Friday, 16 March 2018

Yearly Catch Up

It's been ages since I last blogged. Last summer. I do say it repeatedly but time really does seem to be getting away from me, the older I'm getting. Plus, this is only really being done for the benefit of my own family and close friends. Preserving the madness for a future generation. Speaking of, look at these beauties. So grown up now. Three of them are dating. I've never felt so bloody old in all of my life.

Mr G had another op! I know, fancy that... And this time, it fell on the 6th December. So as you can imagine, Christmas was sorted by the 5th December. This year, I did Christmas like a proverbial boss. It was bought, wrapped, hidden, bagged, cooked, and frozen. And what little wasn't, there was Amazon Prime, Amazon Pantry and Mum and Dad. So, we had a nice Christmas, but it felt a little... flat, I suppose. There wasn't any of the last minute rushing around. I was just waiting for Christmas to come for weeks, and it took the shine off it, somewhat. 

Mr G couldn't drive for 6 - 8 weeks after the op, he was going stir crazy, I was just going bog standard crazy. 5 weeks and 6 days after the op, I could see him getting twitchy.

Mr G: I can drive tomorrow.
Me: Er, no? The six to eight weeks is a guideline, not a target?

I managed to buy Mr G a surprise Christmas present, and it was a bargain too. A Tassimo coffee machine for £39.99 on a deal on Amazon. I don't normally get bargains like that. And it is, quote unquote “The best present I've ever had”. Now, bearing in mind that I've bought him a Summer House and a set of drums... perhaps I should have just saved my money? He's now obsessed with Latte Macchiato (a crystal meth habit would be cheaper to fund) and I have fallen in love with Mocha. Mocha is the new Merlot.

In November last year I completed my third year of NaNoWriMo, and somehow I have managed to drag my one story out into four separate books. Two finished, one nearly done and one work in progress.


Currently looking into self publishing the first of them, but there's a long way to go yet and a lot to think about. It's really funny how I had a clear vision of how things were going to turn out, and some how, some way, the villain of the piece has turned into one of the heroes, albeit a flawed one, and the couple that I ripped apart in the first few lines of the first draft in 2015 have spent the last two years clawing their way back to each other. Curse you plot bunnies. Curse you.

Mr G: So... what are they about?
Me: Hard to say, really. Normal life. Not chick lit as such. Not fluffy. But funny in parts.
Mr G: Are they filth?

Charming! What's he trying to say?

In July we had a lovely day and evening out in Manchester, a mucky overnighter, where we went to see Sister Act in The Palace Theatre (so that's another thing off my 40 before 40 list – which, seeing as I'm now 42... I am going to have to adapt and amend this into a 50 before 50 list!). 

Fish and Chips (what else?) and a glass of Vino in Yates, Oxford Road

Followed by a few scoops in Thirsty Scholar

We stayed in the Northern Quarter of the city, had a lovely meal out, a few pints and it was lovely just getting away, me and him. Sister Act was fantastic, thanks M&A for (yet another!) wonderful birthday present! 

This year we have lots of rugby league matches to attend. After a somewhat dismal season last year, where it seemed that there were very few home games, this year every team will play each other home and away. 

It hasn't been a bad start to the season, two pre-season friendlies, against West Wales, which we won...

... and Saint Helens, which we didn't, but we put in a great performance against a team which had current Super League players in.

Altogether now... ♪ We've got the beeeeeeeeest kicker in the league ♫

Including the verra handsome former Wigan Warriors player Matty Smith. 

Oooh 'ello!

A home draw to London Skolars, 24 - 24...

and a storming Challenge Cup tie against Keighley Cougars, where we came back from 6-24 down at half time to win 28-24 and progress to the Fourth Round...

… which is this Sunday! We've drawn Featherstone, at home, so that's a trip to Queensway (weather permitting, Beast from the East part deux!). 

Mum is going to babysit the boys, as apparently the fans can get a little rowdy? So, it's an early start, pop into Everland for some fish and chips before we get to the stadium, then go and see if we can be of assistance setting up. And have a few cheeky pints of Wrexham lager. I had to laugh when we arrived last month and saw the new sign erected on the stands.

Mr G tutted, turned to me and said:

Mr G: You've probably paid for that sign. Or rather, I have...

