29 Aug 2009
This weekend is a big spring clean...yes I know it's the end of summer but there are a lot of things to get in order on the home front with the new school year peaking eagerly around the corner. Uniform to label and check, stationary to sort, new budget for the year (mostly based around British Gas' inability to manage a simple account...more on that later) meal planners to plan, diaries to update, to do lists coming out of my ears both for the family and Devonstar Twirlers and all this has left no time for scrapping.
I must admit I did think of stopping it all for a while and just selling all my stuff, but I also know how sane it can keep me when Pete is away and how when I'm really pissed off with the kids...sitting in front of a photo of them for a few hours whilst I make pretty pages makes me view things in a different light so I guess i'm just happy now to scrap when I can...or when I need to.
So anyway...British Gas. Well, Pete (in his infinite wisdom which must NEVER be questioned) decided to get paperless billing, not so much for the 'green' reason (he believes it's a complete falicy) more so that it saves a quid or so on each bill. This is great if in fact he had either a - set it up so that the bill is emailed to me....or b - actually READ the email when it comes to his inbox. In this case he did neither. Two years ago, after paying a direct debit of £85 a month, BG (yes believe me we are such good friends now that I address them only as initials) send a letter to inform me that we've overpaid our bill for the past twelve months and they want to drop it to £5!
I call them and give them a right earful about how on earth they can overcharge by such a huge amount for it to drop so drastically and announce that I will infact prefer to pay £20 just so I felt a little more assured that they won't cock up the other way. All is well and then about eight months ago they suddenly change the direct debit to £39. At this point I didn't think much of it, assuming that they really do need to get someone working there that can add up and do averages better but if that's what needs to be paid then fine.
Then I get a call.....completely out of the blue to inform me that we've underpaid our electricity bill by £900 over the past year. Well, I almost reached down the phone to strangle them! Can you imagine how much it would have been if i'd actually paid the £5 a month that they originally asked me for? So now they want the direct debit to be ammended from £39 to......wait for it....£210 A MONTH! Crazy days eh?!
So that has thrown everything into dissaray for the hundredth time this year (ok, slight exaggeration but is beginning to feel like that). Budgets must be redrawn....belts tightened even more to the point of cutting off any circulation that was left to be honest. On top of which the car issue has not gone away. The thing is still spluttering as if to say 'help me' however as noone seems to be able to give a definitive answer as to what's wrong with the thing without costing me and arm and a leg it's a case of keep paying the AA for roadside assistance and hope for the best.
I was panicking about the MOT last week...the guy at the garage could see the fear in my face as they hoisted it into the air......I did at one point just imagine it may do that thing you see on old black and white films where there are lots of bangs, the wheels fall off, doors fall off and then it collapses in on itself. However, it didn't. Of course it didn't pass (that would have been a miracle) however, it was just wheel bearings....nothing major...just over £100 with labour and the MOT price. Unfortunately they couldn't book it to be done there and then so i return a few days later to get it done.
Quick job they said so brought the kids with me (not silly though...made sure they all brough their trusty Nintendo DS's just incase). Two and a half hours later, I leave with a car not fixed and a warning that this could be a problem. Now, I know very little about cars so excuse me if you do and think 'what the hell is she on about' but.....apparently the bearings are inside some housing thing which is attatched on a driveshaft which goes through the wheel. Well the housing thing is completely seized and will not budge. Two hours of pulling, banging, using some sort of pulling machine with a zillion psi or something on it and it still won't budge.
The guy from the garage says that it has happened once before and old matey (for i know not his name) down the road has a bigger machine (maybe 20 zillion psi's worth) that he used and all was fine. The worrying thing is though that apparently this machine could solve the problem of getting this housing thing off....but in doing so could also snap the drive shaft.......and he can't take responsibility for that. So i now have a car which has a simple MOT flaw, however...it ISN'T simple, can't be fixed unless i subject it to the possibility of breaking it more.....and none of this has any bearing on the fact that the bloody thing still doesn't work properly. Cars eh? Love 'em!
Anyway, needed a whinge after the last post........it was far too sickly sweet!
27 Aug 2009
It's not that I don't want him here, it's just that he wasn't supposed to be here and for someone like me who relies on being in control of what's going on, it's difficult to have any sort of family routine with constant coming and going. Even Emily has been feeling it with never knowing if daddy is gone for the day, the weekend or for good and there have been so many tearful goodbyes over the past month that i'm glad it's finally over and he's off somewhere, deep in the ocean...doing....well, doing things deep in the ocean (of course i'd have to kill you if I actually told you what they were doing...you do know that don't you?!)
Far too much has happened since the last post to catch up on now to be honest. Mother in Law made a brief trip down and was lovely for her to spend some time with the girls (must give myself a slap for being lapse on the photo front whilst she was with us though).
Pete came home from sea just about in time for the Saltash Mayfair which was really good this year. It coincided with the celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the Brunel Bridge and there was a great firework display that evening. Although by that time we were home and tired and just sat in the back garden and watched it from there!
I did find a decent video clip from YOUTUBE though that someone had added of the display, not bad for a town with under 15,000 residents!
Freya also got a 2nd prize for her charcoal painting of the bridge in a local competition. Plus we had our photo taken for another newspaper whilst wondering around. That was twice in one week!
