Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013 and Hello 2014

I can't believe this is my last post of 2013.  It's been quite a year to say the least.  It's been a year of constant worry, stress, heartbreak and anxiety all interspersed with lots of happy fun times.  There's been the christening of my baby nephew, the gorgeous, Alex. Plus the birth of my beautiful second nephew Zach which were both the happiest of times.  We've had lots of family fun times and days out together, which in turn has built up a whole photograph album of memorable fun moments.  Memories that will stay with me forever.

This Christmas has been perfect.  Just me and my babies. That is all I need.  Christmas day didn't quite go to plan, as with everything, there is always a drama.  This year it wasn't the kids that were ill but my mum who was the nominated chef for the day.  There was nothing for it but to head round there and roll up my sleeves and step into her shoes.  The day wasn't spoilt by any means and it's another Christmas we can look back on and say, "Remember that year when..."

So, New Years Eve sees me sat with my feet up with a nice cold bottle of wine and a big box of chocolates all snuggled up with the two little people that mean the world to me and there's no where else that I would rather be.  Old and boring? Maybe! But, do you know what? I don't care.  I'm happy and content and that's all I care about right now.

Hopefully 2014 will being a little less drama although I wouldn't count on it.  What ever life throws at me I will take it on the chin and continue to smile and wade my way through.  My first continuing challenge is to get the vermin that is still in residence out of my loft.  Three weeks now I have lived with the little pest.  Every time I think I am one step closer to catching the thing it evades me once again.  So far it has refused to take the bait.  The traps are set and have been multiplied. I managed to track down where in the loft it is going and managed to clear away the debris of straw, leaves and junk that it had been collecting.  The traps were relocated but to no avail it's still at large.  I think it's time to call the pest control guys back in again.  Surely, there has to be a way to make it move on.

With regards my writing I haven't achieved much of what I set out to do at the beginning of 2013.  The simple fact is time has just not been on my side.  There's been so much to do and not enough hours in the day.  I'm in the process of compiling a whole new set of targets and maybe this year I may have more ticks then crosses against them.

On a plus note I've attracted 10481 page views to this blog which is a statistic that I am feeling a little bit smug about.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that amount of people would be interested in what I have to say.  Maybe they aren't but I must be doing something a little bit right.

I've managed to devour of total of 53 books this year, some good, some really bad but all read to the end.  Some have been reviewed on here and one of my targets for next year is to increase the number of book reviews I cover.  At the minute I'm loving finding some lesser known authors.  Some of their work is definitely better than some of the bigger names I've read.  So for all those lesser known writers out there hopefully I will pick a book of yours in the not to distant future and post a review leading to a little recognition for all your hard work.  If your one of those writers that would like me to review your work please feel free to get in touch.

So, that's it from me for this year.  Happy New Year everyone and have a prosperous 2014. 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The True Spirit of Christmas

After a really rubbish week and an incredibly tough day today there was a moment tonight that made me smile and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

It was 6.30pm and the kids were all bathed and we were chilling on the sofa in front of the TV when the sound of Christmas Carols filled the street.  We all shot to the front door to see a float slowly driving past with a little Mary and Joseph on the back followed by a crowd of shepherds and wise men, who were all handing out little packets of sweets to the children.

It was a really nice moment as all the neighbours came to their doors, all with smiles on their faces, whilst the kids darted outside to get a better view.  I think that's a moment when you truly do feel the spirit of Christmas.

It was all put on by the local church.  Now, I'm not a church goer or a big believer but there is something special about the story of Christmas.  I love all the nativity's and Christmas Carols and I've even decided that this year we are going to get into the true spirit of Christmas and I plan to take the kids to church on Christmas Eve to the carol service.  It's something I have never done before but It's something I'd really love to do with my kids.    So, thank you St John's Church you turned my day from a bad one to a good one.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Going insane

My little visitor has still not left the building.  It is driving me mad. I'm turning into a bit of an expert on rats.  I'm up on all their behaviours and all the various ways of getting rid and repelling them but nothing is working.  I find myself laid googling in the early hours of the morning to see what more I can possibly do. I hate the things and I don't want it in my house spreading it's diseases and causing who knows what damage.  Rat, rat, rat it's all I can think about.  I'm being plagued by it, and it's driving me nuts.  The sleep deprivation isn't helping.  I feel like an absolute zombie.  My brain is fuddled.
 
