Christmas greetings from lockdown

2020 what can I say? You have not been my most favourite year of all, that’s definitely for sure. I am so glad that we are now bounding towards the very end of the year and I am more than happy to embrace 2021 in just a few days. I’ll even give it a big fat, juicy kiss. From lockdown hard (as opposed to lockdown light – that was last month!) however, I concede, that that maybe somewhat difficult, given social distancing and all of that. I may just have to snog my husband instead. But I don’t think he’ll mind too much. I mean, I doubt it will be the worst moment he’s had this year.

But first of all there’s Christmas. We plan to eat, drink and be merry. Albeit the eating and drinking will be in separate rooms, as it means removing masks.

Christmas time…
Masks and wine…

We’ve hidden all of the presents. Not from the kids. From the dog. She is also fed up with 2020 and the lack of cuddles from the usual streams of visitors. So she has decided she definitely needs presents, and all of the presents must be for her. Some sort of compensation scheme, I think.

Merry Christmas to all of my readers. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your loyal support. I hope you are healthy and your nerves are still intact.

Awww Betty

Betty is the main character. She is funny, odd, loves her dog and her kids (like me). She’s house proud, somewhat subservient at times and great at sewing. NOT LIKE ME.
Though my son, funny boy, did ask me when I was explaining her character to the family if, as Betty is a bit like me, that means I also let the dog go on the settee when nobody is looking…

I am supposed to be at 50,000 words by the end of Monday. Phew. I have a way to go.
Wonder what I will be doing this weekend then?
Apart from running up and downstairs with food etc for a young man in quarantine…


Just to let you know…

So NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow, and I am all excited and raring to go.

It was one of those last minute, split second decisions after a throw away comment from my husband, which encouraged me to go ahead with it.

Writing has taken a backseat for me the past few years, despite it being my passion. Of course, bringing up four whole children needed to take priority and then, as they aged and became more independent, I started up my own tutoring business and that took up another massive heap of my time. I have enjoyed doing that, I love kids, as you might be able to tell, with me having four of my own.

But then Covid hit and what with lockdowns and risk categories life changed for me quite fundamentally.
It meant that I had time to write again, but as my husband pointed out, what I really needed, to stop my procrastination, was a deadline.

Hence NaNoWriMo.

I’m ready to go, after much pondering. I know my main character well and I’m ready for her adventure.

To help me along my way with my target I’ve enlisted my family. I ordered asked my daughter to draw me a tortoise (otherwise known as Molly). And I commanded requested that my husband make it into a gif. He taught my daughter how to do it and she has quite literally spent most of her school holiday on the computer designing the graphics. Which he has in turn compiled, and all I can tell you is, when it’s uploaded onto my page, some kind of magic stuff happens.

Molly has way exceeded my expectations. I welled up when I was initially introduced to her. And now, of course, I am even more excited.

Molly will be available for you, from tomorrow, in the form of a sticky post (quite thrilling in itself as I’ve never had a sticky post before!!). So you can always check and recheck how I am doing.

50,000 words here I come.

Hue thanks to my hubby and Akasha!!

Specific rules for a specific fireman

Two rules seem to have been broken in our house today, as far as I can tell.

The first is the washing rule. Our washing rule is: prepare your own dirty garments before you put them in the basket. That requires:

  • Closing zips
  • Emptying pockets
  • Turning inside out items outside in

But I found myself pondering the question, this morning, “Why is there a toothbrush in the wash basket?”
I’ll admit, it was a less offensive surprise than the dead frog I once found in exactly the same basket. But I don’t think that was down to the children. I think that was down to the hole in the vent netting.
I believe to this very day that a random frog deserted the troops and found solace in our basement. Only for the poor chap to sadly discover that there was absolutely no sustenance to be found at all. Not even when he dived into the deep, dark realms of our dirty laundry.

But the second rule to be be broken, was somewhat more serious.

My husband disturbed my washing activity to pose another question:

“Are you aware that there’s a chainsaw in the bike shed?”

I shook my head and started babbling about the toothbrush in the wash basket. But my husband had that stubborn look on his face which said, ‘My discovery outranks yours’. And I knew, deep in my heart, that he was right.

Cleverly, he’d already broached the subject with our son. But our young man had answered, in his defence, “But I didn’t bring it into the house.”

I suspect, the technological wording of the ruling is down to me. I suspect what I actually said was, “There will be no chainsaws in this house…” Or something decidedly similar.

A few minutes later my husband returned. “And there’s a large axe in the small shed.”

I’m really sure though, that I hadn’t actually come up with an axe rule…

You might be led to believe that after 20 years of dealing with autism, I might have learned to be more specific. Evidently that’s not the case.

