I had a sleepover with my kids this week. They had been promised the chance to have a sleepover on the futon in the playroom before it had to be returned and watch TV all night. They have christened it a 'wakeover'.
So Saturday was the appointed night and for once they headed off to bed without as much as a grumble to watch 'Maria' followed by some carefully selected programmes on some carefully selected channels.
The good money said one of them would fall asleep by 10pm. The good money was wrong. Not just wrong, but way, way out!
So at 10.30 I decided the only course of action was to join them in the allegedly double futon in the hope that they might settle and drop off. So there we are, me, two wriggly children and a four foot teddy bear all squashed into a space barely larger than a single bed watching endless runs of the Powderpuff Girls.
The little one fell asleep soon after my arrival, the bigger one managed to make it into the wee small hours of the morning I believe, reports have it that I was out for the count well before him.
And was it a good nights sleep? I haven't been kicked as much by my kids since I was pregnant!! And then theres the talking in the sleep .. both of them, sometimes even to each other. Not to mention she likes to kick the covers off during the night and he cocoons himself in them.
The other half peeped in at one in the morning to see how it was doing and says he wished he'd had a camera. I sort of wish he'd had one too. It was the worst night's sleep I've had in absolutely ages. I loved every minute :-)
Two days (and very little sleep) into our camping trip we are cursing roosters and smokers in the next tent who try to cough their lungs up at 4am.
Sleep deprivation requires more tea in the morning, and I am on my second or possibly even third mug of the hour when a man clutching a string bag with two onions in it wanders over to the tent and asks:
'Do you use the onions?'
I wasn't too sure if he was surveying me or offering me his, so I did what I have always been told to do if a strange man (ie one you don't know, just to clarify and avoid litigation in case he surfs on here and recognises himself from the account) offers you anything - I said no thankyou.
The three mugs of tea cleared my head enough to enable me to head up to the washroom for a shower to complete the waking process. As I head out of the washroom back towards the tent I jump out of my skin as I am accosted from behind:
'Do you use the onions?'
Wide awake now!
Everyone has their wee jobs to do in the tent in the morning before we head out for the day, and one of Dolly's is to take recyclable rubbish up to the bins, only she can't reach them so I stroll up to the recycle point with her to dump an empty washing-up liquid bottle. As I lift her to put the bottle in the bin a voice from the far side of the bin says:
'Do you use the onions?'
So I explain that I have nothing to chop them on, or with and that I've nothing to cook them with or in, that they make me cry anyway and the kids aren't particulary fond, not to mention how would I ever get the smell out of the tent and basically NO! I DON'T USE THE ONIONS. Thankyou.
When we get back to the tent I explain to the kids that under no circumstances are they to accept onions from anyone they don't know, and they're looking at me oddly as if I'm mad and asking am I sure I don't mean sweets. But I insist no, I mean onions.
Just at that, the other half strolls into the tent ... carrying a string bag with two onions in
Just back from our camping trip to beautiful Wicklow in the South of Ireland. An uneventful journey down, we arrived in the glow of evening sunshine and were able to get the tent pitched in the dry. Hooray! First hurdle successfully negotiated.
Got the kids settled for the night and sat down at the OPEN (there's a novelty!) door of the tent for a cuppa. As I phoned home to let them know we had arrived safely, I suddenly noticed that although there were a good 40 other tents in the site, there was no sign of life at any of them, everyone else had hit the sack!
So I'm whispering to mum on the phone because you can hear everything when you're in your tent and I didn't want to wake the entire campsite with tales of our uneventful journey and unexciting tent pitching experience. Mum asks why I'm whispering, and I explain that there are 40 odd tents all round me full of sleeping campers. But it's only 9.15pm she says. Camping etiquette I explain, with more conviction than I could actually justify.
And so by 9.30 I have retired to my blow-up campbed with the latest selection from the library for company, which I get stuck into whilst trying to ignore the sound of snoring coming from all around me.
I eventually settled down for sleep, well prepared this time as in Fermanagh I had been a touch cold, so I had my best thermal reinforced PJs and an extra drawstring mummy-style sleeping bag with me. Unfortunately, although this all guaranteed my warmth, because the outer fabric of the sleeping bag stuck like velcro to the fuzzy cover on the airbed it also meant I was rendered incapable of even the slightest movement. However, it offered the best chance of a good nights sleep in a tent yet - warm, dry and add to that the bonus of no noisy rain beating down.
Next thing I know I wake with a start. If I could have sat bolt upright I probably would have, instead I lay absolutely still waiting to hear the noise again ...
Somewhere down the campsite a rooster has unilaterally decided it is time to start the day. But it's still dark, and when I check my watch it's only 2.45am! However it's a persistent bird and it cock-a-doodle-fecking-doos on average every minute for 45 minutes.
