Hairy Gold Cup

Perhaps I have expressed this thought before, but I feel that the general preponderance of Poorly Sick as a theme here is mainly owing to the fact that I have to be feeling rough as buggery fuck before I will let myself sit on my bum and rest during daylight hours. I like to be Making, Reading, or Doing something. I am, as you may guess, indeed feeling rough as buggery fuck, and my bodily discomfort is currently a four-horse race.
Lagging a length or two behind the rest is a skull jammed full of tenacious green gunk, a legacy of the barbarously unpleasant virus I succumbed to on the day of our family garden party, nearly 3 weeks ago. In third place, in midfield, my IBS has gone from weeks of not being an issue at all, to Out Of The Blue Diarrhoea (last week) to hormonally-linked Blockage (this week). Really, until you have been jerked abruptly, in seconds, from peacefully browsing the shops at a stroll thinking benevolent thoughts, to acute internal turmoil, silently screaming ‘My Kingdom for a toilet!’ then I assure you, you haven’t lived. Ah, that frisson of the nervous gallop to the Ladies, of life lived on the edge! I am currently trying to shock the inefficient little blighter that is my lower bowel into obedience with strong coffee; a week of Remedial Intensive Vegetables has… well, how can I put this? I am still outside of them all, so I suppose we can call that a fail.
The neck and neck race for first and second is shifting about a bit. My toothache is currently running a little behind: I have been diagnosed, despite an inconclusive x-ray, with a dying nerve in an upper back molar. My symptoms agree wholeheartedly with Dr Google (and, natch, my dentist), and I am scheduled for removal on Monday. You may remember that my recent wisdom tooth extraction was a source of some ickiness to me, but I nevertheless prefer it to lengthy root canal digging, plus a crown, none of which work is quite guaranteed to solve the problem. Could I only be reassured that it is definitely the tooth that, when tapped, made me emit a strangled Eeurkk! expostulation in the dentist’s chair that is Going Bad, then I would be almost looking forward to next week, as the intermittent flashes of lightning in my nerve (and jaw, and ear) are becoming tedious. My father has had no end of wallet-battering trouble with referred pain and peculiar dental nerve distribution, though; and what he has, I tend to have also. I cannot altogether rid myself of the fear that I am about to loose the wrong tooth.
In front, by a nose, are the ubiquitous deadly duo. I took to using a menstrual predictor-type app earlier this year, so it is with perfect accuracy that I can tell you that I ovulated on day 78 (Seventy. Eight.) of my – can we call it a cycle?, and, in a triumph of Luteal over Follicular, my period – after weeks of pre-ovulation spotting – arrived with panache, exactly 14 days later. Ninety Two days in total. That was Monday, and the first 24 hours presented an oddly featureless pain landscape. Yesterday and today have compensated harshly for that: I am losing insane amounts of blood and am downing painkillers like sweeties; I daren’t touch opiates – the bowel, the bowel, the bloody bowel; it often does this during Period Week – and my pain barriers are feeling wholly insufficient.
There are other woes than mine: John was stamped on by a cow last week, and is still experiencing pain in his foot. It may be broken – I suspect not for the first time – but I doubt he’ll bother to get it looked at. And Harry arrived in our room at 6am this morning after a bad night, hot as fire and toting a sore throat, so he has bought himself a day off school. He perked up to a suspicious degree when he accompanied me to meet my mother this morning for Weightwatchers weigh-in (I am down half a stone in three weeks, which would certainly have been rather more, were it not for my aforementioned status of reluctantly retentive mobile greengrocer) and by the time we were half-way round a quick supermarket dash, I was regretting not booting him into school, at least for the morning. I ended up spending longer shopping than I planned, and my painkillers, supersized tampon and towel were all beginning to fail, along with the rapid implosion of my sang froid.
I ended up hurling Harry plus shopping bags into the car and screeching off for home before my clothes became utterly saturated, leaving my stoic mother to return my abandoned trolley – which doesn’t sound quite so terrible of me, until I tell you that the poor battered woman had a basal cell epithelioma removed from her upper lip early last week, and only had the dressing off her skin graft on Tuesday. She is making a good recovery and her plastic surgeon is very pleased with and optimistic about the graft, but nevertheless, in view of the tiny little matter of THE EXCRUCIATINGLY UNPLEASANT OPERATION for the SKIN CANCER and the whole SKIN GRAFT thing, God, she could probably use a couple of weeks off from the incessant picking-up of my pieces that she does whenever (frequently, I fear) the wheels fall off my organisational bus.
It is school sports day tomorrow. If Harry is well enough to take part – which I greatly doubt, as he’s now incandescent again and complaining of ‘feeling too big and woozy’ (?!) – my ambition for him consists entirely of him not falling over, and enjoying himself. My ambition for myself is to somehow make it through the afternoon and immediately subsequent summer fair, at which I will have a good deal to do, without being swamped by pain or blood – and I am not sanguine about my chances. I have completely lost altitude. There is a 50/50 chance of it being cancelled due to OHMYGODTHEFUCKINGUNBELIEVABLYTERRIBLEWEATHER, and, alas, I’m secretly hoping it will be. I am very much a downed busy bee.
The weather, incidentally, has illustrated clearly to me how less enlightened societies may have felt that hurling a fetching-looking virgin off the top of a handy nearby ziggurat might have a propitiative effect on whomsoever they felt they had offended. Altered jet stream, schmean: this is beginning to feel like targeted meteorological dislike. After the wettest quarter since records began – in 1910 – the state of UK agriculture is profoundly parlous. I was going to construct an Olympic Rings bale art thing – but that would require at least 5 round bales of straw, and we don’t have 5 round bales of straw. Everyone has run out of either straw, silage, hay, or patience. Making hay is a complete non-possibility this year, and I can currently see John baling silage at top speed, in the worsening drizzle. He, like I, can see the approaching rain cloud that has cut off visibility like a solid wall 3 miles away. I suspect said silage might end up having more textural kinship with overcooked spinach. Happily, wheat prices are jumping through the roof, but only because the market knows that, sadly, everyone’s combines will be sinking immovably into the floor. It just Will. Not. Stop. Raining. England’s green and pleasant land became that way for excellent and honest reasons, I know, but I’ve reached the stage of being perfectly prepared to carve out someone’s tripes and burn them on a goat-skull-topped altar if that will coax the sun back towards us and banish the monsoon.
Come to think of it, my own innards would be first favourite.
(Oversharing Addendum: to whomsoever might be thinking of tackling me, Gillian Whatsherface-style with a fervent dietary light burning in their eye, on the topic of sennakot, fibre, probiotics – or simply has a sinkplunger under their arm: let me hastily and cheerfully assure you that since typing the above, my personal stockholding of Greengrocers Preferred has fallen satisfactorily. Coffee and Remedial Intensive Vegetables, FTW!)

