To All of my Blog Readers:

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!! Thank you for your continued support. I love reading all of your comments. You cannot possibly know how often you have moved me almost to tears with your kindness or made me laugh out loud (I have a really loud laugh, any member of my family will confirm this for me).

I hope your Christmas is peaceful and filled with love, laughter and excellent food.

Unusually, it’s very mild here so I found an old snow picture for you:


Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



It’s the way you make me feel

Sometimes I bound through life making silly, downright idiotic and even atrocious decisions.

I am a very decisive person, but even though I apparently know what I want, it seems, I don’t always know what is best for me!!

However, 12 years ago today I made the very best decision of my entire life: I married you!

Now sometimes you annoy me, just a little bit. The other day you put your smelly feet on the dining table and I thought, “What the fuck?!?” And, in my ever-decisive manner, I had to tell you to put them right back down on the floor again!!!!

Which you then did immediately.

Of course.

While we’re at it: I don’t cope very well with you not putting your seatbelt on until we get to the top of the street.

And if you really want me to give it to you straight:

You really could wash your hands more often and not wiggle your fingers at me right after you touched the bin lid, in that ‘I’m going to tickle you with my dirty digits’ way that you do. Which makes me, in turn, race to the sink to wash my own hands, even though I haven’t touched a single thing!

But really what I want to do now is get right down to the nitty gritty.

We have been through, in twelve years of marriage, a few things, that nobody ever wants to go through.

Every single moment, you were there. Holding my hand. Wiping away my tears. Picking my outbursts up off the floor, shuggling them around a bit, then carefully putting them back together in a nice, orderly fashion.

You listened, even if I had to prod you awake at times. You knew when to give the hug and when not to give the hug. You cooked and cleaned whenever I needed you to, no matter how tired you were, or how bad your own day had been. You poured wine at all the right moments.

And the other day I overheard you telling Akasha, “As perfect as  Mummy is, she has a tendency to exaggerate sometimes.”

Despite everything that I am and have been, everything I’ve done and haven’t done; you still see me as perfect!!! (We’ll ignore the second part of the sentence.) (This isn’t the main reason that I love you.)

Without you I couldn’t be the person that I am today.

Thank you.



Brexit wrecks it

Although I am actually a very political person, I don’t normally share my political ideals on this blog.

But today is a terrible day for British politics. And I feel sick to the pit of my stomach.

The Leave campaign, with all its racism and hate has won.

Common sense, human compassion, a lust for peace and an ideology of hope and togetherness has been thrown right out of the window and stamped on.

Scotland will fight to be independent and Northern Ireland may well join in. Both were strong campaigners and voters on the Remain side. Both equally feel misrepresented and unheard.

The EU may well start to crumble.

I am sad. Truly sad.

I am shocked. Deeply shocked.

Today really is a tragic day. 😦



Joni – A Ray Of Sunshine

Today is a mammoth day.

Today my first born stops being a child and becomes an adult.

Joni, Happy 18th Birthday sweetheart!

I have a few things that I want to say.

Firstly, I’m sorry that the very first words you heard from my mouth were, “Ooh, she looks like a punk!”

But you proudly wore the best hair gel known to man, child or midwife. Which leads me to my second apology – I’m sorry that I made you crap yourself in the womb. The midwife explained that you must have had a rather large shock, she could even pinpoint roughly when in the pregnancy that shock actually happened, the marvellous woman. So you’re in the loop: I was running for a bus, heavily pregnant and I fell. I know, I know, the midwife tutted a bit at the thought of my all-up-front-baby-belly crashing down toward the ground. But in my defence, I was trying to help another, even more heavily pregnant woman. You see it wasn’t my bus. Instead, my friend, another future mother-to-be, sat on her bus and forgot to get up and dismount the said bus (she was coming to visit us) and so I raced alongside banging on the window and well, you know the rest…

Despite calling you a punk, you have to know that I was totally smitten with you from the second I laid eyes on you. I thought that you were the most beautiful thing I had seen in my life. I was high on drugs and somewhat uninhibited so I got away with banning every visitor from leaving the room until they had admitted that you were, in fact, the most beautiful baby ever to be born. Those visitors included our own guests of course, as well as midwives, auxiliaries, cleaners and naturally a sprinkling of doctors. Some of them seemed to find it all highly amusing (though not as funny as when, post caesarian, I yelled at the doctor to “Bring back my foot!” – I couldn’t feel my legs and all I saw was some gentleman’s hands carrying my foot down the operating table – a foot, I’d like to add, that I hadn’t seen for quite a while (you being all up front and that), I do admit that I did have a panicky moment or two thinking that he had surgically removed my lower limb, without permission, and had then proceeded to taunt me with my once bodypart) but some did appear a little irritated – especially once they became known as frequent visitors…

I was so inspired by your beauty that I made up a song for you, right there, in the hospital. I couldn’t stop singing it. And I still remember it. It went like this:

I’m Joni Beth, Joni Beth (insert your surname)
That’s who I am
I’m a beautiful, beautiful baby
With a cutie face

That’s it.

