. My perineum feels all wrong still after the stitching repair job necessitated by a fast-emerging head, and now splits into a tiny tear at the drop of a hat knicker. What is more, whenever I lumber up into a jog at the gym, I get the distinct sensation that everything is…dropping. Dropping out. The word we are searching for here is, in fact, prolapse. The problem seems worse at some times of the month than others. In short, I’ve known for a while I should go and see the GP, but… busy, you know?

The appointment was with a young locum GP, so I was fully prepared to have to explain uterine didelphys, as unless docs have done a lengthy obs&gynae rotation, they’ve generally never come across it. Predictably, he’d never heard of it, although he did grasp the concept quickly without me actually having to draw him pictures. I draw a good didelphys picture. I’ve had practice.

I described the problems I was experiencing, and was half-expecting him to simply refer me straight on to my former gynae chap at Warwick. Instead, he squared his shoulders and thought he’d better have a butchers at my cervi, although I’m really not sure what he was expecting to see. He summoned a chaperone, to whom I chatted whilst he busied himself with gloves and struggled mightily to liberate the speculum from its sterile wrapper. I was beginning to cast alarmed glances at his fumbling, as the last thing you want is a speculum-driver who hasn’t done it for a long time.

He was down there for absolutely ages, and I think he was starting to sweat under the glare of the anglepoise lamp he was directing into my innards, before looking up to enquire if ‘people generally have trouble seeing the second cervix?’ I took pity on him and told him yes, even though they are sat bang next to each other, and are allegedly fairly blatant, as it occurred to me that Harry’s emergence could have changed the lie of the land, so to speak.

He eventually straightened up, having achieved nothing except subjecting my specially-depilated undercarriage to mild angle-poise scorching. He said he would refer me to a gynae. Any gynae. Apparently, our glorious NHS now permits me to pick and choose which one I see.

So that’s nice.

A Bit Higher than Whale Shit.

5 years ago today, two mediocre CD collections became one.  Cheers!


That’s right. 5 glorious years! Or, more accurately, 3.5 peaceful years followed by 18 months of Hissed Squabble. Although, Hubby did get absolutely roaring drunk on our wedding night, in direct contravention of previously issued instructions, which earned him a (restrained) telling-off from me and a right royal bollocking from his mother before the reception was over. Neither of which he remembers.

(Our honeymoon, incidentally, was taken in London and – because the Hairies are a little different – the middle east. Jordan is reasonably straightforward to visit, and we only got a gun pointed at us once, courtesy of John’s attempt to photograph military installations. Petra was utterly out-of-this-world superb. [I do have an ancient history degree though, so I get inordinately excited about Old Stuff.] The Dead Sea was amazing, although the 5 star hotel probably helped. Spending a week in Jordan was also, of course, something of a speechifying gift of gold to John’s Best Man.)

John managed to produce an anniversary card, having purchased one during his annual trip to WH Smiths last month, but I have been acutely short on retail opportunities this week, so Phoenix and Hubby both lost out. This is unlike me, but I have been Upset.

Harry is a fair bit better today, and thank you all so very much for your kind concern. He slept in between us for several hours last night, and actually picked up some of his toys this morning. He also accepted my (greatly adored) mum as a substitute on cuddling duty while John and I went out for lunch and a much-needed break. 

Yesterday was appalling from start to finish. The Delightful Doctors Next Door are away (sob!) and I ended up taking him to our doctor’s surgery twice yesterday because I was so distraught. Harry had slept for a couple of hours before his morning appointment, and was consequently fairly calm when I first took him in. I only knew of the two big tongue ulcers at that point, and the GP said he had no way of pinning down what virus it was, but that Harry ‘looked ok’  – which he did at that point – and said he was surprised the hospital had prescribed anti-virals ‘this early on; we usually wait.’

By 4pm I had discovered Harry had developed dozens and dozens more ulcers, absolutely covering his tongue, his throat, the roof of his mouth, his lips, and even a few on his face. He had become a picture of misery and pain, gazing at me in bewilderment, pawing piteously at his mouth, clinging to my neck like grim death, and screaming raggedly through clamped-shut lips. His nappies were bone-dry all day. He roared all the way through the appointment with the second doctor, who confidently diagnosed a herpes-type virus common to under-twos, and told me that anti-virals achieve very little and wouldn’t work ‘this far past the initial onset’ anyway. Hmmm.

