How I acquired Husband.

To be clear I’m not talking about A husband. No.  Not any dusty old husband, but the man that is widely known in my stories as ‘Husband’. MY husband. I think it’s important to mention at this stage that the mould wasn’t just broken when he was made but well and truly annihilated. Husband is an old school man who doesn’t really like to show emotion or any feelings and under no circumstances would want anyone to think he actually liked me, his wife.  He prefers to play the role of a long suffering victim that has been forced against his will to settle down, marry and have a family. He is also the biggest wind up merchant I know which lends itself nicely to the lies he likes to tell about our relationship.

His favourite thing these days, 18 years on, is to pretend that I tricked him into marrying me, trapping him at various points through our life and that I planned the whole thing from the beginning.  He especially enjoys this little fabrication when he is drunk and we are amongst friends so he can tell his tale. This is his party piece.

I met him when I was 22 and he was 29.  I admit it was a bit whirl windy and after our fourth or fifth date I never really left his house, bagging my own key after about 3 weeks. 

Trap 1 – Moving in without his consent. 

(He actually invited me to move in because he liked me (I am very cool) and had already told me he loved me – Of course he denies this and always will until the day death takes him)

When the topic of children arose, which granted, wasn’t often because honestly until I was 27 I wasn’t a fan of ankle biters, he would sternly tell me that he had his girls and that he probably wouldn’t have anymore. Before we met he had started early and had a 2 year old and a 5 year old by the time he was 23.

Now for the honeymoon period of our relationship this never bothered me.  Certainly not for the first 5 years anyway.  I never liked children and wasn’t sure I even wanted any. Never the maternal sort, I’d shy away when customers came into the bank where I work showcasing their newborns, trying to make everyone in sight coo over and cuddle their offspring. I’d be the one slinking in the shadows when everyone else would be queuing up to have a turn. It was slightly different when friends would have a new baby, after all it was a squidgy, cute extension of the friend in question and so easier to warm to. 

Now I mention this because by the time I was 27 something had happened to me.  Mother Nature appeared to have launched a full no holds barred attack on my womanhood.  It was brutal and unprovoked, a real kick to my biological clock.  And just like that I longed for my own small person. Around this time there was a false alarm incident which had me sweating as I knew Husbands view on it. When it was discovered that it was a false alarm however he seemed disappointed, not totally gutted but marginally deflated which was the only green light I needed.  I stopped taking my pill and was pregnant within 2 months and when I told him the news he was thrilled.

Trap 2 – Having a baby with him.

(He was super excited when we welcomed a feisty little girl into the world, a new little sister for his older girls)

One January evening, when our first born was around 18 months old he came home from work and announced that he had decided that we wouldn’t go on holiday that year but instead we would get a ring. 

 I was furious.  This was for two reasons.

Firstly, I had been endlessly looking online for a belter of a holiday deal day and night for the best part of a week.  Hunched over the laptop until my back hurt and my eyes were square.  Now only to be told we wouldn’t be going anywhere.  Secondly I had no idea what a ‘ring’ was. Was it a new piece of building kit for his job as a brickie?  Was it a curtain ring?  Not really one for fully explaining himself in any situation that is all he had said.  It never even occurred to me that it could be something as wonderful as an engagement ring.  Right from the start of our time together he had always maintained that marriage was a waste of time and money and was just a  pointless piece of paper.  Christmases and birthdays had been and gone in the 7 years we had been together and even though I always knew the likelihood was slim to non-existent I felt let down each time I was never presented with a ring in a fancy box, so by this time I had accepted it was never going to happen.

Me – Are you joking? I’ve been on the laptop again all day. I’ve found some great ones. What’s a ‘ring’ anyway?

Him – An engagement ring.  Doh. (always a charmer)

Me – Oooh. (stunned silence)

Him – You should have a look and see what you like.

Me – Ok. (Lost for words, confused and a bit scared.  Aso planning how enormous my ring would be and if we would have to sell the house and live in my mum’s garage to be able to afford it.)

After a bit of browsing I had decided what style of ring I wanted and had made the argument that because I hadn’t been blessed with slim fingers that it would have to be sizable to prevent it from looking like a pimple on a pig’s arse.  He agreed and it was only a few weeks later that I found the perfect one through a private jewelry dealer. Big, beautiful and vintage, I couldn’t wait to go and try it on.  I was a little concerned about the price but Husband seemed pleased when I told him we had an appointment to view it and try it on.  I knew he wouldn’t have agreed to go if we couldn’t afford it, he didn’t do things like that.  The risk of losing face was too high.

I instantly loved it and it fitted perfectly.  Even Husband was fussy and he’s generally not the sort to break a sweat over anything.  We told the jeweler we would be in touch as we didnt want to seem too keen, maybe he would knock a few quid off if he thought we were keeping our options open.  The whole way home and all the next day I was unbearably smug about my impending jewel.  That was until Husband told me to call the dealer and tell him we couldn’t afford it.

WHAAAAAT??!!!

With no real explanation about the bomb he just dropped and after a few tears and choice words from me I made the call. As the words stuck in my throat I was told it wasn’t a problem as he had a few other interested parties.  I was gutted.  I also never spoke to Husband for a week.  Fancy letting me go and try on my dream ring and then making me call to say we didn’t want it.  What a knob.

I had barely got over the whole charade when Valentine’s day hit a month later.  I was still imagining all the ways I would torture and kill Husband more than I should have been.  I suppose I was still miffed.  For that reason this particular year I bought him a card but no present.

Valentine’s day morning.

Me – Happy Valentines day (handing a card over)

Him – I haven’t got you one

Me- Is this a Fucking joke? 

Instantly I began to picture all the grizzly ways I would get rid of him. It really wasn’t good enough.  Upsetting me last month about that bloody ring and now he had the chance to make it up on Valentines day  but he hadn’t even bothered. 

I was FUMING.

Dramatically throwing off the duvet, huffing and puffing and desperately trying not to bludgeon him to death with the bedside lamp I got up  to get my dressing gown.  If he thought for a second he was getting a nice breakfast or anything else he was very much mistaken.

Him – … but I have got you this, if you want it.

Spinning around to see what miserable thing he had just found down the side of the bed and was now trying to offer to me as a present I saw him holding a big fancy box.  Not only was it a big fancy box but inside it held my dream ring.  The very same one I had told the jeweller we didn’t want.  It turns out that he had already bought it before I made the call and it was all an elaborate ruse to throw me off the scent, that everyone was in on except me.

Trap 3 – Picking out my own engagement ring.  

(He likes to conveniently forget that it was all his idea and that he actually asked me to find one. He rewrites this in his mind as me just randomly choosing an engagement ring off my own back, therefore forcing him to buy it and marry me.)

So I got my ring after all.  