Unfortunately, despite my inspired moment, I’m no Carole King.

Dearest Joni:

You have developed into a young woman who is not only beautiful on the outside but also on the inside (which is the most important bit).

But sweetheart, despite the fact that you are now an adult, you will always, always be my baby.


I’ve made the decision, now it’s just the sticking to it

Friday, really was a truly hilarious day.

One of those days in fact, when you just think: It doesn’t get better than this.

It went along something like this:

I thought I had it covered. I had a list and everything.

Really. I started off in a nice relaxed mood this morning, as my husband took my son to the clinic for me, in order to have him weighed and pick up his new prescription. He’s not a baby. He’s 12. But apparently he needs to be popped on the scales so we can be given the drugs that stop him climbing out of windows and unhanging doors and unscrewing toilet seats and stashing empty, moulding milk cartons in his wardrobe and hiding homework in random bushes. My son has severe ADHD, you see.

It wasn’t enough to be popped on the scales in 19 days at his next actual appointment. The receptionist said that he needs to come in today.

I have a deep fondness for receptionists.

Anyway, I felt confident this morning. And very excited. Though somewhat nervous. Especially given that I have four children and I regularly spend oodles of time with receptionists.

You see, I have finally come to my decision, I have signed up to NaNoWriMo.

The whole signing up caused me so much giddiness this morning that I began the day by pouring milk into the sugar bowl, instead of onto my cereal.

No matter. I rinsed it out and giggled gleefully.

I checked off my updated list ‘rinse milk out of sugar bowl’ and called the eye doctor.

You guessed right. I wanted to grab an earful have a chat with another receptionist. I’ve been collecting styes again. Thanks to my immune suppressants.

Unfortunately, she refused to reply so I had to settle with ‘attempt to buy shoes for two children’.

I bundled an array of legs and elbows into the car and proceeded to drive right past the shoe shop. Toward the eye doctor, in fact.

I turned the car around and chuckled to alarmed used-to-it legs and elbow owners (I did try to blame it on the book) and managed to buy gym shoes for one child.

My list had included a plan to purchase ingredients for and prepare in advance a few healthy meals, to ease my duties in November.

On tasting I discovered, however, that I’d forgotten to put the beans in the minestrone and I’d left the carrot and orange soup stockless.

Then my helpful teenager chopped the tomatoes but left them on the tabletop instead of popping them into the pasta sauce with the rest of the ingredients.

It bubbled away for its full 45 minutes before I actually managed to notice.

But still, determined, I ploughed on making a lovely tomato tart except the pastry refused to be separated from the buttered flan dish so I found myself forced into chilling it for tomorrow instead of freezing it for next month.

Meanwhile my generous five-year old shovelled out the chilli.

I attempted again to call the eye doctor but as it turns out he’s off on holiday for just over a week. Not enamoured at the thought of yet another pusy eye I decided to contact my GP. Well you know what I mean. His receptionist.

I got through but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of my stye prescription so she insisted I call the chemist where I regularly pick up my eye drops.

Naturally, I called the wrong chemist who had no idea whatsoever what I was blabbering on about.

But at least she kindly gave me the number for my actual pharmacist.

As it turns out I still don’t know my German letters properly (even though I have lived here for a full eight years) so I had to ask a couple of times, then wrote down z’s and f’s and y’s where there were absolutely none.

I tried to call the receptionist back, but she’d intermittently had the cheek to take another call, so the line, naturally was engaged. I hung around, with all the time in the world, recooking sauces and burning my tongue off in the chilli comparison test.

A few minutes later she answered my call and I listed out z’s and f’s and y’s where there absolutely were none and she refused to give me any medicine. With hindsight I’m pleased. What if it had been the name of a real medication for vaginal warts or something and I’d have glooped it into my eye?

I apologised profoundly for being an idiot foreigner and I called the chemist all over again.

I explained, you know, that I’m an idiot foreigner and that although this is now my home country I can’t even get the alphabet right and she took mercy on me and offered to spell out the name again.

Cleverly I had intercepted my own stupidity and I had asked the internet what possible medications could be offered to me by my friendly chemist.

The internet had given me a multiple choice of answers but with the help of the lovely lady and one non-pusy eye I managed to work out which medication I should take.

I called the engaged receptionist.