Just Call Me Igor

Back by popular demand:


this year’s pumpkin effort. I think last year’s was scarier, so my  psyche is evidently feeling more cheerful this time around.

Harry’s fledgling attempts at demanding money-sweets-with-menaces begin tonight. It should really be me collecting the goodies, as I shall be lurching around all 3 planned locations behind him like a fully paid-up member of the undead.

After years of post-partum lumbar trouble, I have recently enjoyed some 5 or 6 months of pain-free sleep. Until I started lugging heavy boxes of Christmas cards about last month, that is; I am now rather worse than I was before and turning over in bed (which must be done every 30 minutes if I am not to set solid) is a very gruntsome affair indeed.

Friday evening, I became aware that my knee, which gave me a good deal of popping-out-of-socket type-bother as a teenager, was Not Right. It is not dislocated, but it is trying to become so, and although I can walk on it, I can’t fully extend or flex it. There’s no pain but the sensation is making me horribly squeamish, and I know that when I inevitably make an unthinking twisting movement and it does finally pop out properly – then it will hurt. Ho, yus, so it will.

Later Friday evening, I dragged my poorly leg upstairs to bed, yawning and rubbing my eyes. My right eye immediately proceeded to take violently against said rubbing – probably because I had eaten Indian finger food an hour or so earlier – and within an hour, my eyeball was making a entirely creditable effort at resembling a football in size. At 2am, I poked John awake to show him my face ‘Wsstttftl? Oh. Urrggh!’ as my eye had actually swollen shut, which was an unpleasant first for me.

Come Saturday morning, my eyeball (I’m sorry if you’re eating, but it’s Hallowe’en, people! If there’s a time to talk about eyeballs, this is it!) had a clear bulging bubble on it, additionally featuring a fascinating crease line across it, where my lower lid had rested. My swollen face had decreased in size a good deal, but John recoiled from the sight of my eyeball with a horrified ‘EErrreeuuhHGgggh!’ noise.

I was mildly disconcerted, as my understanding of eyeballs is limited almost entirely to the fact that they should be vaguely spherical, which mine currently wasn’t, by a long chalk. However, we have kind neighbours who are, I’m afraid, well-used to dishing out free medical advice to various presenting Hairy Farmers at weekends (baby-aged Harry, in particular, never used to be ill at any other time, and was customarily completely cured of his malaise by the short walk from one house to the other). Was I an allergic type? I was asked.

