Hopeman on a Hot Weekend

Sunday March 25

Argh, unlike the rest of the country wittering on about the lovely unseasonally hot weather last weekend, I was too busy enjoying it to write! So, where did Family Trout go?

Mini, you're NOT going to swim out to the seal - it'll eat you!

Well, local of course: we decided to drive down to Hopeman beach. The minxes clambered out the car and went tearing over to the beach huts, past the fossilised dinosaur footprints. They’d all been painted, and most were sporting dolphins. Because we’ve spent most of 2012 ill (chicken pox then that horrible virus that lingered for a month), we’ve not really been out much. So I insisted that we walk up the trail in the direction of Lossiemouth so I could walk past all the gorse. I’ve told you about my gorse addiction before, lots of times. It was still morning, so I had to shove my nose into the spikes to fill my lungs with its coconutty suntan smell – the air didn’t get heavy with its scent until afternoon.

The kids soon got bored with walking when there was an entire empty beach to play on, so we tumbled down the dunes onto the sand. Maxi got straight to work, building a collage of a mermaid (shells for necklace and earrings, fancy fish-tail, seaweed hair), while Midi hoarded seaweed for herself, muttering about making a stew that would turn Maxi and Mini into toads. Mini filled my pockets with her Treasure (so that was a dead bee, some seaweed, broken seashells and most of the beach’s stones). The Boss headed off to clamber over some sandy rocks in his wellies, while his mum spotted a seal. I contented myself with turning over rocks to find starfish and winkles. It made me unbearably hungry, so we headed back for lunch. In the garden. With bubbles for afters.

Everyone loves bubbles, right? Every kid that ever was loves to chase after and pop bubbles. Every adult loves to blow them. What’s not to love about bubbles? I even raised a smile out of stropping, over-tired Midi just blowing a few big ones her way. I guess that’s my other top tip about being a parent: always keep a bottle of bubble mix nearby. It makes for a brilliant reward, a cheer-er-upper, a distracter, a brilliant burn-the-energy-out-of-the-little-blighters, and just a fun past time. I bought Tesco out of its (2) biggest bottles of bubble mix to keep us going for another week…

Minx + Empire Biscuit = Fail

I learned today never to feed the minxes empire biscuits.

Empire Biscuit Recipe

Empire Biscuits Recipe

Photo by S Baxter, from allrecipes.com. Recipe for these seemingly innocent little minx-mongers above

I met up with a crafting friend, M, for coffee and a blether. I took Midi and Mini Minxes because they’re pretty used to eating in Scribbles (a local, properly-child-friendly cafe). We were only there half an hour, but I got to talk to my friend like a proper adult, and the girls were as good as gold: they ate their empire biscuits neatly, drank their milk shakes without spilling them, and didn’t play up. If I hadn’t been so busy yammering, I’d have showered them in copious praise.

I had to nip into Superdrug right afterwards – Maxi’s dry skin is getting worse, and I wanted to stock up on Simple Derma (bloody fantastic stuff for itchy dry skin!) and stamps*. And while I was there, maybe some Germolene with local anaesthetic (Mini’s knees are currently covered in dressings protecting 2 big, bad grazes). Oh, and some spray bottles (fill ’em with water, give a minx one each as well as a cloth, set them free on the dust… it’s only slave labour if it’s not fun!). Aye, better pick up some more deodorant. And I suppose that shower-gel is too good an offer to walk away from…

*There’s not been any panic-buying of fuel in the Trout household, but I’m very aware that 1st class stamps have a better return than most shares. So I might have bought £30 of them. By accident…

Anyway, you get the picture. The kids were full of chocolate milkshake and Empire biscuit and were bored. So they ran amok. I could hear myself breaking Rule No. 1 (Never ask kids if they want to do anything – tell ’em. Or give them a choice of 2. Max) Then they started dramatically flinging themselves prostrate in the aisles. I managed to get to the checkout…

…Only to be faced with wall-to-wall toddler-height chocolate displays. I’d like to be brave enough to calmly pay and pack and let them crush the chocolate eggs and tear the displays apart, then calmly walk away, conscience clear, blaming the stupid shop staff for putting a stupid display in a stupid place. But no… I fumbled and footered and muttered darkly, and pulled 4 little hands out the chocolate again and again and again.