NaNoWriMo 2020


I have decided to take part in NaNoWriMo 2020. Does anyone know if there is a widget or something I can attach to my blog to show my progress. I found one but I’d have to pay WordPress 300 Euros (I guess Euros) for the year. I would like a free widget!!

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thank you!!

For those who don’t understand this post – NaNoWriMo is a writing project which takes place every November. The idea is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month with support and motivation from within the group. If you are also interested in taking part here’s a link and if you want to check me out as a buddy my username is: schnuffi.

Confusion, delusion…

I’ve reached the grand old age of 48 and yet there are still so many things in life that I don’t understand. On many an occasion I am left flabbergasted and I cannot explain to my children what just happened and why.

Take this afternoon, for example. The awaited electrician rang the doorbell at the appropriate time (between 1pm and 7pm) to change the counter meter as is required currently by the electricity company. So far, so good.

But as he stood there, on my step, waiting to be invited in, he was not reeking of disinfectant or donning either gloves or a mask. And I wondered, at this present time: why not?

Of course, me being me, I just told him straight away that he would have to put a mask on before entering our building and he unhappily did so, and of course, I also wore a mask for the duration of his visit.

His visit, to make it clear, took around 5 minutes.

But the planned allotted time we were informed to remain at home was a slot of 6 hours. As he was literally going from house to house, how many houses could he actually enter in that time period?

Since February only three people have been invited into our home. My daughter and her boyfriend and my son (the chimney sweep also came – but we hadn’t requested him). Anyone else who has popped by, has stood on the bottom step or sat in the garden.

Now, I can tell you, that I have a lot of respect for Covid 19. I am both pretty concerned that if I get it, I might not be able to fight it off all that easily and I am a little troubled that perhaps my better half or one of my offspring might be fairly ill.

Additionally, I am concerned about passing on the virus to a friend, an acquaintance or even a complete stranger who may have even more issues fighting the virus off than I would. And so, when I do have contact with others, I try to keep my distance and pop on a clean mask whenever necessary. I wear glasses, which steam up sometimes and I am asthmatic, which isn’t ideal, but really, it doesn’t cost me much. And when I wear my mask, I wear it properly, as in, both my nose and mouth are inside it!! I wash, wash, wash my hands and I have disinfectant in my car and in my bag and in my pocket.

I have a responsibility to all of you just as you all have a responsibility to me.

What I don’t get is, why don’t all people feel this way?

That brings me to President Trump. I’m rarely, if at all, political on this blog. Though those who know me in person, know that I am a very politically motivated person indeed.
What is going on with the President? If he is so sick that he needs to go into hospital, why is he driving around in a car waving at supporters? Why is he risking the health of the driver and passengers? I’m sure there must be at least one secret service agent in the car. If he is well enough for a drive around, why is he even in the hospital?

Although I had an enormous amount of trouble understanding people voting for him first time around, I am struggling even more to understand why they are still supporting him.

Life is precious. I really don’t think that Mr Trump understands that. It’s difficult to admit, but I think, sadly, a lot of people really still don’t seem to understand that. That every life is precious.

It’s a hard knock life baby, but there’s still you, and there’s still me

It’s difficult. And you have no idea, really, just how difficult it will be. To leave your country behind. To leave friends. Family. You look in the mirror and you are madly in love. Your passion and your optimism lead you to believe everything will be just fine. With love like this, your world will just keep turning around and around.

But then issues start to creep in. First his family don’t really accept you. You’re different. Foreign. You can’t speak the local lingo and you have different ideas. Different traditions. A different outlook on life. A different world view. You see life through a different set of eyes. Through a different background. Through different circumstances. He loves you, and as the dutiful husband he grows more and more apart from his family, as you do too from yours.

The children are hard work. They too have their issues. The language. The new customs and traditions. Health issues spring up out of nowhere and sometimes, they have difficulties just fitting in.

You spend hours translating homework. Hours sitting in doctor’s surgeries. And very little time at all doing normal things, like you did before and that’s an enormous loss.

You feel alone. Few people help you. Friendships are rarely deep and come and go. You miss your land, your air, your sea. Things you thought had little consequence suddenly mean a lot more.

Opportunities reduce. Exhaustion increases. Life becomes one long bumpy road. You have a lot of children, but no village to rear them, instead you are out there, alone.

Disapproving looks. Little comments. Repeated rejection. You feel it. In your heart. In your pulse. In your soul.

You begin to be less independent. Less resourceful. You cling to your husband and he takes the brunt of all your anguish, your pain, your deep seated sadness.

You love him, but you crush him. He, too, is overcome with tiredness.

Sometimes there are glimmers of hope and torches shining in the darkness and when they suddenly fail to burn or are abruptly extinguished, you plunge into what feels like a never ending abyss. And worse still, you drag everybody else with you.