She told me, in essence, that Harry would just have to Deal With It. When I explained that the only pain relief I could successfully administer was 6-hourly paracetamol suppositories, and that this was rather like trying to keep his pain ocean back with a broom, she told me – fairly sharply – ‘That’s all you can do. You just have to get through it with him. I know it’s hard. I lost 5 pounds when my daughter had it’. 

So. There was nothing else, apparently, in the entire pharmaceutical range, that she would prescribe to reduce Harry’s pain.  She may well have been right. I don’t know. But my child had his poor face buried in my shoulder, his arms thrown tight around my neck, his legs drumming on my lap, howling his distress, anguish and torment straight into my soul, and I feel there may have been hate in my eyes.

But! Today he has definitely improved. The lap has been left for brief periods of time (I can pee again!) and he has eaten a few pasta twists (hurrah!) for tea. Received wisdom tells us that this is a 10-dayer, and there’s certainly no way on God’s green earth that those ulcers will heal before the middle of next week, so I expect he will continue to tell us about his suffering, poor lad. I am planning a trip out for more new toys (he’s already had a large lapful of them) tomorrow if he seems up to it.


New distractions, lots of cuddles and small lard torpedos bunged up his bum are all I can do for him right now.

On a different note, this link may be in slightly dubious taste if you are TTC, but Hubby is finding http://www.digyourowngrave.com/the-great-sperm-race/ fairly addictive currently. Hence I need to vacate the computer chair, stat, before he implodes. I will tell you about the young doctor I puzzled and my gynae referral (oh, aren’t you just completely agog!) tomorrow.

Lower than Whale Shit

Shit day. SUCH a shit day.

Harry was inconsolable all night. His tongue ulcers became so bad that he couldn’t breastfeed – he’d latch on, then recoil as if he’d been burnt, and cry furiously with the pain. And they began to seriously smell. The ulcers, not my boobs. Harry normally has breath like a spring flower, but he’s developed the most pungent halitosis I’ve smelt in years. Possibly ever. I couldn’t get any fluids or painkillers down him at all to begin with, so at 1.30am John emerged from the spare room to find a feverish Harry bawling broken-heartedly on the bed, and me bawling broken-heartedly in the bathroom, frantically emptying out the medicine cabinet searching for a single remaining infant paracetamol suppository – which was actually under my nose all the while. John took Harry downstairs to rock in the chair for an hour, but he woke again on the way back upstairs.

By 6.30am I discovered the very end of my tether, and started crying more uncontrollably than my son. John had already left to take cattle to market. I had to do something Right That Minute or go stark mad with worry, so I bundled Harry – now sipping water, thank God – into the car and drove him over to A&E at Warwick.

Doctor was a nice chap, who contented himself with peering carefully at the ulcer-group at the front


taking my word for the fact that the ones further back were far bigger and uglier. Bonjela was apparently the best he could do for topical pain relief, and upon hearing that I couldn’t get oral medicine near Harry without being violently swatted, he gave me a further supply of paracetamol suppositories. I had been hoping for something pokier in the pain-relief department – no pun intended –  although I was never quite sure what. I suppose I was all ready to have Harry admitted and sedated so he – and I – could finally get some proper bloody sleep, whilst knowing perfectly well that was never a realistic option.

Doctor wasn’t sure if the ulcers were a bog-standard viral side-effect turned Bad Bad Bad, or primary infection with herpes simplex. He hummed and ah-ed over (unspecified, and I haven’t had the energy to google yet) possible side effects for a while, but eventually said he’d start Harry on herpes anti-viral therapy, with a view to the GP monitoring the situation in the next couple of days.

He gave me a prescription for the hospital pharmacy, which I vaguely thought, in my flustered state, was located in Outpatients, just next door. Except that the front door was locked, according to Bald Dude, who was just walking away from them, so I then carted 22lb Harry (a non-ambulatory wailing growth) and my changing bag, which despite being a thing of beauty weighs an approximate metric fucking ton, about quarter of a goddammed mile round the long route. I eventually arrived in Outpatients, sweating pints, cursing my aching arms and wondering why the hell I hadn’t gone back to the car for his pushchair. Bald Dude was lounging in an easy chair, not meeting my eye. Then the nice nursey told me that pharmacy hadn’t been in Outpatients for years – it wasn’t on the main site at all, but across the car park and further up the main road. Fuckit. Fuckit fuckit fuckit. 