So that’s Superdrug and WH Smith I’m going to be boycotting till the kids are old enough to be able to withstand the drawing power of chocolate. Or until it’s legal to botch-tape their hands together. Or until I learn some ninja parenting skills.

Then we went to the car-wash to have half a ton of seagull poo scraped off the car (Result! But why are 2 little handprints still on the chassis? What the hell did Midi have her hands in to make the mark so resistant to detergent…? Maybe I’m better off not knowing). I thought that going through the car-wash and paying extra for the triple colour foam would entertain them. Nah – scared the bejaysus out of the pair. Midi hated the noise of the brushes and Mini went hysterical at the foam on the sunroof. Doh!

Lunch was an unmitigated disaster. I persuaded them that tuna sandwiches would be a nice change from our unvarying diet of beans on toast, soup or cheese sandwiches. They both turned their noses up at it. Then started flinging it around. Within 5 minutes the kitchen looked like a vat of tinned tuna had exploded in it. They got it on their feet. Then bomb-bursted in different directions, traipsing it over the carpet, stairs, toys, discarded coats. I could see my dream of a quiet hour to myself in the afternoon going ‘pop’.

I yelled. A lot. I tried to make them stand still while I cleared the mess (and the smell… OMG, the smell…!) but they were having none of it: escaping and screaming hysterically. Eventually, we all calmed down, I shut all the doors to contain the mess (and the bloody cat, who thought it was Christmas), and we walked down to nursery.

I did get a bit of respite with Midi in nursery: I got to spend my hour squeedgee-ing the floor, mopping it, dabbing at the carpet, emptying the car of rubbish, and dry-heaving at the state of the cloth after I cleaned the inside glass of the car.

Then double school run, the trauma of the ballet class (and that little girl who’s determined to nick the minxes’ snacks), and watching Midi and Mini run amok. Every time I let Mini go she raced off to the front door and tried to get into the carpark. After 6 attempts, I was getting bored – not her. Or Midi, who joined in, just for fun.

At home I had cunningly left some bolognaise in the fridge, so dinner was on the table within 15 minutes. Midi wolfed it down, Mini threw it over the fruit bowl, me and my Nice Clean Floor (aaaaarrrrrgh!!) and Maxi whinged about the spaghetti not being cut to the right size. We all got narkier and narkier. I probably should have read the warning signs and not attempted a bath…

I needed to bath Mini to soak off her huge dressings. I didn’t want to be washing any hair (or rather, spending the next hour blow-drying it all). But I kind of exploded when Maxi had spent 20 minutes solid whining about EVERYTHING, Mini dumped a little bucket of water over Midi’s head, so Midi dumped a big bucket of water over Mini. Except she missed. And 5 litres of soapy water ended up all over the floor. This fuelled Maxi on Round 15 of Moan-Fest and made me shout so loudly and angrily I hurt my throat.

I think I’d be in a prison cell right now if The Boss hadn’t walked in when he did. Like a trouper, he took his coat off, asked: “What can I do to help you most?” and took the youngest 2 off to get dried while I calmed a now completely hysterical Maxi. See? He’s an amazing man.

I think the next 10 minutes smoothing Maxi from nose to toes in Simple Derma in a quiet (wet) bathroom stopped both us Drama Queens spontaneously combusting.

Sheesh, I’m never letting those little gits eat Empire biscuits ever, ever again!