Three months later we were married at a beautiful place in the country with an intimate guest list for the day and had a huge party on the night. My step daughters made beautiful bridesmaids, our first born the cutest flower girl and we discovered just before that I was actually 3 months pregnant with our son so when he asks why he wasn’t in the photos I tell him he was there but nice and cosy in mummy’s tummy.

And that is the story of how I acquired Husband.  The true version.

The 10,000 Mile Stroll

Last Christmas 2 things happened that had never happened before.

  1. We went away on a little family holiday over the Christmas period.
  2. Husband arranged all of it.

Sitting on the edge of the bed of the youngest Ankle biter I could feel myself bobbing.  That lovely little slice of rapture just between being awake and being asleep. Until I was abruptly awoken by a booming voice coming from the direction of our bedroom.  It was Husband.  ’’Quick, quick, come quick!!’’

     ‘’What’s Happened?  What’s going on?’’I demanded, dashing into the bedroom expecting to find a fire or something equally as dreadful.

‘’Quickly, put our details in here’’  He thrust the laptop at me ‘’Hurry up there’s 30 seconds left before it times out’’ 

 Husband and technology didn’t get along.  I was the one that did the vast majority of household admin and anything else that required laptop use, excluding ebay of course.  Husband was an ebay evil genius.  After tapping in our name, address, credit card number and a few other details  I handed him back the laptop and enquired as to what I had just booked.  He informed me that we had just secured 4 nights away to leave on Boxing Day. Apparently it had been on his mind for the last few weeks. He wanted to book and sort everything out himself as a surprise.  Just a pity he had been pipped to the post at the last minute from completing his solo mission by the threat of a screen timeout.  It still warmed my heart though.  What a thoughtful idea.  As a general rule Husband didn’t do things like this.  And it was because of this that I would  have accepted anything gratefully, even a night in a wheelie bin at the top of the street.  Thankfully it was much better than that.  Husband had booked a luxury cabin in the woods with a hot tub!  He’d even booked a place for our Dog. Too old to go in the kennels, our handsome bully usually spent his holidays at mum’s house but not this time, he was coming along.  Unsure of what was necessary and what was not, concerning upgrades and pre-booking, Husband had pre-booked and upgraded everything he could get his grubby little hands on.

  1. Pizza and ice cream delivery night
  2. The Sky Movies Premiere unlimited package 
  3. Hand chopped kiln dried logs for the woodburner
  4. Breakfast Hamper
  5. A fancy fandangled insurance in case the dog ate the sofa or the carpet during the night.

Very comprehensive.  Very impressive.  VERY expensive.  I was a little taken aback when I found out the price but it was Husbands surprise and nothing to do with me so I sucked it up and was safe in the knowledge that he wouldn’t be winning any travel agent of the year awards anytime soon for his price promise capabilities.

3 months.  That was how long I had to decide and prepare what to take with us.  It would be left to me to plan ahead for every possible eventuality that may or may not occur to any of us including the dog during our 4 day stay.  Over the weeks leading up to our little holiday I gathered mountains of essentials and made long professional lists, only crossing things off once they had been safely purchased and packed. I can’t ever remember being more excited about a holiday.  Was it that it was only a drive away and we wouldn’t have to endure the ball ache of airport security, luggage check in and departure lounge monotony?  Or was it the simple fact that this was the first family holiday in existence that I hadn’t had to book and therefore be responsible for? Yes.  That was definitely it.  As part of my housewife role the responsibility of trip planning was forced upon me.   Finding the best deals. Booking them, all separately if necessary. Matching up flights, accommodation, booking return transfers. Getting the appropriate currency.  Online check in, seat selection, keeping passports up to date. The list is always endless.  If ever I go anywhere with my friends, or Husband and I go away with another couple I deliberately don’t get involved with any of the planning because in all honesty I’m not fussy about the details so long as I don’t have to organise or be in charge of anything.  I’m nothing short of ecstatic when someone else offers to play mum, only too happy to let them.  Seriously, just tell me where, when and how much. If you can choose my dress, pick me up from my house and be in charge of the kitty purse aswell all the better.

Four days worth of food, all the dog clobber, wellies, coats, waterproofs, gaming consoles, 2 suitcases, 2 Anklebiters, 1 Husband and 1 dog.  That’s quite a lot to fit into a Mini.  But we did it.  Granted there was no room for manoeuvre and the poor dog barely had space to breathe but the drive was only an hour and we made good time even stopping on route for a hot chocolate and a bun from an exotic looking little deli near Dalby Forest.

On arrival we were greeted with a very full, very muddy car park.  No one had been forward thinking enough to already have their wellies on, instead all appropriate footwear was crammed in the boot along with the poor dog. It was decided by unanimous vote  that I’d be the one (obviously)  to go to the front desk and check us in while everyone else stayed in the car, out of the cold and the darkness that had fallen.  We had been advised that check in was from 4pm but told it was likely that cabins would be ready from 3pm.  It was showing as 3.50 on the clock in my car so I was sure we’d be good to go.  Waiting in the queue of people at reception, which also doubled as a gift shop,  I couldn’t help but notice the array of bagged penny sweets that were far from costing pennies and a collection of snazzy looking bagged baked vegetable shards masquerading as crisps. All of which were near the thick end of a tenner.  Bloody hell, I was  glad we had packed up.

By the time I got to the front of the queue  I was cross. Cross it was taking so long and cross I’d been nominated in the first place when the rest of my family were cosy in the car and nowhere near the hundreds of people that seemed to be sloping around.  It was now 4.25.  I’d been waiting there for over half an hour obsessively looking at the extremely overpriced junk food and slowly losing the will to live. At last my turn.  I smiled my politest smile and waited for the very young very bored looking school girl to take my particulars. No warm welcome, no smile, just  ‘’We’re running late with the cabins so it’ll be about another half an hour’’ She announced with the enthusiasm of a dead slug.   Could I be any more peeved at this point?  Probably not.  I decided to brave the quagmire of a car park to update the troops and kill some time.  I explained the situation briefly and immediately Husband and the Anklebiters seemed annoyed.  Even our dog seemed annoyed.  It was decided that we should park the car somewhere more permanent and Husband would take charge of dog walking while I went back to reception and attempted to get hold of a cabin key at all costs.  Nearly an hour and no apology later we graced the entrance to our cabin.  As we approached the doorway clutching bags and food and dogs a lady with a mop and bucket was just letting herself out.

