Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Show business is my business now! 

Today was the end of Tara's theatre workshops. Back to school next week. We were invited to watch a performance showing the songs and dances they had learned over the summer.

We get there, and see a child at the door rattling a can for voluntary donations whilst the other twenty children are singing. That child is Tara. All well and good, I think. She's one of the littlest, cutest kids.

When all the parents have arrived, the children are assembled to sit in silence in front of the mics. There is one child speaking to her neighbor. That child is Tara.

During a routine, the children have to suddenly leap up and smile. One child is pulling a grotesque face. That would be Tara.

In the middle of the performance, a child has to go to the bathroom. The only child in the whole damn group that needed to do so. Name that child!

I watched in horror, as she proceeded to disgrace me. Deliberately facing in the wrong direction, refusing to sing songs I know she knows, and trying to engage other children in conversation mid-performance.

At the end of this fiasco, Tara is given the microphone, and says, "Thank you for coming. I hope you enjoyed my show."

It got a laugh from the audience. Guess who wasn't laughing?

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Daddy's taking us to the zoo park scary underground place tomorrow! 

Perhaps you have seen this picture:

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We pass by this sign quite often. It's something of a habit of ours to drive aimlessly around little villages, salivating over Georgian manor houses and shaking our fists at rich bastards who build palatial "executive mansions" which spoil the look of them.

So we took a new turn today, and found a sign saying that we were actually at the "secret" bunker. Seeing as the entrance fee was only £5 per adult, we thought we would take a look.

It was quite eerie. We were the only tourists there, although there were plenty of CCTV cameras. We walked down a long, steep forest path.. and entered. There was a tunnel. The bunker itself was protected by huge doors made out of the steel they use to make tanks. It was cold, but that was good. I'm guessing the owners (it was bought from the government as an attraction) pump plenty of oxygen in there. I had started to panic about being so far underground, until I realized that there was plenty of air.

It was great! There was a "broadcasting room" with a waxwork figure of Margaret Thatcher addressing the nation. According to the posters, she would have been telling people to "leave the elderly and bedridden. You can do nothing for them." Lovely!

"John Major" was in the P.M's bedroom, asleep. There was a room full of machinery which was the telephone exchange system in the 1950's. Outside of that, was an archaic P.C and fax, with a note on it saying how that machine alone, could do the work of all the equipment in the previous room.

I liked the command centre. Full of the best technology the 1980's could provide. It was funny, how we used to laugh about Jeff Goldblum saving the world from his Apple Mac laptop in "Independence Day", but how they expected to get shit done here.. my God.

Tara kept asking why there were so many maps and charts on the walls. Sign of the times, I know. I had to keep explaining that in those days, one couldn't just call up information on the internet.

And all around the walls, little plaques showing where each minister would have been sitting at their machines. That made me laugh. I said to Alex, "can you imagine, in the event of a crisis, how shocked the lazy bastards would be at actually having to get together and work for a change?"

For a mere £2 in "The Honesty Box", you could dress up and take a photo. I was an air force Sergeant. Tara didn't like the gas mask, so she is wearing army greens and a little tin hat.

To be honest, I didn't understand a lot of it. We were going in to "The Plant Room", and I was thinking, "Oh, that's a good idea. Having lots of plants to make oxygen. You would need that if you had to spend up to four years down here." Turned out it was an engine room. It smelled good, though!

My mind is odd like this, but I was also thinking, "wouldn't it be mad if there was a nuclear strike, right now, and we'd have to stay here. Just us, and the guys who run the canteen. Pretty soon, we'd have to start eating the tinned spam.. and Alex would have to fix all those computers!"

Speaking of Alex, he was shaking his head in disbelief. "They didn't have a clue, did they? You can imagine what the bunkers are like these days, but back then.."

For more accurate information, the website is HERE

Tara's verdict? "Can we come back and visit the spooky place again, please Mummy and Daddy?"

We are a strange family. I don't deny it.

UPDATE: Blogsister Boudicca comments: "leave the elderly and the bedridden. There is nothing you can do for them."

Well, there goes Palm Beach County!

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. 

It has been twenty three years since my last confession.

I discovered "Absolution Online" today.

I'm not knocking it, or being intentionally blasphemous. In fact, I think I will use the Virtual Rosary with my daughter someday.

Oh, but I had forgotten what tough love Catholicism is. I got bored halfway through confessing my sins, and still managed to rack up 120 Hail Mary's and a seven day fast.

I'll be spending a lot of time on my knees this weekend. How about you?

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Whimsy Capricious: The Fuckwit Years. 

When I was seventeen, I had never seen an illegal drug, and would not have taken one if I had. However, I was a kid, and kids are curious. There was an urban myth going around at the time about a book called, "One Hundred Legal Highs". If I remember correctly, it supposedly advocated smoking banana skins. I can't say I ever tried it, as I was only just getting addicted to nicotine. Two cigarettes were enough to make me feel nauseous, thank you.