2 year old Attention Seeking

We’ve gotten into a solid morning routine, me and my minxes:

  • Up at 7.30 and straight to breakfast (except for me – swill coffee, check weather and go get 3 sets of minx clothes while they bicker about who’s getting which colour of cereal bowl)
  • Get dressed no later than 8.15
  • Teeth, hair and shoes by 8.30
  • Out the door no later than 8.45
  • Wave Maxi Minx into school at 9.00
  • Midi and Mini in front of CBeebies 9.15-9.30 while I clear and clean the kitchen
  • If they’re still ok, leave them for another 15 mins while I have a coffee in front of Facebook (laptop in the same room)
  • Do whatever morning activity we’ve agreed we’ll do together…

Anyway, the kids know that my 15 minutes checking emails, slurping more Wake-Up Juice and checking Facebook is Mummy-Time. 2 year old Mini occasionally toddles over and does a smash and run on the keyboard, chortling away to herself (sidle up giggling, bash as many keys as possible, race off laughing her head off; repeat). Yesterday I was checking out a Rainbow Knits order I’d gotten over Facebook, so was very, very engrossed.

“Poo!” announced Mini.

“OK darling, Mummy with you in a minute”, I distractedly said.

“Poo!” she insisted.

“Right, I heard you. Minute!” said Lazy Mother.

“Poo, Mama!” she said, and dangled her nappy-content-smeared fingers an inch above the keyboard. She hovered them there till I made eye contact with her. Then she chuckled menacingly as I squealed. I *think* I whipped her upstairs before she made contact with anything.

Moral of the story: if your child announces that they’ve pooed, you ignore them at your peril.

March 2012 Camping Exped

So… how did the overnight camping exped go? Well, we all survived and had fun, but the neighbours didn’t get much sleep. Oops.

First the tent report:

I started putting the beast up on my own on Friday evening. I’m a flabby middle-aged mum (I turned 41 a few days ago. I’m now properly old, hehehehe) so that’s a good test for it. After 50 minutes, I managed to get this far:

After 50 minutes graft...

Mistakes along the way that I won’t make again: I now properly appreciate that a 5-man tent is a totally different beast to my old, loved 2-man tent; know which end is the front door; I’ll make sure that that’s lying on the ground first before pushing the poles in and piling the ‘ribs’ on top of each other; I now know to put the pins into the base of the poles (or the tent has no tension: dur!); I know that the curved ceiling ribs and angle-pieces need to really be in tight with the material; I’ve slacked off the groundsheet and zipped all the doors ready for erection (though next time I’ll leave one door unzipped so I can actually get the air out instead of having to roll over it like a dog in pig-muck…). Oh yeah, and next time I’ll make sure that I don’t lose the tent pins somewhere in the voluminous mass of canvas on the ground…

I think second time round it will probably take around 30 minutes with both me and The Boss doing it together.

More importantly, though, the Minx Report:

  1. I think my first mistake was getting the girls’ excitement levels to Level Incredible by letting them watch me put up the tent. Their eyes were spinning in their giddy little heads by the time I finished.
  2. Second mistake was letting them take out some marshmallows in little pots as a treat. Actually, that could have been worse – I was tempted to let them have them threaded on a skewer. As it was, they just made a few thousand very sticky messes.
  3. Third mistake was letting them take their favourite teddies with them. Around 2am when the temperature dipped to 2.1degC (according to the Met Office actuals) Maxi Minx woke up cold, but refused to put on her down jacket that I’d put in the sleeping compartment: it was keeping Bagpuss warm.
  4. Fourth mistake was probably not warning the neighbours. I guess hearing a baby crying outside at all hours of the night and morning would be unsettling to most people.

To be fair to the girls, after they raced around the inside and bounded over the mattresses, leaving trails of marshmallow mess at toddler height, they quickly settled into their new sleeping bags. I’m so glad I bought 3 season ones with lovely thick neck baffles – I hadn’t intended to take them camping in weather as nippy as 2degC, but apart from Maxi, they stayed plenty warm enough. And they both loved the bright purple colour (!) Luckily their Grandma had happened to buy them mechanical torches each, so they were read their bedtime stories by torchlight.