Although steeped in luxury, there were no two ways about it, the cabin was dirty.  Husband isn’t one for complaints and neither am I really unless I’m left with no other choice.  In this situationI knew if I voiced my observations that Husband would see it as a personal attack having booked this holiday all by himself (well nearly.)  The  wooden floors were saturated when we entered but not clean.  As if they’d been washed with filthy water.  The toilet seat had pee on it and the bin in the kitchen and surrounding wall was covered in dried up food.  Not ideal.  Youngest Anklebiter then took this opportunity to declare that after a quick scout round  he liked the upstairs bedroom. The double bed, ensuite room with the forest views, and that’s where he would be sleeping.  Of course this was after he had jumped and scurried over the beds in the downstairs twin room with wet socks leaving behind crusty black footprints all over the white bed linen.  In fact we all had wet socks from the irrigated wooden floor. 

4 showers and 4 bowls of homemade soup and wedges of fresh crusty bread later we settled down to watch Aquaman courtesy of Husbands premiere unlimited sky movies package. 2 hours of Jason Mamoa in lycra leggings. Yes please.  I may have had a ridiculous grin on my face for the whole of the film.

The following day arrived.  After Bacon banjos we all got ready and decided that a lovely walk with the dog through the forest was on the cards.  It was a smidge before lunchtime and I was certain that a brisk walk in the fresh air would blow the cobwebs off and give us an appetite for something delicious at the onsite bistro on our return.  The views into the forest from our cabin were wonderful, if not a little unnerving after dark when anything or anyone could be hiding in there.  Like zombies.  I’ve never been partial to a horror movie.  I don’t understand why you would deliberately subject yourself to the terror of your greatest fear? Generally not much scares me but zombies are a different kettle of fish.  The mere thought of one (I know they’re fictional.  Aren’t they?) standing quietly in the undergrowth of the forest silently heaving while watching our cabin made my neck prickle and had me checking the front door was locked more than once.  I didn’t actually see any zombies however there was an assortment of wildlife including deer, hedgehogs and birds.  This made it a hive of activity and during the daylight hours was fascinating.

   Armed with a bottle of water and the dog’s lead we set off.  At first there were a few people milling about with their families and respective dogs of all shapes and sizes.   The more streams we walked through and the more shortcuts off the footpath we took the less people seemed to be around.  

45 minutes in

The anklebiters were playing and chasing through the trees and seemed to be getting on great, I couldn’t believe it.  We’d been out over half an hour and not one cross word or one falling out had materialised.  Brilliant.  It was about this time that Husband and I observed we hadn’t bumped into anyone for quite a while.  Terrible at directions of any description, I questioned Husband as to how long he thought it would take us to get back and if we were heading in the right direction.  He gave me a look that suggested he was in full control and that I shouldn’t doubt his navigational abilities.  I hoped it wouldn’t take us long, I was thirsty and hadn’t been quick enough to cadge even a drop of the water before the anklebiters had engaged in a water fight 10 minutes into the walk and wasted  the lot.  This had earned them a stern talking to by Husband, a survival expert.  

We came to a clearing of trees at one side of the first road.  They had been felled and it looked as though it was the beginnings of another road under construction.  Husband did a quick calculation and thought it might bring us out somewhere in the direction of our forest retreat.  We took the plunge and began to walk up the hill on the new road. After what seemed like ages we came to a main road. 

1hr 55 mins in

 We were all flagging horribly by now.  The anklebiters were starting to complain and the dog even looked pissed off. There was nothing on the long straight main road at all.  No sign posts, no pavements, and also no signal on any of our phones it would appear.  I had whipped out my mobile hoping the maps app or the sat nav would, if not guide us back, at least tell us which way down this bloody main road to walk.  It was dawning on me by now that we were pretty much on our own. To the right I could see nothing at all but to the left, just out of focus was a tiny house at the side of the road with smoke coming out of its chimney.  ‘’Let’s walk to that house and get directions’’ I suggested, pleased with my idea.

   ‘’How ridiculous!  We don’t need directions and we definitely won’t be stopping to knock on anyone’s door’’ Huffed Husband noisily while stalking off ahead in the same direction as the house, at an unnaturally fast pace.  We all tried to keep up the best we could, all doing the fast walk half run thing in single file so as not to be mowed down by any passing vehicles. As we approached the house I knew with certainty that Husband would not be stopping and under no circumstances would he be asking anybody for help.  Husband NEVER asked for help. EVER. Not in an emergency situation, not in a life and death situation and come hell and high water absolutely not in a direction seeking situation.   The likelihood was high that we would be found days later, laid out in a ditch at the side of the road, dehydrated and hungry with severe facial windburn, crazily chanting under our breath over and over ‘’Just ask at the house’’ ‘’Just ask at the house’’  ‘’Just ask at the house’’ and Husband would be laid next to us chanting ‘’No’’ ‘’No’’ ‘’No’’ ‘’No’’.  Having mulled this over I made the decision not to end up half dead in a ditch and took it upon myself to pay the house a visit.   After telling the little ones to stay near dad I yelled ‘’ I’m asking for directions, wait here’’  I immediately crossed the road before Bear Gryles could object and disappeared round the back of the house to find a small courtyard and lots of chopped firewood. I knocked on the door  and waited.  Almost instantly the door opened to reveal a small elderly lady with a welcoming smile. ‘’Hello are you lost?’’ She enquired. (Good god, was she a psychic?) I explained where our morning stroll had taken us and that we were in fact a little unsure of the way back.  She then asked me which cabin retreat we were staying at? (I beg your pardon, what do you mean which one?) It turned out that there were actually two retreats 5 miles apart and it appeared from what she was telling me that we were smack bang in the middle of both .WTF   Once it had been established which one we were at she explained that it was quite a long way to walk on foot.  She suggested it would be shorter to walk back the way we came but the risk of us getting lost and being eaten alive by zombies come nightfall was quite high. Okay she never mentioned being eaten by zombies but the rest is true.  She said in her opinion it would be simpler to stick to the main road and instructed us to continue walking up the steep hill until we reached the village and from there our site would be sign posted. I thanked her authentically and went to report back to the troops about the next leg of our adventure.

I disclosed what I had learned from the lady at the house.  Husband pretended that he knew all along there was a village up ahead and that’s where he had been heading anyway.  No skin off my nose, I felt better knowing for certain that we were walking in the right direction and would eventually stumble on civilization.  The road was endless, it was also ridiculously steep.  So steep we  had to lean forward at a very obscure angle to keep our balance.  It was hard work but  other than the odd quiet sob our youngest anklebiter was doing brilliantly.  Husband was doing a few quiet sobs himself.  He had an ongoing problem with his knee, sometimes he was in so much pain that it made him wince. On a day to day basis he usually wore a knee brace but hadn’t bothered today because how taxing could a half an hour dog walk be.  The incline on this road was doing him no favours.  Deliberately ignoring him as this was the only way I could hold things together, all hope of finding anything except fields, sheep and the odd tractor was leaving me.  My legs hurt, my back hurt and my ears hurt from the perpetual whining and complaining coming from the eldest anklebiter. A typical 12 year old she made a meal out of everything.  Instead of conserving all energy to get up this fucking hill and and get home without keeling over, she chose to take on the personality of the Harry Enfield character ‘Kevin’.  Grunting and gasping dramatically, with intermittent huge fake cries it would be a miracle if we made it much further without someone being told off.  I attempted to explain as calmly as I could that none of us wanted to be lost and walking for 2 days straight with no drink but that was the reality we were facing unless we could get a shift on.  I did not want to bring up the impending night time zombie situation. I gave my word that as soon as we reached the village we had been promised we could stop for a rest, and maybe even pop in at the pub that would hopefully be there.  Every village had a pub didn’t it?