My weekend was dominated by the bloody thing.  Saturday was spent chopping back Ivy which the neighbours have also helped with, well so they should, they planted the stuff and let it grow out of control, at least now that is all chopped down so should make it's access more difficult.  It must be going out for food because there is certainly nothing edible in my loft.

Sunday I decided it was time to be really brave and armed with a sweeping brush I went up into the loft for a good investigate.eugh it's the horrible long tails that just creep me out.  My biggest fear is that I did disturb it and it managed to run down the loft hatch and then it would actually be in my house.
  My mouth was dry and my heart was pounding.  It's just the thought that at any second it could dart out from somewhere if I disturbed it and

I can't find a bloody thing.  The place where I thought it was sleeping was empty, not a trace.  The only thing I did find was a mound of birds feathers which only leads me to the totally disgusting thought that it's taken it up there to eat,  Gross.  I've moved boxes and searched and searched all to no avail.

I've clocked it's wake up time as being 10.30pm and it goes back to sleep anytime between 5.30 and 6.30.  I've got traps, poison, a repellent alarm and still 7 days later it's dancing round.  I get in to bed and am constantly alert.  Listening, every little sound my ears are pricked.  I'm turning paranoid.  I actually can't believe how many noises your house makes when you actually sit and listen.  Which I have done for nights.

Charlie brought home a letter from school the other day about online reading website which contained his log on and password.  I just couldn't believe it, his password is rat.  What the hell?  He scared the hell out of me this morning when he came running into the bedroom and shouted, "Mummy, look what I've caught, the rat from the loft," I screamed as he threw it towards me only to find that it was the horrible bloody plastic rat from Halloween.  Thanks a lot Charlie.  I did have a little chuckle to myself later on once my heart had returned to it's normal rhythm.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

I just couldn't write it!

The story of my life, if I actually sat and wrote it you'd probably think I had the strangest imagination, nothing like that can possibly happen in real life, can it? Well, in my life, it most certainly can.

After my rather stressful and eventful weeks back in November things have quietened down nicely and it's been back to normality, as normal as my life is.  No cleaning up of leaking water, the heating is working nicely and everything was hunky dory.  Until last night, that is.

I'd just crawled into my bed, got all nice and comfy and was just having a little read before drifting off to sleep when the sound of pitter, patter, pitter, patter, came from my bedroom ceiling.  I shot up, ears pricked, scratch, scratch, scratchity, scratch, thud, thud, thud, thud.  OH MY GOD!!!!  I occasionally have the odd bird pay a visit to my loft and that's generally not a problem but that was no bird. 

I've been through this before ten years ago when I first moved into my house and there is no mistaking the fact that there is yet another rat invaded my house.  It was having some kind of party in my loft and by the noise it was making it had borrowed a pair of my 6 inch heels.  Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit.  It can't be, I thought.  How the hell would a rat get up there?  The first rat I had, we discovered had made it's way in through a rather large hole under the kitchen cupboards left kindly by the previous owner.  That was blocked up years ago and to this day remains nice and secure.

I grabbed my phone and goggled, 'Rats in lofts.' To my horror I discovered that, yes, rats can get into lofts by climbing walls and drain pipes.  What the hell? My heart sank.  Here we go again.  It kept me awake almost all night.  I couldn't help but lay awake listening.  It would all go quiet and I'd just be drifting off when pitter, patter, pitter, patter, it would be off again.  Arrrggghhh! It gives me the creeps.

Well, Roland you are not welcome. I've had enough RATS walk in and out of this house to last me a lifetime. I did not invite you to take up residence in my loft and it's time to say goodbye.  I had the pest control guys out this morning who have left a capacious amount of rat poison about plus a few bait boxes.  Then tonight I have been and purchased a repellent alarm which should hopefully make him realise that he is not welcome and neither is any of his family.  I wish there was someone like that to take care of the men in my life that have turned out to be rats.