What can I say.

Speaking of alcohol, or rather, no alcohol. In October we went to Crusaders Awards evening. This time it was slightly different to the previous year, which was at a Hotel. This year, it was in a community centre type place in Gwersyllt. We booked a Premier Inn not far away, in Gresford and we had another mucky overnighter. Although, it has to be said, the STATE that Mr G was in when we arrived back at the hotel, nothing remotely mucky happened...

It went downhill rapidly from here...

Well. What an evening. Probably one of the best nights out that I have ever had in my life. 

Mr G and my favourite player Danny Price

Mr G got drunk, so drunk, that he hasn't touched a drop of alcohol since. Not even a glass of vino with his Christmas dinner. Not even a pint on New Year's Eve. Nor our anniversary. Nor his birthday. He hasn't had an alcoholic drink since 21st October. He doesn't drink much anyway, but it's just been a flat out 'NO.' ever since. If I was writing this on my iPad, I would insert a laughing emoji here 

I have never seen him so ill, so hungover, in my life. 

Or so mortified the next morning, when I told him that when we'd reached the hotel, he'd got out of the cab that we'd shared with friends and after me nudging him to free the moths from his wallet and pay for the thing, he chucked a fiver at Martin, said 'See you tomorrow' before walking off ahead of me and ending up on the wrong floor...

I asked him if he thought that the taxi had taken us back to the 1980's, the last time that a taxi, at one in the morning, going that distance would have cost a fiver?

Live by the sword...

A hangover that lasted from the Sunday, until the Wednesday. And, you couldn't make this up. We were walking up a side street from the car park into town on the Wednesday morning.

Mr G: I'm only just starting to feel better now, today.

I heard a noise and looked around to find this Wrexham Lager wagon, Wrexham lager being the drink that he had got so drunk on at the awards night, parking up behind us. Never seen one anywhere near our neck of the woods before. I didn't even know any pubs sold it locally.

Oh, how I laughed...

Mr G took one look at it, retched and said 'I'm never drinking again. Ever.”

He turned 56 and celebrated with lattes and a couple of lovely meals out. Table Table and Cafe Doda

We do occasionally eat other things...

Snickers Milkshake. Trying something new AND blowing my daily calorie intake with one drink!

Hog Roast Wellington. Lush!

Cafe Doda Double Burger for the birthday boy

Cafe Doda Lamb and Mint Burger - best burger ever.

And I'll leave you with this 'Family WTF?' moment from last August. Camping in Llangollen. I was sat outside with my wine and Kindle, and Mr G was lying down, having a minute, on his campbed. Like so...

Ryan walked to the door, looked at him and uttered these immortal words...

Ryan: 'Paint me, like a Latvian hillbilly...'

I don't know. I really couldn't tell you. And on that note, I'm off to work on my 50 before 50 list!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Sad but true...

... that the highlight of these summer holidays is very likely going to be our visit to go and see Jeremy Corbyn at a rally in Bangor tomorrow (in the park by Bangor Swimming Pool, 1.30 pm - 2.30 pm if anyone local is interested!). Surprisingly, it's been the only time that leaving the house this summer hasn't been met with complete apathy and the word 'no' by Ryan. And Dan, for that matter.

Me: Want to come to see Jeremy Corbyn in Bangor tomorrow?

Ryan: Oh hell yes.

Dan: Sure

Adam: Can I come?

Me: ...

We are off glamping in a couple of weeks, booked our little pod in Llangollen. My Kindle is backed up with books that I haven't had a chance to read yet (but still insist on buying...) and to be perfectly honest, I'm looking forward to a (semi) digital detox. No TV, no internet, just me, my Kindle and a nice glass, bottle, box of Shiraz. Plenty of long walks. A little back to school shopping in Wrexham. We've bought a new camping oven and it's so big that we're going to have to forego the coffin ice cooler and buy food from day to day. Either that or leave a child behind, and as tempting as that sounds... nobody's offering. But, it has a proper sized oven with two shelves so it really increases what we can cook, which will save a bit of money.

Crusaders also have a home match while we're away, against Coventry Bears on the 3rd September. Out of three matches so far we've lost two and won one and sit joint second, at the time of writing, so it can still be done!

