Saturday, 30 May 2009

Meme - Part 2

More questions and answers ...

7. What are you reading now?

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (she of ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ fame) Not as good as the Kevin book, but maybe I’m too tired to give it enough attention. Also, as borrowed from the library it will have to go back before I move house and I might not have finished it ...


8. Use 4 words to describe yourself.

I’m not good at this sort of question. I asked my son: he said, 'annoying'. In contrast, I think I am soft on him. My daughter said, 'lovely'. So: annoying, soft, lovely and skeptical.


9. What is your guilty pleasure?

Biscuits. With every cup of tea. Regularly, throughout the day (particularly when writing).


10. Who or what makes you laugh until you're weak?

My children. My husband even more so. Can't share any of the jokes just now - partly as I can't remember them, but largely because they are always funnier at the time ... "you had to be there..."


11. First Spring thing?

Daffodils, and trees in bud. They are the wonderful sign of hope for the new year.


12. Where are you planning on travelling to next?

The visit to Zambia has had to be shelved (damn Husband’s new job…) until next Easter. This summer we’ll have a couple of weeks somewhere in the UK countryside. [I'm assuming this question excludes moving house!]


Keeping you tantalised ... for the first six, see below; for the final six check in again next Thursday...

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Meme - Part 1

A couple of weeks ago Maternal Tales challenged me with a meme that is doing the rounds. I thought I would split the eighteen questions in three and spread them out over the next couple of weeks, so there will be something to read on the blog whilst I am busy packing (and unpacking). Spare a thought for me, if you can...

Meanwhile: here are numbers 1-6

1. What are your current obsessions?

Moving house. It seems to be all I have been thinking about for the last 6 months, further exacerbated by only having moved 5 months before that, and then having moved from Zambia 11 months before that … I could take it up as a profession, if I weren’t so exhausted by it all.

2. Which item of clothes do you wear most often?

Jeans and T-shirt. (Or should I say bra and pants?)


3. What's for dinner tonight?

Given I am writing this for the period during which we move, probably pizza. Or at least a microwave meal. I’d love to say a wide selection of vegetables and fruit, with a glass of pure water… but my suspicion is that I’ve gone for the easy option, and for the bottle of wine…


4. What's the last thing you bought?

A house? The washing machine? A book (about how to do up my house)? [Have you spotted how my answer to Question 1 fits in now?]


5. What are you currently listening to?

I don’t often get a chance to listen to much (other than my children…) but I love listening to ‘He Reigns’ by The Newsboys. It reminds me of Zambia and what a wonderful, multi-cultural world we live in.


6. What are your favourite holiday spots?

Our holidays tend to be in new places every time: my husband doesn’t have much patience for going back to a place we’ve been. So I have to keep extending where I would like to go. India would be a great experience; I’d love to take my children to France or Mauritius, so they could practice the language they are learning; I’d be quite happy with a farmhouse in the middle of beautiful, sunny British countryside. Historically, the best was Talin & Riga (Estonia & Latvia), or the Trans-Siberian Railway, or the many group holidays in the UK with friends.


I hope this whets your appetite for more! Part 2 on Saturday, the rest next week!

Friday, 22 May 2009

From my son

My son's bible study notes the other day encouraged him to write a letter to his parents telling them how much he loved them and thanking them for everything they do. Here is what he wrote.

Dear Mum and Dad
I would rather hug you all day than eat a box of choclate

[Me too!]

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Our new home

There is likely to be a bit of blogger silence from me for a while as we move house.

I cannot believe how excited about this I am! After all, I am moving to the Wrong Side of the Pennines, dragging my children away from an excellent school and their wonderful friends, and losing my own friends and contacts built up with a lot of hard work over the last 21 months.

But we spent the weekend in the house and I love it! It is enormous and spacious (though this may be because we haven't any furniture in it yet...) We camped for three days: sleeping bags on the floor, a kettle and a toaster our only source of hot food. It has a garden, and the children both wanted to play in it - only the weather put them off!

Having said that, it does have a few problems...
1 Night storage heaters: I hate them. Can't control the heat input, output or anything.
2 Decor. Least said the better.
3 1930's kitchen ("original cupboards") Actually, it is the 1980's taps on the sink that are the problem...
4 Too much flat roof. Peeling paper in one room.
5 No lintels over a couple of windows. Interesting movement in plasterwork there.
6 Dog smell from carpet.

So far we have achieved:
- Planting sunflowers in back garden (had to hack back rampant raspberries to get some space in the flowerbed)
- Planting cucumber seeds (please, please, germinate and survive: son desperate to eat his own grown food!)
- Planting rose bush (present from friend) (but where we expect we will put a driveway when all the renovations and alterations are pushed through - foolish? Probably.)
- Becoming members of the library.