3 Hours in

Finally!  Houses. A village green. A small oldy worldy shop that sold nothing except home made preserves. Probably.   And a pub! Hooray  Everyone’s spirits were immediately lifted.  We all cheered and made our way towards the pub.  We would have a drink and maybe get a very late lunch before completing the final leg of our journey. Crossing the road to the pub a brown signpost caught my eye. I could see Husband had also noticed it.  It had a cabin symbol on it and an arrow. Underneath, it informed us how far away we were. 

KELDY CABINS 

4 MILES

(FFS was this a joke? I wanted to kill myself.  I hoped the pub sold cyanide.)  I glared at Husband and he glared back.  Time stood still. Then his face crumbled and he started to laugh.  One of those laughs you do when there’s nothing else you can do.  His laugh made me laugh.  We were standing outside of a pub we now didn’t have time to go in, laughing like lunatics.  The children looked confused but there was no way they could see the sign post, it would finish them off.  Time was knocking on and it would get dark before we knew it.  I worked out we had approximately an hour and a half to walk 4 miles before we would all be left in the dark, in the middle of nowhere and in the shit.  Showcasing a selection of wellies and Ugg boots and no real professional walking footwear I was positive it would be a real struggle.

Rolling around, crying on the village green the anklebiters were truly beside themselves.  We had just dropped the bombshell that we were skipping the pub lunch in favour of picking up the pace and power walking the rest of the way. The dog had even laid down and wasn’t very forthcoming about getting back up. 

‘’Please dad, call an Uber. Please. Please I can’t go on’’ Pleaded our youngest, clearing having watched too much American TV.

     ‘’We don’t even have Uber here you idiot. I’m sick of your voice so just SHUT UP!!’’ Screeched the eldest.  (Although Uber does exist in the UK there isn’t a presence where we are from and therefore would be only something seen on TV.)

‘’ Can you die from walking?’’ Asked the youngest. 

 I’d heard enough.  ‘’STOP!   No more arguing.  We all need to have a positive mental attitude.  If we think we can do it we’ll be able to.  No more crying, come on WE CAN DO THIS!!’’ Had I been watching too much American TV?  Finally we managed to remove the dog and the children from the village green.  Following the country lane out of the village it led us past the last house and onto the longest, straightest tarmacked road I had ever seen in my whole life.  The sort you see on films, set in the Australian outback where cars run out of full tanks of petrol between rest stops.  Except of course it wasn’t baron.  We were surrounded by thick greenery. Dense, zombie ridden greenery.

4hrs 15 mins in … 45 ish minutes to darkness

Trying to ignore the burn of my legs and the throb of my feet, the promise of a cup of tea and a soak in the hot tub kept me going.The threat of me giving another motivational speech kept the children going, limping towards the finish line.  On reflection the Ankle biters had done exceptionally well.  Dressed in terribly inappropriate footwear for a 5 hours trek, and with legs much shorter than ours they had kept up, even when Husband was on a mad march earlier on.  Although determined to complete this fiasco, I could see the eldest was due an outburst.  Quietly chuntering to herself angrily I couldn’t quite make out what she was saying.  Husband made the school boy error of asking what she was fussing about, in a way only Husband could.  Systematically rubbing her up the wrong way and causing an almighty row.  (Pretending you cannot hear anything when it’s more than obvious is underrated and not used enough. I do it all the time.)  A massive slanging match followed.  The result of this was that Husband stormed off in front, never one to take the moral high ground.  I turned around to make sure the eldest wasn’t heartbroken and crying into a bush somewhere only to catch her giving Husband the finger with both hands.  I was in shock.  But I also loved it. Not very good at having a poker face, as soon as our eyes met and she knew that I’d seen her,  I laughed.  Then she laughed, I think out of shock mostly for not being dragged across the coals.  We quickly recovered and continued our journey.

4hrs 45 mins in … 15 minutes to total blackout

Daylight had started to elude us a while ago.  We really were against the clock now.  Husband kept saying absurd things to the children like ‘’Look for somewhere we can camp because we’re not going to make it’’ Very reassuring for the children as you can imagine.  The youngest kept looking at me, asking with his eyes if dad was telling the truth.   I kept shaking my head and he would look relieved.  This was a common routine we went through on a day to day basis. Husband liked to tell tall stories to the children, thinking he was funny when in actual fact he was scaring the shit out of them.  I was always the one to confirm or deny the truth for them via a head shake or a nod.  The turn off was in sight and yet another little brown sign post confirmed this.

KELDY CABINS

½ MILE

Not quite there yet but within our reach! On finishing our celebratory family Mexican wave a wild haired woman appeared out of nowhere dressed in pyjamas and spouting something about looking for her dog. I carefully gathered the children and continued our quest.  She had clearly escaped from an asylum.  So I thought anyway. Husband thought she was nice and had stopped to exchange pleasantries with her after the children and I had escaped.

  It was dark now.  The lights from the cabins were glowing in the distance creating a warm allure.  When we had left this morning we had been jovial, and full of life.  Smugly taking selfies and laughing and joking about all sorts.  Now as we dragged our aching, beaton carcasses over the threshold to the retreat we had just enough left in us to take one more selfie.  A victory selfie of us all together in the dark next to the WELCOME TO KELDY CABINS sign.  Nothing about it was flattering and it is not one I shall be banding about freely, however it is a reminder that we worked together (kind of)  and survived.  For that reason it’s one I will be hanging onto for the family album.

The poor dog climbed straight into his basket once back at the cabin and never moved for 18 hours.  Not to eat.  Not to toilet.  Not for anything.  I was actually quite seriously worried that we’d killed him.  I was relieved the next morning when I saw he was still with us. 
The rest of the trip saw us eat tasty food, swim around in the hot tub with a snorkel (our youngest, not Husband), watch films and relax in general.  We did brave another dog walk on the last day (once we managed to coax the dog from his bed)  but we made the decision not to leave the premises.  Just in case Husband tried to demonstrate any more expert survival skills.