And then it's mate from up our end of the site starts to answer it back. Only it can't even do the cock-a-doodle-doo bit right, and it's screeching back cock-a-doo! I'm not sure what frustrated me most; the noise or the fact the second stupid bird couldn't even get the words right!
And so their conversation goes on, for hours, while I lie there thinking of 101 ways to cook a chicken on a camping stove.
And suddenly I realise, as I lie anticipating the next cock-a-doodle-doo, that the snoring all around me has stopped.
Packed up and ready for the off tomorrow for a weeks camping in Wicklow. Just checked the weather one last time (at 4pm today it was still indicating sunshine all week) to discover, horror of horrors, the latest forecast for the area is showing sunny spells tomorrow, followed by four days of rain and minimum temperatures of 13 degrees.
And worse still, predicion of thunderstorms on Wednesday. And Thursday.
Question: is it safe to be in a tent in a thunderstorm?
I don't believe this is happening to me; last time we had thunder and lightning at home I was under the bed with fear, how will my sanity cope when I'm under a flimsy piece of gortex sheeting? Not that I'm one to be over dramatic, but this could be my last ever blog.
Way, way back on 25th May I went fair trade shopping and was very disappointed with the results of my endeavour.
But I did rave a bit about the Fair Trade muesli, which I considered the most fairly traded product I bought.
Today I have to admit that after two and a half months of kidding myself that I might actually eat it, today the muesli ended up in the bin. The truth is, I have bought and consumed two other boxes of muesli since my purchase of the Fairly Traded variety. And the Fairly Traded just didn't compare :-(
I remember when I had rabbits they used to eat a concoction that looked, and probably tasted, just like the fairly traded muesli. In fact, the rate my rabbits ate it, it might have actually tasted better.
I've not given up completely, I shall have to look out for other 'brands' of Fairly Traded muesli and see if they pass the taste test. In the meantime, I've given up on pretending to eat a substance that looks and even tastes a bit like cardboard just to be seen to be ethical!
Obviously when you are recovering from being ill you go through stages of wellness. I am now, happily, in the position where 95% of the time I feel recovered, to the point where I think I have fully recovered.
And then, every so often, something happens that makes you realise you still have a way to go.
Like today, mum and the kids and I went to the market and stopped off in a coffee shop for elevenses. As I was waiting at the counter for my order to be sorted, the man behind me in the queue started giving the girl behind the counter a REAL earful .. literally over nothing
But he was sooo arrogant, and sooo rude to her and to give credit where it is due, she was so polite and patient back, but the more helpful she was with him, the more aggressive he got with her.
I have to tell you, by the time my order was on the tray in front of me I was shaking so much I wondered would it all be spilt before I made it back to my seat!
Any sign of confrontation, even, apparently, when I'm not involved and I turn into Mr Jelly.
That'll have to be sorted before I go back to work!
We have just returned from a weekend camping trip, it was a planned trip - something we had organised to do a few weeks ago when the sun was gloriously shining and the temperatures were in the mid 20s.
So it was with some disappointment that we woke to dull skies on Friday, and even more disappointing to see the rain arrive later in the day. But we had packed the car and leave had been taken, so off we set on the 80 odd mile journey to the selected campsite in the lovely lakeland area of Co. Fermanagh.
As we travelled down the road the weather got worse and worse to the point were the window wipers were on full speed and still were not clearing the windscreen :-(
The Killyhevlin Hotel looked VERY tempting as we passed it, however camping had been promised and camping it had to be. When we arrived at the site the fun really started. In faith, I was totally unprepared for putting up a tent in the rain, especially rain of the kind last seen when Noah built the ark. And so it was that I was soaked through to my knickers before we had even managed to get the tent out of the boot of the car.
It gets to the stage were you give in and admit there is no point trying to avoid getting soaked, and just pretend you are standing in a shower, albeit with all your clothes on! (At least thats not a first for me)
Of course, it doesn't help to see all the caravan and motorhomes rolling up and just plugging in. At least none of the owners had the nerve to wave at us out through the window.
Eventually the tent went up, round about the same time the rain eased to simply torrential. Although the bedrooms were dry, there were puddles in the front part of the tent Dr Foster would have been wary of, but at 11 o'clock at night, clothes stuck to me, hair plastered to my head and shoes squelching, I didn't really care. Having peeled off the wet layers and then put on every other item of clothing I had with me to try and generate some heat in my poor body, I hit the sack.
We woke in the morning to silence ... what?? No rain!! As we peeped out the door of the tent it quickly became obvious that two of the three other tents that had been pitched beside us the night before had disappeared. Packed up early and gone home, or simply floated down the campsite onto the Lough?? We never found out.