Something tells me we have a long way to go!

I'll get around to visiting all your wonderful blogs when I am re-connected to the internet and have found my desk under all the boxes and worked out how to plug the computer back together.

Thursday, 14 May 2009



Can hardly believe it, but ... look!

We own our new home!

Monies paid, mortgage released and now - the keys can be collected!

Just why oh why am I three hours and hundreds of miles away today?
(Oh yes - children have to go to school.) 
(Have 3 of their friends for tea tonight.)
(Guess I can't escape to watch the Test Match either then.)

Just so excited!! Going to spend the day planning new colour schemes and spending on the (already over-full) credit card. 

And getting more excited!

Monday, 11 May 2009


Some words are not designed to be negated. Or positivified. (Nor are words like positivified supposed to be made up, I suspect). It is my understanding that the great PG Wodehouse invented the word 'couth' as the opposite of 'uncouth', a word which had never had its positive connotation used before. Such are the wonders of the English language.

Anyway, here is a poem where all the uns and dis's and ins and the like have been removed: enjoy!

A very Descript Man

I am such a dolent man,
I eptly work each day;
My acts are all becilic,
I've just ane things to say.

My nerves are strung, my hair is kempt,
I'm gusting and I'm span:
I look with dain on everyone
And am a pudent man.

I travel cognito and make
A delible impression:
I overcome a slight chalance,
With gruntled self-possession.

My dignation would be great
If I should digent be:
I trust my vagance will bring
An astrous life for me.

by J H Parker

Friday, 8 May 2009

Car numbers

Long-standing readers of this blog will recall the bruising game that my son played as we walked to/from school (and everywhere else), passing cars of different makes. That game resulted in sore arms for me, but thankfully has died a quiet death ...

... only to be replaced by counting. I blame my sister: she suggested it when my son was visiting her for a weekend. Find a car with a '1' on its number plate, then '2', then '3', then... well, you get the picture. Given recent plate changes, finding 02, 03, 04 etc. was very easy. The teens proved quite difficult, although I found that as soon as you've seen a number you've been waiting for ages to see, then you seem to find them everywhere. Particularly 13s, for some reason.

We live in the middle of student-land. This will help us when we reach 462 or 971, as there are a lot of pre-2000 cars filling up the street-side parking. However, not all students are broke. Or at least, not all their parents are. Having peeked through estate agent windows at the rental prices, many must be subsidised heavily by the Bank of Mum & Dad. 

So, reaching 17 it suddenly becomes easy again. There are a lot of personalised number plates with '18' or '21', followed by (presumably) their initials. Or BEX or SAM or something. Presumably we shouldn't be amazed by this, but the number of plates that are clearly personalised for supposedly impecunious students is astonishing.

But now we're on 23, and since a number plate like A123ABC can't really count (even if the 1 does look like an I) it might be a long, long time before we reach treble figures.

Or, of course, the government could raise the age of consent to 23, 24 or higher, and we can benefit from more wealthy parents coming-of-age gifts. What are the chances?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Blogging update

Nothing is simple in the Withenay household. Our lives are moving on at such a pace, so I thought I'd give you a quick update on a number of matters.

Firstly, the move. We have exchanged contracts on a house: it will be ours next week and we'll move over half-term. It is very exciting and very scary. In addition, next week the appeal comes up for my son's school place, so there are a lot of fingers crossed - neither of us are sure what will happen if he fails to get in!

We are now on a shopping spree. We have rented for so long that we don't have some of the basics you need in a new house - fridge, freezer and washing machine being today's list. And none of this begins to cover the amount of work we need to do in the house to make it our family home: the blog will, no doubt, be overwhelmed by 'before and after' photos and tales of angst as the builders are let loose.

In a moment of extravagance I set up a couple of other blogs: 
Withenay Words and Witterings is primarily for book related stuff. I have put a post up to review the book Zoia's Gold, by Philip Sington (which I thoroughly enjoyed!) ... and if I am brave enough in the future will post some of my own writing as well. 
Withenay Wonders is for writing and thoughts about God and my faith. I've often thought about putting comments here, but it feels out of the character of the blog. So, occasionally, I shall write some of my thoughts on the Wonders blog.

The main blog will remain here - full of the usual updates on the family, the move, the new house, the travels we take and my attempts to get my book published. And in due course I'll tell you about us giving in to the norm and having a family car - all my green credentials gone in an instant!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...