Down Days, Dog Days, and Duct Tape Afternoons.

I’m feeling very depressed today. I don’t know why as the sun is shining, I am on holiday (hooray!) and all is good with the world.

There’s been some difficult issues at work involving careful handling with some vulnerable young people and I find I am waking up at 4 am worrying about them, which is stupid and hopefully will wear off soon. I have also had hideous conjunctivitis  – something I often get when run down as my numerous eye operations have created scars within which pesky bacteria love to lurk.

I have enjoyed passing the time by taking a photo each morning of my gunky eye and creating a slide show to see if there is any improvement. Rob is surprisingly not keen to help me in my judgement so I toyed with the idea of putting it on Facebook before Rob told me that was completely gross. It’s a bit better today, but still my mood is low.

Silly things have brought me down. I’ve been trying to arrange a meet up with my lovely brother but every suggestion I’ve made he has dinner with a neighbour/party with friends/babysitting friend’s child/dinner party with uni mates etc etc and then I feel rubbish because it makes me thing he doesn’t want to see me. If I’m logical, it’s because my sister-in-law (like most women) is the one who ends up arranging all the socialising and my brother leaves arranging to see me too late and then he’s already booked up elsewhere. I know this, but it still makes me feel like that kid in the playground who nobody wants to play with. Loser!

And now I have fear of missing out on behalf of my children! Daughter has been invited every year to a popular girl’s Halloween party but this year, no invite has appeared. I suggested maybe the party wasn’t on this year but no, apparently all her friends have been invited. Oh dear.

I have around 20,000 words to do before I finish the book I’ve been working on and have reached an impasse thinking it’s pointless and crap and who on earth would even want to read it. Even I’m beginning to find it boring to read – why would anyone else be interested? Poor, self-pitying me!

So tell me, what do you think – this is the concept: A very old witch (think Baba Yaga crossed with Morgan le Fey) ends up having to be looked after by a very fat cleaner. The cleaner has given up on life, husband’s left her for a younger woman yada yada – the usual story. The Old Witch passes on some of her powers and knowledge and between them they ‘clear the world of abusive men’. Does that hook you in or is it a load of old rubbish? Would love to hear what you think!

What else? Well… I’ve had a really nasty review from one of our holiday guests about the lights fusing outside so the garden was very dark. I am cross and feeling defensive because she didn’t tell us the bulb had gone but just wrote it on the online review which looks really bad. This didn’t give us a chance to rectify the issue – she didn’t even mention it in the guest book – and now we look like awful neglectful landlords. Why didn’t she mention the lovely M&S cake and wine in her welcome pack! (We do also provide a torch).

I am better than I was, but I am such a pathetic people please I hate it when people judge me or think I’m not doing a good job, or I’m socially awkward. Man, you’d think I’d be over all this by my ripe old age!

Also related to the cottage rentals… Over a month ago I  booked our housekeeper to do  three separate cleans over the weekend. She has to be 100% reliable as we have guests arriving and the place has to be spotless, of course. Well she texts me to say she forgot to do the clean yesterday and oh, by the way, she can’t do today’s either. This is a complete nightmare as it’s impossible to do both on my own within the tight change around. I also hate being let down like this and it makes me really cross.

Wah! Sob.

Also the usual mother guilt – I let my children spend far too long on their devices… I can’t be bothered to cook them lunch – when oh when will they be old enough to make themselves (and hopefully me) something nutritious between 12.20 and 1.30.?(Apparently eating outside this window is completely intolerable and verging on child abuse.)

Age, of course, and that horrible realisation that I only have around 25 years left – if I’m very lucky – and the last 25 years zoomed past much more quickly than I would have liked.

Oh dear, listen to me droning on. Let me tell you the things that did make me happy this weekend.

Firstly, Dog. She is very happy indeed and when Dog is happy, I feel quite happy. Here she is enjoying having us around with lots of extra walks over the half term break.

It was 20 degrees over the weekend so we didn’t really need the fire, but it was so nice to hear it crackling away. I also love how Dog comes in the minute she senses we have the fire burning. She comes in from the other room and settles down in front of it with her eyes half closed. Every ten minutes or so she carefully rearranges herself to ensure every part of her is toasted.

I took the children out of the House as Rob was working on the kitchen and they were driving him mad. At a shop we saw an offer for a buy one get one free toffee apple. Well, it would have been rude not to, especially when Son offered to pay for it himself and swaggered up to the till with his pocket money debit card asking the cashier to ‘chuck in a bag of Doritos’ as he was feeling flush.

On the way back they were struck by the burning desire to run in front of the car along the (very quiet – I’m not that bad a mother) country lane that leads to our house. Of course I had to hold Son’s half eaten toffee apple so they could run.

