Monday 14 September 2015

Empty nest

Beautiful baby daughter got the keys to her student flat today. It does tend to make you a tad reflective, I have had 23 and a half years of extreme parenting, a mahoosive chunk of my adult life and BBD has contributed quite spectacularly to the more extreme times!

This morning there was plenty hot water for my shower as she hadn't used the last of it for a bath, we have ALL the teaspoons and mugs and her room is as clean and tidy as I've ever seen it, fully visible carpet and everything. In her wardrobe is the stuff she hasn't taken to uni, the red coat she wore to church,  her signed school sweatshirt from both primary and middle school,  there is her year 9 prom dress and the one that properly undid me was her christening robe.

 My lovely oldest friend auntielou had her beautiful youngest boy go off on Saturday, there may be others reading who have too. Much love to you all.

Thursday 3 September 2015

Polka dot notebook of doom (TM)

Hello dearest readers, every time I don't post for a while I feel guilty and then I think it is probably a treat for you not having to read my haverings. It's all a bit strange chez auntiegwen, some of us are madly busy (that would be me), some of us are faffing around (that would be him) and some of us are stressed to the max (that would be Beautiful Baby Daughter)
I started a new job at the beginning of July with the same employer but in a different role, me no likey, I may likey later but presently it's all a bit woolly but with lots of stuff about how I am autonomous and strategic and responsible, which is grand until someone decides they are more autonomous and strategic and responsible than me and makes me change and redo stuff I thought I was autonomous and strategic and responsible for. I have bitten holes in my tongue, seethed myself into an ulcer, woken through the night nightly and my eyebrows haven't yet managed to come down from my hairline since July.  My current flexitime is running at 60 hours over and as I can only take 14 hours back, I just have to suck it up, my normal working hours are awake to sleep, Monday to Friday. My life at present is all too work focussed and not enough gin focussed, baah.

And by the law of Sod, mr auntiegwen has finished his contracting work and finished renovating a flat, which is up for sale and until it is sold and he has the cash money in his pocket to buy the next property he has no gainful employment. He has time aplenty, none of your awake to sleep hours for him. This concerns your auntie not one jot, I have eleventy million jobs that need doing round this house. For ease and convenience, I have documented them in a lovely Emma Bridgewater polka dot notebook. Now mr auntiegwen is not enamoured of said polka dot notebook, I would go as far to say he avoids the polka dot notebook, he's not afeared of it more disdainful and refusing to admit it's existence. It exists plenty fine. I fear it may become a source of marital discord.
Beautiful baby daughter is getting ready to leave home for university, she doesn't really want to go but staying here and being a house daughter is not an option, her brother floated the notion of him being a house son circa 2013 before his departure for university and got short shrift for his trouble. I could quote you some of the utterly ludicrous thing she is saying but she might read this and I am still afeared of a major meltdown I shall refrain but it's killing me. September 14th is when she gets her keys for her halls of residence and I am hoping we can co-exist peacefully until then.

Thursday 18 June 2015


Today my beautiful son is 20, tomorrow my beautiful baby daughter sits her last A2 level and will never be at school again.

Sometimes  it seems like in a heartbeat they are grown and gone. Sometimes when they are being particularly challenging, the grown up and gone thing can be a long time coming.

This photo was taken on Olu Deniz beach in 2005 or 6, I think, it shows Jack and Lucy on an empty beach, just playing. It has always been one of my favourites.

Happy birthday Jack 
Good luck Lucy
I love you more than you will ever know.
You are both, and always will be, a cuisle mo chridhe, the beat of my heart

Wednesday 3 June 2015

In which I fail at holidays, work & exams

We have returned from our Eurocamp holiday. It was an experience, Eurocamp are about to receive a very middle aged lady/rantieauntie letter about said experience. I expect neither of us will be happy about it. Mostly it was absolutely fine but we did have some whoppers of issues that just weren't handled at all, never mind well. We loved Brittany and we will definitely be going back but I doubt Eurocamp will be getting any of our money.

Speaking of money, I have a new job to start next month which I am vaguely afeared of, still with the same charity but in a different role and strategic was mentioned a ferocious amount of times. I'm not really a strategic kind of auntie but as no one will pay me cash money to sit on my sofa and eat maltesers, I have to do something, allegedly  I am too young to retire. This new job will facilitate the buying of afore mentioned maltesers and as I won't have my current job after June 30th, it's fairly handy to be starting the new job on 1st July so.