Within 30 minutes, Maxi and Midi were snoring, cuddled up side by side. After another 30 minutes of watching poor little Mini race round and round like a hamster in a wheel, howling and crying, I realised that she just needed help realising that it was bedtime. So I cuddled her into mine and The Boss’ zip-together-into-a-double sleeping bags, stroked her head, and recited our normal nap- and bed-time goodnight list (“Goodnight fishing boats; goodnight seagulls; goodnight Daddy; goodnight Mummy; etc”) It worked like a charm and she was soon snoring louder than anyone.

Unfortunately she didn’t stay asleep. Ouchy cutting canines put paid to that. So by the time everyone else was awakened by the shrieking seagulls nesting in the cemetery next door around 5.30am, I’d not had much sleep… Luckily The Boss slipped right back into our old camping routines and fetched me a hot coffee in my sleeping bag as soon as he woke. God, how I love that man!

Future Camping

Well, now the girls have got their first camp-night jitters out their system, as I type this I’m trying to book a few nights’ stay next week over near Aberdeen. I can’t wait!

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Minx Trickery

How do you get your minxes to eat their lunch, all their lunch, without fuss, bother or mess? Cut it into shapes, wrap it in foil, put it in a backpack, turn them out into the garden and tell them it’s a picnic!

First picnic of the year: a chilly but sunny 16 March (as always, click a photo if you want to see it larger)


How to Brainwash Your Minx

Sun, sun, sun, sun, sun. Yippee! Spring has hit the Moray Firth coast with a splash of colour, dithers of big fat bumble-bees and today I saw my first butterfly. That means it’s time to finally introduce the minxes to mine and The Boss’s favourite sport of… camping.

Pre-kids, we camped every weekend, all year round. In the garage we had 2 washing crates of carefully packed camping supplies: if we were going for a weekend we took one, if for longer, we took both. Camping was a means to getting to do what we wanted in life without wasting time driving there, or making polite, hurried chit-chat with B&B owners. So come Friday night we’d load the little Puma (or Corsa if we were taking the tandem), drive to the other end of the country, spend a quick 20 minutes setting up, then a leisurely hour or 2 unwinding over a bottle of warm white wine and packet of broccoli & cheese pasta packet sauce. Then whip out the stovetop espresso maker, like this one, perfect for the little single ring gas burner in a tin box. Then we’d spend the entire weekend climbing, cycling or walking (depending on what my current injury was – I’m a bit clumsy, me).

Anyway, when Maxi Minx arrived, we camped 4 or 5 times, only stopping when all-day morning sickness from the impending arrival of Midi stopped me wanting to venture out, much. Since then, we’ve talked and talked about resuming our old life. We determinedly want the girls to grow up to believe that weekends = live outside. Now Maxi and Midi are old enough that we can cope with keeping a slightly more relaxed eye on them whilst keeping Mini safe. So it’s time to go for it!

We started to dither about tents. Which brand? What size? How many berths? Dome or tunnel? Price? It was absolutely overwhelming. After spending a night bamboozled at the sheer choice available, I whittled it down to: hydrostatic head of 3000 minimum, proven ability to withstand Scottish wind gusts, Vango or Outwell brand, side-by-side sleeping compartments for maximum minx-control, dome, compact (and therefore warm) sleeping compartments, 4-6 man (bigger would be fun, but putting them up whilst watching 3 little would-be escapees isn’t a good idea…), and under £350.

The minxes new home-from-home. Photo from http://www.tauntonleisure.com, where we bought it from. Super-speedy service!

Tall order? Not really. Me and The Boss compiled independent short-lists of 3. The only one on both lists was the one we went for: the Vango Maritsa 500. We got it cut-price, so there was money left over from our budget to get 2 really good sleeping bags for the elder 2 minxes (Mini can use the buggy sleeping bag still). It’s now lurking in the hall in 2 boxes. We aim to try it out this weekend in the garden. Wish us luck in our bid to brainwash the kids that dirt and camping are good!

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Yum

I’m a donkey, I should have taken photos… I promise I will as they grow.