Not really! I said. Although… I suppose cats do make me pretty much unable to breathe after a while. And dog-lick brings me up horrendously. And I can’t touch a horse with my inner arm if I want to continue liking my inner arm. And I can’t touch certain vegetable saps if I want to retain the skin on my fingers. And the smell of red onion, and some types of garlic, gives me a god-awful headache, and – on one memorable occasion – hallucinations. And there was that one time, at band camp, when I ate a curry which seemed to trigger all-over body itching of such an acutely torturous nature that I eventually had to jump into a bath of cold water at 2am. (John, it transpired yesterday, remembers the Cold-Bath-Of-2002-Incident clearly, because I apparently kept him awake half the night, crying. I can completely see how it sucks to be him, sometimes.)

Eyeball was promptly attributed to allergic reaction, and, true to form, by the time I walked home, was feeling a lot better, although it’s still a mildly unsettling shade of very off-white, and complements my stiff back and lurching gait nicely.

If anyone needs any assistance with their pet creation this evening, I can probably help install your lightning rods and adopt a lisp.

Rumours Not Greatly Exaggerated

I shall skim lightly over the precise nature of the misery that norovirus has brought to the Hairy household this week, except to say that I have had an opportunity to form a brand-new pet theory regarding roller-coaster rides and ease-of-vomiting.

There are people who adore fairground rides. Simply can’t get enough of ’em. They are happy to be thrown around the skies by whatever whirling mechanical means Cro-Magnon-Fairground Man is touting in their town this week.  And then you have the confirmed coat-holders; those indefatigable, sensible lovers of good old terra firma.

There are, I believe, people who can neatly eject the contents of their stomach – while standing! – and proceed calmly with their existence. Who can, whilst out drinking (and I shudder to even recount this) have a tactical chunder to make more room – and return to the bar.

And then you have the people who cannot throw up without feeling as if A) their life is coming to an end, and the sooner the better, too, and B) that they would mightily prefer being buffeted at the epicentre of a particularly heated rugby scrum to their current wretched abdominal spasms.

I think that the person who likes fairground rides and the person who can throw up without wanting to actually die, may actually may be one and the same person.  I, regrettably, am the other person. The coat-holder emetophobic person. The ‘take-everything-I-own-and-break-my-limbs-if-you-have-to-but-fer-the-love-o-god-stop-this-happening-I-would-rather-give-birth-sans-pain-relief-(again)-than-this’ person.

Due to the incapacity of his parents, Harry (the Hairy Patient Zero, now well into the recovery phase), has managed to get away with rather more than he normally would do

and has mastered two… well, three new Makaton signs during all of this: ‘Puking’ and ‘Poorly’. Except that he can’t quite get the hang of ‘Poorly’ and is merrily signing… something else instead.

After whimpering pathetically to Harry that Mummy was very poorly, I was treated to the singular experience of having my toddler (who embodies the conventional 2-year-old vintage blend of slobbery affection and brutal sociopath) pat me on the arm with great tenderness and sign:

‘Mummy dead’.

Do, or Do Not. There Is No Try.

The diet goes well.

The diet goes so well that I manage to prostrate myself, smack-bang in the middle of hosting a dinner party for 12 on Saturday night.

I’ve given this some serious thought, and I think it might have been either the copious amounts of codeine I was swallowing to negate the considerable pain from the first period I have had since the miscarriage, or the fact that I’d eaten near-bugger-all for 3 days, or the fact that I’d been on my feet working hard for 36 hours interspersed with a lousy sleep, or the large, heavy meal I was half-way through troughing, or the fact that my frantic diet has evidently shrivelled my stomach down to the size of a particularly under-endowed Dik-dik scrotum, or the large glass of fizzy lemonade cut with 1/4 white wine that I had convivially sent down to keep the opiates and the Heavy Meal company, or, and this is just a wild stab in the dark, all of the above? At no point was I surprised to feel suddenly, acutely, painfully unwell, you understand; I knew I’d been a spectacularly daft twat. 