Chez auntiegwen is in A level mode for the last time, Beautiful Baby Daughter has officially left school and is on exam leave, 3 exams to sit on Fri June 5th, 12th & 19th and then she is done. My patience and understanding and not responding to any goads, taunts, complaints and downright whinges has to last until Fri June 19th at 12.30pm, after that all bets are off. I hope she buckles up. It has been tougher that the other 2 put together and the drama llama has his arse firmly through our door. I made the mistake of trying to console her with the knowledge that she has an unconditional offer and will be going anyway. Apparently that's not the point, I just don't understand. I am also an extremely bad parent as I am never here when she needs me, I am constantly gadding about on holiday and I forget I actually have a child at home. Yes, this is my 18 year 9 month old and not some random infant I had misplaced. 19/06/15 @ 12.30, I keep telling myself that's all I have to get to.

How've you been yourself?

Thursday 7 May 2015

A little bit of red

Clearly I am knocking on a bit now but today my youngest child voted in her very first election. Gawd, that really makes me feel old. Not overly impressed was she with the whole procedure and peeved she couldn't vote for the SNP, strangely they had no candidates standing in Market Harborough. When she was small, she came with me to vote and made everyone in the queue laugh by asking in a very loud and crystal clear voice "Are you voting for the conservatory party or Tony Bloody Blair?" I think I would be more excited about voting if they promised me a free conservatory, I do miss having one.

I am in a very cba place re this election, I have always been political, I have marched protested and generally got off my arse to try and change things. I have always, always voted and been grateful that I could do so. Yet this time I feel totally disconnected from it, I know my that my little bit of red will not make any change  here and we will return our very blue MP of 23 years, a titled QC no less, I am sure if we met, Sir Edward and I, we would get on like a house on fire and find loads of common ground, I expect he has worked in the public service all his life too and been a single parent with a mortgage and lots of money worries. he probably grew up on a council estate in Glasgow, just like me.

I am used to the feeling that whatever I voted it really wouldn't make much difference as I grew up in Scotland during the 1980's & 1990's, where were no Tory MP's in the whole of Scotland but Thatch & Major got a go of the big job anyway. So I am not sure why I feel so meh about it. But meh I feel.

Still, my little bit of red will balance out my husband's little bit of blue.

Monday 23 March 2015

Whatever happened to the heroes

Mr auntiegwen and I have very little music we both like. This is due to the fact that I am 4 years older than the lovely mrauntiegwen (if you click on the name it will take you directly to his blog, it's better than this one and he can put pictures on without his laptop having a midlife crisis like mine) and the fact that I listened to nothing other than the wheels on the bus and wind your bobbin up from 1992 to 1999 (when the beautiful baby daughter went to school and I went back to listening to the Sex Pistols and The Stranglers, all this was when mr auntiegwen was listening to The Cramps and the Violent Femmes.  I don't know what's worse.

The one band we both loved was Simple Minds and we found out that Sarah  Cox had Jim Kerr on a tellybox thing, we settled down and prepared to sing along.

You forget that the people you thought were cool and good looking age just like you do. Somewhere in the last 2 decades Jim Kerr has morphed into a mix of my ex husband and Alec Salmond. I haven't put the photos in, because I am a kind auntie, you're welcome.

Best just to remember them in their prime

Friday 13 March 2015

23 and 9

Every year we have a May half term holiday with The Boy Wonder, who is the son my husband made earlier, if you don't get that splendid joke, clearly you are far too young for this blog, be off with you and return when you have grey hair.

Now as my husband only made one child, that child needs entertaining. I have never had to do entertaining on that scale as I made three children. When my kids were small they would never entertain the notion of going to a kids club so we rented villas and they all amused each other, when you have one child in a villa you are the only option. Last year's holiday and the dawn to dusk entertaining clean wore us out. This year we have opted for a Eurocamp in Brittany as we hope that having a kids club and other kids around will allow TBW to make some chums and we can have a conversation at some point over the week.

At lots of points in my life do I wonder what is going on. Never more so when I am going to a caravan in France, in a half term week, with lots and lots of overexcited, shreiky children and non guaranteed sunshine and the fight for a non towelled sun lounger.

Especially  when  I realise that my children no longer come on holiday with me as the youngest is 18 and I own a beautiful villa in Turkey with every home comfort imaginable in a quiet spot, no children around, sun splitting the stones and 6 of my very own loungers, I can put my posh hamman towels on any one of them I fancy.