I hauled Harry back to the car – a short trip, as we were virtually back where we started –  enjoying the relief that the brisk wind brought from his clinging close-range sewer-breath, and looked in the boot. Empty. No pushchair. I had no clear idea who had removed it, but I rang John up and chewed on him anyway. Ended call. Cried a bit more. I knew where Pharmacy was, now my brain was engaged. Knew it had no parking. Knew I had to walk.

I divested myself of the changing bag, and began to lug Harry yet another quarter of a mile. He was getting blown about by the gale and rained on a bit, despite my efforts to shield him. Plus, of course, he was heating up again from his fever, feeling icky from his illness, and suffering horrible miseries from his ulcers. Knowing all this did not make him any fucking lighter, or less upsetting when he started to kick me and pull my hair in tired frustration. I arrived at the pharmacy visibly harrassed, with a waily toddler, exactly one minute after they opened at 9am. You would think this might ensure a speedy service, but no. After 20 minutes of poorly-child hell, I was eventually compelled to point him, complete with his death-cloud breath, puddling dribble and irritable screams, right through the serving hatch. Fucking pharmacists.

Of course, when they eventually handed over the bulging full-to-brim paper bag, it contained oral anti-viral medicine to be taken 5 times a sodding day (did you hear what I said about Harry being nil by mouth, Doc?) and I realised I had no way of carrying the bag. I was obliged to cast the packaging right and left over their carpet  – 20 minutes, FFS! – whilst I crammed bottles, tubs and syringes into my coat pockets – which were already stuffed with my mobile phone, wallet and car keys.

So, on the return hike back to the car park, I’m not merely a crying, insanely overheated fat woman carrying a sick toddler, I’m a LUMPY, crying, insanely overheated fat woman with a headache, carrying a dribbling, stinking, sad, wind-blown, feverish lump of misery.

I got home and called my Mum. Like you do. When she arrived over here, her blue Nanny Emergency light flashing, God bless her, I had suppositorised him and coaxed him into dozing on the sofa.


He kept waking and crying piteously for cuddles every couple of minutes, so Mum (having washed up the dirty dishes from the meal I cooked her on Sunday – and sliced her finger open for good measure) sat motionless with him on her lap for 2.5 hours while he – and I – slept. During this time, John came home for his lunch and managed to score his usual domestic epic fucking fail by not offering her anything to eat, or even making her a drink.

Harry has accepted a little numbing Bonjela this evening, and consequently managed to eat a few soft foods and settle blissfully back onto the comfort of the Mummy-boob (I had, I confess, entertained a sneaking Thank God! Weaned the bugger! thought. But hey. He’s a happier boy tonight for having fed.) But he isn’t any better. Any at all. John put him to bed at 8, and he’s been up to him every 15- 20 minutes to re-settle him since.

I’ve had to give up the anti-viral meds already. We struggled hugely giving him doses 1 and 2, and by dose 3 he was simply beside himself, struggling dementedly, kicking and clamping his mouth shut, violently distressed. I started crying too, and decided it wasn’t worth upsetting us all so much in order to give him a drug for a condition he may not even have. Plus, I’ve just googled the miserable-sounding side effects.

We’re seeing our GP tomorrow morning to re-group and see if he has any bright ideas about ulcers – which, of course, he won’t, but I feel better for knowing that we have that slot booked – but that leaves tonight to get through first. I can’t manage a 4th sleepless night – I am aware that I am exhibiting signs of what could be termed Stress –  so we’ll split the night up. John has just elected to do the first one, so I had better go and actually, you know, try to relax.



If you want a little more adventure in your life, invite me on your safari park trip. I have form for Making Things Happen. Part of this may centre around the fact that I obviously Smell Right to giraffes, who always form a disorderly queue to stick their fabulous necks into my window or sunroof. This is exceedingly cool. 


The first time I visited, 8 or 9 years or so ago, the Rhinos were fighting. The losing Rhino was being obliged to reverse at speed, because winning Rhino was locked horn to horn with it, and accelerating fast. Losing Rhino ran out of road and backed smack into my (company) car bonnet, denting it. It then rested its ample behind (I own an ample behind. I know one when I see it) on my bumper, and proceeded to have an enthusiastic wiping session, before being nudged insistently out of the way by the keeper’s jeep. Explaining the dent AND the Rhino turd smears the following Monday morning was not fun.