Hopefully everyone else is having a less boring summer than we are...

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Family WTF - Part Deux

Some more WTF moments for you, I don't know how this one passed me by earlier. I have little snippets typed away on whatever word document is open at the time. There's probably loads of forgotten gems on this computer.

Original Source Tea Tree and Mint shower gel. You'd have to have been living under a rock not to know of it, and its... er... side effects. Particularly on genitalia. Male, female, it shows no discrimination, and seemingly, little mercy.

Cut to our recent break away at the in laws. Ryan takes a shower. And my husband, in his infinite wisdom, he who actually likes the... tingle of said shower gel (sadist), had only packed that. It was that, or my Raspberry and Vanilla shower gel. 'Just use mine' said Mr G. And so he did. Poor, poor Ryan.

And so our story starts off in Wigan. Approximately 9 am.

Ryan: Dad? You know that green shower gel? I'm burning.

Mr G: Yeah. It does that.

Didn't think anything more of it. Cue a (no doubt) very uncomfortable two hour car ride home. And then, at 9.30 pm, he comes downstairs and says...

Ryan: Mum? You know how when you eat spicy food, milk helps?

Me: Yes.

Ryan: Will dunking my testicles into a glass of milk help to ease the pain? They're still red...

Me: Oh my God, really?

Ryan: Yes.

Adam: Noted. I'll stick to my Lynx...

Ryan: Are there chillies in it?

Me: Not as I know of.

Ryan: The pain won't go away and it's testicling my patience.

And soooooooo I showed him that he wasn't alone in his struggle. In particular one article. And when he read the words...

“MY FLAPS WERE ON F***ING FIRE, Tingling? TINGLING? This wasn’t tingling my minge. It was starting a f***ing bush fire down there.”

... he lost it, and laughed and laughed and laughed.  Ryan now sticks to Lynx, also. Lesson learned.

And speak of the devil and he shall appear. As I type...

Ryan: Mum, imagine you were a flamingo.

Me: *blank*

Ryan: And you had pins and needles or your leg went numb.

Me: *blank*

Ryan: Because flamingos, they stand like this *stands on one leg*

Me: Go away. Please. Just go away.

Yesterday, I excelled myself in my sloppiness. A totally clean t shirt ruined within thirteen seconds of starting to eat my lunch. Rounded off with a healthy dollop of my tea. Mr G just sat watching me eat, shaking his head in bemusement...

Mr G: It is comedy gold watching you eat. You'd get less food down you, eating soup with a sieve.

He's found me a bib... which proudly proclaims '99 Problems but a Bib ain't one'.

Anyone know a good divorce lawyer?

Family WTF...

It's not easy being me sometimes.

In bed, discussing an... interesting... debate between Mr G and someone on a Facebook group that he's an admin on. By debate, I mean that a lunatic engaged with Mr G, and Mr G duly obliged...

Mr G: You know what, if they are actually able to read your private messages on these social networking sites, I bet that Martin Huckleburger is pissing himself laughing...

Me: What???  Who?

Mr G: Martin Huckleburger. The man who made Facebook.

Me: Er... Mark Zuckerberg?

Mr G: That's him.

Right. Because a twenty something billionaire has nothing better to do of an evening than trawl through private messages for shits and giggles...?

Adam has had sex education. I cannot repeat what was said there... not in print anyway. Somehow he managed to get Michael Jackson involved though. Don't. Ask.

Getting the washing in the other night before it rained, Mr G was smugly surveying his garden. He nodded towards the wooden planter that he'd scattered random seeds in.

Mr G: The flowers that will grow in there, are meant to attract cauliflowers.

Me: ...

Mr G: (quickly) Butterflies...

Talking with the children about all the acts we've seen live since we've been together...

Me: Jay Z. Kylie three times. Simply Red. The Beat.

Mr G: Cheryl Cole. (Sigh) Cheryl Cole...

Me: Kasabian.

Mr G: Incy Wincy Spider.

Me: Beg pardon?

Mr G: Incy Wincy Spider. Big Weekend?

Me: Tinie Tempah?

Mr G: That's him.

Adam and Ryan falling out spectacularly at the rugby a few months ago.

Adam: Ryan? I'll RKO you, you d*ckhead.