Finally, I spoke to her. I thanked her for her patience and lack of dispensation of vaginal wart cream and she sympathetically offered to have the prescription ready in half an hour.

I told her that although I couldn’t wait for our next meeting, I actually could because I needed to find beans for the minestrone and pick up my sons ADHD medication.

When I finally returned home, I opened my sons pills to see they had only given us enough to last us for 12.5 days. Even though our next appointment isn’t for 19 days.

Better still, we must order the tablets four whole days before we need them.

I started to clean and prepare for tomorrow’s lesson with my new student. I looked forward to making ‘novel notes’.

Then the phone rang.

Head lice alert.

I spent the following two hours dragging a bloody nit comb through conditioned hair.

I’m happy to report those two wasted hours that thorough search revealed not a single louse in the house.

I live the high life, I tell you.

Say what?

Today is not only my second blogoversary. It’s also the first anniversary of Tilly Bud’s and my 101 tasks in 1001 days challenge.

To celebrate the incredible occasion we both have various posts going up on our blogs today.

We picked five questions, which we’ve both decided to answer giving two different perspectives on the challenge so far. You can read Tilly’s here.

What did you expect of the challenge at the start?

I was very excited when I first started typing up my list! Full of anticipation. I felt the need, at that point in my life, to really make time to do at least some of the things I really wanted to do.

However, when I talked to my family, they didn’t really get it. They encouraged me, because it was something that I wanted to do. But they didn’t actually understand why it was so important to me. Despite having Tilly’s support, and some of the tasks involving my family, I did expect it to be quite a solitary thing to do. As a mum of four this was the first time in a very long time I’d actually broken out and said I specifically wanted to do something for me. I think that made me feel a little uncertain. Some of the tasks I put on the list were or are dreams. So I didn’t know, even with them being on the list, if I could make them become a reality. I just knew that I wanted to try. Two examples of that would be the spa and the Murder Mystery Dinner. I’ve completed both challenges and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

How do you think you’ve done?

Despite my statistical analysis, I think I’ve done really well. The list I’ve set myself is quite demanding, but I’m the kind of person who needs a challenge to rise to. I found that cupboard and since then I’ve definitely felt I’m on the right track. 😀

Anything you would change?

Yes. If I do it again (and I might well do) I would definitely use the countdown clock on my page. I have already changed a couple of tasks – ‘the gym’ – I cancelled my membership due to not finding the time for it to be worthwhile and then feeling guilty about not being able to go. I also upped the ‘try new restaurants’ because I finished it really quickly and wanted to visit more.

The one task I haven’t changed that I suspect isn’t possible is the hits target. I don’t want to lower it, but I think I was too ambitious with that task.

When I first started I began several tasks simultaneously and the result is, I haven’t come very far in any of them! I think I was too excited!! Next time I think I would try a more focused approach. Though maybe that wouldn’t work with me anyway as I’m quite an excitable person!

I would also completely change the format, it looks nice on the page, when it works, but I keep fighting with the HTML. If I don’t update in HTML it changes all the numbers to letters and results in a lot of cursing!!!

What has been your favourite task so far?

That’s a really difficult question as I’ve enjoyed so many. I think I value most the date once a month I have made time for with my husband. We hadn’t made time for each other before and it’s made a difference. I’ve particularly enjoyed the family activities like the boat trip on the Danube and going to the falconry display. And watching films now has more worth and I don’t feel like such a couch potato.

I can’t call it. My two favourites have to be the Murder Mystery Dinner and the spa weekend with Lori. Both were amazing!!

Oh no. But what about the live Wild West Show? That, too, was fantastic!

I can tell you my most disappointing one easily, though: trying archery. Oh my God was I crap!! Really!! It was embarrassing!!

I have a clear favourite from Tilly’s list: Have a go on every item in the new children’s play area in Gorsey Bank Park. Fantastic!

Has anything unexpected come out of the challenge?


Firstly, it has not been a solitary journey at all. My family and even friends have actively got involved. We had a hilarious Eurovision party. My husband had flowers delivered to me. And it’s a revisited topic of conversation between my friends and I.
My husband actively looks at the list for ideas at the weekends. The kids love it and have requested personal tasks which include them. It’s become a family thing and I’m very happy with that.

Then there’s been the support from the blogging community. Some of my readers specifically follow me because of the challenge.

I really hadn’t anticipated how interested readers would be. My 101 page gets even more hits than my about page!!

Finally, there are the other 101ers. When Tilly and I first started, we had the idea of asking others to join us. I had no idea how successful that would be. There are 37 of us already and our community is still growing!!

*Animation by Lori and Reini – thanks. 😉

“I’ve Been Tagged So, I’m It!”