I was really looking forward to the Hog Roast and it did smell wonderful when we got there but at £5 a time for the smallest bit of meat sandwiched between two small baps they could take a run and jump!
We made the most of the early (and only) summer weather in May and June with plenty of evenings and afternoons spent down the waterfront watching the girls chase swans, eat, play in the park, eat etc. At one small summer fayre at the college we had the kids learning circus skills (using equipment that is...they are already well versed in the clowning stakes), learning african drumming and plate painting...
.......then off to the waterfront (again) for a kick about with the kids (well that was the dads pretending they could play football still, very funny to watch after they've been drinking all day by this point) whilst me and my sis supped our pints, although Sheree did venture into the playground to try and recapture her youth much to her five year olds sons disgust.
I must say that I really do love where I live (even though I've defected to the wrong side of the water!) and I truly can't imagine living anywhere other than the south-west. We may be thought of as a bit backward but who cares when you have all you could want? MSN recently did a poll and apparently the PL12 postcode is the most sought after in Britain.....
.......although I can't quite fathom out exactly why it's here (amenities in Saltash are well and truly lacking for the growing size of the town believe me) I can't imagine living anywhere but the south-west of England.
I love living by the sea so much and would hate to up sticks, although with Pete's naval career coming very close to it's end it's a prospect that I may at some time have to face. But for now I make the most of it.....weather permitting.
All the usual end of term stuff....various sports days, presentations, concerts, summer fayres (one of which was the wettest ever imagined). Emilys first sports day was one to remember, bloody hell that girl puts 100% effort into absolutely bloody everything (notice I said 100%, am I the only one who wants to strangle people who flippantly say 150% when describing effort.....I am? Oh well....) They did lots of little activity games like dribbling the ball and scoring, bean bag and hoop races, balancing on your head races and then finished with the main sprints.
That girl ran like her life depended on it, it was like Forrest Gump all over again. I was so surprised that even the reception year ran the whole track in their race and was worried that if she didn't win she's have a right cob on but she came 2nd in her class race and 2nd in her school year race and loved it. I just love the photo below because although she was running so bloody fast she had this great big smile on her face.
We also had the odd BBQ. What is it with men and BBQ's that bring out the testosterone in them?
I love it when the cousins get together...it can be manic at times as they're all quite strong willed characters but they really are best mates (when they're not trying to kill each other obviously).
And if there's drinking involved then there is always the wonder that is singstar and the kids aren't immune from it's charms either (the singstar of course, not the booze.....bloody hell I'm not THAT bad!).
One major thing was Freya's final primary school concert where she was recognised for her helpfulness to others. We had a semi posh do garden party and Freya insisted that Pete went in uniform and then moaned at him cos he took his hat off during the presentation (good god, what is it with 11 year old girls; they moan about everything).
I am part of a new venture also. I'm helping to run a new twirling troupe in Plymouth. We started the beginning of this month and things are going really well and i'm loving being involved in twirling again. No chance of me squeezing my ample behind back into tight lycra *the world breathes a sigh of relief* but getting involved with teaching loads of youngsters has given me some sort of focus.
So I am now a part of Devonstar Twirlers! Anyone interested in joining? We're currently training in Woolwell but hoping to move to Ernesettle shortly which is great for me as Saltash to Woolwell during rush hour is particularly horrendous!
Freya had all her hair chopped again and is starting to spend time playing with it (or fannying around as it's lovingly called in this house....actually i say 'fannying around' quite a lot). It really suits her. She's just come back from three weeks at her dads (minus any contribution towards her uniform or school supplies again) and has the most gorgeous tan. The kind of tan my sister pays a fortune for! Scary knowing in a weeks time she'll be starting at the comp. I'll be feeling that my baby is all grown up as she becomes the 'baby' of the school again!
Uniform is just about there, just one more pair of black trousers and she's done....well, at least unitl i hear otherwise. Only a few weeks til she's a bridesmaid for the third time....isn't it three times and you don't get married or something like that. Her dress is stunning and I know i'll be in tears when I see her in it....got the last fitting in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to photograph her on the day.
We've had a few outings over the holidays, normal stuff like faithful favourite Jump. Last weeks visit did leave a legacy behind though. We went as a large party of HMS Torbay friends and family so had all the party stuff and facepainting. Well by the time we got home, late and (in the girls cases) cranky....they went to bed in their facepaint and it's left quite a reaction on Emilys face. Even now she has these massive spots although it's gone down a lot in the last day or two.
Oh well, they looked good at the time...well, apart from Natasha who just doesn't understand the concept of keeping still ......she keeps her eyeballs fixed and then moves her head around...not exactly helpful to the poor facepainting girl!
I've been getting really frustrated with the camera lately, I really need a new lens but the one i want is about £300 and with the car becomming some bottomless money pit where there is no light at the end of the tunnel, that just isn't gonna happen anytime soon. I really need something that's gonna take fairly decent pics indoors.....any suggestions for a decent portrait lens with a canon fitting?
MMmm I did say this wasn't going to be a catch up but I guess that's what it's turned into. Oh well, mother in law will be glad to see loads of new photos anyway (and we have tried calling you Rosie but assuming you're off on your jollies to Scotland!)