And this is why I have toffee apple sauce smeared over the inside of my windscreen.

Daughter has got obsessed with Rob’s Duct Tape over the weekend and insisted on being tied around the hands and ankles before wrestling herself free, Houdini style. The only fly in the ointment was Son thinking it would be a great idea to trip her up, which caused a massive row, but, undaunted, she returned again demanding I redid her wrists.

Where do they get these ideas?


See my pink spotted running socks? I loved these socks until I discovered they have an ‘L’ and an ‘R’ on them and although I try and pretend it doesn’t bother me, I feel vaguely uneasy all day if I have the socks on the wrong feet.

Finally, in honour of our two year anniversary in the not-so-new-house-now we had our lovely neighbours round for drinks and I decided to make Catherine over at Atypical 60’s recipe for Gruyère Gougères. You can read the recipe she kindly sent me here.

I have made them before, once, and messed up the beating in of the eggs as I didn’t read the recipe properly. So this time I thought, RIGHT, I am going to be patient and not put the next egg in until the first one is fully incorporated – just as the instructions say.

I am well on my way and feeling proper Mary Poppins like…


And then, YET AGAIN, I remember the recipe says to use a piping bag to pie out the right amount of the cheesy choux pastry.

I remember, again, I don’t have a piping bag. The recipe says to make blobs on the baking sheet of ‘a tablespoon’ so I think – Oh I’ll be fine, I’ll just measure out a tablespoon’s worth.

So that’s what I did.

As you can see, what I produced was basically cheesy Yorkshire puddings…


This is what they should have looked like…


And this is what mine looked like…


And this was after I had cut each one into fours as I couldn’t expect my guests to nibble on a cheese ball the size of their heads as we made polite conversation.

But, to be fair, they were absolutely delicious and every single one of them got eaten. One day, though, I will get this damn recipe right.

Funny. Writing this has cheered me up a bit. It doesn’t help today is a fasting day so I am hungry. It’s odd, I haven’t smoked for 15 years but I could REALLY do with a cigarette now – where did that come from? At what age do you reckon you can take up smoking again? I hope this hasn’t been too boring and depressing. I am going to get back to my book now as I want to finish it properly before the end of the holiday.

OH and I just finished Liane Moriarty’s ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ and it was BRILLIANT! I would really recommend it but it did make me realise how crap my book was, so don’t read it if you’re trying to write anything.

This is the 80th post I have published since I started last December. That’s not bad going, is it? A reason to be cheerful…



PS As I was writing this I was listening to Meatloaf’s ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ and I know every single word. I have no memory of hearing this song before – how is this possible?

18 thoughts on “Down Days, Dog Days, and Duct Tape Afternoons.

  1. I started my marathon catch-up with you, and now you are also last in my reader list, as it stands 😉 Sorry that life is being mean. And often the little things can bring us down the hardest. The stuff that shouldn’t go wrong or should be easy to fix. Press the reset button and start this holiday again. And kids; make your Mum some lunch!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we all have down days, it’s ok – we’re normal. I really like your book idea – it has elements of something Leonora Carrington would have written (I love her book The hearing trumpet), preferably the more bonkers the better. And your cheese gougere things look divine btw

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to look up Carrington – I’ve never heard of it. They were nice! Certainly nicer than they looked as I realise now they look a bit burned – oh dear, I’m really not a natural cook.


      1. If you look her up – read her life story, her life was as bonkers and brilliant as anything anyone could come up with in a novel 🙂 She really was utterly brilliant and comparing your ideas to hers is definitely meant as a huge complement

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The novel sounds a little Angela Carter – is that where you’re heading with it? If it is, you’re succeeding! And I love Baba Yaga stories.

    Gym and fasting – you’re still doing doggedly well on your weight loss then. Fasting? Are you doing 5:2 now?

    Good to read you again, it’s been a while because I disappeared into myself for a while there. I’ve started writing on my blog again, but differently now; it is unashamedly self-centred and confessional because I’m really using it now as a place to empty my mind so I can focus on the future.

    Hope you’re feeling less down now, and the smoking thing? When you’re 81 and you’ve already got a tracheotomy in place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is quite Angela Cartery I suppose – I do like the whole magic realism thing. I just need to get the final act bit right in my head so I can finish the damn thing off. Yes cutting back quite a lot especially with the carbs during the week and being more relaxed over the weekend. Still going to the gym at least twice a week so feeling stronger which is really important to me – stops me feeling like a frail old woman! I’m glad you’re writing again – I missed your updates! Feeling much better thanks – it was that damn stone brewing I think.

      Good idea hope I make it to 81. God I miss smoking


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