My stomach accepted the starter without a murmur

(Warwickshire asparagus spears in camembert, with beetroot jelly, wrapped in leek, based on this) and was happily half-way through the main course (Chicken stuffed with wholegrain mustard, mozzarella & cheddar, Alastair‘s (who first fed it to me) veg pie, potato dauphinoise, roast courgettes & baby tomatoes, carrots & peas) – when I received the sudden and distinct impression that Capacity Had Been Seriously Exceeded. This was a completely new experience for me. I prodded my plate listlessly, but could summon no enthusiasm at all; in fact, the unambivalent message coming up from the Dik-dik scrote was that Immediately Ceasing To Eat Forthwith would be an awfully good idea. I managed to half-heartedly heave some dessert (apple strudel, slightly-disaster-stricken-sunken profiteroles with simply the nicest & simplest chocolate sauce ever) into assorted guest bowls, before sinking into my chair with a badly-stifled whimper.

I’ve never not been able to polish off a plate of good food in my life. Ever! I now know exactly what a gastric band must feel like, and I’ve acquired a fair insight into pyloric stenosis, too. The sensation was appalling, yet I struggled womanfully to keep it all down, purely because I was becoming convinced that the effort of ejecting it might actually kill me dead, given that I was freezing cold, shaking like a leaf, and having a degree of heart arrhythmia that I would normally associate with a brutal gym session.

I am fortunate in possessing kind and competent girlfriends: I progressed from Sofa to Bed, where I cuddled a bucket just in case, shivering, occasionally groaning at a particularly vicious stomach spasm, whilst other hands cleared the table, served coffee, and located the fudge and mints. John, having missed my subdued announcement of departure, eventually noticed that his wife had disappeared some time before, and, given that it was a murder-mystery party, came on a search & retrieve upstairs. He found me bitterly and just-audibly fulminating on fizzy drinks, codeine and sugar levels, and, taking squeamish alarm at the sight of my – redundant, as it happens – bucket perched atop his pillow, backed out and retired downstairs again.

By 2am I felt tentatively certain I would live, and by 4am I felt sufficiently invested in the new day to take some cautious sips of water. By 5am, when Harry woke up for the day, I actually felt in considerably better shape than John – who had been been on the red wine, by the look of him.

Yes, the diet goes well.

And speaking of things going well, you remember that blogging awards thing you very kindly nominated me for? The MADS? Yes?

Well, you’ll note that t’badge up top now reads ‘Finalist’. I have, to my astonishment, emerged as one the five finalists for best MAD blog writer, for which I thank you all very, very much indeed. I am exceedingly and sincerely touched. Mind you, coming as it does on top of a post purely about my inability to digest a meal, I give you ample leave to erupt with uproarious, disbelieving laughter and vote for one of the other talented contenders, especially given that one of those others is a verrrry fine writer and damn good buddy of mine.

I was evidently not paying an awful lot of attention at the beginning of all this, as I now discover from the press release (a press release! To all the national and local press! Ummm. Errk!) that there is a proper awards dinner at which the winners are announced, and furthermore, I have heard a fairly solid rumour that there will be… gulp… TV cameras. The funk that the thought of the resulting publicity has sent John and I into: I will spare you; there is some urgent bloggy housekeeping in the immediate pipeline, is all. The thought of appearing on camera I have not yet let my brain examine properly, lest it recoil in horror right up its own fundament.

In short, I am absolutely delighted and grateful for all your nominations, and should you wish to vote again and propel me further forward, and tell all your friends! then… well, that’d be just grand.

And awfully nice of you.

Tell you what, just on the off-chance that feeling sorry for me’d help your voting finger, here’s a picture of the poor old wreck that is I, tonight, wearing a sinister-looking ECG heartbeat-tracker machine-thingy. It’s ferociously itchy and digs in me and I have to sleep in it.  Boo-hoo.

That do any good?!


(Updated to add: I have un-passworded some old posts, merely because I happened to come across them earlier, and Google reader has decided that they are New Output. Useless bastard thing.)


Hello. Blogging is now my sole intelligible source of communication with the outer world. My voice is failing, my face is glowing like a belisha beacon, and when I do try to say something it DOWNED DIKE DUMB WONE DOLDING DY DOZE. 

I have three boxes of tissues on the go, all of which, with the innate malice of inanimate objects, keep hiding from me. My distress when there is actual fluid egress from my nose and my flailing, questing hands cannot unearth a single tissue, is absurd and pitiful. I have a feeling it looks horribly reminiscent of a portly yet scrabblingly desperate squirrel attempting, and comically failing, to relocate a particularly juicy cache of nuts.

You will surmise from the above mental image that the housework continues to stay firmly on top of me.

Harry, whose recent behaviour I am too miserable to actually regurgitate here, has his long, long awaited appointment with his Paediatrician tomorrow. It will be a tense affair, as not only am I expecting strenous attempts at further watching-and-waiting on the doctor’s part, but there is significant disagreement subsisting between John and I also. I am shortly crawling away to bed to conserve what I can of my brain cells and my voice, in the hope of being better-able to present a coherent and rational argument tomorrow. The mood I’m in, however, I shall probably just burst into tears as soon as I sit down in his office.