23 years of parenting in and 9 more to go and you just know that someone in the next 9 years will have a baby and we will be destined to be doing this children malarkey for ever. And never once does anyone think of me as a mummy blogger!

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Here's a thing

Today I have a 23 year old child. That 23 year old child has neither fillings nor ASBO's. She does have a degree and a job and lives independently. I don't even have to wash her pants!!!How on earth did I manage to create such a wonderful human?
 A very happy birthday EBD, I luff you, and even if I didn't have to luff you, I still would, because you are, and always will be mo chridhe

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Travels with your auntie

I have been away, I am now home and normal auntie service has resumed. I have had 2 jollities, 1 with husband and one without. Med mand (is not the tinternest marvellous? I found the Danish for with husband in a peko second) the jollity took us to  to Copenhagen, it was very cold, on the same jollity, we went to Malmo, over the Orsesund bridge (I can't be faffed trying to find the proper O with a line through it, just pretend I have) on a train, the very very bridge that Saga and Martin went on (if you are wondering if my last marble has rolled away, it's from The Bridge, the most marvellous of marvellous tellybox programme)

In Malmo, it too was very cold. Mr auntiegwen took eleventy million pictures in both places, I hardly recognize him without a camera attached to his face, I expect if he ever sits down for more than 2 minutes he will blog all about it, with nice pictures, my laptop hates pictures and it takes a long time (which clearly I haven't got much of left) and quite a lot of swearing, you might be better waiting for him. I liked all of the jollity, we even caught sight of a new Nordic noir drama that hopefully will make it's way here called "The Team", we tried very hard to keep up but they don't do English subtitles when you're in Denmark.

After my return from med mand jollities, I went to Essex for work, not normally my stamping ground but I did get 2 diet cokes and a big long chat with Note Bene, glad he could fit me in with all his canapé ing, witty chit chat and flirting with the French ambassador.

My ohne Ehemann jollity took me to Germany (see what I did there? oh I'm fair away with myself today) and I went to visit Eldest Beautiful Daughter who is now living in Dusseldorf. We had the luffliest of luffly times, I luff that child, she is just wonderful and I adore spending time with her. Germany was properly bonkers and Ehemann is gutted that he missed  EBD's local shop displays, especially
- the hairdressers that has a random selection of stuffed toys, books and cake plates
- her landlord, who is selling off his "gone into a care home" mothers possessions in an empty shop
- the local furrier, all kinds of crazy going on there.
Worst of all, he  missed a house with a mural of their Labrador painted on their garage door and the biggest duck you have EVER seen, (not on a garage door mural, on a pond) in your whole wide life, and I am very old and have seen a lot of ducks, this was a mutant.

Anyhoo, I'm back and I am going to have a big sit on the sofa, possibly with gin or wine and if I'm lucky, some maltesers to recover. What have you lot been up to?

Thursday 19 February 2015

Je suis auntiegwen

Just before we went to Paris there were the awful shootings in Paris, at feck it's early tomorrow we fly out to Copenhagen, I think I am a jinx!

Don't fret though as I have been to Edinburgh without any fatalities.
And it's been under  duress. Extreme duress.
Tis half term and beautiful baby daughter fancied a trip up to Edinburgh to see her brother, as they have spent the last few years embroiled in a sibling conflict on an epic scale, I was a wee bit surprised to say the least. Undeterred and heartened at the thought of sibling harmony, I agree to drive BBD to Edinburgh, she can spend some 1 on 1 time with The Beautiful Son, I will spend a bit of time with them and a bit of time with my chum auntielou and all will be well.

I am trying to gloss over the many hours spent in a car, with no escape, in hand to hand conversation with BBD, she is a child who can take offence at anything, and she does, she is extremely good at it. She has practised, a lot.
We also all pretend that she doesn't smoke and that being in an enclosed space with me and no escape to top up nicotine levels has the propensity to make her a bit tetchy. Nonetheless, we are undeterred and we headed North. We are now back, we have survived and we are still on speaking terms, this is a huge achievement. I have bitten a hole clean through my tongue and my eyebrows are still somewhere in my hairline but we are intact.