(I couldn't tell him off for laughing. I know you shouldn't, but it caught me off guard. I then had to Google what RKO was. And then laughed some more).

Ryan: Dad? Are tattoos like... paint? Or sewing?

Mr G: *snort*

Cait: What???

Ryan: Are tattoos like paint, or sewing?

Cait: It's ink! Bellend! (storms off)

Mr G and I having a cuddle and a kiss in the kitchen. Ryan walks in.

Ryan: I don't like where this is going.

Asking Ryan whether he took French or German in school...

Ryan: Both.

Me: Oh! We only took one in the first few years. Which language do you prefer? French or German?

Ryan: I don't know.

Me: Which one do you find easier?

Ryan: Probably German, because of all the Hitler memes.

Me: ...

Morphine moments...

Mr G: My eyelids are moving...

Mr G: My eyes are spinning...

Mr G: (completely randomly, out of the blue) Ha! That's something you've never heard. This Government talking about emigration.

Me: What??

Mr G: What? I didn't say anything.

Mr G: I'm going to bed.

Me: Ok. You go up. I'll just tidy up down here, lock up and I'll be up.

Five minutes later, Mr G appears in the hallway and scares me

Me: Jesus! You scared me. I thought you'd gone upstairs?

Mr G: I am.

Me: Er, clearly you're not?

Mr G: Where are my glasses?

Me: You're wearing them.

Mr G: Oh. I thought it was odd that I couldn't find them.

And a nice retro one for you all. A couple of years ago, my Dad, Mr G, my eldest son and I went to the cinema to watch The Inbetweeners Movie.  Driving home, my father imparts this gem...

Dad: That'll be you in a few years, Dan. You and your mates abroad, in one of those froth discos

Dan: Huh?

Me: Foam party, Dan. Foam party.

I'm surrounded by imbeciles :-)

If this is Summer, why is my heating on?

Time has flown by so quickly since my last post. I always start each year with the best of intentions. Every recipe I make, I forget to post about it. Everywhere I go, I've been a bit apathetic lately about taking photographs. Every book I read, I haven't been putting down in my Goodreads challenge for 2017. There seems to be no ooomph about me of late. The whole nation seems deflated after elections and the terror attacks on our country. I need to pull my finger out. As does Summer.

The summer holidays are imminent, and we have no plans of note. Mr G is on the list for another shoulder operation, and he is down as urgent. His specialist said that her 'urgent' was a month, but the decision wasn't ultimately hers, and it could be the hospital's definition of 'urgent', which was up to three months. He is also (finally) seeing his Gastrointestinal surgeon in the middle of August. So it's just as well that we didn't book a holiday for our usual dates, as we would have been away for that appointment. We can't even book any camping in advance, in case he gets a date for surgery while we're away. All we can do, is sit and wait now, and make the best of things closer to home. And if we don't get to go away this Summer, then we'll see if we can book a nice week away near Christmas in Corwen or thereabouts, like we did last year. 

We do have a couple of things to look forward to. Some rugby for starters. After a fantastic home draw against second place Whitehaven last week at Queensway (anyone would have thought we'd won the game, how we were celebrating!), North Wales Crusaders are away at Coventry today (I'll be watching on the YouTube live stream!).

How we do away matches

The league then splits into two, so we'll know when the results are in where we are for the League 1 Shield, whether we get the home advantage or not. Cru last won this in 2013, and if we carry on playing as we have done so far this season, we should have a good crack at it! I can't wait to find out what the fixtures are, I'm getting a bit twitchy now, not knowing when I get my fix again and see our lovely rugby family. We've made some really good friends there in Wrexham, they've really welcomed us and made us feel at home. Sometimes I wish it was home, it would make the journey home easier, and the shops are better. And my new favourite chippy is there (The Caia Fryer, in case you're interested). But I digress.