By Eliza Jong . January 2020

Desert Island Essentials

I would like to think that if challenged to go and live on a desert island with only a couple of essential items that I would be able to choose fun, frivolous things because I am carefree, spontaneous and adaptable.  It appears though after I gave this some thought that I am none of these things and if I had to survive without some very mundane items the probability of me dying within the first day would be quite high.

This is by no way an exhaustive list but the first 3 things I thought of that I wouldn’t go anywhere for any length of time without.

*Dental Floss

Last month I had a dental appointment.  Only for a check up, nothing sinister.  The very first question out of the dentist’s mouth before I could even get comfy in the chair was ‘’Do you floss?’’

 Were my teeth that grim he could see the dangly fury bits between them from the doorway?  

I have flossed in the past. 

I flossed as a child when mum used to get the mint flavoured one in the little circular real.  

I floss when I’ve eaten BBQ and have meat stuck in my teeth.

  But I do not floss regularly.  Or I didn’t.  

I was given instructions that  I should begin to floss daily to improve my overall mouth health.  So that’s what I did. 

 At first it was a struggle. It was uncomfortable and my gums would bleed.  Because I was a child of the 80’s, when it was ok to give children dirty great big silver fillings, I couldn’t get the floss all the way through without thinking I was going to yank out one of those silver babies.  But as I persevered I noticed that I needed to floss more and more.  Like an addiction.  Hooked on flossing (dental health not the dance).   I wondered if there was a support group for it?  I was flossing in the morning after my coco pops, after nearly every meal actually and  before the habitual bedtime teeth clean.  I had even bought 5 reals and had begun to place them strategically around the house so I didn’t have to keep going upstairs to retrieve it from the bathroom (I refuse to do any more steps than necessary).  It began to feel like my teeth were actually itching and a spot of flossing was the only way to stop it.  

Have you ever noticed that some older people, elderly people to be more precise sometimes look like they have a full sunday lunch between their teeth? Just to be clear I am not  in any way being rude or disrespectful, old people are actually my favourites.  It’s not a problem I ever remember having in my younger years.  I’m not saying that I’ll be drawing my pension next week but as I get older, and now I have been properly introduced to flossing I feel like I actually couldn’t live without it.

*Indigestion and Heartburn remedies 

You are laid in bed  after a small midnight snack.  A secret snack.  You are a secret night time eater to be accurate.  Practically choking on your own acid because your shitty reflux pipe doesn’t close properly and now actual acid is leaking out. Not actual acid like the battery sort but the stomach sort.  The burning sensation in your chest and throat is horrendous.  The pain between your buzzies is so severe you start to wonder if it is indigestion and heartburn at all.  Maybe you’re having a heart attack?

When I was pregnant the first time round we lived in a house with only a downstairs bathroom.  When I got bigger in the third trimester and the baby insisted I go for 5 wee’s per night I got into the habit of sneaky night time eating.  I would open the snack cupboard and poke a jaffa cake into my mouth.  If I could chew and swallow it while my head was still in the cupboard it was like it never happened and didn’t count so I would take another to eat whilst having a wee.  This happened every night and every wee.  It is unfortunate that 12 years and 3 stone  later I have failed to break the habit and still sneak down during the night in full stealth mode to shovel a few biscuits in before slipping back into bed and pretending I’ve never moved. These days I don’t even have the accompanying  wee.  The shame of it.  

Now, I’m no doctor but I don’t think this helps my indigestion.

Not long ago I was having a particularly painful bout of indigestion. I had two hot water bottles, one for my stomach and one for my back.  I’d  chugged nearly half a bottle of gaviscon straight from the bottle like the class act I am but I was still in agony.  A couple of hours had passed and it wasn’t easing at all so I woke Husband. 

‘’I’m not very well’’ I said in a poorly voice.  The sort of voice you find yourself doing when you ring in sick at work.

‘’You woke me up.  I’ve got to be at work soon’’ he slurred.

‘’But I think I might be having a heart attack’’ I whined.

I then explained how it felt and the pain I was in. I reminded him how we’d all heard the stories about people who thought they had needed a Rennie when really they needed a triple heart bypass.

‘’I think I should go to hospital’’ I announced.

His annoyance at being rudely awoken during the night and being talked to death was obvious.

‘’You’re probably not even having one’’.  He snapped. ‘’I bet you just need to pump.  How embarrassing if we got there and you just needed to let one go’’

So just to conclude, I was on the cusp of heart failure and Husband flat out refused to take me to hospital just in case I showed him up by not actually having a heart attack. Then he went straight back to sleep.  

 I have since learned that copious amounts of peppermint tea will do the trick and bring some relief … and some pumps.  As it happened I did just need to let one go.

*Big Knickers

To avoid confusion I don’t mean a ‘brief’ or a ‘short’ as opposed to a string thong.  I’m referencing great big granny pants.  

Granny pants: They cover your full bottom which seems to be a dying trend given the range of swimwear that has become recently available. If you are shopping for a bikini or a new cozzy you will be hard pushed to find anything that will lovingly hug your backside.  Instead we are faced with something that looks as though it might belong to your 10 year old daughter.  

You can pull them up above your belly button and drop your stomach into them. You can call them ‘high waisted’ if you want to be bang on trend.  Gone are the days  thank god of sexy low cut jeans that were in fact so low cut, knickers of any kind were out of the question.  If you forgot to shave the top part of your landing strip you may have been accused of smuggling a long haired guinea pig down there.

More difficult to lose after a wash.  It’s annoying when you fail to locate the smaller items when a cycle has finished.  Where did they go?  Did the washer eat them? Did they run off with the odd socks and tupperware lids?  It’s far easier to find big knickers when you empty the washing machine, this is due to their sheer size.

The Eventless Event’s Tent

A few months ago Husband received a package through the post.  It was an ebay purchase which is nothing out of the ordinary because he is unnaturally obsessed with ebay and addicted to buying random shit that no one needs, sometimes it doesn’t even get opened.  This is because he enjoys the thrill of buying stuff, whether we need it or not has nothing to do with it.  Not such a problem if it’s silly cheap stuff . After all there are worse vices to have but on this occasion the parcel was quite big which I later found out was neither cheap or in fact of any use. It has now been sitting in the box gathering dust in the corner of the kitchen for the last 6 months and after a row the other day when Husband had the barefaced audacity to accuse me of wasting money I could no longer hold my council.  I let rip about this Fucking thing that had been festering, unopened in the kitchen for the last decade (6 months), at a cost of 2 million pounds (around £300 but you can see where I’m going with this).  So when I arrived home from work on Saturday just imagine my sheer delight to be greeted with a 15 foot shelter on the lawn.