My son was like a puppy on speed, he was not on drugs nor was he drunk but he was very animated and bouncy, he is now 6 foot 5 and being with him was quite tiring, it was like he was still  his 6 year old self  who had consumed a LOT of sugar and was very overexcited as a result. My daughter was unpredictable, mood wise and I was quite exhausted at the end, auntielou was lovely as always, we have been friends now for over 25 years, she is understanding of the children, for that I am truly grateful, I don't have the usual explaining to do like I would with the unsuspecting public.

In the car on the way home, my BBD reminded me that I am a total hypocrite,  I am a "do as I say not as I do" Mummy, I shame her publicly for the mess in her bedroom, taking photos and everything  yet my car is a total disgrace, and she's right, it's a tip.  Je suis auntiegwen and my car is messy. Do you think that will cover public penance or do we need photos?

Monday 9 February 2015

Pleased as pleased can be

The last couple of years have been very tricky for my younger daughter. She sort of lost her place in the world a bit, had some friends who weren't always making wise choices, made some bad decisions herself and had a tough time for a while. It really was like an explosion in a WTF factory, we never knew what was coming next.
People were very quick to judge and to write her off, but to her credit, she changed schools, her attitude changed tremendously and she got her self back on track.

Now she has 5 offers from universities, some really decent ones, I think Warwick is the highest ranking of her offers, definitely in the top 10 UK uni's but it is number 1 in the country in her chosen course.

Today she got an unconditional offer to study journalism at the university she really wants. 

I am just pleased that someone else can see her worth too

Monday 26 January 2015

Things I just have to tell you...

My blog is now 8, thank you for bearing with me for all these years, from the bottom of my heart, I luffs you and am so grateful to share a wee bloggy space with you.

 I cannot believe how much has changed, the children are  22, 19 and 18, we have come a long way. They all now have qualifications, none are in jail and still no fillings. I should get a medal.
The children just get better looking and more interesting, however I am  now beginning to resemble a shar pei, an elderly and quite chubby shar pie. I remain, quite bewildered by life but now it may pass for early onset dementia.

I have been sent an official letter about my job, which I luff as it is being made redundant. In the letter was a confidentiality clause so I can't tell you what I think about losing my job, which I luff but I expect you can guess what I might be thinking. I am thinking it quite hard.

On a cheerier note, I went to Paris at the weekend, I have been to Paris with 3 different men in my life. I can't begin to tell you how much racier that makes me sound than I am in real life (see para 3, elderly chubby shar pei) How and ever, this trip was lovely, I luff Paris, there is a lot about what I luff in this post to stop me thinking about the bad stuff (see para 4, in which the aunties job is no more)

I luff the Eurostar, luff, luff, luff.

 I did not luff Searcy's champagne bar at St Pancras, we were massively underwhelmed and it wasn't underwhelmed kind of money. I am going to sound even more middle aged but the toilets were a disgrace. It should have been a gorgeous end to a gorgeous trip but Searcy's, you sucked.

In the next month I am going on trips (not by Eurostar, sadly) but sans weans (always a plus) but we are off to Malmo in Sweden and Copenhagen (which despite all of my children's education and the fact 1 of them has a degree and is a PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER (in capitals for emphasis), none of them knew which country it was in!) Any suggestions for Malmo or Copenhagen gratefully received.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

The 12 Days of Parents

I have wondered and wondered about posting stuff now about my mother as her dementia erodes her own self, I've been blogging a long time now and I always felt that is you were related to me it was fair game. Now I'm not so sure.
We had as reasonable a Christmas as we could have done under very trying circumstances, having lots of people fundamentally unsuited to being with other humans (me, mainly) and all being cooped up together don't make for peace and goodwill to either men nor aunties. Unfortunately as neither of my parents can now drive and my dad has COPD, it meant they spent a lot of time at home, with me, nae luck to anybody there. Himself worked all through the Christmas break. Eldest Beautiful Daughter had to fit in visits to her dad, brother, friends & boyfriends family. Beautiful Baby Daughter was around some but with coursework, boyfriend and mates. The girls were brilliant with their nana but she's not easy to be with for long periods of time.  I did try and get them out, my mum will walk for miles, she has slowed down ever such a lot but she still loves a walk but because of my dad's COPD we are limited as to how far we can go.
Eating out is a pleasure of the past as mum eats very little now and can't cope with any kind of flavour (food was a big issue this visit) I enjoy eating out with them so much less as mum removes her teeth ( she has a plate with her top 4 central teeth) to eat or now drink anything and them smiles at everyone, alarmingly showing them her fangs, so any reports of Dracula's granny sighted in Market Harborough were just of my mother. She gets hugely cross when asked to put her teeth back in, grabs her omnipresent handbag (more of which anon) and storms out to go home.
Shopping was good, she enjoys this and can still read the word sale, double win as she enjoys a bargain. Less happy was the fight she put up when my dad was trying to dissuade her from buying a purple teeny tiny mini skirt. Anything bright pink or bright purple will be a winner, double points if it's soft and warm. This year I bought her pink UGG slippers and a pink and purple striped fleecy jumper, she loved them, Lucy said it made her look like a marshmallow flump, to be fair it did but she was happy and that seems to be everyone's goal now.