Unfortunately, I'm going to have to curb my visits to the Wrexham Lager bar as I'm low carb-ing again, or rather, low carb, gluten free-ing again. You know I've got a problem with the stuff when the barman has already poured my pint as I'm walking up to the bar. Hundreds of people there, hundreds of customers, but no. It's my face that he remembers... *eyeroll* That stuff is lethal, I'm not usually a big lager fan, but I swear, I could drink that stuff all day long. And typically, now that I can't drink it, both our local Asda and Morrisons have started stocking it? Thanks for that. Ah well, there's always the summer barbecue. I might relent and have a couple of bottles then. If I'm not having bread, then I'm having beer. The plus side is that a low carb diet makes you a complete lightweight and an incredibly cheap date when it comes to having a drink. Two glasses of red wine and I'm anyone's lately. Well, not anyone's, but you know what I mean... 

We are meeting up with our friends from Norwich next weekend, which will be lovely, I can't believe they've nearly been married a year! A year since the Wedding on a Train! We have also got a mucky overnighter away from the children a week tomorrow, when Mr G and I go to watch Sister Act in Manchester! (Thanks M&A). Really looking forward to that and crossing something else off my 40 before 40 list. The in laws are also down next week for their summer visit.

Adam is going into his last week in Primary School. He's ready for Secondary School now. I've transferred my daughter from the local Secondary School, and she starts Ysgol Friars in Bangor in September, she has her look around the school on Tuesday. With hindsight now, I wish I had put all my children there from the start. There were enough red flags about how useless and inept the local Secondary was from when my eldest son attended. It's just getting worse and worse, and I hope that in time, all the children will end up in Friars, but it's ultimately their choice. It's their education, not mine, and if they're happy where they are, then it's not for me to move them.

In other news, my biggest kid and smallest kid went to Nantporth to see the Champions League trophies and have their photos taken.

We had a lovely day out here, had some lunch and took some gorgeous photographs. I'd never been to the Priory before.

Bangor (Garth) Pier taken from Anglesey

And we still spend an awful lot of time on here, Garth Pier. It's probably one of our favourite places in the world. We've decided that when we go, we're getting cremated and scattered over the Pier. And then whoever is left has to come and visit, with fish and chips. Just how we do in real life, like. You know how it is.

Mr G fangirling Brian Noble (with obligatory photobomber in between)

There's probably more. But that's all you're getting for now ;-) I'm off to sort out the WTF moments from my family for my next post. Mr G has been on FORM. That's all I'm saying.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Garden - Part 3

The last job that we had to do - not just on the garden - but the whole house, was a tiny patch of land in the back garden. Since 2009, the most that has ever been done to this piece of garden is that the path has been brushed. Unseen (apart from through my kitchen window) and so, we adopted a kind of 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality about it. Overgrown, straggly, and just an eyesore. I forgot to take a proper 'before' picture of it, but this was it about three weeks ago, when we first started work on it. We'd cleared a fair bit and put the log roll fencing up to keep the bark from spilling onto the path.

Here goes...

Mr G wanted to level the soil out after digging up as many weeds as he could, but there was just no way that was happening. So I had a think, and said that if we were putting weed control down and then bark, it wouldn't really need to be level, and that the levelling out could be done with the bark itself. This worked out fine. The old rickety fence between us and next door, which our neighbour's father put up years ago and he's a bit sentimental about, is now covered with a section of heather screening. We bought two little mirrored tea light holders in the shape of bird cages, these were from Poundworld. A lovely little wall mounted planter from B&M. We cut the pretty pink tree right back before it started to blossom, and put clear fairy lights in, so it looks really pretty at night. Three small mosaic solar lights from Morrisons, which we put in between the potted plants on the bark. A couple of hanging plaques on the wall under the window. Two solar miners lamps hang in the tree too. And my absolute favourite bargain buy, a garden wine bottle and glass holder, which I bought in the Clearance section of Avon for a fiver. It looks so pretty there now, and just as I finally get my little piece of peace and quiet, what happens? Rain.

The view on approach


It really looks so pretty up there now, and I can see it becoming a bit of a haven in the summer, as I evade children. Warm summer evening, Kindle, bottle of wine, bag of crisps. They'll never think of looking there, will they?

The shed pub is also tidy and ready for tomorrow evening. Next week hopefully, we should finally have power and electric lighting in there (and internet!) and there are only two jobs left to do. Put the safety flooring down for the dartboard and put the pub sign up outside the shed. Mr G has acquired a long piece of old bannister rail from a friend which will hopefully do as the pole, but we're just stuck at the moment on the best way to erect it, the positioning, and most importantly, the height. It needs to be proportional to the height of the building, which isn't 'pub' sized. Unfortunately.