We now have an ‘events tent’ in our back garden with no plans to hold any kind of events.  Husband keeps telling the children to go and play in it, or take the dogs in it.  He has been sitting under it to drink cups of tea and even tried to persuade the kids to sleep in it overnight, marketing it as an adventure, all in a desperate effort to prove its value.  Of course the children and dogs are having none of it rendering the thing basically useless.  Husband has also been insisting how it will come in handy for parties, but the thing is we haven’t had a party in over 3 years and honestly I have no current plans or inclination to have another anytime soon. Mainly because these days I am more unsociable but also I dread the week long hangover that follows any type of social drinking now I’m getting a little older. In addition to these very valid reasons I am also unwilling to clean my home to the degree necessary to welcome people into it.

So for now we have a massive monstrosity in the garden serving no purpose at all other than to get in the way of everything and block out every last lovely view of the countryside from all angles, not forgetting that this wasn’t a misunderstanding or an accidental purchase (come on, we’ve all been there, it’s definitely a thing) He bought it on purpose and at a monetary cost to us. Unbelievable.

I am now welcoming rental enquiries and shall be making this gigantic arse wipe available for weddings, christenings, birthdays, and bog standard Tuesday’s so if you fancy sitting under a big top in my garden then be my guest.

***Update – It is now Wednesday and I’ve had a few days to warm up to the giant arse wipe. Husband moved our outside furniture underneath it and lit some candles, he also promised me some fairy lights. I have been spending a bit of time in my new outdoor living room, reading and relaxing. We also had a sneaky family Bar B Q last night which in my book qualifies as an event worthy of an events shelter. It fitted us all under and a fab time was had by all … enough to declare that I think I might like it ***

Whiffy McWhiffison

I’ve been noticing over the last few months that I am periodically, particularly smelly.  I know it’s summer and we have had some baking hot days but when the smell radiating from your rear end is anything but pleasant and the sheer force of your tit sweats are out of control it’s near impossible to ignore.  Admittedly I did get into a fairly gross lockdown routine  last year of a very begrudging one strip wash per week instead of the more frequent showering routine I had been accustomed to, and I’ll hold my hands up and say that at the time I wasn’t reassessing it for anyone.  

During the first National lockdown when we were banned from leaving the house, mixing with other humans and having any fun at all, I became overly comfortable with my own natural body odour more than what was appropriate, but I settled into it and actually found it physically challenging to wrestle myself into the shower near enough at all. The only other time I remember being this way was during my second pregnancy with my son which I put down to grubby boy hormones. I’m now rethinking this view and hurtling faster and faster towards the conclusion that I am simply a mucky bitch.

 I used to be a solid once a day type showerer back in the pre lockdown days but after I was turned by the promise of social distancing and the knowledge that no one would be getting close enough to smell me I embraced the strip wash and it all went downhill from there.  Obviously I have improved slightly since the full swing of social imprisonment and have now managed to revert back to actual full showers and the occasional bath but only because I’m back at work and mixing with the general public and honestly the last thing I want is a customer at the bank holding their nose while I serve them. 

Worryingly I’ve also discovered more recently that regardless of how many showers I have, or how ruthlessly clean I am I’m still a trifle whiffy. My name could literally be Whiffy McWhiffison. I sweat profusely out of my face, tits and fanny for absolutely no reason at all which would account for the peculiar smell that apparently only I’m aware of, according to Husband. I basically like to randomly ask him if he can smell me while he’s going about his business, eating his tea, watching Gold Hunters or drifting off to sleep.  This involves me well and truly invading his personal space to shove my lady bags and privates far too close to his face to see if he catches a whiff.  As you can imagine he loves this. (He actually doesn’t love it and I’m surprised he hasn’t punched me in the face yet.) After doing some research I’m considering that it could be perimenopause as I appear to have some of the other symptoms as well, and at 41 I’m definitely in that age bracket, also couple of my friends had it confirmed that they had entered perimenopause by a clever test done at the doctors while in their late thirties so i’m definitely old enough.  Brain fog and fatigue have been my new companions of late which would further support this theory. The mood swings I experienced when I had the mirena coil also seem to have returned with a vengeance which isn’t ideal especially not for my marriage.  Just to give you an idea of what I used to go through on a monthly cycle with the coil and again more recently with possible perimenopause symptoms …

Week 1 – Crying.  At everything and anything including but not limited to puppies, old people, my children because they are just so beautiful, world news, and when anyone smiles at me or shows me a slither of kindness.

Week 2- Anger. The all consuming kind where there’s a chance my actual head might blow off. During this week I am a total psycho who is too easily irritated by nearly everything, especially Husband, who I constantly want to stab to death over the slightest thing.

Week 3- Sex Mad.  Feeling frisky 24/7.  Desperately trying not to accost strangers who pass me in the street in favour of trying to convince Husband that I no longer want to kill him in an effort to make him shag me, which as you can imagine he is not that keen on, having spent the previous week being the target of my wrath.  Not Ideal.

Week 4- Fatigue, crippling period pain and trying to grasp what has been happening the previous 3 weeks and wondering if I have a personality disorder.

 Considering all of this I think it’s lucky and absolutely necessary that I have once again become acquainted with my shower, at least on weekdays when I have to share the same airspace as other people outside of my own long suffering family.  The other stuff I’m taking one day at a time, as and when it arises.  I know there are groups I can join and stuff I can read and luckily there seems to be lots of support around  this topic including a great bunch of women on Instagram who are going through much of the same and for this I am grateful, mostly because it’s through social media which means no one can smell me.

The Devil’s Bum Hole

I’m a fairly easy going type in most areas of my life. Friendships, my job, my role as a wife, housework, raising my babies, rules, and this also extends to the type of TV program I choose to watch on an evening after a hectic day. I use the term ‘choose to watch’ loosely, meaning Husband nearly always commandeers the remote and I get to choose nothing, which is why it is such a great asset that I am laid back.  I’ve always had the ability to be able to switch on the TV and take interest in just about anything that happens to be on from vaginal lubrication adverts to a 50 year old Swedish film with subs already three quarters of the way through. So more frequently than I’d like, and on this night in particular, I find myself watching Gold Hunters on channel Dave because its one of Husbands favourites and although it falls into the same category as piss bag Ice road truckers, dead boring Deadliest Catch and Fucking Salvage Hunters with Drew Pissing Pritchard and his tiny little eyes, I’m trying to show an interest in his interests, in the interest of being a good wife even though it makes me want to shrivel up and die.

Australian Gold Hunters follow various couples, companies and families that have uprooted their entire lives, sold just about everything they own probably including their own children to move to the guts of Hell in the Ozzie outback in the name of having the opportunity to dig for gold.

I imagine it can become addictive once you find a chunk of treasure but I’d want to find nuggets the size of my head, not my little toe like is so often the case in these episodes. After hours of hard manual labour until the very life has been sucked from their very soul, and assuming they haven’t dropped dead from heat stroke, the only thing they have to look forward to is heading back to their shitty makeshift tent or caravan to enjoy an out of date tin of cold beans (because the tent or caravan has no power of course, it’s not a fortnight in the Hilton in Tenerife you know) and being at the mercy of the outback for a few terrifying hot sweaty hours through the night until day breaks and the whole charade begins again.