Anyway. A little concession called "Herbal Remedies" opened up in the mini-mall near my college. My friend and I were intrigued. The proprietor had obviously done his market research, and made a killing fleecing myself and my fellow students by selling us all manner of rubbish to add to our cigarettes.

Wanting to go easy, the first thing I bought was a packet of "wild lettuce". Christ knows what it really was, but it had no effect other than to stink.

On my second visit, I purchased something.. I can't even remember what it was called, but it was a white powder. Totally herbal, of course. Something to sprinkle on your tobacco to aid relaxation. I guess the store owner was smart. He didn't sell it in little baggies, oh no. You bought a great lump of it the size of a brick. Again, it brought me no relief from the stress of my impending A-Level exams.

Within a few weeks, the concession owner moved on to gullible teenagers new, and the white brick was shoved under my bed with the other trash and forgotten.

A couple of days after that, I was somewhat surprised to return home and find my parents, ashen-faced, and embracing on my bed. I thought somebody had died. My Dad never came home early.

Tearfully, they asked if I had something to tell them.

I was absolutely baffled, but defensive, as teenagers are. They had obviously caught me out at something. But what was it? Skipping classes had already been dealt with. Smoking, they knew about, so..what the hell had I done?

Mutely, I shook my head. No, I had nothing to tell them.

"Well, we have a question for you", they said.

Duly, the brick was produced.

"Is this heroin, or cocaine?"

I nearly collapsed with relief! I told them all about the shop, how it was perfectly legal, and how I wasn't coping with the pressure to get my grades for University. At first, they didn't believe me, and threatened to take the brick to the police station for lab tests. Luckily, I had the original packaging.

In hindsight, apart from the fact that I was a little shit, as a teen, what concerns me is the absolute innocence of my parents, and indeed, myself.

I had a brick of white powder. Under my bed, in plain sight.. and my parents thought it was smack, or coke. I was so naive that I knocked myself out proving that it wasn't.

If I had been more aware, I would have just said, "So where do you think I got the money for uncut class A drugs in this quantity?" It's almost laughable! What would a brick of powder be worth at street level? I'm no expert, but hundreds of thousands of pounds, I am sure! I am glad that my parents were spared the additional worry of thinking I was a major dealer, but still..

And if I was so ignorant of these things at seventeen, well.. it is scary to think what little knowledge I will have when my baby is a teenager.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

Karnival of the Kuteness 

Susie has done a great job with this week's Karnival at Practical Penumbra!

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

No, I didn't cheat. 

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I came by my unexpected high score quite honestly.

P.S Don't click the link. It's just a saved picture :-D

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Karnival of the Kidz 

No cute pictures today, I'm afraid. This one is more of a rant.

Tara, at five, is a "strong character".
At four, she had "definite ideas".
Three: "Stubborn".
Two: "Extremely active".
At a year, "prone to frustration".

I have no idea where she gets it from...

It took five whole years before I would even consider having another child.

Mainly because of the newborn stage.

Tara was "colicky" for the first three months. In layman's terms, that means, "fucking terrible". As in, "Oh, Tara was a terrible baby. Terrible!"

She would feed, constantly. When she wasn't feeding, she would scream. Sometimes she would do both. It was unheard of for her to sleep longer than two hours, and she would have no more than six, non-consecutive hours of sleep in every twenty-four.

She hated everything. Bath? Scream. Cot? Scream. Stroller? Scream.

I fed her exclusively until she was nearly three months, when I had to get back to work. To colleagues who had decided that I should get the toughest jobs, because I had been having a lovely five-month rest. Bastards.

Still, I noticed that Tara was becoming easier.

I read this today, and my blood boiled. Why had nobody told me these things? I drank gallons of milk when I was breastfeeding. That's what you were supposed to do! I eat a lot of cheese, too. In fact, cheese is my main form of protein. I rarely eat fish, meat or eggs. That is a hell of a lot of dairy.

If only I had known!

Tara was also thirsty. There was a three-month heatwave, and temperatures were up in the high eighties, (that's as hot as it gets here), but the breastfeeding "expert" insisted that my baby needed no cooled boiled water.

You can imagine my state of mind during those dark days. I had brought a little child into this world to suffer. To shriek with pain until the agony so overwhelmed her that she could only whimper a pathetic, "a-meh! umeh!"

So when I was told that the colic was "probably" due to the fact that I smoked before I knew I was pregnant, I nearly dissolved in a puddle of guilt and tears.

Now if you excuse me, I am just off to murder that Nazi of a breastfeeding advisor. Don't worry. Nobody will miss her. She doesn't have kids yet.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different. 

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Oh, excuse me. I seem to have been influenced by my latest reading material.

Better than the BBC any day. This guy has his finger on the pulse, make no mistake!

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