The first time I visited the place with John, both the wolves and the wild dogs converged on our car like iron filings to a magnet. We worked out that next door’s labrador’s urine scent markings were evidently Pretty Hot Stuff. The occupants of the other cars were driving past us, looking fairly miffed at their paucity of canine attention, whilst we looked like a 4×4 egg completely covered in waggy-tailed-and-hairy sperm. (Incidentally, did you see The Great Sperm Race last night? A 5 mile long x 2 mile wide vagina!) The Rhinos were fighting on this occasion, too, but we escaped with merely the equivalent of a body panel mild flesh wound.

There’s a big fuck-off notice as you drive into the reservations, warning you in no uncertain terms that spare wheels can get mauled, and to take ’em off before you go in, yadda yadda yadda. And to be honest, my spare was worn to the point of illegality with a slow puncture anyway, but it would, in a pinch, have got me home.

Well, it won’t now. A lioness strolled nonchalantly round the back of our car, and started gnawing on the spare tyre. I would have enjoyed the whole chewing experience enormously, as the car was rocking about excitingly (Hubby would say that this sort of event doesn’t happen nearly enough at his time of life), but I backed into a signpost last summer and although John hammered out my tailgate neatly, the closing catch is not quite up to original specifications. I didn’t entirely fancy a toothy extra passenger, so I gently moved off, leaving to plonk herself resignedly back on the grass,


and watch lunch


drive out of her reach.

I swear that every beastie in the place, from the pythons to the tigers, immediately clocked Harry as a yummy-looking hors d’oeuvre. I had more long, considering looks


 from narrowed eyes directed into the car than ever before. This one’s pal


focused so intently on our hyper and bouncing toddler before beginning to stalk us, that I was too uneasy to stop for a photo opportunity.

I was still a tad jumpy when we reached the elephant section, which was unfortunate, as the passenger window chose that moment to finally (the day had been approaching for many months) stick wide open. There are many reasons why buying a Land Rover is a bad idea. Thankfully we had already passed everything that could view our child as a prospective snack, and we headed away from the reserves and towards the theme park.

Incidentally, if you were also safari-ing that day and this is your BMW:


my husband has requested that I call you an inconsiderate twat.

 The fun park was a let-down, as Harry was too short for any of the rides. I tried to sneak him onto the carousel, but he was ignominiously turned away for not being 0.8 metres. The chap made us measure him and everything.


 I was a little bit sad about it.

But not nearly so sad as I have been about the virus that began to knock him flat Sunday afternoon. Sunday night was bad. Yesterday was bad. Last night was fucking torturous, and Emily seemed to be having broadly the same problem. Today has been the worst day of illness Harry has known since his first week of life, and I’m panicky and dreadfully upset about it. He has all the common or garden viral stuff – soaring temperature, lymph nodes like walnuts, sore throat, listless, excessive misery, etc etc etc, all of which I could cope with – but his mouth ulcers are back with a vengeance.

They look so, so bloody painful. He has a deep one right on the tip of his tongue that is half a cm across, and one on the side that is the size of a pound coin. They are raised, white, sloughing, and raw. I see another one is just beginning to erupt in the centre of his tongue. 

He paws at his mouth, shakes his head and whines like a distressed puppy; he has stopped even trying to swallow and sits on my lap, clinging tightly to me, whilst his mouth hangs open and pools of saliva soak us both to the skin within minutes. I have had him clamped tightly and sweatily around my neck during his every waking moment, and a fair proportion of his sleeping ones, for over 24 hours now. Whenever I go to the toilet he screams wildly, as I have to put him down twice in order to remove and replace my jeans. He has barely uttered a talking-type sound all day, probably because of his swollen tongue, cheeks, tonsils and lymph nodes.


I have bumped him to alternate ibuprofen and paracetamol every 3 hours, but it doesn’t seem to relieve his pain, only his fever, and I generally have to fight him in order to get the dose down him at all. He has also turned hysterical at the sight of Bonjela, although it’s the only thing likely to help his poor suffering tongue. We do have some lignocaine spray somewhere, but he refuses to open his mouth. He swallows water, then cries at the pain. He has grizzled and bellowed almost continually, in fact, for 2 days, and by this afternoon I was beginning to cry too, as I’ve not had much sleep to speak of and seeing him like this is beyond awful. I feel such desperation and I’m going frantic because I can’t ease his distress.