And again.

And again. 

On a loop endlessly until they are found dead, dehydrated, sunburned and half eaten by a crocodile.  Okay, I admit that bit has never been televised but it doesn’t mean it never happened.

Husband: I’d be great at gold hunting.  I might go.

Me: It looks horrendous, and it’s in Australia.

Hus:I know.

Me: What about me and the children? You know, your family.

Hus: You can come too, to look after the caravan we would live in.

Me (cold disbelief): Seriously? 

Hus: Of course you wouldn’t be there JUST to clean the caravan… you’d make dinner too.

Me: FML

Sometimes when he says ridiculous things like this to me I dare to think he might be joking, and sometimes, now and again he makes my day by actually smirking, laughing or giving me a playful nudge.  This was absolutely not one of these times.  He was completely serious and totally prepared to make us move to this devil’s bum hole halfway across the world.

Just to reiterate, FMAL.

Summer Holidays. Days out or Days in?

And it’s here.

The summer holidays.  

6 weeks of uninterrupted fun, frolics, laughter, disagreements, arguments, fights, hair pulling, head holding, shouting and nervous breakdowns. But to break it up a bit we will be including a handful of days out. Now I’m not really one for days out, and honestly neither are the kids.  Maybe they just take after me but I think it’s nice to feel relaxed enough to enjoy your home  without wanting to be out somewhere new every day. I don’t mind the kids inviting their friends for the day or to sleepover, I quite enjoy the mischief and giggles and happily agree to this quite frequently.

Call me a misery all you want but I’m more of a ‘cosy film day’ mother in the colder winter months and a ‘garden day’ mother during the summer. Both sorts of days would obviously be filled with appropriate activities and more importantly snacks, and an excellent time would be had by all.  I love home and spending time in it or around it or anything that doesn’t involve leaving it.  I can’t think of anything worse than driving to the coast to drive around for a further hour looking for a suitable parking spot only to be so stressed out by the time we eventually find one that everyone has fallen out with each other and wants to go home anyway.  Throw into the mix that public toilets are scarce and the thing hygiene nightmares are made of, not even really mentioning about queuing and hanging around for ice creams, rides, amusements etc etc. 

Now don’t be hasty, there’s no need to call Childline or the social about what a mean old mum I am.  My babies have 3 sets of grandparents and 2 grown up sisters so get plenty of days out.

This said, I can’t be completely selfish and will do a few family days out.  I have various things planned like a water park day, a trip to Castle Howard for a picnic, various bike rides and dog walks also including a picnic (mainly because every adventure or activity always has to include snacks of some description)

 We already kicked off the year with a trip to a farm in the spring, which apart from the argument in the car on the way there, I actually really enjoyed.

There were horses, cows, goats, chickens, donkeys, lots of sheep, one in particular was a total savage and earned its title as our favourite but for me the highlight of the full day was when the resident old flea bitten turkey that looked like he’d seen his prime a while back took a liking to Husband.  We were all standing  at the gate to his field admiring the sheer size of him because from a distance he could have been mistaken for an elaborately dressed hippo, when suddenly he caught sight of us and came speeding over like he was being chased by a Christmas dinner chef.  He proceeded to shake violently , all the time eyeing us suspiciously and following us up and down the fence.  Husband, being the comedian he is, said the turkey clearly had the hots for me,  insinuating that I looked like a fat old turkey but the joke was on him because when I moved down to the next enclosure to look at the chickens and the noisy cockerills, the turkey stood still as a statue staring straight at Husband.  We then concluded with great delight that the turkey was either guarding his patch from Husband or was attempting to win his affections.  Both would indicate that he saw Husband as either a rival turkey or a girl turkey making it the best day of my life.

I hope your 6 week holidays will be a time you can make those all important memories with your famalam, whether you choose to do this by trips out every day or garden and film days from the comfort of your own home. Just remember whatever you choose to do, a picnic or a great snack selection is always essential.

Good Luck.

Guest Post !!!

Today I have a treat for you.

Victoria Hulmes, aka Mummy0kids1 for those who want to find her on Instagram, is not only a gifted writer who has a real way with words but is also my dear friend. That made me sound like I’m 88 years old but she really is dear to me, and my friend so … anyway … I’d like to present ‘Go to Sleep’ which is relatable, touching and hilarious.

Go to Sleep

I really would like to travel back in time and give smug me a talking to. “We’re so lucky – our children are great at going to bed.” 

Now, nothing is further from the truth

7:30pm to 8pm 

On the sofa:

They are all starving and require three different snacks and milk of varying temperatures

Milk is not provided in the appropriate cup so a new drink must be offered

Requests for more food are declined so shouting begins 

Pleas to stay up late gather force because despite the fact they have all been yawning and rubbing their eyes they are categorically NOT tired, it’s still light outside and they have not been given appropriate warning that bedtime is upon them 

En route to bed:

Everyone has an injury of some kind and can’t possibly make it to the stairs alive

“Can I have a yorkshire pudding?”

Everything is a distraction: Look Mummy, a dead ant. Do you think it had a nice life? 

The protests about teeth cleaning begin because the toothpaste tastes funny and their toothbrushes are the wrong shape

Upstairs

Nobody can find their pyjamas so football kits and football kits and a unicorn costume are the only suitable alternatives 

Much running from bedroom to bedroom begins

Now I start to shout and threaten to cancel all future celebrations and every treat known to man

This is met with complete disregard as I always go big with threats and never carry them through 

In bed

I’m too hot. 

Take off your Arsenal kit then

Minnie skips to our book shelf: Mummy can you read me three books? I’m handed Mr. Small, Unicorn Adventures and the autobiography of Nelson Mandela 

After our goodnights

David and I are on the sofa staring at some Netflix dross. Unbeknownst to us George is watching it from behind the pillar in the kitchen. He sneaks downstairs quite frequently when the others are asleep. “Mummy, will you come up with me?”

So I take him upstairs to cuddle up to him in the darkness and stroke his hair. He’s eight now so affection is harder to come by with him. It’s all on his terms. But when sleeping dust settles on my younger two, when lashes flutter their tired eyes to sleep, one little night owl tiptoes downstairs looking for a sofa nest in-between Mummy and Daddy. 

So bedtime, even though I hate you – thank you for reuniting us with our big, little man because nothing brings back the small child of a want-to-be teenager, than the fall of darkness and a cuddle from their Mummy. 

By Victoria Hulmes. Blogger. Living life after losing her little boy Jack. Coping with the tears and loving the laughter. Cheese rolls, forward rolls, eye rolls and everything inbetween.