Attired in fleecy pinks and purples, she is accompanied everywhere by a large brown PVC handbag, she has lots of really lovely handbags but this  (AWFUL fake Mulberry bought from the market in Turkey) seems to be her favourite, she meticulously takes everything out of it,  always has a purse which she will check for her money, her bank cards and her drivers license (which is a laminated photocopy as her psychiatrist wrote to the DVLA to remove her license), she will show you all of these things telling you she has them. Then will come her fan (think of Spanish holiday souvenir circa 1975, all back lace and dodgy flamenco dancers) I have no idea why she brought the fan in December, she is always freezing - even in the summer and her shoes most usually if she has slippers on or vice versa. If we lost anything over Christmas in invariably turned up in Nana's bag. The bag got checked constantly if she was unoccupied, everything out, shown to you and back in again. Tinky Winky eat your heart out.
She has taken to wearing every item of jewellery she possesses all together, we are talking at least 10 rings and maybe 6 or 7 bracelets, 2 necklaces and a watch, but she can't tell time any more. The sparklier  and more bling the better, such a change from how she was before. She also likes to tell you about her rings and you have to admire them. One of the few things she properly enjoyed over the break was Lucy painting her nails, bright purple of course. She would look and admire her fingernails and then you could admire both the nail varnish and the rings.

She was much better in the morning but by late afternoon she was falling asleep on the sofa, her agitation was much higher then too. If my dad wasn't by her side she wanted to find him, waiting for him outside the loo several times a day, one comedy moment was her going out to the garden where he was having a  peaceful ciggy and a fly mug of tea to say "She says I have to leave you for 5 minutes to have your smoke"
 Her ability to converse has gone now, she can't follow the thread of any conversation, calls everyone sweetheart to avid using names and has several stock phrases which came in handy for nana drinking bingo.  She also thinks that what is on TV is real and quite often about her. She need regular updates on what we are doing/planning to do/when she is going home/that she can't go home today as the plane is booked for Saturday and it is far too far to walk etc.
Now she has declined so far, she is unable to do anything for herself unaided or unprompted, she has to be told to eat the food on her plate or drink her drink, she in not capable of choosing her food/drinks but can feed herself although my dad is now starting to cut some things up for her. She can't manage to wash or dress herself, she screamed the place down when she had her hair washed (and we HAD to wash it) she was furious with us but 10 minutes later all dry and fleeced up she was happy again.

So I had a glimpse into the groundhog day that is my dad's life, she needs him there constantly, even if she was with me for a few hours, she works herself up into a right old state about getting back to him and she only seems content if he is there beside her.
I feel awful that I can't really relieve him of the burden of caring for her, he doesn't see it as a burden, just as his life now, pragmatic chap that he is. I am trying to encourage him to take the befriender offer and use a day centre but he knows she only wants him, I try and say tactfully that he needs to look after himself as if he goes under, neither my sister or I would be in a position to offer full time care to her.

This is such a sad, sad story that I expect is very common as dementia seems to affect so many people. And sadder still that my mother will only get worse.

Thursday 1 January 2015

A year of adventures

2015 is going to be a year of awfully big adventures for myself and my beloved husband. We have spent the last few years juggling being a parent with looking after elderly parents, some of it has been easy peasy, some of it not so much. I am currently day 10 of my parents 12 days of Christmas visit.  The husband and I have survived by sheer blind determination and quite a lot of gin.
To compensate ourselves for all this duty (which, quite frankly is boring beyond belief) we have decided that 2015 will be the year where we do interesting stuff.
We have some fancy pants trips lined up, all booked and sorted, all we need now is some clean knickers and a toothbrush each. Fortunately Santa took care of that. Roll on 2015