The next problem is the fact that the alarm needs a power source and I don't have electricity in my loft.  So, it's been a bit of a Blue Peter job to temporarily get power up there.  There is currently an extension reel up in the loft with the wire running down the wall into the plug in my hallway.  That unfortunately left a tiny crevice where my loft hatch won't close.  Hmmm, I will never sleep with the thought that just maybe something could get out of the tiny gap, not likely but with my luck quite probable.  Think, think, think.  Ah ha, ripped up an empty cereal box and folded it to fill the crack and then covered in 5 inches of brown tape. Get out of there you horrible creature.

It's looking like the doorway into my loft is via next doors ivy that has grown all the way nicely up the side of the house.  Why, Mr rat did you not go into their house? It's their Ivy.  I've had a little word tonight and he's agreed that he will try and chop it down at weekend.  Well, he said he would kill it off by chopping the bottom of it.  He's as much use as a chocolate fireguard.  I had to explain that just chopping the bottom is not going to help as the thing will still be able to use it as a ladder, dead or not.  What you need to do, I explained, is get up a ladder and chop some of the top off so that they can't climb all the way up.  Oh yeah, he replied.  Tell you what I'll get some bloody ladders and do the job myself.  Be quick to chop it down if it was invading their house.

I feel a bit like a zombie right now and wait to climb into bed.  Unfortunately, I'm not hopeful of a good nights sleep.  The guys that came this morning laughed when I said, "I might get a good nights sleep tonight."
"Oh no, they said with all the activity and the traps that will probably set them off and they'll be fairly active for a few days until things take effect.  I can't wait for that.  It's going to be another long night.  The sofa is sounding a good option at the minute.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Review of War Crimes for the home by Liz Jensen

I've had this book downloaded to my kindle for quite some time but just never had the chance to get round to reading and am I glad I finally have.

I am a bit of a sucker for the old war-time romance novels, in face, I have a bit of a fascination with the World Wars full stop.  I do find that a lot of the novels are a little on the samey side but not this one.  This book tackled brilliantly the struggles of war and the chaos it leaves behind from a re-life point of view.

Gloria, is a grumpy, cantankerous old lady spending the final days of her life in an old peoples home.  She has suffered a stroke and been left with memory loss.  A memory loss that may not be quite as bad as Gloria pretends it is.  She's not had an easy life and has raised her only son, Hank, single-handily.  She's non-to keen on his wife, who she refuses to call by her name, Karen, and believes she's not good enough for her son.

When Hank finds a box full of Gloria's personal documents little did he know that he was opening a can of worms and when a glamorous stranger appears at Gloria's bedside there a whole host of questions about Gloria's past that are finally answered.

Gloria is a wonderful character. We grow up with her from a young war-time girl to the old lady she is today and for all her rough edges you can't help but fall in love with her.  Her past is shocking but the end result is she can finally lay her demons to rest. I will certainly be looking for more work from his author.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Festive Fun!

Phew, it's been a full on Christmas marathon this weekend.  Yesterday saw the tree dug out of the loft along with the boxes and boxes of decorations dragged out and sorted through.  I got rid of loads of junk and just kept the decent decorations that I had earmarked for use this year.  With the kids out for the day I got cracking and got the tree up in record time with the furniture all re-arranged already so that with the Christmas songs on full blast, the Santa hats on heads, wine flowing for mummy and juice and sweeties for the kiddies we had a lovely evening of decorating the tree and putting up the all decorations whilst singing at the top of our voices. 

Today with the kids out again I got stuck into wrapping up the presents.  I'm not sure where all the the bags and bags of presents that have somehow accumulated in the loft have appeared from.  I'm sure I hadn't done that much shopping! Whoops, maybe I did.  Well, I can't resist a bargain or two, or three, or four.  80% of that is now done and dusted.  My back is killing from sitting on the floor for 4 hours, my arms are aching from all the heavy lifting of bags and boxes in and out of the loft and I'm shattered but it's been good fun.

I've also downloaded the Norad Santa Tracker and what fun I have had with that tonight.  Somehow my kids have ended up on the naughty list. I don't know how that happened.   They have sent to texts to Santa and he's replied explaining why they are on the naughty list.  Tonight, they haven't put a foot wrong.  Not a murmur, not the whiff or an argument just perfect little kids desperate to get onto Santa's Good List.  You can't beat a bit of blackmail haha.  I'm liking this game, a lot.

I can't wait for Santa to arrive.  I think I may be a little more excited than the kids right now.