He ate a few bites of cooked-to-near-destruction soft pasta for tea tonight, and eventually went to sleep after 30 minutes of solid howling. That was an hour ago, and he’s just woken for the second time, screaming hysterically. John’s been up there 10 minutes already, but he’s still roaring horribly. I have to go. My poor boy.

Chew Toy

I’m a bit short on time today, but I thought I’d quickly show you my now-ruined spare tyre after it had been to the safari park.


You know, the one the LIONESS TOTALLY CHEWED. 



Central Locking

 I have been – nearly – a single parent since the middle of February, and I’m left wondering how the bloody hell people manage kids by themselves – all the time! It sucks! I only have to do it for about 10 weeks every year, because that’s simply how farming is, but I’m rapidly running out of people to whom I can make a temporary present of my child.

Monday to Friday, Hubby leaves shortly after 6am, which is co-incidentally just when Harry wakes up. He returns a couple of hours later, and generally bungs breakfast into toddler as well as himself before disappearing again to midwife some ungrateful (He has fingers like bunches of bananas. Pity them.) sheep. He does come home at lunchtime, but Harry is usually napping. He returns sometime after 6pm in order to supervise the stressed-out, shields-up riot that is the end of teatime, and have maybe 30 minutes of play tired toddler wrangling before bedtime. (Up until this week he was visiting the barns in the small hours as well, but as that didn’t actually inconvenience me, it wasn’t a problem. Ahem.) I then spend an hour telling him what a shit day I’ve had, because Harry can take advantage of maternal weakness quicker than a wolf-pack spotting a deer with a heavy limp, and ups the tantrum ante accordingly. (He has discovered the face-to-floor, drumming-of-the-feet-and-fists Classic Tantrum # 1 this week. Pity me.) 

And weekends! Don’t get me started on bastard weekends. Ohhhh… too late. Saturday mornings: he farms. Saturday afternoons: he plays hockey. Sunday mornings: he comes back for breakfast in order to announce that he is going farming again, but always says it’s only going to be for an hour. Which wouldn’t piss me off hugely, except he’s always gone for 3, which does. Those are the days he generally contrives to leave his mobile phone at home. Nothing turns HFF Wifey into a psychotic set of teeth quicker than to dial the number, punchily, all poised to deliver a righteous chewing – and hearing the nokia da-da-dum-dum tune tinkling merrily back at her. 

He used to look surprised when he returned to my frothing rage and no sex, ever. We’ve been married 5 years this month, so now he just edges in resignedly and waits to be torn a new one… so that’s Sunday afternoon up the spout, too. Even when I’ve mastered the Sunday sullens, there’s an entire garden to do (that is still entirely tussocky scrub, to be turned entirely into lawn before summer gets entirely under way. Which is all entirely impossible in just Sunday afternoons.) which means me being left baby-minding then, too, because we’re still at the earth-moving stage. At 4pm, he goes and farms again, and suddenly you’re shielding your eyes from the death-rays of yet another Monday morning.

Just to compound matters, the sun has come out and the wind has dropped. Every farmer in the British Isles yesterday, as one man, revved up their sprayers and bounced out to annihilate themselves some serious weed, before frantically drilling spring crops in ground that was originally scheduled for winter crops, but imitated a paddy field last autumn instead.

John will be flat-out now. Fert spreading, industrious fungicide and pesticide spraying (fertheloveo’God, don’t get him started on the whole organic thing) and dagging (don’t click unless you really need to know an effective cure for nail-biting) will keep him busy until May – when he starts shearing. Annnnnd so it goes on.

So I have attempted to draw a line in the sand. The Met office forecast for Friday is currently sun1 although I’m sure it will actually turn out to be sun11

so I have firmly and irrevocably written Family Trip to West Midlands Safari Park on the calendar. We haven’t visited since I was pregnant, and it’s generally lots of fun if you’re either keen on animals


or just looking for something a little different to do.


 Harry can already point to a zebra when asked, and this morning he waved his arm in a cutesy little elephant trunk impression whilst imitating my trumpeting – which did admittedly sound vaguely like something – possibly a cat – dying quite horribly. I have also been telling him all about lions and tigers.

As he can now open the car door from the inside, I have mainly been telling him about how hungry they get.


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