I’ve been tagged by Tom at Tom Baker’s Morning Erection (what an awesome blog name). Now like Tom, I’m a brilliant procrastinator (I’ve still got all but one of my awards to blog about) so I made an effort to be good this time and stapled myself to the chair and started typing.

Tagging apparently, goes like this:

1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them!

Tom asked me 11 interesting questions. Gulp. I’ll answer them as well as I can.

Here goes:

1. If you were forced to change the name of your blog what would you change it to?

This is a particularly good question for me because I just happened to be discussing it with a fellow blogger the other day.
My blogging name is Sarsm, right? Well, had I thought about it properly I doubt very much I would have picked that name. When I started the blog, I had no idea it would be so successful and, if I had, I wouldn’t have named myself after an Asian virus. Really people, what was I thinking?
Truth be told I typed the name in because ‘Sars’ has been my nickname since I was a small child (I blame all those cousins) and the ‘m’ is from my surname. In my dinosauric approach to blogging, I thought I was using Sarsm as a user name and that “Quest for humour in my existence” was my blog name (as thought up by my husband).
If I changed it, I might opt for my twitter name: Pigsdontswim which is pretty cool. But my then three-year old came up with that as it was the title of one of her favourite books at the time. Better not, just in case I get sued.

I could just go with ‘Dinosauric Approach’… No?

2. How would you spend today if you knew it was your last day to live?

I would spend it with my family. 100% quality time with them. I don’t think it would matter really what we would do, just that we were together. Hopefully, though, there would be a lot of laughter.

3. What is you most guilty pleasure?

Er… My children read this page. 😉

I’ll go with hiding and eating chocolate. Er…

4. What is your most favorite smell?


OK. Food in a really nice restaurant. And the anticipation – it’s for me!!!

5. Who would you most want to interview on your blog?

I’ve never thought about it. Since it’s a question where anything is possible I’ll go with my dad. He died when I was seven.

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I’m quite a bad person here because I have a few. I don’t like people smoking around children. That gets me every time.

7. What is your favorite word in the English language?

I don’t have one. But I would like it to be lottery as in “Sarsm – you’ve won the lottery!” Though, in all honesty, it would be my husband calling and saying, “Lickle, we’ve won the lottery!!” because he’s the one who plays!

Now, if you’d said two words Tom, that would be simple: Book deal. 🙂

8. What is your favorite word in another language?

Awesome (American). 😉

9. What do your favorite pair of underwear look like?

Black. Shiny. Small. 😉

10. Do you think the world is going to end this year?

No. I still have a lot of challenges to finish and I wouldn’t have started something that didn’t end until 2013 because I like to succeed too much.

11. If a movie was made based on your life, what actor/actress would play you?

Well, she’d need to have long brown hair… OK, I guess that could be dyed. A loud voice when necessary… A wobbly belly. South pointing boobs! The ability to laugh and cry at the same time… Be able to run really fast through a building with burning stuff without setting anything else on fire, on a regular basis. She’d need an ankle that clicks when she walks down the stairs. Not up. So far, at least, that’s not mandatory.

I think Angeline Jolie could take a shot at it. What do you think?

Now I get to ask 11 bloggers 11 questions:

The Bloggers:

The Laughing Housewife
Perfecting motherhood
Piglet in Portugal
Local Heart, Global Soul
One Life
Figments of a Dutchess
Northern Mummy with Southern Children
Read Between the Minds
Nailing Jello To A Tree
Psue’s Blog

(Because they have to answer the same questions I’ve tried picking 11 bloggers with very different blogs/backgrounds)


The Questions:

  1. If there were no constraints, where in the world would you choose to live right now?
  2. How would you fight terrorism?
  3. Would you go (or have you been) in a hot air balloon?
  4. Apart from Tilly Bud, what’s your favourite chocolate/sweet? Mrs. Malteser, what’s your second favourite?
  5. What was your favourite subject at school?
  6. What unusual talent do you have?
  7. What triggered you to start blogging?
  8. If we went to a bar together and I bought you a drink, what would you order?
  9. What ultimately do you/would you wish for your children?
  10. What’s the best pizza topping?
  11. Which TV show can’t you miss?

Talking Wildely

I had a lovely start to the day. Well, if you ignore a bowl falling out of the cupboard this morning, shattering, and one of those shattered pieces flying up and hitting my shocked son in the face, cutting his lip open. Until that moment, I had never suspected he had my freakishly clumsy gene. After that I had a lovely early morning continuation to the day. I nipped over to Tilly Bud’s blog and starting catching up on her 1001 challenge of posting a joke a day.

And I found this beauty.

Er, but is it really a joke?

Talking Wildely.