Find her on Instagram @Mummy0kids1

My Husband. The Raving Loony with the Beard and a Hammer

We don’t have any neighbours for maybe half a mile or so in each direction.  Just open fields and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at.  So imagine my surprise when I found someone lurking around having what he told me was a leisurely stroll in the field next to our house. 

Me: Hi, can I help you?

Him: No

Me: Are you looking for something?

Him: No I’m just having a stroll

Me: Well this is private property so you could maybe take a stroll somewhere else.  There’s loads of public footpaths around here.

Him: Oh right.  It’s nice here though. Quiet.

Me: Yes it usually is when there’s no one trespassing -(Okay I never said that last part but I wanted to) 

Correct me if I’m wrong but if I was choosing a summer walk I wouldn’t look for a house to walk directly next to.  It’s rude, it’s an invasion of privacy and it’s just not the done thing. He was so close he was practically in my garden. If he had been walking slightly faster he would have caught me fully naked in the garden unpegging my yoga pants and vest from the washing line to put on. And let’s remember I’m not a fan of underwear so that could have been awkward.  I was alone in the house with all the doors to the garden wide open and honestly it made me feel a little vulnerable and uneasy.

Now, Husband is not a fan of any sort of intruders, accidental or otherwise and he always believes that these lost dog walkers or cheeky nature lovers with no concept of personal space have a hidden agenda.  He is convinced they are plotting a robbery, kidnapping or worse and becomes horrendously overprotective and automatically morphs into protector mode in the form of the Incredible Hulk. So when I called him to tell him that I’d had a run in with a stranger over the garden fence it was possibly not a decision I’d thought out that well.  He made the 20 minute journey from across town in approximately 4 minutes and came storming in like the charge of the light brigade.  He was 9 foot tall and puffed out from what I imagine was adrenaline.

Hus: What did he look like?  How old was he?  Did he have any tattoos or distinguishing features?

Good God I felt like I was being interrogated by MI5

Me: Er… Erm … he was in black shorts with a smiley face tattoo on his calf like the calling card sign that serial killer Red John leaves at his crime scenes off that program I like because I fancy the man in it.

Husband was looking at me like I’d grown another head. Saying nothing he turned and immediately stalked outside and jumped over the back garden fence making his way at great speed towards the layby at the end of our driveway. In a nutshell this layby has been known to have a bit of ‘dogging’ activity and it has also been known for Husband to chase people out of the layby that are being particularly brazen about it.

He returned a few minutes later for his car.  Within seconds he had jumped in it and all that was left was a cloud of dust from him speeding off.

I hoped he wasn’t going to kill anyone or frighten anyone too much so they called the police.  I’d been hoping for a nice quiet weekend.

Once again he returned.  He told me with vigour and in great detail how he had walked up to a few random people in the layby to get a good look at their calves and driven to a couple of neighbouring laybys also known for there unsavoury activities to do the same but hadn’t had any luck.  He seemed disappointed.  But then finished by telling me that he had driven back through our layby at the end of our drive and just for good measure had made sure he was driving past the parked cars menacingly slowly while gently swinging a hammer out of the open window.

WTF?

He likes to make sure that anyone who visits this layby or who comes too close to our house leaves with the idea that a raving loony with a ginger beard and a large hammer lives here.  

I definitely think he managed it.

So if you’re considering a walk in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside and happen to stumble across a crazed maniac going from car to car in a resting spot wielding a hammer/ baseball bat or a selection of power tools (historically they’ve all had an outing), do not panic, it’s only Husband.

Birthday Week

This week it was my birthday.

I love birthdays.  A celebration of another year here on earth,  and I feel lucky.  It’s a privilege to get older that not everyone gets to experience.  And then there’s the birthday cake.  Not that I need an excuse to eat cake, after all it’s always someone’s birthday somewhere but on your own it’s basically an open licence to consume as much as your little heart desires without a second thought to the appropriateness of the amount.

I was also whisked away on a surprise trip by Husband.  This is something that has never happened in 18 years together so it was obviously lovely if not a little unnerving.  He actually wasn’t going to tell me until the day we left which in itself is a bit terrifying but thankfully was forced to own up a couple of weeks in advance because I nearly planned something with my friends for that weekend.  He still wouldn’t disclose the location or nature of the surprise though.  Winding me up telling me I’d need a wetsuit and hiking boots and that the trip would include tree climbing.  Bearing in mind my idea of a lovely time is eating and drinking in the sun somewhere whilst wearing a nice frock, this information was starting to bother me slightly. We were due to leave at lunchtime on Saturday and by Friday evening I still knew nothing and was verging on a nervous breakdown.  I’m not the sort of woman that relishes the element of surprise on a large scale.  

Don’t get me wrong I love a bit of  a…

 ‘’Surprise, heres 20 quid go and treat yourself’’

Or

 ‘’Surprise I’ve cooked tea tonight so you don’t have to’’

 Or

’’Surprise, I’ve made you a cuppa’’

But I draw the line at anything bigger.  Most girls that I know like to plan.  Plan what to wear, plan what time they will begin getting ready, plan what to pack depending on the activity and location.  I don’t think I’m wrong when I say we like to know what’s happening at least a few days in advance so we can look forward to it. Maybe get our nails done or do some tanning.  I know for me that’s definitely a big thing. Even though that’s not what happened on this occasion, I think he sensed I was becoming more and more tense and so  just as I was on the brink of losing consciousness through the stress of it all, he told me to pack a nice frock and that I wouldn’t be needing outdoor activity gear after all.

Phew! Well Thank God for that. 

It turned out he had put together a lovely day of eating and drinking at some select  places.  He had booked a room at a gorgeous little pub we visited 8 years ago by accident on his 40th birthday.  Somewhere we always wanted to go back to but somehow had never managed to get round to it.  He even arranged the sunshine.

Husband tries desperately hard to annoy the shit out of me 23 hours a day and to make me hate him, but I don’t.  In fact I quite like him.  Love him even.  He’s one of life’s good ones and I feel very lucky.

Side note: Some will be reading this thinking how weird it is that we are married yet I’m reluctant in saying I love him, and I suppose it is but its our thing and its what we do. We pretend to not really like each other when the truth is there’s no one else in the world I’d rather pretend to hate.

I booked the week off work to fully enjoy my birthday because in our house we like to have a birthday week.  It’s only right I think, and would be rude not to. So following my lovely break away I’ve had a few days relaxing in the sun, avoided housework as much as possible except to wash a few pairs of pants and had a huge family Bar B Q on my actual birthday.

I’m a year older, a year wiser and definitely a year saggier. I’m also more grateful than ever for my gorgeous babies, comfortable home and wonderful family. Oh, and for my mediocre Husband. Im joking!