A fair few weeks ago, The Boss tool the minxes out to the garden centre to buy seed potatoes. Me, I’d have chosen a single set, with a guaranteed high yield, suitable for cold Scottish summers. The Boss being the (wonderfully greedy) man that he is chose 2 types, both based on flavour. The girls being the girls chose the set that were a bright, vibrant purple.

Yes, purple.

Those purple potatoes...

So I saved up some egg boxes instead of ripping them into the compost pile, and chitted the first set of potatoes. I’d no real idea what I was doing: I put them in the egg boxes around Midi’s birthday (20 Feb), and planned to plant them around my birthday (20 March). A week ago I happened to read a chance remark about potato varieties on a parenting forum – the only difference between first and second earlies and maincrop potatoes is when you harvest them; you chit them at the same time. Well I never! Eep! So for the past fortnight I’d lost 2 work surfaces in the kitchen to 30 chitting potatoes, plus a random 31st that I think came from the supermarket and then fridge originally. Or the potato fairy.

Yesterday I’d promised the minxes it was Potato Planting Day*, but it was too windy. The lovely Gardening Guru who lives opposite agreed with my guess that the soil would blow away with every turn of the spade (gusting 40mph my fat bum, Met Office! It’s gusting late 50s, possibly early 60s when I struggle to push a semi-laden double buggy!)

*the first nice day from my birthday onwards. arbitrarily chosen by me.

Today, though, the beautiful sunshine and stiff breeze augured well. Not one to follow instructions in gardening books, I got out the flower bulber and plopped 31 holes in the raised bed that The Boss cleared out last weekend. I tried to divide it into 3, and tried to keep the 3 varieties separate. But with 2 minxes fighting over who’s holding the egg-boxes, who’s putting the potatoes in the ground, who’s covering them up, and a 3rd minx shrieking, “Egg! Egg! Egg!” and gleefully picking off new sprouts, I pretty much just chucked them into holes as fast as I could, then distracted the kids with ripping up the egg boxes for the compost bin.

The forecast said no rain until after the weekend so I watered all the flowers, the potatoes and the magically phoenix-like rhubarb. I thought I’d killed it after cutting off its mysterious flowering head last year. Yet there it was, poking a chirpy red leaf above the ground as if to say, “Ye canny kill me, ye black-fingered divvy! I’m baaaaaack!”

I’m delighted to get my kitchen work-surfaces back. This weekend I intend to get the minxes to sow the broad bean and courgette seeds into the 50,000 toilet rolls I’ve collected for the purpose. Maybe then my house will look a little less like Steptoe’s Yard. Maybe.

Monday is the New Tuesday

Mini telephone exchange

Swimming Pool phone exchange: spot the direct line to the Grumpy Old Trout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve blogged lots about struggling with Tuesdays and taking all 3 minxes to swimming.

Did I mention that I had to take Midi Minx out of lessons while she had an op, in November? The one that was supposed to be grommets, but she had her adenoids removed instead, though the consultant still thinks she needed and needs grommets? (grrrr…) Anyway, I’d told the swimming pool staff I needed Midi to miss a single block of swimming lessons while she had her op and recovered. Fine, said the breezy receptionist, I’ll slot her in for 10 weeks time! Lovely.

11 weeks later I phoned to enquire about the silence from the pool staff. And left message after message. A few weeks later an embarrassed girl explained that Midi had been put to the bottom of the 300-strong waiting list. She blamed her colleague, apologised, and promised Midi would have a slot in the subsequent 10 week block. OK, mistakes happen, thanks for sorting it out.

A week before the new block, and a staff member promises to call me about Midi in a few days. Lovely! A fortnight later, I’m back trying to pin one of them down to find out what’s going on.