Our worlds feel so different. Yet we are joined at the hip all the same. Our love, though repeatedly tested, is still as strong, maybe even stronger than it ever was. We traipse and test new pathways, together, and we falter together. Tumble together. Catch one another. Trip one another up but land joined together, hand in hand.

Another punch has hit us. But we feel the same pain. The same disappointment. The same loss. We unite in a way I never could with another. And that makes it somehow bearable. Somehow endurable.

I am with you in this strange land. With its strange customs. With its strange ways.

I stand with you hand in hand.

Through the hard stares. Through the false starts. Through every battle ground.

Hand in hand. Always.

Watch out for those wrinkly bits!

You know you married a German when your teenage daughter wanders over to you and tells you that your husband is “spachteling” around in the buff. As in completely starkers. Wearing nada. Hanging loose.

People often ask us which language we speak at home. And everyone of us always answers, “Denglish.” Which is a rather confused mix of Deutsch or German and English. The verb spachteln means to fill something in, or smooth something out. Which was in this case with plaster. As native Brits we just love the suffix -ing and half of our Denglish consists of us adding an -ing wherever possible to any German verb, which is a constant source of amusement to our German friends, and is pretty much the only reason we ourselves notice it, as to us, it just sounds so natural. They snigger when we call out, “I’m going einkaufing” (shopping). They giggle at our “spaziering” (going for a walk). And they’d crack up at our spachteling around.

I responded to my daughter that her Papa was obviously taking naturism up as an extreme sport. After all, I have a protective need to wear sturdy footwear when I’m just doing the ironing. I feel positively alarmed at the thought of using actual tools in my birthday suit.

Curious of his bravery, I later approached my husband on the subject. He explained his very simple and pragmatic approach, “I needed a shower anyway, so rather than change into my work clothes…”

Use the right tone with your children and your phone

I am useless with names.

My ex-mother-in-law who very sadly, passed away last year, understood my predicament all too well. Apart from having her own issue remembering the names of her six children, she always used to delight in telling me the story of her old school friend, who not only had an abundance of brothers, but also oodles of dogs. According to Grandma, her friend’s mother would frequently recite all of her son’s names, closely followed by all of her dog’s names before she finally addressed her one and only daughter.

I am blessed with two daughters and two sons. Throughout the years I have frequently misnamed them. And our dog too, of course. I have always been in awe of how, during a telling off, they managed to keep a straight face, when I sometimes yelled, “You, whatever your name is…”

You can imagine my secret joy then too, when our son, who we had originally believed to be our daughter, changed, very thoughtfully in my opinion, his name from Lori to Lawrence, AKA Lawrie for short.

Currently I still have no grandchildren to burden with false names. But that does not mean that I do not grow additionally confused. I have technology.

A couple of years ago, my son, Aden, got a phone he could talk to, not just on. I’d hear him shouting, “Hey Google…” And then asking the phone a question. “What’s the weather going to be like today?” For example.

That same summer, Akasha and I , decided to do a fantastic trip. Travelling by train, first out of Germany, then across France, we hopped on the Eurostar and through the tunnel and then to several spots in the UK, all the way up to Scotland, back down again, with a bit of a detour through Belgium and the Netherlands. Staying with various friends along the way. It was a truly magnificent two weeks which we still often talk about very fondly.

But two summers on, I am still left with a tiny problem.

Two households had a new playmate in their homes. Alexa. They’d whoop, “Alexa! Play [insert name of song].” And she would play that exact song. Well, mostly. Or they’d holler, “Alexa! Turn the volume down!” And she’d oblige. Or they’d ask her questions on all kinds of topics and she’d tell them the actual answers. I was well impressed and somehow Alexa snuggled herself into a little corner of my brain.

We returned from our travels and life continued as normal. I called the dog Akasha and Lawrie and Aden and Joni, before I remembered that her name is Lexi. The dog looked confused and didn’t really know how to respond.

We recounted our journey to anyone who would be prepared to listen.

Then, one day, my mobile gave up the ghost. And my husband suggested, that for the first time in my life, I might like an iPhone? We found an old model which had been on display in a store and decided that that would be my new phone.

My phone arrived a few days later and she had a special gadget. Siri.

She works like this: you call out, “Hey Siri!” she wakes up and then you can ask her a question. Or give her a task. She’s especially useful when you need to be hands free and say, you want to call someone, or you have your hands deep in dough and you forgot the remainder of the recipe.

Problem is, I find myself bellowing “Hey Google!” Then when that doesn’t work, I reselect and screech, “Hey Alexa!”

It has even been known, in our household, for me to complain to my husband, “That iPhone is rubbish. She never answers me.”

The poor, slightly disturbed man, looks back at me, somewhat incredulously.