This would Not Be Helpful.  Which, naturally, considerably shortens the odds of it occurring. 

I’m sat here casting around, trying to strike a more cheerful note to end on – I feel a vague moral responsibility for those of you who click away thinking, ‘Well. That was a pisser of a post. I’m depressed now!’ but I’m buggered if I can. Sorry. Really sorry. Maybe next week.

The best I can manage today is shameless lobbying for your nominations, please, because I really rather want to win an iPhone, if that’s ok…

Silence of the Lamb

7.00pm         Mildly cold-ridden and utterly Exhausted Toddler goes to bed.

7.05pm         Exhausted Toddler rattles doorgate in token protest.

7.10pm         Exhausted Toddler sleeps

11.00pm        Ann goes to bed.

11.45pm        Ann sleeps

12.15am        John goes to bed. Wakes wife with gratuitous bottom-groping.

12.16am        John kicked by wife.

12.20am        Prevailing somnolence.

1.28am         Vixen arrives and takes up well-chosen acoustic position below the

                        bedroom windows. Cue yowling, shrieking, screaming, Unearthly Din.

1.29am        Theory that Ann’s thoughts are, in fact, unable to actually kill, is proved.

1.30am        Toddler Klaxon sounds loudly. Frightens away Unearthly Din vixen.

1.32am        John visits Klaxoning Toddler.

1.40am        John reads Aliens in Underpants to Clingy Toddler.

1.50am        John reads The Emperor’s New Clothes to Relaxed Toddler

2.00am        John reads The Gingerbread Man to Chatty Toddler

2.10am        John reads Paddington Takes A Bath to Bouncy Toddler

2.20am        John comes back to bed.

2.21am        Klaxoning Toddler.

2.55am        John icily invites Ann to visit Klaxoning Toddler.

3.00am        Ann visits Klaxoning Toddler.

3.10am        Ann unwinds Subsided Toddler from around her neck.

3.20am        Ann decants Protesting Toddler back into bed.

3.21am        Ann reads Aliens In Underpants to Clingy Toddler.

3.30am        Ann reads Brambly Hedge Spring Story to Suspicious Toddler.

3.40am        Ann reads Brambly Hedge Summer Story to Beady-Eyed Toddler.

3.50am        Ann reads Brambly Hedge Autumn Story to Relaxed Toddler.

4.05am        Ann kisses Spaced Toddler and leaves room unhindered.

4.10am        House resonates to Crooning Toddler and Snoring Husband.

4.20am        Silence suggests Sleeping Toddler.

4.21am        Lost lamb takes up position vacated by vixen.

                      Proceeds to blart loudly and continuously for its mother.

4.22am        Demented Cockerel responds with fusillade of rasping Cock a Doodles.

4.25am        Ann darkly contemplates Roast Cockerel and Lamb Chops.

4.30am        Ann realises she is indubitably coming down with Toddler’s cold.

4.40am        Mother of lost lamb lays reluctant claim to insistently bleating


4.50am        Chronologically challenged Cockerel continues with hopeful racket.

5.00am        Ann issues ‘stop snoring/spare room/die’ ultimatum to Husband.

5.15am        Lack of memory suggests Ann sleeps.

6.00am        John gets up. Departs to lambing sheds. Wakes wife.

6.15am        Lack of memory suggests Ann sleeps.

7.45am        Cheerful exclamations and loud thumping from Happy Toddler.

7.50am        Ann capitulates and unleashes Tigger Toddler from bedroom and

                      toward breakfast.

We’ve Been Better


I carted Harry and his new welt down the GP’s this afternoon, banged my head on his desk, tore my hair and wailed incoherencies about Can’t Get A Formal Diagnosis and Seriously I’m Not Making This Up He Really Does Have Significant Mobility Problems and What If Social Services Ask Questions and What If They Don’t Believe Me When I Say He Falls All The Time and Where’s His Fucking Brain Scan Got To; none of which he can help with, but he wrote stuff down and I felt a little better.

Just for shits and giggles, I reviewed the previous 12 months of Harry’s collision injuries. I couldn’t go back any further; I was too sad and frustrated. 

I should emphasize that, except where noted, these were all separately sustained; I have omitted photos of the sometimes-awful mouth and tongue sores he is depressingly prone to, possibly because he bites them during more minor impacts. Of which there are dozens a day.


What’s a mother to do, for crying out loud?


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