Swimming Poll Staff Member: “Hello, I got a message to call you back about your little girl and swimming lessons?”
Me: “Yes, please”
Staff: “Yes, I’m calling to let you know that she’s now 84th on the waiting list. OK? Thank you very much, bye”
Me: “Hold on. It’s happened again, then, hasn’t it?”
Staff: “What?”
Me: “I took her out of lessons for a block in October. She was supposed to start again in January. Someone put her at the bottom of the list”
Staff: “??? Please hold” (few minutes) “Ah yes, I was phoning to tell you that she’s now able to start lessons again”
Me, playing along and pretending the previous 5 minutes hadn’t happened either: “Oh that’s great news! Thank you. When?”
Staff: “??? Please hold” (even longer) “Em, can you do the weekend…?”
Me: “No.”
Staff: “Em, of course, she’s missed the first 2 weeks of the block”
Me, still playing: “Yes. That’s ok. I can do any morning, the earlier the better”
Staff: “Please hold!” (few more minutes) “Em, Monday at 1130?”
Me: “Wonderful. Thank you so much for your help! My wee girl will be over the moon!”

And she was. Even though the timing is bloody awful (I have to give her some lunch at 11 – 1120 in the pool cafe, get her ready for 1130, get her out and washed and dried and dressed as speedy as possible from 12 – 1220, let her eat the other half of her lunch in the car on the way home, and in to nursery not too much later than 1230) I’m just happy she’s back in the system. When she discovered her teacher was the born-instructor, charming, talented, kid-magnet that is Kev, she grinned from each ear.

She was the only child in the class, but she spent the half hour chuckling, smiling, swimming her little heart out. He took her in the deep pool and she absolutely loved the individual attention, the fun of swimming, and just moving her strong little body in a way that’s obviously natural for her. I thought she might tire, constantly swimming: not one jot. I thought she might get nervous swimming with just one noodle to keep her afloat (I think the assessment criteria for passing to the next stage is being able to swim with 2 noodles): not a bit.

I think I smiled as broadly as Midi did, just revelling in my little girl’s transparent happiness. She has the time of her 4 year old life. She couldn’t have been happier when Kev told us that as she was the only child signed up for that class that it would be just him and her for the next 5 weeks. It makes me wonder what’s going on behind the scenes? Why did the class go ahead if no-one had signed up for the first 2 weeks? If the class was available, why hadn’t children on the waiting list been called forward?

We even made nursery on time despite Midi having a full wash, towel, dress, and her long hair blow-dried. And Mini needing an emergency nappy change in the car boot. And having to drive behind a tootling, lane-veering old biddy (bless) that I was too nervous to overtake in case she rammed into the side of us.

So… Mondays are now swimming x 2 days. I might as well go the whole hog and take Mini in with me while Midi’s splashing around. Maybe when I’m not ill!


Eh? Speak up! I Can’t Hear You!

Elisabeth de Meuron, commonly known as Madame ...

I'm picking up Radio 3 on this thing! More antibiotics, my good man! (Photo credit: Wikipedia. Madame de Meuron)

I blogged a wee while ago about being ill. Well, you might have guessed by my silence since that I’ve been ill for a while…

I thought I was recovering when I wrote that post, but then spent the entire weekend in bed, unable to get out for longer than a wobble to the loo. So I guess this is proper man-flu, then? By Monday it had gotten better enough that I was fit to look after 3 (still-not-100%) minxes so long as I didn’t walk too far or stray too far from tissues or coffee. But the sinusitis it had turned into on the Friday was worse. Lots worse. Ouchie. Green goopy ectoplasm. Ewwwwwww.

I got me and Mini Minx to the practice nurse to assess if our sore chests were chest infections. Nope. So that was a relief. She gave me the go-ahead to continue munching paracetamol, ibuprofen and sudafed like they’d not affect my liver one little bit. By Thursday, I was so congested that the hearing in my right ear went. Overnight. I woke up Thursday and couldn’t hear. I tried to see the GP on Thursday and Friday but couldn’t get an appointment at all, not even an emergency one.