Every year I'm really proud of my garden and the hard work we put into it, but I think that this year it's the best it's ever looked, everything seems to be spot on. And the lovely weather we've had means that it's been summer ready in record time. I know that usually, around my birthday I'm flapping, trying to get it ready, but this year, it seemed to flow nicely.

And now today, I will bake, bake, bake for tomorrow, it is Eurovision. Oh yes...

Monday, 10 April 2017

Garden - Part 2

We knew we had to put a couple of hours at least into the garden on Saturday, as we were off to Wrexham on Sunday to the rugby, so nothing would have been done.  A rematch of last week's fixture against Newcastle Thunder, which we won, so we were hoping for a run of form. However, by Saturday night Mr G was in so much pain that he ended up sleeping on the sofa, having had to take a hefty dose of morphine.  I prodded him as he lay on the sofa (not a euphemism) and he asked me how long it took for the tablets to wear off. I asked him how many of me he could currently see, and he replied 'three'. So we 'watched' the match from the comfort of our living room and the Twitter feed! Thankfully, another win for us.  Poor sod. He's worked really hard in the garden this week, and he's certainly paying for it now.

I'm not too downhearted though, even though I like to attend all the home matches, there isn't too much of a gap between this and the next as we're also back there on Good Friday, where Crusaders meet Toronto for the first time! Exciting! Premier Sports are airing this match, so if you're a subscriber, look out for me. I'll be the one standing swaying not too far from the Wrexham Lager Bar... haha.

It was a late kick off (now moved to 5 pm) so we were looking for a cheap hotel overnight. Not the easiest thing to do on Easter weekend, just slightly easier than if I was a pregnant virgin on a donkey. We couldn't find rooms for five, so staying in a Travelodge or Premier Inn would mean booking two rooms and splitting up for the night. This would make it quite an expensive day, on top of the cost of petrol and tickets. Mr G had bookmarked a little camp site in Oswestry that he'd seen, they had pods like the ones we stayed in, in Llangollen last summer. We'd already intended to spend a couple of days there in the Summer. He found that they had one last pod free for the entire weekend and I rushed to book that before someone else did. The cost of the pod for the weekend was cheaper than the price of two hotel rooms for one night. Bargain! A couple of friends of ours have stayed there before too, and they said it was lovely.

The good news is that we've broken the back of the garden. We stained the small shed, the fence, the other side of the trellis fence, the pallet furniture and the decking itself.

Just needs the seat cushions and a glass of Chardonnay...

In a word, if it hasn't moved, we've stained it. Just the Shedpub to go now. Mr G cut back a load of overhanging branches from the trees dividing us from our neighbours in another street. Cut them up into smaller pieces as our garden waste bin is so full we can barely move it. Did a tip run with those and old solar lights and cracked plant pots and other bits. All in all it's looking really good. Still a good couple of full days work to do on it, but it's a spectacular change in under a week! Today, there was a bit of a change in the weather, dull and a lot cooler, but the sun peeked out from behind the clouds occasionally. The main thing is that it's dry. So, today's jobs were: primer the legs of the 'distressed' table.

And the worst job of them all. Cutting the hedges. They desperately needed doing, and couldn't wait until the bin gets emptied on Friday, so we put the cuttings in rubble bags and got them off to the recycling centre too. I've added another thing to the famous saying. 'If it's got tyres, testicles or twigs, you're going to have trouble with it'.

Unruly bush

Neatly trimmed bush. I know, I know, sorry...

So, all in all, I'm really pleased in the transformation within a week. Only two major jobs to do now. The Shedpub. And then tackling the side of the house that hasn't been touched since we moved in. Shudder. Not relishing that job, but once it's done, it will be another hiding place seating area away from the kids which is a suntrap at certain times of the day! I'm really blessed to have such a large and beautiful garden, that it deserves a bit of TLC. Thankfully, we're finally able to do it again.

And in another stroke of brilliance, Eurovision once again falls on my birthday weekend! So we will eat, drink, be generally merry, and viciously scathing about other countries' entries. Time to menu plan, where's my book of lists...