Aside rant: note to Doctor’s Receptionists. I started ringing the surgery the minute before the phone lines opened. Each time I got an engaged tone, I hit redial. Again and again and again. My 3 minxes caused chaos unhindered until I finally got into the phone queue. So that was only a 20 minutes wait. I then waited another 6 or so minutes in the queue to be answered. To be told there were no appointments available until next week. Fair enough. But I was then scolded for not phoning at 8am. Er, hello? What do you think I’ve been doing for the last 26-27 minutes? Having a leisurely cup of tea before despatching my man-servant to the phone, with a flick of my idle fingers? Do I sound well to you? Or are you having a pointless go at me because you know I’m too poorly to rip your head off with a few choice words over the phone? Do you think I’m in thrall to you, thinking that if I’m nice to you that you’ll get me an appointment faster? Non. And don’t ever scold me like I’m a feckless teenager: I’m a 41 year old responsible adult who would actually rather stick pins in my eyes than sit in a doctor’s waiting room, hoovering all the local germs up my nose. I’m phoning you because I *have* to, not because I *want* to, you half-wit. Maybe if you were more efficient doing your job answering the phone and dealing with people, the queues to be dealt with wouldn’t be so long. And if you were less dour-faced and whingey on the phone, people might be more pleasant / less unpleasant back to you!

On Monday, I phoned the surgery again. Only a 13 minute wait to be answered, so that was a vast improvement. By now even the hearing in my left ear was dodgy. I could barely hear the receptionist: “What’s that? You’ve got an appointment today? I’m sorry, please will you speak up? It’s a very quiet line and my hearing is very poor. No, I can’t hear you: again, please? I’m so sorry about this, one more time? Was that 9.40 this morning? … Um, I still can’t hear… I’ll come round at 9.40 this morning then. Thank you very much!”

So whether the doctor was expecting me or not, I was sat there waiting from 9.30am. He called me through at 10am. On the one hand, he was an absolute star about Midi and Mini, giving them free-reign of his room and a handy boxful of (very noisy electronic) toys. But on the other, he insisted that I wait and see. I pointed out that I clearly had a bacterial infection (green streaming ectoplasm for nearly 3 weeks) and my hearing had been gone for 5 days. Bless him, he then took down a leaflet and started to quote numbers at me. Fatal flaw – I couldn’t have argued if he’d just said no, go away. But numbers… Bring it on!

“Guidelines are that 69% of the population gain no benefit if antibiotics are given within 8-10 days of the onset of sinusitis”, he read out.
“I’ve had sinusitis for 11 days.”
Dr: “But you said 5”
Me: “No, I’ve been deaf for 5 days; my right eye-socket’s been killing me for 11″
Dr: “But… 8-10 days….”
Me: “11 days is more than 8-10. I’m past those guidelines.”
Dr: “The leaflet…”
Me, interrupting: “…says I should be better now. I’m not. I’m in a lot of pain”
Dr, weakening: “My boss won’t be happy with me; antibiotics are very expensive”
Me, pouncing: “Tell him I forced you. And I’d be very, very grateful”

Well, it’s now Day 7 of being partly deaf. The green goo has mostly gone (hooray! I might be able to start knitting again!) Doing the school run is trying, because I have to be so aware of the girls 100% of the time, rather than just when I hear oncoming traffic. And I can’t hear cars racing up from just around the corner, so find it hard to judge when to cross. Luckily with my blue hair, red jacket and Maxi’s yellow neon bag, they see *me* in enough time to screech to a stop before knocking us over.

Looking on the bright side, though, only hearing half the volume of this noisy household is doing wonders for my stress levels – absolutely fantastic bonus!

Geographical Rant

Spot the massive error

This came through our letterbox a few days ago. I’m surprised it got delivered. Our postman normally gets the hump with less. Instead it was me who got cross.

Scotland is not, and never has been, part of England. There is a border between the 2 countries. Both are part of the United Kingdom. ‘England’ is not a synonym of the UK.

Both The Boss and I have told the perpetrator before about such incorrectly addressed postcards. Either the person is developing a disease with memory problems as a feature, they’ve done it deliberately to piss me off, or they are just genuinely stupid.

Before you decide which, you should know that the postcard writer used to be a teacher. Now suddenly  I’m actually *hoping* that the person was merely trying to needle me, but I suspect not.

I despair for our youth…